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Juventus stays on Serie A title track with wild win at Inter

By Andrew Dampf, Associated Press ROME (AP) — Juventus scored two late goals to rescue a 3-2 win over 10-man Inter Milan in a wild Derby d'Italia on Saturday and stay on track for a record-extending seventh straight Serie A title. Juan Cuadrado and Gonzalo Higuain scored in the final four minutes as Juventus moved four points ahead of Napoli, which visits Fiorentina on Sunday in a tense title race. "This is the hunger, pride and thirst for victory that this squad possesses. We will fight to the death to win," Higuain said. After Douglas Costa's early opener for Juventus, Inter equalized after the break with a header from captain Mauro Icardi then went ahead with an own goal from Juventus defender Andrea Barzagli. The victory ended a run of two straight matches in which Juventus dropped points, having drawn with relegation-threatened Crotone and lost to Napoli at home last weekend. Inter remained fifth, one point below the Champions League places. "Inter played well, but got tired in the end, crumbled physically and we took advantage," Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. "It's another step towards the Scudetto, even if it remains very difficult." Early on, it was all Juventus. Douglas Costa scored with a decisive half-volley, extending the Brazilian's streak of being involved in the last six Juventus goals in Serie A: Two goals and four assists. Inter midfielder Matias Vecino was sent off for a foul on Mario Mandzukic in the 18th. Referee Daniele Orsato originally pulled out a yellow card but changed to red after a video review. Vecino stepped on Mandzukic's ankle and the Croatia international later showed a deep cut. Inter stepped up after the break. Icardi rose above Juve's defense to redirect a free kick into the far corner with a glancing header — his eighth goal in 11 Serie A matches against Juventus. Then in the 65th, Cuadrado couldn't handle Perisic on the left flank and lied down instead to avoid picking up a second yellow card. Perisic then crossed toward Icardi but the ball bounced in off Barzagli. Cuadrado made up for the error by scoring from a tight angle with a shot off Inter defender Milan Skriniar in the 87th. Then Higuain ran past Inter's defense to head in Paulo Dybala's free kick two minutes later to complete the comeback. Allegri was sent off after Higuain's winner for entering the pitch in an attempt to get his players to stop celebrating and refocus for the final minutes. "There were four minutes to go ... I didn't want a repeat of Madrid," Allegri said, referring to the Champions League elimination by Real Madrid. ROMA SHOWS POTENTIAL Displaying the offensive firepower it will need in the Champions League semifinals, 10-man Roma defeated visiting Chievo Verona 4-1 in convincing fashion. Edin Dzeko scored twice, Patrik Schick and Stephan El Shaarawy also found the target, and Roma goalkeeper Alisson saved a penalty. Roma also hit the post twice. Roberto Inglese pulled one back late for Chievo. A similar result on Wednesday would allow the Giallorossi to overturn a 5-2 deficit to Liverpool. "Now we have to recover our physical and mental energy, leave the field on Wednesday knowing we've done all we possibly could," Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco said. "We've proved in the past that we can achieve great results in the Champions League, so we must all believe, that is my slogan." Meanwhile, the victory strengthened Roma's chances of returning to the Champions League next season. Third-placed Roma moved three points ahead of Lazio, which visits Torino on Sunday. Chievo remained two points above the relegation zone. EMPOLI PROMOTED Empoli secured promotion into Serie A after only one season in the second division. Empoli moved 14 points ahead of Parma and Palermo after drawing with Novara 1-1 and was assured of winning Serie B with four rounds remaining. The Tuscan squad is coached by former Roma manager Aurelio Andreazzoli......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnApr 29th, 2018

Juventus beats Inter 1-0 to open up 11-point lead in Serie A

TURIN, Italy (AP) — Mario Mandzukic often scores important goals and he did so again as he helped Juventus to a 1-0 win over title rival Inter Milan in the Derby d'Italia on Friday. The imposing Croatia striker headed home in the 66th minute after Inter had missed a couple of golden opportunities as Juventus continued its seemingly unstoppable march to an eighth successive Serie A title. Juventus has an 11-point lead over second-placed Napoli, which hosts lowly Frosinone on Saturday. Third-place Inter is now 14 points behind Juventus. Paulo Dybala had the first chance of the match but headed Cristano Ronaldo's cross over the bar after drifting into the penalty area. Inter had two great chances in quick succession. Mauro Icardi did well to hold the ball up and pick out a good run from an unmarked Roberto Gagliardini, but his scuffed finish came off the inside of the right post. Moments later Icardi and Ivan Perisic both went for a Matteo Politano cross and ended up colliding with each other. Juventus began to take control and Marcelo Brozovic had to desperately slide in to block Rodrigo Bentancur's effort. Veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini scored his first goal in two years in last week's 3-0 win at Fiorentina and he almost got another one but he headed the resulting corner narrowly over. Juventus finally broke the deadlock when former Inter midfielder Joao Cancelo put in a delightful cross from the left for Mandzukic — who netted in the World Cup final defeat to France — to nod in at the far post. There was more positive news for Juventus as midfielder Emre Can came on late on for his first appearance for the Bianconeri since Oct. 6, having undergone surgery to have a thyroid nodule removed......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 8th, 2018

AC Milan replaces Vincenzo Montella with Gennaro Gattuso

By Andrew Dampf, Associated Press In the end, Vincenzo Montella became a victim of the heightened expectations at AC Milan. When a club spends more than 200 million euros (nearly $250 million) on new players in the offseason, six wins in 14 matches and seventh place in the standings are simply not enough. Unable to produce inspiring results with a completely revamped squad, Montella was fired as coach of AC Milan on Monday and replaced by Gennaro Gattuso. "We all raised expectations a little too much in the summer but the fault lies only with the coach," Montella said. "These players deserve much more and I'm sure that they'll be able to emerge from this difficult period." Milan has won only two of its past nine matches and has as many losses — six — as wins. The Rossoneri have been beaten by Lazio, Roma, Inter, Juventus and Napoli — the top five teams in the standings. "Coaching Milan was an honor, and working with this team was even better," Montella wrote on Twitter. "I hope Rino can restore Milan to where it belongs." The move came a day after a dispiriting 0-0 draw at home with Torino. Milan announced in a statement that it had "parted ways" with Montella. "We are very grateful to Mr. Montella and his staff for all the work done up to today, their commitment and professionalism," the club said. "Management of the first team is entrusted to Gennaro Gattuso." A seven-time European champion, Milan is also facing financial fair play inquiries from UEFA after an offseason spending spree brought in an entire squad's worth of new players. There have been questions over the financial stability of the Chinese-led consortium that purchased Milan from Silvio Berlusconi for $800 million in April. The club needs a top-four finish and a place in the Champions League to acquire more cash flow. Gattuso, a gritty midfielder who had been in charge of the club's youth squad, won the 2003 and 2007 Champions League titles with Milan as a player. The 39-year-old Gattuso also previously coached Sion, Palermo, OFI Crete and Pisa. Gattuso, who also helped Italy win the 2006 World Cup title, was known for his intensity and relentlessness on the field — qualities the current Milan squad has lacked. After the appointment, Berlusconi tweeted that he had a "long and affectionate and cordial phone call with my old warrior Rino Gattuso." Gattuso becomes Milan's seventh coach (including caretakers) since now-Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri was fired in January 2014. Montella was hired in June 2016 and led Milan to a sixth-place finish and a Europa League spot last season — ending a drought of three years without playing in continental competition. Milan opened the season by winning all four of its Europa League qualifying matches and its first two Serie A games. Then a 4-1 loss at Lazio showed how vulnerable the squad was. Leonardo Bonucci, Italy's top defender who was brought in from Juventus during the offseason, has had a difficult start with his new club and the big group of new players has failed to gel. The other new players brought in were forwards Andre Silva (FC Porto) and Nikola Kalinic (Fiorentina); midfielders Franck Kessie, Andrea Conti (Atalanta), Hakan Calhanoglu (Bayer Leverkusen) and Lucas Biglia (Lazio); and defenders Ricardo Rodriguez (Wolfsburg) and Mateo Musacchio (Villarreal). Milan's few highlights this season have come in the Europa League, including a 5-1 rout of Austria Vienna last week that ensured a spot in the knockout stage. Montella's biggest achievement with Milan was winning the Italian Super Cup over Juventus in a penalty shootout in December 2016. Gattuso's debut will come at last-place Benevento on Sunday. He will be presented on Tuesday. Also, Cristian Bucchi was fired by Sassuolo on Monday, making it six firings in Serie A this season after changes by Cagliari, Benevento, Genoa and Udinese......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 28th, 2017

Mandzukic powers Juventus

TURIN, Italy — Mario Mandzukic often scores important goals and he did so again as he helped Juventus to a 1-0 win over title rival Inter Milan in the Derby d’Italia on Friday. The imposing Croatia striker headed home in the 66th minute after Inter had missed a couple of golden opportunities as Juventus continued […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsDec 9th, 2018

