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Cagliari come from two down to hold Roma


Milan (AFP) – Marco Sau produced a last-gasp leveller for newly-promoted Cagliari as they battled back to draw 2-2 with Roma in Serie A on Sunday and complete a difficult few days for the Giallorossi.

Genoa, who saw new Italy call-up Luca Pavoletti hit a brace in a 3-1 win away to newly-promoted Crotone, are top of the fledgling table, albeit level on a maximum six points with champions Juventus, Sampdoria and Sassuolo.

Juventus, who are targeting a record sixth consecutive ‘Scudetto’ this season, claimed a hard-fought 1-0 win at Lazio on Saturday courtesy of Sami Khedira’s stylish 66th-minute winner.

Having crashed out of the Champions League play-offs in midweek after collapsing to a 3-0 home defeat to FC Porto, Roma contrived to throw away a two-goal lead in Sardinia.

It took only six minutes for Luciano Spalletti’s visitors to break the deadlock, Diego Perotti hitting his third penalty in two games after Mauricio Isla hauled Stephan El Shaarawy down in the area.

Roma were given a great boost a minute after the restart when Kevin Strootman, who returned from the latest of several long-term injuries at the end of last season, doubled their lead.

But Marco Borriello pulled one back for the hosts just before the hour and in the dying minutes Roma ‘keeper Wojciech Szczesny was beaten again when he came rushing out as Sau glanced the ball past him and into the far corner of the net.

Raffaele Palladino put Crotone in front at home to Genoa but Serge Gakpe equalised early in the second half before Pavoletti celebrated his international call-up with two goals to secure the win.

– Belotti hat-trick –

Torino claimed an impressive 5-1 win over Bologna which should have had Italy coach Giampiero Ventura smiling for at least two good reasons.

Ventura was coach of Torino until he replaced Chelsea-bound Antonio Conte earlier this month, and the new Azzurri boss included Andrea Belotti in his first squad to face France in a friendly on Thursday and Israel in a 2018 World Cup qualifier next week.

Belotti scored a hat-trick and missed a penalty against Bologna while Josef Martinez and Daniele Baselli were also on target for the home side in Turin.

At the San Siro, Mauro Icardi hit his first goal of the season but Inter Milan suffered a second knock in as many weeks in a 1-1 home draw with Palermo.

After last week’s shock 2-0 defeat at Chievo, Inter were keen to make amends in their first game of the campaign at the San Siro, where new signing Joao Mario was presented to fans minutes before kick-off.

But Inter, who were busy in the summer transfer market following their recent takeover by Chinese tycoon Zhang Jindong, are still a work in progress under new coach Frank De Boer.

Andrea Rispoli gave Palermo the lead before Icardi’s 72nd-minute leveller.

Elsewhere, Fiorentina made amends for last week’s 2-1 defeat to Juventus with a 1-0 win over Chievo as Carlos Sanchez headed a 29th-minute winner for his maiden goal in Serie A.

At Sampdoria, Ivorian teenage defender Franck Kessie hit his third goal in two games for Atalanta, but the hosts were level from Fabio Quagliarella’s 35th-minute spot-kick and clinched a 2-1 win thanks to Edgar Barreto’s goal on the stroke of half-time.

Sassuolo beat Pescara 2-1 and Udinese were 2-0 winners at home to Empoli.

In Saturday’s other game, Napoli beat AC Milan 4-2 with Polish international Arkadiusz Milik, signed as a replacement for Juventus-bound Gonzalo Higuain, scoring a brace.

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