Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly left the Allianz Stadium before the final whistle of Juventus’ 1-0 Serie A win over AC Milan on Sunday after being substituted for the second match in a week.
Paulo Dybala replaced Ronaldo on 55 minutes with the Argentina striker going on to score the winning goal 22 minutes later to keep Juventus top in Serie A ahead of Inter Milan.
Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo looked glum as he came off and directed some words at coach Maurizio Sarri before heading to the changing rooms and Sky Sport Italia reported that the 34-year-old had left the stadium three minutes before the match finished.
However Sarri said he did not know whether Ronaldo had left the stadium early.
Paulo Dybala struck the decisive goal in Juventus’ 1-0 win over AC Milan on Sunday after replacing Cristiano Ronaldo as Juventus stayed top of Serie A, while Lazio and Cagliari moved into the Champions League places.
Argentine forward Dybala hit the winner in the 77th minute in the Allianz Stadium having taken the place of Ronaldo 20 minutes earlier.
Defending champions Juventus maintain their one-point lead over Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan who had taken pole position after their 2-1 win over Verona on Saturday.
AC Milan’s seventh defeat in 12 games saw Stefano Pioli’s side drop to 14th position, just four points above the relegation zone.
However Milan had threatened as the former European giants chased their first win against Juventus in Turin in eight years.
Wojciech Szczesny was kept busy in the Juventus goal, denying fellow Pole Krzysztof Piatek, Lucas Paqueta and Hakan Calhanoglu.
Blaise Matuidi missed Juventus’s best chance before Dybala’s winner when his powerful curling effort flew wide just after the break.
Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo, who had also been taken off during the midweek Champions League win over Lokomotiv Moscow, reportedly left the stadium before the end of the game after being substituted on 55 minutes.
Douglas Costa also came on for Federico Bernardeschi after an hour, with the two substitutions changing the game for the champions.
Gonzalo Higuain fed Dybala, who easily shook off Alessio Romagnoli to beat Donnarumma and claim his third league goal this season.
“Cristiano should be thanked because he made himself available despite not being in optimal conditions,” said Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri.
“In the last month he has had this discomfort in his knee and this a little problem for him.
“It’s only natural a player is going to be irritated to leave the pitch, especially when he worked so hard to be there.”
Returning hero Nainggolan
Behind the leaders, Lazio and Cagliari moved into the top four after goal-packed wins.
Lazio saw off newly-promoted Lecce 4-2, while surprise package Cagliari continued their superb form with a 5-2 rout of Fiorentina.
The two teams are level on 24 points, eight behind Juventus with Lazio ahead of the Sardinians on goal difference.
Lazio’s Argentine forward Joaquin Correa hit a brace either side of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic’s strike, with Serie A top-scorer Ciro Immobile slotting in a penalty at the Stadio Olimpico.
Cagliari, who battled relegation last season, have been in superb form since Radja Nainggolan returned to the Sardinian outfit after five years away, including a difficult season at Inter Milan last term.
The Belgian contributed three assists and capped a stellar performance with the fifth goal of the game on 65 minutes.
Fiorentina are struggling without Franck Ribery who is serving a three-match ban for pushing an official.
Nainggolan set up Mark Rog for the opener on 17 minutes, with Fabio Pisacane nodding in the second less than ten minutes later.
The 31-year-old was involved again in Giovanni Simeone’s third goal against the Argentinian forward’s parent club, as well as Joao Pedro’s effort 10 minutes after the break, before blasting in his second goal of the campaign from distance.
He was given a standing ovation when substituted in the 78th minute.
“We are doing something extraordinary,” said Nainggolan whose side are unbeaten in 10 games, which include seven victories and three draws.
“Nobody would have said at the beginning of the year that we could play so well,” said the Belgian.
“There is an enthusiasm that hasn’t been seen at Cagliari for years.”
Atalanta lost ground in the league days after their 1-1 draw against Manchester City thanks to a goalless draw at relegation-threatened Sampdoria.
The Bergamo side are winless in three league games and played the last 15 minutes in Genoa a man down after Ruslan Malinovskiy was sent off for a second yellow card.
