Ronaldo Rescues A Point For Juve Against Sassuolo

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Cristiano Ronaldo scored from the spot to rescue a 2-2 draw for Juventus at home against Sassuolo to leave the way open for Inter Milan to claim top spot in Serie A later on Sunday.

Leonardo Bonucci had scored early for the eight-time reigning Serie A champions but Jeremie Boga and Francesco Caputo hit back for Sassuolo before Ronaldo’s point-saving intervention.

Juventus have a two-point lead on top of Serie A but now can be overtaken by Inter Milan, who host struggling SPAL.

Sassuolo claimed their first-ever point at Juventus and handed Maurizio Sarri’s unbeaten champions their third draw of the season.

The side from Emilia-Romagna, are 12th in the table.

Ronaldo started upfront for Juventus, having missed last weekend’s league game with a slight knee problem, with Champions League hero Paulo Dybala starting on the bench.

Eighteen-year-old Stefano Turati made an impressive debut in the Sassuolo goal, and pulled off a string of fine saves, denying Ronaldo, Higuain and Dybala late.

But Juventus counterpart Gianluigi Buffon had a difficult game in Turin as the 41-year-old, making just his fifth start this season, had a role in Caputo’s goal just after the break.

Bonucci had gotten Juventus off the mark with a long-range effort on 20 minutes.

But three minutes later Boga pounced on a Caputo cross sending in past an out-rushing Buffon from an angle.

Back after the break Caputo added a second for the visitors following a mix-up between Juan Cuadrado and Matthijs De Ligt in the Juventus defence, with Buffon then fumbling the effort as it slipped into the back of the net.

Turati got down low to deny Higuain after getting his hand to send a Ronaldo free kick over the bar.

Ronaldo’s penalty pulled the hosts level on 68 minutes after Filippo Romagna fouled substitute Dybala.

It was the Portuguese star’s fifth Serie A goal this season.

Later, Inter host SPAL with third-placed Lazio at home against Udinese and city rivals Roma at Verona.

Injured Bonucci Likely To Miss Juventus, Atletico Champions League Clash

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci could miss the Italian team’s Champions League last 16 first leg tie against Atletico Madrid after the club confirmed on Monday he has suffered an ankle sprain.

The 31-year-old went off injured after half an hour in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Lazio in Rome.

“Bonucci suffered a sprained right ankle … around the joint capsule,” Juventus said in a statement.

According to reports, the defender could be out of action for up to a month.

The Italy international has already begun treatment but could miss the Champions League tie in Madrid on February 20. The second leg will be in Turin on March 12.

Bonucci returned to Juventus this season after an unsuccessful year at AC Milan and has reestablished himself as one of Massimiliano Allegri’s key players.

AFP

Bonucci Happy Juve Won’t Start Real Clashes ‘Goal Down’ After Ronaldo Arrival

Bonucci Happy Juve Won't Start Real Clashes 'Goal Down' After Ronaldo Arrival
(File) Real Madrid’s Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (C) overhead kicks and scores during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg football match between Juventus and Real Madrid at the Allianz Stadium in Turin on April 3, 2018. PHOTO: Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP

 

Leonardo Bonucci said Friday that superstar Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival at Champions League-chasing Juventus will mean the Italian champions won’t start matches against Real Madrid “already 1-0 down”.

Ronaldo has been the bogeyman in Europe for Juventus in recent years, scoring 10 in seven games against the Serie A side for Real Madrid as the Spaniards romped to three straight Champions League titles.

“Having Ronaldo here will at least mean that if we meet Real Madrid we won’t be starting the match already 1-0 down,” said Bonucci, who has returned to Juventus after a year with AC Milan, at his official presentation in Turin.

Ronaldo has thwarted Juve’s attempts to bag their first Champions League since 1996 in both of the last two seasons, scoring a brace in the 2017 final as Madrid thumped the Italians 4-1.

