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Serie A: Roma steals win late, Torino tops Atalanta

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Defensive calamities appeared to prove deadly with Roma barreling towards a disappointing draw with relegation-threatened Frosinone, but Edin Dzeko stole victory from the jaws of defeat, scoring in the fifth minute of stoppage time to seal a vital three points amid a fight for Champions League qualification in a 3-2 win at Stadio Benito Stirpe.

Roma was tragically bad at the back from the opening whistle. Frosinone scored the opener just five minutes in after Steven N’Zonzi’s horrible back-pass was stolen, and while Robin Olsen saved the shot from Camillo Ciano with a diving effort, but the ball popped up into the air with crazy spin and when it came down near the line, it bounced back into the net.

[ LA LIGA: Messi grabs 50th career hat-trick ]

Frosinone nearly had a second in the 11th minute but Ciano blasted it over the bar while all alone at the back post. Down the other end, Marco Sportiello was required to tip a dangerous Stephan El Shaarawy header over the bar. Roma built into the game and finally equalized right on the half-hour mark as Edin Dzeko picked the pocket of clueless Frosinone defender Edoardo Goldaniga in the box and his shot pinged off the left post and spun into the back of the net. They took the lead just a minute later and turned the game on its head as Dzeko fed El Shaarawy on the break, and while his shot to the far post was tipped by Sportiello, Lorenzo Pellegrini was on hand to deliver a sliding tap-in at the far post as the ball trickled away.

El Shaarawy was lucky to stay on the pitch after a bad challenge late in the first half only produced yellow despite an apparent stamp, and the referee was not buzzed by VAR to take another look. Frosinone was struggling to regain a foothold in the match until the 68th minute when they came so close to an equalizer as Andrea Pinamonti came flying in to meet a cross with a flying ninja kick but he was out of control and whiffed on the effort. They would find the leveler with 10 minutes to go, pegging back Roma on the break as Pinamonti finished the counter that left both Aleksandr Kolarov and Daniele De Rossi looking silly.

It could have been worse had Olsen not made a spectacular save in the 85th minute to keep out a cut shot from substitute Marcello Trotta that nearly found the back of the net, but instead trickled safely away off the goalkeeper’s fingertips. With a disappointing result on the horizon, Dzeko was there to snatch victory, bundling home a short cross from El Shaarawy in the 95th minute. The win moved Roma back to within a point of fourth-placed AC Milan, erasing doubts the draw would have left with the club potentially three points back in fifth.

Elsewhere, Torino topped Atalanta 2-0 at home on goals from Armando Izzo and Iago Falque that neatly bracketed halftime. Just before the break, Izzo put the home side in front on a messy goal that eventually pinged its way to the 26-year-old defender at the far post for the opener. Just a minute after they returned from halftime, Torino found its second as a whipped delivery from Soualiho Meite passed Andrea Belotti but found Falque near the penalty spot who rifled in a low, scything effort that found the back of the net.

The win moves Torino into seventh, well in the thick of the crowded top half of the Serie A table. They’re level with both Lazio and Atalanta on points with 38, but still five back of fifth-placed Roma after their win.

UEL Recap: Wolves earn huge road victory, and more

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Wolverhampton Wanderers has one proverbial foot back in a European competition, potentially breaking a 40-year drought for the club.

Wolves defeated Torino on the road, 3-2, in the first leg match between the two sides on Thursday at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino. Mexican international Raul Jimenez continued his red-hot form with another goal, while Diogo Jota scored as well for Wolves.

The Premier League side took the lead late in the first half thanks to an own goal, as Gleison Bremer headed in a Wolves free kick expertly into the side netting. Jota then added the second for Wolves in the 59th minute after an individual moment of brilliance from Adama Traore down the right side of the box, completely bamboozling his defender.

Torino’s Lorenzo di Silvestre answered just two minutes later off a late run into the box and a powerful header, but Jimenez then gave Wolves another two-goal advantage, as well as another crucial away goal. Jimenez ran with the ball from midfield and with Nicolas N’Koulou retreating, Jimenez took the space and scored.

Torino striker Andrea Belotti gave the Italians some late hope with a penalty kick goal in the 89th minute, but it wasn’t enough to complete the comeback. Anything but a defeat by more than two goals for Wolves will be enough for the club to make it to the Europa League group stage.

Here’s more results from around the Europa League on Thursday afternoon:


Celtic top AIK at home

The Scottish champions appear to have brushed off the disappointment of exiting the UEFA Champions League with a solid 2-0 win at Celtic Park against AIK Solna on Thursday evening.

James Forrest scored the opener for Celtic, taking advantage of a ricochet on the edge of the box to unleash a strike that AIK goalkeeper Oscar Linner couldn’t parry away. Odsonne Edouard then put the icing on the cake with a tremendous free kick from 30-yards out to give Celtic it’s 2-0 lead.

