Elisabetta Baracchi/ANSA via AP

Napoli leaves it late to keep title hopes alive

Leave a comment

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

Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.

Streetwise Italy picks up savvy 2-0 win over Belgium to open EURO 2016

Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images
5 Comments

A 32nd minute goal from Emanuele Giaccherini helped Italy to a fairly comfortable 2-0 win over Belgium in Lyon on Monday.

Graziano Pelle scored in stoppage time to give the EURO 2016 openers for both sides its final score line.

The win boosts Italy atop Group D, with Sweden and Ireland drawing 1-1 earlier Monday. Belgium gets Ireland on Saturday, while Italy battles Sweden.

[ MORE: Latest EURO 2016 news ]  

Early on Belgium did all the pressing but Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku couldn’t find a way to break through.

Midway through the first half Giaccherini went down in the box as Laurent Ciman slid in and the Montreal Impact defender will have been relieved to see referee Mark Clattenburg look point for a goal kick rather than a penalty.

Graziano Pelle went close for Italy as he curled a shot from 20-yards across goal which deflected wide of the post and then Italy took the lead.

With no pressure on the ball Leonardo Bonucci picked his head up and clipped a delightful ball forward as Giaccherini took one touch to steady himself and slotted home. 1-0.

[ MORE: Ireland draws Sweden 1-1 ]

As half time approached Italy pushed hard for a second as a Antonio Candreva’s piledriver was pushed away by Thibaut Courtois and then Graziano Pelle headed inches wide when he should have scored.

Before the break a brief glimmer of hope arrived for Belgium as De Bruyne got free in the box but his effort was blocked.

In the second half, De Bruyne played Lukaku in on goal. The big Everton man chipped Buffon, but the ball sailed wide of the far post.

Courtois made a tremendous flying save on Ciro Immobile in the 85th minute.

But Pelle side volleyed Antonio Candreva’s cross home in the third minute of stoppage time to give us the final score.

Italy name provisional EURO 2016 squad; Giovinco, Balotelli, Pirlo out

AP
Leave a comment

Italian national team manager Antonio Conte has named a provisional 30-man roster for the 2016 European Championships in France this summer.

The big surprise: Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco is not included.

[ MORE: Suarez struggling with injury ]

Giovinco, 29, has been ripping it up in Major League Soccer since he joined TFC in March 2015 — he was the top goalscorer in MLS in 2015 and was named the league MVP — but the former Juventus playmaker hasn’t done enough to convince Conte he’s worthy of a spot in his squad this summer.

Neither has Andrea Pirlo, a long-time midfielder for Conte at Juve and a 2006 World Cup winner with Itatly. The New York City midfielder has been ever-present for Patrick Vieria’s side this season but at the age of 37, perhaps Conte wanted to go for younger players for his final tournament in charge of the Azzurri.

[ MORE: Van Gaal out at United? ]

Conte will take charge at Chelsea after the tournament in France is over and has named Eder, Graziano Pelle, Stephan El Shaarawy, Ciro Immobile, Simone Zaza, Federico Bernardeschi  and Lorenzo Insigne as his seven forward options. Notice there’s no spot for Mario Balotelli of Liverpool as the temperamental striker currently on loan at AC Milan has only scored three goals in 23 appearances this season. There’s no real surprise Balotelli hasn’t been included as Conte has only named him in one of his squads since taking charge in 2014.

Below is the full Italy squad in full as Conte has to cut seven players before the June 2 deadline. They face Scotland and Finland in friendlies ahead of the tournament where they’ve been drawn in Group E alongside Belgium, Sweden and the Republic of Ireland.


Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Federico Marchetti (Lazio), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris Saint-Germain)

Defenders: Davide Astori (Fiorentina), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Angelo Ogbonna (West Ham United), Daniele Rugani (Juventus), Matteo Darmian (Manchester United), Mattia De Sciglio (Milan), Davide Zappacosta (Torino)

Midfielders: Marco Benassi (Torino), Giacomo Bonaventura (Milan), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Emanuele Giaccherini (Bologna), Jorginho (Napoli), Riccardo Montolivo (Milan), Thiago Motta (Paris Saint-Germain), Marco Parolo (Lazio), Stefano Sturaro (Juventus), Antonio Candreva (Lazio).

Forwards: Eder (Inter), Ciro Immobile (Torino), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Graziano Pelle (Southampton), Simone Zaza (Juventus), Federico Bernardeschi (Fiorentina), Stephan El Shaarawy (Roma)

La Liga & Serie A roundup: Atleti bounce back to keep pressure on Barca

AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza
Leave a comment

A roundup of Saturday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights:

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s La Liga coverage ]

Atletico Madrid 3-1 Eibar

The race for the La Liga title isn’t over quite yet — though Barcelona are overwhelmingly favorites at the moment — and Atletico Madrid will have to keep winning, with just about no room for error, to keep it that way. On Saturday, they did just that by defending their home turf, to the tune of a 3-1 victory over Eibar.

Keko put the visitors ahead in the 46th minute, but Jose Gimenez quickly opened the scoring for Atleti and equalized on 56 minutes. Saul Niguez made it 2-1 to Atleti seven minutes later, and Fernando Torres’ 100th career goal (below video) gave Los Rojiblancos a bit of insurance in the first minute of second-half stoppage time. With the victory, Atleti are level on 51 points with Barca, but the Catalan giants have two games in hand on Madrid’s “other” team, the first of which they’ll play on Sunday.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Rayo Vallecano 2-0 Las Palmas
Athletic Bilbao 0-0 Villarreal
Sporting Gijon 1-1 Deportivo La Coruña

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Levante vs. Barcelona (6 a.m. ET)
Real Betis vs. Valencia (10 a.m. ET)
Celta Vigo vs. Sevilla (12:15 p.m. ET)
Granada vs. Real Madrid (2:30 p.m. ET)


Bologna 1-1 Fiorentina

Fiorentina have left the door wide open for Inter Milan to re-enter the top three — and UEFA Champions League-qualifying — places with a 1-1 draw away to Bologna. The Viola finished the game with 10 men after Matias Fernandez was sent off for two yellow cards 10 minutes apart either side of halftime.

Their opening goal, which gave them the lead in the 59th minute, was beautifully worked and wonderfully taken by Federico Bernardeschi (below video). It was quickly canceled out, though, as Emanuele Giaccherini equalized four minutes later to earn a point and strengthen Bologna’s hold on 10th place in the league table.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Genoa 0-0 Lazio

Sunday’s Serie A schedule

Hellas Verona vs. Inter Milan (6:30 a.m. ET)
Napoli vs. Carpi (9 a.m. ET)
Torino vs. Chievo (9 a.m. ET)
Frosinone vs. Juventus (9 a.m. ET)
Sassuolo vs. Palermo (9 a.m. ET)
AC Milan vs. Udinese (9 a.m. ET)
Atalanta vs. Empoli (12 p.m. ET)
Roma vs. Sampdoria (2:45 p.m. ET)