MILAN — Mauro Icardi ended the longest goalscoring drought of his Inter Milan career with two goals that may have saved the job of coach Frank De Boer.
Inter had lost three successive Serie A matches and De Boer was reportedly on the verge of being fired but Wednesday’s 2-1 victory over Torino has likely given the Dutch manager some respite.
"It was the most difficult match of my career," De Boer said. "I have always been focused on the Torino match. I don’t let myself be influenced by anything.
"I’m not used to losing three matches in a row. Neither as a footballer nor as a coach. But I have always had great pressure to win."
Icardi made a fantastic start to the season, with six goals in seven matches, but had not scored for six games in all competition.
The Argentine forward ended that run in the 35th minute, thanks in part to a mistake by England goalkeeper Joe Hart, who is on loan from Manchester City.
Icardi beat the offside trap to run onto Antonio Candreva’s through ball. Hart rushed out and appeared to save the ball but only succeeded in pushing it onto Icardi and it ricocheted into the back of the net.
Inter gifted Torino the equalizer shortly after the hour when Andrea Belotti flicked on a long ball and Inter defenders Cristian Ansaldi and Jeison Murillo fell over each other, allowing the Italy forward to fire into the far side of the net.
Icardi secured the victory two minutes from time with a stunning strike, carving out space just inside the area before curling into the top left corner.
JUVENTUS 4, SAMPDORIA 1
Juventus bounced back from a shock defeat to AC Milan at the weekend with a convincing win on Wednesday.
The Serie A leader and five-time reigning champion had thrashed Cagliari 4-0 after its only previous league defeat and it appeared as if Sampdoria was in for similar punishment when Juventus went 2-0 up inside nine minutes.
Mario Mandzukic netted his first goal of the season in the fourth minute, heading in Juan Cuadrado’s cross, and Giorgio Chiellini nodded in Miralem Pjanic’s corner shortly after.
Patrik Schick got Sampdoria back into the match in the 57th but Pjanic restored Juve’s two-goal advantage seven minutes later and Chiellini doubled his tally late on.
The match was also Claudio Marchisio’s first in more than six months. The Italy midfielder had been sidelined since he tore his cruciate ligament in April.
Marchisio went off in the 72nd minute to resounding applause from the Juventus Stadium.
SASSUOLO 1, ROMA 3
Edin Dzeko moved to the top of the scoring standings with another double.
Dzeko’s first season was full of disappointment after Roma signed him from Manchester City in August 2015. But the Bosnia and Herzegovina forward has now scored 10 league goals in as many matches this season — two more than he netted in his 31 previous appearances.
"It’s all down to him," Roma coach Luciano Spalletti said. "Sometimes he makes you angry, other times you have to stand up and applaud."
Paolo Cannavaro headed Sassuolo in front in the 12th minute but Dzeko levelled in the 57th with an angled strike into the far corner.
He doubled his tally from the penalty spot in the 75th after being tripped by Pol Lirola.
Radja Nainggolan sealed the win three minutes later, tapping in the rebound after Andrea Consigli could only parry Stephan El Shaarawy’s effort.
The celebratory mood ended shortly before full time when Roma midfielder Alessandro Florenzi was carried off the pitch in tears after appearing to seriously injure his knee.
"We are all upset and it removes the joy at the victory a bit," Spalletti said.
Tests immediately after the match revealed Florenzi’s injury may not be as bad as first thought as he does not appear to have ruptured his cruciate ligament. The Italy international will undergo more tests.
Roma remained second, two points behind Juventus.
NAPOLI 2, EMPOLI 0
Napoli is just two points behind Roma, in third spot, adding more excitement to the eagerly-anticipated match against Juventus on Saturday.
Maurizio Sarri’s side found it tougher than expected against Empoli but eventually broke the deadlock six minutes into the second half when Jose Callejon’s cross was deflected, allowing Dries Mertens to turn in at the far post.
Both goalkeepers made stunning saves before Vlad Chiriches sealed the win eight minutes from time, tapping in Marek Hamsik’s corner at the back post.
Pescara’s match against Atalanta and Fiorentina’s game against Crotone were both temporarily halted because of an earthquake and a waterlogged pitch.
A 5.4-magnitude earthquake struck central Italy about 90 minutes before kickoff and there was a second one, measuring 6.1, a half hour into the match in Pescara.
After several minutes of concern, the match resumed and Atalanta went on to win 1-0.
The match in Florence was suspended in the 18th minute as heavy rain made the pitch unplayable.
Diego Falcinelli gave Crotone a surprise lead shortly after it resumed, approximately 40 minutes later, but Davide Astori ensured it finished 1-1 when he bundled in the equalizer five minutes from time.
Elsewhere, Lazio beat Cagliari 4-1 and Bologna drew 1-1 at Chievo Verona.