Ronaldo Leaves Stadium Before Final Whistle After Being Substituted

Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (L) goes directly to the changing rooms after being substituted during the Italian Serie A football match Juventus vs AC Milan on November 10, 2019 at the Juventus Allianz stadium in Turin. Marco Bertorello / AFP



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.

READ ALSO: Dybala keeps Juventus At Serie A Summit, Lazio And Cagliari Into Top Four

“Disrespectful to his teammates? Like I said, I don’t know,” Sarri said. “If it’s true that he left before the end it is a problem to be resolved with his teammates.”

“I have no problem with Cristiano, he should be thanked because he made himself available despite not being in the best condition,” said Sarri.

“In the last month he has had discomfort in his knee and this is a little problem for him.”

Ronaldo had reacted furiously after been substituted in his team’s 2-1 win against Lokomotiv Moscow midweek which saw Juventus advance to the Champions League last 16.

“The important thing is that he made himself available. If he gets angry when he comes out this is part of the game,” continued the Juventus coach.

“It’s only natural a player is going to be irritated about leaving the pitch, especially when he worked so hard to be there.

“All players who are trying to give their best will have at least five minutes of being annoyed when they are substituted, but a coach would in general be much more worried if he didn’t seem upset.”

Dybala keeps Juventus At Serie A Summit, Lazio And Cagliari Into Top Four

Juventus’ Argentine forward Paulo Dybala celebrates after opening the scoring during the Italian Serie A football match Juventus vs AC Milan on November 10, 2019 at the Juventus Allianz stadium in Turin. Marco Bertorello / AFP



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.

READ ALSO: Ronaldo Leaves Stadium Before Final Whistle After Being Substituted

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.

‘We’re Not Brad Pitt,’ Gattuso Warns Milan Players

'We're Not Brad Pitt,' Gattuso Warns Milan Players
AC Milan’s Italian coach Gennaro Gattuso gestures during a football match played at the San Siro stadium on January 31, 2018. MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP


Gennaro Gattuso warned AC Milan not to get carried away by recent wins as they prepare to play Udinese coached his former Italy and Milan teammate Massimo Oddo.

“We’re not Brad Pitt now, we’ve got to continue being as ugly as me and my beard, with bags under the eyes,” said Gattuso ahead of Sunday’s Serie A game.

Gattuso took over late in November and the former European giants have now achieved three consecutive Serie A victories and held Lazio in the Italian Cup semi-final.

“We mustn’t forget what people were saying about us only six weeks ago, otherwise we’ll regress,” he continued.

“I hear talk of a Champions League place, but we’re not even in the Europa League spots now.”

Both Gattuso, 40, and Oddo, 41, spent a lot of their careers at Milan and were on Italy’s 2006 World Cup winning squad.

“I shared so much with Massimo Oddo. He’s an intelligent and funny guy whose success speaks for him,” said Gattuso who also played in Scotland for Rangers.

“He got a few slaps in the face from me for his pranks, as we had very different ideas on how to prepare for a game.”

Milan are looking for a fourth straight win in the league to move up from seventh into the Europa League places.

“We mustn’t get anything wrong, as at the moment only Napoli and Juventus are in better form,” said Gattuso.

Oddo has lifted Udinese from 14th to ninth since taking over two and half months ago and they are on an eight-game unbeaten run.

“Obviously, this is not a normal match for me, but it’s one I will have to deal with,” said Oddo of playing his former team.

“I am pleased to face some old friends and test ourselves in difficult circumstances.

“We have to play as a team against a Milan side that has learned how to act as a unit, so I compliment Rino Gattuso for his fine work.”

“Milan are in good shape, have learned how to become a team and are very dangerous opponents right now. Gattuso is a teammate and friend I shared unforgettable moments with, so I am very happy with the success he is experiencing as a coach.”


