Serie A Week 1
LAZIO 2-2 TORINO
The game in the capital was the Serie A 2007/08 season opener, that took place on Saturday afternoon, and did not disappoint in terms of excitement. Four goals, two disallowed goals, a handful of debuts and a sending off ensured there was rarely a dull moment in the Stadio Olimpico.
Alessandro Rossina, nicknamed 'Rosinaldo', emphasised his star qualities with an outstanding left footed chip from outside the area, leaving Lazio keeper Marco Ballotta stranded.
Lazio thought they were back on level terms, when Macedonian Goran Pandev's finish was disallowed for a dubious offside decision. Minutes later, however, Lazio did find the back of the net, again through Pandev, following good work down the right from Gaby Mudingayi.
The comeback was complete five minutes later, Tommaso Rocchi's smart turn and shot from the edge of the box, nestled into the bottom left hand corner. Then it was time for Torino to have a goal chalked off, the referee ruling it out for a push from debutant Nicola Ventola.
Lazio coach Delio Rossi will not have been pleased by the way his side surrendered their lead, with his re-shuffled defence gifting Tommaso Vailatti an abundance of room at the back post to plant his header past Ballotta. Torino's Gianluca Comotto received his marching orders in the 84th minute when he petulantly kicked the ball away for his second yellow card.
JUVENTUS 5-1 LIVORNO
The return to Serie A could not have gone much better for Juventus, thanks to an inspired David Trezeguet who registered a hat-trick, and debutant Vincenzo Iaquinta, who bagged a brace.
The Old Lady overcame the absence of Alessandro Birindelli, Marco Marchionni and Zdenek Grygera, all missing through injury, while new signing Tiago Mendes was made to wait till the 79th minute before he enjoyed his first taste of action.
Highly rated Livorno goalkeeper Marco Amelia kept Juventus at bay, that was until the 29th minute, when Trezeguet headed in his first of the game, latching on to a dangerous Alessandro Del Piero cross from the left. The next two goals came from Iaquinta, who had replaced Del Piero. He converted a penalty he had earned, when he was tamely tugged from behind by Alessandro Grandoni.
Iaquinta made it two in rather fortunate circumstances, Pavel Nedved struck a shot goalwards, and the ball deflected off the lucky Iaquinta, leaving Amelia wrong footed. Trezeguet took his second goal, a minute later, coolly placing his left footed shot into the bottom corner, before completing his hat-trick with a close range effort.
Massimo Loviso gave Livorno scant consolation with a long range effort that beat Gigi Buffon, with the last kick of the match.
INTER 1-1 UDINESE
The Champions opening game did not go exactly to plan, with Udinese claiming an injury time equaliser to silence the San Siro.
Inter Milan took the lead as early as the 9th minute, Darko Stankovic benefitting from both Zlatan Ibrahimovic's clever build up play and through ball and Udinese's keeper Antonio Chimenti leaving his near post unguarded, to slot the ball comfortably home inside the near post.
Both defences were being exposed, Udinese were counter-attacking effectively, and Inter were getting through to Udinese's back four seemingly at will. If the deliveries into the box, particularly from Udinese, had more quality, it could have been a different story, with Gyan Asamoah proving more than a handful for Walter Samuel.
Inter brought on new signing David Suazo for Luis Figo after 65 minutes, but he was unable to take the game away from Udinese.
The equaliser did not come as a great shock, considering the lethargic display from Inter. The goal arrived via the head of Ivan Cordoba, who deflected into his own goal, under heavy pressure from Asamoah, following a flick on from Fabio Quagliarella, for a deserved point. Free Football TV is the number one source for live Serie A games.
GENOA 0-3 AC MILAN
It was always going to be a tough assignment for new boys Genoa, hosting European Champions Milan in their opening game, and so it proved.
It was the first time the sides had met since 1995, when a Rossoblu fan was killed during clashes outside the stadium, and as a result there were no away visitors allowed in for the game.
After 21 minutes Massimo Ambrosini rose to bury a free header into the bottom left hand corner, from Andrea Pirlo's typically accurate corner kick.
On the brink of half-time, a Kaka double ensured AC Milan were to go home with their opening three points safely in the bag. Massimo Oddo's surging run behind the back of Genoa, forced an opening for Kaka to finish stylishly with his left foot. The third goal was more than a touch fortunate, as Genoa keeper Rubinho dashed from his line to thwart Alberto Gilardino's advances, the referee pointed the spot, despite the keeper's clear touch on the ball. Kaka stepped up, and the rest is history.
The second half was a virtual non-entity, as Genoa struggled to make any telling impact on Milan's stoic defence.
FIORENTINA 3-1 EMPOLI
Fiorentina will hope Luca Toni's absence is not going to hinder their progress this season, and the signs are good with a resounding victory in this lively Tuscan derby.
The young gun they hope who will fill his shoes, Giampaolo Pazzini, opened the scoring with a simple tap in, after Empoli keeper Daniele Balli made a hash of a shot from Riccardo Montolivio, palming into the path of the exciting Pazzini.
