Italy roundup: Roma within a point of the top after Juve draws Inter

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Things are getting tight at the top of Serie A.

AS Roma picked up a big road win while Juventus struggled to contain the counter of Inter Milan during a Tuesday of Serie A action that saw 24 goals and a fair number of blowouts.

[ MORE: FA Cup roundup ]

To the matches:

Juventus 1-1 Inter Milan
A bonafide home stumble from The Old Lady could’ve been much worse if Inter goal scorer Mauro Icardi didn’t show his immaturity late, bungling two big chances to give struggling Inter a critical road win.

Lukas Podolski made his loan debut for Inter, who looked more dangerous than their 11th place standing.

Carlos Tevez scored his 11th goal of the Serie A campaign for Juve in the fifth minute, but Icardi canceled it out — so to speak — in the 64th.

Udinese 0-1 AS Roma

I Lupi had already made its charge to within a point of Juve by the time the leaders kicked off, thanks to defender Davide Astori’s controversial goal, his first since 2011. Roma out shot Udinese 13-5 and held more than 60 percent of possession.

Up next for Roma: Derby della Capitale.

AC Milan 1-2 Sassuolo

source: Getty ImagesWasn’t a banner weekend for either big name Milan squad, as the hosts had an early lead through midfielder Andrea Poli but conceded twice afterward.

German-born forward Nicola Sansone made it 1-1 in the 28th minute, and Simone Zaza continued his impressive campaign by picking up his sixth goal in 12 matches for Sassuolo.

Zaza, 23, now has a brace against Roma and goals against Juventus and Milan for I Neroverdi. His breakout started last season and rolled into his first international goal earlier in September against Norway.


Parma 1-0 Fiorentina — Andrea Costa scores first goal since 2012 
Chievo 0-0 Torino —
Each team gets drop zone breathing room
Genoa 2-2 Atalanta —
Diminutive Argentine Maximiliano Moralez scores for hosts in draw
Cesena 1-4 Napoli — Hosts goal differential drops to minus-20
Lazio 3-0 Sampdoria —
 Visitors fail validity test in Rome.
Empoli 0-0 Verona — 
Both six points clear of drop
Palermo 5-0 Cagliari — Paulo Dybala’s brace gives him 9 goals, 6 assists on season


Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Juventus 17 12 4 1 35 8 27 6-2-0 6-2-1 40
Roma 17 12 3 2 29 11 18 7-2-0 5-1-2 39
Lazio 17 9 3 5 31 19 12 6-0-2 3-3-3 30
Napoli 17 8 6 3 32 21 11 4-3-1 4-3-2 30
Genoa 17 7 6 4 23 17 6 3-3-3 4-3-1 27
Sampdoria 17 6 9 2 22 17 5 4-4-0 2-5-2 27
AC Milan 17 6 7 4 26 20 6 4-2-3 2-5-1 25
Palermo 17 6 7 4 27 26 1 5-3-1 1-4-3 25
Fiorentina 17 6 6 5 21 14 7 2-4-2 4-2-3 24
Sassuolo 17 5 8 4 19 22 -3 2-5-1 3-3-3 23
Inter Milan 17 5 7 5 26 24 2 3-3-2 2-4-3 22
Udinese 17 6 4 7 20 23 -3 4-2-3 2-2-4 22
Empoli 17 3 9 5 17 22 -5 2-4-3 1-5-2 18
Torino 17 4 6 7 12 18 -6 3-4-2 1-2-5 18
Verona 17 4 6 7 18 27 -9 2-2-4 2-4-3 18
Chievo 17 4 5 8 12 19 -7 1-4-4 3-1-4 17
Atalanta 17 3 7 7 13 23 -10 2-3-3 1-4-4 16
Cagliari 17 2 6 9 21 34 -13 0-3-5 2-3-4 12
Parma 17 3 1 13 17 36 -19 2-1-6 1-0-7 9
Cesena 17 1 6 10 14 34 -20 1-4-4 0-2-6 9

PL Club Power Rankings: Week 15

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The congested schedule means we’ve had two match days since we last took stock of the Premier League.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

We’ve got a brand new Top Five (well, in terms of the four behind eventual champions Liverpool) and two teams dipping to season lows on our ol’ litmus test.