Three Dead, Scores Injured In Italy Train Crash

This handout picture released by the Italian Vigili del Fuoco shows firemen working on the site of a train derailment, on January 25, 2018 near Milan. Three people were killed and 10 seriously injured when a packed regional train derailed near Milan in northern Italy, emergency services said. HO / AFP


At least three people were killed and 10 seriously injured when a packed regional train derailed Thursday near Milan in northern Italy, emergency services said.

Hours after the crash, rescuers continued to search for passengers inside the wreckage. One of the carriages was lying across the track, bent almost at a right angle.

About 100 other people sustained light injuries, Cristina Corbetta, an official with the regional emergency services in Milan, told Sky TG24.

She said the incident happened at around 7 am (0600 GMT) near Segrate in Milan’s northeastern suburbs. The cause was not immediately clear.

Many of the passengers were travelling to work in Italy’s economic capital, or were students.

It is the most serious rail accident in Italy since 23 people were killed in a high-speed head-on collision between two passenger trains in July 2016 in the southern Puglia region.

The injured were evacuated on stretchers, with the more seriously hurt receiving first aid in a field near the accident.

Journalists watched from a field about 100 metres away from the site, where three helicopters arrived to rush the injured to hospital while another patrolled the area.

One of the injured could be seen, clothes ripped, covered with a thermal blanket and wearing an oxygen mask being evacuated by helicopter.

The first images released by the fire service showed a passenger trapped in their seat, surrounded by bits of the collapsed ceiling, and part of the wall twisted by the shock.

‘Mummy, Help!’

One woman told the newspaper La Repubblica that her daughter had called her on her phone to say “Mummy, help, the train is derailing” as the accident happened. Since then, the woman said there has been no reply on her daughter’s telephone.

Italian media quoted witnesses as saying the train began to shake heavily as if it was travelling over rocks. Then it braked suddenly and derailed.

Milan prosecutors have opened a probe into the accident, and investigators have begun questioning the driver, Italian media said.

The regional train had left the town of Cremona at 5:32 am and was scheduled to arrive in Milan at 7:24 am.

The train belonged to the Lombardy regional rail company Trenord, which is owned in equal parts by the public company Trenitalia and Ferrovie Nord Milano.

Trenord informed passengers at 8 am of the interruption to services due to a “technical problem”, sparking sharp criticism on social media.

Two Dead, Dozens Injured As Train Derails Near Milan

Two Dead, Dozens Injured As Train Derails Near Milan
This handout picture released by the Italian Vigili del Fuoco shows firemen working on the site of a train derailment, on January 25, 2018, near Milan. HO / AFP


At least two people were killed and 10 seriously injured when a packed regional train derailed Thursday near Milan in northern Italy, emergency services said.

About 100 other people sustained light injuries, Cristina Corbetta, an official with the regional emergency services in Milan, told Sky TG24.

She said the incident happened at around 7 am (0600 GMT) near the Milan suburb of Segrate. The cause was not immediately clear.

Two hours after the tragedy, rescuers continued to search the inside of the cars, at least two of which lay on the track, in search of trapped passengers.

A journalist for Sky TG24 at the scene said five or six people were still trapped inside.

Television images showed injured survivors being evacuated, the more serious receiving first aid in a field close by.

Only the cars in the middle of the train derailed.

The regional train was en route from the town of Cremona to the centre of Italy’s economic capital.

It is the most serious rail accident in Italy since 23 people were killed in a high-speed head-on collision between two passenger trains in July 2016 in the southern Puglia region.


Milan Appoint Gattuso New Manager To Restore Glory Days

Milan Appoint Gattuso New Manager To Restore Glory Days
(FILES) This file photo taken on July 08, 2012 shows former Sion’s player Gennaro Gattuso during a friendly football match between FC Sion and Olympique of Marseille. FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP


Fallen Italian giants AC Milan made combative former player Gennaro Gattuso their new boss on Monday after sacking Vincenzo Montella following a disappointing start to the season.

The seven-time European champions released Montella after a goalless draw against Torino on Sunday left them seventh in Serie A, 18 points behind leaders Napoli.

In 39-year-old Gattuso, the Chinese-owned club have turned to a member of one of their most successful sides, but he has little coaching pedigree.

