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Lazio beats Atalanta 2-0 to win Italian Cup

ROME (AP) — Sergej Milinkovic-Savic scored moments after coming off the bench to lead Lazio to a 2-0 win over Atalanta in the Italian Cup final on Wednesday. Milinkovic-Savic, who was making his comeback from an injury, broke the deadlock in the 82nd minute by heading in a corner. Joaquin Correa doubled Lazio's lead following a counterattack in the final minute as Atalanta pressed for the equalizer. Marten de Roon had hit the post for Atalanta in the first half in an entertaining, high-tempo match. It was Simone Inzaghi's first Italian Cup victory as coach, having won the competition as a player with Lazio three times. The win also salvaged a disappointing season for Lazio, whose hopes of qualifying for the Champions League ended with a recent loss to Atalanta in the league. Several of the Atalanta players were in tears after the final whistle. The team from the small northern city of Bergamo has won the Italian Cup only once in its history, back in 1963. It was Lazio's seventh Italian Cup victory and also ended four years of Juventus domination. Lazio lost to Juventus in two of those finals. Atalanta can console itself by fulfilling its other ambition, of qualifying for the Champions League for the first time in its history. The team is currently on an 11-match unbeaten run in the league and that has lifted it up to fourth place in Serie A and the final Champions League qualifying berth. Atalanta has a three-point advantage over AC Milan and Roma with two matches remaining......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnMay 15th, 2019

Juventus loses in Serie A for 1st time this season

ROME (AP) — Defending Italian champion Juventus slipped to its first Serie A loss this season, a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Lazio on Saturday. Luiz Felipe, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Felipe Caicedo all scored at the Stadio Olimpico as Lazio recovered from an early goal from Cristiano Ronaldo, lifting Simone Inzaghi's side to within three points of second-place Juventus. Inter Milan has a two-point lead over the Bianconeri. Ronaldo put the visitors in the lead after 25 minutes from close range after Rodrigo Bentancur's assist but Juve's defense was caught off guard on a corner kick just before the interval as Felipe equalized. Milinkovic-Savic's 74th minute goal came after Juan Cuadrado was sent off for bringing down Manuel Lazzari in the 69th. The Serbian player was set up by Luis Alberto's assist over the Juventus defense and scored with a low shot past goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny. The former Arsenal goalkeeper was faultless five minutes later when he made a double save to deny Ciro Immobile's penalty kick. Szczesny parried away Immobile's effort then made an acrobatic save when the league's top scorer volleyed back from the rebound. Szczesny was powerless when Caicedo volleyed home deep in stoppage time. NAPOLI HELD Carlo Ancelotti's future as Napoli coach is uncertain after his team failed to beat Udinese on Saturday in Serie A. The 1-1 draw extended Napoli's winless run to nine matches in all competitions. Piotr Zielinski saved Napoli with a late goal that salvaged a point for the visitors. Amid reports that Ancelotti could soon be fired, Napoli, which had won its last six league matches against Udinese, went a goal down after a counterattack which was finished by Kevin Lasagna in the 32nd minute. Napoli improved after Fernando Llorente replaced an uninspired Lorenzo Insigne in the second half. It equalized after a good combination between Dries Mertens and Zielinski, who wrongfooted the Udinese 'keeper with a shot into the bottom corner. Also, Atalanta twice came from behind after Samuel Di Carmine's two goals to beat Hellas Verona 3-2 with a late winner from Berat Djimsiti, who volleyed home from close range......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 8th, 2019

