Serie A

Winners and Losers from Serie A Week 1

Dan ColasimoneContributor ISeptember 1, 2014

Winners and Losers from Serie A Week 1

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    Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

    Serie A got underway over the weekend and there were a number of telling results, as well as a handful of draws.

    Five teams picked up maximum points, including last season's top two, Juventus and Roma, while others will be disappointed that they were unable to do so and find themselves already playing catch up.

    As always, there was drama and a dose of controversy. 

    Here are the winners and losers from Week 1 of the Italian league season.

Winner: Filippo Inzaghi

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    Luca Bruno/Associated Press

    It's too early for Milan fans to get overly excited, but after the first weekend of the Serie A season, they can at least be optimistic that new manager Filippo Inzaghi could be the right man at the right time for the club as it attempts to claw its way back to its former glory.

    The most notable aspect of the Rossoneri's impressive 3-1 win over Lazio was the commitment the players and manager showed to the cause.

    If "Pippo" can restore a winning mentality to the side, it may not be long before they are competing for silverware once more.

    After the match, Inzaghi expressed his sentiments on his first experience as a Serie A coach to Sky Sport Italia, as reported by Harry West of Goal.com:

    These 50 days of training helped us to form a great group.

    I had said we could lose against more talented opponents, but not because they wanted it more than we did.

    It was a perfect game for the first hour, then we suffered a little, but that was only normal in the circumstances.

    The president [Silvio Berlusconi] was happy with the performance.

Winners: Roma

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    Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

    In perhaps the biggest clash of the weekend in Italy, Roma saw off Fiorentina with a convincing 2-0 win.

    Barring a brief period in the second half, the Giallorossi dominated the match in impressive fashion, hanging on to possession well and creating a number of chances throughout.

    The midfield trio of Daniele De Rossi, Radja Nainggolan and Miralem Pjanic took control of the centre of the pitch, which took the pressure off the defence and created a platform for Roma's attack.

    Nainggolan put the team from the capital ahead in the first half, before Gervinho doubled the lead in the closing stages to get the team's title challenge off to a flying start.

Loser: Josh Brillante

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    Alessandra Tarantino/Associated Press

    After a highly positive pre-season, versatile Australian youngster Josh Brillante's Serie A career got off to a rough start when he was replaced just 35 minutes into his debut against Roma.

    Like the rest of La Viola midfield, the 21-year-old was hustled and harried by the pumped-up Giallorossi to the extent where he did not look comfortable retaining possession.

    And it was Brillante's weak pass that was seized upon by Radja Nainggolan and ended up leading to Roma's opening goal.

    The embarrassed Aussie was hauled off a few minutes later by Montella, who was desperate to change the momentum of the game.

    The coach justified his decision to start Brillante to Sky Sport Italia, as reported by The World Game:

    I chose him because he's done a great deal, while [Alberto] Aquilani really struggled in training this week, which was unusual.

    It was a tough decision, I never expected him to play 90 minutes, but he was an extra weapon in the armoury.

    The defensive midfielder/right-back will surely get another chance to impress, but he will never forget his introduction to the unforgiving world of Italian football.

Winner: Kingsley Coman

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    Felice Calabro'/Associated Press

    French starlet Kingsley Coman's performance was one of the brightest points for Juventus in their hard-fought 1-0 opening round win over Chievo Verona.

    The 18-year-old showed a confidence that belied his age to consistently trouble Chievo's defence with his vibrant attacking play.

    He had the self-belief to attempt a number of shots on goal, and Juve fans will be delighted at the way the former Paris Saint-Germain player combined with Carlos Tevez in the front third.

    Coman will definitely be one to watch this season.

Winner: Antonio Di Natale

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    Dino Panato/Getty Images

    Evergreen Udinese striker Antonio Di Natale began the 2014-15 campaign in his usual manner: scoring goals.

    The 36-year-old latched on to a Luis Muriel through ball to open the scoring against Empoli in the 57th minute, before capitalising on a misplaced backpass five minutes later to earn himself a brace, and his side a 2-0 win.

    Now in his 11th Serie A campaign for Udinese, Di Natale's double takes him to 177 league goals for the club.

Winner: Rafael

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    Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

    Jonathan de Guzman came up with the last-minute heroics to give Napoli a dramatic 2-1 victory over Genoa at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris on Sunday, but the southern Italian side would not have been in a position to win the match had it not been for a superb display from goalkeeper Rafael.

    The Brazilian shot-stopper, who has replaced Pepe Reina as Napoli's starting No. 1, pulled off a number of brilliant saves, including a pair of athletic efforts to deny Mauricio Pinilla in the first half and keep Genoa at bay.

    Reina may not be as big a loss for Napoli as first thought.

Loser: Nemanja Vidic

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    Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

    Former Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic was sent off on his Serie A debut to cap what was a sloppy Inter Milan display overall.

    The Milan giants drew 0-0 at Torino, which was only possible thanks to goalkeeper Samir Handanovic's penalty save in the first half, after Vidic had conceded the spot-kick.

    The big Serb was shown red in the 92nd minute for ironically applauding the referee.

    Inter coach Walter Mazzarri defended his star signing to Sky Sport Italia (via Tom Coleman of Goal.com), citing cultural differences between English and Italian football:

    As for the Vidic red card, the referee lost the plot. Vidic is used to playing in England, where if a fair foul is given, they applaud the referee and say 'you got it right'.

    Here [referee Daniele] Doveri misunderstood the intention and thought it was malicious.

    It's absurd.

    Regardless of Mazzarri's excuses, Vidic will have to ensure he adapts his behaviour to suit Italian football, as he has already become a key component of this Inter side, and they can ill afford to lose him.

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