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Jonathan David
Jonathan David

Canadian winger David linked with host of top European clubs

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Is Gent winger Jonathan David the next North American headed for a top five European league?

The Canadian playmaker is currently leading the Belgian First Division in goals, and his agent is saying this summer means the next step for the 20-year-old.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

David has 18 goals and eight assists in league play for Gent, adding five goals and two helpers in Europa League play.

Football.London says that David prefers a move to Bayern Munich, but this his agent prefers an interim club over a leap to a UCL club like the Bavarian side or Arsenal.

David has 11 goals in 12 caps for Canada, providing the Canucks with a flyer on the other side of Alphonso Davies (who’s with that aforementioned Bayern side, if you haven’t heard).

The gossip pages have also linked him with Lazio, Porto, Ajax, Lyon, Everton, and Leicester City.

Where’s the best spot for him? Well, it depends on how badly the biggest clubs want him, but a “second-tier” slot that still brings UEL would be dynamite for his growth.

Serie A: Lazio, Roma pick up important wins

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On a day when most Serie A cities were on edge as games were canceled over Coronavirus fears, two games were able to be played to their conclusion, with important results.

Ciro Immobile added another goal to his league-leading scoring mark as Lazio outlasted Genoa, 3-2, on the road. Immobile’s 51st minute goal was his 27th of the Serie A season, putting him six goals ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo.

[ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

Lazio only needed two minutes to get on the board as Felipe Caicedo played a pass forward, which right back Adam Marusic latched onto. He then had defenders bouncing off him as he slalomed his way forward into the box and fired into the roof of the net. In transition six minutes into the second half, Immobile rifled a strike home to put Lazio up 2-0. Francesco Cassata’s golazo from the top of the box, a curling effort into the top corner, gave Genoa some life, though Lazio restored the two-goal advantage in the 71st minute through Danilo Cataldi.

Domenico Criscito scored a late penalty kick in second half stoppage time to bring Genoa within one goal again, but it was too little, too late from the hosts. With the win, Lazio keep the pressure on Juventus, sitting just one point behind the leaders on the same number of games played, 25.

Roma 4-0 Lecce

Roma returned to winning ways on Sunday with a crucial 4-0 rout of Lecce at the Stadio Olimpico.

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Coming off three straight defeats and a draw in Serie A action, it was one of the young guns, who’s had an up and down season this year, get Roma first on the board. Outside of Turkish winger Cenkiz Under, it was veterans Edin Dzeko and Henrik Mkhitaryan who stole the show.

In the 13th minute, Mkhitaryan sliced through the Lecce defense before feeding a short pass to the oncoming Under, who powered a strike past Mauro Vigorito for the game’s opening goal. In the 37th minute, Dzeko combined yet again with Mkhitaryan, finding the Armenian international running into the box before Mkhitaryan slotted home.

Dzeko then in the second half scored from close range to make it 3-0, and his former Manchester City teammate, Aleksandr Kolarov put the finishing touches on the rout with a blast from the left side of the box.

Thanks to the prior defeats, Roma currently sits outside of the UEFA Champions League slots, but the win on Sunday brought them within three points of Atalanta and the fourth and final Champions League place. However, Atalanta has a game-in-hand on Roma.

Inter and Lazio posing serious threat to Juve’s eight-year reign

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ROME — All of a sudden, it’s a three-way race for the Serie A title.

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With Inter Milan and Lazio both posting victories on Sunday, a day after Juventus’ surprise loss at Hellas Verona, the Bianconeri’s eight-year hold on the Italian league is facing a serious challenge.

Inter and Juventus are level on points, with Lazio one behind.

Inter should have the most confidence after coming from two goals down to beat AC Milan 4-2 in the Milan derby.

Lazio’s 1-0 win at Parma extended the Roman club’s unbeaten streak to a club-record 18 matches. The club is 11 points ahead of fourth-place Atalanta – with the top four qualifying for the Champions League.

“At this point when we’re only one point behind we’ve got to aim for more than just the Champions League,” Lazio winger Luis Alberto said. “We’re right there and we’re going to fight for it until the end. Juventus remains the favorite but we’re going to try to create some trouble.”

There are some worrisome numbers for Juventus, which has only the fourth-best attack and the third-best defense in terms of goals for and against.

But Juventus will be favored to jump back in front next weekend when it hosts relegation-threatened Brescia while Inter visits Lazio.

VERONA COMEBACKS

Verona’s current eight-game unbeaten run began in December by eliminating a three-goal deficit in a 3-3 draw with Torino.

Verona coach Ivan Jurić is known for pushing his team so hard in preseason training that players often get sick with exhaustion. The hard work paid off in a 2-1 comeback win against Juventus, which was sealed by a decisive penalty from substitute Giampaolo Pazzini.

Pazzini, a 35-year-old former Italy striker, has remained with Verona through two seasons in Serie B — including last season when Verona was promoted after winning a Serie B playoff by erasing a 3-0 first-leg deficit against Cittadella in the final.

BARROW AND BOGA

African players Musa Barrow and Jérémie Boga had two of the best performances of the weekend.

Barrow, a 21-year-old Gambia forward, scored twice for Bologna in a 3-2 win at Roma in his first start since joining on loan from Atalanta – raising his tally to three goals in four matches with his new club.

Boga, a 23-year-old French-born midfielder who represents Ivory Coast, earned a penalty and then scored a 90th-minute winner in Sassuolo’s 2-1 comeback victory at Spal.

Already known for his dribbling expertise, Boga’s intuitive run to redirect a long cross from Domenico Berardi with a header for the winner showed that he’s a complete player.

Having come up through Chelsea’s youth system, Boga transferred to Sassuolo in 2018 but the London club included a clause in the deal that allows it to buy him back – an increasingly likely prospect considering his recent performances.

Serie A: Inter, Lazio win to keep pressure on Juventus (video)

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For the first time in years, there’s a real title race for the Scudetto taking place in Italy.

While Juventus held onto its lead in Serie A with a 3-0 win over Fiorentina, including a brace from Cristiano Ronaldo, Inter Milan and Lazio won to keep up the pressure on the Bianconeri.

[ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

Inter Milan 2-0 Udinese

Inter Milan fans celebrated Sunday as Antonio Conte‘s side picked up its 15th win of the season. It continued Inter’s impressive away record this season, as Inter picked up its 29th point out of 33 available on the road this year.

After a scoreless first half, it was somewhat of a broken play where a tipped pass fell to Lukaku on the right side of the box. Lukaku took a touch to control and cleverly side-footed a strike into the far corner, using a screen to get it past Udinese goalkeeper Juan Musso.

Lukaku nearly scored his second goal in the 69th minute, just five minutes after his opener, when a cross fell right to his feet in the box. However, Musso robbed him from up close.

A minute later though, a Musso error would allow Lukaku a chance to score his second. Musso took out Alexis Sanchez on a breakaway in the box, leading to a penalty kick, which Lukaku dispatched with ease.

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Lazio 5-1 SPAL

Lazio striker Ciro Immobile improved his league-leading mark atop the scoring charts with a brace as Lazio routed SPAL. Immobile’s pair of goals takes him to 25 on the season. Forward Felipe Caicedo also scored a brace in the win.

Immobile opened the scoring for Lazio from point-blank range as a corner kick was headed towards the far post in the six-yard box, with Immobile powering a shot into the back of the net. After Caicedo finished a chance from Manuel Lazzarri, Immobile put Lazio up 3-0 from an impossible angle after deking out SPAL goalkeeper Etrit Berisha.

Immobile then fed Caicedo for his second goal, and Bobby Adekanye gave Lazio it’s five-goal scoreline in the second half.

[MORE: Ronaldo scores in ninth-straight game]

Elsewhere in Serie A on Sunday:

Atalanta 2-2 Genoa

Milan 1-1 Hellas Verona

Lecce 4-0 Torino

Lazio fined $22,000 for racist chants at Balotelli

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MILAN — Lazio was fined 20,000 euros ($22,000) and at least temporarily avoided a stadium closure on Wednesday after its fans targeted Brescia striker Mario Balotelli with racist chants.

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Serie A judge Gerardo Mastrandrea requested that further details on the case be handled by the Italian soccer federation prosecutor to determine exactly where in the stadium the chants came from, and to what extent Lazio collaborates in terms of identifying those responsible, before possible further punishment.

Sunday’s game was halted for a few minutes shortly after the half-hour mark and an announcement to stop the chants was made to fans at the stadium in Brescia.

Brescia was leading 1-0 at the time following a goal scored by Balotelli, who had also been subjected to racial abuse earlier in the match.

Balotelli posted a video of his goal on Instagram after the match and wrote: “Lazio fans that were today at the stadium SHAME ON YOU!”

The 29-year-old Balotelli was singled out by Lazio fans for abuse all match with other offensive chants, that weren’t specifically racist, against him and his family.

“As has always happened in the past, Lazio dissociates itself in the most exhaustive way possible from the discriminatory behavior carried out by a very small minority of fans during the match against Brescia,” Lazio said in a statement after the game.

Lazio won 2-1.

Balotelli was also the target of racial abuse earlier this season when he threatened to leave the field because of racist chants directed at him by Hellas Verona fans during a match in November.

Racism has been a problem all season in Italy with offensive chants also aimed at Romelu Lukaku, Franck Kessie, Dalbert Henrique, Miralem Pjanic, Ronaldo Vieira and Kalidou Koulibaly. All of the players targeted – except for Pjanic, who is Bosnian – are black, and many of the incidents have gone unpunished.