Juventus gets 3 points away at Palermo. A mediocre performance is worth a lucky 1-0 and the top of the table retention. The necessity to give Dybala some rest pushed Allegri to select Mario Mandžukić up front with Higuain on a 2 striker experiment that did not pan out as good as he was hoping for. Mandžukić was the most dangerous player on the pitch, provided that two harmless shots can be labeled as danger. He also saw a goal disallowed following to a blatant offside. When Rugani came out injured, Juventus switched to an unusual 4-3-3 forcing him to gravitate on the left. The former Bayern star did overall fare sufficiently without impressing, but more worryingly did not matched up well with the Argentinian striker. It was as if they two were playing for two different teams. Though it was only the first time they played together the manager will probably think twice before combining them again.
Marko Pjaca was an unused substitute. The former Dinamo star was initially reported as a likely starter following to the news about Dybala about to miss the match then the manager eventually opted for the most established players. We will see if he gets more minutes in Zagreb this Tuesday when Juventus face Dinamo in Champions League.
Josip Posavec was not at fault for the conceded goal. A decisive and unpredictable deflection deceived him. Other than that, he made two safe saves on Mandžukić, a good deflection on Lemina, though his most impressive display was on Higuain who stopped a long lob pass to target the goal. The former Inter goalkeeper anticipated what was going to happen and blocked the Argentinian with courage to show good rapidity skills and more importantly understanding of the game.
La Gazzetta dello sport ratings: Mandžukić: 5,5 “He’s the one up front with the worst movements yet the most dangerous. There is no mutual understanding with Higuain.” Posavec 7 (MOTM): “What a good young goalie. 3 remarkable interventions. He is the owner of the box. Only surrenders to his teammate Goldaniga.”
Inter lost 2 points at home following their 1-1 home draw versus Bologna on Sunday. Ivan Perišić was a starter for the nerazzurri and went the distance. The former Wolsburg star was one of the most active players for the entire match and showed his presence in both sides of the field. Having already missed one chance in the first half, the Croatian winger scored the equalizer in the first half. Perišić did attack with more consistency in the second half creating chance after chance for his teammates and almost scored a brace with a header. His form kept on as in the 91 minute he made himself available on a throw in and crossed for Icardi who incredibly missed the ball. With only 10 seconds to go another one of his crosses hit Ranocchia for a sitter, though the defender headed it out for everyone’s desperation. A great performance for Ivan who definitely played his best match of the season and topped the level he is used to with the national team.
Ivan Perišić goal
Marcelo Brozović missed his third match in a row following a disciplinary suspension. Geoffrey Kongdobia, who played due to Joao Mario’s unavailability, was subbed off in the 29 minute and Ronald De Boer admitted that the first replacement should have been Brozović had he not been suspended. However he insisted that the ban was the correct decision as all players must respect internal rules. “I will speak with him tomorrow” the dutch manager said. “He needs to show me that his attitude has changed. It’s not sure that he will be reinstated for the Europa league match. We will see,” his final words.
La Gazzetta dello sport ratings:Ivan Perišić 7 “Mostly for his goal. When Candreva is subbed he starts to cross in and almost manages two assists.”
Fiorentina and Milan collected one point each following a scoreless draw on Sunday night. Hrvoje Milić, Milan Badelj and Nikola Kalinić were all selected in the starting eleven for la viola. The former Hajduk fullback was free from defensive duties, as Paulo Sousa accepted a 3-vs-3 in defense vs Milan forwards. Nonethelessis first half is not impressive and his passing questionable. Gets yellow carded in the second half and risks a subsequent red a couple times, but his offensive support grows with time. Milan Badelj turned on the light when assisted Ilicic to start the play that resulted in a penalty that the same Slovenian missed. The former Homburg star also had a good chance from outside the box but his shot missed the top bar by a mile. Also managed to save almost on the goal line on Suso, after he himself had lost a simple ball in the middle. His passing was less precise than usual and was less present and solid than Sanchez. Came out in the 73 minute.
Nikola Kalinić fought the whole night with Paletta and his runs covered the whole attacking front to create spaces for his teammates. The former Dnipro star worked a lot for the team but in terms of conclusions he was only there twice. Missed the ball the first time on the play that was worth the penalty, then tests Donnarumma with his left foot but his shot turned out to be too weak. Mario Pašalić was an unused substitute for Montella.
La Gazzetta dello sport ratings: Hrvoje Milić 6,5 “Starts well, then not much for 30 minutes. Better in the second half.”
Milan Badelj 5,5 “Maybe a bit touched having almost moved to AC Milan this summer. Good pass for Ilicic but lost a couple balls he shouldn’t have.”
Nikola Kalinić 5,5 “If he wasn’t a striker could be a distance runner: runs a lot around Milan defense in search of the right hole to exploit. Rarely manages to.”
Napoli beat Chievo 2-0 on Saturday to remain unbeaten in the season. Ivan Strinić was an unused substitute. Marko Rog sat on the bench the whole evening and has yet to play a single minute in the season. For those who do not know who Napoli’s manager is, “tactic maniac” is the description that best fits in. He aims at having his players fully integrated into his game play before giving them a run. Only two out of six new summer acquisitions have been given playing time so far at Napoli. Milik, who was someway forced in due to the lack of form that Gabbiadini had shown before scoring on Saturday and Zielinski who, not by chance, already played with the manager at Empoli two years ago and at such was immediately deemed ready. Maksimović, Tonelli, Giaccherini and Rog have all been sitting on the bench while training hard to familiarize with the manager demands. Maurizio Sarri was asked what the current situation is with the Croatian international as everyone are curious to understand what he can bring to the team. “Rog did first train with us on the 9th of September” The former Empoli manager said. “He is still in the process of understanding where he is now and how the team plays. It’s too early to judge him. It would be as if we judged a new arrival on the 20th of July” he added. “I hope to be able to field him after the next international break’ his conclusion.
