Vlahovic doubles Sassuolo, Osimhen abused in the rout of Verona
MILAN: Dusan Vlahovic fired Juventus to a comfortable 3-0 win over Sassuolo with a brace in Monday’s Serie A opener while Victor Osimhen was racially abused by Verona fans in a landslide 5-2 win for Napoli.
Serbian striker Vlahovic put Juve ahead just before the break from the penalty spot after being fouled by Gian Marco Ferrari, and ended the game as a contest after a clever pass from Angel Di Maria six minutes after the restart.
Argentina winger Di Maria had put Juve on the road to a low-key victory with his first Serie A goal, a missed volley in the 26th minute of his debut after arriving as a free agent in the summer.
“It’s really a great feeling and a pleasure to play with such a great player,” Vlahovic said of Di Maria, who was substituted with a thigh injury midway through the second half.
“I should thank him for the help he gave me. I’m very happy and hope to be on the other end. I think we can work well together.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side were missing returning hero Paul Pogba with a knee injury until next month and injured starting goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.
However, Allegri has gifted Filip Kostic with his Juve debut on the bench, a new face who, along with the excellent Di Maria, could rejuvenate a lackluster side that have come up against weak resistance at the Allianz Stadium.
Juve are also interested in Leandro Paredes and Memphis Depay as they attempt to make a suitable title bid after finishing 16 points behind champions AC Milan last season.
Sassuolo, whose key players such as Giacomo Raspadori and Domenico Berardi are transfer targets for bigger clubs, have already suffered the ignominy of being knocked out of the Italian Cup by local rivals Modena this season and they don’t didn’t perform much better in Turin.
Alessio Dionisi’s side didn’t wake up until they were three goals down and by then Juve just sat back and watched the result, a big enough cushion already established to that the opposing team never overturns.
Osimhen responds to jeers from the crowd
Osimhen was among the Napoli goalscorers who, before kick-off, honored their former goalkeeper Claudio Garella, who won the Serie A title in the 1980s with southern Italy’s biggest club and Verona.
An AFP reporter present at the game heard a section of home support throwing monkey chants at the Nigerian striker midway through the first half, before stretching to hit home Giovanni’s knockdown Di Lorenzo in stoppage time to put the opposing team 2-1 ahead at halftime. -time.
It was the latest bout of racist chanting in Verona which has a long history of far-right sympathies among their hardcore supporters.
After scoring his first goal of the season, Osimhen removed his protective mask and mimed crying into a pitch side camera, suggesting he heard abuse before his goal although he did not speak about it afterwards at DAZN.
“I think it’s important to start well because we lost key players, real leaders in the team. And of course, it’s up to us to intervene,” Osimhen said.
Napoli have had a tough summer after losing stalwarts Kalidou Koulibaly, Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens and with frustrated fans demanding the owner of movie mogul Aurelio De Laurentiis sell the club.
However, Luciano Spalletti’s side were in fine form at the Stadio Bentegodi, with goals from Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Osimhen, Piotr Zielinski, Stanislav Lobotka and Matteo Politano ensuring a perfect start.
Verona fought back and were level at the start of the second half through Kevin Lasagna and Thomas Henry, but stripped of last season’s stars Giovanni Simeone – en route to Napoli on loan – and Gianluca Caprari there was little Gabriele Cioffi’s side could do under a second-half onslaught.
It was another big defeat after being kicked out of the Italian Cup and humiliated by second tier Bari, a 4-1 loss a fortnight ago suggesting it could be a long campaign for last season’s surprise package. -AFP