Ronaldo crowned Italian league player of the year

By Daniella Matar, Associated Press MILAN (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo was named the Italian league’s player of the year on Monday following his debut season at Juventus. Ronaldo was at the Gran Gala del Calcio in Milan to collect his prize, instead of attending the Ballon d’Or ceremony in Paris where he was third in the voting for best player in the world. The Juventus forward turned up about an hour before the main award was announced, arriving more than two hours after the other guests, and waited outside in the car until the moment came for him to go on stage to pick up the prize for his place in the team of the season. “It’s an honor to hold this award,” Ronaldo said in Italian. “I thank my Juventus teammates. “I’m very happy to play in Italy, it’s a very difficult league. Thanks to everyone for having voted for me. I want to do as well this year, too.” For the first time at the Italian ceremony there were also awards for female players. Roma and Italy forward Manuela Giugliano won the top prize. All the awards are voted for by a mix of footballers, coaches, referees and journalists. Ronaldo signed for Juventus from Real Madrid in July 2018 and helped the Bianconeri to their eighth successive Serie A title. The 34-year-old Ronaldo scored 28 goals in all competitions for Juventus, including 21 in the league. Gian Piero Gasperini won the award for best coach after leading Atalanta to third place and a Champions League berth. Atalanta was the team of the season, ahead of Juventus and Italian Cup winner Lazio. “This award I share with the whole club, all the players, the whole of Bergamo because we did something really amazing, all of us together,” Gasperini said. “We did incredibly last season, it was unthinkable, including the Italian Cup final. It’s because of that that we’re getting all these awards.” Gasperini beat former Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri and Bologna’s Siniša Mihajlovi?. Brescia’s Sandro Tonali won the award for the best Serie B player after the 19-year-old forward helped to win the second division title last season......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 3rd, 2019

Napoli loses to Cagliari as Inter extends perfect start

By Andrew Dampf, Associated Press ROME (AP) — Napoli's Serie A title aspirations took a hit with a 1-0 home loss to Cagliari on Wednesday while Inter Milan extended its perfect start in the Italian league. Inter beat Lazio 1-0 with a first-half header from Danilo D'Ambrosio and a series of difficult saves from goalkeeper Samir Handanovic, who was marking his 300th match with the Nerazzurri. Napoli was unfortunate when Dries Mertens hit both posts at the Stadio San Paolo and Cagliari substitute Lucas Castro was left completely unmarked in the center of the area to head in the winner in the 87th. Inter restored its two-point advantage over Juventus, which beat Brescia 2-1 a day earlier. Atalanta moved up to third with a 2-0 win at Roma, while Napoli dropped to fourth — level on points with fifth-placed Cagliari. ATALANTA 3RD AGAIN Atalanta showed off its intentions of maintaining its Champions League status by beating a Roma team that had won three straight in all competitions. Substitute Duvan Zapata scored in the 71st and Marten De Roon sealed it in the 90th at the Stadio Olimpico. Atalanta finished a best-ever third in Serie A last season but was humbled in its Champions League debut this month, losing 4-0 at Dinamo Zagreb. However, the Bergamo-based squad bounced back with two late goals for a 2-2 draw with Fiorentina on Sunday and has now handed Roma its first loss. Roma, which has struggled defensively at times under new coach Paulo Fonseca, is sixth. Defender Chris Smalling, on loan from Manchester United, had a strong debut for Roma in the first half. OTHER RESULTS German Pezzella and Federico Chiesa scored as Fiorentina earned its first win of the season, 2-1 over 10-man Sampdoria. Gervinho had two goals disallowed by the VAR and Roberto Inglese failed to convert a penalty kick but Parma still beat Sassuolo 1-0 with an own goal from Mehdi Bourabia five minutes into stoppage time. Marco Mancosu converted two penalties as Lecce won 3-1 at Spal; while Bologna's Nicola Sansone missed a penalty off the crossbar in a 0-0 draw at Genoa......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 26th, 2019

