Juventus Board Resign Over Alleged Accounting Irregularities

Juventus Board/ AFP

 

 

The entire board of directors at Juventus has resigned, including president Andrea Agnelli and vice president Pavel Nedved, the Italian Serie A club said in a statement Monday.

The board had sought independent legal advice over an ongoing investigation by prosecutors in Turin into allegations of false accounting and irregularities in the transfer and loans of players.

It resigned over “new legal and accounting opinions” from experts, and given “the centrality and the relevance of the pending legal and technical/accounting matters”, the club said.

The exodus marks the end of a chapter for Agnelli, who as chairman saw Juventus win nine-straight Serie A titles as well as reach the 2015 and 2017 Champions League finals.

He was also a fervent supporter of the European Super League. Two of the clubs that also hoped to join — Manchester United and Liverpool — are now up for sale.

But he risks legal woes along with over a dozen other people in the commissions’ case.

Juve are being probed over 282 million euros ($319m) of capital gains — the positive difference between purchase and sale values net of amortization and write-downs — from a series of player transfers booked in their financial results for 2019, 2020 and 2021.

– Parallel investigation –

Prosecutors in Turin are investigating the possibility that Juve, who are listed on the Italian stock exchange, presented false accounting information to investors and produced invoices for non-existent transactions over that period.

The outgoing board “considered (it) to be in the best social interest to recommend that Juventus equip itself with a new Board of Directors to address these issues,” the club said.

Managing director Maurizio Arrivabene was asked to stay on for an interim period while a new board could be brought together for the Turin giants, the club said.

The next shareholders’ meeting is set for December 27 and will examine new consolidated financial statements as of 30 June 2022.

Shareholders are then set to meet again on January 18 to appoint the new board, it said.

A raft of transfers involving Juve and other clubs are also the subject of a parallel investigation which was launched by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) in October.

What is discovered by prosecutors will then be passed on to the FIGC, which has powers to sanction clubs with a range of punishments from fines to being kicked out of the league.

The club will “continue to cooperate with the supervisory and industry authorities”, it said.

Benfica Sink Juventus To Win 12th Straight Match

Benfica’s Portuguese forward Goncalo Ramos (R) challenges Juventus’ Brazilian defender Danilo (Bottom) and Juventus’ Italian goalkeeper Mattia Perin during the UEFA Champions League Group H football match between Juventus and Benfica on September 14, 2022, at the Juventus stadium in Turin. (Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP)

 

Benfica took their winning run to 12 matches with Wednesday’s 2-1 triumph at Juventus which put them level with Champions League Group H leaders Paris Saint-Germain.

Roger Schmidt’s team have a perfect six points from their first two matches after coming back from Arkadiusz Milik’s early opener thanks to a Joao Mario penalty and David Neres’ strike nine minutes after half-time.

The Portuguese league leaders have won every match they have played this season and are already six points ahead of Juve and Maccabi Haifa.

Boos and whistles rang out around the Allianz Stadium after another deeply disappointing display from Juve, whose coach Massimiliano Allegri will be under even more pressure from disgruntled supporters.

Allegri had said that the two matches with Benfica would be the key to whether Juve made it to the knockout rounds and on the evidence of Wednesday night they have their work cut out.

The hosts got off to a flying start through Milik, whose perfectly placed header from Leandro Paredes’ free-kick opened the scoring.

Poland forward Milik’s third goal of the season was eerily reminiscent of his last-minute winner against Salernitana at the weekend which was wrongly chalked for offside, and came after an opening flurry from Juve which turned out to be empty promise.

As the half wore on Benfica grew into the game and were unlucky not to be level in the 39th minute when Rafa Silva had all the time in the world to curl in a long-range effort that clipped the post.

But they were all square two minutes before the break after Fabio Miretti was caught bringing down Goncalo Ramos following a VAR check and on-field review from referee Felix Zwayer.

Joao Mario, formerly of Juve’s biggest rivals Inter Milan, relished the chance to smash home from the spot and then goaded the home fans, who had more reason to be angry after the restart.

Whistles began to creep around the stadium heading towards half-time and they got louder in the 55th minute when, after Rafa Silva’s shot was well saved by Mattia Perin, Neres lashed in off the rebound.

