La Liga & Serie A roundup: Celta Vigo go top; Juve sit 14th

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A roundup of all the weekend’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights:

Villarreal 1-2 Celta Vigo

Before last week, Villarreal hadn’t lost a league game all season and looked poised to run away with the La Liga title race (not really). Then they lost away to Levante — OK, fair enough. This week, it’s a home loss to new league leaders Celta Vigo(!!!) that sees El Submarino Amarillo tumble from the top spot, all the way down to fourth. Goals scored by Fabian Orellana and Denis Suarez had the two sides headed toward a 1-1, but Nolito scored the winner in the 90th minute to push Os Celticos level on points with Real Madrid and Barcelona, ahead on tiebreakers.

Real Sociedad 0-2 Atletico Madrid

Antoine Griezmann, who dominated La Liga in his first season for Atleti (22 goals) last year, is off to another fine start, as the Frenchman bagged his fourth goal of the still-young season to give Los Rojiblancos a 9th-minute lead. Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco provided the insurance goal very late on (91st minute) to seal all three points and keep Atleti (16 points) fifth in the league, two points off the three co-leaders at the top.

Elsewhere in La Liga action

Barcelona 5-2 Rayo Vallecano — MORE
Real Madrid 3-0 Levante — MORE
Eibar 1-1 Sevilla
Valencia 3-0 Malaga
Real Betis 1-3 Espanyol
Getafe 4-0 Las Palmas
Deportivo La Coruna 2-2 Athletic Bilbao


Napoli 2-1 Fiorentina

Lorenzo Insigne and Gonzalo Higuain scored for Napoli either side of Nikola Kalinic’s 73rd-minute equalizer to drop the Viola, current leaders in Serie A, three points closer to the chasing pack. The victory boosts Napoli (15 points) all the way up to fifth, three points off Fiorentina.

Roma 3-1 Empoli

Roma hammered Empoli to capitalize on Fiorentina’s defeat and move to within a single point of the league lead. Miralem Pjanic, Daniele De Rossi and Mohamed Salah provided the goals for Rudi Garcia’s side (17 points) to make it three wins in three league games. No side in Serie A has scored more goals than Roma’s 20 through eight games.

Inter Milan 0-0 Juventus

Juve currently sit 14th in the league, with nine points from eight games, nine points off the pace of Fiorentina.

Elsewhere in Serie A action

Torino 1-1 AC Milan
Bologna 0-1 Palermo
Atalanta 3-0 Capri
Frosinone 2-0 Sampdoria
Genoa 3-2 Chievo
Hellas Verona 1-1 Udinese
Sassuolo 2-1 Lazio

Looking Ahead: Mourinho’s first 10 games

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Tottenham’s stunning week continued on Wednesday with the appointment of Jose Mourinho as manager.

Taking in his first day of training, Mourinho can now get to grips with not only his squad, but what’s ahead for Spurs. Here’s a look at what Mourinho will be up against in the next two months.

[READ: 5 things Mourinho must do at Tottenham]


Game 1: Tottenham at West Ham, Saturday, Premier League

Mourinho’s first game in charge is a London derby, which is a pretty tough way to start life at the club. Coming on the road, you can expect a packed house, tons of media attention, and possibly a re-energized squad. That’s what Mourinho will be hoping for, anyways.

Sebastian Haller has struggled recently, and with just four goals in 11 Premier League games, he could be looking at this matchup as a way to get back on the scoresheet. It will be up to Mourinho to re-organize a want-away defense.

Game 2: Tottenham v. Olympiakos, Nov. 26, UEFA Champions League

Game 3: Tottenham v. Bournemouth, Nov. 30, Premier League

Game 4: Tottenham at Manchester United, Dec. 4, Premier League

Mourinho only has to wait three weeks before his first trip back to Old Trafford. Even though it’s coming soon, it’s not a guarantee that it will be Mourinho v. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who is under a lot of pressure himself. Things haven’t improved at Man United much since Mourinho was sacked, and a win for him on the road would be the kind of grudge match he lives for.

Game 5: Tottenham v. Burnley, Dec. 7, Premier League

Game 6: Tottenham at Bayern Munich, Dec. 11, Champions League

If the Champions League stopped today, passed Go and went directly to the knockout rounds, Tottenham would be in. Despite all the Premier League troubles, Spurs have done well enough to stay ahead of Red Star Belgrade and Olympiakos in the standings. Should Tottenham beat Olympiakos in November, and Red Star loses to Bayern Munich, it will be set. However, if Tottenham hasn’t secured a place in the knockout round by then, it may need a result against Bayern at home. That will be one of Mourinho’s biggest tasks moving forward.

