Mario Mandžukić

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Serie A: 10-man Juve score 6; Bonucci sees red, Milan in free fall

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MILAN (AP) Leonardo Bonucci’s latest lapse in concentration may end up costing Vincenzo Montella his job at big-spending AC Milan.

Bonucci was sent off in the first half of Milan’s 0-0 draw at home with Genoa on Sunday for elbowing a defender in the head as he jostled for position on a free kick.

Juventus also had a player sent off early on, forward Mario Mandzukic, but bounced back to win 6-2 at Udinese and close the gap on leader Napoli to three points. Lazio can move level with third-place Juve with a win at home to Cagliari later Sunday.

Milan lost its three previous Serie A matches and was also held 0-0 at home with AEK in the Europa League on Thursday. Last weekend, the Rossoneri were beaten 3-2 by Inter Milan in the city derby after Bonucci was beaten by Mauro Icardi for Inter’s opener.

The Rossoneri’s last league win came more than a month ago and they have dropped to 11th spot.

“Unfortunately, everything that could have happened has,” Montella said. “But I feel supported by the club. … We deserved to win today, because we created chances even when we were a man down.”

Milan, which was bought by a Chinese-led consortium in April, spent nearly $250 million on new players in the offseason and Bonucci was the centerpiece of the overhaul.

The fee for Bonucci’s surprise move from Juventus topped $50 million, and he signed a five-year contract worth up to $12 million per season — making him the highest-paid player in Italy.

But Bonucci has been off form over the last month and now risks missing the game against Juventus next Sunday if he’s given a two-match ban.

Bonucci’s blow to Aleandro Rosi’s head in the 23rd minute left the Genoa player on the ground for several minutes before the blood was cleaned up and he continued playing.

The referee did not initially show Bonucci a red card. The decision came with the help of the video assistant referee (VAR) – marking the first time a red card was handed out by the VAR in Italy.

“I don’t think it was intentional foul play. He was positioning himself. Do you know how many goals I scored in situations like that?” said Montella, whose goals as a player helped Roma to the 2001 title.

“The VAR needs to be remodeled,” Montella added. “If Bonucci hadn’t injured his opponent I don’t think he would have been sent off.”

Sami Khedira netted the first hat trick of his career as 10-man Juventus ran riot in Udine, ending its two-match winless streak in style.

Juve was looking to take advantage of Saturday’s 0-0 draw between Napoli and Inter Milan, the top two sides in Serie A.

Khedira’s first of the match and an own-goal from Samir put Juve in front after Udinese had taken a shock lead early on through Stipe Perica.

But it looked bleak for Juventus when Mandzukic was booked for an argument with Udinese’s Ali Adnan and then turned around and appeared to swear at the referee. He was shown a second yellow card and sent off, leaving Juventus with 10 men for more than an hour.

Danilo leveled immediately after halftime but it was false hope for Udinese as Daniele Rugani restored Juve’s lead shortly afterward. Two more goals from Khedira and another from Miralem Pjanic completed the rout.

Aleksandar Kolarov followed up his midweek goal against Chelsea by scoring from a free kick in Roma’s 1-0 win at Torino.

The Serbian became the first player to score two goals from direct free kicks in Serie A this season, having also connected on his Roma debut in August against Atalanta.

Stretching back to last season, it was Roma’s 11th straight away win, matching the Serie A record.

Roberto Inglese bolstered his case for a January move to Serie A leader Napoli with a brace in the Verona derby, helping Chievo to a 3-2 win.

Napoli purchased Inglese’s rights in August but left the striker on loan at Chievo. It has expressed interest in moving up his arrival after Arkadiusz Milik’s long-term injury.

A dozen! Real deconstructs Juve to nab another UCL crown

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  • Ronaldo nabs brace
  • Mandzukic’s superhuman equalizer (video)
  • Casemiro scores deflected winner
  • Asensio adds fourth

Dynastic Real Madrid won its 12th UEFA Champions League title, a third in four years, in downing Juventus 4-1 at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, on Saturday.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice, and Casemiro’s 60th minute goal was the winner. Marco Asensio scored in stoppage time to complete the quartet of goals.

Mario Mandzukic’s overhead kick stands at Juventus’ lone goal. Juve has now lost seven of nine UCL Finals, the most of any team.

[ JPW IN WALES: Three things from Real’s big win ]

Ronaldo started the scoring when his left-footed shot off a 1-2 with Dani Carvajal completed a well-worked team goal to give Real a 20th minute lead.

But Mandzukic erased the lead and many memories of Ronaldo’s wild celebration before the half hour mark. Leonardo Bonucci played a pinpoint diagonal ball to Sandro, who cut the ball back for Gonzalo Higuain.

The striker moved the ball to Mandzukic, who chested it into range for a wonderful overhead kick that eluded the reach of Keylor Navas. 1-1.

Real picked up several yellow cards, and it was clear there was as tactical decision to tackle hard and foul often.

Early in the second half, Andrea Barzagli was beaten by Isco but made an incredible recovery and daring tackle to force a corner than Raphael Varane headed off Leonardo Bonucci.

Luka Modric tore into a shot that Buffon corralled as the clock hit 54, and Real reclaimed the advantage six minutes later. Casemiro belted a shot from distance which took a turn off a jumping Sami Khedira and eluded Buffon’s dive.