Green: New season-high ranking
Red: New season-low

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings archive ]

20. Watford — As many losses as goals (9), and that figure is one more than the Hornets’ total points. Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise to see them on the verge of full-time manager No. 3, as full-time manager of Watford is a bit more like seasonal help.
Last week: 18
Season high: 17
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 3-0 v. Burnley
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Southampton

19. Everton — A top half team in terms of talent seeks the manager who can organize its way out of the drop zone.
Last week: 17
Season high: 5
Season low: 19
Last match: Lost 2-0 v. Norwich City
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Leicester City

18. Norwich City — The first team to 10 losses is four points shy of 17th.
Last week: 16
Season high: 10
Season low: 20
Last match: Won 2-0 at Everton
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Arsenal

17. West Ham United — A gigantic ball of “blah.” Should thank the world Everton exists so people aren’t more focused on this particular collection of currently squandered talent.
Last week: 20
Season high: 5
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 3-2 v. Spurs
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Chelsea

16. Bournemouth — It’s just not good enough, is it? To have held onto Callum Wilson and get another step up in class from Philip Billing and still be so wildly inconsistent.
Last week: 11
Season high: 6
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 2-1 v. Wolves
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Spurs

15. Southampton — It really feels like the Danny Ings revival show could rival any story for the best individual one in the league this season. Happy to see Ralph Hasenhuttl get some good performances, as he was being scapegoated in a hurry.
Last week: 19
Season high: 13
Season low: 20
Last match: Drew 2-2 at Arsenal
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Watford

14. Aston Villa — Allowing a league-worst 18.8 shots per game, but staying in the mix thanks to Nick Pope and Tyrone Mings.
Last week: 13
Season high: 8
Season low: 15
Last match: Won 2-0 v. Newcastle United
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Sunday at Manchester United

13. Arsenal — The Gunners back line gets a lot of heat, and rightly so, but maybe a little help from the midfield would be nice considering Sokratis Papastathopoulos and David Luiz have combined for 39 blocks. Sokratis is third in the PL and Luiz fourth.
Last week: 12
Season high: 4
Season low: 12
Last match: Drew 2-2 v. Southampton
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Norwich City

12. Brighton and Hove Albion — First win ever away to Arsenal is another feather in the cap of Graham Potter, especially nice considering they had lost four on the bounce.
Last week: 14
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 2-0 v. Leicester City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Liverpool

11. Newcastle United — No one is punching above its weight more than Steve Bruce‘s Magpies, and they’ve been aided in a big way by Martin Dubravka. The Slovakian goalkeeper has a league-best 44 saves from shots inside the 18.

Also, according to Understat’s xG numbers, they should’ve lost to the Blades. In fat, the xG table says they should be dead last. Life’s funny like that. It’s Steve Bruce’s world and we’re living in it.
Last week: 15
Season high: 11
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 2-0 at Aston Villa
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Man City

10. Sheffield United — Just lost for the first time since September. That’s amazing.
Last week: 6
Season high: 5
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 3-3 v. Manchester United
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Wolves

9. Burnley — Striker Chris Wood has been credited with 12 “big chances missed” by Sofascore, more than any player in the league.
Last week: 7
Season high: 5
Season low: 15
Last match: Won 3-0 at Watford
Up next: 10 a.m. Saturday v. Crystal Palace

8. Spurs — Jose Mourinho learned Wednesday that Moussa Sissoko is nice for the squad, but not to be leaned on.
Last week: 9
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Won 3-2 at West Ham United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Bournemouth

7. Crystal Palace — Wilfried Zaha‘s 68 dribbles are 13 more than anyone else in the league.
Last week: 10
Season high: 5
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 2-1 v. Liverpool
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Burnley

6. Manchester United — Ole had himself a moment in outfoxing Mourinho without Pogba or Martial.
Last week: 8
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Drew 3-3 at Sheffield United
Up next: 11:30 a.m. Sunday v. Aston Villa

5. Chelsea — We told you, Frank. WE TOLD YOU.
Last week: 4
Season high: 2
Season low: 12
Last match: Lost 2-1 at Man City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. West Ham United

4. Manchester City — Aymeric Laporte is still two months away and that’s two months too long.
Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Chelsea
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Newcastle United

3. Wolves — This is going to sound nuts, but there are days I’d rather see Liverpool on my schedule than Wolves. The Reds are obviously better weaponized, but Wolves come at you in waves, man, and Nuno Espirito Santo is doing it without his best center back.
Last week: 5
Season high: 3
Season low: 17
Last match: Won 2-1 at Bournemouth
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Sheffield United