Ronaldo nets 600th club goal as goalscoring race heats up

By Daniella Matar and Andrew Dampf, Associated Press MILAN (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo's unrelenting hunger for goals is plain to see. The Juventus forward netted his 600th club goal on Saturday and celebrated with typical joy. But his desire to score was far more evident in the first half against Inter Milan when he fired over the bar and showed anguish and frustration. That appeared to spur Ronaldo to the equalizer after the break as Juventus came back to draw with bitter rival Inter 1-1 in Serie A. "Ronaldo is lethal, I have him, and I'm happy," Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. "It's important to have a player like him. After he missed a chance he got very angry, then he played a different game." Ronaldo already plays a different game to most. And after alreading clinching a record-extending eighth successive Serie A title, Ronaldo could become the first player to win the top goalscorer award and the Serie A title in his first season in Italy. The 34-year-old Ronaldo has 20 league goals for Juventus, three less than league leader and Sampdoria forward Fabio Quagliarella. He could also become the first player to win the top goalscorer award in three of Europe's top five leagues, having claimed the prize in Spain (three times) and England. There are four rounds remaining. Ronaldo has been playing and scoring regularly, even while being accused of raping a woman in 2009 in the United States — something the Portugal star denies. The strike against Inter Milan was his 27th for Juventus in all competitions. Ronaldo scored 450 for Real Madrid, 118 for Manchester United and five for Sporting Lisbon. "With him you always start in front, we are lucky to have him with us," Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini said. "He will help Juventus win more." Earlier in the season, Ronaldo became the first player to net 400 goals across Europe's top five leagues. CONTE CRAZINESS Roma fans are starting to believe the reports that Antonio Conte could become the club's next coach. With Claudio Ranieri in a caretaker role following Eusebio Di Francesco's firing, speculation is rampant that Roma is in talks with Conte about taking over the team for next season. When Conte, the former Juventus, Italy, and Chelsea coach, was spotted at Rome's Leonardo Da Vinci Airport on Sunday, Roma fans stopped him for selfies and spread the word on social media — even though it appeared Conte was merely traveling to his home in Turin. While the Roman-born Ranieri has said he would like to remain with Roma, even he acknowledged the club would do well to hire Conte. "I would love to see him on the Roma bench, but I don't know anything: I would be the last to know," Ranieri said with a smile following Roma's 3-0 win over Cagliari on Saturday. "I would be super happy if Conte came in. I would go and collect him from the airport." Retired Roma captain Francesco Totti, who has a position in Roma's management, called Conte "one of the best coaches in Europe." "Wherever he's gone he's won. Any squad would do something crazy to get him," Totti said, adding that there are also reports that Inter Milan and Bayern Munich are interested in Conte. "There are a lot of squads chasing him." ATALANTA STADIUM Fresh off qualifying for the Italian Cup final, Atalanta has announced plans for a complete overhaul of its Atleti Azzurri d'Italia stadium. Work on the 40 million euro ($45 million) project will begin following Atalanta's game against Udinese on Monday, meaning the team will play its final two home matches of the season in Reggio Emilia at Mapei Stadium, Sassuolo's ground. The three-phase project should be completed in time for the 2021-22 season, at which time the stadium will be renamed Gewiss Arena. Atalanta beat Fiorentina on Thursday to advance to the May 15 Cup final against Lazio. ___ Dampf reported from Rome......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 29th, 2019

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

Lazio beats Genoa 4-2 to set up quarterfinal against Inter

ROME (AP) — Lazio substitutes Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Ciro Immobile secured a 4-2 win over Genoa in the Italian Cup on Wednesday and a quarterfinal against Inter Milan. Lazio appeared to be in control after half an hour following goals from Filip Djordjevic and Wesley Hoedt. Felipe Anderson had also seen his weak penalty saved by Genoa goalkeeper Eugenio Lamanna after Lucas Orban tripped Djordjevic. However, strikes from Mauricio Pinilla and Goran Pandev in the final four minutes before halftime got Genoa right back into the match. Milinkovic-Savic and Immobile were introduced shortly before the hour and the former put Lazio back in front in the 71st minute. Immobile restored Lazio's two-goal advantage five minutes later with his third goal in as many matches. Ocampos had hit the post in the 66th. Earlier, second-division Cesena caused an upset by coming from behind to beat Sassuolo 2-1 with two late goals. Lorenzo Pellegrini got Sassuolo off to the perfect start by giving it the lead in the fourth minute. Sassuolo missed several chances to double its lead and Camillo Ciano leveled from the penalty spot nine minutes from time after Luca Antei tripped Andrea Cocco. Karim Laribi, who is on loan at Cesena from Sassuolo, scored what was to prove the winner four minutes later to set up a quarterfinal against either Roma or Sampdoria. It was the second top-flight club that Cesena has knocked out of the tournament this season after Empoli. It was also only the second time it has reached the quarterfinal after 1970-71. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 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 16th, 2017