Udinese lost 1-0 to Sassuolo. Stipe Perica came on in 62 minute to help the team equalize. Sassuolo was defending so Iachini decided to substitute an evanescent Penaranda with the young Croatian. Again a positive performance where substance meets pragmatism for the former Zadar striker. Almost scored his third of the season but his shot was deflected before hitting the top bar. Though not equipped with the potential talent that Penaranda has, nor the experience of Therau or the power of Zapata, Perica once again showed that he can be relied on and at the moment clearly deserves more minutes that he is being given. Andrija Balić watched the match from the bench.
La Gazzetta dello sport ratings: Stipe Perica 7 (MOTM) “Forces Sassuolo to defend with his runs. Almost causes an own goal and creates a good chance for Zapata. Changes the match. He is a lion.”
Ante Budimir to start for Sampdoria tonight @ Cagliari.
Ante Rebic played the final thirty minutes for Eintracht Frankfurt in their exciting 3-3 draw with Hertha Berlin on Saturday. Rebic assisted on Frankfurt’s 90th minute equalizer and picked up a yellow card in the 85th minute. Frankfurt have picked up ten points in their first five matches, good enough for a tie for 4th in the Bundesliga.
Andrej Kramaric scored for Hoffenheim in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Schalke. Kramaric got on the board in the 17th minute, heading home a cross into the bottom right corner of the net. Hoffenheim have seven points after five matches, putting them safely mid-table.
Alen Halilovic was a healthy scratch for Hamburg as they fell 1-0 at Freiburg on Saturday. Hamburg have just one point after five points and have already dug themselves a hole they must get out in order to remain in the Bundesliga for another year.
Tin Jedvaj was not in the squad for Bayer Leverkeusen on Saturday as they won 3-2 against thanks to a 90th minute Chicharito goal. Bayer have been off to a slow start to the year, and sit 10th in the Bundesliga with seven points in five matches. They will face Danijel Subasic and AS Monaco midweek in the Champions League.
Danijel Subasic was in net on Saturday as Monaco won 2-1 at home against Angers. Subasic made four solid saves and was not at fault for Angers’ goal. Monaco are 2nd in Ligue 1 with 16 points through 7 matches.
Save: 0:35, 0:48, Goal: 1:25, Save: 2:50
Vedran Corluka was subbed off at halftime as Lokomotiv fell 1-0 at Rostov on Saturday. Corluka was subbed off after picking up an injury in the first half and is questionable for Croatia’s upcoming fixtures. Lokomotiv have only 7 points from eight matches and are only one point out of the relegation zone.
Domagoj Vida was given the captain’s armband for the first time as Dynamo Kyiv won 4-0 at Olimpik Donetsk on Saturday. Kyiv has 19 points in nine matches, good for third in the Ukrainian Premier League.
It was a mediocre week in Madrid for Real as Los Blancos dropped their first points of the season, drawing Villareal 1-1 on Wednesday and duplicating the result on Saturday with a 2-2 draw at Las Palmas. Mateo Kovačić played the full match versus Villareal while Luka Modrić got the day off and Modrić played 90 minutes against Las Palmas while Kovačić remained on the bench. With the two draws, Real Madrid remain in first place in La Liga, but now have Barcelona only one point behind.
Ivan Rakitić was given the day off Saturday as Barcelona spanked Sporting Gijon 5-0. The win puts Barcelona back within striking range of leaders Real Madrid with Champions League matches resuming this week. Sporting Gijon’s Duje Čop got the start but was subbed off after 68 minutes. Šime Vrsaljko rode the bench on Sunday as Atletico Madrid skimmed by Deportivo 1-0. With the win, Atletico sit two points behind Real Madrid.
Dejan Lovren sat out Liverpool’s 5-1 victory over Hull City Saturday due to a bug he picked up earlier in the week. It’s nothing serious and Lovren should return to the squad later this week. With the win, Liverpool sit in fourth place; with 13 points through the first six matches of the season.
Bayer Leverkusen at Monaco(Champions League), Real Madrid at Borussia Dortmund(Champions League), Juventus at Dinamo Zagreb(Champions League),
Dynamo Kyiv at Beşiktaş(Champions League), Benfica at Napoli(Champions League), Barcelona at Borussia Mönchengladbach(Champions League), Bayern München at Atlético Madrid(Champions League),
Internazionale at Sparta Praha, Qarabağ at Fiorentina,
Liverpool at Swansea City, Monaco at Metz, Hamburger SV at Hertha BSC, Hoffenheim at Ingolstadt, Frankfurt at Freiburg, Borussia Dortmund at Bayer Leverkusen, Lazio at Udinese, Arsenal Tula at Lokomotiv Moskva
Juventus at Empoli, Napoli at Atalanta, Fiorentina at Torino, Internazionale at Roma, Atlético Madrid at Valencia, Eibar at Real Madrid, Barcelona at Celta de Vigo, Zirka at Dynamo Kyiv
~Ante Kvartuč reporting from sunny Southern California, Zach Gilfix reporting from Minneapolis, MN and Salvatore Cagnazzi reporting from Italy