Despite bite, Giorgio Chiellini has “no problem” with Barcelona’s Luis Suarez

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Last summer Luis Suarez bite Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder when Uruguay beat Italy 1-0 in the group stages of the World Cup in Brazil.

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Cue pandemonium across the globe as the Uruguayan forward was heavily reprimanded for having bitten an opposition player on the field of play for the third time in his career. Yes. That’s right, for the third time.

Suarez was subsequently banned for four months and nine international games for his actions, but after returning to action for his new club Barcelona in October he has been in indomitable form alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar.

[ RELATED: Early UCL final storylines ]

On Saturday Suarez and Chiellini will meet for the first time since the former’s bite in Brazil, as both Barca and Juventus aim to cap off sparkling season’s by lifting the UEFA Champions League trophy in Berlin with the victors sealing a remarkable treble of trophies for the 2014-15 campaign.

Chiellini was asked what his reaction will be to facing Suarez once again and if they’ll shake hands.

“Of course I will (shake hands),” Chiellini said. “I’ll hug him happily, too, there’s no problem at all. Those who know me even a bit know that that’s how I truly feel. I have no problem with him and I think it’s the same for him. I have to think about him as a player, how he moves, his great skill but nothing more.”

With many calling for Suarez to be banned from playing for life after the incident last June, it is clear that the man he bite, Chiellini, was always calling for a soft approach for Suarez. Yes, Suarez has issues. Everyone has seen it. But he has served his time for the crime he committed on the soccer pitch and as Chiellini says, he is a wonderful player — Suarez has scored 24 times in 42 games for Barca this season — who seems to have learned from his mistake last summer.

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Suarez and Evra will also meet again.

His actions were inexcusable, especially for making the same mistake three times, but there is no denying his supreme talent as one of the greatest attacking players on the planet. He will also have another issue to come up against on Saturday as Patrice Evra — the former Manchester United player who Suarez was convicted of racially abusing while at Liverpool — now plays for Juventus. Evra has already said he will shake hands with Suarez (even though the Uruguayan famously refused to shake his hand in a previous United vs. Liverpool match) when the duo meet again.

Controversy and Suarez go hand in hand.

It is likely that Suarez, a forward, and Chiellini, a defender, will clash early and often during the UCL final. The eyes of the world will be on them throughout but it seems like the events of last summer in Natal have been easily forgotten by Chiellini. It’s easy to hold a grudge, but much harder to move on swiftly and act with class. Chiellini has done the latter.

Fair play Giorgio, fair play.

VIDEO: Kei Kamara scores superb bicycle kick goal against Sporting KC

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Kei Kamara has scored plenty of goals at Children’s Mercy Park, but none like his bicycle kick goal on Saturday.

The 35-year-old, now in his 16th season, showcased his penchant for scoring right before halftime against his former team. The goal makes 12 for the Colorado Rapids’ forward this season, placing him within the top 10 of the league and two begin his 14-goal season last year.

Overall, Kamara is fifth in the all-time MLS scoring list with 124 goals, second among active players behind San Jose Earthquakes’ Chris Wondolowski.

Enjoy a superb goal from a superb goalscoerer.

La Liga Roundup: Messi, Barcelona stunned by inspired Granada (video)

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Granada’s shocking 2-0 win over Barcelona and subsequent rise to the top of the table headlines Saturday’s La Liga action.

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Granada 2-0 Barcelona

Not even Lionel Messi, who made his season debut on Saturday, was able to save Barcelona against a red-hot Granada.

Granada, who are off to their best start in their 88 years of existence, had a perfect night in front of their supporters, convincingly getting past a Barcelona that dominated possession, but lacked the offensive ingenuity needed to score.

Barcelona’s defense wasn’t noteworthily robust, either.

Two minutes in, the newly promoted side scored through a headed goal from Ramon Azeez, following a defensive turnover from Junior Firpo.

