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Soccer Extras: Chiellini gives Juventus opening win; Real Madrid held

Last updated on: August 25, 2019 10:05 IST

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Giorgio Chiellini celebrates with Cristiano Ronaldo after scoring for Juventus in Saturday's Serie A match against Parma.

IMAGE: Giorgio Chiellini celebrates with Cristiano Ronaldo after scoring for Juventus in Saturday's Serie A match against Parma. Photograph: Alberto Lingria/Reuters

Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini gave the titleholders a 1-0 win at Parma in the opening Serie A match of the new season on Saturday although they were without new coach Maurizio Sarri who is recovering from pneumonia.

 

Chiellini flicked the ball home in the 21st minute after Parma failed to clear a corner properly to get the Turin side off to a winning start in their bid for a ninth successive title.

Cristiano Ronaldo also had the ball in the net before halftime but his effort was ruled out after VAR showed that his shoulder was offside by a matter of millimetres when he collected Douglas Costa's pass.

Ronaldo squandered other chances and saw two efforts saved by Parma goalkeeper Luigi Sepe on a frustrating afternoon for the five-times World Player of the Year.

Juventus assistant coach Giovanni Martusciello took charge of the team although Italian media said he was in constant contact with Sarri, who was diagnosed with pneumonia on Monday.

The titleholders featured none of their new signings although Gonzalo Higuain was given a surprise start after spending last season on loan at AC Milan and then Chelsea.

"The team played a great first half, moving around very well, we could have converted more chances but it was fine as it was," said Martusciello.

"I heard him before the game, at halftime and at the end of the game, clearly he was very happy for the result even though, being a perfectionist, he is perpetually angry if everything is not going exactly as he wants."

Ronaldo should have given Juventus a 12th-minute lead but sent his header over the bar after getting in front of his marker and thumped the ground in frustration.

Juve then had a let-off as goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny made a reflex save from Roberto Inglese's snapshot.

The visitors went ahead when Sepe punched clear a corner, Alex Sandro sent the ball straight back into the area and Chiellini turned it in with the goalkeeper out of his ground.

Juventus then began to produce some of the pinball passing which has become Sarri's trademark and one incisive move ended with Ronaldo shooting wide.

The 34-year-old thought he had scored in the 36th minute but, after Juventus had completed their celebrations, the goal was chalked off for offside.

Sepe denied Ronaldo with a flying save in the second half while Parma went agonisingly close to a stoppage-time equaliser when Hernani's free kick fizzed past Szczesny's post.

Napoli win seven-goal thriller at Fiorentina

Lorenzo Insigne celebrates after scoring Napoli's second goal in the Serie A match against Fiorentina.

IMAGE: Lorenzo Insigne celebrates after scoring Napoli's second goal in the Serie A match against Fiorentina. Photograph: Daniele Mascolo/Reuters

Napoli, runners-up in three of the last four seasons, hit back from conceding a contentious early penalty to win 4-3 at new-look Fiorentina in a hugely entertaining start to their Serie A campaign on Saturday.

Napoli were also awarded a controversial penalty, for a foul on Dries Mertens, which left Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella fuming especially after Franck Ribery, making his debut for the hosts, had a penalty appeal turned down late in the game.

Napoli's win set up an intriguing early clash with champions Juventus, who beat Parma 1-0 away, on August 31.

"There really is anger, because a mistake can happen but for me to reason that these are penalties and others aren’t, no. I can’t do it. I’m sorry," said Montella.

Napoli suffered an early setback when the ball rebounded off a Fiorentina player's knee against the arm of Piotr Zielinksi at point-blank range in the middle of a crowded goalmouth.

Even though the Pole knew nothing about it, a penalty was awarded after a long VAR review and Erick Pulgar, recently signed from Bologna, converted on his debut.

Napoli struggled to get going, yet levelled with their first real attack in the 38th minute when Dries Mertens scored with a dipping shot from outside the area which goalkeeper Bartolomej Dragowski got his hands to but failed to stop.

In the next attack, Mertens fell over Gaetano Castrovilli, who was already on the ground, but the referee pointed to the spot, did not review the incident and Insigne levelled.

Nikola Milenkovic headed Fiorentina back on level terms in the 52nd minute, only for Jose Callejon to put Napoli back in front four minutes later with a low angled shot into the far corner.

Substitute and new signing Kevin-Prince Boateng, making his debut for the 11th club of his career, equalised for Fiorentina in the 65th minute.

But two minutes later Mertens found Callejon at the far post and he knocked the ball back for Insigne to head the winner.

