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Serie A: Leaders Inter Milan open door for Juve by drawing Roma

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MILAN (AP) Italian league leader Inter Milan was held by Roma to 0-0 on Friday, giving second-placed Juventus a chance to return to the top.

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The home draw left Inter only two points ahead of Juventus, which can regain the lead when it visits third-placed Lazio on Saturday.The result also wasn’t good for Roma, which moved from fifth to fourth place in the standings but remained nine points off the lead after 15 matches.

Inter forward Lautaro Martinez had one of the game’s best chances when he got past a defender and entered the area in the 68th minute, but his shot was blocked at the last minute. He called for a handball by the defender but the referee let play continue.

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Inter was coming off five straight wins in the league, with its last setback in all competitions last month against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League. Its last league loss was against Juventus in October, nine matches ago.

Roma was seeking its third straight league win. It had won five of its last six matches since last month.

Inter visits Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Italian newspaper condemned for ‘Black Friday’ headline featuring Lukaku, Smalling

Photo credit: Corriere dello Sport
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Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport has been widely condemned after printing the headline “Black Friday” on top of photos of Inter Milan forward Romelu Lukaku and Roma defender Chris Smalling, former Manchester United teammates set to face one another in Serie A action on Friday.

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The sub-headline went on to read: “Lukaku and Smalling, former teammates at Manchester United and today idols at Inter and Roma, this is the battle within the battle tomorrow with the scudetto and a Champions League place at stake.”

Both clubs were quick to put out statements condemning the newspaper’s coverage.

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Per the Guardian, an excerpt of the article which appeared to attempt to highlight Serie A’s problem with racism, saying, “We are all trying to tackle the issue of racism in Italian football,” before making a racially insensitive statement of its own:

“In the faces of those idiots who boo, tomorrow everyone must instead go ‘oooh’ like children. It will be a Black Friday, but this is not an end-of-season sale.” It went on to describe Lukaku and Smalling as “two giants of color.”

This comes less than a week after Serie A’s 20 clubs put out a joint statement “acknowledging a serious problem with racism” in the Italian game, while providing little or no concrete plan for action to rid the game of the very racism they acknowledged.

Lukaku has scored 10 goals in 14 league games since joining Inter this summer and Smalling has become a mainstay for Roma in recent months, scoring twice and leading the defense to a much improved record of goals conceded and five victories in six games.

UPDATE #2: Roma has banned Corriere dello Sport from “our training facilities for the rest of the year and our players will not carry out any media activities with the newspaper during this period.”

UPDATE: Lukaku and Smalling have each commented on the headline…

Serie A: Ronaldo-Sarri rift opens up as Juve beat AC Milan late (video)

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A roundup of all of Sunday’s action in Italy’s top flight…

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Juventus 1-0 AC Milan

Paulo Dybala scored the 77th-minute winner to keep Juventus unbeaten (16 games – all competitions) on the season, but that’s hardly the top storyline coming out of the Bianconeri‘s 1-0 victory over AC Milan.

Instead, a potential rift between Cristiano Ronaldo and manager Maurizio Sarri has taken center stage after the Portuguese forward appeared thoroughly perturbed to have been subbed off in the 55th minute. It was the second straight game Ronaldo was brought off, and he appeared to give Sarri a dirty look and mutter something under his breath before heading straight down the tunnel.

It was Dybala, the game’s only goal-scorer, who replaced him. It was a beautifully worked goal for Dybala, who combined with Gonzalo Higuain before twisting past a defender and firing a right-footed shot past Gianluigi Donnarumma.

The victory keeps Juve (32 points) top of the Serie A table, a point clear of Inter Milan, after a dozen games played. The journey for a ninth straight scudetto will continue with a trip to last season’s fourth-place finishers Atalanta following the upcoming international break.

Parma 2-0 Roma

Earlier on Sunday, Roma suffered another disappointing result — a 2-0 loss to Parma — to fall two points out of fourth place.

Mattia Sprocati broke a scoreless deadlock in the 68th minute, followed by a late insurance goal scored by Andreas Cornelius in the 92nd.

Parma now sit eighth in the table, just two seasons after being promoted back to Serie A and only five seasons after being forced down to Serie D.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Cagliari 5-2 Fiorentina
Lazio 4-2 Lecce
Udinese 0-0 SPAL
Sampdoria 0-0 Atalanta

Serie A wrap: Late Ronaldo penalty saves Juve; Smalling nets for Roma

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Italy was not happy about playing at midweek, or so it seems from the five red cards handed out across seven Wednesday matches in Serie A.

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Juventus moved back atop the table by a point over Inter Milan, but had to work to the wire for it, while Atalanta held firm against Napoli’s challenge to see two Roman clubs move into the Top Five.


Juventus 2-1 Genoa

It was supposed to be easier for The Old Lady at home against a Genoa side which hasn’t done much well this season, especially after a 51st minute red card for the visitors made a 1-1 score line appear destined to move toward the hosts.

