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Serie A: Hart’s howlers help Inter to draw with Torino; AC Milan win

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MILAN (AP) Joe Hart gifted Inter Milan both of its goals but Torino managed to draw 2-2 in Serie A on Saturday and damage Inter’s bid for a Champions League place.

Hart’s first mistake allowed Geoffrey Kondogbia to score. Torino fought back with goals from Daniele Baselli and Afriyie Acquah. However, another error from the England goalkeeper saw Antonio Candreva level.

“This draw is like a defeat,” Candreva said. “Our rivals who are ahead of us in the standings are running strongly, and now we have to try to win all of the matches.”

Inter remained fifth and was five points behind third-placed Napoli and the final qualifying position for Europe’s premier club competition.

“We’re not happy, we made a mistake in how we approached the match,” Inter coach Stefano Pioli said. “There are many regrets, especially at the end, there were chances to win the match.”

Napoli visits Empoli on Sunday. On the same day, Atalanta, which lost 7-1 at the San Siro last weekend, can move level with Inter with a win over Pescara.

The match had been hyped as a fight between Serie A’s top goalscorers. Torino and Italy forward Andrea Belotti led with 22, two more than Inter captain Mauro Icardi.

Icardi had the ball in the back of the net in the eighth minute but he was ruled offside on Ever Banega’s through ball.

Inter did go in front when Kondogbia’s effort squirmed between Hart’s hands.

Its lead lasted just six minutes before Baselli was left unmarked to head in after a corner was flicked on by Cristian Molinaro.

Belotti may not have got on the scoresheet but he helped set up Torino’s second with a cross-field pass to Juan Iturbe, who pulled back for Acquah to curl into the top left corner in the 59th.

Torino’s lead lasted even less than Inter’s as the visitors leveled three minutes later when Hart completely missed a cross and Candreva fired into an empty net.

Hart made some amends with a great save to keep out Eder‘s effort with nine minutes remaining.

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Juventus 28 23 1 4 58 19 39 15-0-0 8-1-4 70
 Roma 28 20 2 6 61 25 36 12-0-1 8-2-5 62
 Napoli 28 18 6 4 65 30 35 10-3-2 8-3-2 60
 Lazio 28 17 5 6 50 30 20 10-2-3 7-3-3 56
 Inter Milan 29 17 4 8 55 31 24 10-2-2 7-2-6 55
 AC Milan 29 16 5 8 42 32 10 10-2-3 6-3-5 53
 Atalanta 28 16 4 8 43 33 10 9-1-3 7-3-5 52
 Fiorentina 28 12 9 7 45 37 8 7-7-0 5-2-7 45
 Sampdoria 28 11 8 9 35 33 2 8-4-2 3-4-7 41
 Torino 29 10 10 9 54 48 6 8-5-1 2-5-8 40

AC Milan maintained its push for Europe with its fourth win in five matches in Serie A.

Mati Fernandez scored his first Milan goal to send his side sixth, two points below its city rival Inter.

It didn’t start out well for the Rossoneri as Andrea Bertolacci pulled up hurt in the opening minute and had to be replaced by Manuel Locatelli.

The teenager almost had an immediate impact but his effort flew narrowly wide.

Lucas Ocampos nearly scored against his old team with a shot that was acrobatically cleared off the line by Genoa defender Armando Izzo.

Mati Fernandez broke the deadlock shortly after the half hour, running onto Gianluca Lapadula’s backheeled flick and dinking it over goalkeeper Eugenio Lamanna.

Toronto FC beats Crew 5-0 to extend unbeaten streak to 8

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TORONTO (AP) Victor Vazquez scored twice and Toronto FC routed the Columbus Crew 5-0 on Friday night to extend its unbeaten streak to a franchise record-matching eight games.

[ MORE: Pulisic pleased with U.S. Soccer’s improved landscape ]

Toronto (8-1-5) is 7-0-1 since its lone league loss of the season, a 2-1 decision in Columbus on April 15. Columbus (6-7-1) has lost five of seven since topping Toronto.

Justin Morrow and substitutes Jonathan Osorio and Jordan Hamilton also scored for MLS-leading Toronto. The Canadian team also was unbeaten in eight games (4-0-4) from May 8 to July 10, 2010.