Game 7: Tottenham at Wolves, Dec. 15, Premier League

Game 8: Tottenham v. Chelsea, Dec. 22, Premier League

Tottenham opens the busy holiday period against Mourinho’s other Premier League former club, and the place where he made his name in England. At this point, Mourinho will have been with Tottenham for an entire month and if things are going well, Tottenham could challenge Chelsea in this match. If Tottenham remain at its current level, Chelsea could certainly win a match like this on the road at the new White Hart Lane. Another side plot will be Mourinho facing his former star midfielder, Frank Lampard.

Game 9: Tottenham v. Brighton and Hove Albion, Dec. 26, Premier League

Game 10: Tottenham at Norwich City, Dec. 28, Premier League

Mourinho will have to navigate some tough matches, including big six derbies against Chelsea and Man United, plus a trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers. However, it certainly could have been worse for Tottenham. Spurs has five home games, along with matches against Burnley, Bournemouth, Norwich City and Brighton and Hove Albion. Despite 10 games in the rest of 2019, and a busy holiday period, Mourinho has a shot to turn Spurs’ season around and put them in contention for fourth place by May.

UEFA investigates player’s claim of racial abuse in Romania

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NYON, Switzerland (AP) UEFA has called for further investigations into allegations by a Sweden player he was racially abused by Romania fans at a European Championship qualifying game.

After Alexander Isak reported his claim to the match referee last Friday, play in Sweden’s 2-0 win was briefly stopped to broadcast a warning to fans in Bucharest. The stadium will host four Euro 2020 games in June.

[READ: How the USMNT found and kept Sergino Dest]

UEFA says it opened a disciplinary investigation, and also charged Romania’s soccer federation for separate incidents of an alleged “illicit banner” and “illicit chants.” Those charges will be judged on Dec. 12.

Romania faces more severe UEFA action because it was already under one year’s probation for previous incidents of offensive fan behavior.

Only accompanied children were allowed to attend Romania’s home qualifier against Norway last month.

The next UEFA punishment could affect Romania’s next game in the Euro 2020 playoffs round in March.

Report: Austin FC hire Reyna as sporting director

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Months after locking in Josh Wolff as head coach, Austin FC is reportedly on the verge of naming one of MLS’ best sporting directors to the same role.

The Athletic reported on Wednesday that Anthony Precourt’s Austin FC has hired Claudio Reyna from New York City FC to be the expansion club’s new sporting director. It’s the second expansion club that Reyna is working for since he joined NYCFC in 2013 as its first director of soccer operations.

[READ: MLS takes big step with All-Star game update]

If true, it’s a shrewd move by Precourt to bring in a man who knows MLS like the back of his thumb, and to pair him with a former teammate from the U.S. Men’s National Team. Wolff’s spent almost his entire career in professional soccer in MLS too, so the club now has two influential individuals who are knowledgable about the league and it’s various roster mechanisms.

Austin FC doesn’t enter MLS until 2021, so locking in Reyna now gives him more than a year of runway towards building an MLS-ready roster. Precourt has surely seen the best-case scenario – Seattle, Los Angeles FC, Atlanta United – where a team loaded with top-heavy talent and good role players can make a deep playoff run in its expansion season. But he’s likely also seen the worst-case scenarios – look at Minnesota United in the past and FC Cincinnati this year.

Bringing in Reyna certainly makes it more likely that Austin FC’s future will lie in the former category.

Chelsea verdict due mid-December in FIFA transfer ban case

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Chelsea can expect a verdict within three weeks in its appeal to overturn a FIFA transfer ban for breaking youth transfer rules.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said after a hearing Wednesday its ruling is expected in the first half of December.

The month-long trading window for English clubs opens Jan. 1. Chelsea already served half its one-year ban on registering new players during the offseason.

Chelsea is challenging verdicts by FIFA’s disciplinary and appeal committees that the club had 150 violations of rules protecting minors from trafficking. Those cases involved about 70 players.

Chelsea also broke rules prohibiting third-party influence on players. FIFA imposed a fine of 600,000 Swiss francs ($608,000).

The club has denied wrongdoing.

The timeline of this transfer of minors’ case is similar to Barcelona’s appeal in 2014 when CAS upheld a transfer ban on Dec. 30, almost four weeks after a hearing.