Football: Imperious Platt is on target again

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The Independent Online
A VOLLEY of goals from Wright and Ferdinand on Saturday, and Shearer and Platt yesterday - Graham Taylor must be performing cartwheels, writes Henry Winter.

The England manager's Genoa-based captain, David Platt, has scored on each of his three debuts in Serie A: a penalty for Bari, a shot for Juventus and yesterday a fine header for his latest club, Sampdoria, in their 2-1 win at Napoli on the opening day of the Italian league. Ruud Gullit, already looking an inspired signing by Sampdoria, set Platt up, tricking a defender on the right before delivering a delightful cross to the far post where Platt rose high to head his new team in front.

The Dutch attacker, a persistent thorn in Napoli's left side, showed what Milan will miss this season, scoring with a low shot. Napoli pulled one back, courtesy of Gianluca Pagliuca's awful impression of a goalkeeper: the Italian international dwelled far too long on a bobbling ball, allowing Giorgio Bresciani to dispossess him and tap into an untenanted net.

Gullit was not the only Dutchman on the mark. Wim Jonk, Internazionale's other summer signing from Ajax, proved he has not moved to the San Siro simply to keep Dennis Bergkamp happy by thumping in a sumptuous 30-yarder against Reggiana. The newly elevated visitors, noted for their supporters' esoteric dancing, levelled through Michele Padovano but Inter secured full points when Toto Schillaci latched on to a clever Jonk pass to score.

Inter's neighbours, Milan, commenced their championship defence with a 1-0 success at another promoted club, Lecce. Zvonimir Boban, so long eclipsed by Frank Rijkaard, forced the breakthrough after 54 minutes and many calcio experts feel this is the year when the former Yugoslavia playmaker dominates.

After a career interrupted by a World Cup ban for assaulting a policeman while at Dinamo Zagreb, a serious case of hepatitis, and Italy's three- foreigner rule, the 24-year-old will be more than keen to strut his talents.

Andy Moller was another overseas player among the goals, Juventus's German international striking at the Stadio Delle Alpi to keep new boys Cremonese in their place. Juve's rivals, Torino, ensured that all four Serie A newcomers experienced defeat when they put three past Piacenza on their first date with the elite.

ITALIAN LEAGUE: Atalanta 5 (Scapolo 18, Rambaudi 32, Ganz 47 83, Villa og 90) Cagliari 2 (Valdes 37 78); Genoa 2 (Lorenzini 44, Nappi 84) Roma 0; Internazionale 2 (Jonk 11, Schillaci 55) Reggiana 1 (Padovano 35th); Juventus 1 (Moller 5) Cremonese 0; Lecce 0 Milan 1 (Boban 54); Napoli 1 (Bresciani 81) Sampdoria 2 (Platt 32, Gullit 43); Piacenza 0 Torino 3 (Carbone 24, Silenzi 64, Poggi 87); Udinese 0 Parma 1 (Melli 16); Lazio 0 Foggia 0.

(Photograph omitted)

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