Juve would have been even further behind had it not been for Perin and Leonardo Bonucci, who both had to be at the best to stop a clutch of efforts from Benfica’s marauding forwards.

Juve pushed back in the final stages, Moise Kean having a deflected effort hit the post before Gleison Bremer somehow smashed over from close range with three minutes remaining.

But that was all Juve could muster and the whistles reached a crescendo once Zwayer ended proceedings and Benfica continued their remarkable run of results.

Mbappe Gets PSG Off To Flying Start In Champions League

Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring the 1-0 goal during the UEFA Champions League Group H first leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Juventus at Parc des Princes Stadium in Paris, on September 6, 2022. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

 

 

Kylian Mbappe produced two lethal first-half finishes as Paris Saint-Germain got their latest bid for Champions League success off to a winning start by beating Juventus 2-1 at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday.

Mbappe’s two goals were stunning, the first coming after an outrageous scooped assist by Neymar inside five minutes and the second at the end of a superb move midway through the first half.

PSG were cruising at half-time before being given a wake-up call early in the second half as substitute Weston McKennie headed Juventus back into the game.

Yet Juve are a faded force compared to just a few years ago and came to the French capital without several key players, including former PSG star Angel di Maria.

They could not find an equaliser and the Parisians claimed their first three points in Group H.

“I was very pleased with the team,” said PSG coach Christophe Galtier. “Winning in difficult circumstances can only make us stronger.”

Mbappe, along with Galtier, had come in for stiff criticism in France in the 24 hours leading up to this game for laughing when a question was put to him in the pre-match press conference about his club’s decision to travel for last weekend’s league visit to Nantes by private jet rather than take a more environmentally friendly train.

The World Cup winner’s performance here suggested none of the negative headlines had remotely bothered him, as Mbappe confirmed exactly why PSG were so desperate to keep him at the end of last season when he seemed set to depart for Real Madrid.

“We knew before this game that we had weaknesses but we are working to improve,” Mbappe told broadcaster Canal Plus.

He signed a new deal in Paris to 2025 with the aim of leading his hometown team to a first Champions League title after a decade of disappointing defeats and occasional humiliations at the business end of the competition.

“I have a new role in the side now. The coach wants me to be someone who can hold the ball up, to get in behind and also that I act as a link between Leo and Ney. I am trying to adapt to that new role while also scoring goals.”

 

Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe (top) leaps over Juventus’ Argentine midfielder Leandro Paredes (bottom) as Juventus’ Italian defender Leonardo Bonucci (R) pursues during the UEFA Champions League Group H first leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Juventus at Parc des Princes Stadium in Paris, on September 6, 2022. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

 

– Electrifying –
He needed just five minutes to get the breakthrough on a balmy evening after linking up brilliantly with Neymar, one of his rivals for the limelight in PSG’s squad of superstars.

Mbappe, coming in from the left, supplied Neymar before continuing into the box to meet the Brazilian’s delightful return pass with a volley across goalkeeper Mattia Perin into the far corner.

Juve actually very nearly equalised in the 19th minute when Arkadiusz Milik’s header from Juan Cuadrado’s cross was parried by Gianluigi Donnarumma.

It was 2-0 just three minutes later, as Mbappe played an electrifying exchange with Achraf Hakimi this time before sending another first-time strike past Perin.

With Marco Verratti and summer signing Vitinha robbing balls in midfield, Lionel Messi slipping in between the Juve defence and midfield to play intelligent passes, and Mbappe seeking to deploy his electrifying pace, PSG looked impressive.

But Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri sent on McKennie for the ineffective Fabio Miretti at half-time, and the United States international reduced the deficit in the 53rd minute.

Leandro Paredes played a short corner on the left to Filip Kostic, and his cross was headed home by McKennie with Donnarumma caught in no-man’s land.

Mbappe had squandered a great chance to make it 3-0 moments before that when he chose to shoot into the side-netting rather than pick out Neymar at the back post.

The home side then had Donnarumma to thank for a fine save to keep out a Dusan Vlahovic header, but a bigger margin of victory for PSG would not have been undeserved, with Perin keeping out a late Neymar volley.

