Filippo Inzaghi got his tenure as AC Milan coach off to the best possible start with a scintillating 3-1 victory over SS Lazio at the San Siro on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Nemanja Vidic was sent-off on his debut for Inter in their 0-0 draw at Torino.
New Rossoneri signing Fernando Torres was in the stands alongside president Silvio Berlusconi, to watch goals from Keisuke Honda, Sulley Muntari and a Jeremy Menez penalty give Inzaghi’s men three well-earned points.
Initially, Milan looked nervous in defense, with Lazio keen to exploit centerback Daniele Bonera, who had lined up in the leftback position, but it was not long before any trepidation was extinguished, as Milan opened the scoring after just seven minutes.
Stephan El Shaarawy latched on to a hopeful long ball on the left, rode the challenge of Stefan de Vrij, before sliding the ball to the in-rushing Honda on the right, who put it through the legs of Etrit Berisha.
In an opening period with little in the way of goalmouth action, Lazio’s only meaningful chance came midway through the half as Miroslav Klose got in behind the Milan defense down the right, but his cross deflected off Cristian Zapata, only to be easily gathered by goalkeeper Diego Lopez.
Ten minutes after the restart, Milan doubled their advantage against the run of play.
A simple cross from Ignazio Abate on the right, bounced in the 6m area, inviting the unmarked Muntari to poke it home.
Then, just after the hour mark, De Vrij brought down Menez in the area with the slightest of touches and the Frenchman stepped up to take the resulting spot-kick and fired low into the goalkeeper’s right-hand corner.
However, Lazio immediately pulled one back as Filip Djordjevic’s near-post flick was deflected in at his near left-hand post by Alex.
Lazio’s perseverance earned a penalty in time added on after Antonio Candreva was fouled, but Lopez got down low to his right and palmed the midfielder’s spot-kick away.
Meanwhile, Vidic was having a nightmare in Turin.
He gave away a penalty midway through the first half after pulling down Omar El Kaddouri, but Samir Handanovic saved Marcelo Larrondo’s resulting spot-kick.
Nevertheless, Vidic’s debut disaster was compounded as he received a 90th minute red card.
Rafael Benitez’s SSC Napoli left it late to earn a 2-1 win against Genoa, as they looked to bounce back from their midweek Champions League exit at the hands of Athletic Bilbao.
US Sassuolo’s Simone Zaza scored a Marco van Basten-esque volley against Cagliari as the two sides played out an exciting 1-1 draw. Marco Sau netted for the Sardinians.
Elsewhere, an Antonio Di Natale double helped Udinese to a 2-0 win over Empoli, US Citta di Palermo drew 1-1 with 10-man UC Sampdoria, while newly promoted AC Cesena overcame Parma 1-0.
In Bergamo, Atalanta BC were held to a 0-0 draw by Hellas Verona in what was an utterly dull affair.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
KEY GOAL: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is now free to focus on taking her fourth doubles title of the year with Barbora Strycova; they are due to face Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei on Monday returned to the court for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the WTA Tour, falling to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens, who made a solid transition from the hard courts in New York to the clay at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. “I’m not sure how well I adapted, to be honest,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also [Hsieh’s] first match of the week, so that was a bit of an
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7