Napoli keeping pressure on Ronaldo-dependent Juventus

By Daniella Mata and Andrew Dampf, Associated Press MILAN (AP) — Last season Napoli pushed Juventus all the way in the Italian league before ultimately finishing second as the Bianconeri clinched a record-extending seventh Serie A title. This campaign, second-place Napoli is already six points behind Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Juventus. But the destination of the title is far from a foregone conclusion. Juventus proved it is not infallible when it dropped its first points of the season against Genoa last week. It also appeared lethargic in the first half at relegation-threatened Empoli on Saturday before rallying to win 2-1 — with two goals from Ronaldo. And the Bianconeri are arguably becoming too reliant on the Portugal superstar to rescue them when things aren't going their way. The 33-year-old Ronaldo has scored Juve's past four league goals as he shows little sign of being affected by a rape allegation in the United States. Kathryn Mayorga filed a civil lawsuit in Nevada last month claiming Ronaldo raped her in his Las Vegas hotel room in 2009. Police reopened an investigation into the allegation at her request. Ronaldo denies any wrongdoing. Ronaldo's two goals at Empoli — one a penalty and the other a 20-yard strike — maintained Juve's unbeaten start to the season. Napoli dropped vital points on Saturday as it needed a last-minute goal from Dries Mertens to snatch a 1-1 draw against Roma. However, coach Carlo Ancelotti believes his Napoli team is showing increasing signs of maturity. "I'm happy and proud," Ancelotti said. "We had a constant pressure despite conceding early, we created so many opportunities." FULLY FIT Just a few months after he thought he might have to quit football, Josip Ilicic is back to his best. Ilicic netted a hat trick in his first start of the season for Atalanta last week and did everything but score in his team's 3-0 victory over Parma on Saturday. The 30-year-old Ilicic spent most of the summer in and out of hospital with a bacterial infection. "As a man, the illness changed me a great deal," Ilicic said. "I want to thank everyone who stood by me during this difficult time. I look at the world differently now. I thought many times that I might have to give up football." SERIE B CHAOS A stay of execution has again upended a verdict in the lengthy saga over deciding which clubs belong in Serie B. On Wednesday, a regional appeals court overturned an Italian football federation decision from August that had reduced Serie B from 22 to 19 clubs. The earlier decision by the federation's emergency commissioner Roberto Fabbricini was made following the bankruptcies of Avellino, Bari and Cesena. Virtus Entella, Novara, Pro Vercelli and Ternana — the four clubs relegated at the end of last season — plus Catania and Siena, which lost in the Serie C playoffs, are all arguing for a place in the second division. However, on Saturday an appeal by the Serie B league temporarily overturned the decision from the regional appeals court. A final decision could be made at an Italian football federation board meeting on Tuesday. ___ Dampf reported from Rome......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 29th, 2018

Portugal keeps winning in Nations League without Ronaldo

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — No Cristiano Ronaldo, no problem. European champion Portugal sparkled on Thursday despite the absence of its star forward, defeating Poland to move a step closer to the last four of the UEFA Nations League. In two friendly games, Kylian Mbappe scored late to salvage a 2-2 draw for the world champions at home to Iceland, while two-goal Paco Alcacer helped Spain rout Wales 4-1 in Cardiff as the team claimed a third win in a row under new coach Luis Enrique. With young Sevilla striker Andre Silva scoring again, Portugal won 3-2 in Chorzow to take control of Group 3 of the top-tier League A in Europe's newest competition. Portugal now has six points from two games, five points ahead of Poland and Italy. Only the group winner advances to June's last four. A draw between Poland and Italy in Chorzow on Sunday will guarantee Portugal as the group winner. Portugal plays a friendly in Scotland the same day. "Overall we dominated," Portugal coach Fernando Santos said. "Poland started well and scored, but we were able to take control and were deserved winners." It was Portugal's third straight game without Ronaldo, who hasn't played an international since his transfer from Real Madrid to Juventus in the summer. Ronaldo has also been the recent subject of rape allegations. The 33-year-old forward denies any wrongdoing. Genoa striker Krzysztof Piatek, Serie A's leading scorer, gave Poland an 18th-minute lead with his first international goal. The visitors equalized with a close-range effort from Silva after a pass from Pizzi Fernandes in the 32nd. It was his seventh goal in Portugal's last six competitive away games. Portugal made it 2-1 just before halftime with an own goal from defender Kamil Glik. "The two goals we conceded in the first half damaged our confidence and heavily influenced the game," Poland coach Jerzy Brzeczek said. Bernardo Silva added the third goal with a long-range shot in the 52nd minute before Jakub Blaszczykowski marked his record 103rd cap for Poland by pulling one back with a low volley in the 77th. Blaszczykowski has now eclipsed Michal Zewlakow on the all-time list of Poland appearances. Robert Lewandowski made his 100th appearance but was unable to add to his tally of 55 Poland goals. "It's not the result we were looking for," Poland defender Jan Bednarek said. "We wanted to make our fans proud. We had good moments in the game but bad ones too." RUSSIA STAYS TOP In the only game of the night in the second-tier League B, Russia drew 0-0 with Sweden in Kaliningrad. Russia, unbeaten against the Swedes since 1994, stayed ahead in Group 2 with four points, one more than Turkey and three ahead of Sweden. All the teams have played two matches. Russia hosts Turkey on Sunday in Sochi. ALL EVEN Israel's 2-1 home win against Scotland left all three teams in Group 1 of the third-tier League C tied on three points after two matches. Scotland is ahead on goal difference, followed by Israel and Albania. Israel hosts Albania on Sunday. In Group 4, Serbia stayed ahead with a 2-0 win in Montenegro, while Romania remained second with a 2-1 victory in Lithuania. LOWER LEAGUE In Group 3 of League D, Kosovo is top after a 3-1 home win against Malta, while Azerbaijan jumped to second with a 3-0 victory in the Faroe Islands......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 11th, 2018

Chelsea fires manager Antonio Conte after 2 years in charge

By Steve Douglas, Associated Press Antonio Conte's protracted divorce from Chelsea was finalized on Friday when he was fired after a two-year tenure in which he won the English Premier League and FA Cup but failed to gain the power he craved at the London club. Chelsea began a terse, four-sentence statement on its website, "Chelsea Football Club and Antonio Conte have parted company." Leaving Stamford Bridge was always the likely outcome for Conte following a season in which Chelsea missed out on Champions League qualification after a fifth-place league finish, 30 points behind champion Manchester City. The Italian coach regularly grumbled about his failure to exert control, particularly over transfers. Contrast that to the end of his first season at the club, where Conte was feted for leading Chelsea to the league title by seven points after a record-breaking run of 13 straight wins in the middle of the season, sparked by an inspired and bold change of formation. Conte took preseason training this week at Chelsea's practice base in Cobham with players who hadn't featured at the World Cup, but reports emerged in the Italian media on Thursday saying Conte had been fired. That speculation only intensified when Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas and former Chelsea captain John Terry paid tribute to Conte on social media. "Thank you boss," Terry wrote on Twitter. "Great man, Great manager. I wish you every success in the future." The club's 64-word announcement was eventually made on Friday, ending with: "We wish Antonio every success in his future career." Conte still had a year left on a revised deal he signed last summer after delivering the fifth Premier League title since Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003. Only the pay was improved, though, with Conte's contract still running for just another two seasons — hardly a show of commitment by either the club or its manager. The Italian's main gripe for the past year was Chelsea's failure to land the signings he really wanted for its Premier League title defense. Chelsea was beaten to the signing of Romelu Lukaku by Manchester United and then Fernando Llorente by Tottenham, for example. "The club decides every player," he moaned last season. Winning the FA Cup by beating Manchester United at Wembley Stadium in May — and getting one over his great managerial rival, Jose Mourinho — proved to be Conte's last hurrah and maintained his record of winning a trophy every season he has been in charge of Juventus — where he won the Serie A for four straight years — and Chelsea. Chelsea seeks a 13th permanent manager under Abramovich's ownership, and at possibly the most turbulent period of the Russian billionaire's trophy-filled reign. It emerged in May that Abramovich had yet to have his British visa renewed amid a crackdown by authorities on associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Chelsea also halted plans to redevelop Stamford Bridge, citing an unfavorable climate to invest in the 500 million pound ($665 million) project. Conte leaves amid reports in the British and Italian media that former Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri will take over at Chelsea for next season. Sarri's future has been up in the air since Napoli hired Carlo Ancelotti as its new coach in May. Sarri spent three years at the club and led it to two runner-up finishes and a third place, playing an entertaining and high-energy brand of football like that seen at Man City under Pep Guardiola, Tottenham under Mauricio Pochettino, and Liverpool under Juergen Klopp. Sarri didn't win a major title at Napoli, however, and that would not be tolerated at Chelsea. As Conte and many of his predecessors have learned, even winning trophies is no guarantee of job security at Chelsea under Abramovich......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 13th, 2018