“We could have got a positive result. But PSG are an extraordinary team with fantastic players, and they had several chances too,” admitted Allegri.

Mbappe has nine goals in six games for his club this season, and has scored eight in his last seven Champions League appearances.

If he keeps playing like he is just now then this could well be PSG’s year at long last.

Benzema, Asensio On Target As Real Madrid Down Juventus In Friendly

Real Madrid’s French forward Karim Benzema (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the international friendly football match between Real Madrid and Juventus at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, on July 30, 2022. Robyn Beck / AFP

 

Karim Benzema converted an early penalty and Marco Asensio added a second-half insurance goal as Real Madrid beat Juventus 2-0 in a pre-season friendly at California’s Rose Bowl on Saturday.

With his eye on Real Madrid’s European Super Cup clash with Eintracht Frankfurt in 10 days, coach Carlo Ancelotti started the same lineup that beat Liverpool in the Champions League final in May.

They produced the first victory of Real Madrid’s United States tour, after a 1-0 loss to La Liga rivals Barcelona in Las Vegas and a 2-2 draw against Mexico’s Club America in San Francisco.

Spectators were still trickling into the stands when French star Benzema had a goal disallowed just eight seconds into the contest, Uruguay’s Federico Valverde’s through ball catching him offside.

Eden Hazard #7 of Real Madrid is fouled by Glieson Bremer #3 of Juventus during the second half of their friendly soccer match at the Rose Bowl on July 30, 2022 in Pasadena, California. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images/AFP

 

Juventus had their best chance of the match in the 13th minute, but Leonardo Bonucci’s direct free kick hit the crossbar.

Benzema opened the scoring with a penalty in the 19th, crisply firing into the bottom left corner after Juventus’ Danilo brought down fellow Brazilian Vinicius Junior with a sloppy move in the penalty area.

Pressing hard to put the match to bed after the interval, Real Madrid were thwarted by Juventus goalkeeper Mattia Perin, who denied a sharply angled shot by Daniel Carvajal before soaring to stop a long-range left-footed blast from Benzema in the 62nd minute.

Two minutes later, Benzema was among the departing players as Ancelotti made nine substitutions.

He received an ecstatic cheer from the largely pro-Real crowd of 93,702 at the Rose Bowl, the picturesque stadium tucked into the foothills northeast of Los Angeles that was the venue for the 1994 World Cup final.

Asensio was among the substitutes and quickly made an impression, sweeping a cross from the left by Jesus Vallejo into the net with his left foot.

It was enough to seal the win in a match in which Juventus barely tested Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

AFP

Pogba ‘Happy To Be Home’ At Juventus

(FILES) French World Cup-winning midfielder Paul Pogba has returned to Serie A side Juventus on a free transfer the Italian giants announced on their website. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

 

 

Paul Pogba often cut an unhappy figure at Old Trafford, especially in the past couple of seasons, but the 29-year-old Frenchman could barely contain the smiles as he explained his return to Juventus on Tuesday.

“At Juve, I’m at home,” he said at his ‘welcome back’ press conference, six years after his departure for Manchester United.

Pogba completed his move on Monday, joining on a free transfer and signing a four year deal which will earn him a reported eight million euros ($8.12 million) a season plus a potential two million euros in bonuses.

“I’m very happy to come back home because I really feel at home here. You saw how people received me, it was more than a dream for me,” he said.

Pogba wound down his contract with United who he joined in 2016 for a then record fee of 105 million euros to rejoin Juve where he achieved considerable success during his previous spell with the club.

From 2012 to 2016 he helped Juve win four Serie A titles and two Italian Cups, and reach the Champions League final in 2015.

With United he won the English League Cup and Europa League in his first season but nothing since, leading him to cut a distant figure as coaches came and went.

In spite of that, Pogba said he has no regrets about his time in Manchester.

“No, never. I believe in destiny. All the choices I made, I’m happy, life is like that,” he said.

“Sometimes you make choices that don’t give you satisfaction, but I’m happy for those years.

“In Manchester, I grew up. I learned. I became a man.”

