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Juventus loses 2-1 at Inter as cracks start to appear

DANIELLA MATAR, Associated Press   MILAN (AP) — A sixth successive Serie A title for Juventus might not be the foregone conclusion it appeared to be at the start of the season. Cracks have started to appear and Juventus l.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 19th, 2016

Man United soccer's top moneymaker again after 11 years

ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer br /> LONDON (AP) — Manchester United is a long way from winning the English Premier League again but is back on top of another table — as soccer's biggest moneymaker. For the first time since 2005, Manchester United overtook Real Madrid in top spot in the soccer finance rankings compiled by accountancy firm Deloitte even as it sits sixth in the Premier League. In 2015-16 when United won only the FA Cup and failed to qualify for the Champions League, the 20-time league champions generated 515.3 million pounds (689 million euros based on the annual average; now about $632 million). Spanish champion Barcelona had 620.2 million euros in revenue and Real Madrid, which won an 11th Champions League title in May, dropped to third on 620.1 million euros in Deloitte's 20th annual rankings. United's stay at the top could be short-lived with the pound weakening since Britain voted to leave the European Union in June and the failure to reach the Champions League. Despite Jose Mourinho replacing Louis van Gaal as manager, United is struggling to break back into the top four Champions League qualification places let alone win the first Premier League title since Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013. But United, owned by the Florida-based Glazer family and listed on the New York Stock Exchange, has maintained an ability to attract sponsors. 'Manchester United have had to wait 11 years to regain their position as the world's leading revenue-generating club and it has taken phenomenal commercial revenue growth to help them achieve this,' said Dan Jones of the Deloitte sports division. 'In recent years, their ability to secure commercial partnerships with value in excess of that achievable by their peers has been the crucial factor in enabling the club to regain their place at the top of the Money League.' The top five is completed by German champion Bayern Munich and Manchester City. The eight English clubs in the top 20 account for 45 percent of the accumulated revenue in the standings of 7.4 billion euros — up 13 percent from the previous year. Leicester, a first-time winner of the Premier League, makes the cut for the first time, squeezing into 20th place on 128.7 million pounds. West Ham returns to the top 20 and should move up from 18th place (143.8 million pounds) following its move last summer to Olympic Stadium. The other Premier League teams are: Arsenal (seventh at 350.4 million pounds), Chelsea (eight at 334.6 million pounds), Liverpool (ninth at 302 million pounds) and Tottenham (12th at 209.2 million pounds). The weight of English clubs in the revenue rankings should increase next year with the rise in television revenue. Premier League clubs should each earn at least 100 million pounds a season as part of the rights deals worth more than 8.3 billion pounds over three years. The only French team represented in the rankings is Paris Saint-Germain, which fell two places to sixth with revenue of 520.9 million euros. Zenit Saint-Petersburg is the only Russian team included, improving a place to 17th by generating 196.5 million euros. Along with Bayern, German also provides Borussia Dortmund (11th at 283.9 million euros) and Schalke (14th at 224.5 million euros). Juventus heads the list of four Italian teams, in 10th place on 224.5 million euros, followed by AS Roma (15th at 218.2 million euros), AC Milan (16th at 214.7 million euros) and Inter Milan (19th at 179.2 million euros). Deloitte warns that the enhanced English broadcast deals could see at least one of the Milan teams fall out of the top 20 next year. Joining Barcelona and Real Madrid in the rankings from Spain are Atletico Madrid in 13th place at 228.6 million euros. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 18th, 2017