Paulo Fonseca’s injury-depleted Roma also showed signs of fatigue after their Europa League defeat in Germany, falling 2-0 at Parma and dropping down to sixth.
Parma pulled through thanks to a Mattia Sprocati strike on 68 minutes and Andreas Cornelius finding a way through deep into injury time.
Italy became the second team to qualify for Euro 2020 after a 2-0 win over Greece on Saturday, while three-time champions Spain edged closer to the finals despite conceding a stoppage-time equaliser away to Norway.
Chelsea midfielder Jorginho dispatched a second-half penalty as Italy, wearing green kits for just the second time in history, registered a seventh straight win in Group J.
The Azzurri, who failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, added a second in Rome on 78 minutes through a deflected strike from Juventus forward Federico Bernardeschi.
Roberto Mancini’s side joined Belgium in the draw for next year’s finals, where Italy will play their first two group games at the Stadio Olimpico.
“We managed to create a team in a short period of time. It wasn’t easy but you have to thank the players, who have quickly developed an understanding between themselves,” said Mancini, who took over as Italy coach 18 months ago.
“It’s a team with character that fights and plays with the ball but one that must also improve. Now we have a year to try and get better.
“We have a lot of work but we’re not very far from the best European teams. I’m happy and proud to have helped the national team come through a tough patch.”
Spain dropped their first points in Group F as Joshua King converted a 94th-minute spot-kick to rescue a 1-1 draw for Norway following a foul by goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga on Omar Elabdellaoui.
Sergio Ramos broke the Spanish international appearances record as he won his 168th cap in Oslo to overtake Iker Casillas.
The visitors led when Saul Niguez slammed home from 20 yards moments after half-time but Spain were denied a seventh win in a row as King’s equaliser kept Norway in the running.
“It’s a real pain to lose points in the final seconds. It’s complicated to play against a team who knew that if they lost they were pretty much out,” said Spain captain Ramos.
Norway last qualified for a major tournament at the 2000 European Championship and are fourth in the group, four points adrift of neighbours Sweden with three games to play.
Sebastian Larsson netted two spot-kicks as Sweden cruised to a 4-0 rout of Malta to reclaim second place behind Spain. Marcus Danielson broke the deadlock on 11 minutes in Ta’ Qali and home skipper Andrei Agius also scored an own goal.
Romania remain a point behind Sweden following a 3-0 win in the Faroe Islands secured by second-half goals from George Puscas, Ionut Mitrita and Claudiu Keseru.
– Schmeichel denies Switzerland –
Kasper Schmeichel produced a series of excellent saves as Denmark defeated Switzerland 1-0 to climb level with the Republic of Ireland in Group D.
Leicester City goalkeeper Schmeichel pulled off superb stops to deny Granit Xhaka, Admir Mehmedi and Ricardo Rodriguez before Yussuf Poulsen grabbed an 84th-minute winner for Denmark in Copenhagen.
The Danes moved up to 12 points alongside group leaders Ireland, who drew 0-0 away to Georgia, while Switzerland are four points off the pace but with a game in hand.
“We battled for the whole game, there was a tremendous atmosphere. I think that was one of my best performances for Denmark,” said Schmeichel.
Mick McCarthy’s Ireland couldn’t establish any momentum earlier in the day in Tbilisi and were left frustrated by wayward finishing from their few opportunities to break the deadlock.
Bosnia and Herzegovina reignited their qualification hopes in Italy’s group with a 4-1 win over second-placed Finland.
A brace from Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic and goals from Izet Hajrovic and Armin Hodzic pushed Bosnia to within two points of Finland.
Armenia blew the chance to move level with the Finns as Liechtenstein substitute Yanik Frick cancelled out Tigran Barseghyan’s effort in a 1-1 draw in Vaduz.
The Italian coastguard said Monday it had recovered the bodies of 13 women, some of them pregnant, after a boat carrying around 50 migrants capsized off Lampedusa.
Around a dozen people, reportedly including eight children and other pregnant women, are still missing after the small, overloaded boat capsized off the coast of the southern Italian island, the coastguard said.
