Serie A 2016/17 – Week 3 Roundup: Debut to forget for Hart at Torino as rain impacts on weekend’s action
Domestic football returned after the season’s first international break, and, despite the weather influencing things, there was plenty of action to keep up to date with across the peninsula.
A sublime free kick from Iago Falque had put Il Toro ahead, leaving Hart’s opposite number Marco Sportiello rooted to the spot. Within minutes of taking the lead, however, the Englishman, completely unchallenged, flapped at a corner and left Andrea Masiello with the simple task of tapping into an open goal.
As the game entered it’s final 10 minutes, Alejandro Gomez was brought down and La Dea were awarded a penalty. After a quick debate between Alberto Paloschi and Franck Kessie to decide who would assume the responsibility of dispatching the spot-kick, it was the 19-year-old who stepped up to send Hart the wrong way and clinch Gian Piero Gasperini’s first win of the season.
The Argentine fired the Bianconeri into a two-goal lead with two well-taken first-half strikes. Higuain opened the scoring with a low driven effort across Andrea Consigli’s goal before an athletic volley flew beyond the Neroverdi shot-stopper to double the champions’ lead.
Pjanic then made it three before the half-hour mark as he followed up on his header that bounced back off the crossbar and tapped into an empty net. Luca Antei pulled one back for the visitors shortly after but it was not to be enough as Massimiliano Allegri’s side continued to look strong in their attempts to claim a sixth successive Scudetto.
Despite a quiet first half in Sicily, Napoli thumped Palermo 3-0 to maintain their pressure on La Vecchia Signora. Marek Hamsik arrived late in the box to give the Partenopei the lead with the assistance of the crossbar before Jose Callejon scored twice in 15-minutes to seal the points with plenty of time to spare.
A topsy-turvy affair at the Stadio Olimpico eventually saw Roma keep within touching distance of Juventus as they claimed a 3-2 win over Sampdoria in far from ideal conditions. Mohamed Salah did put the Giallorossi in front, however, Luis Muriel and Fabio Quagliarella turned the game on its head and sent the Blucerchiati in 2-1 ahead for what was to be an extended half-time interval.
As the rain continued to pour in the Eternal City one pitch inspection was followed by another before the teams did eventually re-emerge for the second half 80 minutes after leaving for the end of the first. Edin Dzeko showed good composure to round Emiliano Viviano before levelling proceedings, which prompted a spell of utter dominance for the hosts who, somehow, could not add to their tally until the game’s final kick.
As the clock ticked beyond the awarded added time, Francesco Totti was presented with the opportunity to seal a deserved win from the penalty spot. In typical fashion, the near 40-year-old converted with composure, with the final whistle blowing as the curva belted out the name of their adored captain.
Roma’s cross-city rivals Lazio stuttered in Verona after going behind to Chievo. Alessandro Gamberini put the Flying Donkeys in front, but Stefan De Vrij popped up with an equaliser just three minutes later to spare the Biancocelesti’s blushes.
AC Milan fell to a rather surprising defeat against Udinese at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza. Summer signing Gianluca Lapadula was introduced late on with the score locked at 0-0, but this proved ineffective as the Zebrette left the San Siro with all three points.
Away from the San Siro, Inter were fortunate to overcome a stubborn Pescara side at the Stadio Adriatico. Mauro Icardi was on hand to drag the Biscione from a goal behind to clinch a late winner as he scored his own and his side’s second and third goals of the season in a 2-1 win. The Delfini had stood strong at the back and threatened on the counterattack, even after taking the lead through substitute Jean-Christophe Bahebeck.
In Sunday’s early game and the first 12:30 kickoff of the season, Bologna saw off the threat of newly-promoted Cagliari at the Stadio Renato Dell’Ara. Simone Verdi broke the deadlock before Federico Di Francesco – son of Sassuolo coach Eusebio – doubled the Rossoblu’s advantage. Bruno Alves did manage to pull one back with an excellent free-kick, but the hosts held on to their 2-1 victory.
In Monday night’s meeting, there were three goals shared between Empoli and Crotone, as the Tuscan outfit ran out as 2-1 winners. Giuseppe Bellusci’s opening goal for the hosts was cancelled out by Mario Sampirisi before the break, with Andrea Costa settling the game early on in the second half.