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Serie A: Juventus falls, Napoli and Lazio win

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Juventus has fallen.

Cristiano Ronaldo was rested, and the Old Lady lost a match for the first time in Serie A play all season, stunned 2-0 at Genoa on a pair of goals in the last 20 minutes by Stefano Sturaro and Goran Pandev.

Juventus was toothless for much of the match, held without a shot on target the entire 90 minutes in just six total efforts. On the other side, Genoa collected 18 total shots, putting five of them on net despite just 40% possession.

The hosts nearly had the opener in the first 30 minutes but a penalty given for a handball on Joao Cancelo in the area, but it was cancelled after a check by VAR. They would remain dangerous throughout, and finally grab the lead in the 72nd minute through a most unlikely source.

Stefano Sturaro, off the bench just two minutes earlier for his first Genoa appearance since joining in January from Juventus on loan, scored with a bouncer from the top of the box. Nobody closed him down, and he took a feed from fellow substitute Pandev and slotted it past a diving Mattia Perin. Pandev then finished himself in the same corner with the left foot, taking a wonderful cut pass from Cristian Kouame and slotting it through to secure the win.

The Scudetto is in no danger, still 18 points clear of Napoli, but the loss is notable as Juventus was chasing an unbeaten season. Genoa moves into 12th with the win, a full nine points above the drop.

Elsewhere, Lazio and Napoli each scored four goals in wins. Amin Younes and Jose Callejon both scored inside the opening half-hour, while Arkadiusz Milik and Dries Mertens finished off the 4-2 win over Udinese in the second half. Kevin Lasagna  and Seko Fofana both scored before the break for Udinese to level things up, but Napoli was too hot to handle holding 66% of the possession and putting five shots on target, with four finding the back of the net.

Lazio, meanwhile, hammered Parma 4-1 with all four goals coming in a dominant first half. Luis Alberto bagged a brace, including one from the penalty spot, while Senad Lulic and Adam Marusic sandwiched that with strikes of their own. The penalty for Alberto was significant not just for him, but also for Parma goalkeeper Luigi Sepe who saw it go right under his outstretched arm for his 24th straight penalty without a single save.

Empoli picked up an enormous win in the relegation battle, topping fellow battlers Frosinone at home 2-1 to rise out of the drop zone. Francesco Caputo and Marko Pajac picked up the winners, cancelling out a late consolation by Luca Valzania in the 70th minute. The three points moves Empoli to 25 points on the year, one above Bologna to put them in 17th. Frosinone, meanwhile, remains in 19th on 17 points.

Finally, Atalanta and Chievo Verona drew 1-1, a brutal blow for Atalanta in the chase for a Champions League place, leaving them in seventh with 45 points, five back of Inter in the final spot.

Watch Live: Sheffield United v. Crystal Palace

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Sheffield United host Crystal Palace at Bramall Lane on Sunrday (Watch live, 9 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as the Blades fans will enjoy their first home game back in the Premier League.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE

Chris Wilder, the lifelong United fan who is now their manager, will be emotional and fans of the Yorkshire club will create a heated atmosphere for opponents to visit this season.

In team news Sheffield United are unchanged from the team which drew at Bournemouth last week, with club captain Billy Sharp on the bench.

Crystal Palace bring in star man Wilfried Zaha who starts up top


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Zidane says Bale will stay at Real Madrid

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Gareth Bale is staying at Real Madrid.

The Welshman was not wanted by manager Zinedine Zidane, who stated that publicly on many occasions over the summer.

But Bale started and grabbed an assist as 10-man Real beat Celta Vigo 3-1 in their La Liga opener on Saturday and it seems like Zidane is ready to brush all of this Bale talk under the carpet.

“He’s going to stay and we all have to think of that as a positive thing,” Zidane said. “The injury to Eden Hazard was bad luck for us but it didn’t change the plans we had for Bale in this game. Gareth and everyone else here is going to show this shirt the respect it deserves.”

After his move to China broke down at the last minute amid conflicting reports blaming Bale and the club for the collapse of the deal, his future at Real has seemed pretty much dead in the water.

Adding in a serious injury to Marco Asensio and Eden Hazard picking up a knock, and all of a sudden Bale is needed again. But for how long?

