Roma's Edin Dzeko, right, celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal during the Italians Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Roma and Cesena at the Olympic stadium in Rome, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. (Ettore Ferrari/ANSA via AP)
Ettore Ferrari/ANSA via AP

Roma keep Serie A title race going with 4-0 thrashing of Fiorentina

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ROME (AP) Edin Dezko is going from strength to strength in his second season in Italian football, scoring twice as Roma beat Fiorentina 4-0 in Serie A on Tuesday.

Dzeko moved top of the goalscoring charts on 17 goals, more than double the amount he scored in a miserable first season with Roma.

[ MORE: Barcelona, Bayern Munich advance in Spanish, German Cups ]

It was the first time Dzeko has netted at least 17 league goals in a season since he scored 22 for Wolfsburg in 2009-10.

Federico Fazio and Radja Nainggolan scored the other goals as Roma moved back two points above Napoli into second spot, four points behind leader Juventus.

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Juventus 22 18 0 4 45 16 29 12-0-0 6-0-4 54
 Roma 23 16 2 5 48 21 27 11-0-0 5-2-5 50
 Napoli 23 14 6 3 55 26 29 8-3-1 6-3-2 48
 Lazio 23 13 4 6 41 27 14 8-1-3 5-3-3 43
 Inter Milan 23 13 3 7 37 24 13 8-2-1 5-1-6 42
 Atalanta 23 13 3 7 36 25 11 8-0-3 5-3-4 42
 Fiorentina 23 10 7 6 38 33 5 5-6-0 5-1-6 37
 AC Milan 22 11 4 7 32 27 5 7-2-3 4-2-4 37

Fazio also proved crucial at the other end, with a goalline clearance to deny Federico Chiesa in the 14th minute.

That was Fiorentina’s only real scoring chance as Roma began to take control.

Roma had several opportunities and should have taken the lead in the 29th when Nainggolan found an unmarked Bruno Peres with a delightful chipped pass, but the Brazilian defender incredibly fired over in one of the misses of the season.

The capital side did take the lead 10 minutes later following a brilliant Daniele De Rossi ball over the top which Dzeko controlled on his chest before turning and driving into the bottom left corner.

[ MORE: PL Power Rankings — It’s all a mess behind Chelsea ]

It was the first time Dzeko has scored in five successive matches since 2009.

De Rossi also set up Roma’s second, shortly before the hour, with a free kick which Fazio headed in for his first Serie A goal.

Roma extended its lead in the 75th with a wonderful team move. From a counterattack, Dzeko found De Rossi, who passed to Kevin Strootman on the left flank. The Netherlands international took one touch, looked up and picked out Nainggolan, who controlled the ball and calmly finished it off.

Dzeko doubled his tally seven minutes from time, snatching the ball off Fiorentina defender Davide Astori and firing past Ciprian Tatarusanu.

LIVE: UCL last 16 – Leicester face Sevilla; Juve head to Porto

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 05:  Jamie Vardy of Leicester City applauds the crowd in defeat after the Premier League match between Leicester City and Manchester United at The King Power Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Leicester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
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Two more UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first legs take place on Wednesday.

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Leicester City of the Premier League head to Spain to face Sevilla in the UCL last 16 despite Claudio Ranieri‘s men battling for survival in the Premier League. The Foxes, as always, are the big underdogs in Spain as Sevilla have won the UEFA Europa League in each of the past three seasons and Jorge Sampaoli’s side are battling for the title in La Liga.

As for Leicester, they’re just two points off the bottom of the PL as they haven’t scored in their last six outings and have lost five on the spin as well as being dumped out of the FA Cup by third-tier Millwall at the weekend. So yeah, Sevilla head into this game as the heavy favorites and will hope to take a healthy lead to the King Power Stadium with them in two weeks time.

In the other UCL clash on Wednesday FC Porto host Juventus as the Portuguese and Italian giants collide at the Estadio do Dragao. Porto finished behind Leicester in the group stage, while Juv battled it out with Sevilla and clinched top spot. Massimiliano Allegri’s men remain top of Serie A and will look to Gonzalo Higuain to deliver the goals away from home. It promises to be an intriguing tactical battle in northern Portugal.

Click on the link above to follow live commentary on both games, while we will have reaction and analysis on all of the UCL knockout games here at Pro Soccer Talk.


