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Serie A: Icardi, Perisic keep Inter Milan perfect; AC Milan trounced

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ROME (AP) The dynamic duo of Mauro Icardi and Ivan Perisic are proving unstoppable in Serie A and Inter Milan is quickly moving on from last season’s failures and upheaval.

Icardi scored his fifth goal in three matches and Perisic added another as Inter beat Serie B champion Spal 2-0 Sunday to extend its perfect start in the Italian league.

Each of Inter’s eight goals this season have involved either Icardi or Perisic, with goals or assists.

Video replays were used to set up Icardi’s first-half penalty and Perisic sealed the result three minutes from time.

Inter drew level on points with six-time defending champion Juventus, which defeated Chievo Verona 3-0 on Saturday.

Later, Napoli also had a chance to extend its perfect start at Bologna.

Big-spending AC Milan dropped its first points in a 4-1 loss at Lazio, which got a hat trick from Ciro Immobile.

Including Roberto Mancini’s surprise resignation two weeks before the season began, Inter struggled through four managerial changes in the 2016-17 campaign and finished seventh to miss out on European competition.

But order appears to have been restored with the appointment of former Roma coach Luciano Spalletti in June.

“There are three big points, especially since Inter struggled against the smaller clubs last season,” said assistant coach Marco Domenichini, who handled the post-match interviews because Spalletti lost his voice during the game.

“It’s great to have nine points but we’ve still got to improve, especially in terms of ball control,” Domenichini added.

Leonardo Semplici, the coach of Ferrara-based Spal, believes Inter will challenge Juventus and Napoli.

“They’ve got a really good and experienced manager. They’re going to battle until the end for the title,” Semplici said.

At the San Siro, Inter was in control from the start and Icardi used a quick touch to set up Joao Mario at the edge of the area when the Portuguese international was tripped by a defender.

The referee immediately pulled out a yellow card for the defender, Francesco Vicari, and then a five-minute delay ensued as the referee sought video assistance to determine if the foul occurred inside or outside the area.

Eventually, the penalty was awarded and Icardi calmly slotted his spot kick in the left side of the goal as the `keeper went the other way.

It was Icardi’s 77th goal in Serie A for Inter, placing him joint 10th on the club’s all-time list with Attilio Demaria.

After Inter’s Milan Skriniar hit the crossbar, Perisic volleyed in a cross from Danilo D’Ambrosio for his second score of the season to go along with his four assists.

Fresh off his goal for Italy in a 1-0 win over Israel in World Cup qualifying, Lazio striker Immobile was in full control at the Stadio Olimpico against remodeled Milan, which spent more than 200 million euros (nearly $250 million) in the transfer market.

Late in the first half, Immobile converted a penalty and then scored again with an acrobatic volley.

After the break, Immobile slotted inside the near post following an expert setup from Marco Parolo then provided the assist when Luis Alberto finished off a swift counterattack.

Riccardo Montolivo pulled one back for Milan in a match in which kickoff was delayed for an hour due to severe rain.

After scoring only one goal in its opening two matches – both losses – Fiorentina routed promoted Hellas Verona 5-0.

Giovanni Simeone, Cyril Thereau, Davide Astori, Jordan Veretout and Gil Dias scored for the Tuscan club, which has had to overcome the sale of nearly all of its most prized players.

Fiorentina sold Nikola Kalinic to Milan, Borja Valero and Matias Vecino to Inter Milan and Federico Bernardeschi to Juventus.

Verona had never lost by four or more goals at home in Serie A.

Also, Atalanta beat Sassuolo 2-1; Cagliari celebrated the opening of its new stadium, the Sardegna Arena, with a 1-0 victory over Crotone; and Udinese defeated Genoa 1-0 as both teams finished with 10 men.

Croatian media: Forward Kalinic refused WCup medal

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ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) Croatian media say that forward Nikola Kalinic has not accepted the silver medal his team won at the World Cup in Russia because he was sent home early in the competition.

[ MORE: Everton make massive Richarlison bid and more transfer talk ]

Kalinic has reportedly said “thank you but I did not play in Russia.”

Coach Zlatko Dalic sent Kalinic home following the team’s 2-0 victory over Nigeria in their opening match.

Dalic said he wanted to use Kalinic as a substitute in the second half but the AC Milan forward, who was already warming up, told him he was not able to play because of a back problem.

Dalic said Kalinic did the same in a World Cup warmup against Brazil and during training.

Croatia lost 4-2 to France in the final.

