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Serie A Weekly: AC Milan, Inter & Napoli run riot, Orsolini steals headlines

Except for Juventus, ever Serie A heavy hitter enjoyed a successful weekend as the latest round produced several memorable individual moments. 

AC Milan and Inter Milan remain alone at the summit, while Roma thrived in the face of adversity. 

Here’s everything that happened on Gameweek 7. 

Napoli remind Serie A who are the champions 

Four players were on the scoresheet as Napoli humbled Lecce 4-0 at Stadio Via del Mare on Saturday afternoon, regaining a foothold in the early Scudetto pace.

Leo Ostigard opened his Partenopei account with a towering header to give Rudi Garcia’s side a one-goal cushion at half-time, setting the tone for another scintillating win for the reigning holders.

Amid speculation over a rift between him and the club, Victor Osimhen came off the bench to make 2-0 six minutes into the second half, heading home Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s lofted cross. 

Second-half substitutes Gianluca Gaetano and Matteo Politano capped off Napoli’s superb performance in Puglia, netting in quick succession beyond the 88th minute to extend the Partenopei’s unbeaten run to five.

It was a perfect result to set Napoli up for their mouth-watering Champions League clash against Real Madrid on Tuesday.

Summer signings propel Milan to morale-boosting derby win

Milan’s steady recovery from a 5-1 mauling at the hands of Inter in mid-September continued with a 2-0 home win over fierce rivals Lazio last Saturday. 

Stefano Pioli’s side had won back-to-back league games in the build-up to this high-profile contest at the San Siro, but they still had a point to prove. 

Rafael Leao responded to recent criticism over his lackadaisical attitude with a match-winning performance.

The quicksilver winger turned the jets on twice in the second half to register a brace of crucial assists for free-scoring Christian Pulisic and Noah Okafor. 

Fresh off winning three straight Serie A games, Milan will take on Borussia Dortmund in high spirits on Wednesday.

Lautaro Martinez reigns supreme in Salerno 

Inter pulled off a 4-0 victory over a troubled Salernitana side at Stadio Arechi on Saturday evening, with all four goals coming after the half-time interval. 

While an emphatic scoreline may suggest Simone Inzaghi’s side dominated proceedings in Salerno, it wasn’t the case as they struggled to impose their rhythm, especially in the opening hour of play.

However, Martinez, who started on the bench for the first time this season, took Alexis Sanchez’s place in the 55th minute and went on a tear to help the Nerazzurri bounce back from a 2-1 midweek loss to Sassuolo.

It took the Argentine forward only 27 minutes to bag a quadruple en route to setting an unprecedented feat in Serie A history. 

Martinez became the first substitute to tally four goals in a single game, while his four-goal haul in less than half an hour of play represents the quickest poker of goals ever scored in Italy’s top flight. 

Juventus lucky to get away with a point against new-look Atalanta

Atalanta and Juventus shared the spoils in a dull 0-0 draw at the Gewiss Stadium on Sunday evening. 

Massimiliano Allegri walked out happier of the two managers after his side avoided defeat despite lamenting a disastrous Expected Goals (xG) ratio of 0.17. 

Gian Piero Gasperini’s men kept a fourth clean sheet in as many competitive outings in Bergamo this term, but they’ll be kicking themselves for failing to score here.

Wojciech Szczesny delivered a phenomenal display between the sticks to thwart Luis Muriel twice, including the Colombian’s outrageous free-kick he fingertipped onto the crossbar.

Teun Koopmeiners, who scored a winning goal against Hellas Verona in midweek, couldn’t keep his composure later on as he blasted two promising shots well over the bar.

Roma back on track, but for how long?

Jose Mourinho found themselves under the microscope after newly-promoted Genoa tore his Roma side to pieces on Thursday with a stunning 4-1 home win.

With the pressure mounting on the Special One, the Giallorossi had no margin for error against Frosinone on Sunday night. 

Mourinho needed a hero, and Romelu Lukaku showed up again, netting for the fourth time in five matches to open the scoring in a similar fashion to his deadlock-breaker at Torino a week ago.

Roma failed to produce an eventful showing against former manager Eusebio Di Francesco, but they still killed the game off in the 83rd minute.

After assisting Lukaku for the opener, Paulo Dybala whipped in a teasing cross towards the back post from the free-kick, with Lorenzo Pellegrini showing his scoring prowess to slot home from an acute angle.

To their credit, Roma didn’t concede a single shot on target. 

Around the grounds

Martinez’s exploits are unmatched in Europe’s top-five leagues this weekend, but Bologna talisman Riccardo Orsolini came as close as it gets. 

The left-footed winger notched up a sublime hat-trick against lowly Empoli to inspire Thiago Motta’s side to a comfortable 3-0 win at Renato Dall’Ara. 

As one of three sides yet to win a Serie A game this season, Udinese had high hopes ahead of Genoa’s visit to the Dacia Arena on Sunday afternoon.

However, the Friulians had to thank Alan Matturro’s sloppy own goal two minutes into the stoppage time for rescuing a 2-2 draw after letting Albert Gudmundsson score twice before half-time. 

Fiorentina left promoted Cagliari in the winless club with a landslide 3-0 home victory on Monday as newcomer M’Bala Nzola opened his La Viola account with a late strike.

Torino lived up to their tag as the least entertaining team to watch in Serie A with a scoreless draw against Hellas Verona on home turf, while Monza toppled Sassuolo 1-0 at the Mapei Stadium.

Player of the Week

When a player scores four times in less than 30 minutes, it demands respect. Martinez enjoys facing Salernitana, having netted nine times in his five appearances against the Granata.

Regardless of who’s on the other side, scoring four goals in such a tight timeframe at this level testifies to a special talent, and Martinez certainly fits the category. 

Looking ahead

Martinez and Orsolini will lock horns next Saturday when Inter and Bologna square off at Giuseppe Meazza. 

Joint-pacesetters Milan will challenge Genoa’s top-flight credentials at Stadio Luigi Ferraris, while Juventus seek amends in an eternal derby against city rivals Torino.

Roma will hope to maintain their resurgence in a third straight game against newcomers Cagliari, with Napoli and Fiorentina facing each other in another high-profile encounter. 

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