Serie A Sunday Action Recap: Who Needs Insigne?

Like yesterday, it was a fairly quiet day in Serie A on Sunday, with only high-flying Napoli giving the home crowd a run for their money. While Luciano Spalletti’s side gave newly-promoted Monza a genuine taste of top-flight football, the three other matches barely caught the eye of neutrals.

Empoli’s Serie A Goal Drought Continues

Following a narrow 1-0 defeat at Spezia on the opening weekend, Empoli had hoped to get off the mark in the 2022/23 Serie A season against Fiorentina at the Stadio Carlo Castellani.

However, Paolo Zanetti’s side failed to get on the scoresheet for the second league outing in a row, though their 10-man side held Vincenzo Italiano’s men to a scoreless draw. 

In a potentially least-thrilling Serie A fixture of the season so far, Empoli barely threatened the visitors.

After beating promoted Cremonese 3-2 on matchday, La Viola headed to their neighborhood in high spirits, but despite unleashing 19 shots on goal, including just two on target, failed to find the net. 

Fiorentina looked in firm control of proceedings for most of the game, with Sebastiano Luperto’s expulsion midway through the second half putting more wind in their sails.

Yet, they struggled to create many scoring opportunities and eventually had to settle for an uneventful share of the spoils. 

Napoli Ease Past Lowly Monza

Napoli dismantled Silvio Berlusconi’s Monza side 4-0 in one-way traffic at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona to move top of the Serie A table. 

Spalletti’s side showed a 5-2 thumping of Verona on the opening weekend was no fluke, as they look unfazed by a host of high-profile summer departures.

Georgian winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia picked up where he left off at Marc’Antonio Bentegodi last time out, scoring on either side of halftime to inspire the Partenopei to another overwhelming triumph.

He opened the scoring in the 35th minute with a phenomenal long-range effort to set the tone for another spectacular evening for Napoli fans, with Victor Osimhen extending Napoli’s lead on the stroke of halftime. 

Kvaratskhelia stole the spotlight again in the 62nd minute, dribbling past Monza defenders to set himself up for another sublime finish and kill the game off.

The visitors thought they pulled one back through former Napoli striker Andrea Petagna just a few minutes later. But after consulting with the side-pitch monitor, referee Francesco Fourneau disallowed the goal for a foul.

In the dying moments of the encounter, summer signing Kim Min-jae headed home the fourth for Napoli to finish another convincing weekend with style. 

Nothing to Separate Bologna and Verona

Bologna and Verona played out a dramatic 1-1 draw at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara as Sinisa Mihajlovic’s side avoided defeat despite being a man down for most of the second half.

Like in the 2-1 loss at Lazio last time out, Marko Arnautovic put the Rossoblu in front early in the first half, slotting the ball into the bottom corner to culminate an exquisitely-crafted team goal. 

Verona hit back before the break as summer acquisition Thomas Henry struck home a powerful header to level the score in the 43rd minute, scoring his second goal in as many league appearances for the Gialloblu.

That wasn’t the end of an exciting first half. Bologna regained the lead through Riccardo Orsolini’s venomously struck shot, but the VAR intervention cancelled the goal out for an offside in the build-up.

Perhaps frustrated with the referee’s decision to rule out his seasonal opener, Orsolini committed a rough challenge midway through the second half to earn a straight red.

With a man down, Bologna fought tooth and nail to preserve a point and eventually succeeded as Verona squandered several decent chances to take home all three points.

Serie A Champions Falter in Bergamo

After an eye-catching 4-2 home win over Udinese in their 2022/23 Serie A curtain-raiser, reigning champions Milan travelled to Bergamo to meet Atalanta in a handsomely-looking fixture. 

Stefano Pioli’s men won both league clashes against La Dea last season, but Gian Piero Gasperini seems to have managed to rally his troops over the summer.

Following a 2-0 victory at Sampdoria last time out, Atalanta now held the Rossoneri to a 1-1 draw at the Gewiss Stadium in a match that witnessed a few solid scoring opportunities. 

Ruslan Malinovskyi’s devastating left foot once again helped Gasperini’s side unlock the opposition backline as the Ukrainian playmaker hammered home an outrageous strike from the edge of the box in the 29th minute.

Though Atalanta had a narrow 1-0 halftime lead in hands, their performance flattered to deceive, which was the case on numerous occasions last season.

Gasperini surrendered possession to Milan and opted to defend a slender lead in the second half but to no avail. 

The visitors’ unrelenting pressure paid off in the 68th minute when Ismael Bennacer found the net with a top-class finish from inside the box to hand the Rossoneri a point. 

Neither side created much in the front third for the remainder of the game. 

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