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Inter draw Juve to remain unbeaten, on top of Serie A

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Inter Milan survived its toughest test yet as it drew at Juventus 0-0 to stay unbeaten and on top of Serie A on Saturday.

Inter barely sighted the goal, and Samir Handanovic was certainly the busier of the two goalkeepers in the Derby d’Italia.

Wojciech Szczesny stepped in for the injured Gianluigi Buffon but he was mainly a spectator between the posts for Juventus.

“Having taken away a point without conceding a goal is good,” Inter coach Luciano Spalletti said.

“But everything we have got up until now we have earned and we need to keep that in our heads. Instead, we had a bit of fear, as if we didn’t deserve to be here, as if some of them still don’t believe how much they have grown.

“Tonight we could have done something more, we weren’t as determined as we have been in other situations: In some moments it seemed as if we were happy to sit back, as if just having the ball was enough. Instead we should have been more fervent in trying to do more.”

Mario Mandzukic hit the crossbar and Juventus remained third, two points behind Inter and level with Napoli, which hosts Fiorentina on Sunday.

It was the first time Juventus has failed to score in 45 Serie A matches.

“The lads should be congratulated, they had a good game without ever conceding a shot on target,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. “It wasn’t easy because Inter is a compact team, with good technical quality. We only lacked a goal.

“Inter can fight right to the end, it can fight for the title as can Juventus. I feel my team isn’t very good yet, as I would want it to be, but we were coming from a week in which we had to play to progress in the Champions League and from the win in Napoli.”

Juventus could have taken the lead with less than 10 minutes to go but Handanovic parried Mandzukic’s effort and the Croatia striker’s header on the rebound was cleared off the line by Miranda.

Ivan Perisic scored a hat trick as Inter beat Chievo Verona 5-0 last weekend but he almost netted at the wrong end in Turin. Gonzalo Higuain sent in a ball over the top to Cuadrado and Perisic’s header forced Handanovic to fingertip it over the bar.

Paulo Dybala, who surprisingly started on the Juventus bench, was brought on for the final 15 minutes but had little impact.

What was effective was the oft-criticized Juventus defense, which stifled Inter captain Mauro Icardi, who had 16 goals from his previous 15 matches.

Cagliari recovered from two goals down to draw at high-flying Sampdoria 2-2 thanks in part to a bizarre goal from Diego Farias.

Unlucky Cagliari lost four players to injury before halftime, including goalkeeper Rafael during the warmup.

It was also 2-0 down at the break because of Fabio Quagliarella, who was set up both times by Gaston Ramirez.

However, Cagliari pulled one back 11 minutes after the interval when a clearance from Samp goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano ricocheted off the back of an oblivious Farias and into the back of the net.

Leonardo Pavoletti leveled four minutes later.

Cagliari moved seven points clear of the relegation zone, while Sampdoria remained sixth.

VIDEO: Sporting KC’s Medranda scores wonder goal in win over Vancouver

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Sporting KC showed again on Friday night why they’re the rightful leaders at the top of the Western Conference, pulling four points ahead of the LA Galaxy and the Vancouver Whitecaps with a dominating 6-0 win over the Whitecaps at home.

Scottish forward Johnny Russell bagged a hat-trick in the game, all by the 48th minute, but the highlight of the night came off the foot of 24-year-old Jimmy Medranda. The Colombian scored an absolute worldie from a ridiculous angle, taking the space given to him outside the top-left corner of the box and sailing it over the head of Vancouver goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic and into the back of the net.

It was, of course, massively beneficial to Sporting KC that Vancouver went two men down in the 40th minute after a huge skirmish that saw Yordy Reyna and Efrain Juarez both sent off. Reyna earned his marching orders for throwing Russell to the ground, while Juarez reportedly used unacceptable language.

Still, KC was already up 3-0 when the incident occurred, and credit must go to teams that take advantage of what has been handed to them. Sporting KC certainly did that as Russell becomes the first Scotsman to score an MLS hat-trick since Colorado’s John Spencer in 2001, and Medranda’s wonder goal sealed the deal past the half-hour mark.

