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Ospina left in game after early head injury, collapses before halftime

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Napoli goalkeeper David Ospina was taken to the hospital with some urgency after collapsing on the pitch just before halftime at San Paolo Stadium on Sunday.

In the fifth minute of Napoli’s match against Udinese, Ospina was involved in a collision with Ignacio Pussetto, with the Udinese striker chasing a Kevin Lasagna cross, his boot meeting the ball at the same time as Ospina arrived to collect or contest. Ospina immediately clutched his head and received treatment, but was allowed to continue.

In the 41st minute, during a stoppage in play with the ball near the center of the pitch, Ospina collapsed onto his back seemingly either unconscious or barely conscious, and the players around him immediately motioned for medical assistance. The training staff arrived and checked his airways as they began treatment.

Eventually, Ospina was carted off and brought to a local hospital for tests. Napoli later confirmed that a CAT scan cleared Ospina of any immediate danger but that he would stay at the medical center overnight.

If Ospina suffered a concussion at the time of the early collision, Napoli’s decision to leave him in the game could have had dangerous consequences. There has been a heightened sensitivity to head injuries in the sport in recent years thanks to awareness of second-impact syndrome which leaves those suffering from a concussion at deadly risk should they receive another brain trauma. If he comes out of the incident otherwise unscathed, Ospina’s collapse could be seen as a blessing in disguise as it removed him from danger on the pitch and forced him to receive medical treatment.

Ospina joined Napoli this season on a loan deal from Arsenal and has made 14 Serie A appearances, sharing time between the sticks with Orestis Karnezis almost dead evenly. Napoli would go on to win 4-2 despite Udinese having leveled the score at 2-2 just before Ospina’s collapse.

Serie A: Napoli scraps to draw, Inter tops SPAL

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Napoli failed to restore its eight-point lead over AC Milan in the Serie A table as Carlo Ancelotti’s squad required an 86th minute goal to earn a 1-1 road draw at Sassuolo.

Domenico Berardi put the home side up 52 minutes in as a cross from the right flank was blocked by a sliding Allan at the near post but the ball stayed in play and pinged around to Berardi who popped it into the back of the net from close range off the fingertips of a scrambling David Ospina. Gianluca Pegolo stopped Amadou Diawara’s long-range effort on 74 minutes, but Napoli managed to draw level in the 86th minute as Lorenzo Insigne collected a deflected cross and rifled it into the far corner.

Inter, meanwhile, popped off 15 shots on the SPAL defense, and while they only put two on target, they buried both those attempts in a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Matteo Politano and Roberto Gagliardini.

The hosts had the opener on the half-hour mark, but VAR ruled the goal out for a handball as Lautaro Martinez controlled a cross at the top of the box before rifling into the back of the net. After the break, Politano’s opener came on the 66th minute, collecting the ball thanks to a fortunate deflection off Pasquale Schiattarella before delivering a wonderful finish tucked inside the far corner. Gagliardini killed off the game with a sloppy volleyed effort from the penalty spot in the 77th minute and Inter moved six points in the final Champions League spot ahead of three teams level on points behind them.

Torino and Atalanta both kept pace with victories, moving up to 44 points to pull level with Roma and sit six back of Inter in fourth. Roma plays tomorrow, visiting Empoli.

Andrea Belotti bagged a winning brace as Torino went to Frosinone and came from behind to win 2-1, condemning the hosts to another week of relegation talk. Frosinone went ahead as Luca Paganini expertly headed home a corner into the far corner, giving the 19th-placed side hope. After the break, Belotti brought Torino level as he responded with a header of his own, meeting Iago Falque’s free-kick at the far post. His second featured an acrobatic finish, a low overhead kick that met Ola Aina’s headed cross in the 77th minute.

Lazio, meanwhile, fell behind the pace, slumping to a 1-1 draw with Fiorentina as Luis Muriel’s second-half goal cancelled out a Ciro Immobile opener. Lazio weathered 13 shots from the hosts, and while Fiorentina put just one on target, they scored with it as Kevin Mirallas did excellent work on the right flank and rifled in a cross to the middle where Murial simply redirected it into the far corner.

Robin Gosens was the one to send Atalanta through with a road win of its own, scoring the winner with a stunning 77th minute touch from an unbelievably tight angle nearly on the byline. Mario Pasalic’s cross was tipped by a diving Emil Audero, and with the goal open, Gosens redirected the ball over the goal line. His goal broke a 1-1 scoreline after Duvan Zapata and Fabio Quagliarella had cancelled each other out each with second-half goals.

Finally, Bologna pummeled Cagliari to earn a 2-0 win at home. The hosts ripped off a whopping 21 shots, putting nine on target that led to goals by Erick Pulgar and Roberto Soriano. The former scored from the spot in the 34th minute to open the scoring while Soriano finished it off with 13 minutes to go after great individual work on the ball at the doorstep.