AC Milan beats Torino to set up Cup meeting with Juventus

MILAN (AP) — AC Milan came back from a goal down to beat Torino 2-1 on Thursday and set up a meeting with Juventus in the Italian Cup quarterfinals. After Andrea Belotti put Torino ahead, Juraj Kucka and Giacomo Bonaventura responded for Milan in a three-minute span of the second half. 'We were slow in the first half. In the second we accelerated and the pace of the match slowed down, enabling our quality to emerge,' Bonaventura said. Milan has beaten Juventus twice this season, once in Serie A and more recently on penalties in the Italian Super Cup last month, while Juventus defeated Milan in last season's Italian Cup final. Juventus eliminated Atalanta 3-2 on Wednesday. It was a tale of two halves at San Siro Stadium. Torino dominated the opening period and Belotti finished off a swift counterattack, beating Milan's 17-year-old goalkeeper, Gianluigi Donnarumma, with one touch. It was a measure of revenge for Belotti, who had a penalty saved in stoppage time of a 3-2 loss on the Serie A opening weekend in August. Shortly after the hour mark, Kucka equalized by redirecting in a cross near the far post and then Bonaventura connected on a volley from the center of the area to beat England goalkeeper Joe Hart. Hart was playing with his head in a bandage by that point, having taken a boot to the face from Milan forward Gianluca Lapadula. Donnarumma restored order with Belotti by denying the Italy forward of a potential equalizer with his boot in the 69th, and Torino ended with 10 men when Antonio Barreca picked up his second yellow. Lapadula dribbled past Hart in added time but had his shot cleared off the line by Torino defender Emiliano Moretti. On Monday, Milan visits Torino in Serie A. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 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 9th, 2017

AC Milan s fans banking on Ibrahimovic to rescue ailing club

By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press Veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is returning to help his struggling former club AC Milan, which is reeling from a humiliating defeat and languishing way behind city rival Inter Milan. Ibrahimovic's arrival resembles something of a rescue mission for a seven-time European champion fallen on tough times. That's because Milan is mired in 11th place in Serie A, a distant 21 points behind league leader Inter, and none of its players has more than four league goals this season. Matters reached a crushing low last Sunday, when Italy's most successful club in the European Cup endured its heaviest league defeat in 21 years, a 5-0 defeat at Atalanta on Sunday. The club desperately needs Ibrahimovic at his best to stem the rot and have a chance at qualifying for a European place next season. “I’ll fight together with my teammates to change the course of this season,“ said Ibrahimovic, who has never lacked confidence in a stellar and varied career. “I will do everything to make it happen.“ The 38-year-old Swede has agreed a deal until the end of the season with the option to extend the contract for another season, the club announced Friday. Ibrahimovic has taken his brash confidence with him wherever he has gone. He needed it as a shield when forging a career against considerable adversity when he was growing up in Sweden. After starting out with modest Malmö, he then impressed enough with Amsterdam-based Ajax to earn a move to Italian powerhouse Juventus at the age of 23. From there followed stints with Inter and Spanish giant Barcelona. He scored regularly for both, but for once he was overshadowed by the diminutive frame of Lionel Messi at Barca. He stayed with the Catalan club only one season, taking the hint there was a bigger star than him shining, and so joined Milan for two seasons. He then moved to Paris Saint-Germain, where he had a prolific four years, and subsequently to Manchester United and recently the LA Galaxy. But Ibrahimovic always spoke fondly of his time with the Rossoneri and keenly left the door open for a move back. “I’m coming back to a club I hugely respect and to the city of Milan I love,“ said Ibrahimovic, Sweden's record scorer with 62 international goals and owner of nearly 500 club goals. He has been named the best player in Serie A and the French Ligue 1 three times, and best foreign player in Italy five times. The deal is subject to medical examination and Ibrahimovic will be in Milan on Jan. 2 to take it, before joining his teammates for his first training session. If he's passed fit it will then be time for Ibra, as he is known, to show Milan's fans he has lost none of the old magic against Sampdoria on Jan. 6. Fittingly for a player who craves the limelight, that match is at home. Milan's fans will expect nothing less than instant success, and neither will he......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 28th, 2019

