Serie A, Week 2: Juventus, Napoli, And Lazio All With Six Points

Inter Milan and Roma are expected to battle for third place this year. Can either set themselves apart from the other on Sunday?

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Sampdoria 2-1 Siena: Sampdoria Maintain Their Perfect Serie A Start

Sampdoria, surprisingly, have won their first two matches -- but remain a point off the pace due to their one-point deduction for their role in the Italian betting scandal. Siena's loss, however, keeps them mired at the bottom of Serie A, on -5 points.

Coming off their 1-0 win over AC Milan last week, freshly-promoted Sampdoria were eager to maintain their great start. They welcomed back Maxi Lopez, serving out a ban last week, and the forward was instrumental in the win. His first goal was called back on account of the whistle being blown, but his second gave Samp the 1-0 lead going into the break. And what a skillful goal it was, with Lopez chesting down the ball, spinning around his man and driving it into the back of the net.

Siena found their equaliser after Daniele Gastaldello rashly brought down Emanuele Calaio with a rather wild challenge inside the area. Calaio took, but contrived to hit the crossbar -- fortunately for him, Simone Vergassola tapped in the rebound to spare Calaio's humiliation.

Gastaldello redeemed himself by scoring Sampdoria's winning goal. It was simple enough, heading in Pedro Obiang's cross from a corner, but essential for his side's great start to the season.


Parma 2-0 Chievo: A Comfortable Win For Parma

Parma had to start the season against Juventus, so they elected to forgo the first match and make their second, against Chievo Verona, a declaration that they intend to continue impressing in Serie A. Ishak Belfodil opened the scoring and Aleandro Rosi provided the second, allowing Parma to capture all three points.

The home side came out firing, pretty much literally, with Jaime Valdes going just wide in the third minute. The midfielder was then instrumental in the opening goal, sending his ball over the top for Daniele Galloppa. Belfodil then got on the end of Galloppa's cross to head the ball off the bar and past Stefano Sorrentino.

Chievo really only threatened from set-pieces, so it came as no surprise when Parma doubled their lead in the waning minutes of the match. The gialloblu hit hard on the counter, with Jonathan Biabany slotting over to Rosi, who slid his shot in at the near post.


Napoli 2-1 Fiorentina: Match Marred By The Dreadful Surface At The San Paolo

Napoli may have found all three points at the Stadio San Paolo, but the turf had the last laugh -- the pitch in Naples was laughable, with not a blade of grass to be found. It could have been a strategy on the part of the partenopei, but the home side had to struggle to defeat Fiorentina.

The sides went into the break scoreless, probably still trying to adapt to playing on what was, essentially, sand. The deadlock was broken in the 55th minute, when Marek Hamsik got on the end of a Camilo Zuniga free kick, nodding it over Emiliano Viviano. Or, at least, that's what the Slovak thought. He celebrated with the fans, providing a bit of merriment when he got himself caught in the dividers (no, oddly enough, it wasn't by his hair). However, replays showed the goal to have been made by Fiorentina defender Borja Valero.

The partenopei managed a second twenty minutes later, and this one was actually by one of their own, albeit an unusual goalscorer. Blerim Dzemaili took advantage of the Viola's failure to entirely clear a corner, unleashing a sharp shot from the edge of the area that Viviano could do nothing about.

Fiorentina pulled one back in the 87th minute. Stevan Jovetić -- who must have something written into his contract regarding not being able to score in the first hour of a match -- sent in a beautiful, curling shot from outside of the area, bouncing in front of Morgan De Sanctis and into the far corner.


Lazio 3-0 Palermo: How Long Until Giuseppe Sannino Is Gone From Palermo?

A Miroslav Klose brace and screamer from Antonio Candreva gave Lazio an easy 3-0 win over Palermo in rain-soaked Rome.

The German's first goal came from a volley six minutes before half time. A high clearance from the Palermo defense was chased down by Alvaro Gonzalez. Rather than see the ball out for a corner, the Uruguayan turned Santiago Garcia and his right-sided cross was met by the waiting Klose.

