Serie A: Roma pulls level with Juventus; Inter beats Palermo
ROME (AP) — Alessandro Florenzi set up one goal then scored another as Roma pulled level with Juventus atop Serie A with a 2-0 win over Cagliari on Sunday.
Florenzi provided the cross for Mattia Destro's opener 10 minutes in at the Stadio Olimpico then took a pass from Gervinho and found the target himself two minutes later with an angled shot.
Florenzi celebrated by climbing over a barrier into the stands and running up several rows to embrace his 82-year-old grandmother — drawing a yellow card from the referee.
"He'll pay a fine but he's happy to," Roma coach Rudi Garcia said. "This is the beautiful side of football."
Roma and Juventus, which won 1-0 at AC Milan on Saturday, are the only clubs to win their opening three matches.
Prior to this season, the last time Roma won its opening three matches without conceding any goal came in 2007-08.
"The stats are good. We're top on maximum points and we're yet to concede in the league," Garcia said. "It was a good afternoon"
Hellas Verona is two points back in third following a 1-0 win at Torino, where Artur Ionita scored in the 66th and goalkeeper Rafael saved a penalty kick from Omar El Kaddouri in the 87th.
Milan and Udinese are three points behind the leaders.
Udinese edged Napoli 1-0 with a goal from Danilo in the 70th following a poorly defended free kick. It was the second consecutive loss for Napoli, which finished third last season.
Also, Inter Milan drew 1-1 at promoted Palermo.
A defensive error from Nemanja Vidic gifted Paulo Dybala a goal for Palermo just three minutes in and Mateo Kovacic equalized for Inter in the 42nd from the edge of the area.
It's been a nightmare of a start for Vidic in Italy after the former Manchester United standout was shown a red card in his Serie A debut.
Fiorentina won 1-0 at Atalanta with a goal in the 58th from substitute Jasmin Kurtic, who scored with a long diagonal shot that bounced in off the post.
Parma beat Chievo Verona 3-2 with two goals from former Italy forward Antonio Cassano.
Elsewhere, Genoa's Mauricio Pinilla scored in the 87th in a 1-0 win over 10-man Lazio, two minutes after Stefan De Vrij picked up his second yellow card. And Sassuolo and Sampdoria drew 0-0.
In the capital, Garcia rested Francesco Totti following a 5-1 midweek rout of CSKA Moscow in the Champions League but Florenzi, Destro and Gervinho made up for the captain's absence.
It was the first goal this season for the 23-year-old Florenzi, and also the first time his grandmother Aurora came to the Olimpico to watch him.
"I had never done that, not even when I was a kid and could have much more easily," Florenzi told Sky TV at halftime. "This goal is for her. She had told me, 'I'll come to see you only if you come to greet me.' ... It was worth the yellow."
Cagliari, coached by former Roma manager Zdenek Zeman, rarely threatened.
Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi exited late in the second half with an apparent lower left leg problem.
In Verona, Cassano dedicated his performance to teammate Jonathan Biabiany, who is out indefinitely after doctors discovered a heart problem.
Cassano had a heart problem himself during the 2011-12 season, when he fell ill with stroke-like symptoms on the team plane while with Milan and then had surgery to repair a small cardiac malformation.
"I understand what he's going through right now," Cassano said. "We miss him as a player but above all as a teammate."
Cassano was on Italy's World Cup squad but has not been called up by new Azzurri coach Antonio Conte.
"I think the national team chapter is over for me," Cassano said. "It's only fair that other players get a chance. Conte is very good but you run a lot with him — a lot — and I'm not sure that suits me."