Emanuele Giaccherini

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Serie A: Atalanta keep winning, making UCL race highly interesting

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ROME (AP) Atalanta produced four goals in the opening 15 minutes of a 4-1 win over visiting Bologna in Serie A on Thursday to move within one point of the Champions League places.

Josip Ilicic scored twice and also set up Atalanta’s third from Hans Hateboer.

Duvan Zapata also scored, giving the Colombia striker 20 goals in 30 matches to move within one goal of the league lead held by Fabio Quagliarella of Sampdoria.

Riccardo Orsolini pulled one back for Bologna, which remained one point from safety.

Atalanta is fifth, one point behind AC Milan.

Also, Sassuolo took a big step toward staying up with a dominant 4-0 win over last-place Chievo Verona, which is nearing relegation.

Turkey defender Merih Demiral scored a brace with two headers in the first half and Manuel Locatelli and Domenico Berardi added goals after the break.

Chievo forward Emanuele Giaccherini had one goal disallowed by the VAR then had a penalty saved by Andrea Consigli near the end.

Sassuolo is 11th, eight points above the drop zone, while Chievo is buried at the bottom with only one win.

Serie A: Romagnoli saves AC Milan again, Lazio and Torino roar

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The top three teams in the Serie A table had already taken the field earlier in the weekend, but there was plenty of Sunday action for the Italian top flight to digest.

AC Milan was the headliner as they traveled to Udinese, and it took some incredibly late fireworks for the visitors to come away with all three points and stay fourth in the Serie A table. With Gonzalo Higuain off at halftime with a back injury, there were no goals through the 90 minutes. They went to stoppage time, and it was then that things got crazy.

Five minutes into added time, Udinese substitute Bram Nuytinck, who only came on 10 minutes earlier, was controversially sent off. He clearly clipped Samu Castillejo on a breakaway, but as it was a professional foul to prevent a counter opportunity with little actual malice, it was generally thought to have deserved a yellow card. Instead, referee Marco Di Bello showed Nuytinck a straight red, reducing Udinese to 10 men.

That clearly changed the flow of the final few minutes, and Milan capitalized. The visitors won the ball on the midline and had another chance to break. While Udinese seemed to recover before Milan could find space, somehow Romagnoli rifled a howitzer into the top-right corner and gave Milan the win seven minutes deep into stoppage time. While initially the assistant had his flag raised for offside early in the buildup, VAR confirmed the linesman’s call was very incorrect and the goal stood, while AC Milan manager Gennaro Gattuso was sent off for arguing during the check.

The goal for Romagnoli is his second straight stoppage-time winner after scoring in the 91st minute of a midweek win over Udinese.

Elsewhere, both Lazio and Torino bagged four goals, with the former keeping pace with Milan near the Champions League places. Lazio hammered SPAL 4-1 behind a pair from Ciro Immobile who is red-hot in league play. Immobile’s brace gave him five goals in his last five games and seven in his last seven. Danilo Cataldi and Marco Parolo both added a goal each and it kept Lazio level with AC Milan on points, while also drawing them closer in goal differential, still back in fifth position.

Torino also put four past its opponent, with a 4-1 road win over Sampdoria. Andrea Belotti answered Immobile’s brace with one of his own, and Torino was already 3-0 up thanks to one from Iago Falque before Fabio Quagliarella earned a consolation for the hosts. Armando Izzo finished things off for Torino 12 minutes from time and the visitors jumped into seventh in the table.

Parma entertained relegation-threatened Frosinone and while the hosts fell a man down in the 61st minute as Leo Stulac was sent off for a studs up tackle after a heavy touch, they held on for a 0-0 draw. Sassuolo earned a 2-0 road win over Chievo Verona in a game that featured an own-goal that will leave Emanuele Giaccherini red in the face.

Duvan Zapata snatched a 70th minute winner to give Atalanta a 2-1 win over Bologna. Zapata latched onto a loose ball in the box as the defense appeared to freeze for just a moment, and he pounced for the win. Before that, Ibrahima Mbaye’s third-minute goal had been cancelled out by Gianluca Mancini just before the hour mark. The win moved Atalanta to 10th on 15 points, while Bologna remains in 17th, just three points above the relegation zone.

Former Sunderland midfielder Giaccherini scores embarrassing own-goal

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Ah it’s that time again. The time where we can chuckle at one of the more fluky own-goals of the year. Unless you’re a Chievo Verona fan, then you’re not laughing.

Emanuele Giaccherini, a former Premier League player with Sunderland, was on the wrong end of the clincher for Sassuolo in a 2-0 Serie A win over Chievo Verona in the 94th minute. Goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino made a fabulous one-on-one save on Domenico Berardi right on the doorstep, and when the rebound fell to Giaccherini at the far post all by himself, instead of marshalling the ball to safety away from net, he attempted to chest it back to the goalkeeper for collection.

