MILAN (AP) — Napoli eased to a 2-0 win at Genoa to move provisionally atop of the Serie A, thanks to a double from Goran Pandev on Saturday.
AC Milan picked up only its second win of the season, beating struggling Sampdoria 1-0 at San Siro, with Valter Birsa scoring his first goal since signing from Genoa in the offseason.
"It was more important to win than my goal," Birsa said. "We had been playing well in matches but we hadn't managed to pick up the points we needed.
"What's important is the work of the squad, individuals can give a hand but all the players are important. We needed the goal to make us more comfortable."
In Genoa, Pandev nabbed his first in the 14th, latching onto a poor pass from Juraj Kucka, racing forward and firing into the bottom right corner.
Pandev doubled his tally 10 minutes later as Lorenzo Insigne lifted a superb ball into the area for the Macedonia striker to smash across goal into the bottom left corner, with his weaker right foot.
Napoli, which lost its perfect record in Wednesday's 1-1 draw at bottom club Sassuolo, moved a point ahead of Roma, which hosts Bologna on Sunday.
"We really wanted these three points after the awful night against Sassuolo," Pandev said. "We got over it really well."
Coach Rafa Benitez rotated his squad, with key players Gonzalo Higuain, Marek Hamsik and captain Paolo Cannavaro starting on the bench.
Genoa has lost four of its opening six games, raising speculation its young coach Fabio Liverani could be the first Serie A manager to be fired this season.
It has had only one worst start to the season, 30 years ago.
There were signs of improvement in the second half, however, and Genoa almost got one back in the 64th when Alberto Gilardino's header flashed just past the left post.
It also had strong claims for a penalty turned down three minutes later when Cannavaro brought down Gilardino in the area, but the Genoa striker was harshly flagged offside much to the displeasure of the home fans.
Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri had castigated his team for wasting too many chances after it again needed two late goals to rescue a 3-3 draw at Bologna midweek.
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