Javier Pastore

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Serie A roundup: Roma hold off Napoli; Juventus remain leaders (video)

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Roma’s victory over Napoli highlight Saturday’s Serie A action.

 [ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

Roma 2-1 Napoli

On Saturday, at Stadio Olimpico, when Roma found themselves up 2-0 on Napoli, the game came to a pause. Referee Gianluca Rocchi made the decision to grab the ball and blow the whistle in the second half after Roma fans aimed racist chants at Napoli.

After a few minutes, the game resumed, and eventually, Hirving “Chucky” Lozano’s darting ball into the box would find Arkadiusz Milik, who extended his scoring run to four matches.

The first half had it all.

Nicolo Zaniolo opened the scoring, when his left-footed strike zoomed past Alex Meret and into the top-right corner of the goal. The 20-year-old has now scored three league goals in 11 matches. Shortly after, VAR granted Roma a penalty after concluding that Jose Callejon contacted the ball with his arm inside the box when pressured by Chris Smalling. Aleksandar Kolarov‘s penalty, however, was denied by Meret, who recorded four saves throughout the 90 minutes.

Napoli were persistent and came close several times. Giovanni di Lorenzo was denied at the goal line by a full-extended Smalling. In a matter of seconds, the visitor’s struck the woodwork twice, once by header from Milik, which was subsequently followed by a first-time volley from distance that also rattled the bar.

I Giallorossi would get a second chance from the spot in the second half. And this time they didn’t squander it.

Javier Pastore, who zipped through Napoli’s backline, saw his lofting cross crash into Fabian Ruiz’s arm. A penalty was awarded, and Jordan Veretout – on loan from Fiorentina – opened his Roma account, which ended up being the game-winning goal.

Up next for Roma, who moved to third and are only behind Inter Milan and Juventus, take on Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Europa League midweek. Napoli, on the other hand, host Red Bull Salzburg on Tuesday and aim to remain perfect in Group E of the Champions League.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Tornio 0-1 Juventus

Bologna 1-2 Inter Milan

Serie A wrap: Roma puts on must-see show; Juve, Napoli win

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Juventus stayed perfect and one-loss Napoli kept pace as Serie A staged seven fixtures on Wednesday, with Cristiano Ronaldo again getting his name on the score sheet.

[ MORE: Pulisic shines in BVB blowout ]

But it was AS Roma who garnered eyeballs with some wondrous goals in a blowout at the Stadio Olimpico.

Roma 4-0 Frosinone

I Lupi smashed the newly-promoted visitors behind two sensational goals in the first half-hour and markers from Stephan El Shaarawy and Aleksandar Kolarov.

Cenzig Under got the scoring started with a nutmeg-inducing, mazey dribble and blast in the second minute, and Javier Pastore doubled the advantage with a sweeping back leg redirection in the 28th.

Juventus 2-0 Bologna

Two goals in four minutes from Paulo Dybala and Blaise Matuidi were the lone markers as Juve moved to 6-0. Dybala’s goal was assisted by Cristiano Ronaldo, giving the Portuguese star three goals and an assist in his last three Serie A matches.

Napoli 3-0 Parma

Lorenzo Insigne put the favored hosts ahead after four minutes, and Arkadiusz Milik scored in each half as Napoli kept pace with unbeaten Juventus.

Elsewhere
Inter Milan 2-1 Fiorentina — Tuesday
Udinese 1-2 Lazio
Atalanta 0-0 Torino
Genoa 2-0 Chievo
Cagliari 0-0 Sampdoria
SPAL vs. Sassuolo — 1 p.m. ET Thursday
Empoli vs. AC Milan — 3 p.m. ET Thursday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Juventus 6 6 0 0 13 4 9 3-0-0 3-0-0 18
 Napoli 6 5 0 1 12 7 5 3-0-0 2-0-1 15
 Lazio 6 4 0 2 9 6 3 2-0-1 2-0-1 12
 Fiorentina 6 3 1 2 12 5 7 3-0-0 0-1-2 10
 Sassuolo 5 3 1 1 12 8 4 3-0-0 0-1-1 10
 Inter Milan 6 3 1 2 8 5 3 1-1-1 2-0-1 10
 SPAL 5 3 0 2 4 4 0 2-0-0 1-0-2 9
 Genoa 5 3 0 2 9 10 -1 3-0-0 0-0-2 9
 Sampdoria 6 2 2 2 9 3 6 1-1-1 1-1-1 8
 Roma 6 2 2 2 11 9 2 1-2-0 1-0-2 8
 Udinese 6 2 2 2 7 6 1 1-1-1 1-1-1 8
 Parma 6 2 1 3 6 8 -2 1-1-1 1-0-2 7
 Atalanta 6 1 3 2 9 8 1 1-1-1 0-2-1 6
 Torino 6 1 3 2 5 7 -2 1-0-2 0-3-0 6
 Cagliari 6 1 3 2 4 7 -3 0-3-0 1-0-2 6
 AC Milan 4 1 2 1 7 7 0 1-1-0 0-1-1 5
 Empoli 5 1 1 3 4 6 -2 1-0-1 0-1-2 4
 Bologna 6 1 1 4 2 7 -5 1-0-2 0-1-2 4
 Frosinone 6 0 1 5 0 16 -16 0-1-2 0-0-3 1
 Chievo 6 0 2 4 5 15 -10 0-1-2 0-1-2 -1

