Danilo

Getty Images

Lazio beats Juventus 3-1 to win Italian Super Cup in Riyadh

Leave a comment

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) Lazio beat Juventus 3-1 on Sunday to win the Italian Super Cup for a fifth time amid a background of protests and political outrage at the game being held in Saudi Arabia.

Senad Lulic scored in the 73rd minute for Lazio after Juve’s Paulo Dybala had canceled out Luis Alberto‘s opener at Riyadh’s King Saud University Stadium.

Danilo Cataldi sealed the result in stoppage time with a free kick. That was conceded by Juventus midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur, who was shown a second yellow card and sent off.

It was the second time in three years that Lazio had beaten Juventus in the Super Cup. The capital side had also won 3-1 when the two clubs met in Serie A two weeks ago in what was Maurizio Sarri‘s only previous defeat as Juventus coach.

Amnesty International and the journalists union for Italian state TV RAI had written a joint letter to the presidents of Juventus and Lazio. The letter asked the clubs not to play the Italian Super Cup in Saudi Arabia because of the country’s human rights record.

Italian politicians and human rights activists also objected to last season’s game being played in Saudi Arabia, citing the assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

The Italian league has a contract with Saudi Arabia to play three Super Cups in the country over five years and – just like last year – the match went ahead.

Lazio took the lead in the 16th minute when Lulic crossed for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic at the back post, and he cut it back for Luis Alberto to fire into the roof of the net.

Sarri had again started with the superstar trident of Cristiano Ronaldo, Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain and the first two combined for the equalizer on the stroke of halftime.

Dybala turned in the rebound from close range after Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha could only parry Ronaldo’s effort.

But Lazio captain Lulic helped to win the match with a splendid volley at the back post after Marco Parolo had nodded on Manuel Lazzari’s cross.

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

Serie A: Juventus win 5th straight; Napoli cruise past Verona (video)

Photo by Daniele Badolato - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images
Leave a comment

A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in Italy’s top flight…

[ LA LIGA: Real Madrid lose to Mallorca; Messi, Suarez, Griezmann send Barca top ]

Juventus 2-1 Bologna

Juve were made to work a bit — but not too much — en route to a 2-1 victory over Bologna. It’s their fifth straight win in league play and again puts them four points clear of Inter Milan, who are yet to play this weekend.

Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring with a pinpoint finish from a tight angle in the 19th minute, but Bologna hit back just seven minutes later when Danilo smashed home a half-volley after Juve failed to clear a corner kick. It was 1-1 at halftime, but not much longer than that. Miralem Pjanic picked out the near post and slotted home past the goalkeeper in the 54th minute to give Juve their deserved winner.

Napoli 2-0 Verona

Napoli, on the other hand, had their backs against the wall early when Verona visited the San Paolo Stadium. Goalkeeper Alex Meret was the hero early on with a fantastic double-save before Carlo Ancelotti’s side settled in and took control of the game.

Arkadiusz Milik got on the end of Fabian Ruiz’s cross right in front of goal, leaving the Polish forward with the simplest of tap-ins to make it 1-0 in the 37 minute. Milik made it 2-0 when he got a glancing touch on a sensation free kick from Lorenzo Insigne in the 67th.

The victory sees Napoli hang onto fourth in the league table and move to within two points of second-place Inter.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Lazio 3-3 Atalanta

Sunday’s Serie A schedule

Sassuolo v. Inter Milan — 6:30 a.m. ET
Sampdoria v. Roma — 9 a.m. ET
Udinese v. Torino — 9 a.m. ET
Cagliari v. SPAL — 9 a.m. ET
Parma v. Genoa — 12 p.m. ET
AC Milan v. Lecce — 2:45 p.m. ET

“Furious” Emre Can left off Juventus UCL squad

Getty Images
1 Comment

That sound you can hear is Liverpool fans chuckling.

Emre Can has revealed he is “furious” about being left out of Juventus’ 22-man UEFA Champions League squad.

The Italian champions have left Can and Mario Mandzukic out of their UCL roster for the 2019-20 season, as Maurizio Sarri has incredible strength in-depth in his squad.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Can, 25, left Liverpool in 2018 to join Juve and said he remained with the Turin club this summer, instead of sealing a move away, because he had been promised he would play in the Champions League this season.

“The fact that I am not in the Champions League squad is extremely shocking for me, mainly because I was promised something different last week. There were talks with other clubs [before the transfer window closed] and one of the conditions for me to stay was to be part of the Champions League squad,” Can said. “On Tuesday they phoned me and told me, in a conversation that didn’t even last a minute, that I was not on the list and they didn’t give an explanation. That does make me angry and furious because I think that I played well last season, above all in the Champions League. I really can’t understand this and will now see what I decide to do from here and I will seek talks with the club next week.”

