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

Former Czech Republic defender Rajtoral kills himself

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PRAGUE (AP) Former Czech Republic defender Frantisek Rajtoral, who won the domestic league title four times before joining Turkish club Gaziantepspor, died on Sunday. He was 31.

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The Czech football federation said in a statement that Rajtoral had “committed suicide in Turkey.”

His agent Pavel Zika confirmed the player’s death, describing it as a “huge tragedy.”

Gaziantepspor announced Rajtoral’s death in a brief statement on its website.

Rajtoral played 14 international matches for the Czech Republic.

In the top Czech league, he won four titles with Viktoria Plzen and played in the group stage of the Champions League twice for the club. He moved to Hannover in the Bundesliga in 2014 for half of the season, on loan.

He left Viktoria Plzen last year to move to Turkey.

Bellerin wants to represent Spain U21s despite Wenger’s wishes

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Arsene Wenger has made it clear about Hector Bellerin representing Spain this summer but the Arsenal defender is prepared to go against his manager’s wishes if he is selected.

[ MORE: Bayern scouted Kyle Walker, Alexis Sanchez over the weekend ]

The 22-year-old has said he hopes to play for Spain’s Under-21 side this summer during the 2017 European U-21 Championship but Wenger has been weary of Bellerin’s injury status and wants his fullback to maintain a clean bill of health throughout the offseason.

“I really want to play,” Bellerin told IBTimes. “Representing Spain is very important. If [Albert] Celades gives me the chance I’ll be there.

“Those are opinions of the managers. I have to keep working. The truth is that I had a difficult injury but I think that I am at 100% now and I’ll try to prove it when I get the chance.”

Bellerin signed a six-and-a-half year deal with the Gunners in November, where he has resided since coming up in the club’s academy. He has made 102 appearances for Wenger’s team in that span over all competitions.

Roma boosts bid for 2nd in Serie A by beating Pescara 4-1

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PESCARA, Italy (AP) Roma boosted its bid for second place in Serie A and automatic entry into the Champions League with a 4-1 win at Pescara, which was mathematically relegated on Monday.

[ MORE: Newcastle joins Brighton in promotion to Premier League ]

Roma moved four points clear of third-placed Napoli, which drew against Sassuolo 2-2 on Sunday. Third place in Serie A receives a Champions League playoff.

Pescara remained 15 points behind Empoli. There are only five matches left and Empoli has the better head-to-head record, which is the deciding factor if two teams finish level on points.

There were 48 goals in total in the 33rd round, matching the record set in October 1992.

Roma took control shortly before halftime, with Kevin Strootman breaking the deadlock after Stephan El Shaarawy unselfishly rolled the ball across the area.

Radja Nainggolan, who earlier hit the bar, doubled Roma’s lead two minutes later.

Mohamed Salah extended Roma’s advantage three minutes after the break and the winger doubled his tally on the hour following a swift counterattack.

Ahmad Benali got a consolation for Pescara and a Cristiano Biraghi free kick also hit the post for the home side.

Frank Yallop resigns as Phoenix Rising coach shortly after Drogba arrival

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The timing is a bit sudden and certainly leaves many questions up in the air, but Phoenix Rising will have to look for a new manager.

[ MORE: Chicharito talks heating up with LA FC ]

On Monday, head coach Frank Yallop resigned from his position with the United Soccer League (USL) club less than one day after former Chelsea legend Didier Drogba joined the organization as a player-owner.

With Phoenix seen as one of several lower-level clubs with ambitions of making the leap to MLS over the coming seasons, Yallop’s departure is surely a shock to many.

According to ESPN FC, Rising lead owner Berke Bakay was quite surprised by Yallop’s decision to step down, as was Drogba.

“Didier was as surprised and disappointed as we were that Frank is unable to continue coaching our Club,” Bakay told ESPN FC. “But, we all respect his decision to put his family first.

“Didier’s focus will remain on improving our team as a player and assisting our MLS expansion team ownership group as a co-owner. Frank will be helping with our international search for a new head coach.”

Rick Schantz, the current Rising assistant coach, will head the team’s managerial duties for the interim while the club completes a full search for a new manager.