Matchday 9 of Serie A kicked off with two Saturday showdowns to prelude Sunday's larger slate.
While the weekend will conclude with eight more matches, two bouts have already altered the league's table. Inter Milan surpassed Hellas Veronas in the standings with a convincing win in their head-to-head matchup. The Nerazzurri moved up to fourth, for the time being, with their fifth win of the season.
Sampdoria also climbed a few spots with a somewhat surprising victory over Atalanta, who are in danger of watching their stock plummet if some of the six teams within three points of them can notch victories to close out Matchday 9.
Here's an updated look at the standings after Saturday's action:
|Rank||Club||Points||Week 10 Opponent|
|1||AS Roma||27||Udinese (1-0 W)|
|2||Napoli||22||Torino (2-0 W)|
|3||Juventus||22||Genoa (2-0 W)|
|4||Inter Milan||18||Verona (4-2 W)|
|5||Fiorentina||18||Chievo (2-1 W)|
|6||Verona||16||Inter Milan (4-2 L)|
|7||Parma||12||AC Milan (3-2 W)|
|8||Atalanta||12||Sampdoria (1-0 L)|
|10||AC Milan||11||Parma (3-2 L)|
|12||Udinese||10||AS Roma (1-0 L)|
|13||Torino||10||Napoli (2-0 L)|
|14||Sampdoria||9||Atalanta (1-0 W)|
|15||Livorno||8||Bologna (1-0 L|
|16||Genoa||8||Juventus (2-0 L)|
|17||Catania||6||Sassuolo (0-0 D)|
|18||Bologna||6||Livorno (1-0 W)|
|19||Sassuolo||6||Catania (0-0 D)|
|20||Chievo||4||Fiorentina (2-1 L)|
Inter Milan 4, Hellas Verona 2
Inter Milan snatched a crucial win over Hellas Verona to guide them into the top four.
After failing to scratch out a win in their last three contests, Internazionale entered Saturday desperate to knock off the resurgent Hellas Verona, coached by longtime Inter fan Andrea Mandorlini. At least knowing his old favorite squad provided some consolation for Mandorlini after his club unraveled in Milan.
Hellas Verona dug themselves an early deficit with an own goal from Vangelis Moras. Rodrigo Palacio then proved that his club doesn't need their opponents help by enhancing the lead to 2-0 just minutes later.
While Raphael Martinho kept the early scoring going by putting Verona on the board in the 32nd minute, they had little time to entertain the notion of a comeback. Inter waited six minutes before Esteban Cambiasso replenished the lead back to two goals.
The match saw Inter Milan continue to dust off their struggles in set pieces. The team's official Twitter feed noted the squad's improvement:
After struggling to score goals from set pieces #intermilan now have 3 in the last 2 games— Inter Milan (@intermilan) October 26, 2013
Verona fell short of raised expectations, but Inter should also be credited for displaying an explosive offensive attack that controlled the match. They dictated the bout's tempo with a 57 percent time of possession rate, as per ESPN FC.
Sampdoria 1, Atalanta 0
Sampdoria did not enter the game as the better squad among these two clubs, and one could argue that they lucked out by narrowly defeating Atalanta.
Atalanta controlled possession for 57 percent of the bout, as per ESPN FC, yet they allowed Sampdoria to salvage their second victory of the season.
Despite Atalanta's possession edge, they failed to threaten Samp with zero shots on goal. That lack of firepower put them in a sour situation after Shkodran Mustafi finally broke the tie during the 56th minute. After initially handing Atalanta midfielder Luca Cigarini a red card for unintentionally guiding the ball to the net with his arm, the official decided to instead award Sampdoria with the score.
To make matters worse, Constantin Nica received a red card after fouling Citadin Eder during the 63rd minute, forcing Atalanta to engage an unsuccessfully rally with 10 men.
Sampdoria rose to 14th place after claiming their first home victory of the season, while Atalanta's grasp of seventh will likely weaken after Sunday.