Napoli hold top spot after maintaining perfect start at Fiorentina
Milan (AFP) –
Napoli will stay top of Serie A after maintaining their 100 percent start to the season with a gritty 2-1 win at Fiorentina, while Roma bounced back from derby defeat with a 2-0 win over Empoli.
Luciano Spalletti's Napoli have a perfect 21 points from their first seven league matches thanks to their come-from-behind victory at the Stadio Artemio Franchi in Florence, which came thanks to strikes from Hirving Lozano and Amir Rrahmani either side of half-time.
It was a tough defeat for Fiorentina, who lost in a similar fashion to how they fell at home to Inter a few weeks back after deservedly taking the lead through Lucas Martinez Quarta.
Vincenzo Italiano's side stay fifth on 12 points, nine behind Napoli and three away Roma in fourth.
Martinez Quarta opened the scoring just before the half hour mark with a superb volleyed finish from Dusan Vlahovic's first-time lay-off at a corner.
However Lozano levelled six minutes before the break after Bartlomiej Dragowski saved Lorenzo Insigne's penalty and then denied the Italy forward on the rebound, the Mexican roofing home Napoli's third bite of the cherry.
And Rrahmani scored what turned out to be the winning goal four minutes after the break when he met Piotr Zielinski's beautifully flighted free-kick with a guided header.
- Pellegrini guides Roma -
Jose Mourinho's Roma took a while to get going but were good value for their win at the Stadio Olimpico in the Italian capital, with promoted Empoli folding once Lorenzo Pellegrini opened the scoring three minutes before half-time.
Pellegrini, who on Thursday was named in Roberto Mancini's Italy squad for the upcoming Nations League Final Four, collected Henrikh Mkhitaryan's pass on the edge of the area before bumping home a low shot from the edge of the area.
It was the Roma captain's sixth goal in all competitions this season and came the day after the 25-year-old extended his contract with the club until 2026.
Mkhitaryan then made sure of the points two minutes after the restart with his second of the campaign.
The Armenia captain was on hand to guide the ball home after Guiglielmo Vicario had just managed to tip Tammy Abraham's fierce drive onto the bar, and afterwards Roma coasted to a simple win.
- Pressure eased on
Bologna gave coach Sinisa Mihajlovic room to breath with a comfortable 3-0 Serie A win over Lazio which ended a worrying run of results.
Mihajlovic's position on the Bologna bench had been under discussion ahead of the visit of their Roman opponents after three matches without a win which included shipping six goals at Inter Milan and last weekend's miserable defeat to Empoli.
Goals from Musa Barrow, Arthur Theate and Aaron Hickey gave the hosts a straightforward win over Lazio, who were without injured Ciro Immobile and finished with 10 mean after Francesco Acerbi's sending off.
Bologna moved up to ninth on 11 points, level with Atalanta, Lazio and Juventus.
Antonio Candreva's screamer wasn't enough for Sampdoria to beat Udinese as an exciting encounter on the Italian Riviera finished 3-3.
Sampdoria twice levelled through a Jens Stryger Larsen own goal and Fabio Quagliarella's penalty -- his first league goal of the season -- before Candreva put Samp ahead in the 69th minute with a rocket from distance which flew past Marco Silvestri in the Udinese goal.
However the away side found an equaliser of their own with eight minutes left when Fernando Forestieri's tap-in was given following a VAR check after initially being ruled out for offside.
Samp sit 15th on six points, two fewer than 13th-placed Udinese.
Verona are also on eight points in 12th after stretching their unbeaten run under new coach Igor Tudor to four matches with a 4-0 crushing of Spezia.
© 2021 AFP