Simone Zaza

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Serie A: Milan ends skid, Fiorentina blanks Atalanta, Gervinho scores

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AC Milan ended a three-game winless streak by storming Sassuolo 4-1. It started on a first-half breakaway goal by 21-year-old Franck Kessie. The Ivory Coast international ran on the ball from his own defensive third on a breakaway, ending in a three-on-two situation and taking it himself and firing low into the back of the net.

The visitors would score twice more by the hour mark, as Suso gave Milan its second on a fantastic curler from the top-right corner of the box soon after the break, and 23-year-old Spanish international Samu Castillejo bagged their third with a left-footed shot from the top of the box. It’s just the second win of the season for AC Milan, pushing them to 10th in the Serie A table above SPAL and Torino on goal differential.

In somewhat controversial fashion, Fiorentina moved up to 4th with a 2-0 victory over Atalanta at home. The key moment came in the 62nd minute when Federico Chiesa went down at the edge of the box under pressure from Atalanta defender Rafael Toloi. The referee pointed to the spot for a penalty, but replays showed Chiesa clearly went to ground on his own from little to no contact.

Still, Jordan Veretout buried his penalty strongly into the top-left corner, and Fiorentina took a 1-0 lead. The visitors pushed hard for an equalizer, holding 65% possession and ripping off 17 shots to Fiorentina’s seven, but Atalanta only managed to put three of those on target, and were unable to pull back level. The hosts killed off the game in stoppage time on a goal by Cristiano Biragi and they moved to 13 points, level with Sassuolo and Inter.

23-year-old Polish international Krzysztof Piatek bagged a double for Genoa three minutes apart as they win on the road at Frosinone 2-1. Both of Piatek’s goals came off poor defensive mistakes, giving him an incredible eight goals just six matches into the season, including at least one in every game thus far. His first came in the 33rd minute on a speculative long-ball into the box that met the head of Christian Kouamé who beat his defender with ease, and all Piatek had to do was turn and shoot. His second came just three minutes later as Bartosz Salamon flubbed collecting a Genoa long-ball and had his pocket picked by Kouame, who fed Piatek on the two-on-none break for an easy finish.

Former Arsenal and Roma winger Gervinho scored the game’s only goal as Parma topped Empoli 1-0. The 31-year-old scored from a tight angle on a brilliant feed from Antonino Barillà in the 33rd minute.

Bologna earned its second win of the season by beating Udinese on an 82nd minute winner by Italian U21 international Riccardo Orsolini. Federico Mattiello whipped a cutback from the right edge of the box and it hit Orsolini perfectly in stride for the finish. Previously, Ignacio Pussetto saw his 32nd minute opener canceled out by Federico Santander just before halftime.

Chievo Verona and Torino went scoreless for 88 minutes before Simone Zaza scored to earn the visitors all three points at Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi. Zaza slid to finish off an absurd through-ball from Alex Berenguer seemingly out of nothing. It earned Torino its second win of the season moving them into 10th with nine points.

Pair of Italy stars back in squad for WC playoff vs. Sweden

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MILAN (AP) Simone Zaza and Alessandro Florenzi are back in the Italy squad for the first time in a year, and there was also a surprise call-up for Jorghino for the World Cup playoff against Sweden.

Zaza has been recalled after eight goals in his last seven league games for Valencia. Roma’s Florenzi returns after twice rupturing the ACL in his knee.

Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura has always left out Brazilian-born Jorginho, saying he does not fit into his tactics, but has now included the Napoli midfielder amid reports Brazil has expressed interest.

Italy travels to Stockholm for the first leg on Friday and hosts Sweden at San Siro in the decider three days later.

Andrea Belotti, Marco Verratti and Daniele De Rossi return from injury.

Zaza scores stunning goal for Valencia vs. Real Madrid

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Simone Zaza scored a stunner for Valencia against Real Madrid in La Liga.

Yes, that Simone Zaza.

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The Italian international striker, 25, spent the best part of six months on loan at West Ham United this season and just didn’t look interested as he failed to score in 11 appearances in all competitions. That prompted Slaven Bilic and the Hammers to cancel his loan deal from Juventus and the forward then joined Valencia in La Liga in January.

Fans of West Ham will be scratching their heads when watching the video below as Zaza swiveled and smashed home a perfect volley to put Valencia 1-0 up against Real at the Mestalla on Wednesday.

Simply sublime.

Valencia signs Italy striker Zaza on loan from Juventus

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VALENCIA, Spain (AP) Valencia has signed striker Simone Zaza on loan from Juventus until the end of the season.

The Spanish club said Zaza passed a medical and signed his contract on Sunday.

Valencia will have an option to buy the Italy forward at the end of the loan. He will be officially introduced to fans and media on Monday.

The 25-year-old Zaza was part of the Italian squad at the European Championship last year and was eliminated by Germany in the quarterfinals.

Zaza’s signing comes two days after Valencia’s Brazilian striker Rodrigo underwent right-ankle surgery that will sideline him for about three months.

Zaza’s father: “West Ham adventure is finished;” will leave in January

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If you blinked, you may have missed Simone Zaza‘s “adventure” in the Premier League.

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Zaza, who’s on loan from Juventus to West Ham United for (what was supposed to be) to entirety of the 2016-17 season, will leave the Hammers in January after failing to carve out a sizable role for himself in east London, according to the player’s father, Antonio Zaza, via Tuttosport:

“The West Ham adventure is finished and we are looking at different options for his future. We’re speaking with Valencia, but theirs is not the only concrete option we’re considering.

“Of course, my son would love to be coached by a great coach like [Valencia’s] Cesare Prandelli, but it’s possible that Simone could return to Serie A.”

[ MORE: Thursday’s transfer rumor roundup | Wednesday | Tuesday ]

Thus far, Zaza has failed to score a single goal in 11 appearances (all competitions) for West Ham. The most (in)famous moment of Zaza’s 2016 will undoubtedly be his space-bound penalty kick in Italy’s quarterfinals defeat to Germany at EURO 2016.