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Serie A Weekly: Milan triumphant after unbelievable scenes in Genoa, Lukaku strikes again, Inter & Napoli stunned

Another enthralling weekend of Serie A action delivered crucial derby victories, crushings of the outsiders and goal-glutted contests. 

Reigning Scudetto holders Napoli slipped again, while AC Milan and Roma relied on their new heroes to inspire them to pivotal wins against newly-promoted clubs. 

Torino proved no match for Juventus in another one-sided Derby della Mole, with Frosinone’s dream top-flight return after a four-year absence producing another impressive home performance. 

We take you through the happenings of the Serie A Matchday 8.

Motta upsets former associates

Inter Milan let a two-goal cushion slip through their fingers as Bologna fought back to register a 2-2 draw in a keenly contested fixture at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on Saturday afternoon.

When Francesco Acerbi and Lautaro Martinez fired Simone Inzaghi’s side 2-0 up only 13 minutes into the game, the Nerazzurri seemed en route to making it four consecutive home league wins over Thiago Motta’s team.

However, Martinez gave away a cheap penalty moments after scoring an absolute beauty from long-range, with Riccardo Orsolini reducing the deficit midway through the first half. 

A tragic piece of defending from Alessandro Bastoni and Acerbi gave Joshua Zirkzee acres of space on the edge of the box as the ex-Bayern Munich forward picked out the bottom corner with pinpoint precision.

Despite Inter’s utmost effort to regain the lead in the last 30 minutes of play, Bologna held their ground to walk away from Meazza undefeated, extending their unbeaten Serie A run to seven matches (W2, D5).

Motta, who featured for Inter during his playing career, condemned his former side to the runners-up spot going into the October international break.

Injury-plagued Juventus protect Derby della Mole supremacy

Even without this season’s standout performers, Dusan Vlahovic and Federico Chiesa, Juventus proved a tall order for Torino in the latest edition of this eternal Turin rivalry. 

Second-half goals from Federico Gatti and Arkadiusz Milik catapulted Massimiliano Allegri’s men to a 2-0 win over the Granata at the Allianz Stadium, consolidating the Bianconeri’s place in the Serie A top four.

Despite facing massive off-field problems and failing to reinforce their squad during the summer transfer window, the record-time Serie A champions have been off to a sterling league start.

Saturday’s triumph has kept them within a four-point distance of table-topping Milan, bookending a decent-looking eight-game form at the start of the new top-flight campaign (W5, D2, L1).

It was also the 20th successive home encounter against Torino they haven’t lost (W15, D5).

Captain America does it again for Milan 

Christian Pulisic came off the bench to inspire Milan to a hard-earned 1-0 victory against newly-promoted Genoa on Saturday night, solidifying their place at the summit. 

Stefano Pioli’s decision to make five changes to the line-up that played out a 0-0 draw against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League nearly backfired on the Rossoneri.

However, Pulisic took matters into his own hands in the 87th minute, beating Genoa goalkeeper Josep Martinez with an inch-perfect finish from inside the box after settling himself with a delightful first touch.

Incredible scenes took place at Stadio Luigi Ferraris in stoppage time, with both keepers sent off in the most dramatic game finale of the 2023/24 Serie A campaign. 

First Milan stopper Mike Maignan received a straight red for a horror tackle on Genoa forward Caleb Ekuban, forcing Olivier Giroud to put the gloves on as Pioli had already made all five changes. 

Then, the Griffins goalie Martinez picked up his second yellow for a sliding challenge on Yunus Musah inside the Rossoneri’s box, helping the visitors weather the storm.

Lukaku cannot stop scoring as Roma dismantle Cagliari

Amid a growing uncertainty surrounding Jose Mourinho’s future at the Stadio Olimpico, Roma humbled newcomers Cagliari 4-1 at Unipol Domus, courtesy of another vintage Romelu Lukaku performance.

Since making his first start for the Giallorossi in a 7-0 rout of Empoli, the Chelsea loanee has found the back of the net in six of his seven competitive appearances for Mourinho’s side.

His first brace for the Italian powerhouse came on Sunday as he netted on either side of half-time to catapult Roma to a third straight victory in all competitions.

Lukaku’s brace, combined with goals from Houssem Aouar and Andrea Belotti, nailed Cagliari to the bottom of the standings with only two points from eight games.

Nahitan Nandez’s spot-kick barely softened the blow, though it denied Roma a third clean sheet on the trot.

Fiorentina leave Napoli’s Scudetto defence in tatters

Back-to-back multiple-goal margin wins over Udinese and Lecce appeared to have brought Napoli’s bid to defend the title back on track before Fiorentina gave them a harsh reality check on Sunday.

Vincenzo Italiano’s men ran riot at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, picking the reigning champions apart with a well-deserved 3-1 triumph, their second on their last three league visits to Naples. 

Josip Brekalo broke the deadlock seven minutes into the game, but Victor Osimhen restored parity on the stroke of half-time, converting a penalty he drew himself. 

However, Napoli collapsed in the second half as Giacomo Bonaventura and Nicolas Gonzalez netted beyond the hour mark to inflict a second Serie A defeat on Partenopei this season.

Rudi Garcia’s men have a lot to think about during the international break after falling seven points behind Milan. 

Around the grounds

Paulo Sousa may not be in the Salernitana dugout beyond the break following a dreadful 3-0 loss at Monza on Saturday afternoon, with his side going winless in their opening eight games for the first time in their Serie A history (D3, L5).

Sousa’s Udinese counterpart Andrea Sottil could be in the same boat as the Friulians’ barren run continued on Friday with a stomach-wrenching 0-0 draw against fellow bottom-half underachievers Empoli on home turf (D5, L3).

One of the high-performing Serie A managers, Eusebio Di Francesco, masterminded another impressive result, with promoted Frosinone putting their third league win on the board with a 2-1 home triumph over Hellas Verona.

Di Francesco’s former employers, Sassuolo, shared the spoils with Lecce in a 1-1 draw at the Mapei Stadium, while Lazio eked out an action-packed 3-2 home win over Atalanta. 

Player of the Week

This flattering title goes to free-scoring Lukaku. The Belgian frontman chested home Rick Karsdorp’s lofted cross to open the scoring against Cagliari before landing a fatal blow with a poacher’s finish later on.

Lukaku has been in scintillating form since swapping Chelsea for Roma in the final days of the summer, proving to be the architect of the Giallorossi’s recent resurgence. 

Looking ahead

Stadio San Siro hosts a Serie A blockbuster between Milan and Juventus, while their local rivals Inter and Torino lock horns at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino. 

Roma’s bid to haul back a six-point deficit on the top four continues at home against Monza, with out-of-sorts Napoli heading to bottom-half Hellas Verona seeking amends for a disastrous home showing. 

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