Juventus' lead cut to 1 point after 2-1 loss at Fiorentina

br /> DANIELLA MATAR, Associated Press   MILAN (AP) — Fiorentina coach Paulo Sousa got his tactics spot on as he steered his side to a 2-1 win over Juventus, which saw the Serie A leader's advantage slashed to only one point on Sunday. Juventus had been seven points clear of second-placed Roma after beating the Giallorossi 1-0 on Dec. 17 and was seemingly on an unstoppable march to a record sixth straight Serie A title. 'Every match should be the big match for Fiorentina — with that attitude almost every team would struggle to beat us,' Sousa said. 'I don't think there is any doubt about the fact Fiorentina deserved this win. 'Beating the best gives you an extraordinary sensation and that should encourage us to continue to believe in our project.' Juventus has played a match less than most other teams due to the Italian Super Cup, which it lost on penalties to AC Milan. 'When you lose, you never feel good,' Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. 'We had an awful first half, while we did better in the second and also had chances to equalize. 'They were very aggressive, but we made it easier for them with our mistakes ... Against Juventus every team plays the game of its life. We have to remain calm.' Fiorentina dominated from the start and Juventus was given an early warning when Matias Vecino, who had already seen an effort saved by Gianluigi Buffon, hit the left post in the 10th minute. Fiorentina took a deserved lead in the 37th as Nikola Kalinic latched onto Federico Bernardeschi's through ball and slotted into the far bottom corner from a tight angle. The hosts doubled their advantage 10 minutes into the second half as a throw-in found Milan Badelj 30 yards (meters) out and he launched the ball toward Chiesa who attempted to meet it with an acrobatic effort as it bounced in. It was unclear whether Chiesa got a touch or not but his movement was enough to confuse Buffon. The league's official website, which had initially awarded the goal to Chiesa, later credited it to Badelj. Juventus reduced the gap three minutes later when Sami Khedira floated in a cross from the left and it came off opponents Stefano Sturaro and Maximiliano Olivera. Gonzalo Higuain was on hand to slot it home. Juventus almost leveled in the 80th but Higuain's header was stopped by the legs of Fiorentina goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu and Giorgi Chiellini's attempt from the rebound was blocked before the ball was finally cleared. Paulo Dybala also blazed over the bar from a good position. It was only Fiorentina's second home win over Juventus since 1998. ___ NAPOLI 3, PESCARA 1 With Diego Maradona in Naples to celebrate the 30th anniversary of his side's first title win, Marek Hamsik closed in on the Napoli great's goal scoring record. Maradona is still revered in Naples after leading the team to its only two league titles in 1987 and 1990 and that was evident when he was greeted by more than 100 fans upon his arrival in the city on Saturday night. Napoli struggled to get past a well-organized Pescara side in the first half but broke the deadlock immediately after halftime as Lorenzo Tonelli headed in a free kick. It was the defender's second goal in as many matches after sitting on the bench for the first half of the season. Napoli doubled its lead less than two minutes later as Hamsik volleyed in a brilliant chipped pass from Piotr Zielinski. The Slovakia international needs just nine more to equal Maradona's record of 115 goals for Napoli. The home side was in full control and had chances to extend its advantage before Dries Mertens scored five minutes from time following a one-two with Allan. Pescara netted a late consolation as Gianluca Caprari converted a penalty in stoppage time after Elseid Hysaj fouled Alexandru Mitrita. Third-placed Napoli moved four points behind Juventus. ___ UDINESE 0, ROMA 1 Roma recorded another slender win to move to within a point of Juventus. It was Roma's third 1-0 win in its past four victories. Radja Nainggolan scored the only goal, in the 12th minute, volleying Kevin Strootman's ball over the top into the bottom left corner. Edin Dzeko should have extended Roma's lead six minutes later but he blazed his spot kick over the bar after Marco Davide Faraoni had been penalized for handball. Francesco Totti came off the bench shortly after the hour, making it a 25th consecutive year that he has played in Serie A. The 40-year-old almost set up Roma's second with his first touch as he spooned the ball toward Nainggolan, who just failed to meet it six yards from goal. ___ OTHER MATCHES Lazio fought back to beat Atalanta 2-1 to remain a point behind Napoli and extend its advantage over both Milan sides to four points. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic headed in the equalizer in first-half stoppage time after Andrea Petagna had opened the scoring in the 21st. Ciro Immobile converted the winning penalty in the 68th after being tripped by former Lazio goalkeeper Etrit Berisha. Sassuolo and Cagliari both won 4-1, beating Palermo and Genoa respectively. Empoli missed a penalty in a 0-0 draw at Sampdoria. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2017

Diego Maradona hopeful of future Napoli role

  NAPLES, Italy (AP) — Former Napoli star Diego Maradona is in talks to work with the Serie A side, where he is still idolized nearly 27 years after leaving the club. Maradona, who is in Naples for a theatrical event on Monday celebrating the club's first title win, met with Napoli President Aurelio de Laurentiis on Saturday night. 'It was the first step,' Maradona said Sunday. 'First of all I have to sort out the problems I have here in Italy, then I can work for Napoli in Italy and in the world. 'We have to do things well because I want a winning team, a team that can play on level terms against Juve, Inter, Milan and Roma. He understood immediately because in these years he has grown from a president who didn't know much about football to become an expert today.' An Italian court is scheduled to finally end the decades-long battle between Maradona and the Italian government on Feb. 28. Maradona has always insisted he does not owe any of the millions in back taxes the government claims are due. The 56-year-old Argentine arrived in the city on Saturday night and was greeted by more than 100 cheering Napoli fans, who had waited in freezing temperatures outside his hotel for a glimpse of their idol. 'It continues to surprise me,' Maradona said. 'There are kids who have never seen me play and today they get excited and cry for a photo with me. 'Every day I feel the affection and love the Neapolitan people have for me. The father has transmitted it to his son, who has then transmitted it to his and this will never end. After 30 years the same love continues, like the first woman you have in your life.' Maradona led Napoli to its only two league titles in 1987 and 1990 and scored a club record 115 goals between 1984 and 1991. 'After a match against Cremona at the beginning of the season which didn't count for anything but which drew 80,000 people, I understood that here at Napoli we needed to play for the title,' Maradona said. 'I came from Barcelona, where we could win, draw or lose, but here at Napoli no, I couldn't lose, I told myself then. 'I would have been ashamed to have 80,000 people and then not to win. And we won everywhere, at Juve, at Inter, at Roma... And if now Napoli can think it can win the title, it is thanks to me.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2017

