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Alexis Sanchez scores, sees red as Inter stay top

Milan, Italy: Alexis Sanchez scored and was sent off in an eventful first Inter Milan start as his new club maintained their perfect start to the season with a 3-1 win at Sampdoria to stay top of Serie A ahead of champions Juventus, who eased past SPAL 2-0.

Manchester United flop Sanchez moved to Italy on a season-long loan deal after failing to live up to expectations at Old Trafford and the Chilean international made a big impact in Genoa, deflecting in Stefano Sensi's long-range opener after 20 minutes and tapping in another Sensi cross two minutes later. 

However the 30-year-old was sent off after receiving a second yellow card for diving just after the break, leaving his side to play the entire second half a man down and wobbling after Jakub Jankto pulled one back in the 55th minute.

But Roberto Gagliardini slotted in the third goal just after an hour to give Antonio Conte's side a huge boost days before their trip to Barcelona in the Champions League.

"A situation arose that could have killed anyone, but not us, not these lads," said former Chelsea manager Conte. 

"We were exceptional to hold out, we were even able to balance the situation from the bench with changes for the battle.

"Now we have to recover and prepare for Barcelona. It's a valuable experience and can help us to mature."

Inter have a maximum 18 points from six games — two ahead of Juve — after winning their first six league matches for the first time since the 1966-67 season, with the pair set for a top-of-the-table clash at the San Siro next weekend.

"Juventus have won eight Serie A titles in a row, and are a solid team," said Conte, who coached Juve to the first three titles in the series. 

"We are glad to go into the head-to-head with 18 points."

Samp meanwhile are rock-bottom with three points after a dreadful start under Eusebio Di Francesco, level with SPAL following their defeat at the hands of Juve.

Cristiano Ronaldo notched up his third consecutive goal at home this season after 78 minutes to add to Miralem Pjanic's opener just before the break.

Ronaldo was rested for the midweek win over Brescia as a precaution with a slight muscular problem ahead of Tuesday's Champions League game against Bayer Leverkusen in Turin.

"Inter? I haven't watched them play yet this season," said Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri. 

"I've read they're doing well, but I had no doubts considering who their coach is. For now our thoughts are just on the Champions League match against Leverkusen."

Buffon sets new record 

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was unworried by SPAL as the 41-year-old made his 903rd club football appearance, surpassing the Italian record of 902 achieved by AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini.

The damage could have been worse at the other end but for some fine saves from SPAL's Albanian goalkeeper Etrit Berisha.

Berisha, on-loan from Atalanta, stopped Paulo Dybala's curling goal-bound effort just after half an hour, and then parried a point-blank Aaron Ramey header from a Ronaldo cross in front of goal.

Pjanic had a shot cleared off the line before connecting with a Sami Khedira assist to fire in from a distance for his second goal of the season after the winner at Brescia on Tuesday.

Dybala set up Ronaldo for the second with the Portuguese star's downward header beating Berisha, after he had been frustrated in two earlier efforts.

Berisha again proved solid as he denied Ronaldo in the hosts' final attack of the game, as the side from Emilia Romagna fell to their fifth defeat in six games.

Third-placed Atalanta travel to mid-table Sassuolo later Saturday before their first ever Champions League home game against Shaktar Donetsk midweek.

Last year's runners-up Napoli host Mario Balotelli's Brescia on Sunday desperate for a win after their surprise midweek home reversal at the hands of Cagliari.

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