Milan thanked Montella for his efforts and said in a statement: “Management of the first team is entrusted to Gennaro Gattuso.”

Gattuso made a total of 468 appearances for AC Milan between 1999 and 2012, winning a reputation as a rugged defensive midfielder and earning the nickname “Rino”, on account of his verbal raging and rampaging playing style.

He won the Serie A title twice and helped Milan to Champions League glory on two occasions.

Gattuso was such an integral part of Marcello Lippi’s line-up when Italy clinched the 2006 World Cup in Germany that he was named in FIFA’s team of the tournament.

AC Milan have not finished higher than sixth in any of the last four seasons in Serie A but new Chinese owner Li Yonghong funded a 230-million-euro ($270 million) signing spree in the summer.

Leonardo Bonucci arrived from Juventus for 38 million euros in an eye-catching move, while Portuguese player Andre Silva came for a similar sum from FC Porto and Hakan Calhanoglu was signed from Bayer Leverkusen.

But even with those reinforcements, Montella failed to put the club that was once the jewel in former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s business empire in contention for a Champions League place. He leaves after 17 months at the San Siro.

– Slapped Ibrahimovic –

There will be heavy pressure on Gattuso, who has always had a controversial edge — he once slapped the then Ajax striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic with the back of his hand.

On another occasion that his temper spilled over, he infamously grabbed Tottenham assistant coach Joe Jordan — greying and 26 years Gattuso’s senior — by the throat before head-butting him, picking up a heavy UEFA ban.

Gattuso spent a season at Walter Smith’s Rangers before joining AC Milan and won the Scottish double alongside English midfielder Paul Gascoigne.

Since retiring as a player he has been working within the AC Milan structure as youth team coach after a stuttering coaching career elsewhere, with short stints at Sion in Switzerland, at Palermo and Pisa in Italy and at Greek minnows OFI Crete.

With Juventus now the main force in Italian football and Barcelona and Real Madrid dominating Europe in recent years, Gattuso faces a huge task to restore Milan to their former heights.

He was a key cog in the team featuring Paolo Maldini, Andrea Pirlo and Filippo Inzaghi which won the 2003 Champions League by beating Juventus on penalties.

He was on the losing side in the dramatic 2005 final in Istanbul when AC Milan blew a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 with Liverpool and then lost in the penalty shootout, but he got his revenge two years later when Milan beat Liverpool in Athens.

He made 72 international appearances for Italy.

Milan also face a fight to convince UEFA that they comply with financial fairplay regulations designed to prevent clubs from overspending.

In order to meet the criteria, Milan are gambling on making a sharp increase in profits in China. For that, they need to qualify for the Champions League.


Lyon Dump Everton Out Of Europe, Milan Must Wait

Lyon’s French midfielder Nabil Fekir (L) vies with Everton’s Congolese midfielder Beni Baningime (R) during the UEFA Europa League football match between Lyon (OL) and Everton FC on November 2, 2017, at the Groupama Stadium in Decines-Charpieu, central-eastern France.


Struggling Everton crashed out of the Europa League group stage on Thursday with two matches still to play after a 3-0 defeat in Lyon, while AC Milan missed a chance to clinch a spot in the last 32.

Languishing in the relegation zone in the Premier League and without a permanent manager since the sacking of Ronald Koeman last week, Everton succumbed to three second-half goals in France.

Bertrand Traore rounded Jordan Pickford to break the deadlock on 68 minutes, with the Burkina Faso striker breaking down in tears just days after the death of former international team-mate Soulama Abdoulaye.

The 37-year-old Abdoulaye died last week after a long illness. He won 42 caps for Burkina Faso and featured in the squad that reached the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations final.

An emotional Traore was replaced moments after scoring, as Memphis Depay then set up 19-year-old Houssem Aouar to steer in a slick second goal for the hosts on 76 minutes.

The former Manchester United winger completed the scoring himself late on after another ex-United player, Morgan Schneiderlin, was sent off for a second booking in the Group E clash.

