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Colombia thrash poor Poland, set up must-win vs. Senegal

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Colombia thrashed Poland, to the tune of 3-0, in the two sides’ must-win game in Group H play at the 2018 World Cup on Sunday, getting goals from Yerry Mina, Radamel Falcao and Juan Cuadrado to leave their destiny in their own hands ahead of Thursday’s decisive group finale against Senegal.

Poland have been eliminated with one group game still to play.

[ SCENARIOS: Who needs what, to finish where, in final round of group games ]

Colombia could have scored two or three goals in the first half, with Cuadrado and Juan Quintero causing constant problems for the left side of the Polish defense, but the necessary finishing touch was consistently lacking until Mina headed home a James Rodriguez cross in the 40th minute.

Poland offered very little, both before or after Mina’s opener, as Robert Lewandowski was effectively contained with the vast majority of his touches coming 30 yards from goal and further out. After disappointing in their tournament-opening loss to Senegal, manager Adam Nawalka made a handful of changes to his lineup — dropping the likes of Arkadiusz Milik, Jakub Blaszczykowski and Kamil Grosicki — to no avail.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Despite the scoreline remaining 1-0 for the first 25 minutes of the first half, Poland never looked threatening and were put to the sword by Falcao’s first career World Cup goal (missed the 2014 tournament due to a knee injury), courtesy of Quintero’s seeing-eye through ball.

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James played provider five minutes later, when he slotted what might just be the pass of the tournament across the field, across the Polish defense, and found a streaking Cuadrado with acres of space in front of him. From one end of the field to the other, in no time at all.

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When Colombia (3 points) meet Senegal (4 points) on Thursday, they’ll need a win to overtake them for second place, or for Poland (0 points) to beat Japan (4 points), who currently sit top of the group — but that seems highly unlikely at this point.

Serie A: Juventus come back after major scare from Benevento

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MILAN (AP) Last-place Benevento threatened a major shock in Turin before Juventus eventually fought back to win 2-1 Sunday and close the gap on leader Napoli in Serie A.

Benevento had not picked up a single point in its previous 11 league games – the worst start in the division’s history — but took a surprise lead through Amato Ciciretti in the 19th minute.

That lead lasted nearly 40 minutes before Gonzalo Higuain leveled. Juan Cuadrado scored what was to prove the winner in the 65th.

“We went behind with the only shot we allowed our opponents, but we kept our heads. It seemed like a cursed match, the ball didn’t want to go in, but we managed to turn it around,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said.

“The season is long, we have to maintain the speed of a cruise ship because too many ups and downs are not positive. It will be a battle right until the final day.”

Juventus moved into second spot, a point behind Napoli, which was held 0-0 at Chievo Verona.

Inter slipped to third, two points behind Napoli, after drawing 1-1 at home to Torino.

Lazio was four points behind Napoli after its home match against Udinese was postponed because of heavy rain in the Italian capital.

Juventus was expected to sweep aside bottom Benevento and celebrate this week’s 120th anniversary of the club’s foundation.

The hosts hit the woodwork twice early but Benevento, which had scored just four goals all season, took the lead when Ciciretti curled a stunning free kick around the wall and into the bottom left corner.

Juventus wasted several chances before eventually finding the equalizer in the 57th. Blaise Matuidi headed Mattia De Sciglio’s cross back to Higuain, who volleyed into the top right corner.

And the Bianconeri turned the match around completely eight minutes later when Cuadrado met Alex Sandro‘s cross from the left with a downward header at the far post.


Napoli dropped points for only the second time this season, unable to find a way past a solid Chievo team in a 0-0 stalemate.

Maurizio Sarri’s team was eager to bounce back from Wednesday’s 4-2 defeat to Manchester City and almost certain Champions League elimination.

Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina was out with a back injury, with Luigi Sepe making his first Serie A appearance for the club since 2009.

Sepe was almost embarrassed on the hour mark when Ivan Radovanovic spotted him off his line and tried his luck from 60 yards out, but the goalkeeper scrambled back to reach the ball from under the bar.


Inter had to come from behind to draw 1-1 against Torino and maintain its unbeaten start to the season.

More than 70,000 fans were at San Siro for the lunchtime match.

But they were left stunned when Iago Falque gave Torino the lead on the hour mark, surging between two defenders before blasting the ball into the near bottom corner from the edge of the area.

Joel Obi missed a great chance to double Torino’s lead before substitute Eder fired in the equalizer when Mauro Icardi headed down Ivan Perisic’s cross to the Italy forward.