Thiem beats Federer at ATP Finals; Djokovic cruises

By Mattias Karen, Associated Press LONDON (AP) — Dominic Thiem keeps getting the better of Roger Federer. Thiem beat Federer 7-5, 7-5 Sunday in their opening match at the ATP Finals for his fifth win in seven meetings with the Swiss great — and third straight this year. Thiem broke in the opening game of the match and again for a 6-5 lead in the first set after Federer had leveled at 2-2. The second set went with serve until Thiem broke at love for another 6-5 lead. Federer, a record six-time champion at the ATP Finals, then missed two break points in the next game before netting a backhand return on Thiem's second match point. Thiem also beat Federer at the Madrid Masters and in the Indian Wells final this year, but lost to him in the group stage at last year's ATP Finals. Novak Djokovic had a much easier start to the tournament, easing past Matteo Berrettini 6-2, 6-1 in their first round-robin match. But despite a near flawless performance, Djokovic still found a way to berate himself. Leading 4-0 in the second set against the Italian, Djokovic hit a backhand wide to concede a break to the Italian, and then angrily turned toward his player's box and shouted out his frustration. It was a clear sign that even at the end of another grueling season, Djokovic won't tolerate any dips in his game as he pursues a record-equaling sixth ATP Finals title. "There's no other reasonable explanation (to that reaction) than trying to play as perfect as possible," Djokovic said. "But I guess that's me, you know." It was certainly the same Djokovic that the O2 Arena crowd has become used to seeing. Although the second-ranked Serb — who won four straight titles at the year-end event in London between 2012 and 2015 — only needed to hit a total of 10 winners in the match as Berrettini's 28 unforced errors handed him an easy victory to start round-robin play. Berrettini's forehand was responsible for 18 of those errors, including two shots into the net to hand Djokovic the only two breaks of the first set. After giving up that lone break to make it 4-1 in the second, Djokovic broke right back and then clinched the victory with an easy forehand putaway at the net. "He missed a relatively easy forehand for him that gave me a break (in the first set)," Djokovic said. "And after that I started reading his serve better." Berrettini was making his debut at the event for the world's top eight players and had never faced Djokovic before. He also said he struggled a bit with the speed of the indoor hard court at the O2. "The ball is not jumping a lot, so it's tough to mix, especially my forehand," Berrettini said. "I think it's better when I have a little bit more time and the ball takes more spin. I think I started the match pretty good, but he was just better than me today." The other four-man group features Rafael Nadal, defending champion Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitispas and Daniil Medvedev. They begin play on Monday. Djokovic has a chance to overtake Nadal for the year-end No. 1 ranking with a strong showing in London. He trails the Spaniard by 640 ranking points, with a maximum of 1,500 points up for grabs......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 11th, 2019

Sinner beats De Minaur to scoop 1st ATP title

By Daniella Matar, Associated Press MILAN (AP) — Italian teenager Jannik Sinner beat top-seeded Alex de Minaur in straight sets at the Next Gen Finals on Saturday to claim his first ATP title — and a big payday. Wild card Sinner triumphed 4-2, 4-1, 4-2 in the final, serving out to love and clinching victory when De Minaur hit a return into the net, much to the delight of a boisterous crowd in Milan. It was a second successive runner-up finish for De Minaur at the season-ending tournament for top under-21 players. "He's an unbelievable player," Sinner said. "I just tried to play my game and not make any errors. I didn't make many so I'm very happy with my performance." The title caps a fantastic season for the 18-year-old Sinner who opened the year at No. 551 but is now the youngest player inside the Top 300, having risen to No. 95. He only recorded his first ATP Tour main-draw win in April. Sinner picked up $372,000 from this week's tournament, surpassing his career total before arriving in Milan. But he doesn't plan on splashing out to celebrate. "No," Sinner said with a smile when asked if he was going to buy himself something special. But he admitted even he didn't expect to do so well in Milan. "I'm surprised because it's been an unbelievable week. All the players are unbelievable players. If not, they are not here." "Sinner-Mania" is sure to grow. His run in Milan has stirred the crowds this week to near-hysteria and fans have packed the stands just to watch him practice. De Minaur has only lost two of his 10 matches in two editions of the tournament in Milan, but unfortunately for the Australian they were both finals. "It's a pretty simple match to evaluate," said the 20-year-old De Minaur, who is ranked No. 18. "I had nine break points and I wasn't able to convert any of them. "Jannick played a really impressive match. He was putting me under pressure. In the end he just played too good." Sinner dominated from the start and, after the opening games had gone with serve, broke to love to take the first set. Roared on by his home crowd, Sinner never looked back and again broke De Minaur's serve at his first opportunity in the second set. De Minaur managed to save a set point on his serve but that was simply delaying the inevitable as an imperious Sinner served it out to go 2-0 up. The noise grew to fever pitch when Sinner broke again in the third game of the final set and he went on to wrap up the match in just over an hour......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 10th, 2019