“We’re really disappointed with the result. For nearly 70 minutes, we were nearly perfect with our game plan and created a couple of opportunities and should have scored,” said Everton caretaker manager David Unsworth, who refused to be drawn on his future.

“It’s not about me, it’s about the football club. Whatever will be, will be. It’s for other people to decide. It’s about recovering from this result and picking the team for Sunday (against Watford) -– a cup final, for me.”

Everton also lost defender Cuco Martina to a worrying incident in the first half as the Curacao international was stretchered off in a neck brace following an awkward fall.

“Cuco was concussed and complaining of pains down his neck. He’s gone straight to hospital for X-rays and scans. We wish him all the best,” said Unsworth.

– Troubled Milan held –
Seven-time European champions AC Milan, in the midst of a poor run of form in Serie A, failed to relieve much pressure on under-fire manager Vincenzo Montella following a 0-0 draw at AEK Athens.

The Italians hit the post on 57 minutes through Riccardo Montolivo, while Turkey midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu had a powerful drive turned away as Milan remained two points clear of their Greek hosts in Group D.

Vitaliy Buyalskiy fired Dynamo Kiev into the knockout phase after the Ukrainian side secured a 1-0 victory over Group B rivals Young Boys in Switzerland.

Villarreal are on course to advance from Group A after a 2-0 victory at Slavia Prague, but Hoffenheim’s qualification hopes in Group C suffered a costly blow as the Germans conceded a stoppage-time equaliser in a 1-1 draw away to Istanbul Basaksehir.

Having made a perfect start to their Europa League campaign, Arsenal can secure a place in the knockout phase with two group games to spare by beating Red Star Belgrade later on Thursday.

The Gunners play host to the 1991 European Cup winners in north London a fortnight after Olivier Giroud’s remarkable late goal secured a 1-0 win in Belgrade.

Surprise Swedish side Ostersund — coached by Englishman Graham Potter — will extend their run in Europe into the New Year with the right combination of results as they visit Athletic Bilbao.


Higuain Breaks 100-Goal Barrier As Juventus Bury Milan


Juventus’ forward Gonzalo Higuain from Argentina celebrates at the end of the Italian Serie A football match AC Milan Vs Juventus on October 28, 2017 at the ‘Giuseppe Meazza’ Stadium in Milan. MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP

Gonzalo Higuain scored in either half to bring his tally of Serie A goals to 101 as Juventus went top of the Italian league with a 2-0 win that plunged AC Milan further into crisis on Saturday.

Higuain opened after 23 minutes in front of a capacity crowd at the San Siro Stadium and grabbed a second on 63 minutes for the six-time reigning champions.

Juventus move provisionally top with 28 points from 11 games just ahead of Napoli — who host Sassuolo on Sunday — on goal difference.

“When they disallowed the goal against SPAL, we said it was my destiny to score the 100th at San Siro! Now it’s 101, not bad,” Higuain told Sky Sport Italia.

“We’re a strong team and when we play like that it’s difficult to beat us,” said Higuain. “It was essential not to concede a goal.

“I don’t listen to criticism, I just always try to be myself and today we had a great team effort.”

Vincenzo Montella’s Milan, who had ended their run of three consecutive defeats at Chievo midweek, had little answer for their northern Italian neighbours.

The future looks increasingly bleak for Montella whose side are now in eighth position, 12 points behind the leaders, and far below their objective of Champions League football next season.

Milan captain Leonardo Bonucci was absent as he completed his two-match ban against his former club.

After early pressure from the hosts, Juventus got into their stride with Paulo Dybala weaving his way through for fellow Argentine Higuain to blast in his 100th league goal after 22 minutes.

Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini risked an own goal as he nodded just wide when anticipating Nikola Kalinic.

Croatian striker Kalinic had Milan’s best chance just before the first half whistle but his effort was deflected by goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon onto the crossbar.

