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Milan pair match Juve with 3-0 victories

Milan pair match Juve with 3-0 victories

MILAN: Inter captain Mauro Icardi hit a brace and Ivorian Franck Kessie opened his AC Milan account as the northern giants matched Juventus’ winning start to the Serie A season with respective 3-0 victories on Sunday.

Left in the shade by Juve for the past six seasons, both Inter and Milan are hoping to turn the tables and challenge for the scudetto on their way to claiming one of four Champions League places.

And neither of the San Siro giants disappointed on their way to going joint top of the table with Juve, Napoli, Chievo, Sampdoria and AS Roma also sitting on three points following opening day victories.

Inter’s new coach Luciano Spalletti saw his team quickly take control against a shell-shocked Fiorentina.

Icardi was bundled over by Davide Astori and converted the penalty himself in the sixth minute, then beat two Fiorentina defenders to Ivan Perisic’s cross to head the second goal on the quarter hour.

Fiorentina’s new striker Giovanni Simeone gave Inter’s defence some difficult moments and had a penalty appeal turned down after the referee consulted the VAR.

But the hosts completed their win with 11 minutes left when Perisic met Joao Mario’s cross with a diving header after more sloppy marking from Fiorentina.

Milan spent 190 million euros ($223.40 million) on new signings in the close season in an attempt to end several seasons of midtable mediocrity but it was youth academy graduate Patrick Cutrone who made the difference.

Crotone got off to the worst possible start. After only four minutes, Federico Ceccherini brought down Cutrone and, after consulting with the VAR, the referee sent off the defender and awarded the visitors a penalty, which Kessie converted for his first goal for his new club.

The inspired Cutrone, 19, who turned professional with Milan last season, headed the second goal in the 18th minute and set up the third for Suso to drive in from 12 metres five minutes later.

Roma’s new era without Francesco Totti got off to a winning start with a 1-0 victory at Atalanta.

This is the first season in 25 years that Roma, who finished only four points behind Juve last term, have been without Totti, who retired at the end of the last campaign, and it was also the capital club’s first match under new coach Eusebio Di Francesco.

Aleksandar Kolarov, who was signed from Manchester City in July, scored a half-hour into his debut, sending a cheeky free kick under the wall and into the bottom right corner.

Valter Birsa scored with a spectacular dipping shot from 25 metres as Chievo won 2-1 at Udinese and Sampdoria beat Serie A debutants Benevento 2-1 with two goals from former Juventus, Napoli and Italy forward Fabio Quagliarella.

SPAL, another of the promoted teams, managed to hold out for a goalless draw at Lazio, who were fourth last season.

Published in Dawn, August 22nd, 2017

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