Icardi left out of Argentina s World Cup squad

By Debora Rey, Associated Press BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Serie A co-top-scorer Mauro Icardi was left out of Argentina's World Cup squad on Monday. Icardi, also the Inter Milan captain, was the most notable absentee from coach Jorge Sampaoli's 23-man list. Manchester City's Sergio Aguero, who has not played since March and is recovering from a knee operation, was picked. Sampaoli said in a news conference his choices were based on "players that can do many functions to give us different characteristics." "Those players in the final list are closer to the idea we are implementing. They are closer to the opposition's goal line than to their own." Icardi was part of Sampaoli's preliminary list of 35 players announced on May 14. He scored 29 goals in Serie A, one of them on Sunday when Inter secured a spot in the Champions League for the first time since 2012. Aguero had a great season with English Premier League champion City, scoring 31 times until he was injured. It is still uncertain when he will be back in action. Also injured, defender Gabriel Mercado and midfielder Lucas Biglia were in the squad. Mercado's injury opened a door for Torino left back Cristian Ansaldi, who can also play on the right. Asked about the risks of taking recovering players to the World Cup, Sampaoli said he will take full responsibility for his choices. "We need to face the World Cup without fear," he said. "In this list there are players with a lot of skill. The ones that understand our game better will be closer to being starters." Argentina is grouped in Russia with Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria. ___ Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (Manchester United), Wilfredo Caballero (Chelsea), Franco Armani (River Plate). Defenders: Cristian Ansaldi (Torino), Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), Javier Mascherano (Hebei China Fortune), Federico Fazio (Roma), Marcos Rojo (Manchester United), Marcos Acuna ( Sporting Lisbon), Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax). Midfielders: Cristian Pavon (Boca Juniors), Maximiliano Meza (Independiente), Angel Di Maria (Paris Saint-Germain), Giovani Lo Celso (Paris Saint-Germain), Manuel Lanzini (West Ham), Ever Banega (Sevilla), Lucas Biglia (Milan), Eduardo Salvio (Benfica). Strikers: Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 22nd, 2018

Uncertainty shrouds Chelsea despite FA Cup win over United

By Rob Harris, Associated Press LONDON (AP) — Chelsea's players saved their season but maybe not their manager. Collecting the FA Cup, after beating Manchester United 1-0 on Saturday, is looking like Antonio Conte's final act with Chelsea. "After two years, the club knows me very well," Conte said. "And if they continue to want to work with me they know I can't change. My way is always the same." Having won three Serie A titles at Juventus before capturing the English Premier League trophy for Chelsea, Conte reminded the Chelsea hierarchy: "I'm a serial winner." It was a bullish sign-off to a lackluster season that saw the Italian's relationship with Chelsea's leadership become increasingly strained as the team went from champions to fifth in the Premier League. "Our job is not simple," Conte said. "I understand that the club can make a decision." Wembley match-winner Eden Hazard also has a decision to make: Whether to pursue a transfer. After raising doubts about his Chelsea future ahead of the final — demanding "good players" are signed in the offseason — Hazard produced the only goal from the penalty spot in the 22nd minute. On the pitch, amid the celebrations, Hazard said nothing to demonstrate his commitment to the club. "I'm just happy," Hazard said. "You see the fans celebrating with the trophy. We didn't play a great season but at least we finished well." Although not in the style craved by Hazard. "If we want to win a lot of games we have to play better," Hazard said, "because today we played defensively." Such was the focus on the gloomy Premier League campaign and looming offseason of uncertainty in the post-match interviews, it was easy to forget Chelsea had just picked up a trophy. "This was to save our season," Chelsea captain Gary Cahill said. "I'm not saying we've had a magnificent season by any stretch. But we are used to winning, not in an arrogant way, but we have to try to win things." Conte's first cup final victory in coaching meant former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho finished his second season at United empty-handed, paying the price for an insipid first-half display and coming to life only after the break. United took until the 56th minute to register a shot on target when Marcus Rashford struck at goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who later rushed off his line to block the forward. United's deficiencies were encapsulated by another patchy performance from midfielder Paul Pogba, who squandered a late chance to equalize by heading wide. Mourinho, though, couldn't find any faults. "I don't think (Chelsea) deserved to win," said Mourinho, who won the League Cup and Europa League last year. "I am quite curious because if my team played like Chelsea did I can imagine what everyone would be saying." KNOW THE LAW Conte seemed unfamiliar with the 2016 change to the "triple punishment" law, reducing the type of incidents that result in a penalty kick, a red card and suspension. Conte remonstrated to the officials after Phil Jones was only booked, not sent off for bringing down Hazard for the penalty. Referee Michael Oliver was right because a "genuine attempt has been made to play the ball," as football laws state. MAN UNITED: WHAT NEXT? This was only Mourinho's third loss in 15 career cup finals and the first defeat in regulation time. Despite Mourinho being able to spend around 300 million pounds ($404 million) on players, the only progress he can point to is finishing second in the league for the club's highest finish since Alex Ferguson retired as a champion in 2013. More investment is required in the offseason, particularly to acquire fullbacks. Wingers Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia have been deployed there. CHELSEA: WHAT NEXT? The rapid turnover of managers hasn't prevented Chelsea from collecting trophies. It's now 15 in 15 years under Roman Abramovich's ownership. The Russian billionaire could well be searching for his 11th permanent manager if he decides to fire Conte with a year remaining on his contract. Chelsea's priority is finding a new striker, particularly if Hazard leaves, despite lacking the appeal of appearing in the Champions League. Chelsea failed to adequately replace Diego Costa last year, scoring 62 goals in the league compared to 85 in the previous title-winning campaign. MISSING The president of the Football Association wasn't available to present the FA Cup. Prince William had a more pressing engagement, serving as best man for brother Prince Harry in the lunchtime wedding to Meghan Markle at Windsor. Instead, the trophy was presented by Jackie Wilkins, the widow of former Chelsea and United midfielder Ray Wilkins, who died last month at the age of 61......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 20th, 2018

Modric, Rakitic headline Croatia s preliminary WCup squad

ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — In possibly their last World Cup as midfield partners, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic were named Monday in the provisional Croatia squad for the tournament in Russia. Modric's focus could be distracted by perjury charges he faces in his country for testimony about financial deals with a former Dinamo Zagreb director charged with embezzlement and tax fraud. The prosecutors in the eastern town of Osijek say Modric gave a false court statement in June about his 2008 transfer from Dinamo to Tottenham. Striker Mario Mandzukic, who just clinched yet another Serie A title with Juventus, was also chosen by Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic for his 32-man selection. Mandzukic has scored 30 goals for his country in 82 international games. Forwards Ivan Perisic and Nikola Kalinic are also available up front. Center back Dejan Lovren, who will play in the Champions League final with Liverpool, and veteran Vedran Corluka will likely anchor Croatia's defense. Domagoj Vida, Josip Pivaric, Sime Vrsaljko and Ivan Strinic are also part of Croatia's defensive line. Goalkeeper Danijel Subasic and his likely backup, Lovre Kalinic, were also included. Croatia will play in Group D at the World Cup campaign against Nigeria on June 16 before facing Argentina on June 21 and Iceland on June 26......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 15th, 2018

2018 WORLD CUP: Argentina s destiny tied to Messi

By Debora Rey, Associated Press BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Without Lionel Messi, would Argentina even be going to the World Cup? The team’s destiny is more closely tied to the Barcelona forward than ever before. There are plenty of doubts for coach Jorge Sampaoli ahead of the tournament in Russia. Defender Javier Mascherano is reaching the end of his career, while striker Sergio Aguero and midfielder Lucas Biglia both experienced injury problems recently. Paulo Dybala is yet to deliver for his country despite all the promise on display at Juventus. Much of the squad also carries the burden of mass disappointment, following three successive losses in finals: the 2014 World Cup, the 2015 Copa America and 2016 Copa America Centenario. Argentina secured its spot in Russia in the last round of South American qualifiers thanks to Messi’s hat trick against Ecuador. The deficiencies in the team were underscored in a 6-1 loss to Spain in a friendly in March. Here’s a closer look at the Argentina team: COACH The 58-year-old Sampaoli took over in June 2017 to replace Edgardo Bauza when Argentina was on the verge of missing a World Cup spot. Sampaoli was never a footballer and didn’t manage a first division club at home, developing his career in Peru and then Chile. His success at Universidad de Chile pushed him to the Chilean national team in 2012. At the 2014 World Cup, Sampaoli’s Chile reached the round of 16 but lost to host Brazil on penalties. But a year later, Chile won its first-ever title while hosting the Copa America. Sampaoli’s first experience in European football came with Sevilla in 2016, but he quickly left to carry Argentina to the World Cup in its last four games of the South American qualifiers. Drawing inspiration from Marcelo Bielsa, Sampaoli likes his teams to attack as a block to impose their superiority. But Argentina is still to implement his style after 10 matches. GOALKEEPERS Sergio Romero was set to be Argentina’s No. 1 in his third World Cup. But River Plate’s Franco Armani has become a competitor. Although Romero has World Cup experience, being David de Gea’s understudy at Manchester United hasn’t given him much playing time. Armani has not played for Argentina, but is now a people’s favorite at home. The team’s other options are Nahuel Guzman (Tigres, Mexico) and Wilfredo Caballero (Chelsea). DEFENDERS Manchester City center back Nicolas Otamendi is the only player assured of a spot in the backline, with a likely partner in Roma’s Federico Fazio. Marcos Rojo (Manchester United) and Ramiro Funes Mori (Everton) are still improving after being sidelined with knee injuries. Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla) and Marcos Acuna (Sporting Lisboa) are ahead in the preferences to be on the right and left flanks, respectively, with Fabricio Bustos (Independiente) and Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax) behind. MIDFIELDERS Until the dismal loss to Spain, Sampaoli’s preferred option in the center was Lucas Biglia, but the AC Milan player will be racing to be fit for the World Cup after injuring his back. Biglia’s injury raises the stakes for veteran Javier Mascherano, who will go to his fourth World Cup at the age of 33. The lack of better options should present opportunities to Ever Banega (Sevilla) and Manuel Lanzini (West Ham). Giovani Lo Celso (Paris Saint-Germain), Eduardo Salvio (Benfica), Maximiliano Meza (Independiente) and Matias Kranevitter (Zenit) could also feature. FORWARDS Expect Messi and Angel Di Maria to make the team sheet. Aguero is expected to be center forward, but Sampaoli has to consider other options since the Manchester City forward injured his knee. Juventus’ Gonzalo Higuain is an option, but he was wasteful in the three finals Argentina lost. Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi could make it to the squad due to the doubts over Aguero. Juventus’ Dybala has never recovered from saying it was hard for him to play with the best player in the world. Sampaoli now considers him as a natural replacement for Messi or a potential No. 9. GROUP GAMES Based in the Moscow region, Argentina opens its Group D campaign in the capital against Iceland on June 16. Then there’s a trip to Nizhny Novgorod to play Croatia on June 21, followed by a meeting with Nigeria in St. Petersburg on June 26......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 28th, 2018

