Racism still in the headlines in 2019
Serie A’s second round of games brought just as much drama and excitement as the first, but sadly it was all overshadowed by racist chanting directed an Internazionale striker Romulo Lukaku.
What sounded like monkey chants could be heard as the Belgian stepped up to take the penalty that would give Inter all three points from their trip to Sardinia.
It’s the third time in three seasons that a player has been subjected to racist abuse at the Sardegna Arena. Last year Moise Kean was the victim and Blaise Matuidi the year before that. The FIGC’s failure to hand out suitable punishments in the past clearly isn’t helping the matter and it remains to be seen whether stronger actions taken this time.
On the pitch, Lukaku made it two goals from two despite not playing great. He did play his part in setting up Stefano Sensi (who is looking like a wonderful signing already) to win the penalty. Argentine Lautaro Martinez opened the scoring for Inter before Joao Pedro equalised just after the break.
Juve prove they are still the team to beat
The game of the weekend came from the Allianz Arena. Last season’s champions took on the best of the rest, Napoli, in a game the finished 4–3 to Juventus. Forgotten man Gonzalo Higuain was the standout performer, scoring against his former side. His movement created problems for Kalidou Koulibaly all game and his turn and finish inside the box showed that despite a rough year last season, he still has plenty to offer at the top.
Despite leading 3 – 0 Juve were pegged back to 3-3 and debutant Matthijs de Ligt was at fault for all three of the goals. Losing his man each time. The Dutchman is only 20 and will take time to adapt to a new league, but time might not be on his side. Injury to captain Giorgio Chiellini, whose importance to this team cannot be underplayed, means he will have to do his learning fast.
In the end, the champions took home the three points when Napoli defender Koulibaly put the ball past his own keeper with the last kick of the game.
Honours even in the Rome derby
In Rome on Sunday afternoon, the Derby della Capitale did not disappoint. The game finished 1-1 but got off to a flying start. Both teams hitting the woodwork five times between them in the opening 27 minutes. Roma fans will be the happier of the two sides the point, despite taking the lead from through Alexander Kolarov from the spot.
All the defensive frailties shown in their 3-3 draw with Genoa remained and on another day Lazio could have had three or four goals. Luis Alberto made the game 1-1 but the hosts thought they had won all three points in stoppage time when Manuel Lazzari found the back of the net from close range, only for it to be disallowed for an earlier offside.
Elsewhere, AC Milan grabbed their first three points of the season thanks to a Hakan Chalhanoglu header against new boys Brescia. Torino bounced back from their Europa League elimination with a 3–2 victory away at Atalanta. And Vincenzo Montella’s new feel-good Fiorentina are still looking for their first points of the season, as they lost 2-1 away to Genoa.
Bologna 1-0 SPAL
AC Milan 1-0 Brescia
Juventus 4-3 Napoli
Lazio 1-1 Roma
Atalanta 2-3 Torino
Cagliari 1-2 Inter
Genoa 2-1 Fiorentina
Lecce 0-1 Verona
Sassuolo 4-1 Sampdoria
Udinese 1-3 Parma