Inter almost won the match two minutes from time but Matias Vecino’s effort from distance crashed off the crossbar.


Roma set a Serie A record with its 12th consecutive away victory as it won 4-2 at Fiorentina, thanks to two first-half goals from Gerson – his first for the club.

Alessio Romagnoli’s header and a wonderful curler from Suso saw AC Milan win 2-0 at Sassulo, while Spal drew 1-1 at 10-man Atalanta.

Elsewhere, Cagliari beat relegation-threatened Hellas Verona 2-1 to move six points above the drop zone.

Juventus purchases Cuadrado from Chelsea

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If you didn’t realize Juan Cuadrado still belonged to Chelsea, you’re forgiven.

The Colombian attacker will complete his second season at Juventus after the UEFA Champions League Final against Real Madrid, and won’t be headed back to Chelsea afterwards.

Juve has purchased Cuadrado, and the fee is $22 million, and Juve will pay it over three seasons. Cuadrado, 28, is now signed through 2020 with The Old Lady.

Cuadrado first went on loan to Juve in Aug. 2015, and has eight goals and 18 assists in 83 career appearances with the club.

Chelsea bought Cuadrado from Fiorentina for around $32 million in the January 2015 transfer window, but made just 14 appearances with the club.

Serie A roundup: Juventus stays 10 points clear, Roma comes back

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Juventus began a new league winning streak as they rode an early Juan Cuadrado goal to a 1-0 road win over Sampdoria, maintaining the 10 point league lead.

Cuadrado scored just seven minutes in at Stadio Luigi Ferraris, heading in Kwadwo Asamoah’s left-flank cross. They would defend strong the rest of the way, as Sampdoria out-shot Juventus 10-9, but they offered little in front of net. Juventus could have had a second had Gonzalo Higuain not inadvertently blocked a sure goal for Mario Mandzukic on the line.

The Italian giants drew on March 5th against Udinese, halting a seven-match winning streak, but now with successive wins over AC Milan and Sampdoria, the streak begins anew. The victory came at a heavy price, however, as Paulo Dybala was forced off with a leg injury in the 28th minute. This is an equally big loss for Argentina, who called Dybala up for the coming

With the comfortable lead at the top, Juventus just has to ward off Napoli. They did just that, despite Napoli’s exciting 3-2 win over Empoli. They built an early 3-0 lead on two from Lorenzo Insigne bracketing one from Dries Mertens, but Empoli put up a fight. Omar El Kaddouri scored in the 70th minute to give the hosts a lifeline, and Massimo Maccarone hit in the 84th minute to make it a game. Napoli would see the game off, to keep Mertens from rueing his missed penalty in the 7th minute.

Roma found itself down trailing Sassuolo in the opening 10 minutes, but would come from behind to earn a 3-1 win and all three points. Leandro Paredes evened it up in the 16th minute, and Mohamed Salah put Roma in front before the break. Edin Dzeko hit past the hour mark to complete the scoreline and keep Roma in third and within one point of Napoli.

Elsewhere, Lazio was held to a 0-0 draw on the road at Cagliari, harming their chances of catching the top 3. Lazio could only get four of its 14 shots on target, and they fell five points back of Roma, and now sit just two points ahead of fifth-placed Inter and sixth-placed Atalanta, both on 55 points.

Atalanta moved themselves into that advantageous position with a 3-0 win over bottom-feeders Pescara. Alejandro Gomez and Alberto Grassi scored on each end of halftime, and Gomez earned a third in stoppage time to finish things off. Fiorentina won at Crotone 1-0 thanks to a late 90th minute winner from Nikola Kalanic, but they still trail AC Milan by five points for seventh place.

Report: Cuadrado seeking loan move to Juventus… again

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For the second straight season, Juan Cuadrado could be plying his trade in Italy with the reigning champions.

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The Chelsea winger is reportedly seeking a second loan move to Juventus, according to the Evening Standard. The move is still uncertain though, after new Blues manager Antonio Conte reportedly told the Colombian attacker that he sees him in his plans this season and doesn’t want him to leave.

According to Cuadrado’s agent, Alessandro Lucci, “It’s not an easy question. I will fly to London to try and unblock it.”

A loan fee of roughly $4.5 million has been discussed, with Juventus also said to have an option to purchase Cuadrado at the end of the 2016/17 season.

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Last season, the 28-year-old made one appearance for Chelsea before going on loan to Juventus, where Cuadrado netted five goals in 40 appearances for the Bianconeri.