Luis Muriel

Getty Images

Serie A roundup: Handanovic saves late penalty, earns Inter draw against Atalanta (video)

Leave a comment

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored on his first start for AC Milan, but Atalanta’s shock draw at San Siro highlights Saturday’s Serie A action.

 [ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

Inter Milan 1-1 Atalanta 

Samir Handanovic’s last penalty save on Atalanta’s Luis Muriel bagged a point for top-of-the-table Inter Milan on Saturday, moving them a point clear of second-place Juventus.

Lautaro Martinez put Antonio Conte‘s side in front of the visitor’s in the fourth minute, following a pair of passes between the him and Romelu Lukaku.

But with with the clock winding down, Robin Gosens tied it up for Atalanta, finishing one of the six clear chances the side had at the San Siro on Saturday.

13 minutes later, with two minutes remaining in regular time, the visitor’s had their best opportunity yet to edge Inter. Handanovic, however, dived to his right side, blocking Muriel’s attempt on goal from the spot.

Inter remain atop of the table with 46 points, but Juventus have a clear-cut chance to surpass I Nerazzurri if they defeat AS Roma away on Sunday.

Atalanta remain in the fifth spot with 35 points, level with fourth-place Roma.

Inter host Cagliari on Tuesday in the Round of 16 of the Coppa Italia, while Gian Piero Gasperini’s men travel Florence to take on Fiorentina in the same tournament.

Elsewhere

Cagliari 0-2 AC Milan

Lazio 1-0 Napoli

Serie A roundup: Atalanta hand Milan worst league loss in 21 years (video)

Getty Images
Leave a comment

AC Milan’s worst league loss in 21 years highlights Sunday’s Serie A action.

 [ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

Atalanta 5-0 AC Milan

With a brace from Josip Ilicic and goals from Alejandro Gomez, Mario Pasalic and Luis Muriel, Atalanta ran all over AC Milan in Bergamo on Sunday.

It was the fourth time in the club’s 120-year history that the Rossoneri suffered a loss by more than five goal, with the last one occurring in May of 1998. Milan’s Chief Football Officer, Zvonimir Boban, labeled the seven-time European’s performance “embarrassing”.

Milan – lead by Stafano Piolo, who signed a two-year deal in October – are sitting eleventh on the table, only seven points clear of the drop zone. During the match, Atalanta fans taunted Milan fans with ‘Serie B, Serie B’ chants, predicting a possible relegation for one of Italy’s most important clubs.

Throughout the night, Milan registered a lone shot on target, 10 short of the amount that the home side registered.

“We have to work and improve. We entered the pitch with too little technical and tactical clarity. It’s a terribly insufficient performance,” acknowledged Milan coach Pioli.

That’s not the only hot topic Pioli touched on, however.

Conveniently enough, reporters pressed the 54-year-old about Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s possible arrival and whether or not the former Milan striker can ameliorate their situation.

“These are questions for the club owners,” he told DAZN when asked about Ibrahimovic, who is a free agent and has been rumored to make a return to Italy.

“People have talked about Ibrahimovic for over a month now. I’ve already said he is a champion and would bring that determination and character to raise the intensity and focus even during training, more so than in games.”

With their next match not until January 6, the Rossoneri will have plenty of time to reflect on one of the darkest nights in club history. And maybe sign themselves an Ibrahimovic, too.

Elsewhere

Lecce 2-3 Bologna

Parma 1-1 Brescia

Sassuolo 1-2 Napoli

Serie A roundup: Atalanta crush Udinese in historic victory (video)

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Atalanta’s historic 7-1 victory over a typically defensively sharp Udinese highlights Sunday’s Serie A action.

 [ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

Atalanta 7-1 Udinese

Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia was a fun place to be on Sunday.

The home side, Atalanta routed Udinese 7-1, equalling their biggest ever Serie A victory and moving just three points behind league leaders Juventus.

Udinese opened the scoreline in the 11th minute, but the visitor’s red card in the 32nd minute proved to be too much for them to overcome. When all was said and done, Luis Muriel finished with hat-trick, while Josip Ilicic added a brace of his own.

Fresh off of a 5-1 drilling against Manchester City in the Champions League – a tournament that has seen them lose its first three games – La Dea was in dire need of such reviving performance, despite just loosing once this season.

Prior to Sunday, Udinese had conceded just six goals this season.

Atalanta will have to turn the page quickly, however, as they take on fourth-place Napoli midweek, while Udinese host Roma, who edged AC Milan with goals from Edin Dzeko and Nicolo Zaniolo.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Roma 2-1 Milan

SPAL 1-1 Napoli

Bologna 2-1 Sampdoria

Torino 1-1 Cagliari

Fiorentina 1-2 Lazio

Nil-nil in Seville as De Gea stars

AP Photo/Miguel Morenatti
Leave a comment
  • English sides unbeaten vs. La Liga in UCL season (2-6)
  • Pogba subs into match for Herrera, 17′
  • De Gea with seven saves for United

David De Gea was the star as Manchester United escaped Sevilla with a scoreless draw in the first leg of the two sides’ UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Sevilla won a corner kick within 90 seconds, but the ball made its way through the 18 without finding a receiver.

Ander Herrera sprung Alexis Sanchez down the middle, but Jesus Navas cut across to catch the Chilean and thwart the United chance.

Navas then dragged a shot across goal and past a diving David De Gea but inches wide of the far post.

A Herrera injury — yes, another injury United supporters — meant Paul Pogba would join the fray after just 17 minutes with the key position in the 4-3-3.

Lukaku botched a terrific diagonal cross from Sanchez with a blast over the goal in the 25th minute.

The 38th minute saw Scott McTominay pump a ball right at Sergio Rico for the Sevilla backstop’s first save, and Angl Correa’s low shot was collected by De Gea for a third Red Devils save.

De Gea then made a leaping save on Steven N’Zonzi’s redirection of a bicycle kick just before halftime, and then slapped Luis Muriel’s header over the bar before the whistle.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

De Gea nabbed another save, his sixth in the contest, when Clement Lenglet got his head on an Ever Banega free kick in the 64th minute.

A Sanchez giveaway provided Sevilla the chance to counter, and Muriel couldn’t get the step back needed to power a header past De Gea.

United had a goal pulled back in the 83rd minute as the ball struck Lukaku’s arm in the build-up.

Reports: Falcao out for the summer’s World Cup; Casts doubt on Traore loan to Everton

Leave a comment

The Telegraph is among the outlets reporting that Colombia’s fears are true: the doubtful status of Radamel Falcao for the 2014 World Cup has been downgraded. He’s out for the tournament in Brazil.

Falcao injured his knee in a Cup match against a fourth-tier side and his absence from the tournament will be not just a major blow for Colombia, but a disappointment for soccer lovers in general.

The 27-year-old striker has starred across several countries and continents — Monaco, Atletico Madrid, Porto, River Plate — also notching 20 goals in 51 caps for Colombia. He was particularly dangerous for the Mattress Makers, where he scored 70 times in 91 appearances. Falcao has scored 10 times through 16 matches during his first season in France.

The injury also casts a pall on Everton’s hopes of securing Lacina Traore now that Monaco’s forward depth is in question. Once assumed to be headed on loan to West Ham, the 6-foot-8 Traore has been reported as close to a loan with the Toffees instead.

As for Colombia, could this open a spot for Fredy Montero? River Plate’s Teofilo Gutierrez and Porto’s Jackson Martinez will likely feature in their strike force, but could Montero nose his way alongside Carlos Bacca and Luis Muriel.