Soccer

Ljalic scores in debut as Roma shuts out Verona

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The Canadian Press
9/1/2013 6:02:49 PM
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MILAN, Italy -- Substitute Adem Ljajic scored on his debut to help Roma to a 3-0 victory over newly-promoted Hellas Verona in Serie A on Sunday.

Verona had started the season well with a victory over AC Milan on the opening day, but was overturned by an impressive second-half performance from Roma.

Milan picked up its first points of the campaign with a 3-1 victory over Cagliari, while Fiorentina continued to impress after some shrewd off-season signings, winning 5-2 at Genoa, with Giuseppe Rossi and Mario Gomez scoring twice.

"I am not surprised by Rossi's form, as he is someone who has always been able to find the net," Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella said. "We know he can improve further and with Gomez they make the perfect couple.

"We played a perfect opening 20 minutes and thought we had finished off the game, but we slowed the tempo in the second half and allowed Genoa back into it. We need to grow, as again we conceded two goals tonight."

Inter Milan also maintained its perfect start to the season with a 3-0 win at Catania.

Roma took the lead in the 56th minute when Verona defender Fabrizio Cacciatore deflected Maicon's cross past his own goalkeeper.

There was no doubt about the goalscorer of Roma's second goal three minutes later as Miralem Pjanic spotted Rafael off his line and placed a delightful 25-meter chip into the top left for an early contender for goal of the season.

Ljajic, who had come on 14 minutes earlier, sealed the result in the 66th with a low drive into the bottom left corner.

In Milan, Robinho gave Massimiliano Allegri's side the lead in the eighth minute. The Brazilian, who had been surprisingly chosen in favour of Stephan El Shaarawy, drove in Mario Balotelli's cross from nine meters.

Milan doubled its lead on the half hour. Cagliari goalkeeper Michael Agazzi pulled off a great save to deny Balotelli but Philippe Mexes was on hand to tap home the follow up.

Cagliari reduced the deficit two minutes later when Marco Sau curled a stunning strike from just outside the penalty area into the top right corner.

Balotelli grabbed his second of the season in the 63rd, stopping a poor defensive header and driving powerfully into the top right corner.

"I liked the approach to this game, as we attacked and defended well," Allegri said. "It was an important victory, even if we allowed Cagliari a little too much of the ball.

"We have to avoid some mistakes, we have already conceded three avoidable goals so far this season. In any case, the week went well with Champions League qualification and this victory. I liked the team's attitude, now we need to continue."

Alberto Aquilani headed Fiorentina in front in the 10th minute before a goalkeeping error gifted the visitors their second. Mattia Perrin spilled Rossi's long-range shot and it bounced into the net.

Fiorentina looked to have wrapped up the match four minutes from halftime when Gomez sidefooted home Manuel Pasqual's cross for his first goal for his new club since signing from Bayern Munich.

Genoa reduced the deficit nine minutes after the break when former Fiorentina striker Alberto Gilardino volleyed home Francesco Lodi's cross but the visitors immediately scored again with Rossi's third goal in two games. The U.S.-born forward is proving he is back to his best after two years of injuries.

Lodi scored a penalty on the hour mark for Genoa after Marvin Compper brought down Gilardino in the area.

It got worse for Genoa as Mario Sampirisi was sent off in stoppage time after getting a second yellow card for fouling Mati Fernandez.

Gomez drove the resulting penalty into the bottom left corner.

Fiorentina, Roma and Inter -- along with Juventus and Napoli -- are the only teams to have won both their opening Serie A matches.

Goals from Rodrigo Palacio, Yuto Nagatomo and Ricky Alvarez helped Inter to a comfortable win.

Udinese picked up its first points of the season with a 3-1 victory over Parma.

Emmanuel Badu fired Udinese in front in the 11th minute after a defensive error and both Amauri and Antonio Di Natale hit the woodwork before Thomas Heurtaux doubled the hosts' lead in the 72nd.

Antonio Cassano found himself unmarked to head home his first goal in a Parma shirt but Luis Muriel made sure of victory with a powerful penalty after Pedro Mendes was harshly adjudged to have fouled Andrea Lazzari.

Livorno beat fellow promoted side Sassuolo 4-1 for its first points on its return to the top flight.

Simone Zaza scored Sassuolo's first ever Serie A goal to level after Leandro Greco had given Livorno the lead. But Innocent Emeghara and Paulinho put Livorno on its way to victory before Emeghara's late penalty.

Sampdoria drew 2-2 against Bologna as both sides earned their first point of the season. Panagiotis Kone scored a stunning overhead kick for Bologna, which also had two goals disallowed. Atalanta also got off the mark, with a 2-0 victory over Torino.

Roma celebrates (Photo: Canadian Press)

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(Photo: Canadian Press)
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