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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.

Serie A: Higuain gets a double, Napoli and Lazio win

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The peak of the Serie A table stayed unchanged as teams placed 2-4 all kept pace with Juventus by winning on Sunday, also all earning clean sheets.

Second-placed Napoli went ahead early and took care of Sassuolo for a 2-0 win at Stadio San Paulo. Adam Ounas scored the opener just four minutes in on quite a stunning goal as he intercepted a back-pass off his chest and controlled the ball around Giangiacomo Magnani. He took a brilliant touch to pop the ball up in the air over the defender, and ripped a left-footed blast on the volley for an impressive finish. Lorenzo Insigne put the game away in the 72nd minute with his seventh goal of the season. The defense gave him far too much space to tee up a shot outside the top of the box, and he curled one into the top-right corner.

Lazio needed just a goal from Ciro Immobile in the 37th minute to hold serve at home over Fiorentina with a 1-0 victory. It came on a set-piece, as Lazio delivered one of its five corners. Stefan Radu got his head to it from the penalty spot and sent it to the far post, where Immobile was there to tap it in for his sixth goal of the season. The win pushed Lazio as high as third, although they would fall to fourth by the end of the day.

Sampdoria – at the time – secured its spot in a Champions League place for another week as Lorenzo Tonelli got his first goal with the club in the 76th minute of a 1-0 road win over Atalanta. Tonelli got his head to a corner and directed it inside the near post, as Atalanta goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini was incredibly late to react. The 28-year-old Tonelli joined Sampdoria this summer from on loan after he barely featured for Napoli last season. The three points pushed Sampdoria up to fourth, although Inter jumped them after their late kick.

AC Milan also won its second straight, the club’s first winning streak of the season, with a 3-1 victory over Chievo Verona. Gonzalo Higuain grabbed a brace, scoring first-half goals seven minutes apart to put Milan in control.

His first came on a bit of sloppy play with Chievo unable to clear. A Hakan Calhanoglu cross was too far over the box, but Suso was able to collect on the right edge of the box, and with the defense out of sorts, his low bullet found Higuain in the middle of the box for a simple poke inside the near post. Then, past the half-hour mark, Suso again found the Argentinian, this time through the center with a clinical through-ball that left Higuain free on goal. Giacomo Bonaventura grabbed Milan’s third after halftime, while Sergio Pellissier picked up Chievo’s consolation just past the hour mark.

Earlier in the day, Parma moved into the top half of the table with a 3-1 road win at Genoa. They went behind just six minutes in via Genoa’s Krzysztof Piatek who bagged his league-leading ninth goal of the season, but Luca Rigoni would equalize soon after thanks to a terrible mistake by Genoa goalkeeper Ionut Radu who attempted to punch a corner but whiffed. Luca Siligardi put Parma in front with a deflected strike, and by the 30th minute Fabio Ceravolo completed the scoreline

Mauro Icardi’s double saved Inter’s day as the visitors won 2-1 over SPAL at Stadio Paolo Mazza in Ferrara. Icardi struck first 14 minutes in on a stunning header from an impossible angle. Inter pushed to get the ball into the box, but with SPAL continuing to clear, Sime Vrsaljko lofted a ball in from the right flank and Icardi, with his back to net and near the end line at the near post, somehow flicked a bouncing header across the face of goal and in past Alfred Gomis. SPAL equalized on a sleepy moment by Inter defender Miranda to let Alberto Paloschi leak behind and score, but it wouldn’t stay level long.Ivan Perisic fed Icardi just five minutes later with a beautiful through-ball down the left and the Argentine finished with ease for the 2-1 win. The win moves Inter to third, above Lazio and Sampdoria.

Serie A: Napoli hammered by Sampdoria; Sassuolo win, go 2nd

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ROME (AP) Fabio Quagliarella’s airborne back-heel volley against Napoli is already in the running for Serie A goal of the season.

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The former Italy striker athletically flicked the ball into the far corner to complete Sampdoria’s 3-0 win over visiting Napoli on Sunday.

In the Genoa club’s first home match since 43 people were killed in the Morandi Bridge collapse in the port city last month, Quagliarella’s goal prompted celebrations inside the Luigi Ferraris stadium.

Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli, meanwhile, will need to figure out a better approach after falling behind early for the third consecutive match – even though it came back to win its first two.

Gregoire Defrel scored twice for Sampdoria in the first half, with Quagliarella playing a part in both goals.

A minute’s silence was observed before kickoff to honor the victims of the Aug. 14 bridge collapse, which occurred during a fierce storm.

Napoli dropped three points behind perfect Juventus.

Marco Benassi scored his third goal in two matches as Fiorentina beat Udinese 1-0 to remain perfect through two matches – with its postponed opener at Sampdoria to be made up later this month.

Kevin-Prince Boateng scored the opener as Sassuolo topped Genoa 5-3 to go second in the league table.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Lazio 1-0 Frosinone
Torino 1-0 SPAL
Atalanta 0-1 Cagliari
Chievo 0-0 Empoli

Liverpool offloads Klavan to Cagliari for cheap

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Liverpool is starting to offload some of its extra weight, and it comes at the expense of the back line.

The Reds announced the sale of central defender Ragnar Klavan to Cagliari, with reports in England claiming the transfer fee was a paltry $2.5 million.

That leaves Liverpool with a relatively thin remaining central defensive corps behind starters Virgil Van Dijk and Dejan Lovren, with just Joel Matip and Joe Gomez the only ones left as natural center-backs. It’s a bold move by the Reds in a campaign full of high expectations.

The 32-year-old Klavan joined Liverpool in the summer of 2016 from German club Augsburg for around $5.5 million, but struggled to crack the first team in a consistent manner. Klavan made 39 Premier League appearances in his time at Liverpool, but was pushed back in the pecking order after the Reds brought in van Dijk last January. Still, he made a solid eight Champions League appearances last season – three of them starts – and was an important piece of Liverpool’s squad depth.

Klavan signed a two-year contract at Cagliari, where he will compete for playing time with the likes of Marco Andreolli, Fabio Pisacane, and Luca Ceppitelli.

Mourinho: England needs to keep coaches for next World Cup

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Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho is operating as a pundit for this summer’s World Cup in Russia, but saved any biting thoughts for either of Wednesday’s semifinalists for another time.

Mourinho of course praised Croatia for its run to the final, where Vatreni will meet France on Sunday.

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“It’s a great achievement for a country where the league is a minor league and the majority of the players don’t player in Croatia but abroad,” Mourinho said. “As I know, when you work abroad, you feel your country in a different way.”

The Croatian First Football League ranks 11th in UEFA coefficient, between Iceland and the Netherlands.

As for England, the Portuguese manager heaped praise on the Three Lions.

He says the side is primed to move forward and continue its growth, and was sure to toss in some fond words for his former Chelsea assistant Steve Holland.

“It’s a young team, the majority of the players will play in the next World Cup with more experience at club level,” Mourinho said. “If I was in charge of the FA there would be no doubt that I would keep Gareth Southgate and Steve Holland in their jobs and give them the chance to take the team to the next Euros and the next World Cup.”

Not exactly going out on a limb there, though England’s managerial spot has neither been stable nor particularly hot in some time. Roy Hodgson and Sven-Goran Eriksson each worked three major tournaments, but Steve McClaren and Fabio Capello were both one-and-done.