Klopp thrilled as Liverpool wins with ‘Anfield live and in color’

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Jurgen Klopp is extremely pleased with his Liverpool side following a 1-0 defeat of Napoli which sent them into the knockout rounds of the UEFA Champions League.

“Wow, what a game,” he said. “I am not sure a manager could be prouder of a team than I am.”

[ RECAP: Liverpool 1-0 Napoli ]

The Reds had chance after chance to add to their Mohamed Salah (and David Ospina) inspired lead, but failed to find a second goal and survived a frantic Napoli charge through stout defending and an outstanding Alisson Becker save (watch at bottom) on Arkadiusz Milik in stoppage time.

From the BBC:

“I have no idea how Alisson made a save like this, it was amazing,” Klopp said. “It was wild and there were lots of counter attacks but we were ready for that. That is Anfield live and in color. … UEFA probably thought they could continue the competition without Liverpool, but not yet.”

Now Liverpool prepares for a Premier League visit from Manchester United on Sunday as it begins its first weekend as table leaders.

Salah, Alisson lead Liverpool into knockout rounds

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A Mohamed Salah goal was all Liverpool needed, as the Reds worked their way to a professional 1-0 defeat of Napoli on Wednesday at Anfield to seal their place in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds.

The win sends Liverpool past Napoli thanks to total goals scored in the group stage.

The Reds left the match open through a mix of missed chances and David Ospina saves, but ultimately finished the day behind only Paris Saint-Germain in Group C.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

The Reds had most of the early chances aside from a Marek Hamsik close call, and went ahead when Salah went low to beat a head-scratching slide from David Ospina.

Liverpool also had a bit of good fortune when Virgil Van Dijk‘s studs-up slide into Dries Mertens’ ankle was merely deemed worthy of a yellow card.

Salah struck the outside of the post with a left-footed drive in the 50th minute, as the Reds began the second half much like the first.

A rare foray into the Liverpool end saw Raul Albiol bound a header into the hands of Alisson Becker, and the Reds responded with Roberto Firmino giving the same to Ospina.

Milner just missed with a cross-box bid to hammer a shot inside the far post, and it remained 1-0 in the 63rd.

Ospina twice played a role in stopping a Salah break in the 75th, though a penalty could’ve been called in between the chances.

And Ospina made another fine save on Sadio Mane moments later.

Napoli finally found form in stoppage time, with Alisson making an amazing thigh save on Arkadiusz Milik.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Serie A: Mertens scores late to rescue Napoli against Roma

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MILAN (AP) Dries Mertens can’t stop scoring for club and country and was disappointed to be dropped to the bench for Napoli’s game against Roma on Sunday.

The Belgium international gave the perfect response with a last-minute equalizer to rescue a 1-1 draw. It was Mertens’ fourth goal in as many matches for club and country.

“I would have preferred to start from the beginning especially in a match like this. This is a really eagerly awaited match here at Napoli and I was disappointed, it’s a shame,” Mertens said.

Napoli remained second but is now six points behind leader Juventus, which is chasing a record-extending eighth Serie A title.

Inter Milan can move level on points with Napoli if it wins at fourth-placed Lazio on Monday.

“It’s a shame we didn’t win because it would have been important to pick up the three points,” a visibly dejected Mertens said. “There was a good reaction after we went behind, but we need to do more.”

Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti has rotated his squad significantly more than predecessor Maurizio Sarri and he did so again following the midweek draw against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.

“If I put someone on the bench and he’s happy, I would get angry. I’ll talk to him (Mertens),” Ancelotti said.

Napoli dominated but it was Roma which took the lead in the 14th minute. Cengiz Under pulled the ball back and Edin Dzeko couldn’t control it but it came through to Stephan El Shaarawy, who fired in off the inside of the left post.

Despite having the best chances, Napoli almost found itself 2-0 down 10 minutes from halftime but defender Raul Albiol headed Dzeko’s effort off the line after the Roma forward had rounded goalkeeper David Ospina.

There was a blow for Roma shortly before the break as it lost captain Daniele De Rossi to injury.

Napoli continued to attack after the break and Jose Callejon hit the post, while it also had two goals ruled out for offside late on.

Just as it seemed as if Roma would leave with all three points, Napoli leveled in the final minute. A cross was miskicked by Callejon but came to Mertens, who fired in for his third goal in as many matches.

A stunning strike from Suso saw AC Milan put a miserable week behind it to beat Sampdoria 3-2.

The Spain forward struck shortly after the hour mark, racing down the right and cutting in before curling the ball into the far bottom corner.

Sampdoria had the meanest defense in the league, having let in just four goals in its previous nine matches but it conceded three against Milan.

Patrick Cutrone scored Milan’s opener – which was set up by Suso – and assisted the other for Gonzalo Higuain. Former Milan midfielder Riccardo Saponara also had a goal and an assist for Sampdoria.

Milan came into the game after back-to-back defeats against Inter Milan in Serie A and Real Betis in the Europa League, and was languishing in the second half of the standings.