Icardi scores to help Inter fight back to beat Chievo 3-1

DANIELLA MATAR, Associated Press br /> MILAN (AP) — Serie A's top goalscorer will not be moving to the Chinese Super League anytime soon. Mauro Icardi scored again to help Inter Milan come from behind to beat Chievo Verona 3-1 on Saturday, and his goalscoring rate is sure to be garnering attention among the new pacesetters in the global transfer market. However, Icardi, who turns 24 on Thursday, insists he is not about to follow the likes of Carlos Tevez, Axel Witsel, Oscar, and John Obi Mikel to China. 'I renewed my contract at the beginning of the year and I'm happy to stay with this shirt,' Icardi said. 'There's always time to go to China at the end of my career.' Icardi scored the equalizer in the 69th minute, volleying in Antonio Candreva's stunning cross from the right. Icardi's 15th goal in 20 league matches moved him two clear of Roma forward Edin Dzeko and Torino's Andrea Belotti in the goalscoring charts. Icardi also had a hand in the winner, four minutes from time. He won the ball back in midfield and set up Ivan Perisic, who raced towards goal before firing past Stefano Sorrentino after the Chievo defenders backed away from him. Eder topped the scoring in stoppage time. Inter extended its winning run in the league to five matches and moved up to fifth, level on points with AC Milan, which has played two matches less than Stefano Pioli's side and visits Torino on Monday. Chievo remained 11th. 'We had a great game,' Icardi said. 'We've shown we have character for several games now.' Inter dominated the match and only Sorrentino's heroics in goal prevented it from taking the lead. The 37-year-old goalkeeper made some fine stops, including twice preventing new signing Roberto Gagliardini from scoring on his debut. At the other end, a fellow veteran gave Chievo a surprise lead, completely against the run of play, with the 37-year-old Sergio Pellissier volleying in a corner. Pellissier almost doubled his tally in the opening minute of the second half but Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic got down smartly to beat away his effort. Sorrentino made another fantastic stop to keep out Perisic's header from point-blank range, and he also twice denied Eder before he was finally beaten. Overall, Inter had 31 attempts on goal, 14 of which were on target. Inter is nine points behind league leader Juventus, which visits Fiorentina on Sunday. ___ CROTONE 0 BOLOGNA 1 Crotone looks ever more likely to go straight back down to Serie B after a 14th defeat of the season left it bottom, eight points from safety. Bologna moved up to 14th, 13 points off the relegation zone after Blerim Dzemaili's 51st-minute strike. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 14th, 2017

Juventus signs defender Caldara from Atalanta for 25 million

TURIN, Italy (AP) — Juventus has acquired Mattia Caldara's rights from Atalanta in a 25 million euro ($26 million) deal that keeps the center back on loan with the Bergamo club for another season and a half. Caldara signed a five-year deal with Juventus that expires in June 2021. Juventus announced it is paying a 15 million euro transfer fee with another 6 million euros in eventual bonuses plus 4 million euros in incentives during Caldara's remaining time with Atalanta. Juventus is hoping the 22-year-old Caldara becomes the next in a long line of standout Juventus defenders, and can replace the likes of Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci. It's the second major deal involving Atalanta in two days after Inter Milan signed midfielder Roberto Gagliardini on Wednesday in a deal that could end up costing as much as 28 million euros. Featuring a large group of homegrown players, Atalanta has been the revelation of Serie A this season. The provincial club located near Milan is in sixth place. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 12th, 2017

'Bull's eye!': Dybala works through adversity with class

ANDREW DAMPF, AP Sports Writer   ROME (AP) — 'Take a bow and arrow, aim: Bull's eye!' That's what Paulo Dybala tweeted after scoring one goal and setting up another in Juventus' 3-2 win over Atalanta in the Italian Cup. If only it was always that easy for the Argentina forward. Considered one of the brightest young talents in world soccer, the 23-year-old Dybala is enduring a turbulent season that has included a six-week injury layoff and a decisive penalty blocked by AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma in the Italian Super Cup shootout that reduced him to tears. 'I had a bit of a rough time over the break,' Dybala said. 'I had never missed a penalty with Juventus before and I missed the most important one.' Fortunately, the rough spell didn't last long. Dybala regained his confidence from the penalty spot by converting in Juventus' first match after the holiday break, a 3-0 win over Bologna. Midway through the first half against Atalanta on Wednesday, Dybala scored with a splendid volley from outside the area following a touch from Mario Mandzukic. Then he returned the favor by threading a pass through several defenders to Mandzukic, who made it 2-0. By the end of the month, Juventus is expected to extend Dybala's contract by one year to 2021 and increase his salary — which would end speculation over potential moves to Barcelona and Real Madrid. 'I'm not someone who goes and reads the newspapers. I read these things on social media but these are things you have to ask the club and my agent about,' Dybala said. 'I train all week focused on Juventus to repay the fans for their affection. I don't worry about external things. 'My agent will arrive over the next few days and we should have some news next week,' Dybala added. 'I'm happy here. ... I'm in good condition now but I think I can still offer a lot more.' Nicknamed 'La Joya' — The Jewel in Spanish — Dybala was handed the difficult task of replacing the departed Carlos Tevez in Juventus' attack last season after a celebrated transfer from Palermo. He responded with 23 goals in 46 matches in all competitions, helping the Bianconeri to a fifth straight Serie A title and the Italian Cup trophy. Capable of playing any position and just as adept at creating chances as scoring — not to mention his ability on free kicks — Dybala might be Juventus' most complete forward since Alessandro Del Piero. When Paul Pogba left for Manchester United before this season, Dybala was offered Del Piero's old No. 10 but he turned it down, preferring to keep his No. 21 shirt. As a 'trequartista' — playmaker — Dybala has proven capable of complementing both Mandzukic and fellow Argentina forward Gonzalo Higuain, who took some of the pressure off Dybala when he joined Juventus in an Italian-record 90 million euro ($100 million) transfer from Napoli before this season. 'I am only 23, so I need to improve in so many areas, such as my physical strength and my right foot,' Dybala said. 'I am enjoying the trequartista position that (coach Massimiliano) Allegri is giving me. It gives me a lot of space and I can express myself well there.' ___ Andrew Dampf on Twitter: www.twitter.com/asdampf .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 12th, 2017