BLOGTABLE: 2018 pre-playoffs predictions

NBA.ph blogtable 1) Which first-round series in the West is most likely to see an upset result (lower seed beating higher seed)? Enzo Flojo: For sure it’s Portland-New Orleans. I love Damian Lillard’s game, but the Pels are a really tough bunch with a lot of weapons, even sans Boogie Cousins. Jusuf Nurkic will have a really tough time containing AD; that’s one reason this has a high potential for an upset! Migs Bustos: The Jazz and Thunder matchup. It's a tale of upward momentum versus inconsistency. The Jazz have won seven out of their last 10 games, and OKC are 5-5 in their last 10. With how the Jazz are playing great team basketball, led by super rookie, Donovan Mitchell, they have a great chance of upsetting the erratic OKC Thunder. If maganda ang gising ng Utah for four games, may tulog ang OKC sa kanila. Marco Benitez: I think the Thunder-Jazz series is the one where most likely we will see an upset. The Thunder experiment of Westbrook-George-Anthony has been up and down all season, while the Jazz are a well-coached team anchored on a great defensive presence in Gobert. The Thunder win if Westbrook dominates the game and Adams is able to neutralize Gobert. But if OKC becomes stagnant on offense and their usual selves defensively, then the Jazz can wreck havoc on this matchup. Favian Pua: Portland Trail Blazers vs. New Orleans Pelicans: In order for the Pelicans to stun the Blazers, Anthony Davis must cement his status as the best player on both ends of the floor throughout the series. A Playoff Rondo sighting paired with the feisty defense of Jrue Holiday should stymie the backcourt attack of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Adrian Dy: If it turns out Kawhi Leonard was just saving himself for a postseason run, then the Spurs would absolutely wreck the Stephen Curry-less Golden State Warriors. Barring such a comeback though, I'm riding high on the Pelicans. The Blazers don't have the bigs to even slow down Davis, and the Jrue Holiday + Playoffs Rajon Rondo combo could make things really tough for Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum 2) Which first-round series in the East is most likely to see an upset result (lower seed beating higher seed)? Enzo Flojo: Don’t look past the veteran-laden Miami Heat. Philadelphia is by far the deeper team, sure, but if Embiid is hampered by his injury and both D-Wade and Goran Dragic have their way, Miami can push the Sixers to the distance and an upset may not be that surprising. Also, coach Spo shines in 7-game series! Migs Bustos: In the East, it's a bit more challenging. We all know about the success of the Sixers this season; no matter what seed Lebron's team is, it will be hard to upset them; the Raptors have been long consistent at the number 1 spot all season. So, the best bet would be the Bucks overthrowing home court advantage. And this is because Kyrie is out of the season. It's just up to Giannis and Co. to take advantage of that disadvantage by the Celtics to pull through. Marco Benitez: The plague of injuries to the Boston Celtics really hurt their chances of contending in the East, much less win a championship this season. Without Kyrie, Marcus Smart, and Gordon Hayward, the Celtics are vulnerable against the Greek Freak-led Bucks, who are long and talented. With that being said, Boston is still an extremely well-coached, albeit young team, and Giannis will have to be the best player on the floor for most of the series for the inconsistent Bucks to pull off the upset. Favian Pua: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Miami Heat: Though the Sixers are rolling into the playoffs, only J.J. Redick and Marco Belinelli can boast of a legitimate postseason resume. Led by All-Star Goran Dragic, the Heat are an unrelenting unit of two-way veterans who can both muck it up inside and bait opponents into a long-range shootout. Joel Embiid’s uncertain status will force Sixers head coach Brett Brown to find a counter for Hassan Whiteside. Adrian Dy: Though I have the 76ers advancing, it wouldn't surprise me if the Heat shut down Ben Simmons and shut up Joel Embiid. Erik Spoelstra has a knack for getting the best out of his squads, Dwyane Wade could have some clutch moments, and if the aforementioned Embiid doesn't return as soon as expected, South Beach could be singing after round one. 3) Which team that missed the playoffs has the best shot at making it next season? Enzo Flojo: I’d love to say Denver, but their being in the West really makes their window tight. That’s why I’m picking the Detroit Pistons, who have enough talent to make quite a big impact in the East, especially if their big names (e.g. Drummond, Griffin, Jackson) all stay put and stay healthy! Migs Bustos: To be honest, there are not much compelling story lines on teams that barely missed the playoffs this year. There's nothing like one of the most recent examples -- the Heat's 2016-2017 season where they made a late season run but just missed it at .500 (41-41), or how about Phoenix having a winning record at 48-34 in the 2013-2014 season missing out? The 16 teams were more or less 'predicted' to make the postseason this year so there wasn't a big surprise. Marco Benitez: I think a healthy Memphis Grizzlies team, with Conley, Gasol, Parsons and Tyreke Evans (assuming all are still with the Grizzlies next season) will be a lock to make the playoffs after a disappointing 22-60 win-loss record this season that saw a season-ending surgery for Conley happen in late January. Favian Pua: The Denver Nuggets. Nikola Jokic and his ragtag bunch of scorers were an overtime loss away against the Minnesota Timberwolves from getting their first taste of the postseason. To do so, the Nuggets will need to handle their business and take care of bottom-feeders, as it was backbreaking losses to the Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks in March that prevented them from securing an outright playoff berth. Adrian Dy: The Dallas Mavericks. Dirk Nowitzki will likely want to go out with a bang, Rick Carlisle is still a really good coach, Dennis Smith Jr. is a fantastic attacking guard, and if the lotto balls bounce the right way, they could return to the upper echelon of the West. 4) Which team that made these playoffs has the biggest chance of missing it next season? Enzo Flojo: It may sound crazy, but the Spurs are at great risk for next season. Kawhi continues to be a huge question mark and their veterans will get even older in 2018-2019. They nearly didn’t make it this year, and next year could be the tipping point! Migs Bustos: I'd have to go with the San Antonio Spurs. No doubt all of the other teams are on the up-swing, and they all boast of youth. If Kahwi does not play for the Spurs next season, expect younger teams with great potential like the Nuggets and Lakers to overtake SAS. Marco Benitez: Depending on what happens in terms of offseason trades, and assuming that the rest of the Western Conference regains full strength next season, the two teams I feel have the biggest chance of missing the playoffs next season are Miami and New Orleans. For Miami, DWade is not getting any younger, and Hassan Whiteside has not been at a consistent All-Star level all season. With Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond getting a full year under their belt in Detroit and Kristaps Porzingis back at full strength in New York, I see Miami as the most likely team to get bumped off in the East next season. For New Orleans, the Davis-Cousins experiment did not necessarily turn them into a legitimate playoff contender in the West, and when Cousins fell to injury, they've had to rely on AD to carry them almost entirely on his shoulders. With the ultra competitive West getting healthier next season, unless the Pels are able to get better on the wings -- assuming of course Cousins doesn't bolt in the offseason -- they may find themselves out of the playoffs. Favian Pua: Cleveland Cavaliers. Hinging on the premise that LeBron James bolts for the Sixers or Los Angeles Lakers in free agency this offseason, the Cavaliers are headed for a massive nosedive towards the number one pick in the 2019 draft. No other team has more to lose than the Cavaliers this postseason, and it is highly probable that winning the title is the only way The King stays in The Land. Adrian Dy: If we get another round of LeBron James free agency sweepstakes, and he winds up getting the Banana Boat Gang together in Houston, it's hard to see the Cleveland Cavaliers being competitive, let alone back in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Should that happen, I'd expect them to trade guys like Kevin Love, and hope that lotto luck favors them anew. 5) Which team is your early favorite to win it all? Enzo Flojo: Despite all the injuries and all their inconsistencies, the Warriors are still my odds-on fave to win it all. They have four big time playoff performers, and they know this is where their real season begins. Migs Bustos: Don't count out the Warriors. Even though they have been plagued with injuries towards the end of the season, the Dubs will hope that they will be healthy in time and turn 'on' the button with their championship experience Marco Benitez: Still the Warriors. Although they'll be without Steph in the first round, I foresee the same dominant Dubs starting the second round all the way to the Finals. The regular season has been a bit of a drag for them this season, and I believe that's why we haven't seen the same Warriors squad as that of past years. But come playoffs, there's no reason why the defending champs don't get locked in; and when they do, frankly, there's still no better team in the league than Golden State. Favian Pua: The Houston Rockets. The playoffs is all about trimming the fat in the roster and letting star power take over in the biggest moments. In James Harden and Chris Paul, the Rockets will always have at least one elite shot creator and facilitator on the court for all 48 minutes. Flanked by capable three-point shooters and wing defenders acquired specifically to neutralize the Golden State Warriors’ juggernaut, Clutch City is on track for its first Larry O’Brien trophy since 1995. Adrian Dy: Yes the defending champions are banged-up and looked uninterested as the regular season wound down, but now that it's winning time, I expect the Warriors to do their thing, although there's no way it'll be as smooth as their 16-1 romp last season......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 14th, 2018

