Italy roundup: Napoli stumbles and Roma takes advantage

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The bottom six teams in Serie A all lost, while Napoli’s job at overtaking Roma for No. 2 on the table got a whole lot harder after they lost to Fiorentina.

Faouzi Ghoulam took a red card in the 37th minute for a late tackle, but it took Joaquin deep into the second half to solve 10-man Napoli. Manuel Pasqual sent a ball into the box that Joaquin headed home in the 87th minute.

Meanwhile AS Roma went on the road and won 2-0 at Chievo thanks to first-half goals from Mattia Destro and Gervinho, opening up a six-point lead on Napoli.

Though i Lupi remain 14 points of the league-leading Old Lady, as Juventus continued rolling with a 1-0 win at Catania. Carlos Tevez scored in the 59th minute before a red card to Gonzalo Bergessio made the win a bit easier.

Elsewhere

  • Torino 3-1 Livorno — 24-year-old Ciro Immobile struck thrice before Livorno broke the clean sheet at the 89th minute.
  • Parma 1-1 Genoa — The teams traded first half goals, with Isaac Cofie scoring for the visitors in the 21st minute before Ezequiel Schelotto equalized 10 minutes later.
  • Udinese 1-0 Sassuolo – Antonio Di Natale scored in the 26th before missing a pen in the 36th. It mattered not.
  • Sampdoria 5-0 Verona – Roberto Soriano scored a brace as four Sampdoria players netted in a rout.
  • Inter Milan 1-2 Atalanta — Mauro Icardi’s 36th minute goal was bookended by Giacomo Bonaventura’s 35th and 90th minute goals.
  • Lazio 1-1 AC Milan — Abdoulay Konko’s own goal was the only way Milan could break through, then allowing an Alvaro Gonzalez goal after half.
  • Bologna 1-0 Cagliari — Lazaros Christodoulopoulos notched a pen in the 78th minute.

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Juventus 29 25 3 1 65 19 46 14-0-0 11-3-1 78
Roma 28 19 7 2 54 14 40 11-3-0 8-4-2 64
Napoli 29 17 7 5 53 30 23 9-4-2 8-3-3 58
Fiorentina 29 15 6 8 49 31 18 8-3-3 7-3-5 51
Inter Milan 29 12 11 6 47 31 16 7-6-2 5-5-4 47
Parma 28 12 11 5 46 32 14 6-7-2 6-4-3 47
Lazio 29 11 9 9 37 36 1 7-4-3 4-5-6 42
Atalanta 29 12 4 13 33 39 -6 9-2-3 3-2-10 40
Verona 29 12 4 13 43 51 -8 8-2-5 4-2-8 40
Torino 29 10 9 10 42 37 5 6-5-4 4-4-6 39
Sampdoria 29 10 7 12 38 42 -4 6-4-5 4-3-7 37
AC Milan 29 9 9 11 42 43 -1 6-4-4 3-5-7 36
Genoa 29 9 9 11 32 36 -4 6-4-4 3-5-7 36
Udinese 29 10 4 15 33 42 -9 7-2-5 3-2-10 34
Cagliari 29 6 11 12 27 39 -12 6-4-5 0-7-7 29
Bologna 29 5 11 13 24 43 -19 3-7-5 2-4-8 26
Chievo 29 6 6 17 23 43 -20 4-2-8 2-4-9 24
Livorno 29 6 6 17 32 54 -22 4-4-7 2-2-10 24
Sassuolo 29 5 6 18 28 57 -29 4-1-9 1-5-9 21
Catania 29 4 8 17 21 50 -29 4-6-4 0-2-13 20

AT THE HALF: Manchester derby scoreless after 45 minutes

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After 45 minutes, the final Manchester derby of the 2016-17 Premier League season — the one that’ll go a long, long way toward deciding which of the city’s sides will finish in the top-four — is scoreless, but not without incident.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

The game’s best chances thus far fell Manchester City’s way, as Sergio Aguero missed a clear-cut chance after 10 minutes — Kevin De Bruyne whipped in the perfect ball to the back post, and Aguero put it wrong side of David De Gea‘s post.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Ander Herrera has, once again, be Manchester United’s danger man, combining well with Marcus Rashford and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but Claudio Bravo made the one save he was forced into during the first half. One thing to keep an eye on during the final 45 minutes: Rashford picked up a knock very early on, and struggled to move around the field after that.

STREAM LIVE: The Manchester Derby

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The third Manchester Derby of the season is the first away from Old Trafford, as Manchester United visits Manchester City (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday.

There’s much on the line, as the sides sit just two points apart in the race for the Top Four. Man City would leapfrog third-place Liverpool with a win, while United could join the Reds on 66 points with a match-in-hand.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

Sergio Aguero starts for Man City, with Gabriel Jesus on the bench.

On the other side, it’ll be a physical middle-third guarded by Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick, and Marouane Fellaini. Wayne Rooney and Jesse Lingard start on the bench.

LINEUPS

Manchester City: Bravo, Zabaleta, Kompany (C), Otamendi, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, Sterling, De Bruyne, Sane, Aguero. Subs: Caballero, Sagna, Fernando, Navas, Clichy, Gabriel Jesus, A. Garcia

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Blind, Darmian; Herrera, Carrick, Fellaini, Mkhitaryan; Rashford, Martial. Subs: Romero, Shaw, Fosu-Mensah, Tuanzebe, Young, Lingard, Rooney.

Ex-Liverpool CEO shares biting story of Suarez transfer

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Ian Ayre’s got jokes.

The former Liverpool CEO lifted the lid on some transfer stories during a Merseyside lecture this week.

Of note, Ayre admitted that the club thought Dele Alli demanded too much given what he had produced when the Reds has the chance to sign him as a 16-year-old, and said that Liverpool could’ve landed Alexis Sanchez but the player wanted to live in London (“We couldn’t move the football club to London, unfortunately,” he quipped).

The best part relayed by Sky Sports had to do with Luis Suarez, and shows the relentless nature of the transfer market. Clearly Barcelona had interest in Suarez before the fiery striker bit Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup, because, well…

“I remember the sporting director of Barcelona calling me during that game, immediately as Suarez bit the player, and he said to me ‘my friend, he’s bitten somebody, how can this be the price?’ I said ‘he’d already bitten somebody when you first bid!'”

We’re sure there’s a certain amount of storytelling in there, but undoubtedly some truth.

Given Barca paid a reported $84 million for the striker, the asking price couldn’t have started that much higher.

Men in Blazers podcast: Chelsea tops Spurs, Top Four predictions

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Rog and Davo return to discuss Chelsea’s FA Cup semifinal victory over Spurs, update their Top Four predictions (again), and dive into the depths of the relegation zone. Plus, the very important movement to change “Hudson Street” to “Ray Hudson Street.”

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