|Wolfsburg’s Koo Ja-cheol is tackled by Mainz’s Johannes Geis on Saturday. (AFP-Yonhap News)|
ROME (AP) ― Luca Toni scored twice and Hellas Verona beat AC Milan 2-1 Saturday to celebrate its return to Serie A after an 11-year absence as the Italian league opened with a major upset.
Two-time champion Juventus avoided a similar surprise as it kicked off its bid for a third consecutive title with a 1-0 win over Sampdoria after new striker Carlos Tevez scored in the 58th minute.
After Andrea Poli put Milan ahead in the 14th minute following a pass from Mario Balotelli, Toni struck back with headers in the 30th and 53rd.
“There’s no better way to start the season,” Verona midfielder Massimo Donati said.
Defending champion Bayern Munich ground out a hard-fought 2-0 win over Nuremberg to maintain its winning start to the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Franck Ribery met Philipp Lahm’s cross with a fine header to break the deadlock in the 69th, and Arjen Robben sealed the result when he eluded three defenders and scored through the goalkeeper’s legs in the 78th.
Bayern toiled to break down the Nuremberg defense, however, in what was the 187th derby between the sides.
“Nine points from three games. Everything’s wonderful,” Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.
Schalke’s poor season start continued with a 2-1 loss at Hannover, where the visitors finished with nine players and the hosts 10. Bayer Leverkusen beat Borussia Moenchengladbach 4-2 to win eight Bundesliga games in a row for the first time.
Wolfsburg midfielder Luiz Gustavo was sent off in a 2-0 defeat at Mainz.
Liverpool maintained its perfect start to the Premier League season as Daniel Sturridge scored a superb goal to give the Reds a 1-0 win at Aston Villa on Saturday and Arsenal brushed off talk of crisis with a 3-1 win at London rival Fulham.
Sturridge showed his technical finesse in the 21st minute after Philippe Coutinho let Jose Enrique’s low cross run past him to the England striker, who skipped around two Villa defenders and goalkeeper Brad Guzan before poking the ball into the roof of the net with the outside of his left foot.
Sturridge’s eighth goal in his last seven Premier League appearances gave Brendan Rodgers’ team a second consecutive 1-0 win to open the campaign.
Carlos Vela scored a 75th-minute equalizer Saturday to give Real Sociedad a 1-1 draw at Elche in Spain, keeping the Basque side undefeated before it completes a critical playoff to reach the Champions League group stage.
Also, Espanyol fought back to beat Valencia 3-1 at Cornella-El Prat Stadium for its first victory of the Spanish league season.
Elche struck two minutes in when Ferran “Coro” Corominas tapped in a corner kick earned from the hosts’ pressure that continued to cause Sociedad problems through the first half.