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Serie A: Icardi scores two, and there’s a new team on top

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MILAN (AP) Mauro Icardi scored twice as Inter Milan reinforced its title credentials by winning at Cagliari 3-1 to move to the top of Serie A on Saturday.

Icardi and Marcelo Brozovic scored for Inter before Leonardo Pavoletti set up a nervy final 20 minutes for the visitors.

However, Icardi scored late. The Inter captain moved level with Lazio’s Ciro Immobile at the top of the goal-scoring charts, with 15.

Inter moved a point above Napoli, which visits Udinese on Sunday. Cagliari, which tested Samir Handanovic several times, remained 13th.

“We’ll enjoy a night at the top of the league,” Icardi said. “The others should know that we are there, right up with them.

“Not playing in European competition this year allows us to work well during the week and build the basis for doing something important.”

Cagliari dominated the opening half hour and Handanovic pulled off good saves, notably denying Pavoletti from point-blank range.

However, Inter took the lead against the run of play in the 29th minute when Antonio Candreva crossed from the right to Ivan Perisic at the far post and he knocked it back for Icardi to tap in.

Inter’s Matias Vecino limped off early in the second half and was replaced by Brozovic, who scored with his first touch, firing home another Candreva cross from the right.

Cagliari reduced the deficit in the 71st. Paolo Farago swung the ball in from the right for Pavoletti to volley home.

Farago, however, was partly at fault for Inter’s third as he failed to clear the ball and Rafael‘s punch fell straight to Icardi, who rifled it into the bottom left corner.

Sampdoria followed its surprise victory over Juventus by losing to Bologna 3-0 despite Bologna playing the second half with 10 men.

Samp’s third defeat left it in sixth place, six points above Bologna, which moved up to seventh ahead of the rest of the weekend’s fixtures.

Sampdoria beat Juventus 3-2 in the previous round.

Bologna got off to a great start, taking the lead inside three minutes. Sampdoria goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano could only parry Mattia Destro’s effort and Simone Verdi tucked away the rebound.

Ibrahima Mbaye headed in Verdi’s corner in the 23rd and even the loss of defender Vasilis Torosidis to a second yellow card in first-half stoppage time made little difference.

Bologna withstood Sampdoria’s siege in the second half and added a third on the counterattack in the 73rd as Godfred Donsah ran from inside his own half before rolling the ball across for substitute Orji Okwonkwo, who had been on the pitch for less than four minutes.

Relegation-threatened Hellas Verona snapped a run of five successive defeats by beating Sassuolo 2-0. Verona played the final 24 minutes with 10 men after Thomas Heurtaux was sent off for two yellow cards.

Verona remained in penultimate place, two points below Sassuolo and a point behind 17th-placed Spal, which lost at Chievo Verona 2-1.

Report: Leicester to pluck Danny Ward from Liverpool

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With the announcement of Alisson’s signing on Thursday, Liverpool has spent over $200 million this summer, but it seems they’ve already begun to trim the squad and even out the net spend by a bit.

According to the Liverpool Echo, the Reds have agreed to sell 25-year-old goalkeeper Danny Ward to Leicester City, with the clubs agreeing to a $16.2 million fee. The report also states the deal includes a 20% sell-on fee, meaning Liverpool will receive 20% of any transfer fee Leicester City receives for Ward during the life of his next contract.

[ MORE: Alisson signs for Liverpool ]

Ward has spent the last six seasons with Liverpool after signing from small non-league club Wrexham in 2012 as a 19-year-old. However, he has played more games for the Welsh international team (4) than he has for Liverpool (3). Previously stuck behind Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius, the arrival of Alisson meant the club needed to make room.

Leicester City already has Kasper Schmeichel firmly entrenched between the sticks. However, especially after a stellar 2018 World Cup with Denmark where he was considered among the top choices for the Golden Glove award, Schmeichel is a wanted man and 31 years old and a contract with three more years remaining, Schmeichel’s time at King Power Stadium could be limited.

The addition of Ward at the very least would allow Schmeichel some time off. The Dane was stretched thin last season as not just the Premier League starter but also used in a few cup games with only Eldin Jakupovic behind him. Now, it’s realistic that Ward could receive time in Cup competitions, leaving Schmeichel to rest up for league games.

