Serie A Results: AC Milan Stunned, Juve & Napoli Start with Wins
The 2013-14 Serie A season started Saturday, and it started with a shock.
Promoted Hellas Verona knocked off AC Milan thanks to a double strike from a former Capocannonieri winner. One more match was scheduled for later Saturday, with a packed fixture list set for Sunday and the opening weekend's final match on Monday.
Keep reading for results and analysis from Serie A's opening weekend.
Stats via WhoScored.com.
Hellas Verona 2-1 AC Milan
Newly promoted Hellas Verona stunned AC Milan, winning 2-0 on Saturday at the Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi. Veteran striker Luca Toni scored both goals as Verona overturned an early deficit and doomed Milan to a second consecutive opening-day defeat.
Toni, 36, scored either side of half-time in his first league appearance with Verona after signing a one-year contract in July. The 2005-06 Capocannoniere winner headed in the equaliser in the 30th minute from a corner and scored the winner—another header—following a counterattack in the 53rd.
Andrea Polo had opened the scoring for Milan in the 15th minute, converting after good hold-up play by Mario Balotelli.
Late in the match, Balotelli tested Verona keeper Rafael with a curling shot, but the hosts held on for a famous opening-day victory.
The Rossoneri also lost on opening day last season, falling 1-0 at home to Sampdoria. Milan have not won on the opening day of a Serie A season since 2010, when they defeated Lecce 4-0 at the San Siro.
Shots: Verona 14-15 Milan
Passing: Verona 78%-85% Milan
Possession: Verona 39%-61% Milan
Sampdoria 0-1 Juventus
Champions Juventus began the quest for their third straight Scudetto with a soggy 1-0 victory at Sampdoria on Saturday. Carlos Tevez, making his first league start since signing for the Bianconeri in June, scored the winner in the 58th minute.
Poor conditions affected the first half in Genoa as both teams struggled to carve out clear chances in a tightly contested first half. Juventus finally broke down the hosts with a superb move early in the first half. Arturo Vidal played the ball to Paul Pogba on the left, and Pogba squared for Tevez, who converted from close range.
Sampdoria nearly equalised soon afterwards, but Andrea Costa's effort was ruled out for offside following a free kick. The hosts continued to threaten on the counter throughout the match but could not find the net.
In stoppage time, Sampdoria's Paolo Castellini was sent off following a late challenge on Stephan Lichtsteiner.
Shots: Sampdoria 4-12 Juventus
Passing: Sampdoria 74%-87% Juventus
Possession: Sampdoria 31%-69% Juventus
Inter Milan 2-0 Genoa
Walter Mazzarri's first victory as Inter Milan manager was a less than comfortable one, with the home side needing more than 70 minutes to break down a resilient Genoa side on Sunday.
Full-back Yuko Nagatomo broke the deadlock for Inter, before Rodrigo Palacio—a former Genoa player himself—notched in injury time to confirm the three points.
Inter dominated the statistics, but Mazzarri will nevertheless have a lot to reflect on. A switch to a 3-5-1-1 formation saw the Nerazzurri devour possession, but Palacio—the final '1' in that arrangement—found himself ploughing a lone furrow for much of the contest.
The first half saw neither side create many clear-cut openings, but the second saw a bit more invention, especially after Mauro Icardi was introduced shortly after the break. Icardi produced the game's first shot on target, something that would have seen Palacio break the deadlock soon after had he repeated the feat—but he instead dragged his effort wide.
It thus fell to Nagatomo to get the opening goal, the Japanese in the right place to turn in after Jonathan's cross had deflected off Luca Antonelli.
Searching for that all-important second goal Icardi then hit the bar, while Andrea Ranocchia was denied by a finger-tip save. But Inter were firmly in the ascendancy, and clinched the three points in injury time as Palacio clipped over the stranded goalkeeper.
Napoli 3-0 Bologna
Rafa Benitez enjoyed a near-ideal start to life as Napoli manager, as he saw his new-look side deliver an emphatic 3-0 victory against Bologna in Naples.
An opener from Jose Maria Callejon and two subsequent strikes from Marek Hamsik completed the win for the home side, who set down an early marker in their bid to contend for the Serie A title this season.
Napoli only edged the possession (56% to 44%) but had double the number of shots of their opponents. Callejon opened the scoring just after 30 minutes, the Spaniard turning home after Hamsik had seen his initial shot saved.
Hamsik then turned scorer just before half-time, slipping in his effort from the near post after an assist from Juan Zuniga.
His second goal came in the second half, a perfectly-placed effort after taking the ball from Goran Pandev.
The game saw debuts for Gonzalo Higuain, Raul Albiol and Pepe Reina, while Dries Mertens was brought on from the bench.
Livorno 0-2 Roma
Roma got their season off to a fine start with a 2-0 away win at Livorno on Sunday, with both goals coming in a three-minute span in a game that saw Spurs target Erik Lamela remain on the bench.
A complete absence from the squad would perhaps have been a clearer indication of Lamela's likely future, but the fact the Argentine remained an unused substitute throughout—even with the game still 0-0 beyond the hour mark—offers the suspicion that his future may lie elsewhere.
On the day (and not for the first time) it was Daniele De Rossi who did much of the damage for Roma, breaking the deadlock on 65 minutes.
Two minutes later Alessandro Florenzi sealed the points with a left-footed effort.
Lazio 2-1 Udinese
Two goals in the opening 16 minutes were enough for Lazio to defeat Udinese on Sunday in Rome, but they had to survive a nervy final phase of the contest after Luis Muriel pulled one back for the visitors.
In the end Antonio Candreva's penalty, three minutes after Hernanes' had opening the scoring, got the 2-1 win and all three points for Lazio, who dominated proceedings for much of the contest.
Hernanes opened the scoring after 13 minutes with a fine left-footed effort from an acute angle out on the left of the box, before Ivan Kelava conceded a penalty after a rash foul on Miroslav Klose. Klose deferred to Candreva for the spot-kick, and the Italian international made no mistake as he sent the goalkeeper the wrong way.
It took until the second half for Udinese to really get into the match; Muriel slipping the ball home on the hour mark after an incisive throughball from Andrea Lazzari released him in the box.
But that was as good as it was to get for the visitors, as Lazio retained control to take the three points.
Cagliari 2-1 Atalanta
Guglielmo Stendardo gave the visitors the lead after 27 minutes, but Radja Nainggolan equalised just a minute later—and Matias Cabrera grabbed a winner for the home side in the second half.
Torino 2-0 Sassuolo
Matteo Brighi and Alessio Cerci both found net for the hosts, as Sassuolo were condemned to defeat.
Parma 0-0 Chievo
The two teams combined for 30 shots at goal in this one, but the goalkeepers remained unbeaten as both sides were forced to settle for a share of the points.
Fiorentina host Catania on Monday in the opening weekend's final match.
Kickoff is set for 19:45 BST.