Edin Dzeko

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Serie A roundup: Ronaldo scores, Juventus go clear at top (video)

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Juventus’ crucial victory over AS Roma to go atop of Italy’s top-flight highlights Sunday’s Serie A action.

 [ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

AS Roma 1-2 Juventus 

Juventus are Italy’s winter champions.

The Bianconeri scored two goals opening 10 minutes as they surpassed Inter Milan and regained control of Serie A with a 2-1 win over AS Roma.

Defender Merih Demiral scored his first goal for the Old Lady by gently volleying Paulo Dybala’s service inside the box.

Six minuted later, the Argentine drew a penalty after dispossessing Jordan Veretout inside the box. Cristiano Ronaldo converted from the spot shortly after, increasing his count to nine goals in his last six league appearances.

“We played well for a good 60 minutes, and suffering at the Olimpico against Roma is almost inevitable,” the Maurizio Sarri told Sky Sport Italia following the match.

“What I did not like is that we tried to sit on our lead rather than increase it, as three times we had three-against-one counter-attacks and didn’t finish them off.

Juventus, in fact, spoiled precious chances to stretch their lead against a Roma, who also lost Italy international Nicolo Zaniolo to a reported ruptured ACL.

Diego Perotti converted from the spot in the second half, but Roma failed to earn the leveler before the final whistle blew. Edin Dzeko came close, but his strike struck the post.

A narrow offside decision annulled Gonzalo Higuain’s third goal for the visitors.

Juventus, who now lead Inter Milan by two points, host Udinese in the Coppa Italia Round of 16. Roma, on the other hand, travel to Parma in the same competition.

Elsewhere

Udinese 3-0 Sassuolo

Sampdoria 5-1 Brescia

Fiorentina 1-0 SPAL

Torino 1-0 Bologna

Verona 2-1 Genoa

Serie A Roundup: Roma pummel Brescia, move top four; Lazio edge Sassuolo (video)

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Inspired by Chris Smalling‘s career night, AS Roma’s dominant, 3-0 win over Brescia highlights Sunday’s Serie A action.

 [ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

Roma 3-0 Brescia

A two-time Premier League league winner, Smalling, 30, must have a long list of “memorable” games to choose from. But after scoring once and assisting twice against bottom-dwellers Brescia on Sunday, it can be said that the Englishmen might have topped the list.

On Sunday, the defender became the first English player to score at least two goals in a single Serie A season since David Beckham.

The Manchester United loanee opened the floodgates in the 49th minute, heading Lorenzo Pellegrini’s lofting corner into the back of the net. Just eight minutes later, Roma scored a second from a corner-kick. 

This time, Smalling – keeping tabs on the last Brescia defender – headed the ball downwards, rebounding and finding defender Gianluca Mancini’s right foot, which set up for a simple volley strike past Jesse Joronen

In the 66th minute, the defender’s header found a well-positioned Edin Dzeko for Roma’s third and final of the night.

Now fourth in the Italian top flight, Roma prepare for Istanbul Basaksehir on Thursday, while Brescia look for their league win in eight consecutive games against Atalanta.

Sassuolo 1-2 Lazio

With the game two minutes away from the final whistle, Lazio needed a miracle to comfortably remain in Serie A’s third spot.

Substitute Felipe Caicedo was just that, scoring I Biancocelesti’s game-winning goal in the first minute of stoppage time.

 

With the frustration of not getting a penalty call go their way minutes earlier, Luis Alberto and Caicedo paced past Sassuolo’s midfield and backline, combining with a set of back-and-forth passes. Inside the box, with position to shoot at goal, the Ecuadorian’s strike bounced over two, full-stretch defender and into the back of the net.

In the first half, Serie A top scorer, Ciro Immobile, added his 15th of the season, while the home side finished the first 45 minutes with a lot of hope, following captain’s Francesco Caputo’s tap-in.

Red-hot Lazio host CFR Cluj on Thursday in Europe League play, while Sassuolo prepare for their big game against Juventus on Sunday.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Bologna 2-2 Parma

Verona 1-0 Fiorentina

Sampdoria 2-1 Udinese

Discriminatory chants prompt suspension of Roma-Napoli game

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ROME — Discriminatory chants prompted a Serie A soccer game between Roma and Napoli to be briefly suspended Saturday.

Referee Gianluca Rocchi made the decision in the second half after Roma fans aimed anti-territorial chants – which are treated in the same manner as racist chants – at Napoli. The game resumed after a few minutes.

