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Juventus executive: Bring season Serie A game abroad

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Juventus chief revenue officer Giorgio Ricci likes La Liga’s idea of taking a regular season match outside of its domestic borders.

Ricci would like Serie A to explore a similar move, saying Italian soccer can only benefit from putting its brand in other markets.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings ]

Serie A lags behind other top European league in TV money, which has hindered its ability to recruit top end talent relative to its competitors.

Ricci says if American sports see value in bringing their top leagues to Europe, it holds that the reverse would be true. From the BBC:

“If we look at some other more developed leagues in terms of commercial strategy; the NBA and NFL, they are exporting one or two of their matches abroad, to the UK or elsewhere in Europe. I think it is a good strategy. It is a way to export something that is not an exhibition.”

Would a regular season match bring any more eyes or attention than the International Champions Cup, at least enough to offset the sacrifice of atmosphere? It seems doubtful, but the money is the key here. Italy wants to catch up with Spain, Germany, and England.

Serie A: Napoli fight back to win, stay close to Juventus

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MILAN (AP) In a match which had to be suspended for nearly 15 minutes because of rain, Napoli almost saw its Serie A title hopes washed away.

Napoli fought back from a goal down and needed a late own goal to win at Genoa 2-1 on Saturday and keep within sight of leader Juventus.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side cut the gap to three points to Juventus, which visits AC Milan on Sunday.

Inter Milan can move back level on points with a win at Atalanta, also on Sunday.

Genoa was the only team to have taken points off Juventus in Serie A but came into the match having lost at Inter 5-0 last weekend.

Lorenzo Insigne hit the post for Napoli early on but it was Genoa which took a surprise lead in the 20th minute when Christian Kouame headed in Romulo’s cross.

It was raining heavily in Genoa and the match was halted in the 59th minute for about 13 minutes until the rain stopped and the pitch could be partly drained.

Napoli leveled shortly after play resumed, thanks to its two halftime substitutes. Mertens flicked on Allan‘s pass for Fabian Ruiz to slot past Ionut Radu.

And Napoli completed its comeback four minutes from time when Genoa defender Davide Biraschi deflected Mario Rui’s free kick into his own net.

Ronaldo, Chiellini: “We had been in total control” before Man Utd comeback

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To say Juventus feels a bit stung by Manchester United’s smash-and-grab in Turin is an understatement.

The hosts were in control of the match for most of the 90 minutes, going ahead through a sensational Cristiano Ronaldo goal in the 65th minute.

[ MORE: Recap | Mourinho reaction ]

But substitute Juan Mata curled a delightful free kick past Juve keeper Wojciech Szczesny, and the Italians bungled a late Ashley Young effort for an own goal in a 2-1 loss, their first at home in a group stage match since 2009.

All told, Juve out-attempted United 21-9, with both clubs registered three shots on target.

“Manchester United did nothing to win the game,” Ronaldo said. “You can’t even talk about luck, because you have to find your own luck and in this case we just gifted it to them.

“Now we’ve got to lift our heads, as we played really well and are still top of the group. … Manchester didn’t do much, they had two chances on set pieces. I know English teams are always looking for set pieces.”

One of Ronaldo’s defenders, Giorgio Chiellini, sounded equally unimpressed.

“We had been in total control, but were very wasteful and forgot the details, because we knew where Manchester United could be dangerous,” said Chiellini. “If we’re going to lose Champions League games like this, it’s best we do it now rather than later on.”

Manager Max Allegri shared similar thoughts, adding that he felt the loss was okay because it was “the least important game” of the group stage.

That’s still a bit weird, considering the away game at United would’ve traditionally been viewed as such (although they did have that win in pocket when Allegri made his comments). From Football-Italia.net:

“I think it’ll do us good in the long run, as we need to learn not to fall asleep in these situations. I saw Manchester United play the same way in the Premier League at the weekend, they did very little for 80 minutes and then won in very similar circumstances.”

LIVE, Champions League: Juventus v. Man United headlines

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The big game in the UEFA Champions League group stage takes place in Turin on Wednesday, as Juventus host Manchester United.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

After Juve won the first game between the teams 1-0 at Old Trafford two weeks ago, the scoreline didn’t truly reflect their dominance. Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. know that a win against United will seal their spot in the Round of 16, while Jose Mourinho’s men have played well in recent games and will fancy their chances of nicking a draw on the road.

Paul Pogba‘s return to Juve will be closely watched and ahead of their final two group games against Young Boys and Valencia it is important, not imperative, for United to get something in Italy.

Elsewhere, Man City host Shakhtar in Group F knowing they can solidify top spot with a win, while Real Madrid head to play Viktoria Plzen as interim boss Santiago Solari takes charge of his first UCL game.

Bayern Munich will hope to win at home against AEK Athens to take control of Group E, but Ajax know a win away at Benfica will put them into the Round of 16.

Click on the link above to follow the action live, while below is the look at the full schedule with all games kicking off at 3 p.m. ET.


Wednesday’s UCL schedule

Group E
Benfica v. Ajax
Bayern Munich v. AEK Athens

Group F
Manchester City v. Shakhtar Donetsk
Lyon v. Hoffenheim

Group G
Viktoria Plzen v. Real Madrid

Group H
Juventus v. Manchester United

Empoli fire Andreazzoli after one win in 11 matches

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EMPOLI, Italy — Relegation-threatened Empoli has fired Aurelio Andreazzoli after winning only one of 11 matches in Serie A.

Empoli made the announcement on its website late Monday, three days after being routed 5-1 by Napoli.

Empoli is reportedly in negotiations to hire former Palermo and Sassuolo coach Giuseppe Iachini as a replacement.

It’s the third coaching change in Serie A this season following moves at Chievo Verona and Genoa.

Andreazzoli was hired by Empoli in December and led the club to the Serie B title and direct promotion last season.

The Tuscan squad’s only win this season came in the opening round over Cagliari.

Andreazzoli was previously an assistant at Roma then coached the Giallorossi in a caretaker role in the second half of the 2012-13 season.