Wednesday’s UCL Round of 16, first legs

Sevilla vs. Leicester City – 2:45 p.m. ET
FC Porto vs. Juventus – 2:45 p.m. ET

Man United’s stroll at Saint-Etienne comes at a cost

SAINT-ETIENNE, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 22:  Jose Mourinho, manager of Manchester United looks on before the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between AS Saint-Etienne and Manchester United at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on February 22, 2017 in Saint-Etienne, France.  (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
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Manchester United beat Saint-Etienne 1-0 in their UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg clash on Wednesday, but Jose Mourinho will be more concerned by injuries picked up ahead of the EFL Cup final on Sunday.

[ MORE: Mkhitaryan, Carrick injury updates ] 

The Red Devils advanced to the last 16 of Europe’s second-tier club competition after a resounding 4-0 win on aggregate against the Ligue 1 side but with goalscorer Henrikh Mkhitaryan hobbling off in the first half and Michael Carrick removed in the second half, Mourinho will have some injury problems to sort out ahead of this weekends final against Southampton at Wembley.

Eric Bailly was sent off for two quick yellow cards in the second half but that didn’t impact the outcome as United cruised into the Round of 16 which will be drawn on Friday.

United have now lost just one of their last 25 games in all competitions. They are well and truly on a roll.

[ MORE: Europa League scoreboard ] 

United controlled the early stages and went ahead after 15 minutes when Juan Mata picked the ball up on the left flank, drifted inside and picked out Mkhitaryan’s run as the Armenian playmaker flicked home. 1-0 to United on the night as the Red Devils led 4-0 on aggregate.

Mata again got free down the left in the first half and his cross hit two Saint-Etienne defenders and almost went in, while Mkhitaryan hobbled off soon after clutching his hamstring.

With Marcus Rashford coming on for Mkhitaryan, he almost made it 2-0 as Ashley Young‘s cross just evaded him. At the other end Saint-Etienne barely threatened as Loic Perrin sent a tame header in on goal which Sergio Romero saved easily.

In the second half United spurned good chances as Marouane Fellaini fired into the side-netting with teammates wide-open and then Paul Pogba went down in the box easily under a challenge. Zlatan Ibrahimovic then fired a shot just wide after another good break from Rashford as United dominated proceedings with link-up play between Pogba and Ibrahimovic imperious.

Carrick was then taken off with Bastian Schweinsteiger coming on in his place as it appeared that United’s veteran midfielder had a calf issue.

Bailly was then shown two quick yellow cards around the hour mark (he will miss their next European game) which saw United play out the game with 10-men and that buoyed the home side slightly.

However, United coasted through to the last 16 with Rashford and Ibrahimovic going close to doubling their lead late on in front of a raucous home crowd.

Vietnamese players banned for two years after penalty protest

INCHEON, SOUTH KOREA - SEPTEMBER 19:  Flag bearer, Hoang Quy Phuoc of Vietnam arrives during the Opening Ceremony ahead of the 2014 Asian Games at Incheon Asiad Main Stadium on September 19, 2014 in Incheon, South Korea.  (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
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The Vietnamese Football Federation has imposed two-year bans on two players and suspended a coach for three years after their team was involved in a bizarre penalty protest during a league match on the weekend.

[ MORE: China or MLS for Rooney? ]

Long An players were furious at a late penalty awarded by referee Nguyen Tr?ng Thu to Ho Chi Minh City when the score was locked 2-2 late Sunday.

After initially walking off the pitch, the players returned to the field but goalkeeper Nguyen Minh Nhut turned his back as the penalty was taken, conceding a goal.

The whole team then stood motionless and allowed Ho Chi Minh City to score two more goals as the margin blew out to 5-2.

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In a statement, the VFF said that Mimh Nhut and captain Huynh Quang Thanh would banned for 24 months, “Due to disrupting the match, not respecting the decision of the referee and causing damage to the reputation and honor of the Vietnam Football Federation.”

Coach Ngo Quang Sang has been banned for three years, as has club chairman Vo Thanh Nhiem, who quit following the game.

Zaza scores stunning goal for Valencia vs. Real Madrid

TURIN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 23:  Simone Zaza (C) of Juventus FC celebrates after scring the opening goal during the Serie A match between Juventus FC and Frosinone Calcio at Juventus Arena on September 23, 2015 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
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Simone Zaza scored a stunner for Valencia against Real Madrid in La Liga.

Yes, that Simone Zaza.

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The Italian international striker, 25, spent the best part of six months on loan at West Ham United this season and just didn’t look interested as he failed to score in 11 appearances in all competitions. That prompted Slaven Bilic and the Hammers to cancel his loan deal from Juventus and the forward then joined Valencia in La Liga in January.

Fans of West Ham will be scratching their heads when watching the video below as Zaza swiveled and smashed home a perfect volley to put Valencia 1-0 up against Real at the Mestalla on Wednesday.

Simply sublime.