Bologna

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Bologna draws 3-3 at Lazio to secure Serie A safety

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ROME (AP) Bologna secured Serie A football for another season after drawing at Lazio 3-3 in a thriller on Monday.

Bologna moved four points clear of the relegation zone with one match remaining.

Lazio was still celebrating winning the Italian Cup midweek and Joaquin Correa fired the capital side in front in the 13th minute.

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However, two goals in the space of a minute from Andrea Poli and Mattia Destro saw Bologna take the lead early in the second half.

Bastos curled in a stunning effort to level for Lazio in the 59th but Riccardo Orsolini restored Bologna’s lead shortly after.

Substitute Sergej Milinkovic-Savic secured a draw for Lazio with a sensational free kick 10 minutes from time.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Galaxy land World Cup veteran Gonzalez for back line

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Off to a flying start and boasting one of the best strikers in the history of the game, the LA Galaxy are reinforcing their back end in style.

LA has allowed five goals in six matches, although its schedule has been rather forgiving.

[ MORE: Aubameyang, Arsenal on racism ]

Now Guillermo Barros Schelotto has added a force to his back line in the form of Costa Rican national team center back Giancarlo Gonzalez.

They almost worked together when Schelotto was hired by Palermo but could not get the appropriate paper work to land the gig full-time. From MLSSoccer.com:

“I was with [Schelotto and his staff, all now with LA] a couple of months, so that, of course, also had a play in my decision to come here,” Gonzalez said. “I know their work and I know they’re going to provide me a good environment to grow.”

Gonzalez left Columbus following an outstanding World Cup in 2014, and has spent time at Palermo and Bologna in Serie A. The 76-times capped Costa Rican has appeared in two World Cups in addition to making 12 league appearances this season.

Montreal hopes Nigerian striker is next Bologna boom

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The Montreal Impact may have just swapped presidents, with owner Joey Saputo handing the reins over to Kevin Gilmore, but the MLS club’s owner is still the chairman of Bologna and the clubs will again be sharing resources.

And if the latest move goes as well as some of the previous ones, well, look out.

Orji Okwonkwo is joining the Impact on loan, reunited with teammate Saphir Taidir. The Algerian was one of the stars of a Montreal season like Blerim Dzemaili and Marco Di Vaio before him.

Okwonkwo, 21, won the U-17 World Cup with Nigeria in 2015, scoring in the semifinal win over Mexico.

He’d sign for Bologna, and was seemingly on the brink of stardom after scoring three Serie A goals in 10 appearances last season.

Remi Garde famously handed loads of responsibilities to youngsters while leading Lyon, including a Maxime Gonalons and a very young Alexandre Lacazette. He’d later hand increased duty to Samuel Umtiti.

While few would put Okwonkwo in that camp, his chances of growing quickly in MLS are a bit better than Serie A. Point is: Garde is willing to trust kids.

Expecting him to thrive at Taidir or Dzemaili levels is a tall ask, admittedly, and there have been a number of Bologna players who haven’t been stars in MLS (Deian Boldor, Daniele Paponi, and Andrea Pisanu, though the final two contributed more than the first).

Serie A: Lazio, Napoli roll while Roma falls again

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AS Roma’s early-season struggles continue as they fell to Bologna on the road 2-0, their second loss of the year through five matches. Bologna had not yet scored through four matches, blanked by Inter, SPAL, Genoa, and Frosinone coming in. Federico Mattiello somehow broke the duck in the 36th minute as his left-footed curler somehow got through traffic into the bottom-left corner. Federico Santander added another on the hour mark, and Roma lost for the second time in the last three, without a win since the opening week of the season.

Roma head coach Eusebio Di Francesco was furious after the game, lighting his players up for lacking passion. “You all seem to think you know the answers, so maybe I should ask you questions? We always end up talking about numbers, statistics, but not the determination and fire in the belly,” the 49-year-old Italian said to Sky Sport Italia after the match. “If you have 74 percent possession and lose 2-0, it means something is missing in your attitude. If you lose every duel with Bologna, then you weren’t determined enough.”