 

This picture taken on July 9, 2022 and released on July 11, 2022 by Italian news agence Ansa shows French World Cup winning midfielder Paul Pogba greeting supporters as he arrives to the Juventus football club’s Medical Center, in Turin.  (Photo by Alessandro Di Marco / ANSA / AFP)

 

Like United, however, Juve have also been struggling to dominate as they did when he last wore the black and white stripes.

After a record nine consecutive Scudetti (2012 to 2020), the ‘Old Lady’ have been outside the top three in Serie A for the past two seasons and have not reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League since 2019.

But his return also brings about a reunion with coach Massimiliano Allegri who was his coach at Juve between 2014-2016 and is keen to have Pogba pulling the strings again in midfield.

“I’ve always had a good relationship with him (Allegri), and this year, before coming, we spoke to each other,” said the France World Cup winner.

“I had so many great years (with Allegri). Coming back with Allegri, for me, was the right time and the right person.”

At Juventus, Pogba joins his Les Bleus teammate Adrien Rabiot, and former Paris Saint-Germain attacker Angel di Maria, who has signed for a year.

“Angel, he’s a world-class player, he’s going to help the team, he has the experience, he’s won (titles). He’s a champion and we all need that,” he said.

 

Prosecutors Probe Juventus Over Suspicious Player Transfers

File photo: Juventus players acknowledge fans at the end of the UEFA Champions League Group H football match between Juventus and Chelsea on September 29, 2021, at the Juventus Stadium in Turin. Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

 

Juventus confirmed on Saturday that they were being investigated by prosecutors over suspicious player transfers and potentially false accounting.

The Serie A club’s offices were searched on Friday on orders of the Turin public prosecutors office, which said it was probing deals that were carried out over the past three seasons and the way annual financial results had been formulated in the same period.

Juve are being investigated for making false communications to investors and issuing invoices for non-existent transactions, prosecutors said.

READ ALSO: Ronaldo Fires Manchester United Into Champions League Last 16

Late on Saturday Juve said that the club, chairman Andrea Agnelli, vice-chairman, and former player Pavel Nedved, Chief Financial Officer Stefano Cerrato, and “former officers” — reportedly Tottenham’s sporting director Fabio Paratici — are under investigation for the offences.

Last month the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) launched an investigation of its own into a series of suspicious transfers, with the majority of the deals under the microscope involving Juve.

The operations are suspected of being carried out with the aim of inflating the value of certain players for accounting purposes or using player exchanges to help balance the books.

Sky Sport Italia said that prosecutors are looking at some 282 million euros ($319.2 million) of suspect capital gains from transfer deals involving Juve.

News agency ANSA claimed on Saturday morning that prosecutors were also looking into the club’s dealings with Cristiano Ronaldo, who arrived to great fanfare in the summer of 2018 and left for Manchester United in August.

ANSA also reported a source from football supervisory commission COVISOC as saying that since autumn last year it has identified dozens of deals that do not just concern Juve — who are listed on the Italian stock exchange.

AFP

Chelsea Demolish Juve To Reach Champions League Last 16

Chelsea's English midfielder Callum Hudson-Odoi celebrates after scoring their third goal during the UEFA Champions League Group H football match between Chelsea and Juventus at Stamford Bridge in London on November 23, 2021. Adrian DENNIS / AFP
Chelsea’s English midfielder Callum Hudson-Odoi celebrates after scoring their third goal during the UEFA Champions League Group H football match between Chelsea and Juventus at Stamford Bridge in London on November 23, 2021. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Chelsea booked their place in the Champions League last 16 as Trevoh Chalobah’s controversial goal put the holders on course for an imperious 4-0 rout of Juventus on Tuesday.

Thomas Tuchel’s side took the lead when Antonio Rudiger’s handball went unpunished in the build-up to Chalobah’s first half opener at Stamford Bridge.

Juventus never recovered from that blow as Reece James, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Timo Werner struck after half-time to send Chelsea to the top of Group H.

Chelsea are above Juventus on goal difference and will guarantee a first place finish if they win at Zenit Saint Petersburg in their last group fixture on December 8.

READ ALSO: Ronaldo Fires Manchester United Into Champions League Last 16

It was another commanding display from Chelsea, who are unbeaten in 10 games in all competitions since losing 1-0 at Juventus in September.

