Serie A

Serie A, Round Three: Sensi is Inter's star, Pellegrini banks a triple assist

Palacio rolls back the years and Mertens remains prolific

 
10:06pm on Thursday 11th July 2019
By
Paul Macdonald

Breaking: Juventus aren't top of Serie A!

For the first time in over 18 months, it's another side on top, with Antonio Conte's Inter stepping into the gap. The fixtures have been kind, their narrow 1-0 win over Udinese making it nine points from nine, while Juve could only draw, and were lucky to, away at Fiorentina.

Brescia 3-4 Bologna could well have been the game of the weekend, with Brescia firmly in the driving seat until Palacio, now a ripe 37 years of age, took over. He watched his side go 3-1 down but bundled one over the line to make it 3-2 in the second half, before his powerful header could only be parried onto Stefano Sabelli for an own goal and 3-3. And with 10 mins remaining his beautifully floated cross found Riccardo Orsolini unmarked at the back post to win the game.

There's been sweeping changes at Roma in the close season but the 23-year-old youth product Pellegrini was the star man in a thrilling first half where Sassuolo just couldn't deal with him. He created the opening for Bryan Cristante to open the scoring, slid in Henrikh Mkhitaryan for the third and then send Justin Kluivert clear to make the fourth. A triple assist doesn't happen all that often.

Mertens was nearly 30 years of age before he converted to a central striker but appears as if he has been playing there all his life. He will be the main focus of attack for Napoli again this season and though his second goal took took a fortunate deflection before finding the net, his first, cutting across the near post to sweep home, was pure centre-forward play.

Sensi is the star of Inter's early-season resurgence in 19-20, putting up positive numbers and driving the team from midfield. Against Udinese he defied his diminutive frame to bullet home a header that proved to be the winning goal, and apart from that his distribution, shot accuracy and general attacking verve has taken a lacklustre Inter team to their success so far.

Luca Ceppitelli's opening goal showed far more composure than expected of a defender, sweeping his finish superbly into the corner, and he doubled his side's lead with a bullet header before half-time. When returning to defensive duties he won three out of four tackles attempted while completing six clearances as Cagliari recorded a well-deserved away win against Parma.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Alfredo Donnarumma (8.4) was unfortunate to be on the losing side for Brescia against Bologna, scoring twice in the 3-4 loss, with his second goal being a particularly eye-catching curler.

Domenico Berardi (8.4) was not responsible for the wave of Roma players that destroyed Sassuolo in the first half of their 4-2 defeat, and his superb free-kick and clever slotted finished deserved to be mean more than they did.

Mateo Musacchio (8.3) was a leading presence in AC Milan's hard-fought 1-0 win in Verona, winning 2/3 tackles, 3 Interceptions and 2 clearances, as well as a 95% completion of 95 passes. Oh, and he almost had his head kicked off early...

WEEKEND TO FORGET

Mariusz Stepinski's (4.5) crazy high boot almost kicked off Musacchio's head in the early going and, after given a yellow card, was sent off via VAR. Silly.

Sassuolo shot-stopper Andrea Consigli (5.1) offered minimal resistance in a first half where everything Roma hit found the net, while Jhon Chancellor (4.8) was in particularly poor form as Brescia crashed to Bologna, winning just one of eight aerial battles.

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