Unfortunately, Sorrentino was sprawled out on the ground, and the chested ball was just out of reach. Disaster.

Whoops.

Fortunately, it’s not like the goal was a backbreaker. Chievo was hoping to equalize, but with just two minutes left in added time and Chievo a man down, it was probably unlikely anyways.

Napoli leaves it late to keep title hopes alive

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ROME (AP) Napoli scored twice in the final two minutes for a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Chievo Verona on Sunday that kept the southern squad’s title hopes alive.

Arkadiusz Milik connected with a long pass from Lorenzo Insigne to head in the equalizer in the 89th. Amadou Diawara then quickly controlled the ball and sent a curling shot inside the far post for the winner in added time.

It was the first goal in 69 Serie A appearances for Diawara, a 20-year-old from Guinea who got a rare start in place of the suspended Jorginho.

[ VIDEO: Ronaldo, Griezmann score in derby ]

Napoli moved back within four points of Italian leader Juventus, which won 4-2 at Benevento on Saturday.

The leaders meet in two weeks.

Mariusz Stepinski had put Chievo ahead in the 73rd after being set up by Emanuele Giaccherini, who was loaned by Napoli in January.

Earlier, Dries Mertens had a penalty blocked by Chievo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino, who has now saved three of his last four penalties.

Also, Napoli’s Lorenzo Tonelli hit the crossbar.

Napoli is aiming for its first Serie A title since Diego Maradona led the club to its only two championships in 1987 and 1990.

SIRIGU SAVES

In the lunchtime fixture, Torino beat visiting Inter Milan 1-0 with a first-half goal from Adem Ljajic and a strong performance from goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu.

Inter winger Ivan Perisic lost control and then involuntarily set up Lorenzo De Silvestri, who placed the ball at the far post for Ljajic to tap in.

Inter remained fourth, one point behind Roma.

Also, relegation-threatened Crotone beat Bologna 1-0 with an early goal from Simeon “Simy” Tochukwu Nwankwo. Hellas Verona, in penultimate place, defeated Cagliari 1-0 with a penalty from Romulo.

More AP Serie A coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/SerieA

Andrew Dampf on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/asdampf

Serie A: Turkish youngster Under fires Roma back into 3rd

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ROME (AP) The rapid development of 20-year-old Turkey winger Cengiz Under is playing a big role in Roma’s revival.

Under scored his fourth goal in three matches and Roma won at Udinese 2-0 for its third straight win in Serie A on Saturday.

Roma moved into third place, two points ahead of Inter Milan, which lost at Genoa 2-0.

It’s a drastic improvement from where Roma was a month ago, when the Giallorossi were mired in a five-match winless streak that risked dropping them out of contention for the Champions League places.

“We’re getting back on track to where we were in the first half of the season,” forward Diego Perotti said.

Roma went ahead when Under unleashed a powerful, rising shot from beyond the area in the 70th.

Perotti sealed the victory in the 90th with an angled effort after Udinese gave the ball away near midfield.

Under is having a breakout month.

First, he scored after 43 seconds when Roma ended a five-match winless streak by beating Hellas Verona 1-0. Then he had a brace and also delivered an assist in a 5-2 win over Benevento last weekend.

All this after not being involved in any goals in his first 14 matches with Roma.

“He plays far more for the team than himself,” Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco said of Under. “His greatest strength is being able to prepare his shot with great speed, making him difficult to close down.”

Added Perotti, “He’s very humble and he doesn’t speak Italian yet but he’s well behaved and is a great kid. He deserves all of this.”

On Wednesday, Roma visits Shakhtar Donetsk in the first leg of the Champions League last 16.

“We’ve got to make the most of the fact they’ve had a winter break and might not be match fit,” Di Francesco said of the Ukrainian side. “They have a lot of quality in attack and are dangerous, but we shouldn’t change our attitude.”


Inter’s defense was in shambles against Genoa.

The hosts took the lead before the break when a failed clearance attempt from Milan Skriniar ricocheted off of a stunned Andrea Ranocchia, who was charged with an own goal.

Then former Inter striker Goran Pandev was left unmarked to score from the center of the area midway through the second half.

Inter hasn’t won at regional rival Genoa in more than seven years.

Chievo Verona took a big step toward avoiding relegation with a 2-1 win over visiting Cagliari.

Emanuele Giaccherini and Roberto Inglese scored late for the hosts before Leonardo Pavoletti pulled one back for Cagliari.

Chievo moved up to 14th, level on points with Cagliari, eight points above the drop zone.