The first week of Serie A has come and gone, and unfortunately, it brought little surprises. Teams lined up as expected, the big boys beat the smaller sides (mostly), and Chievo didn't score a goal. In total, 22 goals landed in the back of the net to celebrate the return of Serie A, while just one red card was handed out, when Paolo Castellini was dismissed late in Samp's loss to Juventus.
Saturday, August 24
The only shocker in Week One was Milan falling at the feet of newly promoted Verona. Or should we say, falling apart at the back and winding up having to kiss the blessed feet of Luca Toni? That's right, the 36 year old bagged a brace for his side, quashing rumors that he may soon need to be put out to pasture. Oh, and as if that wasn't enough, we were also treated to the exaggerated pouts of Mario Balotelli, after the striker went down inside the area and the ref waved aside appeals for a penalty. He did wave a yellow card, however, after Balo insulted him. And probably his mother.
The rain did its best to spoil the return of calcio to Genoa, making visibility difficult and turning the pitch into a slip-and-slide. While Sampdoria put on a disciplined display, in the end it was not enough to keep summer signing Carlos Tevez from scoring his first Serie A goal and grabbing victory for Juventus. But hey, at least we got to see Mirko Vucinic and Paul Pogba trip themselves, so that was nice.
Sunday, August 25
Who knew that one of the most exciting matches of the weekend would take place in...where did this match take place? Oh, that's right, Trieste. Which, one might notice, is a bit of a distance from Sardinia. But no matter, Cagliari still managed to pull off a come from behind victory. Radja Nainggolan replied almost immediately after Guglielmo Stendardo had scored for the visitors, and then Matias Cabrera added the winner around the hour mark.
Inter Milan 2-0 Genoa
Walter Mazzarri got off to a decent start with his new side, although it took until the 75th minute, and two sets of fresh legs, for the nerazzurri to find the goal. Genoa had a whopping four shots, none of which required Samir Handanovic to be roused from his 90 minute nap. With the rossoblu so close to the relegation zone last season, does this match reveal that this is the season they'll finally take a tumble?
Udinese seem to enjoy creating the impression that this year will be the year they finally slip and fall out of the European places. Francesco Guidolin deviated from the game plan slightly on Sunday, however, allowing Luis Muriel to score with 30 minutes left to play. But the zebrette took just one shot after that, permitting Lazio to start off with a win. Strangely enough, Miroslav Klose didn't score, but perhaps Lazio are pinning all their hopes on Hernanes these days.
The Rudi Garcia era got off to a good start although, like with Mazzarri's Inter, it took awhile for Roma to put forth any real pressure in the final third. But with newly promoted Livorno content to play for a point at home, it seemed inevitable that the giallorossi would break through. Roma grabbed the win with two goals inside three minutes, the first a Francesco Totti to Daniele De Rossi masterpiece, the second from Alessandro Florenzi, who will be looked upon to shine this season.
Napoli eased to a comfortable 3-0 victory over the rossoblu, with the visitors looking more like a Serie B side than legitimate competition. With Edinson Cavani now in Paris, Marek Hamšík stole the spotlight, creating the first goal and scoring the second and third. The partenopei are intent upon challenging for the title, but the jury's still out on whether Rafa Benítez can guide them there -- we'll have to see them play a legitimate Serie A side first.
This game happened. If we tried to tell you something specific that occurred, both writer and reader would be fast asleep.
Sassuolo proved they can hang with the big boys ... or, Torino at least. The granata may have found the points, thanks to goals from Matteo Brighi and Alessio Cerci, but the visitors refused to be completely intimidated. We'll see how they fare next week against fellow newcomers Livorno.
Monday, August 26
Fiorentina 2-1 Catania
The goals may have come from Giuseppe Rossi and David Pizarro, but it was Juan Cuadrado that guided the viola to victory. Pablo Barrientos managed an equalizer shortly after Rossi opened the scoring, but after Fiorentina responded quickly with their second goal, the elefanti just couldn't find enough to take a point out of Florence.