Higuain helps Juventus to record 26th straight home win

ANDREW DAMPF, AP Sports Writer   ROME (AP) — It's no coincidence that Juventus has won Serie A every season since the Juventus Stadium opened in September 2011. The Bianconeri have been virtually unbeatable in the Italian league's only major club-owned stadium and improved on their own Serie A record with a 26th consecutive home win Sunday. Gonzalo Higuain scored his fourth brace of the season as Juventus beat Bologna 3-0. Juventus held the previous record of 25 straight home wins, established at the stadium between 2013 and 2015. The current streak began against Bologna on Oct. 24, 2015, and Bologna never really had a chance to prevent the latest record. Higuain opened the scoring with a volley from a lobbed pass from Miralem Pjanic seven minutes in, Paulo Dybala added a penalty before the break and then Higuain headed in another early in the second half. Juventus, which still has a game in hand, restored its four-point lead over Roma, which beat Genoa 1-0 earlier. ___ ROMAN VICTORIES Roma finally found a way to win away from home — with an own goal. Armando Izzo redirected a cross from Bruno Peres into his own net in the first half as Roma won 1-0 at Genoa for its first victory away from the Stadio Olimpico since October. Roma has won all nine of its home matches, while its away record now reads four wins, two draws and four losses. 'It's a big win. This is a tough league and we've faced some difficult opponents,' Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi said. 'If we had won all of our away matches, too, we would be champions of Italy by now.' Roma's last win outside the capital had been a 3-1 victory over Sassuolo on Oct. 26 in Reggio Emilia. The Giallorossi also beat Lazio 2-0 in the Rome derby early last month when they were technically the visitors. Roma forward Edin Dzeko hit the post near the hour mark, the fourth time the Bosnia and Herzegovina striker has found the woodwork this season — more than any other player in the league. Roma goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny preserved the win with a difficult save on a shot from beyond the area by Lucas Ocampos in stoppage time. 'For Genoa, I think in 38 matches they won't play one that's not physical. Because that's the type of football they play — very aggressive, man against man,' De Rossi said. 'We needed to put our work boots on and we did.' Genoa goalkeeper Mattia Perin tore his ACL early on and will miss the rest of the season. Lazio also won 1-0, over struggling Crotone with a last-minute goal from Ciro Immobile after Lucas Biglia hit the crossbar with a penalty in the first half. Lazio is fourth, one point behind third-placed Napoli, which beat Sampdoria 2-1 on Saturday. ___ MILAN CLUBS WIN Fresh off its Italian Super Cup win over Juventus, fifth-placed AC Milan needed a late goal to beat visiting Cagliari 1-0. Carlos Bacca scored from close range two minutes from the end after being set up by Gianluca Lapadula. Cagliari ended with 10 men when Bruno Alves was sent off for pulling down Bacca just outside the area to prevent a clear scoring opportunity in added time. Earlier, Ivan Perisic scored twice and seventh-placed Inter Milan came from a goal down to beat Udinese 2-1 and win its fourth straight game. Perisic equalized in first-half added time, slotting a shot inside the near post after receiving a pass from Mauro Icardi, then headed in from a free kick three minutes from the end. It was the first brace in Serie A for Perisic, a Croatia international who joined Inter from Wolfsburg in 2015. Jakub Jankto, a 20-year-old Czech midfielder, had put Udinese ahead early in the first half after being set up by French talent Seko Fofana. ___ OTHER MATCHES: Atalanta revived its chances of finishing in the Europa League spots with a convincing 4-1 win at Chievo Verona. Alejandro 'Papu' Gomez scored twice for Atalanta, with Andrea Conti and Remo Freuler also finding the target for the Bergamo club. Sergio Pellissier's goal for Chievo temporarily made it 3-1. Domenico Berardi returned from a long injury layoff for Sassuolo in a 0-0 draw with Torino. The Pescara-Fiorentina match was postponed due to too much snow and ice inside and around the Stadio Adriatico. ___ Andrew Dampf on Twitter: www.twitter.com/asdampf .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2017

Raonic beats Nadal, keeps Brisbane title defense on track

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Rafael Nadal was up a set and had a break point against defending champion Milos Raonic when he sent a forehand just wide. It was a mistake the 14-time Grand Slam champion wouldn't recover from. Raonic made the most of the reprieve, holding serve in that fifth game of the second set and then attacking Nadal's serve in the eighth to swing the momentum his way in a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 quarterfinal win Friday at the Brisbane International. The top-seeded Raonic broke Nadal's serve again to start the third set, and calmly held on for only his second win in eight matches against the Spaniard. Raonic served 23 aces and hit 50 winners to just 19 for Nadal, who could only convert one of his seven break-point opportunities. As well as the big, deep service returns, Raonic also repeatedly went to the net, trusting his instincts and putting pressure on Nadal. 'Today the mentality behind the match was what sort of kept me around,' Raonic said. 'Some moments things weren't looking great. I wasn't efficient coming forward. I was missing some shots I shouldn't be. I was rushing. 'But at least I kept myself there, and I was able to always recuperate the next point. That's what I have to be most proud of.' Nadal, coming back from a layoff after an injured left wrist curtailed the end of his 2016 season, beat Raonic in an exhibition tournament last week. But Raonic played with more intensity in Brisbane, and Nadal said a couple of lapses were costly. 'Probably if I put that passing shot forehand cross, I had the break in the second set, big chance that we will be here one hour before with a victory,' Nadal said. 'That passing shot was long, and that's it. Then he had the break and match changes.' Nadal said three wins at the exhibition tournament, two wins and a close result in Brisbane gave him confidence his progress was good ahead of the Australian Open, where he is desperate to make amends for a surprising first-round exit last year. Still in contention to start back-to-back seasons with a Brisbane title, Raonic will play seventh-seeded Grigor Dimitrov — a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 winner over No. 4 Dominic Thiem — in the semifinals. U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka and third-seeded Kei Nishikori will meet in the other semifinal match. The second-seeded Wawrinka beat unseeded Kyle Edmund 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-4 to reach the semifinals in his first trip to the Brisbane tournament. In the previous three years, Wawrinka won the title in Chennai in the first week of the season before heading to Australia for the season's first major. Wawrkina has a 4-3 lead over Nishikori in career head-to-heads, including the semifinals at the U.S. Open last year, but Nishikori won two of the three meetings in 2016. Nishikori has now reached the semifinals four times in seven visits to the Brisbane International, needing just an hour for a 6-1, 6-1 quarterfinal win over Australian wild-card entry Jordan Thompson. 'I think I played one of the best matches so far, really dominating from the baseline and serving good today,' Nishikori said. 'Everything was working well.' U.S. Open finalist Karolina Pliskova will play Alize Cornet in the women's final on Saturday. Cornet was leading 4-1 when French Open champion Garbine Muguruza retired with a right thigh injury. Pliskova beat sixth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-2, 6-4 in the other semifinal match. 'A little bit of luck never killed anybody,' said Cornet, who finished last year ranked No. 46 but now expects to be seeded at the Australian Open. 'I'm just going to take it. I really enjoy the fact that I'm in the final. It's a big day for me, yeah.' Muguruza didn't think the injury setback would trouble her at the Australian Open. 'It will not stop me,' Muguruza said. 'Cornet was playing good. I couldn't match her level today. I had some pains, and I thought it was smarter to take care of my body.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2017

