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Serie A: Juve win on Ronaldo’s goal-less debut; Napoli chasing again

Italy Soccer Serie A

Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo runs with the ball during the Serie A soccer match between Chievo Verona and Juventus, at the Bentegodi Stadium in Verona, Italy, Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)


A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in Italy’s top flight, which will almost certainly be the most entertaining league and title race throughout the rest of Europe.

Pro tip: If you’ve not been following Serie A the last few years — during an admittedly drab period — last season signaled the renaissance of calcio, and the likes of Juventus, Napoli, Roma and Inter Milan look set to build upon that over the next nine months.

Chievo 2-3 Juventus

Cristiano Ronaldo failed to scored, but his Juventus debut wasn’t without plenty of intrigue and drama. In the end, Massimiliano Allegri’s men snatched a stoppage-time victory away to Chievo on Saturday.

Juve went ahead through Sami Khedira’s opening goal in the 3rd minute, but fell behind just before the hour mark after Mariusz Stepinski and Emanuele Giaccherini tallied either side of halftime. Chievo center back Mattia Bani scored a dubious own goal in the 75th minute to draw the seven-time defending scudetto winners level.

Ronaldo appeared to have helped set up a would-be game-winning goal just before the start of stoppage time, but he was ruled to have played the ball with his hand and the goal was taken off the board. Barely three minutes later, Federico Bernardeschi bagged the real winner to start Juve’s quest for an eighth straight Serie A title in winning fashion.

On Ronaldo’s hard luck in front of goal, Juve boss Allegri said, with a smile, after the game: “Cristiano Ronaldo had a good game. He had several shots on goal. Today he didn’t score because clearly it was written somewhere that he wouldn’t score.”

Lazio 1-2 Napoli

Napoli pushed Juve all the way to the final weeks of last season before the Bianoneri were able to wrap up the title, and it’s going to take another mammoth effort to do the same again this season. That quest began with a win on Saturday, as Carlo Ancelotti’s side (replacing Maurizio Sarri, who left for Chelsea in the summer) came back from an early deficit to knock off Lazio in Rome.

Ciro Immobile opened the scoring in the 25th minute, but Lazio couldn’t even make the lead last until halftime. Arkadiusz Milik poked Jose Callejon’s cross home from close range during first-half stoppage time. Napoli withstood increased pressure from Lazio after halftime, but held firm defensively and found the winner through Lorenzo Insigne just before the hour mark. Lazio dealt with the initial, early ball into the box, but only as far as Insigne who was lurking near the corner of the penalty area. When it fell to him, he needed just one touch to settle the ball and set his body for the far-post curler he was about to uncork. The 27-year-old was Napoli’s breakout star with 18 league goals last season, and he’s already picked up where he left off in 2018-19.

Sunday’s Serie A schedule

Torino vs. Roma — 12 p.m. ET
Sassuolo vs. Inter Milan — 2:30 p.m. ET
Parma vs. Udinese — 2:30 p.m. ET
Bologna vs. SPAL — 2:30 p.m. ET
Empoli vs. Cagliari — 2:30 p.m. ET

Follow @AndyEdMLS