Ronaldo nabbed his second after Modric ran onto Carvajal’s ball to the end line, cutting back a shot to the near post for the Portuguese superstar to punch past Buffon.

[ MORE: USWNT’s Dunn, Chelsea win title ]

Sandro came close to flicking Dani Alves’ free kick inside the far post in the 82nd minute, and it felt like defeat for Juve was assured by the ball bounding wide of the woodwork.

Substitute Juan Cuadrado took his second yellow card in the 83rd minute to complete a sending off.

WATCH: Mandzukic scores one of the best goals in UCL history

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On the biggest stage, Cristiano Ronaldo did it again.

And then Mario Mandzukic somehow upstaged him.

Aiming to complete the rare UCL-EURO-UCL sandwich, Real Madrid’s superstar belted a low shot past fellow living legend Gianluigi Buffon to give the La Liga giants a 1-0 lead over Juventus in the UEFA Champions League Final.

[ MORE: Griezmann staying with Atleti ]

But Mandzukic chested Higuain’s flick of a Sandro cross into range for an amazing overhead kick, one that instantly becomes one of the most stylish and improbable goals in UCL history.

Perhaps most amazing is that Real keeper Keylor Navas sees what’s going to happen, primes himself for the leap, and still can’t get there.

Back to Ronaldo…

As if often the case when Ronaldo is concerned, there’s a record in play.

Ronaldo worked several fancy additions into his standard explosive celebration.

Serie A roundup: Juventus stays 10 points clear, Roma comes back

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Juventus began a new league winning streak as they rode an early Juan Cuadrado goal to a 1-0 road win over Sampdoria, maintaining the 10 point league lead.

Cuadrado scored just seven minutes in at Stadio Luigi Ferraris, heading in Kwadwo Asamoah’s left-flank cross. They would defend strong the rest of the way, as Sampdoria out-shot Juventus 10-9, but they offered little in front of net. Juventus could have had a second had Gonzalo Higuain not inadvertently blocked a sure goal for Mario Mandzukic on the line.

The Italian giants drew on March 5th against Udinese, halting a seven-match winning streak, but now with successive wins over AC Milan and Sampdoria, the streak begins anew. The victory came at a heavy price, however, as Paulo Dybala was forced off with a leg injury in the 28th minute. This is an equally big loss for Argentina, who called Dybala up for the coming

With the comfortable lead at the top, Juventus just has to ward off Napoli. They did just that, despite Napoli’s exciting 3-2 win over Empoli. They built an early 3-0 lead on two from Lorenzo Insigne bracketing one from Dries Mertens, but Empoli put up a fight. Omar El Kaddouri scored in the 70th minute to give the hosts a lifeline, and Massimo Maccarone hit in the 84th minute to make it a game. Napoli would see the game off, to keep Mertens from rueing his missed penalty in the 7th minute.

Roma found itself down trailing Sassuolo in the opening 10 minutes, but would come from behind to earn a 3-1 win and all three points. Leandro Paredes evened it up in the 16th minute, and Mohamed Salah put Roma in front before the break. Edin Dzeko hit past the hour mark to complete the scoreline and keep Roma in third and within one point of Napoli.

Elsewhere, Lazio was held to a 0-0 draw on the road at Cagliari, harming their chances of catching the top 3. Lazio could only get four of its 14 shots on target, and they fell five points back of Roma, and now sit just two points ahead of fifth-placed Inter and sixth-placed Atalanta, both on 55 points.

Atalanta moved themselves into that advantageous position with a 3-0 win over bottom-feeders Pescara. Alejandro Gomez and Alberto Grassi scored on each end of halftime, and Gomez earned a third in stoppage time to finish things off. Fiorentina won at Crotone 1-0 thanks to a late 90th minute winner from Nikola Kalanic, but they still trail AC Milan by five points for seventh place.

EURO 2016: Modric, Mandzukic could return from injuries vs. Portugal

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Croatia are the perennial “dark horse favorites” at just about every major international tournament in which they compete — chock-full of stars plying their trade across Europe, but just far enough out of sight that you don’t take them seriously as you maybe should.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s EURO 2016 coverage ]

All of that said, Croatia had reached the knockout stage in just twice in eight major international tournament appearances (World Cups and European Championships) in their 22 years of independent competition prior to qualifying for the round of 16 at this summer’s EURO 2016 in France.

The most impressive part of their Group D finale victory over Spain to finish top of the group? That they knocked off the two-time defending EURO winners without the services of inarguably two of their most important figures, Luka Modric and Mario Mandzukic, both of whom were injured in the second group game, a 2-2 draw with the Czech Republic.

[ MORE: Predicting the knockout rounds of EURO 2016 ]

Set to face Portugal in the round of 16, though, their tournament lives on the line, Saturday (3 p.m. ET) would be the ideal time for Modric and Mandzukic to return to the fold, and according to head coach Ante Cacic, the duo is inching toward doing just that:

“I cannot say if they’re fit to play the full match, the whole 90 minutes. Everything looks good but I will decide tomorrow before the match.”

A victory over Portugal would set up a favorable quarterfinals matchup against the winner of Poland versus Switzerland (Saturday, 9 a.m. ET) next Thursday in Marseille.