Mario Balotelli scored his first goal for new club Brescia but the promoted northerners fell to a 2-1 defeat to Napoli yesterday as all the Italian teams in Europe warmed up with wins for next week’s action.
Roma got back to winning ways beating Lecce 1-0 thanks to an Edin Dzeko goal, with city rivals Lazio also sealing all three points with a 4-0 hammering of Genoa.
Italian international Balotelli headed in after 67 minutes in his second match for his hometown club having missed four games because of a ban he incurred with former side Marseille.
First-half goals from Dries Mertens and Kostas Manolas ensured Napoli took all three points after their midweek loss to Cagliari, to boost confidence ahead of their Champions League trip to Belgian club Genk.
Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli stay fourth with 12 points from six games, six behind league leaders Inter Milan who beat Sampdoria 3-1 on Saturday, before they play Barcelona in Europe.
Inter have a maximum 18 points from six games — two ahead of Juve — after winning their first six league matches for the first time since the 1966-67 season.
Champions Juventus beat SPAL 2-0 to stay second with Atalanta third — a point ahead of Napoli — after thrashing Sassuolo 4-1 on Saturday.
Juve play Bayer Leverkusen tomorrow with Atalanta’s first ever Champions League home game against Shakhtar Donetsk.
Roma are fifth, a point behind Napoli, with Lazio a further point back in sixth.
“Suffering is natural in these games if you don’t kill it off with 3-0 and then concede a goal, it all opens up again,” Ancelotti told DAZN.
“But all in all I’m satisfied.
“We played an excellent first half, the second was less impressive, but it was very hot and the players were tired.”
Balotelli carried his daughter Pia, who lives in Naples with her mother and was decked out in the Napoli colours, onto the pitch at the San Paolo Stadium.
Ancelotti’s side went ahead after 13 minutes. Mertens connected with a Jose Callejon cross to blast in his 114th goal in a Napoli jersey — one shy of Argentine legend Diego Maradona’s total from 1984 to 1991. Slovak Marek Hamsik leads both with 121.
Manolas thought he had scored on six minutes later but the goal was ruled out after a VAR review. The Greek defender did head in just before the break off a Mertens corner.
Then in a nervy final half hour Balotelli got his head to a Sandro Tonali corner to serve notice to Italy coach Roberto Mancini of his ambitions to play Euro 2020.
It was his first goal in Italy in four years but Balotelli’s losing streak to Napoli stretched to eight games — having never won while playing for both Milan clubs, Manchester City, Nice and now Brescia.
Elsewhere, both Roman clubs also warmed up for their Europa League games next week with wins after Serie A losses during the week.
Dzeko’s header, his fourth goal in six games, made the difference against promoted Lecce, whose goalkeeper saved an Aleksandar Kolarov penalty.
Lazio eased past Genoa largely thanks to Ciro Immobile, who scored the final goal and set up another, with Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Stefan Radu and Felipe Caicedo also on target.