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Lazio beats Juventus 3-1 to win Italian Super Cup in Riyadh

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) Lazio beat Juventus 3-1 on Sunday to win the Italian Super Cup for a fifth time amid a background of protests and political outrage at the game being held in Saudi Arabia.

Senad Lulic scored in the 73rd minute for Lazio after Juve’s Paulo Dybala had canceled out Luis Alberto‘s opener at Riyadh’s King Saud University Stadium.

Danilo Cataldi sealed the result in stoppage time with a free kick. That was conceded by Juventus midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur, who was shown a second yellow card and sent off.

It was the second time in three years that Lazio had beaten Juventus in the Super Cup. The capital side had also won 3-1 when the two clubs met in Serie A two weeks ago in what was Maurizio Sarri‘s only previous defeat as Juventus coach.

Amnesty International and the journalists union for Italian state TV RAI had written a joint letter to the presidents of Juventus and Lazio. The letter asked the clubs not to play the Italian Super Cup in Saudi Arabia because of the country’s human rights record.

Italian politicians and human rights activists also objected to last season’s game being played in Saudi Arabia, citing the assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

The Italian league has a contract with Saudi Arabia to play three Super Cups in the country over five years and – just like last year – the match went ahead.

Lazio took the lead in the 16th minute when Lulic crossed for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic at the back post, and he cut it back for Luis Alberto to fire into the roof of the net.

Sarri had again started with the superstar trident of Cristiano Ronaldo, Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain and the first two combined for the equalizer on the stroke of halftime.

Dybala turned in the rebound from close range after Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha could only parry Ronaldo’s effort.

But Lazio captain Lulic helped to win the match with a splendid volley at the back post after Marco Parolo had nodded on Manuel Lazzari’s cross.

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Italian soccer federation signs deal with Chinese government

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ROME (AP) The Italian soccer federation has signed a wide-ranging memorandum with the Chinese government to promote soccer between the two countries.

The deal foresees playing the Italian Super Cup or Italian Cup in China within the next three years.

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The Italian Super Cup – which pits the Serie A champion against the Italian Cup champion – has already been played in China four times over the last 10 years.

The meeting with China Media Group head Shen Haixiong also focused on TV content and rights, collaboration over developing young Chinese players in Italy and instruction for using the video assistant referee.

Shen was in Rome for the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Italian federation president Gabriele Gravina says, “Soccer has shown once again to be a bridge between different cultures.”

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

Saudi Arabia to host 3 of the next 5 Italian Super Cups

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MILAN (AP) Saudi Arabia will host three of the next five Italian Super Cups.

The Italian league announced on Wednesday that the first match of the series will be held between Jan. 12 and 16 featuring Serie A champion Juventus against Italian Cup finalist AC Milan.

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Serie A said it agreed to a deal with Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority (GSA), a governing body that oversees sports in the country.

The match usually features the Serie A champion against the Italian Cup winner, although since Juventus won both competitions last season, the other spot is being taken by the Cup runner-up.

The game has been contested 11 times abroad before, most recently in Qatar in 2016, when Milan beat Juventus in a penalty shootout.

Lazio beats Juventus 3-2 to win Super Cup after wild finale

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ROME (AP) Alessandro Murgia scored a last-gasp winner as Lazio beat Juventus 3-2 Sunday to win the Italian Super Cup after a wild end to the match.

Two goals from Ciro Immobile, including an opening penalty, had seemingly set Lazio on the way to a comfortable win. But Paulo Dybala netted a stunning free kick in the 85th minute and converted a penalty in the first minute of stoppage time.

The match appeared to be heading for extra time before Murgia, who had come on as an 80th-minute substitute, scored the winner.

The result goes some way to avenging Lazio’s defeat to Juventus in the Italian Cup final in May.

The Italian Super Cup normally pits the league champion against the cup winner, but Juventus had again won the double last season.

AC Milan captures Italian Super Cup over Juventus on penalties

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For the first time since 2011, AC Milan can say the club has captured a major title in Italian soccer.

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The Rossoneri edged Juventus, 1-1 (4-3 on penalty kicks) on Friday in the Italian Super Cup final after Mario Pasalic knocked home the winner in the fifth round of attempts.

Giacomo Bonaventura helped get Milan to extra time after heading home Suso’s cross in the 38th minute to level the match going into the half.

Juventus had scored inside of 20 minutes into the opening half when Giorgio Chiellini finished off a Miralem Pjanic cross to give the Serie A leaders the 1-0 advantage.

While Juventus mustered up several great chances throughout the match, Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma played hero for the Rossoneri with eight crucial saves in the victory. Donnarumma made one of those eight stops during the shootout to help guide Milan to the title.