Candreva added a stunning second ten minutes after the restart, unleashing a 25 yard shot which looped over the outstretched arm of Samir Ujkani, and beating the Albanian at his near post.

Palermo rarely threatened, but Federico Marchetti did well to parry a Josip Ilicic shot after the Lazio defense made a hash of a clearance in the penalty area.

Klose put the game beyond Palermo seven minutes from the end, chesting down a Senad Lulic cross, before stepping past two defenders and calmly stroking the ball past Ujkani.

It's two wins from two league games now for the Eagles, while it's two heavy defeats in a row for the Sicilians.


Inter Milan 1-3 Roma: That's The Roma We Were All Expecting

Both Inter Milan and AS Roma surprised last weekend: Inter by easily dismantling Pescara, 3-0, and Roma looking out-of-sorts in the first half against Catania. But the world is right once again: the giallorossi are playing Zeman-style attacking football, and Inter were caught out.

It was all Roma from the start, and the possession paid off when Alessandro Florenzi grabbed the opening goal. The nerazzurri left the young midfielder unmarked inside the area, allowing him an easy header to give the visitors the lead in the 15th minute.

Antonio Cassano put the scoreline level going into the break. The newcomer scored his first goal in an Inter shirt when his shot took a crazy deflection off Roma defender Nicolas Burdisso.

Zdenek Zeman must've given his players another halftime rollicking, similar to the one they received last week, because Roma came out flying for the second half. Francesco Totti was the architect of the second giallorossi goal. The captain slid the through-ball on to Pablo Osvaldo, who performed a wonderful little chip to knock it into the empty net.

Roma wrapped things up in the 81st minute, on a goal from Marquinho that looks, even after repeated watchings, to be impossible. But not everything ended well for the visitors: Osvaldo was sent off with a second yellow in extra time, after appearing to handle the ball.


Catania 3-2 Genoa: Francesco Lodi Gives Catania The Win

Catania and Genoa played out an enjoyable five-goal thriller in Sicily on Sunday, but in the end the home side snatched all three points through Francesco Lodi. Gonzalo Bergessio scored a brace inside three minutes for Catania, while Juraj Kucka and Bosko Jankovic found the net for Genoa.

The visitors opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, totally against the run of play. Alejandro Gomez had just forced a save from Sebastien Frey, and Sergio Almiro had just shot wide, when Juan Manuel Vargas burst free. He sent the ball to Ciro Immobile, who rolled across for Kucka to open the scoring.

But Catania were never out of the match; it was only a matter of time for the rossazzurri. Sure enough, Bergessio sent in his first in the 65th minute, and headed in his second just a couple minutes later.

Genoa weren't done, however. Mariano Andujar was unable to keep out a powerful shot from Jankovic in the 81st minute, and surely the visitors believed they'd rescued a point. But they weren't counting on Lodi's free kick, which went directly into the back of the net.


Cagliari 1-1 Atalanta: Cagliari Snatch A Point, But Barely

Cagliari managed to scrape a point at home in the final minute, but shouldn't have had such difficulties in dealing with ten-man Atalanta. German Denis put the visitors ahead with ten minutes left to play, but Albin Ekdal rescued his side in the 90th minute to give Cagliari their first point of the season.

After their 2-0 loss to Genoa last weekend, it was clear that Cagliari would struggle this season, but most probably didn't expect such a woeful performance. Gabriele Perico drew a penalty in the 22nd minute when Thomas Manfredini hauled him down just inside the area, but Andrea Consigli pulled off a fantastic save to deny Joaquin Larrivey.

Less than ten minutes later, Federico Peluso shoved Segundo Ibarbo inside the area, earning him a second yellow and a sending off. This time it was Daniele Conti trying his luck from the spot, but Consigli saved once again.

Despite being down a man, it was Atalanta that took control in the second half, with both Denis and Maxi Moralez forcing saves from Michael Agazzi. The two combined for the goal, when Denis pounced on the ball Cagliari failed to save from a Moralez corner and poked it into the net.