He was linked with a loan move to Bayern Munich but Philippe Coutinho moved to Bavaria instead, and Bale wasn’t chased by Premier League clubs during the summer due to his huge wage demands. With the transfer window across many European countries closing at the end of this month, he has run out of options to leave a club where the hierarchy and fans don’t want him.

Bale, 30, is now stuck at Real and he has another three years left on his contract. It will be interesting to see how this plays out for the man who has won four Champions League trophies at Real, yet has become the main villain at the Santiago Bernabeu as fans lambast him for playing golf and not learning to speak Spanish fluently during his six years in Spain.

Ibrahimovic scores twice, 10-man Galaxy ties Sounders 2-2

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Carson, Calif. (AP) Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored in each half and the LA Galaxy tied the Seattle Sounders 2-2 on Saturday night despite playing nearly the entire match down a man.

The Galaxy’s Daniel Steres was sent off in the sixth minute for the denial of obvious goal opportunity.

Ibrahimovic tied it at 1 for the Galaxy (13-11-2) with a header in the 45th minute. In the 65th minute, he was taken down by Kim Kee-hee while going for a header in the area and converted the penalty, making it 2-1 with his 20th goal of the season.

LA defender Jorgen Skjelvik scored an own goal in the 82nd minute when he inadvertently deflected goalkeeper David Bingham’s attempted clearance into the Galaxy net.

Raul Ruidiaz opened the scoring in the 42nd minute for the Sounders (11-8-7). Harry Shipp hustled to round up a loose ball and fed it to an open Ruidiaz, who slotted it home.

MLS Wrap: What we learned

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Three unanswered goals from FC Dallas to earn a draw, a late Jozy Altidore goal and Chicago cruises past Eastern Conference leaders Philadelphia Union: Saturday’s early slate of games had it all. Here’s what we learned from the busy action.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Montreal, Dallas split points in six-goal thriller

The Montreal Impact, up 3-0 in the 56th minute, probably thought they had the game in the bag. Dallas said, ‘not so fast.’

With three unanswered goals – one of those in stoppage time – Dallas did the unthinkable, stunning the Impact and flying back home with a point that tastes like three.

Dallas, like practically everyone else in the West this season, is dreaming of cracking into the final seven. Whether that happens or not is yet to be seen. What was palpable on Saturday, however, is that Dallas played with a lot of determination on the road and with all the odds against them.


Chicago gets by Philadelphia with ease

The Philadelphia Union are good but not good enough to beat the Chicago Fire, apparently.

It could have been the league’s well-known parity, or the fact that the Union were on the road, but the Fire were able to squeeze out the three points, winning 2-0 with 10 men. Nicolas Gaitan earned a straight red right before halftime.

The Union, a proven side time and time again this season, alternatively, have questions to answer and a set of defects that were unearth Saturday (including finishing) to polish up on. But as they shown several times this season after suffering loses, they’ll bounce back under Jim Curtin.

The Fire (33 points) sit one point behind Montreal, Toronto and Orlando, while Philadelphia (45 points) remain clear leaders in the Eastern Conference.


 

NYCFC too much for Cincinnati 

NYCFC had quite the showing.

With Valentin Castellanos and Heber recording a brace each, Allan Cruz’s goal stood no chance. City, who are now third in the Eastern Conference with 41 points (one behind Atlanta), are clearly in midseason form, while FC Cincinnati is yet to win under Ron Jans.

With a defense that has allowed 61 goals – like the one above – Jans’ rest of the season is looking bleaker than brighter. But then again, it’s with a team he purely adopted. It worth noting that New York’s attack has produced eight goals in the last three games, so maybe that was the determining factor.

 

 


 

Altidore earns last-minute draw for Toronto

Like in many other instances, it was Altidore to the rescue for Toronto FC.

Its goal No. 10 for the 29-year-old goal, making it his fourth season with double digit goals. Jonathan Osorio, too, pitched in a goal in the 42nd minute. 26 games in, this is exactly when Greg Vanney needs his big-time players to step up.

The Columbus Crew, in contrast, can’t catch a break. Once again the superior team, a lack of finishing and defensive concentration make it three-straight draws for the Caleb Porter’s men. With seven games to go and seven points out of playoff contention, even a late run might not be enough for a postseason regular.