Alessandro Di Marco/ANSA via AP

Serie A: Juventus drop points in Turin derby, need Roma loss for title

Leave a comment

A roundup of Saturday’s action in Italy’s top flight…

[ MORE: Saturday’s Premier League roundup | Sunday preview ]

Juventus 1-1 Torino

A win would have moved Juventus 12 points clear of Roma, who have four games still to play, thus meaning a single point dropped against AC Milan on Sunday would have seen Juve crowned Serie A champions for the sixth straight season. Instead, Massimiliano Allegri’s side drew 9th-place Torino at home and sit just 10 points clear of Roma, who could trim to the gap to seven points tomorrow.

Adem Ljajic put Torino ahead in the 52nd minute, a lead that would remain intact for nearly 40 minutes. Gonzalo Higuain would spoil the party in the 91st minute, though, dashing dreams of a famous derby victory for the visitors, and rescuing a point despite a poor, wasteful performance by Juve (22 shots, 5 on target).

Napoli 3-1 Cagliari

Dries Mertens celebrated his 30th birthday in style on Saturday, bagging a brace either side of halftime (2nd and 49th minutes), as Napoli topped Cagliari at home to go two points clear of Roma in the race for Italy’s second and final automatic place in the UEFA Champions League group stage.

Lorenzo Insigne made it 3-0 to the home side in the 67th minute, before Diego Farias grabbed a late consolation goal for Cagliari in the first minute of second-half stoppage time. Napoli are unbeaten in nine league games (just four points dropped in total) and have gained three points on Roma (who have lost twice and drawn once) during that run.

Sunday’s Serie A schedule

Udinese vs. Atalanta — 6:30 a.m. ET
Lazio vs. Sampdoria — 9 a.m. ET
Genoa vs. Inter Milan — 9 a.m. ET
Sassoulo vs. Fiorentina — 9 a.m. ET
Chievo vs. Palermo — 9 a.m. ET
Pescara vs. Crotone — 9 a.m. ET
Empoli vs. Bologna — 9 a.m. ET
AC Milan vs. Roma — 2:45 p.m. ET

Everton announce lifetime ban for fan involved in altercation with Lyon player

Getty Images
Leave a comment

On a night when UEFA unveiled a new campaign for respect, there wasn’t enough of it shown both on and off the field.

Everton has followed up on UEFA opening up disciplinary proceedings against them by banning a fan from Everton matches after the fan was seen to punch at an Olympique Lyon player in the second half of Lyon’s 2-1 win at Goodison Park.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

“Club Officials have reviewed the footage of an incident that occurred in the 64th minute of the game against Olympique Lyonnais where supporters towards the front of the lower Gwladys Street End became involved in a confrontation between players,” Everton said in a statement. “We have identified one individual whom action will now be taken against. This will include a ban from attending future Everton fixtures and the Club registering a formal complaint with Merseyside Police.”

The video below shows a fan – amazingly, holding onto a small boy in one arm – throwing some punches at Lyon players after a fracas on the field.

The punch and ban is yet another dark moment for Everton, which has just one point from its first three Europa League matches and sits in 16th place in the Premier League with eight points from eight games.

Russia glad to welcome Blatter, Platini as World Cup guests

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MOSCOW (AP) President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov says Russia “would be glad” to see banned former soccer leaders Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini in Russia next year at the World Cup.

Though banned from soccer duty for six and four years, respectively, Blatter and Platini were the presidents of FIFA and UEFA when Russia won the 2018 hosting contest seven years ago.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

FIFA ethics rules allow Blatter and Platini to attend games but not engage in official soccer business.

Blatter publicly accepted Putin’s World Cup invitation in March 2016, before his ban for financial wrongdoing with Platini was upheld on appeal.

Peskov says Friday, “Putin has a long and, you may say, friendly relationship with Blatter. He knows Platini well, too.”

Rapinoe, Morgan, Ertz lift US past South Korea, 3-1

Getty Images
Leave a comment

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Alex Morgan scored in a fourth straight game, Julie Ertz scored for the fourth time in five games, and the United States women beat South Korea 3-1 on Thursday night.

Megan Rapinoe added her 34th international goal and her 42nd assist.

Having assisted on Ertz’s diving header in the first half, Rapinoe scored on a penalty kick she drew in the 49th minute when pounced on a loose ball about 12 yards in front of the goal and was tripped by Ji Sohyun.

[ MORE: MLS schedule ]

Han Chaerin scored her first international goal in her South Korea debut to make it 2-1 just before the end of the first half.

U.S. forward Mallory Pugh had to leave the game late in the first half with a right hamstring injury. There was no immediate word on the severity of her injury after she was helped off the field by trainers.

Meanwhile, Carli Lloyd returned from a nine-week absence because of ankle injury, entering the game as a substitute in the 77th minute.

Midfielder Andi Sullivan started for the U.S. about 11 months after having reconstructive knee surgery. Her third minute shot narrowly missed the far post from about 18 yards. She was substituted out, as planned, at halftime.

South Korea began the game in a defensive posture and the U.S. maintained a decisive edge in possession, forcing Kang Gaae to make several sprawling saves before breaking though on Ertz goal in the 24th minute

Ertz dove in front of two defenders to redirect Rapinoe’s hard, low corner kick between the legs of Kang as the goal keeper tried to respond at the near post.

Morgan scored in the 40th minute, using her right foot to settle Kelley O’Hara’s bouncing pass from the end line, then pivoting and whipping her left foot through the ball from point-blank range. The goal was the 28-year-old Morgan’s 78th for the national squad.

Han scored against the run of play with a hard shot from about 25 yards that sailed beyond U.S. goal keeper Alyssa Naher’s reach before dipping under the cross bar.

Lloyd’s introduction drew an enthusiastic response from nearly 10,000 spectators in the Superdome. The two-time FIFA World Player of the Year missed a pair of U.S. exhibition wins over New Zealand last month because of an Aug. 13 ankle sprain in a National Women’s Soccer League match.

Forward Tobin Heath, who has an ankle injury, and defender Taylor Smith, who has an injured shoulder, were not in the lineup and are not expected to play in a second friendly scheduled between South Korea and the U.S. on Sunday in Cary, North Carolina.

Both women were hurt in the NWSL championship match.

UEFA charge Roma after racist chanting witnessed

Getty Images
Leave a comment

AS Roma and its fans could face severe penalties after alleged racist chants were hurled in the direction of Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger.

It appears via broadcast footage from Chelsea’s 3-3 UEFA Champions League draw with Roma at Stamford Bridge this week that after shepherding a ball out of play, Rudiger was subjected to monkey noises and other racist abuse from the away end where the AS Roma fans were congregated.

[ LIVE: Stream every Premier League game ]

In the past, UEFA has ordered either partial or full closures of stadiums and announced fines to the clubs, though it doesn’t seem to have stamped out the problem of racist chanting in Europe.

Hopefully, UEFA will investigate this fully and ban the individuals who allegedly committed the chants.

Rudiger signed for Chelsea this past summer for a reported $44.8 million.