A debut double from 36-year-old Luca Toni gave Hellas Verona a surprise 2-1 triumph over AC Milan on Saturday while new signing Carlos Tevez was on target as champions Juventus won 1-0 at Sampdoria.

Trademark headers from former Italian international Toni in the 29th and 53rd minutes gave promoted Verona victory in their first Serie A match for 11 years, the opening league game of the season.

Milan produced a disappointing display despite taking a 14th minute lead through Andrea Poli who was also making his debut.

The win brought delight to the fans at the Stadio Bentigodi who have had to suffer for more than a decade in the second and third tiers of Italian soccer while their smaller local rivals Chievo Verona flourished in Serie A.

“They deserved to win. We started well and then we stopped playing. We need to play with more aggression,” said Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri.

“We have to have a different attitude. We had it for 14 minutes and then we started to make mistakes and expose ourselves to counter-attacks.”

Tevez’s goal on his first league appearance since leaving Manchester City was enough to start Juve’s bid for a third straight Serie A title with victory over Sampdoria in monsoon conditions in Genoa later in the day.

The unmarked Argentine was on hand to tap into an empty net after Paul Pogba had taken Arturo Vidal’s superb through ball and rolled a pass across to Tevez.


“It was the perfect night for me. It’s not easy to understand how the team works so soon,” said Juve’s new boy.

Sampdoria were reduced to 10 men in the final minute when substitute Paolo Castellini was sent off for a reckless sliding challenge on Stephan Lichtsteiner.

After the mayor of Verona said on Friday that Milan and Italy striker Mario Balotelli brought abuse on himself, the home side’s notorious supporters chose to ironically applaud the player and chant his name instead.

“We talk too much about this, I think the people gave their response today,” Hellas Verona midfielder Massimo Donati told Sky Sports.

“I hope this is the start of a season full of celebrations and disappointments but conducted in a civil fashion.”

As Donati spoke, however, the away fans ripped up seats and launched them at their Verona counterparts after the game.

Poli put Milan ahead when he took a neat pass from an otherwise subdued Balotelli before weaving his way past two defenders and providing a calm finish.

Allegri’s side had the hosts on the back foot at that point but Verona, among the favourites to be relegated, seized control of the midfield with some hard pressing and levelled the score through Toni.

Verona started the second half much the brighter and could have had the lead six minutes after the break when Christian Abbiati did well to tip over a powerful Bosko Jankovic header.

Two minutes later the Serb clipped in a perfect cross with the outside of his right foot for Toni to score his 110th Serie A goal with another well-placed header


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