Sunday, 26 August 2007

Serie A Week 1: Sunday Review

Alberto Aquilani secured victory for RomaInter's bid for a third straight Serie A title is off to a shaky start as they conceded a late equaliser against Udinese and AC Milan and Roma set down a marker as they triumphed 3-0 at Genoa and 2-0 at Palermo respectively.


Having seen Juventus return to Serie A with a 5-1 win against Livorno on Saturday, Inter were not keen to lose early ground and their season was only nine minutes old at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza when Dejan Stankovic turned in Zlatan Ibrahimovic's clever pass. However, Udinese pushed hard for an equaliser and just before the hour mark Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar was dismissed when he handled outside the box. It seemed replacement Francesco Toldo would hold out but in injury time Ivan Cordoba headed into his own net under pressure from Asamoah Gyan.

Milan, who finished fourth despite an eight-point deduction last term, begin on level terms this time and ensured Genoa had an unhappy reintroduction to Serie A. Massimo Ambrosini headed in Andrea Pirlo's 21st-minute corner to open the scoring and just before half-time Kaka pounced on Massimo Oddo's deflected pass to double the lead and seconds later converted a penalty after Alberto Gilardino was fouled by Genoa goalkeeper Rubinho.

Roma served notice of their Scudetto-winning ambitions with a 2-0 win at Palermo in a fantastic match this evening. First-half goals from Philippe Mexes and Alberto Aquilani ensured the Eternal City club kicked off with an impressive win at La Favorita. Although Roma were very distant runners-up to Inter last term, they have made little secret of their ambitions to go one better this season and coach Luciano Spalletti hailed the club's recent Supercoppa win over Inter as evidence that "the wind has changed".

A dominant Fiorentina shrugged off Tuscan neighbours Empoli with an easy 3-1 win. Viola striker Giampaolo Pazzini opened the scoring in the 56th minute before Adrian Mutu extended his team's advantage seven minutes later. Riccardo Montolivo made sure of the win on 70 minutes before Luca Saudati reduced the deficit deep into injury-time.

Napoli endured a disappointing return to Serie A as Cagliari started the new season with an impressive win at the Stadio San Paolo. Alessandro Matri put the Sardinians ahead in the 49th minute and Pasquale Foggia secured all three points from the penalty spot 10 minutes later. It was not the outcome the thousands of passionate home fans had expected with hopes high in Naples that the club could finally put years of turmoil behind them.

Vincenzo Montella marked his return to Sampdoria with the winner as they beat Siena in their opening match of the season. Claudio Bellucci had fired the visitors ahead shortly after the half-hour mark, but they were pegged back by Daniele Corvia's header midway though the second half. Veteran striker Montella had been brought off the bench shortly before that goal, but repaid the faith shown in him by coach Walter Mazzarri with the winning goal four minutes from time to get his second spell with the Genoa club off to a fine start.

Cristiano Doni's controversial penalty five minutes from time earned Atalanta a draw with Reggina in their opening game of the season. Hoping for a good start to the season after battling against a points deduction last season, Reggina went ahead in the 76th minute thanks to Nicola Amoruso but were pegged back at the last by Doni, who had threatened all game.

Catania earned a draw in an explosive match with Parma at the Stadio Tardini in their first game of the new season. Catania coach Silvio Baldini was dismissed five minutes from time for dissent after lashing out at Parma coach Mimmo Di Carlo. The Sicilian side had taken a 12th-minute lead through Takayuki Morimoto before Andrea Pisanu equalised midway through the half for the home side. Parma then thought they had earned the advantage at half-time when Marco Rossi put them ahead for the first time three minutes prior to the interval, but the visitors levelled straight away through David Baiocco. The second-half was tense, but ended goalless as the points were shared.

[Saturday 25 Aug] - [Sunday 26 Aug]

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