AAP Soccer

Conte’s Inter sole leaders in Serie A

By AAP Newswire

Inter Milan are already displaying the same grit, energy and determination that have been the hallmark of Antonio Conte's teams just three rounds into Italy's Serie A.

The Nerazzurri overcame a strong performance by 10-man Udinese for a 1-0 win on Saturday to extend their perfect start and establish a two-point lead over eight-time defending champions Juventus atop the standings.

"We're taking our own path," Conte said. "We're not following anyone."

Inter midfielder Stefano Sensi scored with a difficult, diving header shortly after Rodrigo De Paul was sent off for slapping Antonio Candreva.

After a year off, Conte has picked picked up right where he left off and ran up and down the sideline, gesticulating and urging his team on for the full 90 minutes.

"We need to fight for every match," Conte said.

"Today was a very, very difficult match. Udinese stayed in it until the end. We could have been a bit more decisive."

Earlier in the day, Maurizio Sarri had a disappointing touchline debut with Juventus in a goalless match at Fiorentina as the Bianconeri dropped their first points while Napoli accounted for Sampdoria 2-0.

At the San Siro, the referee needed help from the VAR to determine De Paul's red card, although it should be noted that Candreva appeared to initiate the argument by waving his finger in De Paul's face.

Ten minutes after De Paul was sent off, Sensi crouched down to redirect a cross from Diego Godin with a defender draped all over him.

Inter threatened for a second goal when newly signed Alexis Sanchez came on at the end against one of his former clubs.

Franck Ribery, Federico Chiesa and Gaetano Castrovilli created numerous chances for Fiorentina but they couldn't quite finish them off against Juve.

Sarri, who had watched his side's opening two matches from home with pneumonia, had to battle with the heat at the Artemio Franchi Stadium with cooling breaks required for the players midway through each half.

"It was a very complicated situation," Sarri said.

"We did well in terms of character to get a point out of it... Playing mid-afternoon in Florence when it's realistically still summer is tough for everyone."

Dries Mertens scored both goal for Napoli and also hit the underside of the crossbar to inflict a third-straight loss on Sampdoria.