Serie A wrap: Juve extend unbeaten run to 42 games against Genoa
Juventus will face Chelsea in buoyant mood after extending their unbeaten Serie A run to 42 games, writes Kieran Beckles
Juve show heart to continue unbeaten run
For 61 minutes in Genova, Juventus looked to be heading towards their first defeat in 42 games. Former Old Lady forward Ciro Immobile scored a super opener for Genoa in the 18th minute to give a weakened Juve side – Arturo Vidal, Mirko Vucinic, Kwadwo Asamoah and Stephan Lichtsteiner were all benched with a mid-week trip to Stamford Bridge looming – their biggest test since winning the Serie A title last season. However, Antonio Conte’s side showed great character to come from behind, with Emmanuele Giaaccherini curling an effort past Sebastian Frey to level. Not content with salvaging a point, Vucinic netted from the penalty spot after Asamoah had been fouled, before the Ghana striker completed a 3-1 win and ensured Juve’s unbeaten record remained intact.
Bologna leave Roma reeling
Roma were left reeling after surrendering a commanding 2-0 lead at the Stadio Olimpico against mid-table Bologna. Roma’s talismanic captain Francesco Totti was in divine form in the first half, creating the home side’s opening goal. The former Italy international controlled a long ball, before unleashing a right-footed attempt which beat Federico Agliardi but crashed against the crossbar – Alessandro Florenzi was on hand to head the rebound into the vacated net. In the 16th minute, Argentina youngster Eric Lamela doubled Roma’s advantage with a superbly-taken effort from the edge of Bologna’s area. However, perhaps unsurprisingly, Zdenek Zeman’s side refused to play conservative football, and it triggered a Bologna comeback. It could have been all so different had Totti’s 54th-minute header snuck into the net instead of being kept out by the combined work of Agliardi and the woodwork. Gilardinho netted the visitors’ first in 71st minute. Less than 60 seconds later, former West Ham United midfielder Alessandro Diamanti equalised after escaping past Roma’s defence. The Rome outfit’s collapse was completed in stoppage time, when Nicolas Burdisso collided with goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg to allow Gilardinho to wrap up three points.
Juve and Milan prepare for Champions League challenge
With the advent of the new Champions League campaign, Juventus look to be the most likely Italian candidates to win Europe’s premier club competition. It has been suggested Conte’s side’s domestic success last term was due to their absence from Europe, with Juve’s relatively modest squad benefiting from midweek rests while their counterparts pitted their wits against their continental rivals. With Andrea Pirlo enjoying a second wind, the experience of Gianluigi Buffon in goal, and Claudio Marchisio providing plenty of dynamism in midfield, the Serie A champions will be a test for any side. But in the latter stages, Conte’s men will struggle against the strength of Barcelona and Real Madrid, while England’s top sides should also be too good – the acid test will be against Chelsea on Wednesday. Conte’s side should reach the last 16 with their other group opponents Nordsjælland and Shakhtar Donetsk. Meanwhile, nine-time champions AC Milan are a side currently undergoing regeneration, with veterans Alessandro Nesta, Gennaro Gattuso, Mark van Bommel and Clarence Seedorf all departing over the summer to leave the San Siro outfit bereft of experience. Massomiliano Allegri’s side will face Anderlecht, Zenit St Petersberg and Malaga in the Champions League group stage, and it could prove a tough test for Milan, who have now lost their two opening home games following Saturday’s 1-0 defeat by neighbours Atalanta.
Goal of the week: Inter’s Milito versus Torino
This edition’s goal of the week comes from Internazionale’s Diego Milito. The Argentina striker struck a first-time effort from outside the area to give the Nerazzurri a 13th-minute lead against Torino on Sunday night – the San Siro outfit went on to win 2-0.