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Italian Giants Deliver on Opening Day

With the exception of Inter Milan, whose opening day celebrations evaporated with an inexplicable lapse of concentration from Julio Cesar, Italy's giants looked giant indeed on the first day of the new Serie A season.

Juventus picked up where it left off two seasons ago, scoring three goals in the last two minutes to brush aside Livorno 5-1 at the Stadio Delli Alpi. In Genoa, World Player of the Year favorite Kaka grabbed a brace as AC Milan cruised passed the newly promoted home team, 3-0, Genoa making its first Serie A appearance in more than 12 seasons. Meanwhile, AS Roma looked brilliant for 70 minutes and out of sorts for the last 20 in Palermo, but was nonetheless able to withstand a late flurry from the Sicilians to win 2-0.

Defending champion Inter, which had a terrible preseason that culminated in an Italian Supercup loss to Roma, drew 1-1 with Udinese. The Nerazzurri were cruising until early in the second half when goalkeeper Julio Cesar was dismissed for grabbing a bouncing ball a full yard outside of the penalty area. Just when Inter looked like weathering the storm, Ivan Cordoba deflected a header from a stoppage time free kick into his own goal.

Read the whole story at Associated Press »

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