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Serie A Round 4 Review: Milan, Juventus Get Critical Wins

Milan topped Palermo in a five-goal thriller, while Juventus finally got its first win of the season.

Paul Pogba scored from the penalty spot as Juventus picked up its first win of the season Sunday.
Paul Pogba scored from the penalty spot as Juventus picked up its first win of the season Sunday.
Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

It took four matches, but the four-time reigning champions are finally in the win column.

Juventus topped Genoa 2-0, but it was not an overwhelming victory. A few fortunate bounces and a Genoa red card helped propel the Bianconeri to victory.

Elsewhere, Milan won its second match of the season, topping Palermo for three important points following a loss to Inter. Milan is slowly climbing the table, cracking the top 10. The Rossoneri is now within three points of the top three.

Player of the Round: Carlos Bacca, Milan

Bacca was a menace in the attacking third for Milan against Palermo. The Colombian scored Milan's first and third goals, helping his new club overcome two equalizers from Palermo to get the 3-2 win. Bacca now has three goals in four matches.

Serie A Power Rankings, Round 4

1) Inter

Round 3 Ranking: 2nd; Round 4: Defeated Chievo 1-0

Round 5: vs. Verona, Wednesday, Sept. 23

Inter's spectacular start to the season continues. Roberto Mancini's men have been tested early and often, but they still have four victories in four matches. Inter is improving, as well. Milan needed late goals against Atalanta and Carpi to seal victory, but the performances against Milan and Chievo, while not dominant, have been better.

2) Fiorentina

Round 3 Ranking: 3rd; Round 4: Defeated Carpi 1-0

Round 5: vs. Bologna, Wednesday, Sept. 23

Fiorentina dominated possession against Carpi, but the Viola had to hold on after Khouma Babacar's 35th-minute goal against the Serie B champions. It may not have been overly-convincing (Carpi outshot Fiorentina 12-8), but Fiorentina picked up its third win in four matches. It should be four in five after Wednesday's match against Bologna.

3) Roma

Round 3 Ranking: 1st; Round 4: Drew 2-2 vs. Sassuolo

Round 5: at Sampdoria, Wednesday, Sept. 23

Roma nearly won the match late, but the Giallorossi still had to come from behind twice to salvage a point against Sassuolo. The positive for Roma was Francesco Totti's first-half goal, the 300th of his career. Roma also had to play this game without Wojciech Szczesny, who dislocated his finger in Roma's most important game of the week: a 1-1 draw against Barcelona in the Champions League.

4) Torino

Round 3 Ranking: 5th; Round 4: Defeated Sampdoria 2-0

Round 5: at Chievo, Wednesday, Sept. 23

It has been a long time since Torino was the hot team in Turin. Juventus finally won this weekend, but Torino topped Sampdoria in impressive fashion Sunday. Fabio Quagliarella scored twice in seven minutes in the first to bury the Blucerchiati, allowing Torino to hold on to second place in the league.

5) Milan

Round 3 Ranking: 6th; Round 4: Defeated Palermo 3-2

Round 5: at Udinese, Tuesday, Sept. 22

It took a couple of rebuttals after Palermo equalizers, but Milan was able to fight off the Eagles' challenge and earn all three points at the San Siro. Bacca was the hero, but Milan also has reason to be excited about the play of Davide Calabria. The 18-year-old fullback stepped in for Ignazio Abate early in the first half and immediately helped create a goal and held down the right flank defensively.

6) Sampdoria

Round 3 Ranking: 4th; Round 4: Lost to Torino 2-0

Round 5: vs. Roma, Wednesday, Sept. 23

Sampdoria suffered its first loss of the season Sunday, as Torino struck twice in seven minutes to sink il Doria. There will be no rest for the weary, either. Sampdoria's first midweek match of the season is against Roma Wednesday.

7) Sassuolo

Round 3 Ranking: 8th; Round 4: Drew 2-2 at Roma

Round 5: at Palermo, Wednesday, Sept. 23

For as long as it keeps getting results, Sassuolo will be described in the Serie A review as feisty, a tough side and a potential dark horse in the league. Gregoire Defrel and Matteo Politano scored first-half goals. Even though he did not score, Antonio Floro Flores continued his excellent start to the season, bagging the assist on Politano's goal. Sassuolo remains unbeaten, joining only Inter, Torino and Roma as unbeaten.

8) Napoli

Round 3 Ranking: 11th; Round 4: Defeated Lazio 5-0

Round 5: at Carpi, Wednesday, Sept. 23

After three questionable performances, Napoli finally unleashed fury, destroying Lazio for its first win of the season. Gonzalo Higuain netted two goals, doubling his season total to four. Higuain and Quagliarella both jumped into a tie for second in the league in goals, sitting behind only Sampdoria's Citadin Eder.

