Sat | Aug 19, 2017

'Gabigol' finally delivers

Published:Monday | February 20, 2017 | 2:00 AM
Inter Milan's Gabriel Barbosa celebrates after scoring during a Serie A match between Inter Milan and Bologna at the Bologna Dall'Ara stadium, Italy, yesterday. Inter won the game 1-0.

ROME (AP):

Gabriel 'Gabigol' Barbosa began repaying his US$32-million transfer fee by scoring his first goal for Inter Milan in a 1-0 win at Bologna yesterday.

Barbosa tapped in a cross from Danilo D'Ambrosio in the 81st minute to secure fourth-placed Inter their ninth win in 10 Serie A matches.

Barbosa had been hailed as the next great Brazil striker when he signed a five-year deal after transferring from Santos in August. But he struggled in his first five months at Inter.

"I'm happy for him. He had a bit of a tough time at the start. But now he's starting to click," Inter coach Stefano Pioli said.

Garbosa was preparing to offer his teammates and coaches a Brazilian dinner to celebrate his goal.

WASTED CHANCE

"The dinner is more than welcome," Pioli said.

With captain Mauro Icardi serving the second game of a two-match ban for dissent, Inter laboured for long stretches.

Inter forward Rodrigo Palacio wasted a great chance directly in front of the goal 12 minutes in following a cross from Ivan Perisic.

But substitutions proved decisive - Barbosa scored seven minutes after coming on - and Inter have now scored 13 goals in the last 15 minutes of play this season, the most in Serie A.

"It's always a good sign for a coach when you have a squad that believes until the end," Pioli said. "We struggled between the lines and were slow manoeuvring, but we still worked hard. The team believed until the end and that perseverance paid off."

Roma's Edin Dzeko joined Gonzalo Higuain atop the Serie A scoring chart with the opener against Torino.

Dzeko scored with a low, long-range shot that Torino and England goalkeeper Joe Hart arguably should have saved. It was Dzeko's 19th in Serie A and 29th in all competitions this season, three days after scoring a hat-trick against Villarreal in the Europa League.

Mohamed Salah doubled the lead shortly after the quarter-hour mark with a powerful effort inside the near post, then hit the post three minutes later.

Leandro Paredes added another in the second half with a well-struck shot that gave Hart no chance.

Maxi Lopez pulled one back for Torino in the 85th, but Radja Nainggolan restored Roma's three-goal lead after being set up by Francesco Totti, who came on for the final 10 minutes.

Roma maintained their perfect home record with a 12th win in 12 matches, putting the Giallorossi back in second place, two points ahead of Napoli, which won 3-1 away to Chievo Verona earlier.