Higuain scores 2 as Juventus beats Empoli 3-0, Napoli loses

DANIELLA MATAR, Associated Press br /> MILAN (AP) — The race to become Serie A's top scorer this season is up and running, with Gonzalo Higuain favorite to retain his title. Higuain scored 36 goals last campaign for Napoli to.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 2nd, 2016

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

Juve faces tricky first test in title defense

ROME: After a busy close season in the transfer market, Juventus kick off their bid for a record sixth consecutive Serie A title on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) by entertaining Fiorentina. The visit of Paulo Sousa’s squad, fifth last season, will pr.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsAug 19th, 2016

Nadal holds off Zverev to reach 4th round at Australian Open

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Rafael Nadal held back time, for one match at least, when he rallied for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-2 win over German teenager Alexander Zverev to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open. The 14-time major winner is on a comeback after an extended injury layoff, yet he finished stronger in the 4-hour, 6-minute match on Rod Laver Arena as Zverev tightened up with cramping and nerves. 'I enjoyed a lot this great battle. I was losing the last couple of times in the fifth set and I said to myself, 'today's the day',' said ninth-seeded Nadal, who had lost eight of the previous nine times he'd trailed 2-1 in a best-of-five set match. His 30-year-old legs, conditioned by 236 Grand Slam matches, carried him all the way. 'Well, fighting — and running a lot,' Nadal said, when asked to explain the difference. 'I think you know, everybody knows how good Alexander is — he's the future of our sport and the present, too.' Serena Williams has done it more easily, reaching the fourth round without dropping a set to stay on course in her bid for a record 23rd Grand slam title. Williams beat fellow American Nicole Gibbs 6-1, 6-3 and didn't face a break point until she was serving for the match. Dropping serve in that game was her only lapse in a match that then extended just beyond the hour — to 63 minutes to be precise. The six-time Australian Open champion next faces No. 16 Barbora Strycova. 'I don't have anything to prove in this tournament here. Just doing the best I can,' Williams said. 'Obviously I'm here for one reason.' Milos Raonic is here pursuing his first major title, aiming to improve on his runs to the semifinals in Australia and the final at Wimbledon last year. He reached the fourth round with a 6-2, 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-3 win over No. 25 Gilles Simon and will next play No. 13 Roberto Bautista Agut, who beat David Ferrer 7-5, 6-7 (6), 7-6 (3), 6-4. Nadal, who had two months off with an injured left wrist at the end of 2016, will get another veteran next after U.S. Open semifinalist Gael Monfils beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 7-6 (1), 6-4. In another gripping five-setter, but on an outside court, wild-card entry Denis Istomin followed his upset win over defending champion Novak Djokovic with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 victory over Pablo Carreno Busta. No. 8 Dominic Thiem beat Benoit Paire 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 to set up a fourth-round match against No. 11 David Goffin, who ended Ivo Karlovic's run 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. Zverev's creative shot-making gave the 19-year-old German a confident start. He had won his previous three matches against top-10 players, and has been widely touted as a future Grand Slam champion. But Nadal, the champion here in 2009, didn't let him get too far in front. In an exchange of breaks in the fifth set, Nadal broke to open, then dropped his own serve, before breaking Zverev again. Nadal finished with 43 winners and 34 unforced errors, while Zverev — hitting harder and trying more to find the lines — had 58 winners and 74 unforced errors. In early women's matches, Ekaterina Makarova led by a set and 4-0 but had a mid-match fade, needing three sets and almost three hours to finally beat WTA Finals champion Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-3. 'An amazing fight,' Makarova said of her first win over sixth-seeded Cibulkova, the 2014 finalist at Melbourne Park. 'I got, to be honest, a bit tight at 4-0 in the second set. But I'm still here.' She'll now take on last year's semifinalist Johanna Konta, who beat former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-1, in a rematch of their fourth-round encounter here last year. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni continued her unlikely run with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over Maria Sakkari, and so did American qualifier Jennifer Brady. Before this week, the 34-year-old Lucic-Baroni hadn't won a match at Melbourne Park since her debut here in 1998. The 19-year gap in between match wins at a Grand Slam tournament broke the record set by Kimiko Date-Krumm. The 1999 Wimbledon semifinalist next plays No. 116-ranked Brady, who had never played in the main draw of a major before she qualified for this week. The 21-year-old Brady had a 7-6 (4), 6-2 win over 14th-seeded Elena Vesnina on Show Court 2. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