Last season he again struck twice again as Madrid triumphed 3-0 in the first leg of the quarter-final at the Allianz Stadium in Turin, including a blockbusting scissor kick that drew a standing ovation from the home crowd.

Ronaldo then slotted home the controversial stoppage-time penalty at the Bernabeu to thwart Juve’s gallant comeback from three goals down.

Ronaldo’s 100 million euro ($117 million) signing, as well as boosting Juve’s international profile, was designed to help Massimiliano Allegri’s side go one step further after losing two Champions League finals in four years.

“He’ll take us to another level, and for Juve, who already have a strong team, that’s significant,” Bonucci said.

“The objective is to arrive in Madrid, try to win the league, cup and Champions League. That’s what Juventus has always been about.”

Bonucci returns to Juventus, where he previously won six Serie A titles and played in both of those lost European finals, after a disappointing season at an AC Milan side that were in disarray on an off the pitch.

The 31-year-old pushed to leave Milan even after hedge fund Elliott Management took ownership of the club from a disastrous Chinese consortium that spent big but had constant trouble keeping up with its financial commitments.

The Italian international admitted that he left Juve in a fit of pique after falling out with Allegri in 2017, but “missed home” and wanted to return after burying the hatchet with the coach.

“I chose to leave because my feelings told me to do it. Then I realised that decisions taken in anger aren’t always the right ones,” he said.

“Our relationship is very good and, like intelligent people should, we shook hands (after meeting Allegri at the FIFA Awards in London in October). It’s thanks to him that I improved as a player.”

AFP

Bonucci Wants Juve Return, Reveals AC Milan’s Leonardo

AC Milan’s Argentinian defender Mateo Musacchio (C) celebrates with teammates Leonardo Bonucci (L) and Fabio Borini (R) after scoring during the UEFA Europa League football match AC Milan vs HNK Rijeka at the San Siro stadium in Milan. MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

 

AC Milan’s new sporting director Leonardo revealed Thursday that team captain Leonardo Bonucci wants to return to Juventus just one season after signing for the club from the Serie A champions.

“I’ve met with a range of clubs, including Juventus,” the Brazilian said at a press conference in which he was unveiled in his new role at Milan.

“The desire (to talk to Juve) came from him, so if the conditions are right, we’ll try to make it happen.”

On Tuesday coach Gennaro Gattuso admitted that Bonucci wants to leave Milan, who could only finish sixth last season despite spending over 200 million euros ($233 million) on new players last summer — of which 42 million euros were reportedly spent on the Italian international centre-back.

However, Leonardo’s announcement was confirmation of reports that he wanted to return to Turin, where he won six league titles and reached two Champions League finals with Juve.

Bonucci’s potential departure shows that the troubled times are not yet over for AC Milan despite being readmitted to next season’s Europa League last week, thanks to the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturning a season-long ban for violating UEFA’s financial fair play rules.

American hedge fund Elliott Management took over Milan earlier this month after the club’s former Chinese owners, long rumoured to be struggling financially, failed to repay 32 million euros lent by Elliott to finance the final instalment of two capital increases worth a total of 120 million euros.

Elliot has pledged to inject 50 million euros to bring financial stability to the seven-time European champions.

Leonardo, a former Milan player admitted that Milan wouldn’t be making any big moves in the summer transfer market and said that Gattuso would remain coach despite rumours of Antonio Conte replacing him.

Gattuso stabilised the club last season after stepping up from youth team coach to replace sacked Vincenzo Montella in late November, with Milan in disarray place after losing six of their opening 14 matches.

He took his side to the Italian Cup final, where they were soundly beaten 4-0 by Juve, who conquered their fourth straight domestic double.

“I and the club agree. Gattuso was the first person to be confirmed,” Leonardo said.

“He is a coach who is constantly developing, he is a Milan man and it’s with him that we will begin.”

