MILAN — Alexis Sanchez scored on his first start but was also sent off as Inter Milan won 3-1 at Sampdoria on Saturday to maintain its perfect opening to the Serie A season.
Sanchez was involved in Stefano Sensi’s goal before getting on the scoresheet himself. However, the Chile forward was sent off at the start of the second half after receiving a second yellow card for simulation.
Jakub Jankto got one back for Sampdoria but Roberto Gagliardini restored Inter’s two-goal advantage.
"This key moment (the sending-off) could have destroyed any other side, but the lads kept up the fight and managed to find a balance again after some changes were made," Inter coach Antonio Conte said.
"We were dominating the game and everything changed in an instant. There was a risk that the lads would collapse, but they stuck to the task and showed that we’re on the right path in terms of our mentality."
It was Inter’s sixth win from the opening six matches and the perfect way to head into a crucial week.
Conte’s side visits Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday before hosting one of his former teams, eight-time defending champion Juventus four days later.
Inter dominated from the start and took the lead in the 20th minute when Sensi’s snapshot was deflected into the bottom corner.
Two minutes later Sanchez tapped in Sensi’s wayward effort. It was his first goal for Inter since joining on loan from Manchester United in August.
Sampdoria was offered a way back when Sanchez was ordered off after diving in the penalty area in the opening minute of the second half.
And it reduced the deficit eight minutes later when Jankto fired into the bottom corner.
However, its hopes were swiftly dashed in the 61st as Gagliardini’s initial effort was saved by Samp goalkeeper Emil Audero but he tapped in the rebound.
Juventus eased to a 2-0 win over Spal as Gianluigi Buffon made Italian soccer history.
Miralem Pjanic and Cristiano Ronaldo scored and it would have been worse for Spal without goalkeeper Etrit Berisha keeping the Bianconeri at bay.
At the other end, Buffon was appearing in his 903rd club game as he surpassed Paolo Maldini’s record for an Italian player. With six more appearances, Buffon can break Maldini’s mark for most games played in Serie A.
He was barely called into action on Saturday and his opposite number was certainly the busier keeper.
Berisha pulled off an extraordinary save to keep out Aaron Ramsey’s header from point-blank range in the 43rd minute but Juventus broke the deadlock two minutes later.
Berisha could only push Blaise Matuidi’s cross away and Sami Khedira knocked it down for Pjanic, whose effort was deflected into the top corner.
Ronaldo was denied on several occasions but finally got his goal in the 78th when he powerfully headed in a delightful cross from Paulo Dybala.
It was Ronaldo’s third goal in his five Serie A matches this season.
Juventus has five wins from six matches. The result will help Juve’s confidence ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League match at home to Bayer Leverkusen.
GOMEZ LEADS ATALANTA OVER SASSUOLO
Alejandro "Papu" Gomez scored twice, including a stunning solo effort, to set Atalanta up for a 4-1 win at Sassuolo.
Gomez scored his first in the sixth minute. He picked up the ball in midfield and shrugged off a tackle before threading the ball through the legs of Sassuolo defender Jeremy Toljan, racing into the penalty area and firing into the roof of the net.
Gomez doubled his tally either side of goals from Robin Gosens and Duvan Zapata as the match was all but decided by halftime.
Gregoire Defrel netted a consolation for Sassuolo after the break.
Atalanta hosts Shakhtar Donetsk in its first ever home match in the Champions League on Tuesday, although it is hosting its European matches at San Siro this season.