Unable to record a shot on target in the first half and looking to wakeup a dormant attack, Barcelona brought on wonderkid Ansu Fati and Lionel Messi at halftime. Despite the duo connecting on several occasion and generating a shot on target, it wasn’t enough to get past Rui Silva.

In the 66th minute, following video review, substitute Alvaro Badillo converted from the spot, handing Granada their third win of the season.

Atop of La Liga, Granada set their sights on Real Valladolid, while Barcelona, who are off to their worst league start in 25 years, host Villarreal at Camp Nou.

Atletico Madrid  0-0 Celta Vigo

For a second consecutive week, Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid dropped points, drawing with Celta Vigo 0-0 at Wanda Metropolitano.

Tied with league leaders Granada and Sevilla with 10 points, the alarm bells are far from going off in Madrid. However, as Saturday’s performance showed, los Colchoneros are having trouble finishing chances this season, despite fielding an attack with the likes of Joao Felix, Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata.

In five games, Atletico have managed to score only five goals, six fewer than leaders Granada. Against Celta, Atletico registered 20 shots, five on target, but were unable to crack a stellar Ruben Blanco, who registered five saves.

Leveled with Granada and Sevilla, Atletico Madrid look to get back into winning ways as they take on RCD Mallorca. Elsewhere, Celta Vigo, who have won win after five games, host Espanyol next.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Villarreal 2-0 Real Valladolid

Levante 0-0 Eibar

Almeyda, Wondolowski sent off in Quakes’ fall against Atlanta (video)

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The game in 200 words (or less): Melodrama took center stage in Atlanta United’s 3-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes, as Matias Almeyda, Chris Wondolowski and Cristian Espinoza were all sent off on Saturday. Josef Martinez, six games away from tying Lionel Messi’s world record for most consecutive goals, left the field in 79th minute following an injury, ending his MLS-record run at 15 games. Playing with 10 players from the 34th minute onwards, the Quakes held on to the draw up until the 90th minute. Unmarked inside the box, Emerson Hyndman rocketed the ball past Daniel Vega, who recorded nine saves throughout the night. In stoppage time, Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez was rewarded for his stellar performance with a goal of his own. With a game at hand, Eastern Conference leaders, NYCFC, are three points ahead Frank De Boer‘s side. The Quakes, on the other hand, have internal fires to put out as they have lost six of their last eight, and are only a point above the red line with three games to play.

Three moments that mattered

27′ — Great run by Espinoza, greater ball by Vega  — Daniel Vega and Cristian Espinoza were players that San Jose were desperately missing last season. This sequence says it all.

 

90′ — Emerson Hyndman wins it for the Five Stripes   — Hyndman, with no one near him, seals three points for the home side.

 

90′ + 2 — Martinez takes advantage of broken San Jose  — Martinez’s goal was only salt in San Jose’s fresh wound.

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Man of the match: Gonzalo “Pity”  Martinez

Goalscorers: Meram (4′), Guzan (27′ – OG), Hyndman (90′), Martinez (90′ + 2)

FIFA sees no obstacles for women to attend games in Iran

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ZURICH — Soccer’s governing body FIFA says an inspection visit to Iran has shown “no noteworthy operational obstacles” to lifting the country’s 40-year ban and letting women attend a World Cup qualifying game next month.

After meeting government and soccer officials in Tehran this week, FIFA says it will work with Iran’s soccer body to also open domestic league games to female fans.

FIFA wants Iran to end its ban on women entering stadiums which breaches international soccer statutes prohibiting discrimination.

Global attention on the ban followed the death this month of a 29-year-old activist, Sahar Khodayari, who set herself on fire outside a courthouse. She had been detained for dressing as a man to enter a soccer stadium in Tehran and faced six months in prison.

Ahead of Iran hosting Cambodia at the 78,000-capacity Azadi Stadium on Oct. 10, FIFA says the visit on Thursday focused on “international relations, security and ticketing matters.”

Iranian officials were told of FIFA’s “firm and clear position that women need to be allowed to enter football matches freely” with tickets sold to as many who wanted to attend.