Ronaldo ends goal drought, but Costa sees red
ROME - A Cristiano Ronaldo double fired Juventus to a 2-1 win over Sassuolo, but Douglas Costa stole all the headlines, as a spit caught on TV saw him sent off late into injury time. Massimiliano Allegri, Juventus manager, indicated his disappointment with the Brazilian in his post-match press conference, stating that “these things should not take place”, and promising that Costa would be punished for his actions.
Left-back Patrice Evra also took to Instagram to voice his opinion, making his frustration very clear by reminding his team-mate that “the symbol of Juve is a zebra, not a llama.” The entire incident tarnished an otherwise competent display from Juventus, as Ronaldo ended his Serie A goal drought and joined a list of only a small number of players to have scored in four different European leagues, after spells with Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United and Real Madrid. He should have completed his hat-trick on a number of occasions too, uncharacteristically missing a series of simple chances, including one from inside the 6-yard box. A late goal by Khouma Babacar for Sassuolo threatened to ruin Juventus˙ perfect start to the season, but they held on to make it four wins in the same number of games, putting them three points clear at the top of the table.
Lorenzo Insigne˙s strike made sure Napoli kept in touch with the league leaders with a close 1-0 victory over Fiorentina. This could prove an important victory for Carlo Ancelotti˙s team as the season progresses, with the possibility of both teams being involved in a fight for the title, or failing that, a place in the Champions League for next season. Joining this fight could well be Sampdoria, who proved their attacking capabilities as they thrashed Frosinone 5-0.
Striker Fabio Quagliarella starred with a goal and an assist in an all-round performance that saw four different Sampdoria players on the scoresheet. This comprehensive victory has drawn Sampdoria level on points with Fiorentina, setting up an intriguing match between the sides on Wednesday, a rescheduled fixture that was due to take place earlier in the season.
A 1-0 win over struggling Empoli allowed Lazio to overtake their local rivals, after Roma inexplicably threw away a 2-0 half-time lead against Serie A˙s bottom-placed team Chievo. Goals from El Shaarawy and Cristante put Roma in a comfortable position after 30 minutes, before Chievo hit back after half-time, an 83rd minute strike from Mariusz Stepinski earning them a valuable point. A second draw for Roma sees them lying in 9th place after four games with only one win - far from an ideal start for a team that will be expected to match their 3rd place finish from last season, as well as show competitiveness in the upcoming Champions League group stage.
Both Milan teams continued their poor start to the season this weekend, as Inter were beaten 1-0 by Parma at the San Siro, while AC Milan recovered from conceding after four minutes to earn a 1-1 draw at Cagliari thanks to Gonzalo Higuain˙s second-half strike. Accompanying both sides towards the bottom end of the table is Atalanta, who play SPAL tonight, knowing that a win could propel them up to fourth. For SPAL, the game is a chance to join Napoli on 9 points, and continue their impressive start to the season.