Italy roundup: Sassuolo’s stunning escape complete, Juve tips Roma

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The relegation picture is crystal clear in Serie A after some season-long strugglers pulled off major Sunday wins to clinch safety in Italy’s top flight.

Catania couldn’t celebrate its 2-1 road win in a relegation six-pointer against Bologna, as the three points they gained kept them in the final relegation slot. Wins in successive weeks could not save the Sicilian club, who is now four points back of No. 17 Chievo.

That’s because Chievo Verona and Sassuolo saved their seasons with big wins. In the case of the latter club, it punctuated a stunning turnaround that will see them in 16th after being mired in the drop zone for most of the season.

Dario Dainelli headed a corner kick home in the 72nd minute, and his goal stood as Chievo Verona secured safety with a 1-0 win at Cagliari.

Sealing the bottom three’s fates was Antonio Floro Flores. The 30-year-old’s brace — on 8 shots — started and finished Sassuolo‘s scoring a 4-2 win over visiting Genoa.

This sends Bologna and Catania down, with Livorno also headed to Serie B after a 1-0 loss to visiting Fiorentina.

Elsewhere

  • Inter Milan 4-1 Lazio – Rodrigo Palacio scores twice as Inter overcome conceding in second minute to crush visitors.
  • Verona 2-2 Udinese — Legends Luca Toni and Antonio Di Natale part of the points share with goals.
  • Atalanta 2-1 AC Milan — Europe seems a distant hope for AC Milan after a Franco Brienza marker in the sixth minute of stoppage time gives the home team all three points.
  • Sampdoria 2-5 Napoli —  Four different players score for Napoli, which also gets a Sampdoria own goal to pile on the hosts.
  • Torino 1-1 Parma – Ciro Immobile scored again for Torino, ensuring the final Europa League spot won’t be settled until the last day of the season.
  • Roma 0-1 Juventus — Southampton outcast Dani Osvaldo’s first Juve goal holds up as winner.

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Juventus 37 32 3 2 77 23 54 18-0-0 14-3-2 99
Roma 37 26 7 4 72 24 48 15-3-1 11-4-3 85
Napoli 37 22 9 6 72 38 34 12-4-2 10-5-4 75
Fiorentina 37 19 7 11 63 42 21 9-3-6 10-4-5 64
Inter Milan 37 15 15 7 61 37 24 8-9-2 7-6-5 60
Torino 37 15 11 11 56 46 10 9-6-4 6-5-7 56
Parma 37 14 13 10 56 46 10 8-7-3 6-6-7 55
AC Milan 37 15 9 13 55 48 7 10-4-4 5-5-9 54
Verona 37 16 6 15 61 63 -2 10-3-6 6-3-9 54
Lazio 37 14 11 12 53 54 -1 9-6-3 5-5-9 53
Atalanta 37 15 5 17 42 49 -7 11-3-5 4-2-12 50
Sampdoria 37 12 8 17 45 59 -14 7-5-7 5-3-10 44
Udinese 37 12 7 18 43 54 -11 9-3-6 3-4-12 43
Genoa 37 10 11 16 40 50 -10 7-5-6 3-6-10 41
Cagliari 37 9 12 16 34 50 -16 8-4-7 1-8-9 39
Sassuolo 37 9 7 21 42 70 -28 5-2-12 4-5-9 34
Chievo 37 9 6 22 32 53 -21 5-2-11 4-4-11 33
Catania 37 7 8 22 32 65 -33 6-6-6 1-2-16 29
Bologna 37 5 14 18 28 57 -29 3-8-8 2-6-10 29
Livorno 37 6 7 24 39 75 -36 4-5-10 2-2-14 25

 

Peru’s World Cup foes lobby to overturn Guerrero’s ban

ERNESTO BENAVIDES/AFP/Getty Images
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Following last week’s decision handed down by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Peru captain and talisman Paolo Guerrero has been banned from the 2018 World Cup — at the age of 34, almost certainly his last opportunity to star on the world’s biggest stage.