Spurs in Champions League capitulation as Bayern wins 7-2

By Steve Douglas, Associated Press A Champions League finalist for the first time just four months ago, Tottenham is making history again in Europe's top club competition this season. The wrong kind of history. Tottenham was picked off repeatedly by Bayern Munich in a humiliating 7-2 loss on Tuesday, the first time the English team has conceded seven goals in a home match in any competition in its 137-year history. Another team in trouble is Real Madrid, which has failed to win at least one of its first two games in the group stage for the first time in Champions League history. To avoid defeat against Club Brugge on Tuesday, the 13-time European champions had to fight back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2. Tottenham slumped to the biggest margin of defeat by a team from England playing at home in any European competition. Adding insult for Tottenham was the sight of Serge Gnabry, a former player at fierce rival Arsenal, scoring four of the goals for Bayern with clinical finishing. All of them came in a wild second half in the Group B game featuring six goals in total. "Every single touch went in," Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said. While it was a statement win for Bayern, which hasn't been widely regarded as one of the Champions League favorites amid something of a transitional season for the German club, the manner of the defeat exacerbates the concerns surrounding Tottenham and Pochettino. Tottenham has been far from its best in the Premier League, squandered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at Olympiakos in its opening Champions League game, and was eliminated from the English League Cup by fourth-tier Colchester last week. Pochettino is in his sixth year as manager, leading to fears that Tottenham has gone as far as it can under the Argentine, who has spoken publicly about tensions in the squad since the loss to Liverpool in last season's Champions League final. "We are very disappointed and very upset," Pochettino said, "but we have to stay together." MADRID COMEBACK Barely 40 minutes had elapsed, Real Madrid was losing 2-0 at home to one of the Champions League's supposedly weaker teams, and Club Brugge scorer Emmanuel Bonaventure was taunting fans inside the Santiago Bernabeu by imitating the famous "Si!" goal celebration of Cristiano Ronaldo. Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane would soon be substituting his goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois, at halftime. Success in European soccer's biggest club competition has come so easy for Zidane as Madrid coach — he won the Champions League an unprecedented three straight seasons in his first spell at the Spanish club — but he's not finding it so easy early in his second stint in charge. Madrid's players roused themselves and recovered to draw 2-2 against their visitors from Belgium, thanks to headers by Sergio Ramos and Casemiro. But qualification for the last 16 is far from the certainty it seemed when the group-stage draw was made. Having opened the group by being outplayed in a 3-0 loss at Paris Saint-Germain, Madrid — like Tottenham — is in last place on one point. The Spanish team hasn't failed to advance past the group stage since the 1989-90 season, which was so long ago the competition was called the European Cup. A loss away to Galatasaray in the third round of games would make things extremely tough for the record 13-time European champions. PSG didn't find its trip to Turkey straightforward on Tuesday, only winning 1-0 win thanks to Mauro Icardi's first goal for the French club. RONALDO SCORES AGAIN It's now a record-extending 127 goals for Cristiano Ronaldo in the Champions League. The Portugal forward scored the third goal in Juventus' 3-0 win at home to Bayer Leverkusen, adding to strikes by Gonzalo Higuain and Federico Bernardeschi. Juventus opened Group D with a 2-2 draw against Atletico Madrid, which also responded with a win — 2-0 at Lokomotiv Moscow through goals by João Félix and Thomas Partey. STERLING SPARKS CITY A lively substitute's appearance by Raheem Sterling sparked Manchester City to a 2-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb and a second straight win to open Group C. City's finishing had been wasteful at Etihad Stadium before Sterling came on as a 56th-minute sub and met a cross from Riyad Mahrez with a side-footed finish from close range 10 minutes later. Phil Foden, also on as a substitute but only in the 90th minute, made the points safe by running onto Sterling's pass on a counterattack and shooting low into the corner with virtually the last touch of the game. The English champions are well on their way to qualification, having started with a 3-0 win at Shakhtar Donetsk two weeks ago. In its second match, Shakhtar scored with practically the last kick before the final whistle to beat Atalanta 2-1 as the Italian side's first home game in the Champions League ended in disappointment. Manor Solomon scored sin the fifth minute of stoppage time after Junior Moraes canceled out Duvan Zapata's opener for Atalanta in the first half......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 2nd, 2019

