Roma move to the top of Serie A; Juve down Atalanta
Roma beat Fiorentina 2-1 Sunday to move two points clear of its Tuscan opponent at the top of Serie A.
Former Fiorentina player Mohamed Salah and Gervinho scored in the first half before Khouma Babacar netted a consolation for Fiorentina with almost the last kick of the match.
Salah was sent off two minutes from time after being shown a second yellow card for protesting after his initial booking.
"Now we are top, but there is a long way to go and it’s not this which makes us favorites," Roma coach Rudi Garcia said. "We haven’t always done well but to be top with 20 points after nine rounds means that we have done a bit well."
Napoli won 1-0 at Chievo Verona to move into second spot, above Fiorentina, Inter Milan and Lazio on goal difference. Lazio beat Torino 3-0.
Earlier, Juventus beat Atalanta 2-0, while AC Milan edged Sassuolo 2-1 as Rossoneri goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma became the youngest shotstopper to start a Serie A match at age 16 years, 8 months.
Substitute Luiz Adriano headed in a corner four minutes from time to snatch the win, after Domenico Berardi canceled out Carlos Bacca’s penalty. Sassuolo played with 10 men for an hour after goalkeeper Andrea Consigli was sent off.
Udinese won 1-0 against Frosinone and Sampdoria beat Hellas Verona 4-1 in the lunchtime kickoff.
Salah’s move from Fiorentina to Roma has been a hot topic of debate and FIFA opened a breach of contract investigation last month, which could result in the player being sanctioned.
Fiorentina challenged Chelsea’s right to let the Egypt winger join Roma on a season-long loan in August. Salah scored nine goals in all competitions over the second half of last season on loan at Fiorentina, which claims it had an agreement to extend his stay.
Salah was unsurprisingly loudly jeered by the Fiorentina fans but he responded by giving Roma the lead in the sixth minute.
The Egypt winger played a one-two with Miralem Pjanic before curling a delightful strike into the far side of the net from near the right corner of the penalty area for his fifth goal of the campaign.
It was the first goal Fiorentina had conceded at home in Serie A this season.
"I spoke to Salah before the match, I saw that he was very calm and tonight the only black mark on his match is the sending off, which I think is very severe," Garcia said. "If that gesture deserved a red then there would be so many dismissals."
Roma doubled its lead in the 34th with a rapid counterattack launched by Alessandro Florenzi from inside the penalty area. Gervinho latched onto the ball and sprinted forward from inside his own half, finding himself one-on-one with Ciprian Tatarusanu and coolly slotting past the Fiorentina goalkeeper.
Babacar, who had missed a great opportunity moments earlier, grabbed one back for Fiorentina deep in stoppage time, curling in Borja Valero’s pass.
Napoli was full of confidence after a run of five wins in all competitions, including last week’s victory over Fiorentina.
Gonzalo Higuain hit both posts before eventually scoring his first away goal in eight months, with a delightful first time effort into the top corner from Faouzi Ghoulam’s cross.
In Rome, Lazio broke the deadlock five minutes from halftime when Miroslav Klose nodded down Dusan Basta’s cross for Senad Lulic to volley into the ground and over Torino goalkeeper Daniele Padelli.
Felipe Anderson secured the win with a second-half double.
Juventus was desperate for a win as it was 15th in Serie A, surprisingly five points below Atalanta.
It took the lead in the 28th as Paulo Dybala sent a powerful effort under the bar from outside the area for his second goal in his past three league matches.
The Argentina forward also had a hand in Juve’s second, latching onto Paul Pogba’s backheeled flick and crossing from the left side of the area for Mario Mandzukic to slot home from close range for his first Serie A goal.
Any hope Atalanta had of getting something from the match evaporated when defender Rafael Toloi was sent off for a second booking, leaving the visitors with 10 men for the final 16 minutes.
It was almost worse for Atalanta but Sportiello saved Pogba’s penalty in the 79th after Dybala was brought down by Gabriel Paletta.