Massimo Donati scored the only goal of the game as Bari stunned Juventus 1-0 in front of 60,000 fans in the San Nicola stadium on Sunday. There were no such problems for AC Milan at the San Siro, watched by new signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, as they trounced promoted Lecce 4-0.
Bari fully deserved their victory as they dominated throughout against a much-changed Juve side with the Turin giants suffering their first season-opening defeat in 28 years. Coming off their worst ever season, Juve came into this game with a new coach, Luigi Del Neri, and having spent big in the off-season on nine new players.
But with all those changes the visitors put in a disjointed performance in which they were always second best, with new signings Milos Krasic and Simone Pepe failing to shine and being hauled off at half-time. And it does not bode well either for Italy, who begin their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying campaign next week, as Juve fielded seven Italy internationals and nine Italians in their starting line-up.
Despite Juve losing on the opening day of the season for the first time since 1982, Del Neri was not too downhearted. "We had some difficulties but we also created chances," he said. "We tried to do our best and we didn't give too much away. We were beaten by a wonder strike from Donati. We tried to equalise right up until the 92nd minute so I was happy with the lads' attitude."
As for Juve's title chances, Del Neri was quick to insist that's not his aim. "I never said we must chase Inter Milan, we must simply improve and quickly get back on track, it's only the first game."
The hosts had a great chance to take the lead on 22 minutes after they carved open the Juve defence. Algeria forward Abdelkader Ghezzal played a one-two with Paulo Barreto and cut in from the left to home in one-on-one with Marco Storari but the goalkeeper made himself big and smothered the chance at his near post. Bari earned a deserved lead two minutes before the break as Claudio Marchisio got the wrong side of Donati who turned him and had time and space to slam a left-footed shot from 20 yards in off the far post.
Flying Honduras winger Edgar Alvarez wasted a glorious opportunity to double the lead when clean through on Storari, failing to shoot first time and allowing defenders to get back and snuff out the danger. Barreto then latched onto a ball over the top and rounded Storari but his shot from a tight angle was cleared off the line by the back-tracking Giorgio Chiellini.
Brazilian forward Pato was unstoppable for Milan, grabbing a brace. He opened the scoring on 16 minutes with an angled drive from the right across goalkeeper Antonio Rosati. And after Thiago Silva had prodded home following a goalmouth scramble, Pato beat the offside trap to run onto Ronaldinho's pass, round Rosati and slot home. Veteran striker Filippo Inzaghi rounded off the scoring in the final minute with a typical predator's strike, slotting through Rosati's legs.
Pato said Milan will only get better with Ibrahimovic. "With Ibra, who's a great player, we're doing to be really strong and we can aim high," he said. "I'm delighted with this victory and my two goals but most of all with our performance."
Sampdoria bounced back from the disappointment of UEFA Champions League elimination during the week to beat Lazio 2-0 at home. Antonio Cassano opened the scoring with a penalty before Stefano Guberti lobbed the second into an empty net. Ten-man Fiorentina held Napoli to a 1-1 home draw as Gaetano D'Agostino equalised Edinson Cavani's opener for the visitors.
On Saturday, AS Roma were held to a 0-0 home draw by promoted Cesena while Genoa won 1-0 at Udinese. Champions Inter Milan play away to Bologna today.