ROME (AP) — Marcus Thuram stood confidently with his legs shoulder-length apart, cupped his hands around his ears so as to better take in the roar of the San Siro crowd and grinned.
For his first goal in Serie A — the league where his father Lilian won a series of titles as a standout defender — Thuram clearly wanted to cherish the moment.
It was certainly a goal worth celebrating.
Thuram met Federico Dimarco’s cross with a diving, forceful header by the far post to set Champions League finalist Inter Milan on its way to a convincing 4-0 win over Fiorentina on Sunday that extended the Nerazzurri’s perfect start.
And it turned out that Thuram was just getting started.
Having been involved in both goals of a 2-0 win at Cagliari on Monday, Thuram also set up Lautaro Martinez for Inter’s second and then drew the penalty that Hakan Calhanoglu converted for the third.
“I liked the way he played in the other games and I was hoping he would score,” Inter coach Simone Inzaghi said of Thuram. “I’m very satisfied.”
Lautaro added another with one expert touch to redirect a free kick from Juan Cuadrado and raise his league-leading tally to five goals this season.
Inter joined city rival AC Milan as the only teams to have won all three of their matches so far — with the Milan derby coming up next on Sept. 16 after the international break.
It’s the first time since 1966 that Inter has opened with three straight victories and three consecutive clean sheets.
Juventus and Lecce each moved two points behind the leaders with wins over Empoli and Salernitana, respectively.
Thuram, who came on as a substitute for France in the World Cup final defeat to Argentina last year, is doing just fine as a replacement for the departed Romelu Lukaku and Edin Dzeko as Lautaro’s strike partner.
After he opened the scoring in the 24th, Thuram’s pass set up Lautaro to finish off a counterattack in the 53rd and then was fouled by goalkeeper Oliver Christensen to set up the penalty.
The 26-year-old Thuram joined Inter on a free transfer after deciding not to renew his contract with Borussia Mönchengladbach. He signed for five years with the Nerazzurri.
Fiorentina, which qualified for the Conference League group stage with a win over Rapid Vienna on Thursday, rarely threatened.
Juventus won 2-0 at Empoli with goals from Danilo and Federico Chiesa — another striker whose father (Enrico) played in the Italian league.
Dusan Vlahovic wasted a chance to increase Juve’s advantage when his poor penalty kick was saved by Etrit Berisha.
Danilo, who took over as Juventus captain this season, scored by kicking in a loose ball amid traffic following a corner.
Chiesa finally sealed it when he got around the goalkeeper and regained his balance in time to deposit the ball into an empty net.
Also, Juve forward Moise Kean hit the post.
Having finished 16th last season to narrowly avoid relegation, Lecce is unbeaten this campaign.
Montenegro striker Nikola Krstovic scored again for the southern club in a 2-0 win over Salernitana, connecting on a glancing header.
Krstovic also scored on his Lecce debut to salvage a 2-2 draw at Fiorentina last Sunday.
Gabriel Strefezza added another for Lecce eight minutes into second-half added time.
Lecce beat Lazio — which was second last season — in the opening round.
Also, Torino beat Genoa 1-0 with a stoppage-time solo effort from Nemanja Radonjic.
AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/Soccer
Andrew Dampf, The Associated Press