Serena Williams reaches 4th round without dropping a set

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Serena Williams is still on track in her bid to win a record 23rd Grand Slam title. The six-time Australian Open winner beat fellow American Nicole Gibbs 6-1, 6-3 in the third round on Saturday, when she didn't face a break point until she was serving for the match. Dropping serve in that game was her only lapse in a match that then extended just beyond the hour — to 63 minutes to be precise. That made it one minute and one game longer than her only other match against Gibbs. Williams started the tournament with difficult assignments in the first two rounds, but also got through those — against Belinda Bencic, with a career-high ranking of 7, and Lucie Safarova, a French Open finalist in 2015 — without dropping a set. She has set the tone for the tournament. Williams will next play No. 16 Barbora Strycova, who beat No. 21 Caroline Garcia 6-2, 7-5. Ekaterina Makarova led by a set and 4-0 but needed three sets and almost three hours to finally beat WTA Finals champion Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-3. 'An amazing fight,' Makarova said of her first win over sixth-seeded Cibulkova, the 2014 finalist at Melbourne Park. 'I got, to be honest, a bit tight at 4-0 in the second set. But I'm still here. I love this Grand Slam.' In a momentum-swing match featuring some long streaks of games and 11 service breaks, Makarova got the decisive break in the eighth game of the deciding set and closed it next. Makarova will play either 2016 semifinalist Johanna Konta, who beat her in the fourth round here last year, or former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni continued her unlikely run with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over Maria Sakkari, and so did American qualifier Jennifer Brady. Before this week, the 34-year-old Lucic-Baroni hadn't won a match at Melbourne Park since her debut at the Australian Open in 1998. The 19-year gap in between match wins at a Grand Slam tournament broke the record set by Kimiko Date-Krumm, who went 17 years between match wins at Wimbledon. Lucic-Baroni reached the semifinals of Wimbledon in 1999 as a 17-year-old and captured the Australian Open doubles title a year before that with Martina Hingis. She next plays Brady, ranked No. 116, who had never played in the main draw of a major before she qualified for this week. The 21-year-old American had a 7-6 (4), 6-2 win over 14th-seeded Elena Vesnina on Show Court 2, and is making the most of the occasion. By saving five match points before rallying to beat Heather Watson in the second round, Brady effectively doubled her number of career wins. On the men's side, No. 8 Dominic Thiem beat Benoit Paire 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 to set up a fourth-round match against No. 11 David Goffin, who ended Ivo Karlovic's run 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. The 37-year-old Karlovic's win in the first round set an endurance record — the 84 games in the win over Horacio Zeballos, which ended 22-20 in the fifth, was an Open-era mark for the tournament. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

Silence, mourning since fatal crash turn to hope at Chapeco

MAURICIO SAVARESE, AP Sports Writer   CHAPECO, Brazil (AP) — Silence and mourning are slowly being replaced by boisterous fans and hope. As the Chapecoense club rebuilds after the air crash that killed 19 players and nearly all members of the staff and board of directors, so is the town of 200,000. Like many in Brazil, football is the oxygen for everything: gossip, community pride and heated debate. On Saturday, Chapecoense's 20,000-capacity Arena Conda will host the team's first match since the tragedy almost two months ago. Lines outside are filled with fans excited about the club's and the city's restart. Fifty coffins lined the same field in November, where this time Chape's reconstructed team will play Brazilian champion Palmeiras in a friendly match. 'I bet I won't be able to sleep Friday night,' 19-year-old fan Marcelo Ribeiro said as he walked to the stadium. 'Since the accident the city is dead. The festivities were mostly canceled at the end of the year, and all most people are thinking about is the rebirth. I want to see what the rebirth looks like.' At the Hotel Bertaso, where most of Chape's players and coaching staff have traditionally lodged, the first signs of that rebirth are obvious. The second floor, which was home to many of the victims, including coach Caio Junior, is once again full. 'I can't help feeling a lot of hope for the future now,' said receptionist Gelson Mangone, who lost several friends in that crash on an Andean mountain side near Medellin, Colombia, on Nov.28. 'It has been a lot of work to settle all these new signings here, they are also learning their way here,' the receptionist said. 'But it does feel like a brand new start.' New coach Vagner Mancini is one of the hotel's new residents. He said the job makes him 'a better human being, but it's the most challenging to face.' 'We have to build a team, a coaching staff and a club infrastructure in a season in which Chape will be in demand,' Mancini told The Associated Press. 'I understand now that the city was so affected because the club and the city are run like a family,' he added. 'The players we brought are cut from that cloth, but we have to reach a higher level now.' After the crash, Colombian club Atletico Nacional, which was to face Chape in the Copa Sudamericana final in Medellin, awarded the victory to the small Brazilian team. That means that Chape qualified for South America's No. 1 tournament for the first time, the competitive Copa Libertadores. The team will also try to defend its title in the Santa Catarina state championship, try to stay up in Brazil's top-flight competition, and play in a pile of fundraisers, including one against Barcelona. 'We have to assemble a competitive team at the same time we need to hire someone to handle passports, contracts,' Mancini said. 'The club used to handle this well, but like a family run business. Now we are at a different moment.' Chapecoense had almost nothing left after the crash: six players that did not travel on the ill-fated flight, two physiotherapists, one goalkeeping coach, one doctor, one data analyst, one nurse and a few club officials. New chairman and club co-founder Plinio David de Nes Filho, a wealthy local businessman known as Maninho, is leading the charge to bolster club finances. Former players like Nivaldo Constante, who played as a goalkeeper until the tragedy struck, are approaching players that can help. And Chapeco Mayor Luciano Buligon is working as a kind of ambassador for the club and the city. 'Our weekends were about three things: family, church and Chapecoense,' Buligon said. 'It has been hard to get the city back on track because the wounds are still very open. But we are slowly moving on. On Saturday we will start getting a part of our weekends back.' Not everyone is happy. Rosangela Loureiro, widow of crash victim Cleber Santana, said she is upset because his belongings still have not been returned to the family. 'I feel sadness and rage. No one is doing anything to bring their belongings back. I plead with them to soften our pain and make us get the memories that we will hold dear for the rest of our lives,' she said on Instagram last week. Other widows have complained about damages not yet being paid by the club. Chapecoense directors say they are doing the best they can as they try to rebuild. There are even complaints at the joyous Hotel Bertaso. 'These new players love to make a mess in their rooms,' said a cleaner, who declined to offer her name. 'The other ones were older, more mature and the new ones seem to be more infantile. I hope they are up for the task. The city really needs that now.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Roma beats Sampdoria 4-0 to reach Italian Cup quarterfinals