9) Juventus

Round 3 Ranking: 10th; Round 4: Defeated Genoa 2-0

Round 5: vs. Frosinone, Wednesday, Sept. 23

An own goal and a penalty kick. That is how Juventus finally picked up its first win of the season. Juventus also benefitted from a Genoa red card in the 43rd minute. It was a win, but it was far from a convincing win. Juventus will need to pummel Frosinone to instill some confidence.

10) Chievo

Round 3 Ranking: 9th; Round 4: Lost to Inter 1-0

Round 5: vs. Torino, Wednesday, Sept. 23

Chievo played well against Inter, despite suffering its first loss of the season. Other than Mauro Icardi's goal late in the first half, Inter was not able to do much against the Flying Donkeys. Chievo only allowed Inter to put three shots on target, and it made 27 tackles. Another tough test awaits in the next round, as Chievo faces unbeaten Torino.

11) Lazio

Round 3 Ranking: 7th; Round 4: Lost to Napoli 5-0

Round 5: vs. Genoa, Wednesday, Sept. 23

Not much to say about this. Lazio got demolished by Napoli. It will need to take advantage of a questionable Genoa side Wednesday.

12) Empoli

Round 3 Ranking: 15th; Round 4: Defeated Udinese 2-1

Round 5: vs. Atalanta, Thursday, Sept. 24

Leave it to longtime Serie A veteran Massimo Maccarone to play the role of hero for Empoli in its first win of the season. The 36-year-old forward buried a goal in the 92nd minute to give the Azzurri their first victory, after a couple impressive showings. Unsurprisingly, Riccardo Saponara played the ball in for Maccarone on the winning goal. The 23-year-old midfielder now has three goals and two assists this season.

13) Atalanta

Round 3 Ranking: 13th; Round 4: Drew 1-1 vs. Verona

Round 5: at Empoli, Thursday, Sept. 24

A weird ending to the Atalanta-Verona match resulted in Atalanta failing to hold on to all three points. Maximiliano Moralez scored in the 89th minute, but several minutes of stoppage time ensued, and Verona found the late, late equalizer. Atalanta could have found itself in the top eight in the table with a win.

14) Verona

Round 3 Ranking: 14th; Round 4: Drew 1-1 at Atalanta

Round 5: at Inter, Wednesday, Sept. 23

After conceding in the 89th minute, Verona found itself heading for its second loss of the season. Instead, Eros Pisano scored an equalizer seven minutes into stoppage time to secure a third draw this season for Verona.

15) Palermo

Round 3 Ranking: 12th; Round 4: Lost to Milan 3-2

Round 5: vs. Sassuolo, Wednesday, Sept. 23

Oscar Hiljemark gave Mattia De Sciglio a lot of trouble Saturday night, but Palermo could not hold on against Milan. Hiljemark equalized twice for the Rosanero, but the visitors could not contain Bacca, who found the winner about 20 minutes from time. Palermo will need to put in a similar performance to trouble Sassuolo Wednesday.

16) Bologna

Round 3 Ranking: 19th; Round 4: Defeated Frosinone 1-0

Round 5: at Fiorentina, Wednesday, Sept. 23

Anthony Mounier scored in the 27th minute, and Bologna was able to hold on against Frosinone. However, the struggling Serie A debutants still shot 20 times, putting six shots on target compared to Bologna's two. It was not a great showing from Bologna, but it was a win, nonetheless.

17) Genoa

Round 3 Ranking: 16th; Round 4: Lost to Juventus 2-0

Round 5: at Lazio, Wednesday, Sept. 23

Genoa was unfortunate on the two goals it gave up against Juventus. The Griffins were never likely to win, but it was not an overwhelming showing from the four-time reigning champions. Genoa held its own, even after Armando Izzo's red card in the 43rd minute.

18) Udinese

Round 3 Ranking: 17th; Round 4: Lost to Empoli 2-1

Round 5: vs. Milan, Tuesday, Sept. 22

Duvan Zapata scored in the 19th minute to give Udinese the lead, but the Zebras could not hang on. Empoli equalized in the 73rd minute before Maccarone netted the winner in the 92nd minute to push Udinese into the relegation zone. Remember the first week of the season, when Udinese beat Juventus? It enters Tuesday's match against Milan on the back of three consecutive losses.

19) Carpi

Round 3 Ranking: 18th; Round 4: Lost to Fiorentina 1-0

Round 5: vs. Napoli, Wednesday, Sept. 23

Carpi surprisingly gave Fiorentina some trouble Sunday. The Serie B champions will find it hard to move off one point soon, however. Napoli is up next, and after seeing the Partenopei put five goals in on Lazio, Carpi could be in for a long night Wednesday.

20) Frosinone

Round 3 Ranking: 20th; Round 4: Lost to Bologna 1-0

Round 5: at Juventus, Wednesday, Sept. 23

Close your eyes and look away. After finally getting a win, Juventus is likely going to destroy Frosinone, despite the Serie B runner-up's decent showing in defeat against Bologna.