Reports: Conte to sue Chelsea over how firing was handled

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According to reports in Italy, and backed up by those in England, Antonio Conte is planning to sue Chelsea over the way the club handled his exit this summer.

Chelsea is reportedly planning to pay Conte the rest of his salary in full, but the reports state that the Italian is unhappy how long it took the club to confirm his exit, leaving him unable to secure a job commiserate with his experience level for this coming season.

The 48-year-old is set to receive nearly $12 million as compensation for the final year of his now-terminated contract, but is looking for additional damages given the timing of his departure. Despite the writing clearly on the wall, Conte had weeks of silence from the club, before being pulled back to London to begin pre-season training with the squad for just four days before he was then let go.

Upon his release, Conte released a relatively benign statement thanking the club, the fans, the staff, and the players, but notably did not thank the board or owner Roman Abramovich.

Things between Chelsea and Conte have been testy for some time now. It was reported earlier last month – before Conte was officially let go – that Chelsea was planning to withhold payment of Conte’s remaining salary and sue the Italian for costing the club money for former striker Diego Costa. Costa told the media he received a text message from Conte while on international duty last summer that he was no longer wanted at the club. If true, the club could have argued that Conte botched the situation and cost the club a significant amount of money. However, it seems the club has – for now – decided not to pursue the lawsuit, with reports stating that Conte is set to receive his salary in full.

WATCH: Jurgen Klopp crashes Alisson’s first Liverpool interview

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Jurgen Klopp has had quite the summer, and it’s just become even better.

Liverpool officially acquired Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson for a world-record transfer fee, and with the former Roma netminder filling his first obligations in Red, things didn’t go exactly as the club’s media staff had planned. While sitting down for his first interview with the club staff to be used in the official release, Jurgen Klopp couldn’t resist crashing the party to say hello.

[ MORE: Alisson to Liverpool official ]

The language barrier made things a bit awkward, as did the rolling cameras, but it’s pretty clear both sides are quite happy with the recent developments, with smiles all around. Take a look:

Klopp asked if Alisson was in the middle of his post-World Cup vacation, which he confirmed as true, but smartly followed up with “But now I am working.”

We’re sure they’ll catch up on a more complete basis privately later, but it was pretty cool to see their first interaction caught on camera.

Ajax tells clubs to back off their young Dutch stars

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In the past, Dutch giants Ajax have looked to make a profit developing strong Dutch talent from the youth level and selling them to big clubs all across Europe. Today, Ajax sporting director Marc Overmars has told clubs not to bother inquiring about their rising young stars.

“We have now reached a point where we simply say that we are not selling these players,” Overmars told Dutch publication De Telegraaf.

While Overmars did suggest they could reconsider in a year’s time, for now, young stars like Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs De Ligt are Ajax players now and for the future.

“He [De Jong] is not for sale, and I have communicated this to all parties involved,” Overmars said. “It is the same for Matthijs. Clubs that are interested are free to come back next year. Of course, Davinson Sanchez’s move [to Tottenham] last year showed that it is not always easy to stand firm.

“They are still only 19, 20 years old. I have told these players and their agents that a transfer after this season could be an option if the right offer comes in. Frenkie de Jong, Donny van de Beek and Matthijs de Ligt are not for sale as far as we are concerned, not even for an insane amount. They should play about 40 games for Ajax first in 2018-19.”

De Ligt, now 18, is the most well-known name of the group, having made headlines when he because the youngest Dutch international since 1931, making his debut at just 17 years old. Meanwhile, a 21-year-old box-to-box midfielder, De Jong is often considered the most talented young star with the highest ceiling.

Finally, others that Ajax could see develop into special talent include 21-year-old wide player Donny van de Beek, 21-year-old right winger David Neres, 20-year-old striker Kasper Dolberg, 20-year-old defender Max Wober, 20-year-old defensive midfielder Carel Eiting, and 20-year-old Noussair Mazraoui among many others who received playing time towards the end of last season.

Ajax has been on the hunt this summer, not only keeping the youth talent to itself, but also spending on incoming stars Dusan Tadic and Daley Blind, both of whom return to the club after spells in the Premier League.