Emanuele Giaccherini

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Serie A: Turkish youngster Under fires Roma back into 3rd

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ROME (AP) The rapid development of 20-year-old Turkey winger Cengiz Under is playing a big role in Roma’s revival.

Under scored his fourth goal in three matches and Roma won at Udinese 2-0 for its third straight win in Serie A on Saturday.

Roma moved into third place, two points ahead of Inter Milan, which lost at Genoa 2-0.

It’s a drastic improvement from where Roma was a month ago, when the Giallorossi were mired in a five-match winless streak that risked dropping them out of contention for the Champions League places.

“We’re getting back on track to where we were in the first half of the season,” forward Diego Perotti said.

Roma went ahead when Under unleashed a powerful, rising shot from beyond the area in the 70th.

Perotti sealed the victory in the 90th with an angled effort after Udinese gave the ball away near midfield.

Under is having a breakout month.

First, he scored after 43 seconds when Roma ended a five-match winless streak by beating Hellas Verona 1-0. Then he had a brace and also delivered an assist in a 5-2 win over Benevento last weekend.

All this after not being involved in any goals in his first 14 matches with Roma.

“He plays far more for the team than himself,” Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco said of Under. “His greatest strength is being able to prepare his shot with great speed, making him difficult to close down.”

Added Perotti, “He’s very humble and he doesn’t speak Italian yet but he’s well behaved and is a great kid. He deserves all of this.”

On Wednesday, Roma visits Shakhtar Donetsk in the first leg of the Champions League last 16.

“We’ve got to make the most of the fact they’ve had a winter break and might not be match fit,” Di Francesco said of the Ukrainian side. “They have a lot of quality in attack and are dangerous, but we shouldn’t change our attitude.”

Inter’s defense was in shambles against Genoa.

The hosts took the lead before the break when a failed clearance attempt from Milan Skriniar ricocheted off of a stunned Andrea Ranocchia, who was charged with an own goal.

Then former Inter striker Goran Pandev was left unmarked to score from the center of the area midway through the second half.

Inter hasn’t won at regional rival Genoa in more than seven years.

Chievo Verona took a big step toward avoiding relegation with a 2-1 win over visiting Cagliari.

Emanuele Giaccherini and Roberto Inglese scored late for the hosts before Leonardo Pavoletti pulled one back for Cagliari.

Chievo moved up to 14th, level on points with Cagliari, eight points above the drop zone.

Streetwise Italy picks up savvy 2-0 win over Belgium to open EURO 2016

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A 32nd minute goal from Emanuele Giaccherini helped Italy to a fairly comfortable 2-0 win over Belgium in Lyon on Monday.

Graziano Pelle scored in stoppage time to give the EURO 2016 openers for both sides its final score line.

The win boosts Italy atop Group D, with Sweden and Ireland drawing 1-1 earlier Monday. Belgium gets Ireland on Saturday, while Italy battles Sweden.

[ MORE: Latest EURO 2016 news ]  

Early on Belgium did all the pressing but Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku couldn’t find a way to break through.

Midway through the first half Giaccherini went down in the box as Laurent Ciman slid in and the Montreal Impact defender will have been relieved to see referee Mark Clattenburg look point for a goal kick rather than a penalty.

Graziano Pelle went close for Italy as he curled a shot from 20-yards across goal which deflected wide of the post and then Italy took the lead.

With no pressure on the ball Leonardo Bonucci picked his head up and clipped a delightful ball forward as Giaccherini took one touch to steady himself and slotted home. 1-0.

[ MORE: Ireland draws Sweden 1-1 ]

As half time approached Italy pushed hard for a second as a Antonio Candreva’s piledriver was pushed away by Thibaut Courtois and then Graziano Pelle headed inches wide when he should have scored.

Before the break a brief glimmer of hope arrived for Belgium as De Bruyne got free in the box but his effort was blocked.

In the second half, De Bruyne played Lukaku in on goal. The big Everton man chipped Buffon, but the ball sailed wide of the far post.

Courtois made a tremendous flying save on Ciro Immobile in the 85th minute.

But Pelle side volleyed Antonio Candreva’s cross home in the third minute of stoppage time to give us the final score.

Italy name provisional EURO 2016 squad; Giovinco, Balotelli, Pirlo out

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Italian national team manager Antonio Conte has named a provisional 30-man roster for the 2016 European Championships in France this summer.

The big surprise: Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco is not included.

[ MORE: Suarez struggling with injury ]

Giovinco, 29, has been ripping it up in Major League Soccer since he joined TFC in March 2015 — he was the top goalscorer in MLS in 2015 and was named the league MVP — but the former Juventus playmaker hasn’t done enough to convince Conte he’s worthy of a spot in his squad this summer.

Neither has Andrea Pirlo, a long-time midfielder for Conte at Juve and a 2006 World Cup winner with Itatly. The New York City midfielder has been ever-present for Patrick Vieria’s side this season but at the age of 37, perhaps Conte wanted to go for younger players for his final tournament in charge of the Azzurri.

[ MORE: Van Gaal out at United? ]

Conte will take charge at Chelsea after the tournament in France is over and has named Eder, Graziano Pelle, Stephan El Shaarawy, Ciro Immobile, Simone Zaza, Federico Bernardeschi  and Lorenzo Insigne as his seven forward options. Notice there’s no spot for Mario Balotelli of Liverpool as the temperamental striker currently on loan at AC Milan has only scored three goals in 23 appearances this season. There’s no real surprise Balotelli hasn’t been included as Conte has only named him in one of his squads since taking charge in 2014.