BLOGTABLE: Which non-playoff team has brightest future?

NBA.com blogtable Which team missing out on the playoffs this season has the brightest future, looking ahead to next season? +++ Steve Aschburner: Got to go with the Lakers, both for the talent they already have on board and the free agents they’re positioned to woo this summer. Frankly, one of their biggest challenges may be sorting out what they have vs. what they want, because the core of Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Julius Randle and Lonzo Ball could develop nicely on its own merits. But Magic Johnson isn’t going to dawdle. Tas Melas: The Lakers. Their young core of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, and Julius Randle have been playing well beyond their years. For such a young bunch to rank 12th defensively is very impressive (as my man John Schuhmann details with some stats below). Regardless if a superstar joins them via free agency, I’m most excited about the ceiling of their young players over any other lottery team because three of the guys I mentioned are rookies, and Ingram’s only a second-year guy. They do not look, behave, or play that green. Shaun Powell: It's the Lakers, and by a landslide if they enjoy the offseason of their dreams. They're just set up to rebound better than the other teams, with money to spend, a dollop of young stars on rookie contracts and a guy in the front office (Magic Johnson) who happens to be a winner in all things basketball. We all know who they're chasing, and if the Lakers do hit bull's-eye this summer in free agency and/or through trades, they'll be a title contender. John Schuhmann: The Lakers. They already have four good young players on rookie contracts on their roster. Brandon Ingram showed some serious improvement with his offensive game in his second year, Kyle Kuzma is an all-around talent, and while Lonzo Ball can't shoot, he's been the rare rookie guard who makes an impact defensively. If the Lakers lose Julius Randle in free agency, it's probably because they got an upgrade. The Lakers have been the league's most improved defensive team this season (having allowed five fewer points per 100 possessions than they did last season), and have been the league's most improved offensive teams since the All-Star break (having scored 5.8 more points per 100 possessions than they did before the break). They've taken real steps forward already and have something to build on. Sekou Smith: The Los Angeles Lakers possess the best combination of young, developing talent and salary cap flexibility heading into what could be a wild free-agent summer. The Lakers still have to sort out some internal issues (Isaiah Thomas and his future being the most glaring) and decide which of their young core pieces are keepers (Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson, once thought to be, clearly were not). But we've seen enough from Kyle Kuzma, Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball to know that the Lakers have plenty of talent to work with moving forward. If they make any sort of splash in free agency, go ahead and place the Lakers on your playoff fast track for next season......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 5th, 2018

Dominant at home, Europe where Bayern & City measure success

By Rob Harris, Associated Press Three of the teams in the Champions League quarterfinals are in a luxurious position, and running away with their domestic competitions allows them to concentrate on European glory. Manchester City and Bayern Munich could even secure trophies between the first and second legs in Europe over the next week or so. City, which travels to Liverpool in an all-northwest England quarterfinal on Wednesday, has a 16-point lead in the Premier League. Bayern, which is a point better off at the Bundesliga summit, visits on Tuesday a Sevilla side that is in the European Cup quarterfinals for the first time in 60 years. Barcelona has a nine-point lead at home as it prepares to host Roma on Wednesday, with defending champion Real Madrid trailing by 13 points in third place. Madrid, though, is a European force. Champions League winners in three of the last four seasons, Zinedine Zidane's side visits Serie A leader Juventus on Tuesday. A closer look at the quarterfinal match-ups: ___ JUVENTUS-REAL MADRID Has Gareth Bale done enough to retain his place in Madrid's starting lineup? Either side of the recent international break, Bale scored three goals in two matches. But he wasn't entrusted with a starting place in the round of 16 against Paris Saint-Germain — reflecting the uncertainty surrounding the Wales forward's status in the squad. "I'm pleased with his performance," Madrid coach Zidane said after Bale scored twice in a 3-0 win at relegation-threatened Las Palmas on Saturday. "You'll have to wait and see if he plays on Tuesday." Lucas Vazquez could drop out if Zidane restores the "BBC" front-line of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Bale. Bale, though, could miss out again if Madrid decide to add an extra midfielder for the first leg in Turin by including Marco Asensio or Francisco "Isco" Alarcon. Madrid and Juventus are meeting for the first time since last season's final when the Spanish capital club swept to a 12th European title. The only Champions League final Madrid has failed to reach in the last four seasons was in 2014-15 — when it lost to Juventus in the semifinals. Juventus must raise its game after struggling in Serie A recently. After a 0-0 draw at lowly Spal, the team was outplayed by AC Milan for much of Saturday's match before Juan Cuadrado came off the bench to turn things around. On his first appearance after more than three months out with a groin injury, Cuadrado grabbed the crucial second goal in a 3-1 win. "He's come back well and has astounded me," Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said, "because often in the past he hasn't done well coming off the bench." Juventus is once again in the hunt for a treble, leading Serie A by four points and through to the Italian Cup final. ___ BARCELONA-ROMA Barcelona can count on Lionel Messi again but how fit is he? After missing recent Argentina games with a muscular problem, he made a scoring return from the bench on Saturday against Sevilla to preserve Barcelona's unbeaten La Liga record this season. Coach Ernesto Valverde, however, said Messi is still bothered by pain heading into the game against Roma. The Italian capital club is awaiting a prognosis on Radja Nainggolan's thigh injury. The Belgium international, who has started all of Roma's Champions League matches, limped off 16 minutes into Saturday's 1-1 draw at Bologna. Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco is doubtful Nainggolan will recover in time "He is the 'Ninja,'" Di Francesco said. "He told me to wait and tried to run it off, but if he had to give up and leave the pitch that means there's really something wrong and the problem is serious." With Roma prioritizing the game against Barcelona, the lack of depth was evident on Saturday when Edin Dzeko had to come off the bench to salvage a draw. __ LIVERPOOL-MAN CITY City makes a return trip to the only stadium where it has lost during an otherwise unbeaten Premier League campaign. With Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane boasting 75 goals between them this season, Liverpool has an impressive attacking armory to take on Pep Guardiola's side. "They are almost unstoppable," Guardiola said. "The way Liverpool play is so complicated for us. We know that. They are so quick, they are so good." The 4-3 loss at Anfield in January was a blip in City's progression to the Premier League title that can be sealed with a win against Manchester United on Saturday. With the European first leg on Wednesday and the return at the Etihad Stadium next Tuesday, Guardiola's predicament will be whether to rest players for the Manchester derby and potentially miss out on winning the Premier League in perhaps the sweetest way. Guardiola is hoping to welcome Sergio Aguero back from a knee injury that has kept the striker out of action for a month. While Liverpool is England's most successful side with five European Cups, City has never won the competition. Guardiola, though, led Barcelona to two Champions League titles. ___ SEVILLA-BAYERN MUNICH Bayern's players must be dreading the sight of Sevilla: Spanish teams have eliminated them in the past four seasons. Before then, Bayern lifted the European Cup in the all-German 2013 final against Borussia Dortmund when Jupp Heynckes completed a treble before stepping down. The 72-year-old coach was brought out of retirement to return in October when Carlo Ancelotti was fired after losing to PSG. Heynckes has overseen a remarkable turnaround, with Bayern on course to repeat the 2013 treble. Sevilla, though, keeps on upsetting more illustrious sides. Not only was Jose Mourinho's Manchester United stunned in the round of 16 but Barcelona was held to a draw on Saturday. Sevilla, which won the Europa League in 2014, 2015 and 2016, is contesting its first European Cup quarterfinal since 1958. ___ Tales Azzoni in Madrid, Daniella Matar in Milan and Ciaran Fahey in Berlin contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 3rd, 2018

