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Lazio ultras want to ban women from “sacred space” in stadium

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ROME (AP) Lazio’s “ultra” fans have caused outrage by telling women to avoid their “sacred space” in the club’s Stadio Olimpico.

The die-hard supporters distributed flyers ahead of their team’s Serie A opener at home to Napoli.

[ MORE: Juventus win on Ronaldo’s goal-less debut; Napoli chasing again ]

“The Curva Nord represents for us a sacred space, an environment with an unwritten code to be respected,” read the flyer. “The first few rows, as always, have been experienced like the trenches. In the trenches, we do not allow women, wives and girlfriends, so we invite them to position themselves from the 10th row back.

“Those who choose the stadium as an alternative to a carefree and romantic day in (Rome’s) Villa Borghese (gardens), should go to other sections.”

Lazio spokesman Arturo Diaconale told Italian news agency Ansa on Sunday that “it is not the position of the club, we are against any discrimination.”

He added: “Moreover, there is an enormous number of Lazio fans, this instead is an initiative from a few fans. We can’t always intervene to avoid politically incorrect displays like this.”

[ MORE: Edin Dzeko starts Roma off right with stunning winner ]

Some Lazio fans caused outrage last season when they littered the Stadio Olimpico in Rome with images of Anne Frank — the young diarist who died in the Holocaust — wearing a jersey of city rival Roma. Lazio was fined $63,000 by the Italian soccer federation because of the anti-Semitism displayed by the team’s fans.

It was the latest in a series of racist and anti-Semitic incidents, with Lazio previously having its stadium fully or partly closed for European and domestic matches as punishment.

Serie A: Juve win on Ronaldo’s goal-less debut; Napoli chasing again

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in Italy’s top flight, which will almost certainly be the most entertaining league and title race throughout the rest of Europe.

Pro tip: If you’ve not been following Serie A the last few years — during an admittedly drab period — last season signaled the renaissance of calcio, and the likes of Juventus, Napoli, Roma and Inter Milan look set to build upon that over the next nine months.

Chievo 2-3 Juventus

Cristiano Ronaldo failed to scored, but his Juventus debut wasn’t without plenty of intrigue and drama. In the end, Massimiliano Allegri’s men snatched a stoppage-time victory away to Chievo on Saturday.

Juve went ahead through Sami Khedira’s opening goal in the 3rd minute, but fell behind just before the hour mark after Mariusz Stepinski and Emanuele Giaccherini tallied either side of halftime. Chievo center back Mattia Bani scored a dubious own goal in the 75th minute to draw the seven-time defending scudetto winners level.

Ronaldo appeared to have helped set up a would-be game-winning goal just before the start of stoppage time, but he was ruled to have played the ball with his hand and the goal was taken off the board. Barely three minutes later, Federico Bernardeschi bagged the real winner to start Juve’s quest for an eighth straight Serie A title in winning fashion.

On Ronaldo’s hard luck in front of goal, Juve boss Allegri said, with a smile, after the game: “Cristiano Ronaldo had a good game. He had several shots on goal. Today he didn’t score because clearly it was written somewhere that he wouldn’t score.”

Lazio 1-2 Napoli

Napoli pushed Juve all the way to the final weeks of last season before the Bianoneri were able to wrap up the title, and it’s going to take another mammoth effort to do the same again this season. That quest began with a win on Saturday, as Carlo Ancelotti’s side (replacing Maurizio Sarri, who left for Chelsea in the summer) came back from an early deficit to knock off Lazio in Rome.

Ciro Immobile opened the scoring in the 25th minute, but Lazio couldn’t even make the lead last until halftime. Arkadiusz Milik poked Jose Callejon’s cross home from close range during first-half stoppage time. Napoli withstood increased pressure from Lazio after halftime, but held firm defensively and found the winner through Lorenzo Insigne just before the hour mark. Lazio dealt with the initial, early ball into the box, but only as far as Insigne who was lurking near the corner of the penalty area. When it fell to him, he needed just one touch to settle the ball and set his body for the far-post curler he was about to uncork. The 27-year-old was Napoli’s breakout star with 18 league goals last season, and he’s already picked up where he left off in 2018-19.

Sunday’s Serie A schedule

Torino vs. Roma — 12 p.m. ET
Sassuolo vs. Inter Milan — 2:30 p.m. ET
Parma vs. Udinese — 2:30 p.m. ET
Bologna vs. SPAL — 2:30 p.m. ET
Empoli vs. Cagliari — 2:30 p.m. ET

Liverpool to lose $82m Alisson to Real; Klopp turns to Lazio GK?

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Brazilian national team starter and Liverpool transfer target Alisson looks increasingly likely to only see Anfield as a visitor.

Italian outlet Corriere dello Sport says Real Madrid is going to tempt Roma with an $82 million bid that could rise with add-ons.

[ MORE: Lozano to Barcelona? ]

And Real would also offer a near $6 million annual salary to the Brazilian backstop.

It’s coincidence that this news comes on the day that both Alisson and current Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas were at opposite ends of the pitch.

Alisson had little to do, while Costa Rican backstop Navas was outstanding until Philippe Coutinho and Neymar scored during stoppage time.

Meanwhile, TalkSport says the Reds are in on a different Serie A goalkeeper: Lazio’s Albanian backstop Thomas Strakosha.

The 23-year-old old played all 38 league games for the Roman club this season.

Inter Milan back in the Champions League after late heroics (video)

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It’s been more than a half-decade since Inter Milan qualified for the UEFA Champions League, an infamous run that ended on Sunday.

Inter scored twice in the final 13 minutes to beat fifth-place Lazio and advance into the Top Four via head-to-head record.

[ MORE: Man Utd youngster gets USMNT call-up ]

Lazio held 1-0 and 2-1 leads, but could not get the job done at home, collecting red cards in the 79th minute and stoppage time.

Uruguayan midfielder Matias Vecino scored his third goal of the season, redirecting a corner kick home in the 81st minute, as Inter clinched fourth place in Serie A.

Europa League quarterfinal field set

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Longtime Liverpool man Lucas Leiva led Lazio into the UEFA Europa League, as eight teams not await Friday morning’s quarterfinal draw.

[ MORE: Arsenal blasts Milan ]

Three rounds stand between these teams and an automatic berth in the UEFA Champions League, though that does not seem to be an issue for several via league standing (chiefly Atletico Madrid).

AC Milan, Lyon, Borussia Dortmund, and Zenit Saint-Petersburg were among the eight sides dumped out of the tournament on Thursday.

Quarterfinalists
Arsenal
Atletico Madrid
CSKA Moscow
Lazio
Marseille
RB Leipzig
RB Salzburg
Sporting Lisbon