2. Leicester City — How’s this for an unsustainable stat? Wilfred Ndidi and Ricardo Pereira rank first and second in the league in tackles, with 67 and 62.
Last week: 3
Season high: 2
Season low: 10
Last match: Won 2-0 at Brighton and Hove Albion
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday v. Everton
1. Liverpool — Big Virgil Van Dijk is on track to become the first Premier League player to complete 1000 passes this season, currently at 953.
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 2-1 at Crystal Palace
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Brighton and Hove Albion

Report: Everton targeting former Porto, Fener boss Pereira

Photo by Visual China Group via Getty Images
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Everton might be looking to the Chinese Super League for its next manager.

Vitor Pereira is the top target for the Merseyside set, report our partners at Sky Sports, as the Toffees begin life after Thursday’s firing of Marco Silva.

Pereira, 51, has been in management since 2002, leading Porto, Olympiacos, Fenerbahce, and current club Shanghai SIPG amongst others.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

He’s won titles in Greece, China, Saudi Arabia, and his native Portugal, but there are suitors beyond the Toffees’ reported interest.

The 51-year-old is currently one of the highest paid coaches in the world and was recently offered the job of managing the Chinese national team.

It is understood he is currently considering a new contract offer from Shanghai, which will guarantee he earns £30m a year.

Duncan Ferguson is the interim boss as Everton hosts Chelsea this weekend.

MLS teams no longer will play every opponent each season

Photo by Jim Bennett/Getty Images
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NEW YORK (AP) Major League Soccer is breaking away from soccer’s tradition of having each team play every opponent in its league.

MLS is expanding to 26 teams in 2020 with the additions of Miami and Nashville but will keep a 34-game regular-season schedule. A team will play each of its 12 conference opponents home and away, and will face only 10 of the 13 teams in the other conference.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Nashville opens Feb. 29 at home against Atlanta and David Beckham’s Inter Miami starts March 1 at Los Angeles, the league said Thursday in announcing all home openers. Defending champion Seattle opens March 1 against Chicago.

Other Feb. 29 openers are Colorado at D.C., New England at Montreal, LA Galaxy at Houston, Toronto at San Jose, Philadelphia at Dallas, Salt Lake at Orlando and Kansas City at Vancouver. Games the following day include New York City at Columbus, Cincinnati at New York Red Bulls and Minnesota at Portland.

Home openers on March 7 are Chicago at New England, Red Bulls at Salt Lake, NYC at Toronto, Cincinnati at Atlanta, Houston at Kansas City, Orlando at Colorado and Vancouver at LA Galaxy. Four more home openers are set for March 14: Dallas at NYC, LA Galaxy at Miami, D.C. at Cincinnati and San Jose at Philadelphia.

The final home openers are Red Bulls at Minnesota on March 15 and Atlanta at Chicago on March 21 as the Fire return downtown to Soldier Field, their home from 1997-2005. The played in suburban Bridgeview from 2006 through last season.

More AP soccer and

Saint-Maximin proud to score first Premier League goal on mom’s birthday

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Newcastle United is reveling in another win, the Magpies claiming a point for the fifth time in six matches with a 2-0 win at Sheffield United.

Allan Saint-Maximin was richly rewarded for his effervescent season with a first Premier League goal, though it came in unexpected fashion.

[ RECAP: Blades 0-2 Newcastle ]

The dribbling wizard rose above his mark to head a Javi Manquillo cross past Dean Henderson for the first goal of the match at Bramall Lane, and he was quite happy to do it on a memorable day for his family.

“It’s special because I score with my head and I never think I can score with my head,” he said, via The Chronicle.  “I’m really proud because today is the birthday of my mother, and I score my first goal for my mother and I’m really happy to do that.”

Saint-Maximin has quickly become a fan favorite, and the Frenchman showed he’s ready with a joke, too, when noting midfield Jonjo Shelvey scored his team-best fourth goal of the season thanks to some decisive refereeing from Stuart Atwell and VAR.

[ MORE: Wilder enraged with VAR ]

“I’m happy for the best striker in Newcastle – four goals.”

Funny stuff from the man his manager Steve Bruce once described by saying, “He’s only 22 and he’s got more outfits than I’ve seen.”