Juve brought in Aaron Ramsey, Adrien Rabot, Matthijs de Ligt and Danilo over the summer, as they tried to bring in Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku but failed.

With so many midfield and attacking options at his disposal, Sarri has the likes of Sami Khedira, Ramsey, Rabiot, Blaise Matuidi and Rodrigo Bentacur ahead of Can in the pecking order and it is likely the German international will be leaving Juve in the next transfer window.

Can came on for the final 30 minutes for Juventus against Napoli at the weekend and was a regular last season as they secured their eighth-straight Serie A title.

He left Liverpool last summer and then watched them win the UCL title, and you have to say that this career move probably wasn’t the best for Can.

Juventus face Can’s former club, Bayer Leverkusen, plus Atletico Madrid and Lokomotiv Moscow in the UCL group stage this season, as he will be watching on from the sidelines and on TV.

Juventus Champions League squad omits Mandzukic, Can

Getty Images
2 Comments

Juventus released its 22-man squad for the upcoming Champions League group stages, and two names were surprising omissions.

Mario Mandzukic and Emre Can were both left off the squad and will be unable to participate in Champions League matches throughout the group stage. Juventus acquired loads of talent this summer, especially in midfield, and failed to secure adequate departures to balance the squad.

The 33-year-old Mandzukic has been with the club since joining from Atletico Madrid in 2015, and has made 162 appearances for the Italian side, by far the most of any club in his career. His surprising omission comes at the hands of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala, with no other outright strikers in the group. Higuain returned to Juventus this summer after loan spells at AC Milan and Chelsea last season, costing Mandzukic his place in the squad.

Still just 25 years old, Emre Can was pushed out of his place in the Juventus midfield by the free transfer signings of Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot this summer, with both included in the Champions League squad. Rabiot is slowly being integrated into the Juve squad, while Ramsey is currently shelved while recovering from a hamstring injury suffered back in the spring with Arsenal. Can also signed with Juve on a free the previous summer, and he was a regular starter for the side last season when not injured.

Can, however, has struggled with injuries throughout his career, a possible reason for leaving him off the Champions League roster. The German international has played just 30 minutes of Juve’s first two Serie A matches of the season, coming on as a substitute for the final half-hour of the crazy 4-3 win over Napoli last weekend. Fellow oft-injured midfielders Blaise Matuidi and Sami Khedira made the cut over Can, however, signaling a reckoning for the German.

Giorgio Chiellini was also left off the roster, although that was expected after the veteran defender suffered a torn ACL that will at the very least keep him out until the new year, and could potentially end the 35-year-old’s season. Young defenders Matthijs de Ligt and Merih Demiral both make the list in Chiellini’s absence.

With Mattia Perin injured until at least mid-November, Wojciech Szczesny and Gianluigi Buffon are the main goalkeepers while Carlo Pinsoglio serves as the emergency netminder.

This summer, Juventus brought in a wealth of talent, including Ramsey, Rabiot, Higuain, de Ligt, Demiral, Cristian Romero, Danilo, and Luca Pellegrini. They sold Moise Kean to Everton and Joao Cancelo to Manchester City, but the midfield especially remains far too clogged.

Italy suffers another injury as Insigne departs squad

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The injuries are piling up for the Italian national team ahead of European Championship qualifiers against Armenia and Finland this international break.

Lorenzo Insigne became the latest casualty as the Napoli attacker departed the squad with a muscular injury, the Italian national team announced Tuesday morning.

Insigne, who scored a brace in Napoli’s season-opening win over Fiorentina back on August 24, has been a regular in the Italian starting lineup, starting 10 of the country’s last 14 matches, with two of those misses due to injury. He even captained the side in a friendly against the Netherlands back in the summer of 2018 during the run-up to the World Cup which neither side qualified for.

He was injured in the dramatic 4-3 loss to Juventus over the weekend, withdrawn from the match at halftime, but still reported to the Italian national team camp hoping to push through.

Unable to shake off the injury, the 28-year-old joins Giorgio Chiellini, Mattia De Sciglio, and Bryan Cristante as players to recently withdraw from the squad due to injury. Chiellini’s torn ACL will leave him sidelined for much of – if not the entire – club season, while de Sciglio has been sidelined with a thigh injury that has ruled him out for at least 10 days.

While no replacement has yet been drawn in for Insigne, the other injured trio was replaced by Francesco Acerbi, Danilo D’Ambrosio and Sandro Tonali. Italy is currently top of Euro 2020 qualification Group J with a perfect 12 points through the first four matches.