James, one of three scorers on the night to graduate from Chelsea’s youth academy, was especially dynamic at right wing-back as the 21-year-old matures into a world-class talent.

Tuchel’s evening wasn’t completely problem free as both N’Golo Kante and Ben Chilwell were forced off, with the latter’s knee injury looking especially concerning for the Premier League leaders ahead of Manchester United’s visit on Sunday.

Lacklustre Juventus had already qualified for the last 16, but the defeat puts their hopes of finishing top of the group in severe jeopardy.

Chelsea’s star striker Romelu Lukaku was back on the bench after his lengthy absence with an ankle injury.

But Lukaku wouldn’t be needed as Tuchel’s men tore Juventus apart.

Juventus striker Alvaro Morata was on familiar ground against his old club, but the Spaniard didn’t receive a warm welcome.

He was repeatedly booed and subjected to chants of “Chelsea reject” after a disappointing spell with the Blues that ended in 2020.

– Relentless Chelsea –

That hostility wasn’t reserved to the stands as Chelsea pressed Juventus relentlessly, dominating possession in a match played almost exclusively in the Italians’ half.

James nearly broke the deadlock when his inswinging free-kick forced an alert save from Wojciech Szczesny at his near post.

Chalobah ensured Chelsea’s pressure didn’t go unrewarded in the 25th minute.

Hakim Ziyech’s corner reached Rudiger and he bundled it towards Chalobah, who fired into the roof of the net from close-range for his third goal this season.

Juventus appealed furiously for handball against Rudiger and although it did strike the defender’s arm, the goal was allowed to stand as he did not make a deliberate movement towards the ball.

It was Chalobah’s first Champions League goal in his maiden start in the tournament, extending a breakthrough season for the 22-year-old.

Chelsea’s lead was preserved by a brilliant goal-line clearance from Thiago Silva moments later as the Brazilian raced back to hook the ball to safety after Morata lobbed Blues keeper Edouard Mendy.

After Kante was taken off, his replacement Ruben Loftus-Cheek twice lost possession in dangerous areas, with Rodrigo Bentancur curling over from the second his mistakes.

That was a rare malfunction in the Chelsea machine and normal service was resumed in the 56th minute.

Chilwell’s cross was glanced into James’ path at the far post and he smashed a ferocious shot into the far corner from an acute angle.

Chelsea were rampant and Hudson-Odoi put the result beyond doubt two minutes later.

Gliding through the ramshackle Juventus defence after a blur of quick passes, Loftus-Cheek deftly found Hudson-Odoi and his clinical finish sent Tuchel dancing onto the pitch in a fist-pumping jig of delight.

The sight of Chilwell being helped off the pitch after a challenge from Adrien Rabiot took some of the shine off Chelsea’s impressive performance.

But there was still time for Werner to tap-in with virtually the last kick after James’ sublime pass picked out Ziyech for the cross.

Cuadrado Gives Juventus Injury-Time Win Over Fiorentina

Juventus players acknowledge the public at the end of the Italian Serie A football match between Juventus and Fiorentina on November 6, 2021 at the Juventus stadium in Turin. Isabella BONOTTO / AFP

 

Juan Cuadrado struck in added time as Juventus finally broke down 10-man Fiorentina for a 1-0 home victory in Serie A on Saturday.

The victory lifted Juventus, who had lost their last two league games, to eighth, behind Fiorentina on goal difference and 13 points behind top two Napoli and AC Milan who both play on Sunday.

“These are very important points for the championship, and they are points that could bring back a different mentality,” said Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri.

Juventus struggled to create chances against a solid visiting defence until Nikola Milenkovic was sent off for a second yellow card in the 73rd minute.

At that point each team had managed just one shot on target.

Within two minutes, Federico Chiesa, who is on loan from Fiorentina, smashed a shot against the bar.

Allegri then sent on winger Cuadrado, a former Fiorentina player in place of midfielder Adrien Rabiot.

Juve pressed and Alvaro Morata volleyed Cuadrado’s cross into the roof of the net but was ruled offside.

But as the match moved into added time, Cuadrado collected the ball on the right edge of the box, darted toward the goal-line creating a yard of space and drilled a low shot between goal-keeper Pietro Terracino and the near post.