Pastore scores incredible back-heel in wild Serie A match

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Just two minutes into Monday’s match, Roma found itself in front of Serie A opponents Atalanta thanks to a moment of brilliance from former Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Javier Pastore.

Having just joined Roma this summer from the French top flight, Pastore earned his second Serie A start and put it to good use. An expert cross from 21-year-old Turkish international Cengiz Under was whipped in on his left foot, and Pastore audaciously attempted to back-heel the ball into the net. He directed it towards the far post, and left Atalanta goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini with no chance as he scrambled back attempting to collect the slow-roller.

The match took many twists and turns after this incredible start. Atalanta would shockingly go 3-1 up before halftime on a brace from Emiliano Rigoni and one more by Timothy Castagne. Roma would then come back to even things up with a pair of second-half goals to earn a point. Overall, there were an insane 48 shots in the match split between the two teams, with 16 of them on target. Expected goals put the predicted final score at 2.3-2.0, an impressively high total for that statistic.

The draw put both teams on four points, impressive for Atalanta as they also navigate a campaign through the Europa League. They sit two back of the three unblemished sides Juventus, Napoli, and SPAL.

Midfielder Javier Pastore joins Roma from PSG

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ROME (AP) Roma has signed attacking Argentine midfielder Javier Pastore from Paris Saint-Germain.

The Serie A club says on Tuesday it paid PSG 24.5 million euros ($28.6 million) for the 29-year-old Pastore, who has signed a five-year contract.

[ MORE: Rojo, Messi react to win ]

It is a return to Italy for Pastore, who spent two years at Palermo before joining PSG in 2011.

Roma sporting director Monchi says: “In my career as a sporting director I have signed a lot of players, but Javier might just be the one with the most talent.”

It is Roma’s third signing of the day after deals for Davide Santon and Nicolo Zaniolo.

The duo joined from Inter Milan for a combined total of 14 million euros ($16.3 million) with Radja Nainggolan moving the other way in a deal which values the Belgium international at 38 million euros ($44.3 million).

Nainggolan has signed a four-year contract at Inter, where he will reunite with former Roma coach Luciano Spalletti.

Report: PSG told to sell millions worth of players by end of June

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According to multiple reports, UEFA has informed Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain that the club must raise a significant amount of money through player transfer sales by the end of June, or else they will face the wrath of Financial Fair Play sanctions.

The amount of money in the ultimatum has varied between reports, with both French publication L’Equipe and The Financial Times reporting the club is required to raise $70 million, while Loic Tanzi of RMC in France is reporting that number to be $47 million.

[ MORE: France World Cup preview ]

UEFA released a statement on Wednesday to declare its investigation into PSG “closed” but also said, “The financial impact of transfer activities as from the 2017 summer – up to and including the upcoming transfer window – and compliance with the break-even requirement for the 2018 financial year will remain under close scrutiny and will be thoroughly looked at in the coming weeks.”

Financial Fair Play requires all clubs to balance income with expenditures and attempts to keep clubs from expending extraordinary – and therefore theoretically unfair – amounts of money on player transfers. PSG spent a massive $260 million on the purchase of Brazilian superstar Neymar last summer, a transfer that was muddied by the involvement of the Qatari royalty. They also have an obligation to complete the permanent transfer of Kylian Mbappe after this past campaign’s season-long loan, which could potentially cost the club up to a reported $210 million.

UEFA punishments for an FFP breach could include a fine, salary restrictions, squad restrictions, or worst of all a ban from European play. PSG has qualified for next season’s Champions League group stage via their first-place finish in the Ligue 1 table. They could still be handed down a punishment should they fail to comply with the reported ultimatum.

Players who could be sold include aging and expensive attackers Edinson Cavani, Angel Di Maria, and Javier Pastore, as well as midfielder Adrian Rabiot after his heated public response to being assigned reserve status for the French World Cup squad.