Belgium forward Lukaku joins Inter Milan from Man United

MILAN (AP) — Inter Milan completed the signing of Belgium forward Romelu Lukaku from Manchester United on Thursday. Lukaku put pen to paper on a five-year deal with Inter, joining his younger brother in the Italian league. Jordan Lukaku plays for Serie A rival Lazio. No financial details were given, but Italian media reported that Inter paid United around 65 million euros ($73 million) plus 13 million euros ($15 million) in bonuses for the 26-year-old Lukaku. "Inter were the only club I wanted, because Inter is 'Not For Everyone.' I'm here to bring the Nerazzurri back to the top," Lukaku said. "Not For Everyone" is Inter's new marketing slogan. Lukaku will add some much-needed firepower to a team that managed only 57 league goals last season — well below the three teams that finished above it in Serie A. Inter's chief goal scorer Mauro Icardi was stripped of the captaincy and dropped from the squad midway through the season. Attacking midfielder Radja Nainggolan performed way below expectations and has been sent to Cagliari on loan by new coach Antonio Conte, who was in charge at Chelsea from 2016-18. Excitement is already building for Lukaku, who was greeted by more than 200 fans when he arrived at Milan's Malpensa airport at 2 a.m. Thursday. They chanted his name, and he smiled and high-fived several fans as he walked past. Lukaku, who has been training this week with former club Anderlecht, scored 42 times in 96 matches for United after joining from Everton in 2017. However, he failed to find the net in any of his final eight appearances for the club, with his last goals coming in the dramatic 3-1 win at Paris Saint-Germain in early March. Lukaku is the top goal scorer in the history of the Belgian national team with 48 goals in 81 games. He helped the team to third place at the 2018 World Cup in Russia......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 9th, 2019

Milan beats Bologna 2-1 to keep Champions League hopes alive

MILAN (AP) — AC Milan kept its Champions League hopes alive by beating Bologna 2-1 on Monday in a Serie A match in which three players were sent off. Suso and substitute Fabio Borino scored in each half for Milan before Mattia Destro pulled one back for Bologna in the 72nd minute. Moments later, Milan was reduced to 10 men after Lucas Paqueta was booked for an angry reaction to a foul by Bologna midfielder Erick Pulgar and then sent off for slapping away the referee's hand in dissent. Bologna forward Nicola Sansone was also sent off for dissent in stoppage time as was teammate Mitchell Dijks after the final whistle. Milan moved into fifth place, three points below Atalanta and the final Champions League berth. There are three rounds remaining. Bologna moved five points above the relegation zone......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 7th, 2019

Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi stepping out of brother's shadow

