MILAN: AS Roma striker Edin Dzeko scored with a memorable volleyed goal following a mazy run by debutant Justin Kluivert to give his side a 1-0 win at Torino in their opening Serie A game on Sunday.
Roma’s win meant the top three from last year’s campaign all won their opening round of matches. Champions Juventus, with new superstar signing Cristiano Ronaldo making his debut, won 3-2 at Chievo on Saturday with runners-up Napoli coming back to win 2-1 at Lazio.
But new-look Inter Milan, who are harbouring title ambitions and boasted four new signings in their line-up plus Croatia World Cup finalist Marcelo Brozovic, got off on the wrong foot with a shock 1-0 defeat at modest Sassuolo after Domenico Berardi slotted in a 27th-minute penalty.
Parma, back in the top flight only three years after being declared bankrupt and demoted to the fourth tier, squandered a two-goal lead on their return in a 2-2 draw at home to Udinese.
Empoli returned to the top flight with a 2-0 win at home against Cagliari as SPAL won 1-0 at 10-man Bologna, who were playing their first game under former AC Milan coach Filippo Inzaghi.
The opening round of matches involving both Genoa teams were postponed because of the bridge collapse in the port city. Sampdoria had been due to host Fiorentina and Genoa to travel to Milan.
Dzeko’s remarkable goal in the 89th minute was reminiscent of Marco Van Basten’s famous effort for the Netherlands in the Euro 1988 final and rewarded Roma for their persistence after they had hit the woodwork three times.
The battling hosts also struck the post and had a goal disallowed.
The game appeared to be heading for a draw until substitute Kluivert, the son of former Barcelona and Netherlands forward Patrick Kluivert, collected the ball in midfield, slipped past two Torino defenders and forced his way to the byline.
The 19-year-old crossed deep into the area where Dzeko met the ball with the inside of his left foot and sent a deft volley into the far corner of the net from a seemingly impossible angle.
“It was a really lovely cross and I scored an even lovelier goal,” Dzeko said. “Let’s say it’s among the top three goals in my career.”
Berardi’s penalty, after new signing Federico Di Francesco was tripped, gave Sassuolo their win over a disappointing Inter, who once again struggled on a visit to the Mapei stadium.
Inter laid siege to the Sassuolo goal in the second half but Andrea Consigli pulled off a number of fine stops and the hosts hung on for their seventh win in 11 matches against Inter.
“This has complicated everything,” said Inter coach Luciano Spalletti. “Sassuolo did well on the counter-attack, they
were compact without giving anything. We lost the game because of a penalty and Sassuolo didn’t create many chances.”
Published in Dawn, August 21st, 2018