Atalanta may have managed all three points had their heroic keeper not been stretchered off. Consigli received a knee to the head from teammate Guglielmo Stendardo and was carried off in a neck brace. Substitute Ciro Polito was unable to keep out Ekdal's shot, scored less than a minute before the end of the six minutes of stoppage time given.


Udinese 1-4 Juventus: Referee Decision Mars Match

Juventus may have scored four goals at the Stadio Friuli, but the true talking point of this match was Paolo Valeri's decision to send off Udinese goalkeeper Zeljko Brkić after barely ten minutes. Arturo Vidal converted the penalty, Mirko Vucinić scored, and Sebastian Giovinco had a brace. Andrea Lazzari pulled one back for Udinese, but they'll always ask the question, "What if?"

The defining moment occurred in the 12th minute, when Giovinco slipped between two Udinese defenders to fetch a long pass from Andrea Pirlo. At that point, Danilo shoved him into Brkić, who was coming out to deal with the ball. Valeri blew his whistle, pointed to the spot, and held out a red card to the very confused goalkeeper. Yes, it was certainly a penalty -- but that's not a red card, and Udinese have every right to feel hard done by.

After Vidal converted his penalty, the Old Lady spent much of the rest of the first half seemingly toying with the home side, keeping possession but not doing much of anything with it. Just before the break, however, Vucinić managed to double Juve's chances, slipping it in from the edge of the box.

Seba scored twice in the second half. The first goal would have been easily dealt with by a first-choice keeper, but the little guy did well for his second, displaying a bit of trickery to evade Maurizio Domizzi before driving it into the back of the net. The final goal was a consolation for Udinese, when Lazzari scored his first for his new club.

So the defending champions managed four goals, but how much does that really tell us about their skill and readiness for the upcoming season? I'm betting Roberto Di Matteo, in the stands to check out his Chelsea's Champions League competition, still has very little sense of what Juventus can actually do.


Bologna 1-3 AC Milan: Giampaolo Pazzini The Star Of The Show

After losing at home last week to freshly-promoted Sampdoria, AC Milan shamed their haters with a terrific 3-1 win over Bologna. This was the Giampaolo Pazzini show, as the new rossoneri striker scored a hat-trick on his debut. Alessandro Diamanti tried to put Bologna in the match, but his only real success was a converted penalty.

Pazzini kicked things off for the visitors with a lovely show of diving skill, as replays verify it was the Milan forward who was tugging at Nicolo Cherubin's shirt, not the other way around. But Il Pazzo converted the resulting penalty and the rossoneri were in front.

Diamanti did his damnedest to create chances, but the Milan defence managed to scramble most of them away. Their fear was apparent, however, so it was no surprise when Antonio Nocerino tripped up the midfielder on the edge of the area. The ref duly pointed to the spot, and Diamanti converted for Bologna's only goal.

Pazzini's second was gifted to him by Bologna goalkeeper Federico Agliardi, who fumbled a cross from Luca Antonini, allowing the striker to slot in from close range. He completed his hat-trick by jumping on a mis-hit by Nocerino, backheeling the ball past Agliardi.


Torino 3-0 Pescara: 10 Man Pescara Sink In Turin

Neither team scored in the first week of Serie A, but Torino made up for it at home against Pescara, pushing three goals past the visiting side. Christian Terlizzi was sent off to put Pescara down to ten men, and il granata took advantage, with Alessandro Sgrigna, Matteo Brighi and Rolando Bianchi all scoring.

Terlizzi saw a straight red in the 28th minute, the consequence of bringing down Bianchi, who was free inside the area. Bianchi saw his penalty saved, however, by the diving Mattia Perin. Bianchi found revenge in the 62nd minute, beating Perin through a powerful header that resulted in the ultimate 3-0 scoreline.

In between, Sgringna opened the scoring with some help from Bianchi, who headed the ball down for Sgringna's shot from close range. He was denied a second in the second, but created Brighi's goal by speeding up the right-hand flank before sending the ball over.

The loss leaves Pescara with a -6 goal difference after Inter's 3-0 domination last week. Is there a point where the mercy rule goes into effect for newly promoted clubs?

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