Giampaolo Pazzini made his mark following a contentious move from Internazionale to AC Milan this summer with a fortuitous hat-trick against Bologna at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara. While lacking the silky touch of Manchester United’s three-goal hero Robin van Persie, Pazzini’s hat-trick had all the hallmarks of a clinical, six-yard goal scorer. In the 15th minute, Nicolò Cherubin was punished for minimal contact on the Italy international, with the 28-year-old emphatically sweeping his spot-kick effort past Federico Agliardi. Bologna, who lost Uruguay star Gastón Ramírez to Southampton on deadline day, levelled before half-time when former West Ham United midfielder Alessandro Diamanti netted a penalty. With 15 minutes remaining, Pazzini was on hand to capitalise on Agliardi’s fumble and finish from close range, before the former Atalanta striker showed great awareness to instinctively flick out a foot and deflect Antonio Nocerino’s effort into the Bologna net. It sealed Milan’s first Serie A victory of the new campaign, and even drew praise from Inter owner Massimo Morratti, who admitted he was “happy” to see Pazzini “play with a smile on his face”.
While Pablo Osvaldo stole the limelight with another world-class finish, it was Francesco Totti who inspired a new-look Roma to their first victory of the season against Inter at the San Siro. The Roma captain, 35, is still managing to consistently to put in match-winning displays for the Giallorossi as his role constantly evolves – take note Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard. It was the first time he had made two assists in the same game since February 2011, but with Zdeněk Zeman adopting a high intensity, all-out attack approach, Totti could thrive. His cross was perfectly-timed to meet Alessandro Florenzi, with the midfielder glancing his header into the corner and out of the reach of Luca Castellazzi. Inter did grow into the match and in first-half stoppage time, Antonio Cassano’s deflected effort crept into the Roma net. But Zeman’s rigorous pre-season training regimes appeared to pay dividends as the home side became increasingly ragged, with Roma’s punishing high tempo refusing to relent. It provided Totti with the chance to thread a delicious pass through to Osvaldo in the 67th minute. The Spaniard, who netted a spectacular overhead kick last week, deftly chipped the onrushing Castellazzi. It was a classy finish, although he would later be dismissed, but Roma’s victory was sealed by Maquinho’s strike from the acutest of angles.
Last week, former Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez revealed he turned down the opportunity to take charge at Sampdoria due to the club’s inability to contend for the top trophies. But the newly-promoted side have made a superb start to their return to the top flight with two successive victories – they currently reside in fifth place after a points deduction following the summer’s match-fixing investigations. Former Barcelona striker Maxi López opened the scoring for Samp in the first half with a smart turn and finish. The visitors levelled when Simone Vergassola was on hand to turn the ball into the net after Emanuele Calaiò’s penalty was saved by Sergio Romero. However, Ciro Ferrara’s youthful side would not be denied, with Daniele Gastaldello heading home Sampdoria’s winner in the 68th minute. For the newly-promoted side, containing exciting talents such as Andrea Poli and Pedro Obiang, it backed up an impressive 1-0 victory over Milan last week.
For the second week running, Osvaldo thrilled Roma fans with a beautiful finish, which on this occasion, sealed three points. While the Spaniard’s overhead goal last week was simply outrageous, the 26-year-old’s strike against Inter involved shrewd awareness and sublime skill. In addition, Totti’s accuracy and vision to outwit three defenders and pick out his team-mate makes Osvaldo’s goal a worthy winner this week. The Roma captain said after the win, “For that assist he [Osvaldo] will have to buy me dinner”.
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