Tue, Sep 22, 2015 - Page 19 News List

Inter remain perfect, as Juventus notch first win

AP, ROME

Juventus players Paul Pogba, left, and Giorgio Chiellini, center, compete during their Serie A soccer match against Genoa at Luigi Ferraris Stadium in Genoa, Italy, on Sunday.

Photo: EPA

Inter remained the only perfect team in Serie A with a 1-0 win at AC Chievo Verona on Sunday, bolstering the status of Roberto Mancini’s squad as possible title contenders.

Also, four-time defending champions Juventus beat 10-man Genoa 2-0 for their first victory, with Paul Pogba involved in both goals.

AS 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 US 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 off-season 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 are two points ahead of Torino, who got two goals from former Italy international Fabio Quagliarella in a 2-0 win over UC Sampdoria.

Fiorentina are 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 SSC Napoli routed visiting SS Lazio 5-0 for their first win of the season.

Last weekend, Inter beat AC Milan 1-0 in the Milan derby and including last season, Inter have 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 to 2008 and rejoined the club in November last year. “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 appear to be regaining their 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 champions 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.

However, replays 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.

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