Two bodies have been recovered and around 25 people are missing after a small boat carrying migrants capsized off Lampedusa, the Italian coastguard said on Monday.
The coastguard went to the rescue of an “overloaded and already listing boat six nautical miles from the island of Lampedusa” with about 50 migrants on board shortly after midnight on Monday, a statement said.
As the rescue vessels approached the area off the southern Italian island, “the adverse weather conditions and the sudden displacement of the migrants” caused the boat to capsize, it said.
The coastguard and a customs vessel have rescued 22 people with the search for survivors ongoing, including by air, the coastguard said.
Survivors told Italian media that at least eight children were among those still missing during the attempt to make the perilous Mediterranean crossing from North Africa to Europe.
Five Vatican employees, including the number two at its anti-money laundering authority, have been suspended following police raids linked to a financial wrongdoing probe, Italian media said Wednesday.
There was no immediate comment from Vatican authorities to the report which came the day after prosecutors seized documents and electronic devices from he offices of two key Vatican departments, the Secretariat of State and the FIA financial authority.
The L’Espresso magazine published a police circular dated Wednesday showing photographs and the positions of the five “suspended as a precaution”.
The circular said Vatican guards should no longer grant access to the five, except for healthcare purposes.
One of those suspended, secretariat head of information and documentation Mgr Mauro Carlino, will continue to be granted residence in the same hotel complex which is home to Pope Francis.
Also named was FIA director Tommaso Di Ruzza. The FIA is an independent anti-money laundering authority designed to lend transparency to operations by the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) — which acts as the Vatican Bank.
The three others suspended hold administrative posts in the secretariat.
The Vatican had said Tuesday’s raids, authorised by prosecutor Gian Piero Milano and his deputy Alessandro Diddi, were “linked to the complaints presented at the beginning of last summer by the Institute for Works of Religion and the Office of the General Auditor, regarding financial transactions carried out over time.”
The Secretariat of State, the Catholic Church’s governing body, works closely with Pope Francis.
L’Espresso reported that the investigation was looking into “real estate operations abroad,” notably in London with the alleged participation of British companies.
The magazine said investigators were analysing transactions on bank accounts which receive sums of money donated to the Catholic Church.
Italy coach Conor O’Shea said his team were “disappointed” with their Rugby World Cup start after they were forced to come from behind in an error-strewn 47-22 win over lowly Namibia on Sunday.
Talisman captain Sergio Parisse became only the third man to play in five Rugby World Cups but even he admitted it was “not maybe a really nice match to see” as wind and at times torrential rain lashed the Hanazono Stadium.
Often Six Nations whipping boys, Italy are targeting their October 4 clash against South Africa as a possible route to reaching the knock-out stages for the first time but this patchy display will not leave the Springboks unduly worried.
“We’ll have to move on from that pretty quickly. It wasn’t very pretty. There’s too many errors in it,” said O’Shea.
“It was difficult conditions at times in the second half, which doesn’t excuse it. But we’ll be disappointed with the way we played… that’s not the true version of us,” said the Irishman after the bonus-point win.
Namibia’s defence coach had promised to treat fans to an impromptu haka if his minnows pulled off a shock and it was the unfancied Welwitschias who started the brightest.
The underdogs led with only five minutes on the clock, seizing on an overthrown line-out to produce a flowing move down the right flank finished off acrobatically by scrum-half Damian Stevens.
Italy hit back within minutes, a Parisse-inspired push-over in the scrum resulting in a penalty try as Namibia collapsed on their line.
The Italians squandered several chances in a nervy and mistake-ridden first half but eventually took the lead in the 26th minute as they unpicked the Namibian defence for fly-half Tommaso Allan to touch down under the posts.
The champagne moment of the match came on the stroke of half-time as Federico Ruzza’s no-look pass let in Tito Tebaldi for a try, well converted to give the favourites a 21-7 lead at the break.
‘Never Gave Up’
With the match being played on the fringes of a typhoon, rain hammered down in the early part of the second half and Italy extended their advantage almost immediately through an Edoardo Padovani try after a clever kick behind Namibian lines.
