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Hart concedes twice on Torino debut

Milan (AFP) – England goalkeeper Joe Hart conceded twice on his Torino debut as Atalanta secured a 2-1 win in Bergamo amid a dramatic afternoon of Serie A action on Sunday.

Hart, deemed surplus to requirements by Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, completed his move to unfashionable Torino on a season-long loan deal two weeks ago.

Yet hopes of a first Serie A win for the England shot-stopper were dealt a significant blow when ‘Granata’ striker Andrea Belotti, who hit a hat-trick a fortnight ago, was sidelined for three weeks after suffering a thigh injury with Italy on what was his maiden call-up.

Despite also missing Venezuelan striker Josef Martinez, Torino made light of the absences to take a 54th minute lead through Iago Falque.

But Atalanta were given a half-chance to pull level only two minutes later when Hart came off his line to palm a corner away with one hand, and Andrea Masiello punished the move by deftly volleying the loose ball into the net.

Torino’s hopes of taking a share of the spoils dipped when Alejandro Gomez was hauled down by Lorenzo Di Silvestri inside the penalty area with only eight minutes on the clock.

Ivorian striker Frank Kessie stepped up to coolly send Hart the wrong way to seal the winner as Torino suffered their second defeat in three games to sit below mid-table.

As heavy rain at several venues played havoc with the league programme, AC Milan would have been forgiven for wishing their match — like the Genoa v Fiorentina fixture — had also been postponed.

The Serie A giants had Carlos Bacca’s hat-trick to thank for their 3-2 win over Torino on the opening day of the campaign.

But two days after Bacca returned from international duty with Colombia, the Rossoneri striker was ineffective on his way to a 1-0 defeat to Udinese following Stipe Perica’s 88th minute strike for the visitors.

To add insult to injury, Milan lost influential defender Luca Antonelli to a suspected serious head/neck injury when he was stretchered off before the hour following an awkward mid-air clash with teammate Gabriel Paletta.

As he lay on the ground, a teammate reached inside his mouth to make sure he did not swallow his tongue.

Torrential rain in Genoa and Rome, meanwhile, caused havoc for fans and players.

Serie A officials were forced to postpone the Genoa v Fiorentina fixture at half-time after the pitch became unplayable following a first-half deluge.

There were similar scenes at the Stadio Olimpico, although surprisingly officials decided not to postpone the game.

Sampdoria held a 2-1 lead after goals from Fabio Quagliarella and Luis Muriel cancelled out Mohamed Salah’s opener for the hosts.

But by then the pitch was sporting a thick layer of hailstones and at the start of the second half huge puddles were apparent on the pitch. 

Instead of postponing, officials waited for the rain to stop and the match resumed with a delay of over 30 minutes after the pitch had been cleared of the puddles.

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