It was an outstanding performance for Italian football in the first round of UEFA Cup action, as all four Serie A clubs registered first-leg victory.
AC Milan adjusting to a non-Champions League season are full steam ahead winning 3 – 1 over FC Zürich. This triumph couldn’t have come at a better time for Rossoneri manager Carlo Ancelotti as his squad are currently last in Serie A, with successive defeats from matchday 1 and 2 of the domestic league.
Andriy Shevchenko twice went close for the Rossoneri before playing a part in the opening goal a minute into extra time of the first half. Zürich goalkeeper Johnny Leoni saved his shot but Marek Jankulovski was on hand to knock in the rebound. Second half goals would come from the striking force of youngster Alexandre Pato and former Genoa frontman Marco Borriello, both new transfers during pre-season. FC Zurich would finish the first meeting with a consolation goal, scored in the 78th minute by Djuric.
In other Italian club action, Sampdoria and Napoli both played a goal feast of their own with each spectacle registering five goals. Emiliano Bonazzoli and Antonio Cassano both scored twice as Sampdoria put one foot in the group stage with a crushing 5 – 0 victory against the Lithuanian champions FBK Kaunas. Napoli prevailed in their five-goal thriller at the Stadio San Paolo after Christian Maggio (a pre-season Sampdorian import) netted the winning goal in the 55th minute against opponents Benfica.
The Portuguese visitors opened scoring in the 16th minute with a goal from on-loan Inter striker David Suazo but this was quickly equalized by Vitale for Napoli two minutes later. Final-score Napoli 3 – 2 Benfica.
In the final and only away match for an Italian side, the Udine Ubermensch (supermen) maintained a clean sheet winning 2 – 0 over Bundesliga opponents Borussia Dortmund. First-half goals from Antonio Floro Flores and Gökhan Inler placed Udinese in the driving seat at the Westfalenstadion as the Italian side made the most of sloppy Dortmund defending to take control.
Things could have got worse during the second half for the home side as the visiting Ubermen kept on pressing, fortunately the boys in white and black didn’t humiliate their hosts further.
AC Milan 3-1 FC Zürich
UC Sampdoria 5-0 FBK Kaunas
SSC Napoli 3-2 SL Benfica
BV Borussia Dortmund 0-2 Udinese Calcio