Italy never looked in danger of losing the match, scoring three further tries via Carlo Canna, Jake Polledri and Matteo Minozzi, but the spirited Namibians refused to lie down and a touch-down from winger JC Greyling was greeted with roars from the capacity crowd.
A mazy Chad Plato try under the posts gave the Namibians a final consolation score just before time.
The 36-year-old Parisse’s record-equalling fifth World Cup put him alongside fellow countryman Mauro Bergamasco and Samoan legend Brian Lima, and his 141st cap also drew him level with Irish star Brian O’Driscoll in second place on the all-time list.
“The important thing today was to win and take the five points,” Parisse said.
“Big congratulations to Namibia as well because they never gave up. They kept playing to the end.”
Three people have been killed in Venice after a powerboat attempting to break an offshore record slammed into an artificial spit of land in the dark, Italian firefighters and media reports said Wednesday.
Italian champion Fabio Buzzi and two British racers died in the crash late Tuesday while another Italian racer survived, the reports said citing Giampaolo Montavoci, president of the national offshore and endurance commission.
The accident happened as the vessel, some 20 metres (65 feet) long and able to travel up to 130 kilometres (80 miles) an hour, tried to break the Monte Carlo to Venice record.
Firefighters said they pulled three bodies from the submerged boat while the survivor had been thrown clear.
The vessel was nearly at the finishing line when it hit the Punta Sabbioni spit, built to protect the city’s “Mose” flood barrier, reports said.
Large boulders piled up on one another from the sea floor run the length of the spit.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site is slowly sinking — something the “Mose” (Moses) system is designed to combat.
The crash was the latest in a string of accidents in the floating city, which sees everything from tiny gondolas to speedboats and vast cruise ships cross its waterways.
In June, the giant 13-deck MSC Opera rammed into a dockside in Venice and knocked into a small tourist boat, injuring four people and sending others on the pier running for safety.
A month later, the 12-deck Costa Deliziosa, nearly 300 metres long, narrowly missed a yacht while being towed out of Venice in stormy conditions.
But the hugely costly array of mobile barriers at the mouth of Venice’s lagoon has suffered years of delays, and is now only expected to be finished in 2021, local daily La Nuova di Venezia said.
An Italian priest accused of sexually abusing altar boys in a seminary and another priest who allegedly facilitated that abuse have been referred to Italian justice, the Vatican said Tuesday.
A statement said the Vatican’s Promoter of Justice has recommended that Father Gabriele Martinelli stand trial over charges of sexual abuse, and that Father Enrico Radice also be tried over charges of covering it up.
The alleged abuse took place at the pre-seminary of St Pius X, an institution located on Vatican grounds that trains altar boys destined to serve at papal masses.
“The investigation was launched in 2017 following press reports,” the Vatican said. Martinelli was a seminarian and aged 21 when the alleged abuse took place.
Italian police arrested three people Monday accused of the kidnap, torture and trafficking of migrants hoping to set sail from Libya to Europe.
Their accusers described a catalogue of abuse including the systematic rape of women and the murder of some migrants.
A 27-year old man from Guinea and two Egyptians, aged 24 and 26, were taken into custody in a detention centre in Messina, Sicily, after police gathered testimony against them from other migrants.
The arrested men had crossed the Mediterranean themselves, landing in Lampedusa before being transferred to Sicily.
Witnesses said the three ran a prisoners’ camp in a former military base in Zawyia in Libya, where those ready to attempt the perilous sea crossing were forcibly held until they could pay a ransom.
Those interviewed said they had been “beaten with sticks, rifle butts, rubber pipes, whipped or given electric shocks”, and had seen other prisoners die, police said.
They had also been refused water or medical attention for their wounds or for diseases contracted in the camp, they said.
Anyone unable to pay up was passed on to other traffickers “for sexual and/or work exploitation”, or was killed.
The testimonies were gathered from migrants spread in reception centres across Sicily and on the island of Lampedusa.
“All the women who were with us… were systematically and repeatedly raped,” one witness was quoted as saying.