Despite taking 20 more shots than the guests, Juve could not make it an easy win. Adrien Rabiot was sent off in the 87th minute, and Maurizio Sarri‘s men only triumphed when Cristiano Ronaldo converted a stoppage time penalty.

Napoli 2-2 Atalanta

The hosts lost a pair of leads as goals from Nikola Maksimovic and Arkadiusz Milik couldn’t deliver three points against the third place La Dea.

Remo Freuler’s 41st minute goal meant the score line was tied at halftime, and Josip Ilicic struck in the 86th minute to give Atalanta a share of the points in a match with 13 shots on frame.

Lazio 4-0 Torino

It was a bit of cakewalk for Lazio, who scored in the 25th and 33rd minute and saw Nicolas Nkoulou sent off in the 68th. Ciro Immobile scored two in the win, as 18-point Lazio is a point back of their fourth-place city rivals.

Udinese 0-4 Roma

Manchester United loanee Chris Smalling has his first Serie A goal, nodding in Roma’s second as i Lupi move back into the Top Four.

Roma led 1-0 when Federico Fazio was sent off, but still scored the game’s three remaining goals. Nicolo Zaniolo, Justin Kluivert, and Aleksandar Kolarov joined Smalling on the score sheet.

When asked about the performance, Roma boss Paulo Fonseca offered this gem:

“Most teams defend when down to 10, but we do not,” he said.

Elsewhere
Sassuolo 1-1 Fiorentina
Sampdoria 1-1 Lecce
Cagliari 3-2 Bologna
AC Milan v. SPAL — 4 p.m. ET Thursday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Juventus 10 8 2 0 18 9 9 5-0-0 3-2-0 26
 Inter Milan 10 8 1 1 22 10 12 3-1-1 5-0-0 25
 Atalanta 10 6 3 1 30 16 14 2-1-1 4-2-0 21
 Roma 10 5 4 1 18 11 7 2-2-1 3-2-0 19
 Lazio 10 5 3 2 22 10 12 3-2-0 2-1-2 18
 Napoli 10 5 3 2 20 13 7 3-1-1 2-2-1 18
 Cagliari 10 5 3 2 16 10 6 3-1-2 2-2-0 18
 Fiorentina 10 4 3 3 15 13 2 2-1-2 2-2-1 15
 Parma 10 4 1 5 15 14 1 3-0-3 1-1-2 13
 Bologna 10 3 3 4 14 15 -1 2-1-1 1-2-3 12
 Verona 10 3 3 4 7 8 -1 1-2-2 2-1-2 12
 Torino 10 3 2 5 11 16 -5 2-2-1 1-0-4 11
 AC Milan 9 3 1 5 9 13 -4 1-1-2 2-0-3 10
 Udinese 10 3 1 6 5 17 -12 3-0-3 0-1-3 10
 Sassuolo 9 3 0 6 16 18 -2 2-0-3 1-0-3 9
 Lecce 10 2 3 5 11 19 -8 0-1-3 2-2-2 9
 Genoa 10 2 2 6 13 23 -10 2-1-2 0-1-4 8
 Brescia 9 2 1 6 9 14 -5 0-1-3 2-0-3 7
 SPAL 9 2 1 6 7 16 -9 2-1-2 0-0-4 7
 Sampdoria 10 1 2 7 6 19 -13 1-2-2 0-0-5 5

LIVE La Liga, Serie A: Real Madrid, Juventus, Napoli all in action

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There are 12 games across Serie A and La Liga on Wednesday, with plenty of big hitters in midweek league action.

Juventus have the chance to go back to the top of Serie A as Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. host Genoa, while Napoli host Atalanta in what should be a cracking game. Roma travel to Udinese and Lazio host Torino as Italy’s top-flight continues to stay tight early in the season.

[ LIVE: La Liga scoresSerie A scores ]

Over in Spain, things are very congested at the top of the table as Real Sociedad can move joint-top with a victory against Levante, so too can Sevilla with a win at Valencia and Real Madrid move into second with a win over Leganes and other results going their way.

Click on the links above to follow the scores from both leagues


La Liga schedule
Valencia v. Sevilla – 2 p.m. ET
Real Sociedad v. Levante – 2 p.m. ET
Athletic Bilbao v. Espanyol – 2 p.m. ET
Real Betis v. Celta Vigo – 4 p.m. ET
Real Madrid v. Leganes – 4:15 p.m. ET

Serie A schedule
Napoli v. Atalanta – 2 p.m. ET
Sassuolo v. Fiorentina – 4 p.m. ET
Sampdoria v. Lecce – 4 p.m. ET
Udinese v. Roma – 4 p.m. ET
Cagliari v. Bologna – 4 p.m. ET
Juventus v. Genoa – 4 p.m. ET
Lazio v. Torino – 4 p.m. ET