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Italian Recap: Novakovich Scores, McKennie & Juve Falter

Andrija Novakovich

photo: Andrea Pattaro / Vision

Andrija Novakovich’s first goal for Venezia earned them a point against Pisa, while Weston McKennie and Juventus suffered an embarrassing defeat to newly promoted Monza.

AC Milan 1 – 2 Napoli

Sergiño Dest saw his most extensive action of the season so far, playing the second half for AC Milan on Sunday night in their 2-1 home loss to Napoli, however he conceded the penalty that gave their opponents the opening score.

In his 45 minutes of action, Dest was on the ball 32 times, completing 11 of his 14 pass attempts, making three recoveries and winning half of his six duels. However, his lone foul of the game was a costly one, as it gave table-topping Napoli the opening they needed.

After a scoreless first half, Dest came on for Davide Calabria on the right side of the defense. He quickly left his mark when he clumsily pushed over Khvicha Kvaratskhelia in the area six minutes later, giving Matto Politano the chance to calmly convert to the lower left side for the lead.

Oliver Giroud temporarily pulled Milan even in the 69th minute, breaking free on a run into the area, and slamming a low cross from Theo Hernández home for the 1-1.

However, their hopes were short lived, with Napoli substitute Giovanni Simeone’s glancing header enough to re-direct in a deep pass from Mario Rui for the winner.

Their first loss of the season leaves Milan fifth in the Serie A standings. They next take the field on Oct. 1 with a visit to Empoli.

AC Monza 1 – 0 Juventus

Weston McKennie and Juventus continued their tough start to the new season, losing an embarrassing close game to newly-promoted Monza on Sunday afternoon.

McKennie had a decent outing, playing the full game on the right side of the midfield, making 47 touches, completing 20 of 27 passes, while creating two chances, drawing two fouls and committing a pair on the opposition.

The Bianconeri had issues getting their engines running against the newly promoted underdogs, and put themselves in a tough spot after 40 minutes when Ángel di Maria was shown a straight red for petulantly elbowing his marking defender Armando Izzo near the midfield stripe.

While ten-man Juve did make Monza work for it, the hosts did eventually score the lone goal of the game to secure their first-ever Serie A victory.

Substitute attacker Christian Gytkjær played the hero for the hosts, scoring the winner in the 74th minute, 20 minutes after entering the field of play.

Patrick Ciurria fired a sharp cross from the right flank that took a slight deflection off of Danilo’s head. This brought it directly into the path of the Danish attacker, who slid in to strike the ball past the helpless Juve keeper Mattia Perin.

The loss leaves Juventus in eighth place after seven games played. They return to action following the international break with a home game against 16th-place Bologna.

Venezia 1 – 1 Pisa

Andrija Novakovich netted Venezia’s only goal on Saturday in their draw against Pisa, with Gianluca Busio also putting in a solid 90-minute shift to help the team break their two-game losing streak.

Novakovich was the clear man-of-the-match for the hosts, putting in his best shift of the season so far. Over 90 minutes of action, he took three shots, one of which found the back of the net, set up one further chance, completed 12 of 17 passes amidst his 29 total touches, won ten of 17 duels, drew one foul and won both of his tackles.

Busio was also one of Venezia’s better performers after missing the team’s last few games due to injury. In the center of the park, he dictated the team’s flow with 93 total touches, 68 completions in 79 attempts, five long balls in seven attempts, five of 11 won duels, and no fouls committed.

Tanner Tessmann was out while serving a red-card suspension, while Patrick Leal and Jack de Vries were not called into action.

Novakovich gave Venezia the lead after 40 minutes, receiving a pass from Joel Pohjanpalo in the left side of the area, simultaneously making his turn while creating space around his marking defender, then blasting a shot to the far upper corner for the 1-0 lead.

Four minutes later, Ettore Gliozzi put the game on even terms, powering through a pair of Venezia defenders before placing his low strike out of the reach of Venezia keeper Niki Mäenpää.

The hosts were given an opportunity to take the victory when Pisa’s Artur Ionita was shown a second yellow in the 71st minute, but they couldn’t capitalize on the man-advantage, and were forced to settle for a draw.

The result still leaves Venezia in 16th place after six games. They will try to improve their fortunes following the international break when they visit Cagliari on Oct. 1.

Notes

Anthony Fontana didn’t feature for Ascoli on Saturday for their tough 3-1 home loss to Parma.

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