Parma beats out Torino, AC Milan for final Europa League spot in Serie A

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Incredible drama on the final day of Serie A saw Parma squeak past Torino and AC Milan for the final European spot in Italy’s top flight.

Torino’s Antonio Cerci had an injury-time penalty saved by Fiorentina goalkeeper Antonio Rosati, and the miss meant Parma safely finishes in sixth position with a victory over Livorno.

The goal would have seen Torino into Europe, as they began the day a point ahead of Parma, but they could only muster a 2-2 draw against Cerci’s old club.

All three of Torino, Parma, and AC Milan at one point in the 90 minutes had qualification in their control. For AC Milan, a disastrous five-minute stretch saw them go from leading the chase to bottom of the heap.

An early 2-0 lead over Sassuolo combined with a Torino one-goal deficit and Parma 0-0 scoreline meant Milan were in on goal differential by one.  However, early in the second halves Parma took the lead when Amauri scored just minutes after coming off the bench, and Torino leveled through Marcelo Larrondo also fresh out of the dugout.

That pair of goals meant that even Milan’s 2-1 victory wasn’t enough, and Parma finished on 58 points as Amauri ended with a brace. They complete the season one point above both Torino and Milan.

Meanwhile, Napoli pummeled five goals past Verona, giving them a total of 104 goals on the year in all competitions, a new club record.

With Gonzalo Higuain still injured, it was Duvan Zapata up front, and the Colombian didn’t disappoint with a brace, as well as two for Dries Mertens and a prize for Jose Callejon for the icing on the cake.

It wraps up a solid season for Napoli, who will be playing in the Champions League next year alongside Juventus and Roma after a comfortable third-place finish.

Elsewhere, Inter failed to win on the final day as they could be sending Walter Mazzarri out on a low note, falling to Verona 2-1. Mazzarri’s job could be in jeopardy as his side could only limp to a fifth place finish, a year after a ninth-place ending saw out Andrea Stramaccioni.

Lazio took out Bologna 1-0 as Lucas Biglia’s stoppage-time penalty locked in Lazio’s ninth-place finish.

Juventus ended their successful title run with a 3-0 win over Cagliari to put them over the century mark on the year, finishing on 102 points.

Roma, meanwhile, finished 17 points back in second place with a disappointing 1-0 loss at Genoa, with Ioannis Fetfatzidis scoring the winner seven minutes from full time.  They still finish with 85 points for their best table result in four years. Genoa end up in 14th.

Despite already being mathematically relegated, Catania went out on a high note with a 2-1 win over Atalanta.  Sassuolo’s loss to Milan makes relegation sting even more for Catania, as they finish the year just two points back in 18th. Atalanta ends up 11th, four back of the top 10.

VIDEO: Pedro scores stunning goal for Chelsea

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Not a bad way to start the Premier League weekend…

12 minutes into the first game of Matchweek 9, Chelsea’s Pedro curled home a stunning effort into the far corner and off the far post after a corner was played short to him.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

A simply stunning goal from the Spaniard which you can watch in the video above.

Watch Live: Chelsea v. Watford in top five clash

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Chelsea host Watford at Stamford Bridge on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as fifth and fourth clash.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

Antonio Conte‘s Chelsea are without a win in three games in all competitions and some pressure is starting to build on the Blues as they’ve fallen further behind the two Manchester clubs atop the PL table.

As for Watford, Marco Silva‘s men are in fourth place and aiming to keep up their impressive away form in the PL this season with three of their four wins coming on the road.

In team news Chelsea’s injuries are piling up with Victor Moses and N'Golo Kante missing but Alvaro Morata does start after recovering from his hamstring injury, while Watford start Troy Deeney up top after his impressive cameo against Arsenal last week.

LINEUPS

Chelsea: Courtois; Rudiger, David Luiz, Cahill; Azpilicueta, Bakayoko, Fabregas, Alonso; Pedro, Morata, Hazard. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Ampadu, Zappacosta, Musonda, Willian, Batshuayi

Watford: Gomes; Mariappa, Kabasele, Britos; Femenia, Cleverley, Doucoure, Holebas; Pereyra, Deeney, Richarlison. Subs:

Sky Blue’s Sam Kerr named NWSL league MVP for 2017

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CHICAGO (AP) Sky Blue FC forward Sam Kerr has been named the National Women’s Soccer League’s Most Valuable Player for this season.

Kerr, a standout on the Australian national team, had a league-record 17 goals and became the league’s fifth Golden Boot winner to also be named MVP.

[ MORE: MLS Decision Day preview ]

She became the first NWSL player to score four goals in a game on Aug. 19 against the Seattle Reign. Kerr rallied Sky Blue from a 3-goal deficit to beat the Reign 5-4.

Kerr’s award was announced Friday. The league had earlier announced the season’s other award winners: North Carolina’s Abby Dahlkemper was named Defender of the Year, teammate Ashley Hatch was named Rookie of the Year, Portland’s Adrianna Franch was named Goalkeeper of the Year and the Thorns’ Mark Parsons was named Coach of the Year.

The Mendy Effect: Pep praises injured back

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Full back Benjamin Mendy cost Pep Guardiola and Manchester City $68 million, but perhaps he’ll be just as valuable as a very expensive sports psychologist.

The “Shark Team” member was amusing on social media even before his ACL injury sent him to the sidelines until at least April, but he’s become a must-follow Twitter fixture with his in-game messages (See some of his work below).

[ MORE: MLS Decision Day preview ]

City faces Burnley at 10 a.m. ET Saturday (Watch live on CNBC and online via NBCSports.com).

It’s fairly clear his act has translated in private, too, as apparently Mendy is just as good in group messages (Let us in, Pep. We won’t tell anyone). From ManCity.com:

“Usually, players who are out for a long time with injury are sad. They sometimes train apart and feel isolated.

“Mendy decided to be present. He is communicating on social media, WhatsApp and he calls his teammates and messages me. He is going to be so important outside the pitch because people like him make the atmosphere much better.”

It’s not surprising for anyone who’s been following the former Le Havre, Marseille and Monaco man.

Keep in mind, these Tweets below are from the last few days alone!