Skip to content

Italy: Roma still perfect, Napoli stumbles, Juve fights back at Chievo (Video)

Sep 25, 2013, 9:22 PM EDT

UC Sampdoria v AS Roma - Serie A Getty Images

Europe came into its midweek matches with four perfect teams across its top five domestic competitions. On Tuesday, Spain’s pair of perfectionists emerged unscathed, with Barcelona posting a 4-1 win over scuffling Real Sociedad while Atlético Madrid moved to 6-0-0 with 2-1 win over Osasuna.

On Wednesday, it was time to test Italy’s perfect duo, Napoli and Roma, who each entered the mid-week round not only perfect in four matches but also having cleared significant weekend hurdles.  Compared with this weekend’s trip to Milan, a visit from newly-promoted Sassuolo should have been a breeze for the Neopolitans, considering Inter had just run out 7-0 winners at Sassuolo this weekend. Roma has just downed rival Lazio but were in greater danger of losing their perfect start, with a Sampdoria playing at the Luigi Ferraris theoretically more capable of derailing the Giallorossi.

[MORE: Wrapping up last weekend’s action in Serie A.] 

But for the second game in a row, Roma responded to a scoreless second half with a 2-0 win, particularly interesting considering Rudi Garcia made five chances the team to that won this weekend’s Rome Derby. Like that team, today’s was better throughout, finally breaking through via a piece of Mehdi Benatia brilliance in the 65th minute (that’s a defender doing that, below). Arsenal refugee Gervinho doubled his team’s lead two minutes from time, keeping Roma at the top of the league.

Highlights:

The 5-0-0 record is the best start in Roma’s history; or, put more precisely, the longest into a new season they’ve maintained a perfect start. That they’ve done so while operating under a new coach after selling one of their best attackers (Erik Lamela) and best defender (Marquinhos) explains while most are surprised. Having yet to face another of Serie A’s emerging top five, there are still questions, but with 15 points from five games, Garcia and Roma are certainly building  a margin for error.

“I’m really happy with the five consecutive wins, but I’m more interested in making history at the end of the season,” Garcia told the assembled media after the match.

“It’s too early to start assessing things, but I’m happy for the team.”

That happiness was not replicated in Naples, however, as Napoli suffered their first stumble of the season, drawing a game many saw as their easiest to date. And when Blerim Dzemaili cleaned up a poor, 15th minute clearance to give the partenopei and early lead, the result did seem a foregone conclusion.

That all changed five minutes later, with Pepe Reina allowing a shot form a sharp angle from Simone Zaza to go high an under the cross-bar for an unlikely equalizer (insert credit to Zaza here, because it was a surprisingly great shot). The Spanish international would make up it in the second half, but the fact he was needed only spoke to the extent to which Napoli were off their game. The 1-1 result was a reflection of a patient, dangerous performance from Sassuolo as well as Napoli’s inability to forge a winner.

Highlights:

It was only a draw — in the big picture, not a huge deal — but it’s a result that leaves Napoli two points behind Roma. And now, only three teams in Europe’s big five remains perfect in their league campaigns.

JUVENTUS FIGHT BACK TO CLAIM FULL POINTS AT CHIEVO

When Chievo went up 1-0 in the 27th minute through Cyril Théréau, you knew what was going to happen. We’ve seen this performance before. Whether through skill or brute force, execution or fortune, Juventus was going to come back. And by the 65th minute, they had. Juve went on to beat the Flying Donkeys, 2-1.

But today’s performance, as controlling as it was after Juventus ceded the lead, still required more fortune than they would have liked. The 48th minute equalizer from Fabio Quagliarella wasn’t part of that, though, as Juve practically brute-forced the goal past Christian Puggioni. Besides, Quadliarella and Andrea Pirlo nearly had that equalizer just before halftime, going tantalizingly close on a sequence that ended when Pirlo went over the crossbar.

The winner, however, came via an Alessandro Bernardini own goal, a score that doubled-down on Chievo frustrations after their own go-ahead tally had been waved off. Earlier in the second half, the Donkeys, seemingly taking advantage of another disappointing performance from Gianluigi Buffon, had buried a ball spilt in front of goal only to see the assistant referee’s flag lifted overhead.