Toronto was reduced to 10 men in the 81st minute when midfielder Marky Delgado was red-carded for a studs-up tackle on Columbus captain Wil Trapp. Osorio and Hamilton then scored to pad the lead for Toronto in its sixth shutout of the season.

Toronto played without the starting forward tandem of Sebastian Giovinco (injured) and Jozy Altidore (suspended for yellow card accumulation). Defender Nick Hagglund also is injured.

Agent: Barcelona offered more than Real for Vinicius Junior

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If Vinicius Junior can become half the player at Real Madrid that Neymar has lived up to be at Barcelona, Los Blancos will be pretty pleased.

[ MORE: Man City closing in on Monaco’s Silva ]

Real closed the deal for the 16-year-old Brazilian this week, but there were several other lucrative offers on the table, according to the player’s agent, Frederico Pena.

[ MORE: Totti leaves future uncertain heading into final Roma match ]

That includes bitter Spanish rivals Barcelona.

The agent stated that the Blaugrana did in fact offer a higher deal to acquire the Brazilian, however, he felt it would have complicated matters further to seek a greater offer from Real.

“There is practically unanimous view of the deal as a success,” Pena said. “If anybody gets criticised it is Real Madrid, for the risk they have taken, but they are sure that it will work. There were other clubs interested, and one offered to pay more money … Barca’s remuneration package offer for the player was higher than Real Madrid.

“But as we had reached an agreement with Real, we did not want to make this last push for them to match it. That could have embittered the relationship. Many people think it is crazy what Madrid are doing, but they were not alone in this craziness. They were not the only ones willing to pay this much for Vinicius.”

Pena also clarified as to why Vinicius chose Real over Barcelona, citing the player’s excitement about the development of Los Blancos during recent seasons under manager Zinedine Zidane and prior.

“Because Vinicius liked Madrid’s project better. There is always the feeling that players choose based on financial reasons, but that is not true. I assure you of that. Real Madrid’s negotiating posture was better.”

Real is on the verge of winning its third UEFA Champions League trophy in the last four seasons as the club prepares to face Juventus in the upcoming final.

Zidane’s men also won La Liga during the 2016/17 campaign.

Pulisic pleased with U.S. Soccer’s improved landscape

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U.S. Soccer has come a long way over the years, and one of the nation’s most promising young players recognizes the progress the United States has made.

[ MORE: Man City acquire Monaco’s Silva after passing medical ]

Christian Pulisic, who plays for Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund, is one of several young talents that U.S. hopes to finally bring the American men a moment of glory on the biggest of stages — the World Cup.

The 18-year-old has done just about everything a player of his age could do. He’s played in one of the top leagues in the world, appeared in various UEFA Champions League matches and now he’s likely on pace to appear in the 2018 World Cup, assuming the USMNT advances out of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

The U.S., who have reached the World Cup during seven straight cycles, have come a long way in a short period of time, and Pulisic is happy with the improving U.S. Soccer landscape.

“It’s been big flaw of ours in the soccer department that a lot of our best athletes go and play other sports,” Pulisic told The Guardian. “But I think young players have seen me, and others, go over to Europe and play in some of the best leagues — and MLS is improving so much too.

“There’s so much potential and I think it’s changing: we’ve had some bigger athletes in the past but I don’t think that defines us anymore.

“We’re going to keep moving forward, developing young players and we’re going to have a really good shot in the next few years.”

During this past Bundesliga season, Pulisic recorded three goals and added six assists for a club that has become well known for its high-powered offensive attack.

Report: Kyle Walker a top target for Manchester City

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Manchester City could be looking to bolster its backline further this summer, and the Citizens could turn to Tottenham for help.

[ MORE: Man City closing in on acquiring Monaco’s Silva ]

According to ESPN FC, Pep Guardiola‘s side is growing more and more enamored with Spurs defender Kyle Walker and believes City can acquire the experienced outside back prior to the 2017/18 Premier League season.

With City already losing Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna since the end of the PL season, Guardiola will have to address the club’s lack of depth at outside back.

Several other big clubs have been considered in the running for Walker’s services, including Chelsea, Manchester United and Bayern Munich.

The 26-year-old has been at White Hart Lane since joining Spurs in 2009 from Sheffield United and has made 222 appearances for the club in that span.