Juventus faces AC Milan test before Real Madrid blockbuster

MILAN: Napoli can stake a claim to the Serie A title against strugglers Sassuolo this weekend, with champions Juventus facing a stiff test against AC Milan before next week’s Champions League clash with Real Madrid. Juventus, who go into Saturday’s action with next Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final, first-leg game against the Spanish champions in Turin [...] The post Juventus faces AC Milan test before Real Madrid blockbuster appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimesRelated NewsMar 30th, 2018

Inter without a win in 4 league games after draw with Lazio

By Daniella Matar, Associated Press Inter Milan's crisis deepened as it was held to a 0-0 draw at home by Lazio on Saturday to leave it without a win in four league matches. Inter was undefeated and top of Serie A only two weeks ago. But it is now seven points behind leader Napoli and six below Juventus, which won 3-1 at relegation-threatened Hellas Verona. Roma is two points further back after a 1-1 draw with Sassuolo, while Lazio remained fifth. The two capital sides have played a match less than the top three. "When you're part of a team like Inter there are no alibis or excuses, we just have to get good results," Inter coach Luciano Spalletti said. "For the moment we're meeting our targets, which means that the group is working hard." Inter moved top of Serie A with a credible 0-0 draw at Juventus on Dec. 9. However, that was mainly down to the performance of goalkeeper Samir Handanovic, and its struggles in front of goal have continued. Three days later, Inter needed penalties to get past third-division Pordenone in the Italian Cup after a goalless draw. That was followed by league losses to Udinese (3-1) and Sassuolo (1-0) before Wednesday's surprise Cup defeat to AC Milan. Inter has scored just one goal in its past six matches in all competitions. It was the visitors who went closest to scoring at the end of the first half when Inter midfielder Borja Valero attempted to head clear Lazio's corner and it came off the crossbar. Valero almost scored at the right end for Inter but Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha did well to turn his effort onto the post. Lazio was awarded a penalty on the hour mark but, after reviewing the incident on video (VAR), the referee revoked his decision as Ciro Immobile's cross had hit Milan Skriniar's leg before bouncing up onto his arm so the handball was involuntary. "My appraisal of VAR is completely negative because it takes emotions out of football, now you don't even celebrate after a goal," Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi said. "We would've had an extra seven points this season without VAR." ___ DYBALA'S BACK Paulo Dybala broke his goal drought by scoring two goals to help Juventus keep up the pressure on Napoli at the top of Serie A by beating Hellas Verona 3-1. Dybala hadn't scored in the league since Nov. 19 but he restored Juve's lead in the 72nd and doubled his tally five minutes later. Earlier, former Juventus player Martin Caceres had canceled out Blaise Matuidi's opener. Juventus bettered one of its own Serie A records, having now scored in 23 consecutive away matches. ___ ROMA FALTERS Sassuolo was revitalized under new coach Giuseppe Iachini and had won its previous three league matches, but fell behind in the 31st minute against Roma when Edin Dzeko rolled the ball across the area for an unmarked Lorenzo Pellegrini to fire into the far bottom corner. Pellegrini left Sassuolo in the offseason along with current Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco. Simone Missiroli headed in the equalizer in the 78th Edin Dzeko had a goal for Roma ruled out for offside as did Alessandro Florenzi, who was making his 200th appearance for the club. ___ FIRST-EVER WIN Benevento recorded its first Serie A victory with a 1-0 win over Chievo Verona. Benevento had the worst start to a season in modern history among Europe's five major leagues, losing 17 of its previous 18 matches in its debut season in Serie A. Massimo Coda netted the historic goal for Benevento in the 64th minute, flicking Marco D'Alessandro's chipped pass beyond Chievo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino. Benevento picked up its first Serie A point at the beginning of the month when goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli's injury-time equalizer secured a 2-2 draw against Milan. ___ OTHER MATCHES Teenage goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma marked his 100th appearance for Milan by helping it rescue a 1-1 draw at Fiorentina. Donnarumma made several crucial saves, notably palming Gil Dias' header onto the crossbar from close range in first-half injury time. Hakan Calhanoglu scored for Milan to cancel out Giovanni Simeone's opener. Elsewhere, Cagliari upset Atalanta 2-1, while Udinese won at Bologna by the same score. Sampdoria beat Spal 2-0 and Torino drew 0-0 with Genoa......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2017

Giroud s overhead kick gives Arsenal 1-0 win at Red Star

The Associated Press - Olivier Giroud scored late in the second half for Arsenal to maintain its perfect Europa League campaign with a 1-0 win over 10-man Red Star Belgrade on Thursday. Five minutes after Milan Rodic was sent off for a second yellow card, Giroud struck with an overhead kick five minutes before the final whistle after Theo Walcott headed the ball to him. "It was a great combination before the goal as well and he finished well," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. Arsenal opened a five-point lead in Group H with nine points. Red Star and BATE Borisov, which beat visiting Cologne 1-0, are on four. Cologne is bottom without a point. Elsewhere, Lazio rallied to take three points at Nice with a 3-1 win in Group K, and Real Sociedad thrashed Macedonia's Vardar 6-0 in Group L with Willian Jose scoring four goals. Milan was held 0-0 at home by Greek team AEK in Group D, and Everton's campaign suffered another blow after a 2-1 loss at home to Lyon in Group E. Arsenal rested nine front-line players who were in the lineup for the English Premier League's match against Watford on Saturday, which Arsenal lost 2-1. But goalkeeper Petr Cech was in the goal as captain and made his presence felt, making several perfect saves. "It's important to have a good goalkeeper in this kind of game, too," Wenger said. "They were dangerous and Petr Cech kept us in the game." Mathieu Debuchy returned to the squad after a year due to injuries. With several young players, including Reiss Nelson, Joseph Willock and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, the Gunners didn't look dangerous until Giroud's goal. "I believe you win when you can, you do not decide when," Wenger said. "What's remarkable is the spirit we have shown. They defended very well, but the goal is a consequence of us wanting to play through them." Richmond Boakye headed the ball onto the crossbar in the biggest chance for Red Star. LAZIO LEADS Boosted by a 2-1 victory over Juventus in Serie A, Lazio took the sole lead in Group K after rallying to a 3-1 away win at Nice in a matchup of two teams that won their previous two games. The fans didn't have to wait long for goals. Mario Balotelli headed home for the hosts four minutes into the game from Wesley Sneijder's cross, but Felipe Caicedo equalized for the hosts just a minute later. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic scored his first goal for Lazio in the 65th before adding his second a minute from time. Lazio stays perfect atop the group with nine points from three wins. Nice is second, three points back. Zulte Waregem and Vitesse drew 1-1 and have a point each in the group. REAL ON FIRE Willian Jose scored two goals in each half for Real Sociedad on the way to thrashing Macedonia's Vardar 6-0. Mikel Oyarzabal gave the Spaniards a first-half lead. The Brazilian striker then took charge before he was substituted on the hour. Alberto de la Bella added the final goal at the last minute. Despite the victory, Real is second in Group L with six points, trailing leader Zenit St. Petersburg by three after the Russians beat Rosenborg 3-1 to stay perfect. Rosenborg has three points and Vardar remains bottom after three defeats. EVERTON'S MISERY Everton is 16th in the 20-team English Premier League and is still without a win in three Europa League group matches this season. Nabil Fekir converted a penalty kick six minutes into the match for Lyon after Mason Holgate downed Marcal in the area. Players of both teams briefly clashed after a hard push from Everton captain Ashley Williams on Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes. Everton could face punishment from UEFA after a fan holding a child appeared to aim a punch at a Lyon player during the second-half melee at Goodison Park which continued off the pitch and in front of the Howard Kendall Gwladys Street End. Just minutes later, Williams seemed to come to Everton's rescue with a 69th-minute header. But Lyon needed just six minutes to answer with Bertrand Traore restoring the advantage to 2-1. Under-pressure Everton manager Ronald Koeman has something to think about before league games against Arsenal and Leicester sandwich a League Cup match with Chelsea. Italian side Atalanta leads Group E with seven points after a 3-1 win over Apollon Limassol. Lyon trails by two points in second. Apollon has two points and Everton remains last with one point. NO CHEERS IN BALKANS Partizan Belgrade played without its fans at Skenderbeu in Albania on Thursday with the reverse situation— no Skenderbeu supporters — scheduled to happen in Serbia. Both teams agreed on that measure at UEFA's request to not "create a hot situation." The Group B game ended in a 0-0 draw......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 20th, 2017