Still, as they have when they’ve converted other sub-par performances into results, Juventus deserve credit. As we see with Napoli’s result, it’s not uncommon for a good team to struggle and drop points against inferior competition. But Juventus avoided that fate today. By whatever means necessary, skill or fortune, they got three, not one. As a result, they’ll pulled even with Napoli on 13 points, just behind Roma.

Highlights:

ELSEWHERE IN SERIE A

  • Bologna 3-3 AC Milan: The Rossoneri again are left to fight back late, with 26-year-old Ignazio Abate’s first goal for Milan (149 appearances) giving Max Allegri’s team a stoppage time equalizer.
  • Lazio 3-1 Catania: The Aquile bounce back from derby disappointment through Ederson and Senad Lucic before Hernanes added late insurance against the 10-man Elephants.
  • Livorno 1-1 Calgliari: Andrea Luci and Victor Ibarbo trade goals as Livorno get their eighth point of the season (2-1-2).
  • Torino 2-2 Hellas Verona: Alessio Cerci’s up to three goals in two games for Torino after today’s brace, but Jorginho Frello’s second half penalty conversion allows Verona to escape with a point.
  • Parma 4-3 Atalanta: Thanks in part to a first half double from Marco Parolo, Parma went into half up 4-2 but came out of intermission made to hold on. Amauri’s straight red in the 52nd minute allowed Atalanta to control the rest of the game, but only a 79th minute goal from Marko Livaja saw the visitors make any progress.
  • Udinese 1-0 Genoa (Tuesday): Antonio Di Natale’s late restart went off Emanuele Calaio and into his own net, the own goal deciding an otherwise mundane affair 11 minutes about time.
  • Inter Milan – Fiorentina (Thursday):  Coming off their 7-0 win, Inter gets their second match of the young season against one of the league’s big five. Thankfully for them, both this and Sept. 14’s meeting with Inter take/took place at the San Siro.
Latest Posts
  1. WATCH: President Obama calls & congratulates USWNT, invites team to White House

    Jul 7, 2015, 7:52 PM EDT

    Obama USWNT

    All this on the heels of the USWNT announced as the first female team to received a ticker tape parade down New York City’s Canyon of Heroes.

  2. Galaxy’s Gerrard meets the media: “Very impressed with the standard” of MLS

    Jul 7, 2015, 7:01 PM EDT

    CARSON, CA - JULY 7: New Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Steven Gerrard #8 poses with his jersey after a news conference on July 7, 2015 at StubHub Center in Carson, California. The former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is scheduled to play his first MLS match on Friday, July 17 at StubHub Center against San Jose Earthquakes. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) Getty Images

    You get the feeling it’s impossible not to be motivated when Steven Gerrard is your teammate. Now toss in Robbie Keane.

  3. USWNT to become first females in 55 years to get ticker tape parade down NYC’s Canyon of Heroes

    Jul 7, 2015, 6:20 PM EDT

    USA v Germany: Semi Final - FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 USA v Germany: Semi Final - FIFA Women's World Cup 2015

    The last female to receive a ticker tape parade down that route was 1960 Olympic figure skating gold medalist Carol Heiss Jenkins.

  4. Three reasons Canada could surprise Group B (and beyond) at Gold Cup

    Jul 7, 2015, 4:58 PM EDT

    TORONTO, ON- JUNE 16  -   Tesho Akindele battles for a ball with Chad Bertrand as Team Canada plays Dominica in the second leg of World Cup qualifying   at BMO Field in Toronto.  June 16, 2015.        (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images) Getty Images

    Their “no-name” defense hasn’t allowed a goal in four matches, and Canada could surprise you this month.

  5. United States midfielder Lauren Holiday announces plans to retire with Women’s World Cup title in hand

    Jul 7, 2015, 4:50 PM EDT

    VANCOUVER, BC - JULY 05:   Lauren Holiday #12 of the United States celebrates as she scores her first goal in the first half against Japan  in the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 Final at BC Place Stadium on July 5, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada.  (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Lauren Holiday, 27, scored the eventual game-winning goal in the 2015 Women’s World Cup final.

  6. Lampard talks club, challenge, Gerrard: “For me this is as much of a challenge as Chelsea was, as Man City was” (video)

    Jul 7, 2015, 4:09 PM EDT

    Source: New York City FC Source: New York City FC

    “For me this is as much of a challenge as Chelsea was, as Man City was,” Lampard said. “I play football to win.”