ROME (AP) — Roma is on course to face city rival Lazio in the Italian Cup semifinals after easing past Sampdoria 4-0 in the round of 16 on Thursday. It next faces second-division Cesena, which has already seen off two Serie A sides in Empoli and Sassuolo, while Lazio visits Inter Milan in its quarterfinal. Roma survived an early scare as Luis Muriel hit the post in the third minute for Sampdoria. The home side also hit the woodwork, with Leandro Paredes' volley crashing off the underside of the crossbar before bouncing just the wrong side of the line in the 25th. Roma broke the deadlock six minutes from time with an absolute stunner from Radja Nainggolan, who volleyed a poor clearance into the top right corner from 25 yards. On the bench, Francesco Totti swung his scarf around his head in celebration. Stephan El Shaarawy missed a couple of chances at the end of the first half but he set up Roma's second shortly after the restart with a deft chipped pass for Edin Dzeko. Dzeko returned the favor on the hour mark with a 40-yard pass, which El Shaarawy controlled before lobbing Sampdoria goalkeeper Christian Puggioni. Samp had the ball in the net but Patrik Schick's effort was ruled out for offside, and Nainggolan headed in Diego Perotti's cross in the 89th for his first double for Roma. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

No practice, no problem: Stenson leads in Abu Dhabi

STEVE DOUGLAS, AP Sports Writer br /> ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Henrik Stenson chipped in from 30 yards and had seven more birdies Thursday to open the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with an 8-under 64 in his first competitive round of 2017. Showing no rustiness from an offseason of little practice, the fourth-ranked Stenson led by two strokes midway through the first round. Three-time winner Martin Kaymer, Oliver Fisher, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Marc Warren were next. Stenson will do well to top 2016 — he won the British Open for his first major title and finished the season as Europe's No. 1 — and he prepared for the new year by mostly ditching his clubs, preferring to spend more time on the ski slopes with his family in Utah. Even his build-up to the Abu Dhabi event wasn't ideal, with two overnight flights in three days from his home in Orlando interrupted by his attendance at an awards ceremony in Stockholm where he beat Zlatan Ibrahimovic, among others, to win Male Sports Athlete of the Year at the Swedish Sports Awards. All Stenson needed was a few buckets of balls and some good putting sessions to get him back on track. Playing in an early-morning three-ball with two more current major champions in Dustin Johnson and Danny Willett, Stenson birdied four of his first five holes after starting at No. 10, completing the hot streak with the chip-in after leaving his approach five yards short of the green. He curled in a birdie putt from 15 feet on No. 17 and tapped in at the par-5 18th to pick up another shot before making birdie on two of his last three holes to end a round in which he was never in trouble. 'Very limited preparation,' said the 40-year-old Stenson, before adding with a smile: 'So that might be the way forward.' 'I was quite amazed how good the game felt coming into today. But again, I feel like I scored better than I played.' It was Stenson's second best round at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club, only bettered by his course-record 62 in 2006 when he was runner-up to Chris DiMarco. It is a long course that suits Stenson's eye, and the same could be said of Kaymer. The two-time major winner from Germany mixed eight birdies — three coming on his final three holes — with two bogeys for his 66, his latest low score at an event where he usually excels. He won in 2008, '10 and '11, and should have won in 2015, only to throw away a 10-shot lead with 13 holes to play on the final day. 'The golf course, for me, doesn't feel like I need to do a lot of special things in order to play well because I usually putt well on those greens,' Kaymer said. 'Doesn't feel like a hard-working day.' Johnson, at No. 3 the highest-ranked player in a strong field after Rory McIlroy's withdrawal on Monday, shot 72 in his first appearance in Abu Dhabi. Defending champion Rickie Fowler also was at even par. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

