Ettore Ferrari/ANSA via AP

Roma keep Serie A title race going with 4-0 thrashing of Fiorentina

Leave a comment

ROME (AP) Edin Dezko is going from strength to strength in his second season in Italian football, scoring twice as Roma beat Fiorentina 4-0 in Serie A on Tuesday.

Dzeko moved top of the goalscoring charts on 17 goals, more than double the amount he scored in a miserable first season with Roma.

[ MORE: Barcelona, Bayern Munich advance in Spanish, German Cups ]

It was the first time Dzeko has netted at least 17 league goals in a season since he scored 22 for Wolfsburg in 2009-10.

Federico Fazio and Radja Nainggolan scored the other goals as Roma moved back two points above Napoli into second spot, four points behind leader Juventus.

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Juventus 22 18 0 4 45 16 29 12-0-0 6-0-4 54
 Roma 23 16 2 5 48 21 27 11-0-0 5-2-5 50
 Napoli 23 14 6 3 55 26 29 8-3-1 6-3-2 48
 Lazio 23 13 4 6 41 27 14 8-1-3 5-3-3 43
 Inter Milan 23 13 3 7 37 24 13 8-2-1 5-1-6 42
 Atalanta 23 13 3 7 36 25 11 8-0-3 5-3-4 42
 Fiorentina 23 10 7 6 38 33 5 5-6-0 5-1-6 37
 AC Milan 22 11 4 7 32 27 5 7-2-3 4-2-4 37

Fazio also proved crucial at the other end, with a goalline clearance to deny Federico Chiesa in the 14th minute.

That was Fiorentina’s only real scoring chance as Roma began to take control.

Roma had several opportunities and should have taken the lead in the 29th when Nainggolan found an unmarked Bruno Peres with a delightful chipped pass, but the Brazilian defender incredibly fired over in one of the misses of the season.

The capital side did take the lead 10 minutes later following a brilliant Daniele De Rossi ball over the top which Dzeko controlled on his chest before turning and driving into the bottom left corner.

[ MORE: PL Power Rankings — It’s all a mess behind Chelsea ]

It was the first time Dzeko has scored in five successive matches since 2009.

De Rossi also set up Roma’s second, shortly before the hour, with a free kick which Fazio headed in for his first Serie A goal.

Roma extended its lead in the 75th with a wonderful team move. From a counterattack, Dzeko found De Rossi, who passed to Kevin Strootman on the left flank. The Netherlands international took one touch, looked up and picked out Nainggolan, who controlled the ball and calmly finished it off.

Dzeko doubled his tally seven minutes from time, snatching the ball off Fiorentina defender Davide Astori and firing past Ciprian Tatarusanu.

Report: Chelsea would let Juventus hire Sarri for $7m fee

Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Maurizio Sarri looks set for a second-straight offseason of “Will Chelsea or won’t they?”

One year after needing the Blues to sort out the removal of Antonio Conte and compensation with Napoli, Sarri could now be moving back to Italy.

[ MORE: Man Utd nears $20m signing ]

But Chelsea won’t make any decisions on his future until after the Europa League Final in Baku next week, and reportedly would let him leave for Juventus if the Serie A side pays a $7 million fee.

Sarri also criticized the Blues’ preseason trip to America, and Matt Law’s report says the manager is fine to stay in England but may want to return to Italy. Roma is also searching for a manager.

Chelsea’s playing style under Sarri drew criticism from supporters but the Blues are in the Europa League Final, finished third in the Premier League, and came within penalty kicks of beating Manchester City to the League Cup title.

Maybe the cigarette-chomping Sarri isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but his success on the table and tournaments with a transfer ban looming was pretty solid. Chelsea could do much worse.

Man Utd set to add $20m Swans winger James

Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Manchester United’s first signing of the summer will be a Welsh international forward, but not that one, presuming the clubs sort out the transfer fee.

Swansea City winger Daniel James has agreed to terms with United, according to Sky Sports.

The 21-year-old is expected to cost Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s men about $20 million.

[ MORE: Players to watch at U-20 World Cup ]

James scored five times with 10 assists for Graham Potter in all competitions this season, totaling 2800 minutes for Swans.

Only Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish was fouled more per game than James, who was taken to the turf 2.7 times per match. He mostly played on the left wing this season.

Twice-capped by Wales, James turns 22 in November. How long will it take him to make the jump from Championship star to Premier League contributor?

Martinez names Kompany in Belgium squad

Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Roberto Martinez is going to suit up a manager as Belgium fights to qualify for EURO 2020.

Okay, okay, that manager is Anderlecht player-manager Vincent Kompany, mere days removed from sealing a domestic treble for Manchester City.

[ MORE: Players to watch at U-20 World Cup ]

Kompany, 33, has been called up by Belgium for the first time since November. He has 87 caps with four goals for the Red Devils, and perhaps the nickname will be a little less awkward now that he’s not a member of the Premier League’s “noisy neighbors.”

Here’s what Martinez had to say about Kompany’s inclusion.

“In modern football it is not easy to combine the job of player and coach,” Martinez added. “In England they have a tradition of that but less and less because the job of coach has become enormously demanding. We must give him time. We will support him in everything he does.”

Belgium is in a qualifying group with Russia, Cyprus, Scotland, Kazakhstan, and San Marino, and should waltz into the tournament.

USMNT dates to host Cuba, Canada revealed

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MIAMI (AP) The United States will host Cuba on Oct. 11 and Canada on Nov. 15 in the first CONCACAF Nations League.

CONCACAF said Tuesday that the Americans, seeded in Group A, will play at Canada on Oct. 15 and at Cuba on Nov. 19.

Sites have not been determined.

Other Nations League groups are:

B – Bermuda, Mexico, Panama

C – Martinique, Honduras, Trinidad and Tobago

D – Costa Rica, Curacao, Haiti

The top team in each League A group advances to the semifinals in March, and the last-place team is relegated to League B.

The U.S. intends to play exhibitions on the September FIFA dates for national teams.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports