Getty Images

Serie A: Lazio, Napoli roll while Roma falls again

Leave a comment

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

Filippo Venezia/ANSA via AP
Leave a comment

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

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

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

La Liga & Serie A: Pazzini spoils Real’s day, Inter drop points

Twitter/@BBCSport
Leave a comment

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

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

Levante 2-2 Real Madrid

Second-half substitute Giampaolo Pazzini played hero on Saturday at the Ciudad de Valencia as Levante picked up a vital point against Real Madrid and climbed out of the relegation zone. A Sergio Ramos header gave the Madridistas a lead inside the opening 11 minutes, before the hosts equalized before halftime through Emmanuel Boateng.

However, Isco restored the lead for Los Blancos with nine minutes remaining in regulation. It was all for not though as Real dropped points once again, when Pazzini finished off a through ball from Jason.

Unfortunately for goalkeeper Keylor Navas, he wasn’t getting much help from his backline, despite making several brilliant stops on the day.

Eibar 5-1 Sevilla

Don’t look now, but Eibar is up to seventh place in La Liga. The club’s fate against Sevilla was sealed early on when Kike scored less than a minute into the match. The hosts took a 3-1 lead into halftime, before goals from Fabián Orellana and Anaitz Arbilla extended the advantage in the second stanza.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Real Betis 2-1 Villareal
Alaves 2-1 Celta Vigo

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Getafe vs. Leganes — 6 a.m. ET
Espanyol vs. Barcelona — 10:15 a.m. ET
Girona vs. Athletic Bilbao — 12:30 p.m. ET
Atletico Madrid vs. Valencia — 2:45 p.m. ET


Inter Milan 1-1 Crotone

Inter lost further ground on Italy’s top three after dropping points against 17th place Crotone. Eder‘s first-half strike gave the hosts a lead going into halftime, before Andrea Barberis equalized at the hour mark. Inter now sits fourth in Serie A on 45 points, 12 behind league leaders Napoli.

Sampdoria 1-1 Torino

The two top-half clubs lost ground on the top four today, as Sampdoria and Torino settled for a draw at Comunale Luigi Ferraris. Lucas Torreira gave Sampdoria a lead in the 11th minute, before Afriyie Acquah leveled the match at 1-1 over 13 minutes later. Acquah’s showing took a negative turn in the second half though when he was sent off for picking up a second yellow card.

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Hellas Verona vs. Roma — 6:30 a.m. ET
Atalanta vs. Chievo Verona — 9 a.m. ET
Bologna vs. Fiorentina — 9 a.m. ET
Cagliari vs. SPAL — 9 a.m. ET
Juventus vs. Sassuolo — 9 a.m. ET
Udinese vs. AC Milan — 9 a.m. ET
Benevento vs. Napoli — 2:45 p.m. ET

Montreal to nab Algerian DP Taider from Bologna

Photo by Mario Carlini / Iguana Press/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The loss of Swiss power Blerim Dzemaili is a big one for the Montreal Impact, but another World Cup player may be taking his place in Quebec.

[ MLS: Club-by-club SuperDraft needs ]

Tutto Bologna reports that Algerian playmaker Saphir Taider, 25, is set to sign with the Impact on a contract through 2020.

On loan to Montreal last season, Dzemaili went back to Bologna. Taider is coming back the other way and will reportedly be a Designated Player.

Taider isn’t as consistent a player as Dzemaili, but presents a skill set that should be a massive problem for MLS midfields.

He has 42 caps with five goals for Algeria, and was once property of Juventus. He spent parts of four seasons at Inter Milan, with loan stints back to Bologna, at Sassuolo, and a unremarkable time at Southampton.

Much Needed: Dzemaili to join Montreal early

Photo by Mario Carlini / Iguana Press/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Montreal Impact needs help, and will be receiving it soon from a familiar country.

DiMarzio reports that the Impact is close to adding Serie A veteran Blerim Dzemaili. The midfielder was set to join the team after the season, and apparently the move will happen before Bologna’s season concludes (The club is safe from relegation).

[ MORE: How long is Sunderland gone? ]

The 31-year-old Swiss midfielder has 55 caps and nine goals as an international, and has spent time with Torino, Napoli, Parma, Genoa, and his current home is Bologna.

The club boasts Italiasn Marco Donadel and Matteo Mancosu, the latter arriving from Bologna last year.

Montreal has won just one of its first eight matches. Dzemaili will go a long way towards changing that, assuming coach Mauro Biello finds the right midfield formula with Ignacio Piatti and Donadel or Hernan Bernardello.