'Gabigol' finally starts to pay off transfer in Inter win; AC Milan prevails
ABS-CBN Sports on Feb 20, 2017 10:22 AM
AC Milan's Gerard Deulofeu, left, celebrates with his teammate Mario Pasalic after scoring during a Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and Fiorentina, at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
ANDREW DAMPF, AP Sports Writer
ROME (AP) — Gabriel "Gabigol" Barbosa began repaying his 30 million euro ($32 million) transfer fee by scoring his first goal for Inter Milan in a 1-0 win at Bologna on Sunday.
Barbosa tapped in a cross from Danilo D'Ambrosio in the 81st minute to secure fourth-placed Inter its ninth win in 10 Serie A matches.
Barbosa had been hailed as the next great Brazil striker when he signed a five-year deal after transferring from Santos in August. But he struggled in his first five months at Inter.
"I'm happy for him. He had a bit of a tough time at the start. But now he's starting to click," Inter coach Stefano Pioli said.
Garbosa was preparing to offer his teammates and coaches a Brazilian dinner to celebrate his goal.
"The dinner is more than welcome," Pioli said.
With captain Mauro Icardi serving the second game of a two-match ban for dissent, Inter labored for long stretches.
Inter forward Rodrigo Palacio wasted a great chance directly in front of the goal 12 minutes in following a cross from Ivan Perisic.
But substitutions proved decisive — Barbosa scored seven minutes after coming on — and Inter has now scored 13 goals in the last 15 minutes of play this season — the most in Serie A.
"It's always a good sign for a coach when you have a squad that believes until the end," Pioli said. "We struggled between the lines and were slow maneuvering but we still worked hard. The team believed until the end and that perseverance paid off."
ROMA 4, TORINO 1
Roma's Edin Dzeko joined Gonzalo Higuain atop the Serie A scoring chart with the opener against Torino.
Dzeko scored with a low, long-range shot that Torino and England goalkeeper Joe Hart arguably should have saved. It was Dzeko's 19th in Serie A and 29th in all competitions this season, three days after scoring a hat trick against Villarreal in the Europa League.
Mohamed Salah doubled the lead shortly after the quarter-hour mark with a powerful effort inside the near post then hit the post three minutes later.
Leandro Paredes added another in the second half with a well-struck shot that gave Hart no chance.
Maxi Lopez pulled one back for Torino in the 85th but Radja Nainggolan restored Roma's three-goal lead after being set up by Francesco Totti, who came on for the final 10 minutes.
Roma maintained its perfect home record with a 12th win in 12 matches, putting the Giallorossi back in second place, two points ahead of Napoli, which won earlier.
CHIEVO VERONA 1, NAPOLI 3
Napoli bounced back from its Champions League loss at Real Madrid with a comfortable away win that extended its unbeaten streak in Serie A to 14 matches.
Lorenzo Insigne opened the scoring with an effort that improved on his goal in Madrid. After collecting the ball at the left side of the area, Insigne dribbled in and launched an angled shot around two defenders that flew inside the far post.
Napoli captain Marek Hamsik slotted another into an empty net and Piotr Zielinski made it 3-0 before the hour mark.
Riccardo Meggiorini pulled one back for Chievo midway through the second half.
AC MILAN 2, FIORENTINA 1
Seventh-place AC Milan ended a five-match winless streak in what may have been the team's final home match before Silvio Berlusconi sells the club to a group of Chinese investors.
Juraj Kucka met a free kick from Sosa with a header to put Milan ahead in the 16th minute, and Gerard Deulofeu scored his first goal for the Rossoneri in the 31st after Nikola Kalinic had equalized.
Recently loaned from Everton, Deulofeu showed a deft touch by placing a shot that went in off the post from the edge of the area in the 31st.
It was the first time that Milan had scored two first-half goals this season.
Attack-minded Zdenek Zeman made an immediate impact on last-placed Pescara, which routed Genoa 5-0 in the Czech coach's first match back in charge since leading the club to the Serie B title five years ago.
Substitute Gregoire Defrel scored twice as Sassuolo came back from a goal down to beat Udinese 2-1 after Seko Fofana's spectacular volley had put the hosts ahead.
Also, Mauricio Isla gave Cagliari an early lead before Fabio Quagliarella equalized for Sampdoria midway through the first half in a 1-1 draw.
Andrew Dampf on Twitter: www.twitter.com/asdampf