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Milan Sides Lay Down Marker As Serie A Begins

Academy product Patrick Cutrone was the standout performer in an AC Milan team chock-full of expensive summer signings as his goal and assist helped the ambitious Rossoneri thrash 10-man Crotone 3-0 in Serie A on Sunday night.

The match at Stadio Ezio Scida was an opportunity for Milan fans — especially those who missed last week’s 6-0 demolition of Shkendija in the Europa League playoffs — to get a first glimpse of the likes of Leonardo Bonucci, Hakan Calhanoglu and Andre Silva, who have all signed up for a bold new era at San Siro.

However Silva, the striker purchased at a premium from Porto in June, did not start, with 19-year-old Cutrone preferred. Any disappointment among travelling supporters faded when, after Franck Kessie opened the scoring from the penalty spot, Cutrone headed his first league goal before deftly setting up Suso.

Crotone’s task was made all the more difficult by the fact they lost centre-back Federico Ceccherini in the incident that allowed Kessie to notch from the spot.

The scoreline is the same one by which reigning champions Juventus beat Cagliari in Saturday’s curtain-raiser and Milan will hope their determination to win a first Scudetto since 2011 has been effectively conveyed.

Inter Milan are also hoping to return to former glories under Chinese owners and Mauro Icardi got them off to a strong start with a brace in their 3-0 home victory over Fiorentina.

The Argentina forward boosted Luciano Spalletti’s Inter into an early lead from the penalty spot and turned Ivan Perisic’s assist home in the 15th minute. In the second half Perisic — a reported target for Manchester United — turned scorer to rubber-stamp the outcome.

Aleksandar Kolarov ensured Eusebio Di Francesco made a winning start to life as Roma’s new head coach by firing the Giallorossi to a 1-0 victory at Atalanta.

The summer signing from Manchester City steered home a 31st-minute free kick that secured all three points for last season’s runners-up.

Atalanta made an unexpected run to fourth place — and Europa League football — last term but the Bergamo outfit could not avoid defeat as substitute Josip Ilicic failed to salvage a point when he slammed the ball against a post with three minutes remaining.

Francesco Totti, who retired at the end of the 2016-17 campaign following 24 years as a Roma striker, watched from the stands in his new role as a director.

In-demand striker Andrea Belotti was denied a second-half winner by the video assistant referee as Torino had to settle for a 1-1 draw at Bologna.

Federico Di Francesco fired the Rossoblu ahead before Adem Ljajic replied thanks largely to a howler from home goalkeeper Antonio Mirante.

Newly-promoted SPAL took a point from their trip to Lazio, with Federico Viviani hitting a post for the Ferrara club in a goalless draw, while fellow new arrivals Benevento went down 2-1 at Sampdoria as Fabio Quagliarella’s brace cancelled out Amato Ciciretti’s 15th-minute effort.

Valter Birsa’s sumptuous strike clinched Chievo the points from a 2-1 success at Udinese, where Cyril Thereau had responded to Roberto Inglese’s opener.

Elsewhere, Sassuolo hosted Genoa in a goalless draw.

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