Robins ascend to solo lead as CSB-LSGH is upset by Baste

strong>STANDINGS /strong> br /> Malayan 11-2 br /> CSB-LSGH 10-3 br /> Letran 8-5 br /> San Beda 8-5 br /> San Sebastian 6-6 br /> Arellano 6-7 br /> LPU 6-7 br /> Perpetual 4-8 br /> JRU 4-9 br /> EAC 1-12 Game in and game out, Malayan High School of Science is being challenged in its title defense in the NCAA 93 Juniors Basketball Tournament. On Friday at the Filoil Flying V Centre, the latest challenge came from their much-improved neighboring rival Colegio de San Juan de Letran. And still, the Red Robins proved to have more than enough for a well-fought 81-76 win against the Squires in overtime. Randy Alcantara’s boys actually found themselves trailing most of the time as Letran showcased all that led it to a six-game winning streak heading into the game. “Good win sa amin kasi kami naman naghahabol from the start e,” the head coach said. Little by little, however, Malayan clawed themselves back into the matchup and by the final frame, the two teams were even. “Credit sa mga bata kasi binigay nila lahat nila,” Alcantara said. With the tally tied after four periods, the two teams needed overtime to settle the score. There, the Robins’ championship experience came through as Will Gozum’s block led to a fastbreak layup for Joaqui Garcia and another defensive stop led to Clint Escamis’ slash-to-score for a 78-74 lead with 36.4 ticks to go. Lakksman Ganapathy kept things interesting for the Squires, but was immediately answered by Gozum’s inside basket. Not long after, Malayan was celebrating its rise to a league-leading 11-2 standing. “Malayo pa ‘to. Ang focus pa rin muna namin, makuha yung twice-to-beat,” Alcantara said. In the end, Gozum had 10 points, 21 rebounds, and seven blocks; Garcia had 11 points and four assists; and Escamis had 19 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists. Topping the scoring column was Carl Lacap who had 21 markers to his name. Those four were more than enough to put down the Squires. Even with the loss, however, the gallant stand should be a source of pride for a squad that was not even mentioned among contenders a season ago. With an 8-5 record, Letran stays at the third spot. The defending champions are now alone atop the leaderboard after College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills found itself at the wrong end of an upset by San Sebastian College-Recoletos. Damie Cuntapay towered above all for 16 points and 14 rebounds to lift the Staglets over the erstwhile pacesetting Junior Blazers, 71-67. A total of four players were in double-digit scoring in San Sebastian’s fourth win in a row and sixth overall in 12 games. They now stand in solo fifth. Inand Fornilos had eight points and 11 rebounds, but neither he nor his fellow frontcourt players were a match for Cuntapay. Joel Cagulangan had 16 points and six assists to show the way for the Junior Blazers who were forced to take a step back onto a 10-3 standing, still good for solo second. Meanwhile, San Beda High School stayed on the right track after avenging its loss to Jose Rizal High School, 70-69. Evan Nelle topped the scoring column with 19 points to make sure the Red Cubs did not suffer another shocker against the Light Bombers. More importantly, the win pushed San Beda into a streak and onto an 8-5 record. Just right behind them, however, and still fighting for a spot in the Final Four are Arellano High School and Lyceum of the Philippines University following separate wins. The Braves whipped Emilio Aguinaldo College, 81-70, on the back of MVP leader Aaron Fermin who yet again posted monster numbers of 25 points, 23 rebounds, and four blocks. It was a much-needed win for Arellano which had been on a three-game slide, but now improves to 6-7. Tying them for the sixth spot are the Junior Pirates who weathered University of Perpetual Help, 74-72. Vincent Cunanan had 20 points, 13 rebounds, and three steals and teamed up with Mac Guadana who had 12 markers, seven boards, and three pilfers. All of Baste, Arellano, and LPU remain within striking distance of two of the last four spots in the Final Four. Their respective losses dropped the Junior Altas to 4-8, the Light Bombers to 4-9, and the Brigadiers to 1-12. BOX SCORES FIRST GAME, FRIDAY SAN BEDA 70 – Nelle 19, Alfaro 13, Etrata 11, Tagala 6, Abu Hijleh 6, Mahinay 5, Velasquez 3, Garcia 3, Obenza 2, Dela Rosa 2, Lagumen 0, Nayve 0, Sese 0 JRU 69 – Serrano 21, Agustin 19, Camua 10, Tolentino 9, Caballero 8, Buazon 2, Amores 0, Dionisio 0, Buno 0, Delos Santos 0, Vasquez 0 QUARTER SCORES: 27-18, 43-42, 58-55, 70-69 SECOND GAME, FRIDAY ARELLANO 81 – Fermin 25, Bataller 17, Camacho 12, Fornis 10, Tamayo 5, Codinera 4, Domingo 3, Segura 2, Camilosa 2, De Leon 1, Camarillo 0, Rivera 0, Velasco 0, Liangco 0 EAC 70 – Cruz 22, De Quiros 16, Dulatre 10, Castillo 7, Oriondo 7, Boado 4, Mananquil 2, Matilde 2, Tapales 0, Baliquig 0, Ligot 0 QUARTER SCORES: 30-10, 39-34, 65-46, 81-70 THIRD GAME, FRIDAY MALAYAN 81 – Lacap 21, Escamis 19, Garcia 11, Gozum 10, Bonifacio 9, Jabel 6, Enriquez 3, Socias 0, Ramos 0, Sarias 0 LETRAN 76 – Cordero 13, Peralta 13, Valdez 11, Guarino 11, Ganapathy 9, Monje 6, Aniban 6, Reyson 4, Tolentino 3, Tamayo 0, Culanay 0, Fuentes 0 QUARTER SCORES: 17-20, 32-35, 54-54, 70-70, 81-76 (OT) FIRST GAME, THURSDAY LPU 74 – Barba 21, Cunanan 20, Guadana 12, Arenal 6, Ruiz 4, Sandoval 4, Jungco 3, Salazar 3, Umpad 1, Caringal 0, Cuevas 0 PERPETUAL 72 – Razon 20, Cuevas 10, Bongay 10, Umali 10, Gallano 9, Siegue 5, Rocero 4, De Leon 2, Maneze 2, Duka 0, Sta. Teresa 0 QUARTER SCORES: 15-21, 34-35, 57-51, 74-72 SECOND GAME, THURSDAY SAN SEBASTIAN 71 – Cuntapay 16, Villapando 12, Desoyo 11, Calahat 10, Timbancaya 9, Pasamante 9, Rodriguez 3, Pelas 1, Aguilar 0, Sumoda 0, Suico 0, Umayao 0 CSB-LSGH 67 – Cagulangan 16, Bordeos 15, Marcos 9, Fornilos 8, David 7, Perez 5, Lao 3, Dela Cruz 2, Sangco 2, Mosqueda 0, Pedrosa 0, Lepalam 0, Morales 0 QUARTER SCORES: 16-14, 31-30, 54-45, 71-67 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 22nd, 2017

With 3 goals in 5 minutes, Napoli shows off its potential

em>By Andrew Dampf, Associated Press /em> ROME (AP) — With a three-goal burst in the space of five minutes, Napoli showed why many believe the southern club has the potential to win its first Serie A title in nearly three decades. Overturning an early deficit, Kalidou Koulibaly, Jose Callejon and Dries Mertens scored early in the second half of a 4-1 win over Lazio on Wednesday to extend Napoli's perfect record. While six-time defending champion Juventus also remained perfect with an unimpressive 1-0 win over 10-man Fiorentina, Napoli tops the table on goal difference. Ciro Immobile set up Stefan de Vrij for Lazio's opener as Napoli appeared in difficulty at the Stadio Olimpico. But one defensive lapse was all the visitors needed to level. Raul Albiol was left unmarked at the far post for a corner and while his shot was parried by Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha, Koulibaly put in the rebound. Callejon then found the target with an angled shot from inside the area and Mertens rounded out the rapid-fire scoring with a long-distance lob after Strakosha was drawn out of position. Lorenzo Insigne nearly added another, but his effort hit the post a few minutes later. Jorginho added a penalty for Napoli in added time. 'I wasn't worried at halftime. The team was doing well, but so was Lazio and they went ahead on one of the few chances conceded,' Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri said. 'The lads did well in the second half. We turned things around. 'This is a big win, because they had beaten Juventus (in the Italian Super Cup) and AC Milan. This was a high-risk match,' Sarri added. It's the third time Napoli has relied on a second-half burst this season, having also scored three goals after the break in a 3-1 win over Atalanta and again in a 3-0 victory over Bologna. The results have Napoli fans dreaming of its first 'scudetto' since Diego Maradona led the club to its only two Serie A titles in 1987 and 1990. ___ strong>ANGRY ALLEGRI /strong> Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri stormed off the pitch at the final whistle in the Bianconeri's victory over Fiorentina. The visitors were reduced to 10 men after Mario Mandzukic's goal early in the second half but Juventus wasted a series of chances to extend its lead. Juan Cuadrado put in a strong performance on the right flank and provided the cross for Mandzukic to crouch down and score with a header. Fiorentina midfielder Milan Badelj picked up his second yellow card for a foul on Blaise Matuidi. The referee initially called for a penalty but changed his mind after consulting the video assistant referee. ___ strong>DZEKO DOMINATES /strong> Edin Dzeko was in top form as Roma comfortably won 4-0 at promoted Benevento. Dzeko scored twice, his presence led to two own goals, plus he hit both the post and crossbar. Dzeko put Roma ahead with a tap-in midway through the first half following solid work on the flank and an accurate cross from Aleksandar Kolarov. He then hit the post at the half-hour mark, before being in position to redirect a cross from Bruno Peres when defender Fabio Lucioni knocked the ball into his own net. Shortly after the break, Dzeko — who led Serie A with 29 goals last season — scored his fifth of this campaign with a shot from just outside the area. In the 74th, a cross from Kolarov was turned into Benevento's net by defender Lorenzo Venuti with Dzeko again well positioned to score. Dzeko then hit the crossbar. Benevento, which is making its top-division debut, is the only team in the league without a point. It's been a difficult stretch for the southern club, which was routed 6-0 by regional rival Napoli on Sunday. ___ strong>MILAN PENALTIES /strong> AC Milan beat promoted Spal 2-0 with penalties from Ricardo Rodriguez and Frank Kessie. Also, it was: Atalanta 5, Crotone 1; Cagliari 0, Sassuolo 1; Genoa 1, Chievo Verona 1; Hellas Verona 0, Sampdoria 0; and Udinese 2, Torino 3.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 21st, 2017

