Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 25th 2013 Contents A56
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt August 25, 2013
ROME---Luca Toni scored twice as Hellas Verona
beat AC Milan 2-1 yesterrday to celebrate its return
to Serie A after an 11-year absence as the Italian
league opened with a shock.
It was more to form, meanwhile, as Juventus kicked
off its bid for a third consecutive title with Carlos
Tevez scoring in the 58th minute of a 1-0 win at Sam-
pdoria, which beat the Bianconeri in both league meet-
ings last season.
Juve didn t quite dominate like in its 4-0 rout of
Lazio in last weekend s Super Cup but Antonio Conte s
men showed the same poise and discipline of the past
Tevez, Juve s big offseason acquisition from Man-
chester City, only had to tap in after taking a pass
from Paul Pogba at the edge of the box on a rainy
night at the Juventus Stadium.
At the other end, Juve s corp of quality defenders---
Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chielli-
ni---cleared any danger.
It was a different story in Verona, where Andrea
Poli put Milan ahead in the 14th minute following a
pass from Mario Balotelli before the 6-foot-5 Toni
struck back with headers in the 30th and 53rd.
"There s no better way to start the season," Verona
midfielder Massimo Donati said.
It was a disturbing result for Milan ahead of Wednes-
day s return-leg match with PSV Eindhoven in the
Champions League playoffs. Milan also gave up a lead
in the opening leg, drawing 1-1.
Last season, Milan never lost in Serie A after estab-
lishing a lead, winning 21 matches and drawing four.
"The explanation is simple: we played bad football
and we played poorly as a squad," Milan coach Mas-
similiano Allegri said. "We needed to control the ball
better. We played poorly and they deserved the vic-
"We need to play with more nastiness and more
attentively," Allegri added. "After we scored we stopped
playing. Even though he s 36, Toni fought like a lion."
The other eight matches of the opening weekend
will be played today, with last year s runner-up Napoli
hosting Bologna and Inter Milan facing Genoa at the
BARCELONA---Carlos Vela scored a 75th-minute
equaliser yesterday to give Real Sociedad a 1-1 draw
at Elche in Spain, keeping the Basque side unde-
feated before it completes a critical playoff to reach
the Champions League group stage.
Also, Espanyol fought back to beat Valencia 3-1 at
Cornella-El Prat Stadium for its first victory of the
Spanish league season.
Elche struck two minutes in when Ferran "Coro"
Corominas tapped in a corner kick earned from the
hosts pressure that continued to cause Sociedad
problems through the first half.
Early at Martinez Valero Stadium, Sociedad
appeared to be looking ahead to Wednesday when
it hosts Lyon with a 2-0 advantage heading into their
second leg with Europe s top tier club competition
Elche went close to scoring again through headers
by Alberto Botia and Manuel del Moral on either side
of halftime, and was on course for its first win in
the topflight for 25 years after being promoted last
But Sociedad slowly pushed Elche onto its back
foot, and Vela was left unmarked to volley in Xabi
Prieto s cross for his second goal in as many league
On Friday, Athletic Bilbao beat Osasuna 2-0, while
Getafe drew 2-2 at home with Almeria.
Barcelona visits Malaga today with Lionel Messi
unavailable after injuring his leg midweek in a 1-1
draw at Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the Spanish
Super Cup. Also, Atletico faces Rayo Vallecano, Sevilla
travels to Levante, and Real Betis plays Celta.
Real Madrid visits Granada tomorrow.
San Siro. Also, Lazio opens against Udinese
with one end of its stadium closed as pun-
ishment for fan racism in the Super Cup.
There were concerns that Verona fans
might direct racist chants at Balotelli but,
with the issue discussed widely before the
match, supporters responded by applauding
him instead whenever he touched the ball---
albeit likely in an ironic manner.
After the final whistle, Milan fans grew
unruly and began launching seats over a bar-
rier at Verona supporters.
Verona won its only Serie A title in 1985
and has had the dishonor of watching neigh-
bor Chievo Verona play in the top division
for much of the last decade while it toiled
in Serie B.
But a second-place result in Serie B last
season earned Verona promotion and the
signing of Toni in July to a one-year contract
has already proved wise even though Daniele
Cacia led the second division with 24 goals
The 36-year-old Toni also scored on his
debut when Verona beat Palermo 1-0 in the
Italian Cup last weekend.
Balotelli had Milan s first chance nine min-
utes in with a shot from beyond the area
that was blocked by goalkeeper Rafael.
Balotelli might have done better by passing
the ball to one of two teammates striding
toward the goal and he was wise to pass to
Poli five minutes later to set up a goal.
After collecting the pass, Poli dribbled in
between two defenders and slotted the ball
After struggling in the opening 20 minutes,
Verona began to assert itself more as the half
wore on and Toni took advantage when
Milan s defense lost track of him during a
corner kick as the hosts equalized.
Toni also had a chance in the 36th with
a bouncing shot that Milan goalkeeper Chris-
tian Abbiati couldn t control but a defender
cleared the danger. (AP)
Promoted Verona shocks AC Milan; Juve wins opener
Vela gives Sociedad
1-1 draw at Elche
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