[ MORE: Man City 2-1 Saints ]

Rocchi had already ordered an announcement to be made over the Stadio Olimpico’s public address system asking fans to stop the chants.

During the suspension, Rocchi gathered teams in the center circle, then Roma forward Edin Dzeko encouraged fans to applaud rather than jeer the opposition.

Roma led 2-0 at the time of the suspension before going on to win 2-1.

Italy’s top tier has been marred by several incidents of fan racism this season.

Serie A roundup: Atalanta crush Udinese in historic victory (video)

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Atalanta’s historic 7-1 victory over a typically defensively sharp Udinese highlights Sunday’s Serie A action.

 [ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

Atalanta 7-1 Udinese

Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia was a fun place to be on Sunday.

The home side, Atalanta routed Udinese 7-1, equalling their biggest ever Serie A victory and moving just three points behind league leaders Juventus.

Udinese opened the scoreline in the 11th minute, but the visitor’s red card in the 32nd minute proved to be too much for them to overcome. When all was said and done, Luis Muriel finished with hat-trick, while Josip Ilicic added a brace of his own.

Fresh off of a 5-1 drilling against Manchester City in the Champions League – a tournament that has seen them lose its first three games – La Dea was in dire need of such reviving performance, despite just loosing once this season.

Prior to Sunday, Udinese had conceded just six goals this season.

Atalanta will have to turn the page quickly, however, as they take on fourth-place Napoli midweek, while Udinese host Roma, who edged AC Milan with goals from Edin Dzeko and Nicolo Zaniolo.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Roma 2-1 Milan

SPAL 1-1 Napoli

Bologna 2-1 Sampdoria

Torino 1-1 Cagliari

Fiorentina 1-2 Lazio

Serie A: Lukaku brace helps Inter win shootout, AC Milan caught late

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Inter Milan kept pace with Juventus atop the Serie A table with an exciting 4-3 win on the road at Sassuolo. Romelu Lukaku scored a brace, as did Lautaro Martinez to go up 4-1 with 20 minutes to go, although the visitors nearly coughed up the big lead.

Martinez opened the scoring just two minutes in with a far-post snipe, but Domenico Berardi leveled things back up before the 20-minute mark. Lukaku put Inter back in front on 38 minutes, taking a feed down the center from Stefan de Vrij and posting up Federico Peluso before producing a strong turn and finish. He hit again from the penalty spot just after halftime after Martinez was hauled down in the box, and the Argentinian got his second also from the spot on 71 minutes to go three goals in front. The win moved Inter back to just a point behind leaders Juve.

Krzysztof Piatek struck in the 81st minute to seemingly rescue AC Milan, but Lecce hit back in the 92nd minute to earn a 2-2 draw at the San Siro. Goals from Hakan Calhanoglu and Khouma Babacar had cancelled each other out by the hour mark, but Piatek was on hand to bag his third of the season after Calhanoglu did the hard work down the right. Marco Calderoni was on hand to pip the hosts, however, with a last-gasp strike from distance that found the back of the net and gave AC Milan yet another disappointing result, having won just once in its last five games.

Roma was held to a scoreless draw on the road at Sampdoria, with Justin Kluivert seeing red on a pair of cautions and leaving the visitors to finish the match with 10 men. Roma held 65% possession throughout the match, but managed just a single shot on target amid their nine efforts. Edin Dzeko began the match on the bench, and while he came on at halftime, he did little to change Roma’s fortunes. The draw leaves Roma with just one win over its last four matches, sitting sixth in table, nine points back of the top.

Parma hammered Genoa 5-1 behind a hat-trick from Danish international Andreas Cornelius. The 26-year-old came on in the 12th minute for an injured Roberto Inglese and scored all three goals in an eight-minute stretch that bracketed halftime. The second was a vicious half-volley that impressively rippled the netting. He got his third in the 50th minute by beating Ionut Radu at his near post with a low blast.

Cagliari continued its impressive start to the season with a comprehensive 2-0 win over SPAL. The first goal came inside the opening 10 minutes on a rip-roaring thunderbolt by Radja Nainggolan from miles out, a candidate for Goal of the Season. You can watch the goal here.

Udinese pulled away from the bottom third with a 1-0 win over Torino at home. 30-year-old Stefano Okaka scored the game’s lone goal just before halftime, nodding in with his head while essentially standing right on top of the left post after Rolando Mandragora sent a looping header of his own that way.