Serie A returned to action this weekend, and the new-look feel to the league duly entertained all those who follow it. Here are some of the best moments from matchday one.
Juve show glimpses of Sarriball
New Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri may have been absent on the touchline due to pneumonia on Saturday, but his team certainly showed glimpses of his unique brand of football during the first half of their match versus Parma.
The Bianconeri had benefited from his fresh approach as they looked to move the ball quickly and in a forwards direction as often as possible, and would’ve been 2-0 to the good if it hadn’t been for the most marginal of offside calls as Cristiano Ronaldo found the back of the net.
In the end, it was business as usual for the side who have been league winners for the past eight consecutive campaigns as they registered a 1-0 win and – although they faded in the second half – their showing in the opening 45 minutes should’ve given their supporters enough cause for optimism.
Fiorentina impress under new owners in 4-3 Napoli thriller
It was always going to be a tough season opener for Fiorentina as they faced Napoli, in what was their first encounter under US-based owner Rocco Commisso. Yet the Viola proved they were up to the task on Saturday night, only narrowly beaten by Carlo Ancelotti’s title contenders in a scintillating 4-3 curtain-raiser at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
There was controversy as referee Davide Massa failed to check the VAR system after replays showed Dries Mertens took a dramatic dive in the penalty area, the resulting spot-kick being allowed to go ahead regardless.
However, nothing could dampen the spirits of the home supporters in the Curva Fiesole who created a wall of noise throughout the encounter, revelling in finally having an owner who is willing to financially back the team at a level which matches their passion.
Romelu Lukaku scores on Inter debut
New Inter boss Antonio Conte had to wait until Monday evening to make his return to Serie A, but triumphed nonetheless with a thumping 4-0 victory over newly-promoted Lecce. The former Chelsea boss had made no secret of his long-term admiration for striker Romelu Lukaku, and the Belgian duly rewarded him with a debut strike at San Siro.
“Let’s not forget Lukaku cost €65m to be paid over five years, so when people talk about big money spent, it wasn’t even that much,” the straight-talking boss revealed to Sky Italia after the match. “Tonight, Lukaku showed why we tried so hard to sign him.”
While Lecce certainly weren’t the toughest of opponents that Inter could’ve faced, the statement of intent regarding their status as title contenders could not have been clearer and stood in stark contrast to their early results last term. Under previous boss Luciano Spalletti, the Nerazzurri were left making excuses as to why they had lost to Sassuolo and let a 2-0 home lead to Torino slip to an eventual 2-2 draw.
Conte, on the other hand, has not been brought in to justify defeat. The manner in which his side won Monday’s match tells you everything you need to know about their intentions for the rest of the Serie A campaign.
Mihajlovic Makes Heroic Appearance
Currently undergoing treatment for leukaemia, Bologna boss Sinisa Mihajlovic was supposed to be instructing his side from a distance, using technology to communicate with his assistant and players.
Yet the Coach surprised supporters by appearing on the bench for his team’s 1-1 draw away to Hellas Verona, drawing appreciation from all sectors for his bravery during such difficult personal circumstances.
AC Milan and AS Roma suffer poor starts
Both Milan and Roma had new men on the bench as the new season began, however Rossoneri boss Marco Giampaolo oversaw a dismal performance as his side lost 1-0 away to Udinese, while Paulo Fonseca has defensive issues to iron out after a disappointing 3-3 draw at home to Genoa.
The latter man will have to work quickly, as his team face Lazio in the Rome derby on Sunday and their capital rivals pulled off a 3-0 rout over Sampdoria in matchday one.