Napoli Lose Unbeaten Record, Higuain Gets Brace For Juventus

October 03, 2016 - 15:40
Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain fired a brace to give Juventus a comfortable 3-0 victory over Empoli. — Photo
Viet Nam News


MILANNapoli suffered their first defeat of the season on Sunday when they lost 1-0 at lowly Atalanta while Serie A leaders Juventus surged on with a 3-0 win at Empoli, helped by a Gonzalo Higuain brace.

Giovanni Simeone, son of Atletico Madrid coach and former Argentina captain Diego, scored for the second game running to give Genoa a 1-0 win at Bologna in a game of three red cards.

AC Milan, trailing 3-1 to Sassuolo with half an hour left, hit back to win 4-3 at the San Siro, helped by a stunning goal from 18-year-old substitute Manuel Locatelli.

Inter Milan, beaten by Sparta Prague in the Europa League on Thursday, lost again, going down 2-1 at AS Roma where Kostas Manolas headed the winner in the 76th minute, four minutes after Ever Bannega had pulled the visitors level.

Edin Dzeko had given Roma a fifth-minute lead.

Juve’s win took the defending champions on to 18 points from seven games, four clear of Napoli with Milan, Roma, Lazio and Chievo a further point behind.

Free-scoring Napoli had been in better form than Juventus recently but never recovered after Andrea Petagna struck in the ninth minute.

The visitors, strangely ineffective in attack, could find no way back as they went down to their first defeat in their ninth competitive match of the season.

Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri said it was exactly the sort of game his team needed to learn to win.

"Matches against physical teams and on difficult pitches are our limit," Sarri told reporters.

"If we are going to improve, then it has to be in this sort of game, where we have to do well and bring home the points even in these conditions."

Juventus took more than an hour to break down their stubborn opponents, then scored three times in six minutes to claim their sixth win in seven league games.

Dybala made the breakthrough in the 65th minute and his fellow Argentine Higuain added two more, the second after an awful mistake by Empoli defender Marco Zambelli, to take his league tally to six.

Simeone nearly scored a sensational first-half goal at Bologna as he raced from inside his own half only to see his shot hit the foot of the post.

The 21-year-old, who scored his first Serie A goal the previous week against Pescara, was not to be denied however and got in front of his marker to turn in Diego Laxalt’s cross in the 77th minute.

Bologna captain Daniele Gastaldello was sent off two minutes before halftime, Genoa’s Santiago Gentiletti was dismissed for a second bookable offence in the 85th minute and Bologna finished with nine men when Blerim Dzemaili was ordered off for a clumsy foul.

Francesco Acerbi and Lorenzo Pellegrini scored early in the second half to put Sassuolo 3-1 up at Milan before Carlos Bacca began the fightback with a penalty in the 69th minute.

Locatelli equalised four minutes later, collecting a clearance and hammering the ball into the roof of the net from the edge of the penalty area, before Gabriel Paletta headed Milan’s winner with 13 minutes left.

There was a dramatic finish at Sampdoria where Bruno Fernandes volleyed home five minutes into stoppage time to give the hosts a 1-1 draw with Palermo.

Basement club Crotone remained the only team without a win following a 2-1 defeat at Cagliari while Torino beat Fiorentina 2-1. REUTERS