[ PREVIEW: USMNT hosts Bolivia in shadows of World Cup hype ]

However, in the days since that decision, a number of Guerrero’s fellow professionals and World Cup stars — France and Denmark captains Hugo Lloris and Simon Kjaer, and Australia’s Mile Jedinak — have written to FIFA, on behalf of FIFPro, the world player union, in hopes of rendering Guerrero eligible to pay at next month’s tournament in Russia.

“We respectfully ask the Fifa Council to show compassion,” the trio wrote. “In our view it would be plainly wrong to exclude him from what should be a pinnacle of his career.”

[ MORE: Ronaldo hints at Real Madrid exit | Bale does the same ]

That Lloris, Kjaer and Jedinak are the players lobbying in favor of Guerrero is particularly notable given the fact that Peru will face France, Denmark and Australia in Group C.

Guerrero tested positive for cocaine late last year, after a tea he drank was tainted and triggered a fail drug test.

SKC, Crew SC play to 0-0 draw; VAR steals the show (again)

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KANSAS CITY, KAN. — The game in 100 words (or less): Nothing ruins a good game of soccer more than controversies involving the referee — and now that VAR is active within MLS, yet another failure of the video-review system to correct the most “clear and obvious” of wrong decisions. There is no longer any rhyme or reason in deciding whether or not to utilize what could be a very helpful tool. Check the third video further down this page to comprehend the absurdity of VAR in Sporting Kansas City’s 0-0 draw with Columbus Crew SC on Sunday. As for the actual soccer which was played, Tim Melia made one save to deny Gyasi Zardes with a point-blank header early in the first half, and a second to deny Zardes rom the penalty spot just before halftime. Despite being a back-and-forth affair between the league’s second- and third-place teams with a chance to take the lead in the Supporters’ Shield race, there were just six shots on target in total and genuine scoring chances were few and far between.

[ PREVIEW: USMNT hosts Bolivia in shadows of World Cup hype ]

Three moments that mattered

43′ — Zardes wins a PK, but Melia makes the save — Melia was responsible for giving away the penalty kick, and he more than made up for it by denying Zardes moments later.

45+6′ — Higuain puts studs into Espinoza, sees red — Originally not called a foul, changed to a red card following video review. On the softer side of red cards (just an opinion).

59′ — Martinez takes a swing at Sinovic, but no video review — At this point, it’s just time to disband the entire VAR experiment. It’s turned MLS into a clown show and an embarrassment. Signed, someone who was initially in favor of VAR, assuming MLS would utilize it properly.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Tim Melia

Goalscorers: None

Rayo Vallecano win promotion back to La Liga

Photo credit: Rayo Vallecano / @RayoVallecano
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MADRID (AP) Rayo Vallecano earned promotion to Spain’s top division after beating Lugo 1-0 in a second-tier league game on Sunday.

Alex Moreno’s goal for the hosts in the 40th minute sealed Rayo’s return to La Liga after two seasons away.

Huesca had already secured promotion last weekend with a 2-0 victory at Lugo.

The third team to move up will be the winner of a two-round playoff between the four teams that finish the season from third to sixth.

Malaga, Las Palmas and Deportivo La Coruna were all relegated from the top flight this season.

FOLLOW LIVE: West leaders SKC host East’s 2nd-best Crew SC

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KANSAS CITY, KAN. — Western Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City host Columbus Crew SC, the Eastern Conference’s second-place side, at Children’s Mercy Park on Sunday with both sides capable of overtaking Atlanta United for top spot in the Supporters’ Shield race.

[ FOLLOW: SKC vs. Crew SC in top-of-the-table clash ]

Sporting KC, who are unbeaten in three straight and have lost just once since opening day (11 games), lead expansion side Los Angeles FC in the West. Meanwhile, Crew SC enter Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash unbeaten in their last six games (four wins) and trail the league leaders from Atlanta by a single point.

Hit the link above to follow along throughout the afternoon, and check back with PST for coverage after the final whistle.