DANIELLA MATAR, Associated Press   MILAN (AP) — As a coach, Simone Inzaghi is finally stepping out of his older brother's shadow. The younger Inzaghi had some success as a player with Lazio, winning one Serie A title and three Italian Cups. But Filippo Inzaghi was one of the most famous forwards in the world, winning three Italian league and two Champions League titles with Juventus and AC Milan. Filippo, a former Milan coach now at the helm at third-division club Venezia, also helped Italy win the World Cup in 2006, and finished his international career with 57 appearances. Simone played only three times for Italy. But Simone, now 40, is coming into his own as coach of Lazio after taking over from Stefano Pioli in April. Under Simone this season, Lazio — which finished eighth last year — is proving to be somewhat of a surprise package, challenging for a Champions League spot behind Serie A leader Juventus, Roma and Napoli. 'Our aim is to try to always do well,' Simone said. 'Forty points in 20 matches is a lot. We've got to applaud these lads, because in July probably nobody believed Lazio would put together 40 points and deserve them and should even have a few more. 'Now the difficult part comes because we're not a surprise anymore. We have the duty now to try to remain there right until the end, knowing that it will be difficult, knowing that there are teams which are much better-equipped, but we have proved we belong there and we want to remain at the top.' Next up for Lazio on Sunday is a trip to Juventus, which last weekend lost at Fiorentina 2-1. Juventus has been tough to beat at home, and improved on its own Serie A record with a 26th consecutive home victory on Jan. 8. 'We've won five of the last six games, losing only to Inter despite an excellent first half,' Simone said Wednesday after Lazio beat Genoa 4-2 to reach the Italian Cup quarterfinals. 'We have to continue like this. 'We know we're playing against Juve, which has won the last 28 matches at home, so we know it will be very difficult for us but we have three or four days to recover, get our energy back and we'll go there to try and impose our game, try to do our best against a team which has been dominating our league for five to six years.' Simone has already faced Juventus twice as a coach, losing 3-0 in Turin in April, shortly after taking charge, and 1-0 in Rome in August. Lazio hasn't beaten Juventus in the league in 13 years, while the Bianconeri have won the past eight encounters. 'We have to try to give our all,' Simone said. 'In the first match this season we had a good match but there was a mistake and (Juventus midfielder Sami) Khedira punished us. 'We have to try and impose our match, knowing that we're facing a really strong team ... I beat Juventus as a player, I'd like to beat it as coach, too.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 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 18th, 2017

Belotti shines again but Torino still can't beat AC Milan

TURIN, Italy (AP) — Italy forward Andrea Belotti has three goals in three matches against AC Milan this season but his Torino club can't beat the Rossoneri. Milan came back from two goals down to draw at Torino 2-2 in Serie A on Monday, four days after eliminating the 'Granata' from the Italian Cup. Belotti and Marco Benassi put Torino ahead 2-0 at halftime but Andrea Bertolacci and Carlos Bacca responded for Milan. Milan, which has a game in hand, remained fifth, three points behind Lazio, while Torino dropped to ninth, seven points further back. Torino coach Sinisa Mihajlovic smashed an interview backdrop as he walked off the pitch. 'I'm not angry, I'm furious and very disappointed because we continue to throw away points and waste chances,' said Mihajlovic, who coached Milan last season. 'It's crazy to draw this match. We made the same mistakes we made in the Italian Cup. We went up by two goals, we narrowly missed a third, and then in the second half we didn't play for 20 minutes.' Midway through the first half, Belotti stuck his boot out to redirect in a shot from Adem Ljajic. Belotti also scored when Milan beat Torino 3-2 on the opening weekend of Serie A in August — when he had an injury-time penalty saved by Milan teenager goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma — and got the opener in the 2-1 loss at the San Siro last week. Five minutes after Belotti's goal, Benassi scored with his backheel, redirecting a cross from Iago Falque. Torino had a golden chance to take a 3-0 lead when Antonio Barreca earned a penalty after a foul by Ignazio Abate but Adem Ljajic's spot kick went directly at Donnarumma in the center of the goal. Just like last week's match, Torino dominated the first half then ceded control to Milan. Ten minutes after the break, Bertolacci scored his first of the season from close range with the help of goal-line technology. Near the hour mark, Luca Rossettini used his arm to push Milan defender Gabriel Paletta to the ground, drawing a penalty that Bacca drilled into the top right corner. It was Bacca's fourth goal in two league matches against Torino this season, having scored a hat trick during the victory in August. Milan ended with 10 men when Alessio Romagnoli picked up his second yellow for a foul on Belotti in the 89th. Before the match, Milan announced it sold forward Luiz Adriano to Spartak Moscow. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 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 13th, 2017

Roma beats Lazio 2-0 in heated derby amid fan protest

ANDREW DAMPF, AP Sports Writer   ROME (AP) — A defensive blunder helped decide a heated Rome derby but many fans weren't there to see it due to a protest. Lazio's Brazilian defender Wallace gifted the ball to Kevin Stroot.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 5th, 2016