Spal look to Sussi

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The Independent Online
Atalanta, last season's losing Italian Cup finalists, suffered a 2-1 first-round defeat by third division Spal on Friday night.

Defender Andrea Sussi's chip over charging goalkeeper Davide Micillo in the 70th minute broke the 1-1 deadlock and eliminated Atalanta. It is the second year a Serie A team has gone from runner-up to early loser. Parma, beaten finalists in 1994-95, lost to Serie B's Palermo in the first round last season.

Spal, who now play Reggiana, had taken the lead after 14 minutes through striker Giovanni Sorce, whose opportunist lob caught Micillo off his line.

Filippo Inzaghi, the young striker acquired from Parma in the close season, equalised for Atalanta, who were missing two other key players, Serb defender Zoran Mirkovic and Uruguayan striker Federico Magallanes, who are both suffering from tendinitis.

In Germany, Hamburg's St Pauli, tipped as prime candidates for relegation, produced an impressive second-half fightback to draw 4-4 in their Bundesliga game with Schalke on Friday.

Schalke, who finished third last season, raced to a 3-1 lead at half- time, and although St Pauli pulled a goal back through Andre Trulsen, Schalke's Martin Max restored his team's two-goal cushion shortly afterwards. Christian Springer put St Pauli back in touch in the 64th minute and three minutes later they were level, thanks to a penalty from Thomas Sabotzik.

In the night's only other match, Hamburg beat Hansa Rostock 1-0, Karsten Baeron scoring the winner after some fine build-up play from in-form midfielder Harald Spoerl.

Sporting's Luis Miguel Predrosa scored the first goal of Portugal's new league season as the Lisbon side cruised to a 3-1 away win over Espinho on Friday.

Predrosa drilled a right-foot shot into the net after 24 minutes to set Sporting on their way. Although Espinho's Nail Besirovic put the home side back on terms in the 35th minute, Sporting quickly restored their lead. Jose Luis Vidigal scored three minutes later and Mustapha Hadji added the third.

The game was brought forward from today when Porto, the defending champions, and Lisbon rivals Benfica play their first games of the season.