The Viola made it two through Adrian Mutu, who outmuscled the Empoli defence and thumped it past Balli for 2-0.
If the game was not over then, it was on 70 minutes, Montolivio demonstrating his class with an exquisite chip that deserved to win any game. Christian Vieri made his official Viola debut minutes later, and was unlucky to see his shot sail just over the crossbar.
An Empoli consolation arrived in injury time, Luca Saudati finished impressively curling the ball to the far post, but it was very much too little, too late.
NAPOLI 0-2 CAGLIARI
They packed into the Stadio San Paulo before kick off, and the stadium was full of enthusiasm and genuine excitement. However, their spirits were to be dampened by an inept Napoli performance, who must improve to maintain their Serie A status.
It was, to be fair, somewhat against the run of play when Alessandro Matri, a pre-season signing from Milan, opened his Serie A goal account with a right footed drive into the bottom right hand corner to give the visitors the lead.
Worse was to follow, when referee Mauro Bergonzi adjudged Mirko Savini's push to be inside the area. Pasquale Foggia stepped up to confidently extend the lead.
Cagliari had further chances to complete Napoli's misery, but 2-0 it finished, and the discontent was felt and heard all round the ground.
PARMA 2-2 CATANIA
Amazing scenes took place at the Stadio Tardini, with spectators looking on in disbelief when former Parma coach Silvio Baldini, now with Catania, kicked Parma's new coach Domenico Di Carlo. The red card was subsequently shown, and it is likely a lengthy ban is also to be directed his way.
On the pitch, Catania took the lead through a composed finish from Japan's Takayuki Morimoto, who was allowed time in the box to control the ball and pick his spot, both of which he did with aplomb, curling the ball into the top corner.
Andrea Pisanu levelled things with a thumping volley that flew in off the underside of the bar, that must still be feeling the effects of the powerful strike.
Sloppy play from Catania's Giuseppe Mascara, gifted the ball to the 19-year old defender Marco Rossi who curled the ball into the far corner with all the finesse of a striker.
The lead lasted a mere 60 seconds, Morimoto was once again involved, cleverly pulling the ball back for Davide Baiocco to finish the move. All the on field action had taken place, with all the goals coming in the first half.
SIENA 1-2 SAMPDORIA
Two outstanding Sampdoria strikes decided this fixture, the first from Claudio Bellucci, who scored 19 in 35 games for Bologna last season, the second from the returning Vincenzo Montella.
Bellucci worked the ball onto his left foot, and let an unstoppable shot go from outside the box, rendering keeper Alex Manninger helpless.
Former Siena keeper Antonio Mirante, now at Sampdoria, came on to replace injured number one Luca Castellazzi, and his first piece of action was to retrieve the ball from the back of the net following a well executed flicked header from substitute Daniele Corviva, levelling the amount of goals he managed throughout last season.
The winner was a beauty. Montella played a one two with Sergio Volpi and hit his return on the volley, right footed into the far corner. Cue aeroplane celebrations. An optimistic start for Sampdoria, with Antonio Cassano missing from the squad, while he continues his fitness training.
REGGINA 1-1 ATALANTA
Both sides were beginning this new campaign with newly installed coaches, and both were aiming to kick off with a confidence boosting victory.
Reggina's hopes were raised when the deadlock was finally broke on the 77th minute, when last season's top scorer Nicola Amoruso rose to guide the ball goalwards. The ball deflected off the post and into the legs of the Atalanta keeper Ferdinando Coppola, who bundled the ball into his own net to confirm the goal.
Any scent of victory was washed away with a dubious penalty decision, following a coming together between Reggina defender Carlos Adrian Valdez and Atalanta's Riccardo Zampagna. Cristiano Doni did the rest from the spot, sending Andrea Campagnolo the wrong way.
The temperatures did nothing to endorse a fast paced game, and both teams may well be happy to maintain an unbeaten season so far.
PALERMO 0-2 AS ROMA
Much fancied AS Roma started the season in fine form, following an opening goal from Philippe Mexes, and a fantastic long range effort from Alberto Aquilani.
Rodrigo Taddei found much more space than he may have expected on the inside right channel in the box, and he fired the ball across for Mexes to connect with and force the ball over the line. Ciro Capuano went very close to equalising, when he got up well to head the ball against the Roma bar.
Aquilani's strike emphasised the talent this midfielder possesses. He must have been no less than 35 yards from goal, when he unleashed an unstoppable right foot shot, that nestled into the bottom corner.
Roma were unlucky not to extend their lead, with Palermo keeper Alberto Fontana saving well to deny Francesco Totti on two separate occasions, and pulled off an impressive double save to deny Ludovic Giuly and Mirko Vucinic.
Giuly will be pleased with his debut, and he gave way after 77 minutes, for another debutant in former Real Madrid full back Cicinho. A good start for the side from the capital, who are hosts to Siena in the next round of games.
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