Italy Soccer Serie A

Italy roundup: Sassuolo’s stunning escape complete, Juve tips Roma

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The relegation picture is crystal clear in Serie A after some season-long strugglers pulled off major Sunday wins to clinch safety in Italy’s top flight.

Catania couldn’t celebrate its 2-1 road win in a relegation six-pointer against Bologna, as the three points they gained kept them in the final relegation slot. Wins in successive weeks could not save the Sicilian club, who is now four points back of No. 17 Chievo.

That’s because Chievo Verona and Sassuolo saved their seasons with big wins. In the case of the latter club, it punctuated a stunning turnaround that will see them in 16th after being mired in the drop zone for most of the season.

Dario Dainelli headed a corner kick home in the 72nd minute, and his goal stood as Chievo Verona secured safety with a 1-0 win at Cagliari.

Sealing the bottom three’s fates was Antonio Floro Flores. The 30-year-old’s brace — on 8 shots — started and finished Sassuolo‘s scoring a 4-2 win over visiting Genoa.

This sends Bologna and Catania down, with Livorno also headed to Serie B after a 1-0 loss to visiting Fiorentina.

Elsewhere

  • Inter Milan 4-1 Lazio – Rodrigo Palacio scores twice as Inter overcome conceding in second minute to crush visitors.
  • Verona 2-2 Udinese — Legends Luca Toni and Antonio Di Natale part of the points share with goals.
  • Atalanta 2-1 AC Milan — Europe seems a distant hope for AC Milan after a Franco Brienza marker in the sixth minute of stoppage time gives the home team all three points.
  • Sampdoria 2-5 Napoli —  Four different players score for Napoli, which also gets a Sampdoria own goal to pile on the hosts.
  • Torino 1-1 Parma – Ciro Immobile scored again for Torino, ensuring the final Europa League spot won’t be settled until the last day of the season.
  • Roma 0-1 Juventus — Southampton outcast Dani Osvaldo’s first Juve goal holds up as winner.

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Juventus 37 32 3 2 77 23 54 18-0-0 14-3-2 99
Roma 37 26 7 4 72 24 48 15-3-1 11-4-3 85
Napoli 37 22 9 6 72 38 34 12-4-2 10-5-4 75
Fiorentina 37 19 7 11 63 42 21 9-3-6 10-4-5 64
Inter Milan 37 15 15 7 61 37 24 8-9-2 7-6-5 60
Torino 37 15 11 11 56 46 10 9-6-4 6-5-7 56
Parma 37 14 13 10 56 46 10 8-7-3 6-6-7 55
AC Milan 37 15 9 13 55 48 7 10-4-4 5-5-9 54
Verona 37 16 6 15 61 63 -2 10-3-6 6-3-9 54
Lazio 37 14 11 12 53 54 -1 9-6-3 5-5-9 53
Atalanta 37 15 5 17 42 49 -7 11-3-5 4-2-12 50
Sampdoria 37 12 8 17 45 59 -14 7-5-7 5-3-10 44
Udinese 37 12 7 18 43 54 -11 9-3-6 3-4-12 43
Genoa 37 10 11 16 40 50 -10 7-5-6 3-6-10 41
Cagliari 37 9 12 16 34 50 -16 8-4-7 1-8-9 39
Sassuolo 37 9 7 21 42 70 -28 5-2-12 4-5-9 34
Chievo 37 9 6 22 32 53 -21 5-2-11 4-4-11 33
Catania 37 7 8 22 32 65 -33 6-6-6 1-2-16 29
Bologna 37 5 14 18 28 57 -29 3-8-8 2-6-10 29
Livorno 37 6 7 24 39 75 -36 4-5-10 2-2-14 25

 

West Ham extend Payet’s contract in “enormous show of faith”

West Ham’s Dimitri Payet celebrates after scoring while soap bubbles are blown during the English Premier League soccer match between West Ham and Newcastle at Boleyn Ground in London, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
AP Photo/Frank Augstein
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West Ham United hope Dimitri Payet is going absolutely nowhere after the club announced on Thursday the 28-year-old Frenchman has signed a contract extension through the summer of 2021.

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Payet’s current contract was scheduled to keep him at the Premier League club through the summer of 2020, but a series of standout performances (6 goals, 4 assists so far this season, mostly during the season’s opening three months) and rumors of interest from “bigger” clubs meant tacking on another year — and plenty more cash — was the best way to keep Payet in east London for the foreseeable future. The club confirmed earlier this week that negotiations over an extension were underway.

“He’s the best player I’ve signed in 25 years,” said West Ham co-owner David Sullivan. “He’s a [$43 million] player. He’s a supreme footballer. He makes every player in our side play better. On his day, he’s world class, he’s unstoppable.”

Payet, who’s been at West Ham just eight months after signing last summer, could still depart in the summer should he finish the current season strong and/or show up and show out at the European Championship, which kicks off in June. In that event, West Ham would now bag a much heftier transfer fee than they would have done prior to the extension.

VIDEO: Dele Alli’s magnificent juggling goal recreated in hand-drawn crayon

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Remember that Dele Alli goal? No, not that one… that one. Of course you remember it. How could you not?

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How often does a player receive the ball out of the air, flick it over his head, spin 180 degrees and hit an inch-perfect volley from 20 yards out to secure all three points for his team? The answer is, of course, not very often.

[ MORE: Top 5 Premier League storylines — Sunday’s top-four battle royal

Thus, a goal such as Alli’s stunning winner against Crystal Palace last month has been, and will continue to be, immortalized through numerous recreations in this Digital Age. Above is Alli’s goal recreated in hand-drawn crayon.

Watch Live: Guatemala vs. T&T; Canada vs. Guyana in Olympic qualifying

Canadian players wave to fans after a 2-1 loss to England in a quarterfinal of the Women's World Cup soccer tournament, Saturday, June 27, 2015, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP
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Group B is set to kick off Thursday night at the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, as Canada, third-place finishers at the 2012 Olympics, begin their quest to qualify for this summer’s games in Rio de Janeiro.

Guyana versus Trinidad and Tobago is up first (6 p.m. ET) from BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Tex, followed by the Canadians, who will take on Guyana (8:30 p.m. ET) in the nightcap.

[ WATCH LIVE: Guatemala vs. T&T live online on NBC Sports Live Extra ]

[ WATCH LIVE: Canada vs. Guyana live on line on NBC Sports Live Extra ]

The U.S. women’s national began its Olympic qualifying campaign in impressive fashion on Wednesday with a 5-0 victory over Costa Rica, while Mexico jumped to the top of Group A with a 6-0 victory over Puerto Rico.

Sunderland terminate Adam Johnson’s contract after guilty pleas in sex case

Sunderland winger Adam Johnson arrives at Bradford Crown Court, England, Wednesday Feb. 10, 2016. Johnson has pleaded guilty in court to one count of sexual activity with a child and another of grooming. The 28-year-old Johnson, who has made 12 appearances for England, denies two charges of sexual activity with a girl under the age of 16. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP) UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVE
Peter Byrne/PA via AP
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SUNDERLAND, England (AP) Sunderland has fired winger Adam Johnson after he pleaded guilty to grooming and sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl at the start of his trial.

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Johnson, who has played 12 times for England, continues to deny two further counts of sexual activity with a child.

Sunderland dismissed Johnson ahead of his trial resuming on Friday at Bradford Crown Court.

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In a statement, Sunderland announced Thursday that “in light of Adam Johnson’s guilty pleas, the club has today terminated his contract with immediate effect.”

The former Manchester City player joined Sunderland in 2012 for 10 million pounds (now about $14.5 million).