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De Bruyne on Silva spat: “I also get into some arguments with my wife”

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With Manchester City in total control of their Champions League match against Napoli at halftime, leading 2-0 and outshooting the visitors 11-4, it seemed all was right at the Etihad.

But then, as the players went down the tunnel for the break, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva were arguing, with the Belgian furious for some undisclosed reason. A closer inspection shows that de Bruyne actually had gone after the fourth official first, and instead, the captain Silva had stepped in, which angered de Bruyne further. Eventually, the players headed down the tunnel, and City would end up edging out a 2-1 victory.

But what happened at halftime? Is there discontent in the Manchester City locker room?

Afraid not. “I think we had a little discussion,” de Bruyne told reporters in street clothes after the match. “There’s nothing wrong, after one minute that is over. At home I also get into some arguments with my wife, I think it’s normal. I think this is necessary. But now everything is ok, it’s just what happens sometimes.”

It’s most likely that de Bruyne was angry about the penalty called in the 38th minute which Dries Mertens saw saved. The foul was given on Kyle Walker for pulling down Raul Albiol down from behind. With de Bruyne incensed, it was on Silva to keep his stellar attacking midfielder from finding himself in hot water.

“Amazing Game” – Pep’s Man City reinforces UCL, PL bid with Napoli win

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If it hasn’t already, Manchester City is one win away from making a Premier League-UEFA Champions League double a very real goal.

The hosts had to scrap to hold onto all three points against visiting and Serie A leading Napoli on Tuesday, giving away two penalty kicks after building a 2-0 lead at the Etihad Stadium.

[ RECAP: Man City 2-1 Napoli ]

But Ederson stopped Dries Mertens effort, and opened the door to further dreaming for supporters of Pep Guardiola‘s dreamy deep squad.

It wasn’t 7-2, or even 4-0, but Guardiola was gushing after a mutually adventurous football match between two electric squads.

“It was an amazing game. Outstanding. Both wanted to play against high pressing. Napoli are one of the best teams I have faced in my career. If you are not aggressive without the ball you have no chance to survive.”

There’s still a very tricky match week in the fourth round at Napoli, and we wonder whether Guardiola will prioritize the Premier League visit from Arsenal later that week. And, even better, it may not be a necessity to prefer either: The Gunners will have one less day’s rest thanks to Europa League play, aren’t exactly inspiring this season, and playing stars twice in four days isn’t the end of the world with an international break following the Arsenal tilt.

City’s status on the precipice of the UCL knockout rounds means it can focus on the Premier League, as well as a kind draw that should put them within three rounds of a League Cup title. While Burnley has been quite good this season, no one’s debating that City could pile up points for their table lead as 2017 nears its conclusion with an away Manchester Derby on Dec. 9:

Sunday – vs. Burnley (PL)
Oct. 24 – vs. Wolves (League Cup)
Oct. 28 – at West Brom (PL)
Nov. 1 – at Napoli (UCL)
Nov. 5 – vs. Arsenal (PL)
Nov. 18 – at Leicester City (PL)
Nov. 21 – vs. Feyenoord (UCL)
Nov. 26 – at Huddersfield Town (PL)
Nov. 29 – vs. Southampton (PL)
Dec. 2 – vs. West Ham (PL)
Dec. 6 – at Shakhtar Donetsk (UCL)
Dec. 9 – at Manchester United (PL)

Consider that United will be finishing an 8-day stretch which includes Dec. 2 at Arsenal, Dec. 5 vs. CSKA Moscow, and the derby. That makes Wednesday’s United trip to Benfica an even bigger affair. If both sides have already sewn up the knockout rounds, the derby will be especially better.

That’s neither to say City’s two-point lead atop the table and win at Chelsea weren’t impressive enough, nor that it couldn’t have overcome a slower start to both the PL and UCL campaigns. And City did start last season red-hot, too.

But it’s already foolhardy to bet against Pep’s men given the path ahead. Given Real Madrid’s relative struggles, and Barcelona’s uncertain status, it feels like City has as good a claim to UCL favorite status as anyone outside of Paris Saint-Germain.

Agree? Disagree? Comment below.

Man City 2-1 Napoli: Early goals stand up

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Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus scored early, and Ederson stopped one of two penalty kicks as Manchester City held off Napoli 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium in UEFA Champions League action on Tuesday.

Amadou Diawara converted Napoli’s second PK after Dries Mertens saw his effort saved.

Napoli is six points back of Group F leading City, and three behind Shakhtar Donetsk.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

Raheem Sterling was near the spot to blast an open rebound past Pepe Reina in the ninth minute.

Then Kevin De Bruyne swept an incisive pass into the six for Gabriel Jesus to slot home, giving Man City a 2-0 lead in the 13th minute.

Kyle Walker saw yellow after giving a penalty kick in the 37th minute, and Napoli star Dries Mertens had his chance to pull one back denied by Ederson.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

John Stones‘ impressive growth at City continued when he slid to stop Marek Hamsik from testing Ederson in the second half.

Fernando took down Faouzi Ghoulam to give Napoli a second penalty kick, and this time it was converted thanks not to Mertens, but Diawara.

Serie A: Juve’s title stranglehold looks looser after loss to Lazio

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ROME (AP) Juventus’ stranglehold on the Serie A title for six straight seasons looks at risk of being broken.

