MILAN — The race to become Serie A’s top scorer this season is up and running, with Gonzalo Higuain favorite to retain his title.
Higuain scored 36 goals last campaign for Napoli to break a 66-year-old Serie A record and could even surpass that mark after his 90 million euro ($99 million) transfer to Juventus.
Higuain netted twice in Juventus’ 3-0 win at Empoli on Sunday to take his tally to six for the season, after seven rounds. Serie A leader Juventus moved four points clear of Napoli, which fell to a surprise 1-0 defeat at Atalanta.
Argentina forward Higuain scored his first in the 67th minute with a powerful shot from outside the area, and doubled his tally three minutes later following a mistake from Empoli defender Marco Zambelli.
“We’ve only been together for 40 days, what with the various international breaks,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. “Winning matches is the only thing that matters.
“Higuain scored two goals and had a few other shots. We don’t know him yet. Who is more decisive between him and (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic? I’ll tell you at the end of the season.”
Paulo Dybala, who had scored in Tuesday’s 4-0 win at Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League, broke the deadlock in the 65th for his first league goal of the season.
“I needed to score this goal in the league,” Dybala said. “I really needed it, after the goal in Zagreb my drought is over.”
Dybala finished a distant second in the scoring charts last season, with 19 goals.
AC Milan forward Carlos Bacca and Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi are also on six goals.
Here’s what else happened in Serie A:
ATALANTA 1, NAPOLI 0
The match in Bergamo was supposed to be about Napoli forwards Jose Callejon and Arkadiusz Milik, instead it was Atalanta’s Andrea Petagna who grabbed the headlines. Previously the only side unbeaten in the league, Napoli lost for the first time this season in all formats.
The 21-year-old Petagna capitalized on defensive errors in the ninth minute as Papu Gomez’s cross sailed over Kalidou Koulibaly. It ricocheted off Faouzi Ghoulam’s face for Petagna to fire home.
It was his third goal from as many shots on target this season.
Atalanta could have doubled its lead as Boukary Drame’s effort crashed off the crossbar.
AC MILAN 4, SASSUOLO 3
AC Milan fought back from 3-1 down to 4-3 up in the space of nine minutes in a frantic second half at San Siro.
Former Milan defender Francesco Acerbi and Lorenzo Pellegrini had put Sassuolo seemingly firmly in control with two goals in as many minutes shortly after the interval, after the first half had finished 1-1.
But Bacca reduced the deficit with a penalty and Manuel Locatelli equalized with a stunning long-range strike for his first Serie A goal. Gabriel Paletta headed in what was to prove the winner.
After scoring, Locatelli was in tears as he raced toward where his family were sitting. The 18-year-old broke down again after the match, as he dedicated the goal to his parents and siblings.
“This is for all those who love me and believed in me,” said Locatelli, who recently signed a contract extension until 2020. “I can’t believe it, it’s something that all kids hope for in their life.”
Milan coach Vincenzo Montella was sent off at halftime for dissent. His side moved level on points with third-placed Lazio and Chievo Verona, five behind Juventus.
ROMA 2, INTER MILAN 1
Roma moved to 13 points, leapfrogging Inter after a thrilling end-to-end match in the Italian capital.
There were 22 shots on goal in the first half alone, although only Edin Dzeko got on the scoresheet, firing Roma in front in the fifth minute.
Both sides also hit the woodwork before Ever Banega levelled in the 72nd.
However, Roma was back in front just four minutes later when Kostas Manolas’ header from a free kick went in after a deflection by Icardi.
Giovanni Simeone scored his second goal in as many matches to help Genoa win 1-0 at Bologna, in a game which saw three players sent off.
The 21-year-old Simeone is the son of current Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone, who scored more than 30 goals in Italy.
Crotone, which is in its first ever season in Serie A, looks increasingly likely to go straight back down after its sixth defeat in seven matches, losing 2-1 at Cagliari.
Elsewhere, Bruno Fernandes scored with the last kick of the match to snatch a 1-1 draw for Sampdoria at home to 10-man Palermo, while Fiorentina lost 2-1 at Torino.