Fiorentina

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Nketiah leads Arsenal past Fiorentina (video)

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Eddie Nketiah scored twice as Arsenal beat Fiorentina 3-0 in Charlotte on Saturday.

Joe Willock also scored for the Gunners, which beat Colorado Rapids and Bayern Munich in their first two matches of the preseason and meet Real Madrid in Maryland on Tuesday.

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Fiorentina took 18 of the match’s 30 shots, though Arsenal had nearly 60 percent of the ball.

Nketiah, 20, scored against Burnley in last season’s Premier League finale and then late against Bayern Munich earlier this week.

He was deft in a high-pressure spot for this one.

American billionaire Commisso buys Fiorentina

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Rocco Commisso is the new owner of Fiorentina in Italy. 

The American billionaire, who is CEO of Mediacom, was born in Italy but moved to the U.S. at the age of 12 and has confirmed the news to Tariq Panja of the New York Times on Thursday.

It is believed Commisso has bought Fiorentina for somewhere between $150-200 million. Fiorentina confirmed the news as Commisso is the fifth foreign owner of a Serie A club.

He previously failed in a bid to buy AC Milan with his love for soccer is clear as he is also the owner of the New York Cosmos in the U.S., the historic club which has been in the NASL and now the NPSL in recent years.

Speaking to the NY Times about the purchase, Commisso was delighted to be the new owner of the Florence club.

“There’s going to be a tremendous amount of effort, work, passion and money all going to be put in to make sure we have a better season than we had last year,” Commisso said. “Given the fact I was born in Italy, my love for Italian soccer and what soccer has done for me I wanted to eventually buy a quality team here in Italy and I’m very proud, happy and honored to buy Fiorentina, a club that’s got great traditions.”

Fiorentina finished in a disappointing 16th place in Serie A in 2018-19, as that slump came after several seasons of qualifying for European competition.

Previous owner Diego Della Valle took over when Fiorentina were declared bankrupt and despite plenty of progress over the last 17 years, fans have turned on him in recent months.

With the success of American businessman James Pallotta at AS Roma in recent seasons, it will be intriguing to see how much money Commisso will provide in transfer funds and how he can help improve profits off the pitch (due to his vast business experience) to help return Fiorentina to top four challengers in Serie A.

He seems like being cautious to start off with, but the potential for Fiorentina to return to the upper echelons of Italian and European soccer is there.

Report: Juventus agrees terms with Fiorentina playmaker Chiesa

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Serie A’s rich look set to get richer. The only question is how much richer will that make the seller, who claims it will not be selling.

Fiorentina star Federico Chiesa has reportedly agreed to terms with Juventus, leaving The Old Lady to sort out a fee for the playmaker. Fiorentina has said it will not sell the 21-year-old.

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Chiesa is a mesmerizing dribbler best deployed on the right wing, where Juve has used Paulo Dybala and Federico Bernadeschi. The latter was a big purchase from Fiorentina just two seasons ago, but has not been able to reproduce the same magic in Turin.

Should Juve land Chiesa, it would bring aboard a man who scored 12 goals across all competitions last season and added seven assists in Serie A.

La Viola went from competing for a Europa League place to a shocking relegation scrap last season, and has consistently sold its best players. In addition to Bernadeschi, Fiorentina has sold Nikola Kalinic, Ante Rebic, Matias Vecino, Marcos Alonso, Stefan Savic, and Juan Cuadrado.

Fiorentina coach Pioli steps down amid seven-game winless run

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FLORENCE, Italy (AP) Fiorentina coach Stefano Pioli has stepped down amid a seven-match winless streak.

The club says assistant coach Giacomo Murelli was directing training on Tuesday, while no immediate replacement was named.

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Fiorentina has dropped out of contention for European competition and is down to 10th place in Serie A following a loss at home to relegation-threatened Frosinone on Sunday.

The club is anxious to straighten things out before facing Atalanta in the second leg of the Italian Cup semifinals on April 25. The first leg ended 3-3.

Pioli was hired in June 2017 and led Fiorentina to an eighth-place finish last season.

It’s the 12th coaching change in the Italian league this season.

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

VAR decision in Serie A game has double impact

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FERRARA, Italy (AP) Video review changed the course of a Serie A match in Italy on Sunday when, for the first time, a goal was disallowed and a penalty awarded to the opposing team in the same decision.

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SPAL thought it had gone 2-1 ahead when Mattia Valoti scored on the counter-attack but the referee viewed a previous incident on VAR and opted to award Fiorentina a penalty for Dias Felipe’s trip on Federico Chiesa moments earlier.

The decision, which came more than four minutes after the foul, made everything that had followed null and void, including Valoti’s goal.

Jordan Veretout converted the penalty and Fiorentina went on to win 4-1.

This scenario has been a possibility since VAR was introduced at the start of the 2017-18 season in Italy but it is the first time it has actually happened.

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