Verlander stars as Astros clinch AL West

HOUSTON (AP) — Justin Verlander struck out 10 batters over seven innings in his first home start for Houston while Derek Fisher and Marwin Gonzalez homered in a big fifth inning as the Astros clinched the American League West with a 7-1 win over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday for their first division title since 2001. George Springer and Carlos Correa also homered for the Astros, who won their first division title since 2001 and seventh overall. The Astros become the first team in Major League Baseball history to win titles in three divisions after previously winning the NL West and NL Central. Verlander (13-8) retired his first seven batters before Ben Gamel homered into the right-center bullpen in the third. He allowed just two singles after that to improve to 3-0 since he was acquired from Detroit on Aug. 31. Andrew Moore (1-4) allowed three runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. strong>TIGERS 12, WHITE SOX 0 /strong> DETROIT (AP) — Matthew Boyd's no-hit bid ended when Tim Anderson doubled with two outs in the ninth inning, and the Detroit left-hander closed out a one-hitter for the first shutout of his professional career. Boyd (6-10) allowed only two runners — a walk to Rob Brantly in the third and Anderson's double to the gap in right-center field with two outs in the ninth. He struck out five and threw 121 pitches — his big league high. Dylan Covey (0-6) allowed five runs, seven hits and four walks in 3 2/3 innings. Nick Castellanos, Mikie Mahtook and Jeimer Candelario homered. strong>RAYS 3, RED SOX 2 /strong> ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (AP) — David Price pitched two hitless innings in his first big league game since July 22 after being sidelined by left elbow inflammation. The 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner made his first relief appearance since 2010. Jake Odorizzi (9-8) gave up one hit in six innings, a Jackie Bradley Jr. home run. Jesus Sucre hit a tiebreaking solo home run off Eduardo Rodriguez (5-6) in the sixth. Alex Colome pitched the ninth for his major league-leading 45th save. Tampa Bay remained 5½ games behind the Twins. strong>PADRES 4, ROCKIES 3 /strong> DENVER (AP) — Rockies closer Greg Holland dropped the ball trying to tag Matt Szczur at home on Austin Hedge's squeeze bunt in the ninth inning, allowing San Diego to finish its rally and beat Colorado. Hedges bunted back to Holland (3-6) with runners at the corners and one out, but after making a nice play to scoop up the ball, Holland lost control trying to tag a sliding Szczur. Colorado's bullpen blew its first save in three weeks and let the Rockies' lead for the second NL wild card shrink to 2 1/2 games over Milwaukee. The Brewers beat Miami on Sunday, and St. Louis, which lost to the Chicago Cubs, stayed 4 1/2 back. Kirby Yates (4-5) pitched the eighth, and Brad Hand got the last three outs for his 18th save. strong>ORIOLES 6, YANKEES 4 /strong> NEW YORK (AP) — Ubaldo Jimenez (6-1) struck out 10 in just five innings, and Tim Beckham hit a three-run homer off Sonny Gray (9-11), who allowed five runs in four innings during his shortest start this season. Didi Gregorius homered for the third straight day as New York's four-game winning streak ended. The Yankees remained three games behind AL East-leading Boston and four games ahead of Minnesota for the top AL wild card. Baltimore, which had lost nine of 10, is 5½ games behind the Twins. With two outs and a runner on third in the ninth, Zach Britton intentionally walked Aaron Judge, then struck out Gary Sanchez for his 15th save. strong>TWINS 13, BLUE JAYS 7 /strong> MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Eddie Rosario homered twice, Joe Mauer hit his first grand slam at home and Minnesota overcame a 5-0 deficit with seven runs in the second inning and six in the fifth. Minnesota reopened a two-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels for the second AL wild card. Kyle Gibson (11-10) allowed five runs, three hits and five walks in six innings. Joe Biagini (3-11) gave up six runs — four earned — and five hits in 1 1/3 innings. Josh Donaldson homered twice in the first two innings. strong>RANGERS 4, ANGELS 2 /strong> ANAHEIM, California (AP) — Joey Gallo hit a home run off Garrett Richards (0-2) that landed near the top of the grass hill in center field in the second inning, a drive that would have traveled 490 feet unimpeded, according to MLB Statcast. Adrian Beltre ht a two-run double to center field in the first. Miguel Gonzalez (8-11) allowed one run and two hits in five innings, and Jake Diekman got five outs for his first save this season. strong>INDIANS 3, ROYALS 2 /strong> CLEVELAND (AP) — A day after Cleveland clinched the AL Central, Corey Kluber (17-4) allowed three singles in seven innings. He has not given up a run in 22 innings and has lost once since July 4. Edwin Encarnacion hit a two-run homer in the fourth off Danny Duffy (8-9) as the Indians improved to 33-5 since Aug. 11 despite getting only three hits. Cody Allen worked out of a two-on jam in the ninth for his 28th save. Kansas City dropped five games behind the Twins. strong>CUBS 4, CARDINALS 3 /strong> CHICAGO (AP) — Jason Heyward hit a tiebreaking RBI single off Matt Bowman with two outs in the seventh as Chicago overcame a 3-0 deficit to win its sixth straight game. The Cubs remained four games ahead of second-place Milwaukee as Ben Zobrist drove in two runs and Kyle Schwarber hit his 27th homer. Pedro Strop (5-4) worked a rocky seventh for the win and Wade Davis got three outs for his 31st save, retiring Dexter Fowler on a game-ending flyout to the warning track with a runner on first. Tyler Lyons (4-1) was the loser. strong>BREWERS 10, MARLINS 3 /strong> MILWAUKEE (AP) — Travis Shaw, Jesus Aguilar and Manny Pina each had two hits in an eight-run fourth inning. The Brewers won two of three in a series moved from Florida following Hurricane Irma. Brandon Woodruff (2-2) allowed three runs and eight hits in seven innings. Dillon Peters (0-2) yielded eight runs, nine hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings. strong>REDS 5, PIRATES 2 /strong> CINCINNATI (AP) — Eugenio Suarez and Scooter Gennett hit two-run homers in the sixth off Gerrit Cole (11-11) as Cincinnati completed its second three-game sweep of Pittsburgh this season. Robert Stephenson (5-5) allowed one hit in six scoreless innings, and Michael Lorenzen pitched a perfect ninth for his second save. strong>ATHLETICS 6, PHILLIES 3 /strong> PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Joey Wendle hit a go-ahead grand slam off Edubray Ramos after the first two batters in the sixth reached off Henderson Alvarez (0-1), who made his first start since May 22, 2015, with Miami. Sean Manaea (11-10) gave up three runs in five innings, and five relievers combined for four hitless innings. Blake Treinen got three outs for his 11th save. strong>METS 5, BRAVES 1 /strong> ATLANTA (AP) — Robert Gsellman (7-7) allowed an unearned run and three hits in seven innings, while pinch-hitter Asdrubal Cabrera had a two-run, pinch-hit homer. Atlanta (67-81) was eliminated from postseason contention and must win its remaining 14 games to avoid a losing record in four straight seasons for the first time since seven in a row from 1984-90. Julio Teheran (11-12) gave up two runs, three hits and four walks in six innings. strong>GIANTS 7, DIAMONDBACKS 2 /strong> SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Pablo Sandoval homered and drove in three runs, rookie Chris Stratton (3-3) allowed two runs and five hits in six innings. Arizona had won 20 of 25 games and nine straight on the road. Taijuan Walker (9-8) Walker gave up four runs and seven hits in five innings. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 18th, 2017

Buffon sounds alarm as Juve stutters

MILAN: The Juventus defense is leaking, goals have dried up and captain Gianluigi Buffon has rung the alarm after the Serie A champions were exposed during a 2-1 ‘Derby d’Italia’ defeat to Inter Milan. Juventus host Cagliari on Wednesd.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsSep 20th, 2016