Murillo spectacular goal with bicycle kick in Inter win

MILAN (AP) — Jeison Murillo scored with a spectacular bicycle kick and Antonio Candreva got the winner in extra time as Inter Milan beat Bologna 3-2 Tuesday to advance to the Italian Cup quarterfinals. Shortly after the half-hour mark, Murillo broke the deadlock in style, redirecting a corner from Joao Mario with a picture-perfect overhead effort from beyond the penalty spot. Mario also provided the pass when Rodrigo Palacio burst through the offside trap to make it 2-0 six minutes later. Blerim Dzemaili pulled one back for Bologna before the break with a shot that was deflected in by Inter midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia. Godfred Donsah equalized for Bologna in the 73rd, heading in a cross by the far post as Inter's defense appeared more concerned with Mattia Destro. Eight minutes into extra time, Candreva scored with a shot that deflected in off a defender. Inter, which has won five straight games in Serie A, will next face Lazio or Genoa, who play Wednesday. Inter took the last of its seven Cup titles in 2011. Gabriel Barbosa, the 20-year-old Brazil forward known as 'Gabigol,' got his first start for Inter and threatened on multiple occasions early on. Inter captain Mauro Icardi came on midway through the second half and wasted a perfect chance at the winner five minutes after Donsah's goal, failing miserably to direct an accurate cross from Eder. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

Pursuing a record 23rd major title, Williams opens with win

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer   MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — For the first five games in the second set, Serena Williams played almost flawless tennis in her first-round match at the Australian Open. Then came the rustiness that tends to follow a lengthy layoff, giving Belinda Bencic a glimmer of hope, before Williams regained her composure to win 6-4, 6-3 on Tuesday. The six-time Australian Open champion improved her impressive record in the first round of Grand Slam tournaments to 65-1. The No. 2-ranked Williams' priority here is an Open era record 23rd major title. She's one win down — beating a player who was seeded 12th here last year and reached a career-high No. 7 ranking last February — and is targeting six more at Melbourne Park. 'She was just recently in the top 10. I knew it would be one of the toughest first-round matches I've ever played,' the newly engaged Williams said. In round two she'll meet Lucie Safarova, who beat Yanina Wickmayer 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-1. Bencic got one service break in the first set, but only took two points in the first three games on Williams' serve in the second. Serving for the match at 6-4, 5-1, things changed. Williams finished her 2016 after the U.S. Open, resting injuries. And started 2017 with an error-prone loss in Auckland, New Zealand. Williams served only her second double-fault of the match to give Bencic a break-point chance, and Bencic converted it with a crosscourt winning forehand. The Swiss teenager held at love and then faced a match point, when Williams double-faulted again. The 35-year-old Williams made no mistake on her second match point and pumped her first in celebration. She finished with 30 winners and 30 unforced errors, eight errors and four double-faults. Karolina Pliskova and Johanna Konta both had their Grand Slam breakthroughs last year, both prepared for the season's first major with title runs in Australia and both advanced with straight sets wins. U.S. Open finalist Pliskova following her title win at the Brisbane International with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Sara Sorribes Tormo. The fifth-seeded Pliskova, who beat Serena Williams in the U.S. Open semifinals before losing the final to Angelique Kerber, has never advanced past the third round at Melbourne Park — losing at that stage in the last two years to Ekaterina Makarova. Pliskova is feeling more confident this time. 'I feel good on the court, especially when I win my first title in the first week of the year,' Pliskova said. 'So I'm ready for the tournament.' Konta, who won the Sydney International title last week, had a tougher time in beating Kirsten Flipkens 7-5, 6-2 on Margaret Court Arena. 'I definitely love playing here. It's a dream. A lot has happened in the last year, but I'm just enjoying playing and getting better each day.' Ninth-seeded Konta was a surprise semifinalist in her debut at the Australian Open last year, starting with a first-round win over Venus Williams and sparking a strong 2016 season which ended with her in the top 10. In other early results, No. 21 Caroline Garcia beat Kateryna Bondarenko 7-6 (4), 6-4 and No. 30 Makarova had a 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 win over Ekaterina Alexandrova. On the men's side, No. 25 Gilles Simon beat U.S. wild-card entry Michael Mmoh 6-1, 6-3, 6-3. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2017

Maradona welcomed 'home' by Napoli fans for anniversary

NAPLES, Italy (AP) — Even 30 years later, Diego Maradona remains revered in Naples. When he walked on stage at Naples' opera house on Monday, he was greeted by a roar of applause and cheers from the audience. It was as if he was back playing at San Paolo Stadium across town. The Argentine great was the guest of honor at an event to celebrate Napoli's first Serie A title 30 years ago. 'I feel at home here, as I've always felt,' Maradona told the San Carlo theater crowd of 1,300 spectators, some of whom paid up to 330 euros ($350) for tickets. 'Some people have complained because the tickets cost 300 euros but we did that because when Pele organizes a show they sell tickets for 200 euros. And he's got to always come second,' Maradona joked. Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis confirmed that Maradona has a job offer once he settles his decades-long feud with Italy's tax collection agency. 'I'm thinking of a position as Napoli ambassador in the world,' De Laurentiis said, according to the ANSA news agency. Maradona got emotional when he talked about his parents. 'I wish my mother could see me now,' he said, then added: 'I want to tell kids: Don't take drugs. Don't shoot.' Maradona left Napoli in 1992 after testing positive for cocaine use. He led Napoli to its only two Serie A titles in 1987 and 1990, along with the 1987 Italian Cup and the 1989 UEFA Cup. Maradona concluded the show by addressing his once-neglected son, who was in the audience. 'After 30 years, I'm asking to be excused by son, Diego. I'll never leave you again,' Maradona said. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2017