Below is the full Italy squad in full as Conte has to cut seven players before the June 2 deadline. They face Scotland and Finland in friendlies ahead of the tournament where they’ve been drawn in Group E alongside Belgium, Sweden and the Republic of Ireland.

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Federico Marchetti (Lazio), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris Saint-Germain)

Defenders: Davide Astori (Fiorentina), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Angelo Ogbonna (West Ham United), Daniele Rugani (Juventus), Matteo Darmian (Manchester United), Mattia De Sciglio (Milan), Davide Zappacosta (Torino)

Midfielders: Marco Benassi (Torino), Giacomo Bonaventura (Milan), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Emanuele Giaccherini (Bologna), Jorginho (Napoli), Riccardo Montolivo (Milan), Thiago Motta (Paris Saint-Germain), Marco Parolo (Lazio), Stefano Sturaro (Juventus), Antonio Candreva (Lazio).

Forwards: Eder (Inter), Ciro Immobile (Torino), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Graziano Pelle (Southampton), Simone Zaza (Juventus), Federico Bernardeschi (Fiorentina), Stephan El Shaarawy (Roma)

La Liga & Serie A roundup: Atleti bounce back to keep pressure on Barca

AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza
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A roundup of Saturday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights:

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s La Liga coverage ]

Atletico Madrid 3-1 Eibar

The race for the La Liga title isn’t over quite yet — though Barcelona are overwhelmingly favorites at the moment — and Atletico Madrid will have to keep winning, with just about no room for error, to keep it that way. On Saturday, they did just that by defending their home turf, to the tune of a 3-1 victory over Eibar.

Keko put the visitors ahead in the 46th minute, but Jose Gimenez quickly opened the scoring for Atleti and equalized on 56 minutes. Saul Niguez made it 2-1 to Atleti seven minutes later, and Fernando Torres’ 100th career goal (below video) gave Los Rojiblancos a bit of insurance in the first minute of second-half stoppage time. With the victory, Atleti are level on 51 points with Barca, but the Catalan giants have two games in hand on Madrid’s “other” team, the first of which they’ll play on Sunday.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Rayo Vallecano 2-0 Las Palmas
Athletic Bilbao 0-0 Villarreal
Sporting Gijon 1-1 Deportivo La Coruña

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Levante vs. Barcelona (6 a.m. ET)
Real Betis vs. Valencia (10 a.m. ET)
Celta Vigo vs. Sevilla (12:15 p.m. ET)
Granada vs. Real Madrid (2:30 p.m. ET)

Bologna 1-1 Fiorentina

Fiorentina have left the door wide open for Inter Milan to re-enter the top three — and UEFA Champions League-qualifying — places with a 1-1 draw away to Bologna. The Viola finished the game with 10 men after Matias Fernandez was sent off for two yellow cards 10 minutes apart either side of halftime.

Their opening goal, which gave them the lead in the 59th minute, was beautifully worked and wonderfully taken by Federico Bernardeschi (below video). It was quickly canceled out, though, as Emanuele Giaccherini equalized four minutes later to earn a point and strengthen Bologna’s hold on 10th place in the league table.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Genoa 0-0 Lazio

Sunday’s Serie A schedule

Hellas Verona vs. Inter Milan (6:30 a.m. ET)
Napoli vs. Carpi (9 a.m. ET)
Torino vs. Chievo (9 a.m. ET)
Frosinone vs. Juventus (9 a.m. ET)
Sassuolo vs. Palermo (9 a.m. ET)
AC Milan vs. Udinese (9 a.m. ET)
Atalanta vs. Empoli (12 p.m. ET)
Roma vs. Sampdoria (2:45 p.m. ET)

Serie A Roundup: Napoli stays on top, Juventus spanks Chievo

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The Serie A title race this season is the most exciting it’s been for a while, and it stayed that way this weekend.

Juventus trounced Chievo Verona 4-0 in the early fixture to temporarily go top of the table, but Napoli laid the hurt on Empoli 5-1 to regain first place. Other than a 3-2 Bologna win over Sampdoria in an important lower-half battle, there was little other excitement across the fixtures.

Chievo Verona 0-4 Juventus

Alvaro Morata scored twice and Paul Pogba was in beast mode as Juventus jumped into the league lead temporarily. Read about it in full here.

Napoli 5-1 Empoli

Maurizio Sarri pulled his side back atop the league standings with a monstrous second half. A critical own-goal by Empoli’s Michele Camporese on a cross from Jose Callejon put Napoli 3-1 ahead just six minutes after the break. Callejon hit for a pair of his own late to add icing on the cake. The win keeps pace with Juventus and while the Bianconeri have won 12 in a row, Napoli has put together a tidy six-game league winning streak to stymie their challengers.

Bologna 3-2 Sampdoria

In a battle of teams looking to pull away from the relegation zone, Sampdoria fought back from 2-0 down only to fall on an 87th minute penalty by Mattia Destro as Bologna pulled seven points clear of the drop. That’s two wins in a row for Bologna, with summer newcomers Destro and Emanuele Giaccherini providing winning goals in each.

Torino 0-0 Hellas Verona

Genoa 0-0 Fiorentina

Udinese 0-0 Lazio

Welp. The rest of the Italian slate today was a dud. Fiorentina could not keep pace with the top two in Juventus and Napoli, and their draw at 16th placed Genoa really hurts, as they fall six points back of Napoli and see Inter catch up. Lazio had a shot to jump to eighth or even sixth, but failed to capitalize on the road. Torino also could have jumped into the top half, but instead were held by the bottom-dwellers in Verona, who have scored just 14 goals in 21 matches this year.