Hellas Verona see off Livorno
Last Updated: 29/09/13 5:30pm
Jorginho: Scored winner from penalty spot
Jorginho settled a frantic battle between two promoted sides at the Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi as his late penalty earned Hellas Verona a 2-1 over Livorno in Serie A.
The Serie B runners-up were indebted to goalkeeper Rafael for keeping Livorno at bay in the first half but they almost reached the break a goal up after on-loan Porto forward Juan Iturbe scored his first goal for the club.
Leandro Rinaudo levelled with a header before half-time, only for Jorginho to settle the match from 11 metres after Luca Toni had been brought down in the box in the last 20 minutes.
The result saw Andrea Mandorlini's Verona climb above Livorno - the second-tier play-off winners - to reach a formative European place after taking three home wins from three attempts.
Warning shots were exchanged in the opening minutes as Toni forced a low block from Francesco Bardi before Leandro Greco came up short on a dangerous cross from Pasquale Schiattarella in the Verona box.
Paulinho twice came close to firing Livorno ahead, first slamming the ball past a post in the 23rd minute.
He then wriggled into space to test Rafael with a firm shot that the Brazilian keeper punched clear.
Rafael kept Verona alive with three wonder saves from Andrea Luci, Luca Siligardi and Paulinho - his countryman coming closest to beating the keeper with an improvised shot.
It came as some surprise, then, when Verona opened the scoring five minutes before the break.
Iturbe volunteered to take a free-kick from the edge of the area and duly curled the ball left-footed into the top corner.
Verona might have doubled their lead when Toni put Alejandro Gomez through, but Livorno were level before half-time.
One minute into time added on, Rinaudo rose highest to head home a corner kick from the right.
Verona returned to the Bentegodi pitch in high spirits, though, and Iturbe nearly doubled his tally in Italian football with a fine shot on the turn.
Jorginho and Massimo Donati were also keen to restore the home advantage but could not make a difference with attempts that flew over the bar.
Hellas continued to turn the screw but really needed the little bit of luck that arrived in the 72nd minute.
Moments after feeding Gomez for a tame shot against Bardi, Toni went down in the box and referee Dino Tommasi blew his whistle.
Jorginho did the honours from the penalty spot and Verona successfully sat on their lead to pick up a third league win of the season and stay perfect on home turf.
Italian Serie A