Juventus grabbed a late victory as new star Cristiano Ronaldo bagged an 81st minute winner in a 1-0 victory over Frosinone. The former Real Madrid forward latched onto a flubbed shot by Miralem Pjanic and buried the chance. Ronaldo had been denied earlier in the match, with the shot first slowed by a diving Marco Sportiello before the ball was eventually cleared off the line by Marco Capuano. It’s a solid comeback moment in Ronaldo’s return to the field after his controversial sending-off in Champions League play during the week.

Elsewhere, Napoli visited Torino and won 3-1 in Turin behind a double from Lorenzo Insigne, giving the 27-year-old four goals on the young season. The first came just four minutes into the game on a terrible mistake by the hosts, with an attempted clear Emiliano Moretti clattering off his central defensive partner Nicolas N’Koulou and falling right into Insigne’s lap for him to smash into the top-left corner. Simone Verdi bagged his first Napoli goal in the 20th minute, and Insigne killed off the game past the hour mark with his second, putting Napoli up by a pair. The result leveled Napoli on points with leaders Juventus, with the defending champions yet to kick off ahead of their eventual win.

Lazio also won big, putting four past Genoa for a 4-1 victory. Felipe Caciedo struck just seven minutes in, and Ciro Immobile did the rest with a brace. Rising star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic added Lazio’s fourth with a long-range header, pulling Lazio into fifth place with nine points through five matches.

AC Milan was pegged back by a very late strike, forced to accept a 2-2 home draw with Atalanta. Milan held a 55% possessional advantage and an eventual 17-15 shot advantage, but Atalanta halftime substitute Emiliano Rigoni scored in the 91st minute to even the score. A ball whipped into the box pinged its way to Duvan Zapata, who slashed a powerful volley on net that was acrobatically saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma, but the rebound fell right to Rigoni on the doorstep who couldn’t miss.

La Liga & Serie A: Juventus blasts seven past Sassuolo and more

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A roundup of Sunday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights…

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Espanyol 1-1 Barcelona

Gerard Pique’s late finish gave the Blaugrana a share of the points on Sunday during a rainy affair at the RCDE Stadium. The hosts had taken the lead on 66 minutes when Gerard Moreno brilliantly finished a Sergio García cross from the right wing. Ernesto Valverde’s squad remains unbeaten in La Liga with the draw, and holds a nine-point lead over second-place Atletico.

Lionel Messi wasn’t in the starting XI on the day, which came as a shock to many, however, Barca brought on the Argentine striker after halftime to influence the match.

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Valencia

Barcelona’s misstep against their cross-town rivals opened the door for Atletico to close the gap on the league leaders, and Diego Simeone’s men were able to do just that behind Angel Correa’s finish. The Atletico midfielder beautifully slotted home a shot into the top right corner just before the hour mark, when Koke picked his teammate out at the top of the box.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Getafe 0-0 Leganes
Girona 2-0 Athletic Bilbao


Juventus 7-0 Sassuolo

Sassuolo never really stood a chance, and a four-goal outburst in the first half ensured that Juventus would take all three points from Sunday’s affair in Italy’s top flight. Meanwhile, a second-half hat-trick from Gonzalo Higuain furthered the punishment for the visiting Sassuolo. The victory keeps Juve within a point league leaders Napoli, who also pulled off a victory on the day.

Benevento 0-2 Napoli

The Serie A leaders keep on proving their quality, and Dries Mertens’ first-half strike kept Napoli at the summit of Italy’s first division at the Ciro Vigorito. Meanwhile, Marek Hamsik doubled the lead just two minutes into the second half to ensure the victory for the first-place side. Napoli has now 19 of its 23 league matches this season.

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Hellas Verona 0-1 Roma
Atalanta 1-0 Chievo Verona
Bologna 1-2 Fiorentina
Cagliari 2-0 SPAL
Udinese 1-1 AC Milan