“I am especially satisfied because we held on mentally,” said Allegri.

“This should make us satisfied with today’s victory but also very angry at the points given up against Sassuolo, Empoli, Udinese or Hellas Verona.”

“Today, against a good team, we had a lot of chances in the second half but also in the first half: but we missed the final pass on three or four attacks, we have to take better advantage of these opportunities.”

In the late game, Atalanta came from behind to win 2-1 at last-place Cagliari and climb to fourth.

Mario Pasalic and Duvan Zapata scored first-half goals on either side of a strike by Joao Pedro for the home team.

Morata Likely To Start For Juve At Zenit, Dybala Still Out

AlvaroMorata

 

Alvaro Morata could start for Juventus in this week’s Champions League trip to Zenit Saint Petersburg after recovering from a thigh injury, coach Massimiliano Allegri said on Tuesday.

Spain forward Morata had been out of action since picking up the knock against Sampdoria towards the end of last month but after playing around 20 minutes against Roma on Sunday the 28-year-old is available to start as Group H leaders Juve look to move closer to early qualification for the knockout stage.

“Morata is well, he has fully recovered and he could start the match,” Allegri told reporters.

Allegri also confirmed Paulo Dybala, who also injured his thigh against Samp, would not feature on Wednesday but is in contention for the weekend’s trip to fierce rivals Inter Milan..

Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and central defenders Leonardo Bonucci and Matthijs de Ligt were confirmed as starters.

“Paulo is working hard, he’s not yet restarted training with the squad,” said Allegri.

“He should be available for Inter, so will have the possibility from Sunday to get some minutes in his legs.”

Juve have six points from their two group fixtures after strolling past Malmo in their opening match and surprising European champions Chelsea last time out.

The 1-0 win over the Blues came after a series of wobbly displays which left Juve well off the pace domestically, but three single goal wins in their last three games have calmed nerves in Turin.

They are three points ahead of both Chelsea and Zenit going into Wednesday’s clash and Poland’s Szczesny said the team has renewed belief in its ability to close out games after throwing away leads earlier in the season.

“This team is good, we have good players, but you can’t always think you can win matches by two or three goals. Every now and again you need to win 1-0,” said Szczesny.

“That’s what’s changed, the desire from everyone to defend and to sacrifice themselves. You can see the difference on the pitch.”

 

Chelsea Lose To Juventus, Record Second Defeat In A Row


Juventus players acknowledge fans at the end of the UEFA Champions League Group H football match between Juventus and Chelsea on September 29, 2021 at the Juventus stadium in Turin.
Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

 

Federico Chiesa proved to be a big game player once again with the only goal in Juventus’ 1-0 Champions League win over holders Chelsea which could kick-start their faltering season. 

Sat 10th in Serie A after a succession of unconvincing performances domestically, Juve top Group H with a perfect six points thanks to a superbly taken winner 10 seconds after half-time from Chiesa, one of Italy’s stars at Euro 2020.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side took down the European champions, despite missing starting forwards Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata, with a disciplined performance that sucked the life out of the Blues and restricted them to very little in front of goal.

“We showed the Juventus spirit tonight, and that’s what the coach asks of us,” Chiesa, who has been criticised by Allegri this season, told Amazon.

“There has never been any problem between me and the coach, I do what he asks of me. When Juve start off poorly there is always a lot of unnecessary noise: we all want to take the club back to the top.”

Juve are three points clear of both Chelsea and Zenit, who they play in Saint Petersburg in three weeks.

“The players put in a great performance against the European champions. We were solid defensively and conceded very few chances. (Wojciech) Szczesny barely had a save to make,” said Allegri to Amazon.

“We also missed some really good chances on the counter but I’m happy. We haven’t conceded a goal, we have six points, it’s another step towards qualifying.”

Chelsea dominated the ball in the early stages but it was the home side who had the first real chances of the game, both of which came after pouncing on sloppy passes in midfield.

