Rome, Aug 19 (IANS) Seven-time defending Serie A champions Juventus came from behind to defeat hosts Chievo Verona 3-2 in Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo’s debut with the Turin football giants, while Napoli overcame hosts Lazio in the opening matchday of the 2018-19 Italian football league campaign.
Winger Federico Bernardeschi scored an injury-time winner for Juventus, who after being put on the early lead by Sami Khedira, trailed 1-2, thanks to goals from Mariusz Stepinski and Emanuele Giaccherini in Verona on Saturday.
An own goal in the 75th minute made it 2-2 before substitute Bernardeschi sealed it for Juventus.
Massimiliano Allegri-coached Juventus appeared to be on their way to a routine win when German midfielder Khedira scored on a close-range shot just three minutes into the first half, reports Efe.
Chievo fended off subsequent scoring chances that could have produced a more lopsided result, including a shot by Ronaldo that went wide, and then drew level seven minutes before first-half stoppage time.
On the play, Polish striker Mariusz Stepinski received a cross from Italian midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini and put the ball home on a header.
Juventus were keen to retake the lead at the start of the second half, but Chievo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino preserved the tie when he saved a long-range shot by Ronaldo.
The hosts then took the lead in the 56th minute when Giaccherini successfully converted a penalty he had won for a foul in the area by Joao Cancelo.
Juventus were unable to draw level until the 75th minute, finally doing so when Chievo’s Mattia Bani scored an own goal.
Croatian forward Mario Mandzukic appeared to score the winner for Juventus five minutes before injury time, but the referee ruled it out for a handball by Ronaldo.
Juventus, however, took the lead for good three minutes into second-half stoppage time when Italian winger Federico Bernardeschi scored off a pass from Brazilian left-back Alex Sandro.
In Rome’s Olympic Stadium, Napoli, coached by Carlo Ancelotti, who replaced Maurizio Sarri over the summer, defeated Lazio despite falling behind 0-1 after Ciro Immobile scored in the 25th minute.
However, they soon reacted and took the lead with goals by Polish striker Arkadiusz Milik and Italian forward Lorenzo Insigne.
After several attempts by both Napoli and Lazio in the first 24 minutes, Immobile connected a long pass from Francesco Acerbi, scoring with a left-footed shot from the centre of the box into the top-left corner.
Ancelotti’s team gradually reacted, scoring just before the half with a shot from close range by Milik, assisted by Jose Callejon from the right.
Napoli kept up the pressure in the second half, scoring their second goal at the hour mark with a brilliant right-footed shot by Insigne from the left of the box that curled into the top-right corner, after an assist by Albanian right-back Elseid Hysaj.
Lazio did not lose hope in the last 20 minutes, though all of their attempts were blocked or missed, including a header by Francesco Acerbi in the 90th minute, which bounced off the left post.
Before the kick-off of both the matches, the teams observed a moment of silence for victims of Tuesday’s bridge collapse in the northern Italian city of Genoa that left 43 dead.