Inter remains perfect, Juventus gets 1st win in Serie A
ROME (AP) Inter Milan remained the only perfect team in Serie A with a 1-0 win at Chievo Verona on Sunday, bolstering the status of Roberto Mancini’s squad as a possible title contender.
Also, four-time defending champion Juventus beat 10-man Genoa 2-0 for its first victory with Paul Pogba involved in both goals.
Roma’s 38-year-old captain Francesco Totti scored his 300th goal for Roma but the Giallorossi were held to a 2-2 draw at home by Sassuolo.
In Verona, Inter’s Mauro Icardi scored his first goal of the season shortly before halftime, slotting in from the edge of the area after taking a pass from prized offseason signing Geoffrey Kondogbia.
Last season, Icardi and Hellas Verona’s Luca Toni finished level as the league’s top scorers with 22 goals apiece.
Icardi could have had a chance to double the lead in the 81st but Ivan Perisic, another new signing, chose not to cross and had his shot blocked.
”I’m very satisfied with the performance,” Mancini said. ”The merit for the improvement this year goes to the entire squad. The more we work together the better we become. And of course the new players are helping a lot.”
Through four rounds, Inter is two points ahead of Torino, which got two goals from former Italy international Fabio Quagliarella in a 2-0 win over Sampdoria.
Fiorentina is third, three points behind, after beating Carpi 1-0 with a first-half goal from Khouma Babacar.
Roma and Sassuolo are next, four points back.
Also, Gonzalo Higuain scored twice and Allan, Lorenzo Insigne and Manolo Gabbiadini added goals as Napoli routed visiting Lazio 5-0 for its first win of the season.
Last weekend, Inter beat AC Milan 1-0 in the Milan derby and including last season, Inter has won five consecutive Serie A matches for the first time since November 2012.
Inter’s last title came in 2010 under Jose Mourinho.
”It’s important to be atop the table at the end of the season, not now,” said Mancini, who guided Inter to three straight titles from 2006-08 and rejoined the club last November. ”Of course it’s great to be up there but we can’t think about it.”
In Genoa, Juventus went ahead with an own goal from Genoa goalkeeper Eugenio Lamanna in the 37th.
Following a cross from Roberto Pereyra, Pogba’s volley bounced off the crossbar, down on to Lamanna’s thigh and in.
Genoa defender Armando Izzo was shown a second yellow before halftime and Pogba converted a penalty for Juve on the hour mark after Giorgio Chiellini was fouled.
Juventus had gained only one point from its opening three matches but Massimiliano Allegri’s squad appears to be regaining its form, having won 2-1 at Manchester City midweek in the Champions League.
The only negative note was an apparent muscular injury to forward Alvaro Morata, who exited in the first half.
In Rome, the Giallorossi had a slow start four days after holding European champion Barcelona to a 1-1 draw, as Gregoire Defrel slotted a low shot inside the post for Sassuolo midway through the first half.
Totti equalized after a failed clearance in the 36th then blew kisses toward the crowd to celebrate the milestone goal, his 244th in Serie A – moving him within 30 of Silvio Piola’s all-time record.
Replays, however, showed that Totti was offside.
Totti’s two kids celebrated in the stands with T-shirts that read, ”Thanks dad” in Italian, with the No. 300 on the back.
The celebration was short-lived, as Matteo Politano restored Sassuolo’s lead in the 45th with a low, angled shot – the first career goal in Serie A for the forward on loan from Roma.
Egypt international Mohamed Salah equalized for Roma in the 49th with a splendid volley following a corner then nearly won it for Roma in the 83rd but his effort was deflected with a spectacular save by goalkeeper Andrea Consigli.
Elsewhere, Bologna beat Frosinone 1-0 with a first-half goal from French forward Anthony Mounier in a matchup of two promoted clubs.
New York lawyer Joe Tacopina attended the match to bid fans goodbye, having announced earlier that he was resigning as Bologna president after just 11 months in charge due to a rift with Canadian investor Joey Saputo.
Also, Eros Pisano scored an injury-time equalizer as 10-man Hellas Verona drew 1-1 at Atalanta. Toni exited with an apparent left knee injury in the first half.
Andrew Dampf can be followed at www.twitter.com/asdampf