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Serie A, round 9: Juventus lose, Roma win and it's a tie at the top

A last minute goal from Genoa hands Juve their first loss, while Roma had no trouble beating Cesena. Sampdoria, too, suffered their first loss, to Inter.

Marco Luzzani

It's meant to be a slow week in Europe, thanks to the lack of Champions League action. England uses this break to persist with a secondary cup competition almost no one cares about, while Germany finds solace in watching big teams beat up on little ones in the DFB-Pokal.

But down in Italy, Serie A has some catching up to do, what with their insistence on not starting the season until the leaves have turned. Fortunately for those who'd planned to nick a few hours more sleep this week, there's nothing so interesting going on as to convince you to remain conscious. But for those in need of a distraction from work or a boring family life, there are a few decent games that should keep your attention:

Sassuolo v. Empoli

The week kicks off with a meeting of two sides certainly not destined to impress. In fact, most figured Empoli would head right back down to Serie B, followed by Sassuolo, who barely survived last season. But these two squads are scrappy. Plucky, even. Maybe even a little sassy. Empoli love to eek out a draw, but it's the neroverdi that have the advantage here -- after holding Juve to a draw two weeks ago, they beat Parma 3-1 at the weekend. Meanwhile the azzurri lost 4-0. Ok, maybe not so plucky.

Prediction: Sassuolo 7-0 Empoli. Math! 
Watch: Sky Go Italia; ESPN UK; RAI International, beIN Sports Connect (USA and Canada)

Inter vs. Sampdoria

Ok, you try to choose which of these Wednesday matches you'd want to see. At least Sampdoria's visit to the San Siro has the potential to create chaos. Inter manager Walter Mazzarri has been warned he better start winning or he's out, but a 1-0 win over newly promoted Cesena -- a Cesena with just ten men, mind -- doesn't exactly give confidence. Now they've got to face Samp, who are unbeaten this season and have allowed a mere four goals. 
Oh, and Sampdoria's owner is still busy trying to backpedal from his racist remarks regarding Inter's owner, so there's that nice little narrative as well.

Prediction: Inter 0-0 Sampdoria. See, fun!
Watch: Premium Calcio, Sky Go Italia; beIN Sports Connect (USA and Canada)

Verona vs. Lazio

Some might call this the match in which a club is most likely to get fined for racist remarks or actions. Or perhaps that's when Verona visit Atalanta. Anyway, the football. Verona's just come off a 6-2 loss to Napoli, in which their opponents got very, very angry about them scoring within the first thirty seconds of the match. Considering Lazio have 15 goals already, second only to Juventus, and enjoy allowing plenty of different players a chance at putting one in, this one could get rather fun.

Prediction: Verona 1-4 Lazio
Watch: Premium Calcio, Sky Go Italia; BT Sport 1 (UK); beIn Sports, beIN Sports en Español (USA); beIN Sports Connect (USA and Canada)

Schedule and Results

all matches at 8:45 p.m. local, 3:45 p.m. ET

Tuesday

Sassuolo 3-1 Empoli

Wednesday

Atalanta 1-1 Napoli

Cagliari 1-1 AC Milan

Fiorentina 3-0 Udinese

Genoa 1-0 Juventus

Inter Milan 1-0 Sampdoria

Palermo 1-0 Chievo Verona

AS Roma 2-0 Cesena

Torino 1-0 Parma

Thursday

Hellas Verona 1-1 Lazio