Carlos Tevez is in top form in Serie A, Inzaghi stays calm after loss to Juventus



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ROME — Serie A is only three rounds old and title favorites Juventus and Roma already stand alone atop the table.

Neither of the leaders has conceded a goal and both have also won their opening matches in the Champions League.

Roma, which has scored one more goal than Juventus, visits Parma on Wednesday while Juventus hosts Cesena.

Hellas Verona is a surprising third, two points behind the leaders, entering its match against Genoa.

Here are some things to know about the Italian league entering this week's games:


TOP FORM

Carlos Tevez has scored four goals in his last three matches with Juventus — two in the Champions League and two in Serie A.

The Argentine striker's late goal was decisive in Juve's 1-0 win at AC Milan on Saturday, after which he acknowledged that he enjoys playing in a slightly different position under coach Massimiliano Allegri.

"(Antonio) Conte used to ask me to play closer to the goal," Tevez said. "With Allegri I stay a bit behind (Fernando) Llorente and I like it."

Tevez joined Juve before last season in a 9 million euro ($11.5 million) transfer — 15 million euros ($20 million) with bonuses — from Manchester City.

In Serie A, he has averaged a goal every 136 minutes, while overall he has scored 25 goals in 52 appearances for Juventus.


SMOKE SCREEN

AC Milan has lost its last four Serie A matches with Juventus and failed to score in three of those meetings.

Milan president Silvio Berlusconi stormed out of the San Siro following Tevez's goal Saturday, while coach Filippo Inzaghi took a calmer approach.

"We need to be pleased with our performance," said Inzaghi, who was a prolific scorer for both Juventus and Milan. "This match shouldn't alter our beliefs. The goal was produced by two great champions that decided a match that otherwise would have gone toward (a draw)."

While Juventus has won the past three titles, Milan finished eighth last season and failed to qualify for Europe.

"I've got to be a realist," Inzaghi said. "I can't sell smoke to people. I know where we're coming from. Even though I'm ambitious and I want to compete on the same level as everyone else I'm healthily realistic."


CLOSING THE GAP

Roma visits Juventus on Oct. 5 and coach Rudi Garcia is already starting to feel that the Giallorossi have closed the gap behind the title holder.

Roma spent more than twice as much as any other Italian club in the preseason transfer market — 55 million euros ($71 million) — and appears much more confident in Garcia's second season in charge.

"We did everything we could in terms of bringing in players to close the gap with Juve and time will tell whether we've managed it," Garcia said following a 2-0 win over Cagliari on Sunday.

However, injuries are starting to take their toll.

Winger Juan Manuel Iturbe, who Roma purchased for 22 million euros ($30 million) from Hellas Verona, is out for a couple more weeks with an injured groin after exiting a 5-1 win over CSKA Moscow last week.

Center back Davide Astori is out for three weeks with a sprained right knee and midfielder Kevin Strootman won't return until at least November from left knee surgery.

Also, veteran midfielder Daniele De Rossi was being evaluated after he was injured against Cagliari.


A MOLDOVAN IN VERONA

Substitute Artur Ionita became the first player from Moldova to score in Serie A when he netted in a 1-0 win for Hellas Verona at Torino on Sunday.

Verona went on a spending spree after selling Juan Manuel Iturbe to Roma and Ionita joined from Swiss club FC Aarau.

"I put him on during an important phase of the match and he showed that he was ready," Verona coach Andrea Mandorlini said.

Verona finished 10th last season as it returned to Serie A after an 11-year absence and with former Italy forward Luca Toni still leading the way has higher expectations this season.

Against Torino, which has yet to score this season, Verona goalkeeper Rafael saved a penalty kick from Omar El Kaddouri in the 87th minute.

"Other squads are having trouble and we can still improve," Mandorlini said.


Andrew Dampf can be followed at http://www.twitter.com/asdampf

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