Marseille signs Caleta-Car, Fonte joins Lille

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MARSEILLE, France (AP) Croatia defender Duje Caleta-Car has joined Marseille from Red Bull Salzburg, becoming the first offseason signing for the nine-time French champion.

Caleta-Car played a group game at the World Cup with Croatia, which lost 4-2 against France in the final last week.

[ MORE: Spurs sign Son to contract extension ]

He won four Austrian league titles and three national cups with Salzburg.

Terms of the deals were not disclosed but L’Equipe newspaper reported that Marseille agreed to a fee of 19 million euros for the 21-year-old player, who was also targeted by Spanish club Sevilla.

“He is a very good central defender, for now and for the future,” Marseille sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta said. “He is a clever player, who understands football. His very physical skills make him very good in the air and has good passing abilities.”

Marseille finished fourth in the French league last season and lost 3-0 against Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final, missing out on a Champions League berth.

FONTE JOINS LILLE

Portugal defender Jose Fonte is set to continue his much-traveled career in the north of France after agreeing to a two-year deal with Lille.

The 34-year-old Fonte started all four games at the World Cup in Russia as Portugal was eliminated by Uruguay in the round of 16.

Two years ago, he was a member of the squad which won the European championship in France.

Lille said in a statement Fonte will sign “in the coming days” following medical tests.

The former Crystal Palace, Southampton and West Ham center back played only a few matches with Chinese club Dalian Yifang this year before terminating his contract.

He is the second international to join Lille this summer after former France forward Loic Remy.

“I’m very proud to join Lille, which is a great French club,” Fonte said. “It’s a new challenge for me, hopefully it will be successful.”

Naby Keita emulated Gerrard growing up, and will now take on his role

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Naby Keita represents another new face in the next generation Liverpool regime, and he’s taking a page out of Anfield’s past in his approach at the Premier League club.

[ MORE: Neymar says he’s staying at PSG despite rumors “invented by the press” ]

When the 23-year-old finally completed his long-awaited move to the Reds in 2018, comparisons to N'Golo Kante quickly arose, a strong compliment for many.

However, for everything that Kante does well, it may actually be unfair to compare Keita to the now-World Cup winner with France.

Keita’s tireless ability to track up and down the pitch, complimented by his incredible skill on the ball and pace make him the ideal box-to-box midfielder, something his new club has been lacking for several years.

“My first mind-set is to defend well and not concede,” Keita told the Telegraph. “As a midfielder, when you have sealed things up at the back, my job is to provide the ammunition for the strikers and forwards, to create opportunities. Also, if I get a chance that comes my way, I want to take it and score. But I am a team player. I think about the team and the group always.”

That player is one Steven Gerrard.

And for Keita, the player that he once emulated as a child has now influenced him into the young star that drove manager Jurgen Klopp towards bringing him in to Anfield.

“When I came here that day I didn’t know Steven would be at Melwood,” says Keita. “It was a surprise to me. It was exciting. He said, ‘Everyone will be here for you, we’re all going to help you develop’.

“I had watched Steven Gerrard growing up as a kid and admired him so that was a special day.

“We used to play in the streets wearing a Liverpool shirt. My dad had a love of Liverpool back then when I was 11 or 12 years old.

“I wanted to be like him. It couldn’t be anyone else. He was always the boss of the team.”

Las Vegas Lights keen on bringing Usain Bolt to USL

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It wouldn’t be the first time a star athlete has made the move to the United Soccer League — the second tier in the U.S. Soccer professional pyramid — however, the magnitude of the deal would transcend soccer.

[ MORE: Spurs sign Son to contract extension ]

Although reported interest from Australia, Turkey and Hungary could derail a move, former Jamaican track star Usain Bolt is being courted by USL side Las Vegas Lights FC, who are currently in their first season in the league.

“Of course we have an interest in Usain Bolt. Why wouldn’t we?” said Las Vegas owner and CEO Brett Lashbrook.

“He’s the world’s fastest guy and he’s trained at some of the best clubs in the world. To come play Division 2 soccer in the U.S. actually makes all the sense in the world. This guy is an absolute specimen of an athlete and we think he could absolutely succeed at the USL level.”

While the possibility of having Bolt play alongside Freddy Adu next to the Vegas Strip is an enticing one, the Jamaican’s salary demands are likely far too much for a USL side to take on.

Lights FC currently sit 13th in the USL Western Conference, eight point outside of a playoff spot.

Bolt is an eight-time Olympic gold medalist, having competed at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games.