Google+ PLANET FOOT 7: Calcio: No surprises... Roma, AC and Inter Milan wins!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Calcio: No surprises... Roma, AC and Inter Milan wins!

Substitute Adem Ljajic scored on his debut to help Roma to a 3-0 victory over newly-promoted Hellas Verona in Serie A on Sunday.

Verona had started the season well with a victory over AC Milan on the opening day, but was overturned by an impressive second-half performance from Roma.

Roma took the lead in the 56th minute when Verona defender Fabrizio Cacciatore deflected Maicon's cross past his own goalkeeper.

There was no doubt about the goalscorer of Roma's second goal three minutes later as Miralem Pjanic spotted Rafael off his line and placed a delightful 25-meter chip into the top left for an early contender for goal of the season.

Ljajic, who had come on 14 minutes earlier, sealed the result in the 66th with a low drive into the bottom left corner.

AC Milan claimed their first victory of the Serie A season with a 3-1 triumph over Cagliari at San Siro.

Massimiliano Allegri's men made amends for last weekend's shock loss thanks to goals from Robinho, Philippe Mexes and the impressive Mario Balotelli to complete a much-improved week for Milan that saw them reach the Champions League group stages. 

Marco Sau ensured Cagliari supporters had something to cheer when he scored a wonderful solo effort just before the break before Balotelli sealed the win for Milan.

The result was the 10th time Cagliari have lost at San Siro to Milan and it highlights how much work they will have to do if they want to retain their Serie A status this season.

Milan boss Allegri made three changes to the team that triumphed 3-0 over Dutch side PSV midweek, with Urby Emanuelson, Robinho and Andrea Poli all coming into the side.

New signing Alessandro Matri - formerly of Juventus - failed to make the starting line-up but was named as a substitute.

In Inter Milan match, who began at a frantic pace, with both sides creating chances early on as Rodrigo Palacio volleyed a difficult chance wide from Jonathan's cross and at the other end, Gonzalo Bergessio shot weakly at Samir Handanovič after a counter and Sebastián Leto broke free in the box only to scuff his shot at the Slovenian in the Inter goal.

At the other end again, the impressive Jonathan saw his angled drive wriggle beyond Mariano Andújar only for Nicola Legrottaglie to clear off the line.

Following this, the match calmed somewhat and Inter began to settle into a passing rhythm which was rewarded with a goal on 20 minutes. The always energetic Jonathan managed to beat Fabián Monzón down to the right-hand byeline and his low cross evaded Andújar for Rodrigo Palacio to tap in from barely a yard out.

Although Inter had the lead, Catania were positive and looked dangerous on the break however they weren't really able to create any clear-cut chances, the only effort before half time being Panagiotis Tachtsidis's long-range effort which squirmed just wide of Handanovic's post.

After the break, Catania again acquitted themselves well and were probably the better side in the opening moments, but again they lacked an edge and were unable to really create much in the way of chances. Inter on the other hand, looked effective on the counter and Yuto Nagatomo forced a wonderful save out of Andújar, his back-post diving header tipped away by the sprawling Argentine goalkeeper.

A similar setup saw Inter go 2-0 up just six minutes later. Some good build-up play saw Palacio receive the ball wide on the right and whip in a wonderful cross that Nagatomo again met at the back post with a diving header and this time Andújar could do nothing about it, a cruel blow after Catania's positive start to the second half.

The Elefanti did finally make Handanovič work, substitute Alexis Rolín forcing two saves in quick succession out of the Slovenian custodian following a brief spell of Catania pressure.

Ishak Belfodil was introduced for his Serie A debut for Inter and he had the ball in the net with 15 minutes remaining from Palacio's cross however he was clearly offside and the goal was correctly ruled out.

It was left for Ricky Álvarez, looking like a new player under Mazzarri, to settle the match with 10 minutes to play. He received the ball on the left touchline near the half-way line and promptly skipped beyond both Sergio Almirón and Rolín, before guiding a neat left-footed finish in off the far post for an impressive solo goal.

It seemed the third goal finally deflated the Elefanti and Inter closed out the result with relative ease, continuing the encouraging start to the Mazzarri era.

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