  7. 2015 Gold Cup predictions: Can the USMNT win back-to-back titles? Here’s our picks…

    Jul 7, 2015, 3:45 PM EDT

    Championship - 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup Getty Images

    PST’s staff predict how the Gold Cup will play out as the USA, Mexico and Costa Rica clash to become CONCACAF champs.

  8. 2015 Gold Cup: USMNT player profiles – Forwards

    Jul 7, 2015, 3:05 PM EDT

    England v USA: Group C - 2010 FIFA World Cup Getty Images

    Altidore and Dempsey will lead the attack. But who else is in reserve?

  9. Where does Andrea Pirlo joining New York City FC rank in history of MLS mega-deals?

    Jul 7, 2015, 2:35 PM EDT

    Is he in the top five of superstars to join North America’s top-flight since the DP rule was introduced?

  10. 2015 Gold Cup: USMNT player profiles – Midfielders

    Jul 7, 2015, 1:59 PM EDT

    Mix Diskerud, USMNT Mix Diskerud, USMNT

    Will Yedlin start on the right? Have Bradley and Mix got the center locked down?

  11. Reflecting on Michael Bradley from 1-99, as he hits 100 USMNT caps vs. Honduras

    Jul 7, 2015, 1:10 PM EDT

    Michael Bradley, USMNT Getty Images

    A man who’ll go down as one of the USMNT’s all-time greats hits 100 caps tonight. A few thoughts on Il Generale.

  12. Gold Cup Today: USMNT face Honduras, Panama vs. Haiti kick things off – Day 1

    Jul 7, 2015, 12:15 PM EDT

    Honduras v United States Getty Images

    Day 1 of the 2015 Gold Cup is here, as the U.S. starts its title defense with a showdown in Texas.

  13. 2015 Gold Cup: USMNT player profiles – Defenders

    Jul 7, 2015, 11:20 AM EDT

    Ghana v USA: Group G - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Getty Images

    The center back pairing is the big conundrum heading into the Gold Cup. Here’s a look at the eight defenders.

  14. 2015 Gold Cup: USMNT player profiles – Goalkeepers

    Jul 7, 2015, 10:29 AM EDT

    United States Training Session Getty Images

    Who will be the starter for Klinsmann in July?

  15. Transfer Rumor Roundup: Darmian to Manchester United, Clasie to Southampton

    Jul 7, 2015, 9:30 AM EDT

    Malta v Italy - EURO 2016 Qualifier Getty Images

    As PL teams continue to return to preseason, more moves are taking shape. Here’s the latest gossip.

  16. Micronesia concede 114 times in three games, hammered 46-0 by Vanuatu

    Jul 7, 2015, 8:35 AM EDT

    Source: @vanuafoot Source: @vanuafoot

    Three heavy defeats in four days at the Pacific Games for Micronesia, as Vanuatu’s Jean Kaltack scored 16 times in one game. One game.

  17. Chelsea and Tottenham to battle for Wembley Stadium as temporary home

    Jul 7, 2015, 8:01 AM EDT

    Aerial Views Of The London 2012 Olympic Venues Getty Images

    Blues eyeing up England’s national stadium for three seasons, but so are Spurs.

  18. Manchester City signs Turkish teen sensation Enes Unal

    Jul 6, 2015, 11:10 PM EDT

    Chikhura Sachkhere Vs Bursaspor Getty Images

    The youngest ever player to score in Turkey’s Super Lig will now try to find the back of the net at the Etihad.

  19. 2015 Gold Cup: With the rest of CONCACAF making strides, this is USMNT’s chance to show they are, too

    Jul 6, 2015, 10:14 PM EDT

    Jurgen Klinsmann, USMNT Getty Images

    While the rest of CONCACAF closes the gap on the USA and Mexico, it’s time for the USMNT to show they’re still improving, too.

  20. New York City mayor could give USWNT ticker tape parade in Manhattan

    Jul 6, 2015, 9:56 PM EDT

    United States AP

    Are Abby Wambach and Carli Lloyd the next athletes to be seen parading down the Canyon of Heroes?

Featured video

PST Extra: Done deals & transfer gossip