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.

Beckham group abandons latest plans for Miami MLS stadium

David Beckham
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All signs seemed to point toward an all-too-familiar outcome for the David Beckham-led investment group hoping to bring a Major League Soccer franchise to the city of Miami: another failed plan in their bid to build a brand new stadium.

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Earlier this month, newly-joined all-world sports executive Tim Leiweke warned that groups or individuals currently owning the various parcels of land surrounding the Miami Marlins’ baseball stadium, the latest site Miami Beckham United (MBU) had chosen, were making “unrealistic” demands and threatened to derail the project at that location.

Today, it’s been reported across South Florida that the group has altogether abandoned plans to build their stadium at that particular site. Miami city commissioner Francis Suarez confirmed that MBU were “moving in a different direction” — quotes from Local 10 News:

“It’s going to be withdrawn from the next agenda because the Beckham group has not acquired the private properties that are needed to construct the stadium on that site.”

“The residents expect us to hold these teams to the fire,” Suarez said. “A lot of times they’re financed by wealthy people and they want some sort of a public subsidy, which is very controversial as well, which is why we were going to take it to referendum.”

[ MORE: Timbers reach first MLS Cup | Crew SC to host MLS Cup 2015 ]

On Sunday, during halftime of the league’s Western Conference final, MLS commissioner Don Garber was asked about the Miami stadium situation, to which he responded, “We think Miami will be a great market. We found a reasonably good site. I’m confident that we’ll get something done there.”

MBU is reportedly being held to something of a deadline by the MLS board of governors, which meets every year ahead of MLS Cup, with this weekend’s sit-down thought of as a target date to have something concrete going forward. Meanwhile, Sacramento Republic FC, an MLS expansion hopeful currently playing in the USL (third division), announced last week they would be moving forward with building their brand new MLS-sized stadium, expansion bid or not.

“Goal” writer pitching a Jamie Vardy movie: But who would play Kaspar Schmeichel?

Jamie Vardy, Leicester City FC
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There are certainly already some comparisons between new Premier League record holder Jamie Vardy and fictional Santiago Munez from the “Goal!” movies.

But that isn’t going to stop “Goal” screenwriter Adrian Butchart from heading to Tinseltown and pitching the Vardy story as a basis for a new film, according to The Sun.

[ PL PLAYBACK: Vardy Party, and Costa out at Chelsea? ]

And he’s got a who’s who of young actors in mind for the role of Vardy.

From The Sun:

Butchart believes Hollywood A-listers Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield and Zac Efron all have potential to fill Vardy’s boots in a film version of his life.

Unfortunately, they don’t ask Butchart who should play Claudio Ranieri, or Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Fortunately, we’re here with our cast (The first one is easy):

Aaron Paul as Vardy.

Robert Downey, Jr. as Van Nistelrooy.

James Franco as Riyad Mahrez.

Tommy Lee Jones as Ranieri.

Ryan Gosling as Kaspar Schmeichel.

Liam Neeson as Nigel Pearson.

And Danny Drinkwater as himself.

Report says Impact will add 96-times capped Ivorian defender

Monaco's Bulgarian forward Dimitar Berbatov (L) challenges Montpellier's Ivorian defender Siaka Tiene (R) during the French L1 football match between Montpellier and Monaco at the Mosson stadium in Montpellier on September 24, 2014.   AFP PHOTO / BORIS HORVAT        (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images)
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The Eastern Conference’s second-stingiest team is looking to enhance its already-strong back line.

Joining MLS Best XI defender Laurent Ciman could be Siaka Tiene, a longtime international teammate of Didier Drogba on the Ivory Coast squad.

[ MORE: Timbers hold off Dallas | Crew advances past RBNY ]

The 96-times capped Tiene will be 34 when next season starts, but will have fresh legs having not played since last season ended for Montpellier. does the translation work for us:

A report from states that the Impact have signed 33-year-old left back Siaka Tiéné, an Ivory Coast international who boasts World Cup and African Cup of Nations experience.

Aside from Ciman, Ambroise Oyongo is the only Impact back currently under contract.

Tiene played relatively well last season, but was limited to just 17 appearances in Ligue 1.

Phil Neville takes over Valencia training; Could he get job?

VALENCIA, SPAIN - AUGUST 19:  Valencia CF assistant coach Phil Neville gestures prior to the UEFA Champions League Qualifying Round Play Off First Leg match between Valencia CF and AS Monaco at Mestalla Stadium on August 19, 2015 in Valencia, Spain.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images
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Phil Neville is one stroke of the pen from opening his full managerial career at a vaunted La Liga stop, with a club in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.

Nuno Espirito Santo stepped down from his manager’s role at Valencia on Sunday, with the Bats in ninth place, five points outside the Top Four.

[ MORE: La Liga & Serie A roundup | Bundesliga wrap ]

In his place in former Manchester United and Everton legend Neville, who will take charge of the team in the interim.

As weird as it would be to give the job to a man who has only led Salford City — a club he co-owns — on a caretaker basis, the hire would be no weirder than Tim Sherwood being allowed to run Tottenham Hotspur.

Would it be a surprise, given the time of season, if Neville was at least given through the end of the year?

And consider, from the BBC:

The club’s Singaporean owner, Peter Lim, has a stake in Salford City, the non-league club co-owned by Neville with his former Manchester United team-mates Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes.

Valencia needs to beat Lyon in its final UCL Group H game, and hope Gent draws or loses at home to first-place Zenit Saint-Petersburg. Otherwise, it’s on to the Europa League.