Chelsea Held At Bay 


Chelsea’s Moroccan midfielder Hakim Ziyech (L) tackles Juventus’ Brazilian defender Alex Sandro during the UEFA Champions League Group H football match between Juventus and Chelsea on September 29, 2021 at the Juventus stadium in Turin. Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

 

Adrien Rabiot was barracked by the home crowd in the 16th minute when after sprinting away on a break with almost the entire Chelsea team still upfield, he elected to play a pass to Federico Bernardeschi which was completely mishit and rolled to Edouard Mendy.

Four minutes later it was Chiesa’s turn to show the Blues a clean pair of heels after pinching the ball, only for his low shot from a tight angle to drift just wide.

Juve’s gameplan of sitting in and stopping Chelsea from getting a passing rhythm going worked but they initially lacked a focal point and too often let off the hook a Chelsea team missing the dynamism of N’Golo Kante and Mason Mount.

However they got the goal they deserved immediately after the break through Chiesa, who has had an uncertain start to the season but confidently met Bernardeschi’s through ball to lash home the opener at the near post.

Chelsea responded by again pressing Juve back into their box but again struggled to break through the hosts’ well-drilled backline.

It was Juve who were wondering how Bernardeschi didn’t double their lead in the 64th minute when he tripped over his own feet with the goal at his mercy.

And they were breathing a big sigh of relief with six minutes left when after a prolonged spell of Chelsea dominance Romelu Lukaku thumped wide after being nicely set up by Mateo Kovacic.

The home crowd roared at the poor finish of Lukaku, former striker at their fiercest rivals Inter Milan, and right after Kai Havertz headed over the bar let out another shout of joy at the final whistle.

AFP

Serie A: Osimhen Shines Again, Scores Fourth League Goal

Napoli’s Nigerian forward Victor Osimhen (R) celebrates with Napoli’s Italian forward Lorenzo Insigne after opening the scoring during the Italian Serie A between Napoli and Cagliari on September 26, 2021 at the Diego-Maradona stadium in Naples. Carlo Hermann / AFP

 

Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen scored as Napoli maintained their perfect start to the Serie A campaign on Sunday with a 2-0 win over Cagliari which ensured they reclaimed top spot, while Lazio won an eventful derby 3-2 to down Jose Mourinho’s Roma.

Luciano Spalletti’s side cruised to their sixth victory in as many league games against a Cagliari team coached by former Napoli manager Walter Mazzarri thanks to Osimhen’s sixth goal in all competitions this month and a second-half penalty from Lorenzo Insigne who pre-match celebrated his 400th Napoli appearance.

They are two points ahead of AC Milan after another confident display that ends a week in which they scored 10 goals without reply in three league matches.

“The best way to celebrate was to win and score a goal,” said Insigne to DAZN, who is four goals away from Diego Maradona’s Napoli total of 115.

“We did it together as a team. We’ve got to keep our feet on the ground, keep our heads down and work because there is a very, very long way to go.”

Napoli’s Nigerian forward Victor Osimhen (R) celebrates after opening the scoring during the Italian Serie A between Napoli and Cagliari on September 26, 2021 at the Diego-Maradona stadium in Naples. Carlo Hermann / AFP

 

Next weekend Napoli travel to Fiorentina in what will be the first true test of their title credentials, as their 2-1 win over Juventus earlier this month came against a team missing a host of starters.

They made easy work of a passive Cagliari, with Osimhen making it four Serie A goals in five appearances this campaign in the 11th minute when he met Piotr Zielinski’s low cross with a typically assured finish.

Osimhen was involved again when a low-key match was settled in the 57th minute, the in-form Nigeria attacker being cleaned out by Diego Godin and Insigne lashing home the subsequent penalty to ensure a simple win.

The Nigerian had scored a brace as Napoli outclassed Sampdoria 4-0 in a Serie A game on Thursday evening.

READ ALSO: Football Must Do More To Combat Racism Than The Take Knee – Lukaku

Juventus Win First Serie A Game Since Ronaldo’s Departure

Lazio Win Derby Honours


Lazio’s players celebrate at the end the Italian Serie A football match Lazio vs AS Roma at the Olympic stadium in Rome on September 26, 2021. Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

 

Goals from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Pedro and Felipe Anderson gave Lazio a tight derby win over Roma at a raucous Stadio Olimpico which saw two teams attack each other for 90 minutes.

