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Serie A Saturday round up: Leao shines, Kvaratskhelia completes comeback

The opening day of Serie A match-week five was far from a disappointment as we were served with three mouth-watering fixtures that fully lived up to expectations, filled with drama, suspense, and high-quality calcio.

Kouame cancels out Milik’s opener

Juventus were forced to share spoils earlier this afternoon as they were held to a 1-1 stalemate at the Artemio Franchi against a solid Fiorentina side.

The vital fixture started in the Bianconeri’s favour as Arkadiusz Milik found the back of net under the ten minute mark as he tucked Filip Kostic’s driven cross passed Pietro Terraciano in order to give his side an early advantage.

However, La Viola showcased resilience as the Ivorian international Cristian Kouame received a brilliant pass from Riccardo Sotil following a well-defended corner and managed to seal the equalizer through a perfectly executed counter-attacking finish.

 

Leao shines at the San Siro

Later on in the evening, the Milanese clubs faced off in the classic Derby della Madonnina, a highly anticipated fixture as the defending champions Milan were up against last year’s runners-up Inter.

It was Inter who managed to open up the scoreline as Lautaro Martinez used some magnificent hold-up play to link up with his fellow Argentinian compatriot Joaquin Correa, who served  a well-weighted pass to Marcelo Brozovic on the break for the Croatian box-to-box midfielder to slot the ball into the low corner.

However, the Nerazzuri’s lead was short-lived as a careless giveaway from former Milan player Hakan Calhanoglu was intercepted by Sandro Tonali. The 22 year-old found Rafael Leao out-wide on the flank, who buried the ball into the top-shelf with a one-touch strike passed the skipper Samir Handanovic to hand his side the equalizer.

The Portuguese prodigy didn’t stop from there as he served an exquisite cross into the box passed Inzaghi’s back-three on a silver platter to the veteran striker Olivier Giroud, for him to cushion the ball into the second post from point-blank range.

The Rossonerri’s high-press and their composure when in-possession was far too much for La Benemata to handle, causing Inter to crumble as Leao dazzled through the back-line with the dip of his shoulder towards the inside and scored a composed finish with his laces towards the second post to double Il Diavolo’s advantage.

Despite Edin Dzeko making an imminent mark on the fixture after shortly coming on, Milan were able to hang on to a 3-2 lead and obtain all three points over their cross-city rivals with the help of an astronomical performance from Mike Maignan between the goal posts.

 

Kvaratskhelia

Kvaratskhelia completes the comeback

Finally, Saturday’s action-packed match-day concluded with a colossal face-off between Lazio and Napoli at the Stadio Olimpico.

The Biancocelesti broke the deadlock with a swift counter attack as Felipe Anderson found Mattia Zaccagni in the box with a diagonal cross from out-wide, who slivered past his marker and scored a thunderous strike in the opening minutes of the highly anticipated tie.

However, Spalletti’s side remained unfazed as the central defender Kim made it level with an outrageous header from a corner served by Polish midfielder Piotr Zielinski.

In the end, I Partenopei sealed all three points against the capital club as Zambo Anguissa pulled the ball back towards the edge of the box to find the rising star Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who struck a screamer past Ivan Provedel and helped his side catapult to the summit of the standings along-side Milan.