Juventus hosted Udinese on Sunday looking to start off the season as they had finished the last. Arturo Vidal, Andrea Pirlo and Carlos Tevez had moved on for pastures new but reinforcements had been brought in. These signings made the Old Lady confident of containing an unbeaten run of 48 matches at Juventus Stadium. The Champions missed a host of chances, in particular a close range effort from Mario Mandzukic, before the unthinkable happened. Udinese scored. Cyril Thereaus’s 78th minute strike stunned the home crowd, and inflicted a defeat on a team that only lost three matches last season.
The defeat for Juventus was perhaps more of an eye opener as they had seen what had happened to Roma the day before. The Giallorossi played out a 1-1 with Hellas Verona in glorious sunshine on Saturday evening. The team from the Eternal City lacked tempo according to coach Rudi Garcia, but in truth they should have been much more clinical in front of goal. Rafael produced save after save before unfortunately being at fault for Alessandro Florenzi’s equaliser. This now sets up a titanic clash against Juve next week as both teams will be looking to land a serious blow to their rival’s title aspirations.
The other Roman team had played on Saturday night and dispatched Bologna with consummate ease. The team from Emilia-Romagna looked out of their depth as Lazio’s high pressure game saw them concede two goals in the first 23 minutes. The Aquile could have had more but Bologna rallied and even grabbed one back. The game was notable for a superb debut by ex-Ajax man Ricardo Kishna who grabbed a debut goal. Interviewed after the game however, he admitted how Lazio had dropped off after he had scored and that this could have cost them.
Sunday night saw seven fixtures kick off at the same time as the season through up even more drama. A new look Milan travelled to Florence in the hope of once again becoming a force to be reckoned with. Sadly for them, the Viola took advantage after the Rossoneri had a man sent off and two goals promptly followed, Marcos Alonso’s free kick the pick of the bunch. The Florentines celebrated Paolo Sousa’s first game in charge with a well-earned three points.
With the big spenders being systematically knocked down one by one, what of Napoli? Whilst not breaking the bank like Milan or Inter the Neapolitans had a new look and a new coach. After only three minutes the Maurizio Sarri revolution looked to have begun as Marek Hamsik gave them the lead over Sassuolo after only three minutes. Incredibly, the home team fought back to win 2-1 and dealt a blow to another potential title contender.
So what of Inter? Surely, if patterns for bizarre results against lesser opposition was ‘en vogue’, then the Nerazzurri would certainly be involved. The game at San Siro looked to be heading for the only 0-0 draw of the weekend before Stevan Jovetic curled a shot into the far corner, reminiscent of Andreas Brehme against Holland in Italia 90. It was tough for Atalanta who had played well early in the game but this 94th minute goal saw Roberto Mancini’s men buck the opening weekend trend.
Elsewhere, there was more late drama as Abdelhamid El Kaoutari also scored a late winner for Palermo against Genoa in an entertaining game in Sicily. The Genoese will perhaps rue early chances missed and Palermo will thank Stefano Sorrentino for the 1-0 win. New boys Carpi were on the end of a thrashing from Sampdoria. The game ended 5-2 to Walter Zenga’s men but it was 5-0 after 36 minutes, and looking like it could be much worse. Things started differently for the other new boys Frosinone who went 1-0 up after seven minutes as Danilo Soddimo scored their first ever Serie A goal. Torino hit back with two goals of their own to ruin the fairy tale and take all three points. Finally Chievo showed the characteristics that have kept them in Serie A for so long. One goal down to Empoli, they resolutely fought back to win 1-3 away from home.