AFP

Balotelli Has Matured, Says Italy’s Skipper Bonucci

Italy’s striker Mario Balotelli (R) and Italy’s forward Lorenzo Insigne take part in a training session on May 24, 2018 at Coverciano’s training camp near Florence. Carlo BRESSAN / AFP

 

Italy captain, Leonardo Bonucci, said Sunday he believes that Mario Balotelli has matured as the Nice striker prepares to make his first appearance for the Azzurri in four years.

New Italy coach Roberto Mancini will oversee his first game in charge of the four-time world champions against World Cup-bound Saudi Arabia in a friendly on Monday night in Saint Gallen, Switzerland.

Mancini has called up 27-year-old Balotelli for three upcoming friendlies after the striker was sidelined by Italy by injury and behavioural problems in recent years.

“I’ve found him (Mario) changed compared to the past, matured,” 31-year-old AC Milan defender Bonucci told a press conference ahead of Monday’s game.

Balotelli has scored 13 goals in 33 appearances for the Azzurri but has not been selected since Italy‘s humiliating group-stage exit from the 2014 World Cup.

But he may have to wait until the second friendly against France on June 1 to make his return.

“As for Balotelli, we’ll see if he plays or not (against the Saudis). Mario wants to play in front of his fans in Nice. Let’s see if we deploy him immediately or in the second game,” said Mancini.

“He’ll be one of the strikers and we hope he can give us something good for the future because he’s still young.”

Mancini said that he had not yet decided on the lineup for Monday’s game with the only certainty that AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma would start.

“It’s the first game so it’s important to start well, which does not just mean winning,” said Mancini.

“The most important thing is that the lads play carefree and that they can have fun, even at the cost of making mistakes.”

Bonucci, meanwhile, said he was relishing his role of captain even if he missed the presence of veterans Gianluigi Buffon and Daniele De Rossi.

“There’s a strong sense of responsibility, but what surpasses everything is pride. I want to be a true example for the rest of lads,” said Bonucci.

Italy play a third friendly against the Netherlands, who also failed to qualify for the World Cup, in Turin on June 4.

AFP

France Humble Iceland 5 – 2 In Euro 2016 Quarter Final

Euro-2016-FranceThe host nation of the on-going Euro 2016, France, have humiliated Iceland 5 – 2 to qualify for the semis.

The French demonstrated their superiority, as they shocked the Irish on Sunday night.

Goals from Olivier Giroud, Paul Pogba, Dimitri Payet and Antoine Griezmann set France ahead of Iceland, as they dominated the first half.

Arsenal striker, Giroud netted another fantastic goal in between Iceland’s Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and Birkir Bjarnason goals.

France would contest for the final match’s ticket with Germany who earlier beat Italy 6 – 5 on penalties.

Germany Beat Italy In Euro 2016 Quarter Final

Germany, Italy, Euro 2016Germany had to endure a long stretch of penalties as they defeated Italy 6-5 in the third quarter final match of the Euro 2016 championship.

The game had ended 1-1 after 120 minutes of football.

Mesut Ozil broke the deadlock in the second half but the Germans’ lead lasted few minutes as Jerome Boateng’s handball in the box gave Italy a penalty which was well converted by Leonardo Bonucci.

The quality of their penalties were, however, not particularly good.

Thomas Mueller, Mesut Oezil and Bastian Schweinsteiger all missed for Germany while Simone Zaza, Graziano Pelle, Leonardo Bonucci and Matteo Darmian missed for Italy.

Germany goalkeeper, Manuel Neuer, who was voted Man of the Match, said; “I have never experienced a shoot-out like this. I think most of the Italians just aimed into the middle.

“The 1-1 score we conceded during regular time was a bit unlucky. But I believe we were the better side and are deservedly through to the semi-finals.”

The total of 18 penalties ties the record for most penalties taken in a Euro penalty shootout.

The record was set in 1980 when Italy also lost 8-9 to Czechoslovakia in the 3rd place play-off.