Neil Lennon’s side then held off AIK late to secure the shutout.

Thursday’s Europa League Playoff Round first leg qualifying matches:


Astana 3-0 BATE
Ararat Armenia 2-1 F91 Dudelange
Malmo FF 3-0 Bnei Yehudah Tel Aviv
Suduva 0-0 Ferencvaros
Feyenoord 3-0 Hapoel Be’er Sheva
Ludogorets 0-0 Maribor
FC Copenhagen 2-1 Riga
AEK Athens 1-3 Trabzonspor
Legia Warsaw 0-0 Rangers

Crossroads: What if Arsenal hadn’t gone unbeaten?

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The 2003-2004 Premier League season will forever be remembered for Arsenal’s Invincibles, the first team in history to go an entire 38-game season undefeated.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

But what if they hadn’t?

On the latest episode of NBC Sports’ new series Crossroads, host Aaron West dives into the Invincible season for Arsenal, and what would have happened if Arsenal lost along the way. Of course, we know that didn’t happen, and it wasn’t until the next season against Manchester United that Arsenal’s unbeaten run of 49 games was ended.

Watch the latest episode of Crossroads above, and check out previous episodes on Manchester City and Liverpool on NBC Sports‘ Youtube Page.

 

Oxlade-Chamberlain signs contract extension at Liverpool

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While Liverpool hasn’t been busy in the transfer market, it continues to be busy upgrading its first team contracts.

The club announced on Thursday that it had signed midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to a new, undisclosed long-term contract. The BBC reported that the new contract tied Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool through 2023, after his last deal was set to expire in 2022.

[READ: JPW’s Premier League Picks]

“I’m really, really excited – it’s been in the pipeline for a little while, so it’s nice to finally get it done and just extend my time here, which I am really looking forward to,” Oxlade-Chamberlain told Liverpool’s website in a statement. “I feel like I missed out on a year, which I obviously did, so it’s really exciting for me to be able to sign. It’s something that I feel is an opportunity to give that year back and make up for lost time – and hopefully put in some good performances to make amends for not being around last year.

“You’ve got to count your blessings every time you get an opportunity like this, you don’t get the chance to play for Liverpool Football Club every day. I am really excited to be able to extend my time here.”

Oxlade-Chamberlain is finally healthy after a long, long recovery from a horrific knee injury suffered in April 2018. The England international missed out on the World Cup as well as the Champions League final, though he was able to make the field off the bench towards the end of last season, eventually making the bench for Liverpool’s Champions League victory in June.

With some injuries and fatigue to other players, Oxlade-Chamberlain made his first Premier League start in more than a year last Saturday against his former club Southampton, playing 89 minutes in Liverpool’s 2-1 victory. He also started and played the first half in Liverpool’s UEFA Super Cup win over Chelsea on penalty kicks.

This deal is ultimately a good-will gesture from both sides, making up for the year lost that Oxlade-Chamberlain endured after the knee injury in the Champions League semifinal. It could take him more time, but Liverpool is certainly hoping that he can make a full recovery and come good for the Reds as it looks to win its first Premier League title, and first top league title in England since 1990.

Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks

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There are only two teams with perfect records through the opening two weeks of the new Premier League season, as there continues to be plenty of surprises.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live ]

If you, like me, love to dissect all the games and predict what the score will be and which team will win, I encourage you to get involved in the comments section below. Let’s have a bit of fun.

Okay, so I’ve consulted my crystal ball and here’s how we see things panning out. Listen carefully, because this is very specific.

While you can download the NBC Sports Predictor app (below) and play the Premier League Pick ‘Em game yourself to predict the scores and win the prizes.

DOWNLOAD NBC SPORTS PREDICTOR

With the first section labelled “basically, free money” for the picks I think are dead certs. The section labelled “don’t touch this” means if you’re betting I advise you to stay clear, while the “so you’re telling me there’s a chance” section are the long shots. If it is better odds you are after, those are the picks to go for.


BASICALLY, FREE MONEY

Bournemouth 1-3 Man City – (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Man United 3-1 Crystal Palace – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

Tottenham 3-0 Newcastle – (Sunday, 11:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]


DON’T TOUCH THIS…

Liverpool 1-1 Arsenal – (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC) – [STREAM] 

Brighton 1-1 Southampton – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM]

Watford 1-2 West Ham – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM

Sheffield United 1-2 Leicester City – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM


“SO YOU’RE TELLING ME THERE’S A CHANCE…”

 

Norwich City 2-2 Chelsea – (Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

Aston Villa 2-1 Everton – (Friday, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Wolves 1-2 Burnley – (Sunday, 11:30 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM