Newly signed Giampaolo Pazzini scored a hat trick as AC Milan overcame a spirited challenge from Bologna 3-1 on Saturday to bounce back from an opening-round loss in Serie A.
Having recently joined from city rival Inter Milan in a swap for Antonio Cassano, Pazzini put Milan in front with a generous penalty in the 16th minute, restored the Rossoneri’s lead in the 77th after Bologna goalkeeper Federico Agliardi lost control directly in front of the goal, then added an insurance strike in the 85th.
“In my first match as a starter I couldn’t ask for more,” said Pazzini, who was left off Italy’s European Championship squad.
Alessandro Diamanti — who had some solid appearances for Italy at the European Championship — had equalized for Bologna with a penalty in the 42nd.
Milan lost 1-0 to Sampdoria at home last weekend while still commiserating over the departures of an entire squad’s worth of players, including standouts Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva — who both left for Paris Saint-Germain.
However, Milan’s mood improved this week with the signings of forward Bojan Krkic from Roma and midfielder Nigel de Jong from Manchester City.
“You can erase problems with victories,” Pazzini said. “We’ve acquired some interesting players and this gives us a lot of confidence and enthusiasm.”
Milan has three points along with seven other clubs, while Bologna remained stuck with zero points.
Earlier, Torino had a strong home opener on its return to Serie A after three seasons in the second division, beating 10-man Pescara 3-0 in a meeting of two promoted clubs
On Sunday, defending champion Juventus visits Udinese, Inter hosts Roma and Napoli faces Fiorentina in three enticing matchups.
At Bologna’s Dall’Ara stadium, Milan began with 10 Italian players in its lineup, as Pazzini and teenager Stephen El Shaarawy started in attack with both Alexandre Pato and Robinho out nursing muscle injuries.
Pazzini accentuated his fall after being tugged from behind by Niccolo Cherubin to earn his penalty, then nearly scored again in the 27th.
Diamanti was by far Bologna’s most dangerous player, threatening several times before being fouled by Antonio Nocerino to earn his penalty.
Kevin-Prince Boateng threatened for Milan in the 56th and Genoa sent on Alberto Gilardino five minutes later, a day after signing the former Milan forward from Genoa.
In the 66th, Bologna midfielder Marco Motta produced a dangerous shot that was not far off target but then Pazzini took over and left to a standing ovation a couple minutes before the end.
Milan midfielder Riccardo Montolivo exited with a right thigh injury in the 41st and was replaced by De Jong, who only joined the club a day earlier.
In the day’s opening match, after Torino’s Rolando Bianchi had a penalty saved, Alessandro Sgrigna put the hosts in front on his Serie A debut in the 34th following a setup from Bianchi. Matteo Brighi added another in the 59th and Bianchi — who has been with Torino since they last played in the top division — finally found the net in the 63rd.
Pescara defender Christian Terlizzi was sent off for taking down Bianchi inside the area, leading to the penalty.
Torino has three points from two games, having begun the season with a one-point penalty resulting from a betting scandal. Serie B champion Pescara, back in the top division after 19 years, remains without a point, having also lost 3-0 to Inter in its opener.