Juventus pining for old boys

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The Independent Online
Juventus were left to rue to the departure of Gianluca Vialli and Fabrizio Ravanelli to the Premiership in a 1-1 draw at Reggiana yesterday, just three days before they begin their defence of the European Cup against Manchester United in Turin.

Their replacements, Alen Boksic and Christian Vieri, squandered a series of second-half chances after combining neatly to set up the latter for the opening goal. But Reggiana equalised three minutes later when their new signing, Sandro Tovalieri, punished a mix-up in the Juve defence. In the closing stages, the Juventus strikers both hit the bar with easy chances.

A 100-yard dribble by George Weah which he rounded off with a goal was the highlight of Milan's 4-1 victory over Verona as the champions, now coached by Oscar Tabarez, successfully began the defence of their Serie A title.

Two goals by Marco Simone saw Milan come from behind for a victory which Roberto Baggio capped with another fine goal in injury time, but it was Weah's contribution in the 86th minute which stole the show.

The surprise of the day was the 4-2 home defeat of Fiorentina, the Italian Cup and Supercup holders, by Vicenza, for whom Marcelo Otero scored all four goals. To make matters worse, Fiorentina had Daniele Carnasciale sent off. Christian Sforza, the Swiss midfielder, marked his Italian league debut with an eighth-minute winner for Internazionale at Udinese.

Stefan Effenberg, the Borussia Monchengladbach playmaker, is doubtful for the Uefa Cup first round, first leg against Arsenal at Highbury on Tuesday after injuring a calf muscle in Friday night's 3-0 defeat of Hamburg.

Confirmation that Atletico Madrid could struggle to retain the Spanish title came in a 3-1 defeat to a Compostela side beaten 6-0 on the opening day of the season last week.

A last-minute strike by Juan Pizzi gave Barcelona a 2-1 victory in an exciting Catalan derby against Espanyol, saving a game that Bobby Robson's side had looked like losing until just seven minutes from time.

The Dutch champions Ajax went down again, losing 2-0 to lowly NEC Nijmegen, a bad omen three days before their Champions' League match with Auxerre. Ajax have now scored just twice in their first five games. Meanwhile PSV Eindhoven maintained their 100 per cent record with a 5-0 win against NAC Breda, which leaves them eight points clear of Ajax.