Jurgen Klopp already wants a piece of Man City next season

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Manchester City may have run away with the Premier League title this year, but Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp can’t wait for a clean slate to try and challenge City’s title defense next season.

The Reds are into the Champions League semifinals and also looking to finish the Premier League season strong in a battle for positioning in the top four, but when asked about next year, Klopp was giddy.

“Of course I don’t fear the challenge,” Klopp said in his prematch press conference ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League visit to West Brom on Saturday morning.

The German made it clear he wants a piece of Manchester City next season. “This year, if City plays a normal season – which they didn’t do – then it would have been really close until the end because we are now all close together.”

“United is four points ahead [of Liverpool], Tottenham is two points behind. It’s a real fight for these positions. All big six pretty much delivered this year but City delivered the best. We will see. It’s difficult to deal with success as it is difficult to deal with other things in football but I’m pretty sure they will be strong again.”

Liverpool is one of only two teams to beat City in league play this year, with Manchester United being the other. Klopp and company torched the City back line in a wild 4-3 victory that ended City’s 22-match unbeaten run. Ultimately, though, Klopp knows they have to look at the entire season as a whole to best the defending champs next year, not just their matches against each other.

“It’s not important how good City will be, it’s about how we can get all the other points, plus the points we got so far again,” he said. “That’s the job to do. That is why it is always possible that it is closer. But are they able to dominate? They don’t have a limit to spending and all that stuff so I don’t know.”

VIDEO: Goalkeeper sends Memphis Depay flying with skillful touch

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Former Manchester United attacker Memphis Depay has one of the brightest spots for Lyon this season that sees them battling with Monaco and Marseille for 2nd place behind a dominant PSG. He has scored 15 goals and assisted 11 others this Ligue 1 campaign, adding to his tally just four minutes into Friday’s 5-2 win over Dijon, the sixth win in a row for the club that pulled them within a point of Monaco.

However, there was a moment to forget for Depay in the victory as well.

With the score still at 1-1 in the 19th minute, Depay was sent high up the pitch to press Dijon goalkeeper Baptiste Reynet, owner of the leakiest net of the Ligue 1 season. Nevertheless, sometimes the underdog prevails, and that’s what happened as Depay flung himself at the ball to put Reynet under pressure.

One silky touch by the netminder was all it took for Depay to end up on his backside.

The 24-year-old Dutch winger has had a fantastic season and one that could potentially propel him back to the biggest stage and a bigger paycheck, but for now, we can all poke fun at his misery in the moment.

Dortmund admits interest in signing Batshuayi permanently

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Michy Batshuayi might be out for the season with a serious ankle injury, but he may have already done enough to earn a permanent move to Borussia Dortmund.

The Chelsea striker moved on loan to the Bundesliga side in January and made an immediate impact, scoring two goals on his debut, and ultimately wound up with seven goals in 10 Bundesliga games before his ankle injury brought his season to a close. Now, the Dortmund front office is speaking very highly of the Belgian goalscorer, not so subtly hinting that they will take an aggressive approach this summer.

The interest to sign him is there,” said Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke. “But first we have to wait and see who will be Chelsea’s coach next season. Then we’ll start looking.”

Chelsea has Antonio Conte currently at the helm, but there are strong rumors that the Italian will depart at the end of the season as the Blues sit comfortably outside the Champions League places. Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is known for his quick trigger, and despite Conte winning the Premier League just last season, this year’s disappointment will likely not be tolerated.

That yet-to-be-determined future has a significant impact on Batshuayi’s future, as Watzke mentions. The new Chelsea boss could take a liking to Batshuayi, which could complicate his permanent move. In addition, it’s possible that current players on the Blues roster could depart, like Alvaro Morata, Olivier Giroud, or Willian, making Batshuayi’s place at Chelsea more tenable.

There’s plenty to be sorted out in the coming months, but with Batshuayi’s 10-game performance at Westfalenstadion at the forefront of Watzke’s mind, it’s clear there will be potential here as the summer draws near.