The Malta Independent 16 April 2024, Tuesday
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Lukaku and Dybala play together for first time and help Roma crush Empoli 7-0

Associated Press Monday, 18 September 2023, 05:55 Last update: about 8 months ago

Romelu Lukaku and Paulo Dybala looked a powerful partnership in their first match together as they helped Roma crush newly promoted Empoli 7-0 in Serie A on Sunday.

Dybala netted twice and Lukaku scored his first goal in his second match since joining from Chelsea. Renato Sanches, Bryan Cristante and Gianluca Mancini and an own-goal from Alberto Grassi secured Roma’s first win of the season in style.

Dybala had missed Roma’s last match against Milan — which was Lukaku’s debut — through injury.

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Empoli has now lost all four of its opening matches without scoring a goal.

Jose Mourinho’s Roma got off to the best possible start when it was awarded a penalty almost immediately following a blatant handball by Empoli defender Sebastian Walukiewicz. Dybala struck it powerfully into the top left corner to give his side the lead with less than two minutes on the clock.

Renato Sanches headed in a cross from fellow new signing Rasmus Kristensen six minutes later for his first goal for Roma and the home side extended its lead further when Grassi deflected in Cristante's strike following good work from Lukaku.

Dybala doubled his tally 10 minutes after the break and he also struck the crossbar moments later.

Cristante ensured he got on the scoresheet in the 80th after an assist from Andrea Belotti, who also set up Lukaku with a delightful through ball two minutes later.

Mancini then headed home from close range after Cristante flicked on a corner.

STUNNING STRIKE

Giacomo Bonaventura scored a stunning goal against his hometown club to help Fiorentina beat Atalanta 3-2.

Fiorentina was trailing to Teun Koopmeiners' strike when Nicolás González nodded down a long ball into the box and Bonaventura controlled it with his boot before turning and volleying into the far side of the net in one marvelous move.

Bonaventura, who progressed through the ranks at Atalanta before leaving in 2014 for AC Milan, celebrated wildly.

And Fiorentina turned the match around completely on the stroke of halftime when Lucas Martínez Quarta headed in Alfred Duncan’s cross.

Ademola Lookman equalized eight minutes after the break with a fine strike but substitute Christian Kouamé scored what was to prove the winner in the 76th following some poor defending by Atalanta.

BEST STARTS

Frosinone fought back from two goals down to beat Sassuolo 4-2 and record its best-ever start to a Serie A season.

Former Frosinone forward Andrea Pinamonti's brace had put the visitors 2-0 up in the 24th minute but Walid Cheddira won and converted a penalty in first-half stoppages to get his side back into the match.

Luca Mazzitelli netted twice in six minutes in the second half and Pol Lirola sealed the match against his old club.

Frosinone, which also hit the woodwork twice, has seven points from its opening four matches.

Lecce has a point more after matching its best start to a season with a 1-1 draw at Monza, despite playing most of the second half with 10 men.

Lecce took the lead in the third minute through Nikola Krstović's penalty but Andrea Colpani leveled 20 minutes later and the visitors’ chances of maintaining their unbeaten start to the season appeared to diminish when defender Federico Baschirotto was shown a straight red card for a foul on Monza midfielder Leonardo Colombo just 10 minutes after the break.

Monza had a goal disallowed before it was also reduced to 10 men, with five minutes remaining, after Luca Caldirola received a second yellow card.

Claudio Ranieri’s Cagliari and Udinese are still searching for their first wins after they played out a 0-0 draw.

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