The Bianconeri were beaten by Lazio for the second time this season on Saturday, falling 2-1 at home after conceding two goals to Ciro Immobile just like in the Italian Super Cup in August.

It’s the second straight match that Juventus has dropped points after drawing with Atalanta 2-2 before the international break.

“We need to work on our lapses in concentration,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. “We fought but only in segments. At other times we were too loose.”

League leader Napoli won at Roma 1-0 with a first-half goal from Lorenzo Insigne to open up a five-point advantage over Inter Milan, Juventus and Lazio.

Inter faces AC Milan in the Milan derby on Sunday.

“The lads should enjoy this achievement,” said Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi, who is being mentioned as an eventual replacement if Allegri leaves Juventus. “At the start of the season they said we would finish ninth or 10th. Now people should be talking about us.”

Juventus led 1-0 at halftime courtesy of a rebound goal from Douglas Costa but experienced defenders Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli couldn’t contain Immobile after the break.

Substitute Paulo Dybala came close to rescuing Juventus but was denied first by the post in stoppage time then had a penalty blocked by Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha at the final whistle.

Immobile had no such trouble.

Two minutes into the second half, Luis Alberto set up Immobile to finish a counterattack with a confident, low, angled shot.

Five minutes later, Immobile was at it again in a virtual replay, only this time goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon charged forward and tripped the striker to set up a penalty.

Immobile drilled his spot kick to the right corner as Buffon went the other way.

“This gives us more motivation,” Immobile said. “Lazio has been doing great things since the Super Cup.”

Immobile leads the Serie A scoring chart with 11 in eight matches and also has the best tally in Europe’s top five leagues with 15 in all competitions for Lazio.

Immobile also scored in Italy’s 1-0 win over Israel last month and national coach Gian Piero Ventura will be hoping he stays in form for a World Cup qualifying playoff next month.

Juventus, meanwhile, will have to take a long look at its once-vaunted defense after relinquishing a lead for the second straight game.

The Turin club had been undefeated for 57 home matches in all competitions.

An involuntary assist from Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi set up Napoli’s goal.

Midway through the first half, De Rossi accidentally set up Insigne with only the goalkeeper to beat and the diminutive Italy forward took advantage to score his 100th career goal.

Kostas Manolas, Roma’s top defender, exited with an apparent injury early in the second half and Napoli goalkeeper preserved the clean sheet by blocking a header from Federico Fazio.

It was the first league match this season in which Napoli didn’t score at least three goals.

Still, the Partenopei remain on course for their first title since 1990, when Diego Maradona played.

Napoli visits Manchester in the Champions League on Tuesday, while Roma visits Chelsea a day later and Juventus hosts Sporting Lisbon.

Serie A: Milan in financial trouble? Napoli run rampant, remain top

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A roundup of all of Sunday’s action in Italy’s top flight…

[ MORE: Marcelo (not that one) swats ref’s yellow card, gets upgraded to red ]

Napoli 3-0 Cagliari

Only two sides in Europe’s top five leagues remain perfect on the season, not a single point dropped thus far: one of them you might have guessed — Barcelona — but the other you almost certainly wouldn’t have seen coming before the season began. Napoli, courtesy of a routine 3-0 victory over Cagliari, kept pace with their La Liga counterparts (who played in front of an empty Camp Nou) on Sunday.

Marek Hamsik got Maurizio Sarri’s men off to a dream start with a goal after four minutes. Dries Mertens (40th minute) and Kalidou Koulibaly (47th) completed the scoring, pushing Napoli’s goal differential to +20 (25 scored, 5 conceded) after seven games.

Atalanta 2-2 Juventus

Juventus entered the weekend among the unbeaten, but a blown 2-0 lead and Paulo Dybala’s failed attempt from the penalty spot resulted in the five-time defending champions’ first dropped points of the season.

Federico Bernardeschi opened the scoring for Juve after 21 minutes, and Gonzalo Higuain doubled the lead three minutes later to set Massimiliano Allegri’s on the path toward what appeared to be another easy win. Mattia Caldara pulled Atalanta back to 2-1 just after the half-hour mark, and Bryan Cristante completed the comeback in the 67th minute.

AC Milan 0-2 Roma

As if things weren’t already looking dire for Milan following their summer spending spree of $200 million dollars and the ensuing slow start to the Serie A campaign, this week also brought news of problems along the business side of the club. Li Yonghong, who became chairman after leading a takeover from Silvio Berlusconi and Co. back in April, is reportedly seeking additional investors “to share the financial burden” of helping Milan spend their way back into the stratosphere of Europe’s elites. Li is essentially bankrolling the club on his own after previous investors backed out from their commitments.

As for the on-the-field happenings, Sunday didn’t bring any better news for the Rossoneri, as Vincenzo Montella’s side was beaten by Roma, 2-0, and held scoreless for a second straight league game. Edin Dzeko bagged his seventh goal of the season to keep him within touching distance of Golden Boot leader Dybala (10), and extend his streak of games with a goal to five (all competitions). Alessandro Florenzi made it 2-0 in the 77th minute, five minutes after Dzeko’s opener.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Lazio 6-1 Sassuolo
Torino 2-2 Verona
Chievo 1-2 Fiorentina
SPAL 1-1 Crotone