“They gave us seawater to drink and, sometimes, hard bread to eat. We men were beaten to get our relatives to pay sums of money in exchange for our release,” he said.
“I saw the organisers shoot two migrants who had tried to escape”.
‘Shot for bread’
Another said he was “whipped by electrical wires. Other times I was beaten, even around the head”.
One survivor described how the electric shocks “made you fall to the ground unconscious”, adding that he had “personally witnessed many murders by electric shock”.
Some migrants died of hunger, according to another cited witness, who described seeing a jailer “shoot a Nigerian in the legs for having taken a piece of bread”.
Libya, despite being wracked by chaos and conflict since the 2011 uprising that killed the dictator Moamer Kadhafi, has remained a major transit route for migrants, especially from sub-Saharan Africa.
According to figures from the International Organization for Migration in July, at least 5,200 people are currently trapped in official detention centres in Libya, often in appalling conditions.
There are no figures for the number of people held in illegal centres run by human traffickers, who brutally torture them to try to extort money from their families.
Italy’s tough line on migrants arriving from North Africa, and European Union cooperation with the Libyan coastguard, has seen some of those attempting the crossing picked up at sea and returned to the chaos-wracked country.
The UN and aid groups have warned those returned face rampant human rights abuses in both official and illegal centres.
“The Ocean Viking just received instructions from the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre of Rome to proceed to Lampedusa,” SOS Mediterranee, which operates the vessel, tweeted.
French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said there had been an “ad hoc” agreement to divide the migrants between five countries — Italy, France, Germany, Portugal and Luxembourg.
France and Germany have agreed to take 25 percent of the migrants each, with Italy to take 10 percent.
“We now need to agree on a genuine temporary European mechanism,” Castaner added.
The Italian coastguard will send a vessel to pick up the migrants at sea in order not to disturb port operations, Italian media reported.
Under far-right leader Salvini, charity vessels with rescued migrants on board faced fines of up to a million euros as well as the arrest of the captain and impounding of the boat.
“Having been designated a place of safety that qualifies as such is good news,” said Nicola Stalla, search and rescue coordinator aboard the Ocean Viking.
“After disembarkation, the Ocean Viking should head back to her search and rescue mission… because people continue to die in these waters where no rescue ship is currently present,” Stalla said in a statement.
– ‘Refugee camp of Europe’ – Salvini pulled the plug on the previous government in August in the hope of snap elections.
His move backfired and the League leader is now in opposition after previous ally the Five Star Movement and the centre-left Democratic Party agreed a coalition.
“Here we go, ports open without limits,” Salvini tweeted after the safe port announcement.
“The new government is reopening the ports, Italy returns to being the refugee camp of Europe. Abusive ministers who hate Italians,” he wrote.
While Salvini spent much of his time as minister launching diatribes against migrants and rescue charities, his replacement is a civil servant and immigration expert, Luciana Lamorgese.
Italian foreign minister and M5S leader Luigi Di Maio, Salvini’s former ally, told Italian television that “the safe port was assigned because the European Union agreed to our request to take most of the migrants”.
Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), which runs the ship jointly with SOS Mediterranee, said the group comprised 58 men, six women and 18 minors.
“They tell our medics their skin was burned with melted plastic and they were beaten with wooden or metal sticks,” MSF said of the migrants who departed from chaos-wracked Libya.
“Many carry psychological wounds or trauma,” MSF tweeted.
Italy is trying to set up an automatic system for distributing migrants rescued in the Mediterranean between European countries, diplomatic sources said recently.
Such a deal would put an end to the case-by-case negotiations over who will take in those saved during the perilous crossing from North Africa, which has seen vulnerable asylum-seekers trapped in limbo at sea for lengthy periods.
France and Germany have reportedly given their green light to the new system, which could also involve Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Romania and Spain.
– ‘Painful process’ – Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is expected to discuss the plan with France’s President Emmanuel Macron when the latter visits Rome on Wednesday.
It will then be studied in more detail at a meeting of interior ministers on September 23 in Malta, ahead of a European summit in October in Luxembourg.