Maurizio Sarri’s side were winless in three league matches heading into the weekend but now sit sixth on 11 points, seven behind Napoli and just one behind fourth-placed Roma, who twice pulled goals back through Roger Ibanez and Jordan Veretout.

In the aftermath Mourinho lashed out at referee Marco Guida and the VAR officials after what he saw as a clear foul on Nicolo Zaniolo just before Lazio launched the counter-attack which ended with former Roma player Pedro putting Lazio 2-0 ahead in the 19th minute.

“The referee and VAR weren’t up to the standards of a match of this level. From 2-0 it could have been 1-1, the referee made a mistake on the field and VAR made a mistake… they all made a mistake,” Mourinho said to DAZN.

Dybala Misses Chelsea

 


Juventus’ Argentine forward Paulo Dybala (L) reacts after opening the scoring during the Italian Serie A football match between Juventus and Sampdoria on September 26, 2021 at the Juventus stadium in Turin. Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP

 

Juventus will have to face Chelsea in the Champions League without Paulo Dybala after the Argentina forward limped off with a thigh injury early in their 3-2 win over Sampdoria.

Dybala opened the scoring with nine minutes on the clock at a wet Allianz Stadium, with Leonardo Bonucci and Manuel Locatelli netting the other goals to move Juve ninth on eight points, but soon afterwards the 27-year-old left the field in tears after the latest in a long line of injuries.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side host European champions Chelsea on Wednesday and the coach said Dybala and centre-forward Alvaro Morata, who also exited with a thigh problem towards the end of the match, would be out of action until after the next international break which runs from after next weekend’s matches to October 15.

Fiorentina bounced back from midweek defeat to Inter Milan with a battling 1-0 win at Udinese which moved them into fifth on 12 points, six behind Napoli.

Promoted Empoli are threatening the European places after beating Bologna 4-2 to win their second match on the bounce and climb up to eighth, while Salernitana remain rooted to the bottom of the league with a single point after losing 1-0 at Sassuolo.

AFP

Juventus Win First Serie A Game Since Ronaldo’s Departure


Juventus’ Italian forward Moise Kean (C) celebrates with Juventus’ Uruguayan midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur (L) and Juventus’ Argentine forward Paulo Dybala after opening the scoring during the Italian Serie A football match between Spezia and Juventus on September 22, 2021 at the Alberto-Picco stadium in La Spezia. ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP

 

Juventus pulled themselves out of the Serie A relegation zone on Wednesday after earning their first league victory of the season at the fifth attempt, coming from behind to win 3-2 at Spezia. It was also their first Serie A win since Cristiano Ronaldo left the club. 

Massimiliano Allegri’s side moved up to 12th in Italy’s top flight on five points following the hard-fought win which at one point looked to be heading for an embarrassing defeat.

Emmanuel Gyasi and Janis Antiste had put Spezia ahead shortly after the break following Moise Kean’s 28th-minute opener, the Italian’s first goal for Juventus since returning from Everton.

However substitute Federico Chiesa levelled midway through the second half with his first league goal of the season and a few minutes later Matthijs de Ligt struck the winner when the ball fell kindly to him from a Paulo Dybala corner.

It was a far from convincing performance though and Spezia could have levelled late on, with Wojciech Szczesny at his best to push away Giulio Maggiore’s volley with five minutes remaining.

READ ALSO: Verona Inflict First Loss On Mourinho’s Roma


Spezia’s Ghanaian forward Emmanuel Gyasi (2ndL) celebrates after scoring an equalizer during the Italian Serie A football match between Spezia and Juventus on September 22, 2021 at the Alberto-Picco stadium in La Spezia. ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP

 

Juve are eight points behind league leaders Inter Milan, who could be joined on 13 by city rivals AC Milan when they host Venezia later on Wednesday.

In the other early match Salernitana earned their first point of the season when they came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at home with Verona.

Nikola Kalinic put the away side ahead with a deft first-half brace but Cedric Gondo pulled one back just before half-time when the ball dropped to him following Franck Ribery’s free-kick.

Mamadou Coulibaly then struck the leveller with 14 minutes left to send a passionate home crowd wild, although the promoted outfit stay bottom of the league.

Cagliari host Empoli in Wednesday’s other late match.

AFP