Ribery was brought on for his debut and claimed he should have been awarded a penalty when he went down under a challenge from Elseid Hysaj, but the referee ignored his appeals and VAR did not intervene.

Real Madrid held to frustrating draw

Karim Benzema celebrates with teammates after putting Real Madrid ahead in Saturday's La Liga match against Real Valladolid.

IMAGE: Karim Benzema celebrates with teammates after putting Real Madrid ahead in Saturday's La Liga match against Real Valladolid. Photograph: Juan Medina/Reuters

Real Madrid's early optimism was punctured by an 88th-minute equaliser from Real Valladolid's Sergi Guardiola as Zinedine Zidane's side stumbled to a 1-1 draw in their first home game of the La Liga season on Saturday.

Karim Benzema looked to have fired Madrid to a second straight win after last week's confidence-boosting 3-1 victory at Celta Vigo when he scored in the 82nd minute with a splendid piece of skill.

The Frenchman, Madrid's top scorer last campaign, controlled a pass with his back to goal and swivelled before striking his finish into the far corner to give the home side a deserved lead.

Serbian striker Luka Jovic had gone close to breaking the deadlock earlier in the game when he headed against the crossbar barely a minute after coming off the bench, while Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez also spurned chances.

Valladolid had offered little in attack but grabbed a shock equaliser with only their second shot on target when Guardiola struck through the legs of Thibaut Courtois to complete a swift counterattack after Toni Kroos had surrendered possession.

The goal plunged a happy Santiago Bernabeu crowd into silence and left Madrid with four points after two games.

"I'm left with a bitter taste because we did the hardest thing, which was to score in a second half where we did not produce our best performance," Madrid coach Zidane told a news conference.

"It's a bad feeling when you concede an equaliser so soon after scoring. We played well in the first half, but we were unable to find the net."

Real were without suspended midfielder Luka Modric but Rodriguez made his first appearance in a Madrid shirt for over two years in a team containing 10 players that were in the squad when Zidane first took charge in January 2016.

After a strong start in the unforgiving summer heat of the Spanish capital, Madrid struggled to maintain their intensity after the interval but found a breakthrough when it looked least likely due to the quick thinking of Benzema.

Lewandowski hat-trick steers Bayern past Schalke

 Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring Bayern Munich's third goal and completing his hat-trick in Saturday's Bundesliga match against Schalke 04.

IMAGE: Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring Bayern Munich's third goal and completing his hat-trick in Saturday's Bundesliga match against Schalke 04. Photograph: Ralph Orlowski/Reuters

Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick to help champions Bayern Munich cruise to a 3-0 victory at Schalke 04 on Saturday for their first win in the Bundesliga this season.

The 31-year-old Poland forward grabbed his first goal with a 20th-minute penalty and added another with a superbly taken free kick five minutes after the restart.

He completed his ninth Bundesliga hat-trick in the 75th to take his season tally to five goals in two league matches.

Bayern, who stumbled to a 2-2 draw in their opener against Hertha Berlin, are on four points, two behind leaders Borussia Dortmund, who won 3-1 at Cologne on Friday.

"I can play even better. I have the potential to further improve," Lewandowski, who is close to signing a contract extension, told reporters. "You can win some matches alone but with the team you win titles."

"The Bundesliga is no easy league and that is why we constantly have to be ready. I was ready and happy to have helped the team," he said.

The striker has now converted 24 of his 27 Bundesliga penalties while also scoring 16 goals in 19 league matches against Schalke.

His second goal looked to be a wake-up call for Schalke who grabbed control of the game and were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty for a handball by Bayern's new signing Ivan Perisic.

Their revival was shortlived, however, and Lewandowski put the game beyond them when he controlled the ball at the edge of the box before completing his hat-trick with a clinical finish.

Philippe Coutinho, Bayern's biggest signing for the season, also came on in the second half for his first appearance on German soil after joining on loan from Barcelona.

Bayer Leverkusen scored three times in the first half to ease past hosts Fortuna Duesseldorf 3-1 and join leaders Borussia Dortmund with maximum points from their first two matches.

A sixth-minute own goal from Lewis Baker put the visitors ahead and Charles Aranguiz added another goal in the 33rd. Kevin Volland, who was also involved in the first goal, set up Karim Bellarabi for their third six minutes later.

Fortuna cut the deficit in the 82nd through Alfredo Morales.

Freiburg are also on six points after coming from a goal down to beat promoted Paderborn 3-1 while Borussia Moenchengladbach, on four points, did the same for a 3-1 victory at Mainz 05.

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