Higuain’s second came after Kwadwo Asamoah crossed to Dybala who let the ball pass between his legs for the Argentine marksman to trick Ricardo Rodriguez and rifle past Gianluigi Donnarumma after 63 minutes for his sixth league goal of the season.

“Milan perhaps started stronger, but we played like a great team, we deserved the victory.

“The coach said games never end at San Siro and that is absolutely true. We stayed focussed for the full 90 minutes and made only one mistake, when they hit the bar.

“Now we have to recuperate and focus on the Champions League in Lisbon.”

Leaders Napoli can reclaim top spot when they travel north to Sassuolo, who are just two points above the relegation zone, on Sunday.

Inter Milan two points behind the leaders travel to lowly Verona on Monday.

AS Roma host Bologna later Saturday without Dutch international Rick Karsdorp, who picked up a ruptured cruciate ligament during the week.


Icardi Hits Hat-trick As Inter Reign In Milan

Icardi Hits Hat-trick As Inter Reign In Milan
Inter Milan’s Captain Argentinian forward Mauro Icardi (C) celebrates with teammates at the end of the Italian Serie A football match against AC Milan on October 15, 2017, at the ‘San Siro Stadium’. MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

Mauro Icardi scored a hat-trick as Inter Milan kept pace with leaders Napoli with a 3-2 defeat of city rivals AC Milan in a fiery Serie A derby clash on Sunday.

Inter skipper Icardi sealed victory from the spot in the final minute in front of 80,000 spectators at the San Siro to complete his hat-trick after also scoring on 28 and 63 minutes.

Spanish forward Suso (36) and Giacomo Bonaventura (81) had twice put AC Milan back on level terms in the ‘Chinese’ derby between two clubs fuelled by multi-million dollar investments by their Asian owners.

With Juventus losing 1-0 to Roma on Saturday, Luciano Spalletti’s Inter are now alone in second place, within two points of Napoli who they face next weekend.

“Scoring three goals in a derby is something special,” said Icardi.

“The important thing is that Inter won. It’s too early to talk about a Scudetto challenge,” he continued.

“We are doing things the right way from pre-season and now we have to think about the next match against a great opponent like Napoli.

“It’s a special match for me because they are the leaders and play the best football in Europe.”

Napoli maintained their perfect run of eight wins from eight games with Lorenzo Insigne scoring the only goal in a victory over Roma.

Juventus are third after Ciro Immobile’s second-half brace for Lazio condemned the reigning champions to a 2-1 defeat, their first at home in over two years.

Lazio are fourth equal on 19 points with Juventus with Roma four points adrift in fifth.

– Milan in freefall –

AC Milan dropped to tenth place after their fourth defeat piled the pressure on coach Vincenzo Montella.

“Looking at the table right now, everything might seem out of reach, but the season is very long and we can make up ground,” insisted Montella.

“This squad has quality, despite what some might say, and I thought even a draw would have been hard on us today considering all the chances created.

“I think a top-four finish is absolutely possible.”

In a tense first half in the Derby della Madonnina, the first chance came after a quarter of an hour when Antonio Candreva hit the crossbar.

Both Suso and a Joao Miranda header went wide, but Inter took the lead with Icardi picking up a Candreva cross on 28 minutes.

Patrick Cutrone came on after the break and lifted Milan who got back into the game thanks to a beautiful curling Suso effort.

But Icardi restored Inter’s advantage from an Ivan Perisic cross before Bonaventura slid in to make it 2-2 with Samir Handanovic unable to clear.

Ricardo Rodriguez brought down Danilo D’Ambrosio and 24-year-old Icardi converted to earn the praise of Spalletti.

“He (Icardi) has strength, dynamism, technique. He is an all-around player, who for his age knows how to shoulder responsibility,” said the Inter coach.

Earlier, Torino lost ground on the Serie A leaders after a 2-2 draw at Crotone as Atalanta also slipped up with a 3-1 defeat at Sampdoria.

Bryan Cristante opened with a 21st-minute goal in Genoa only for Giampiero Gasperini’s side to concede three in a 12-minute second half spree for Sampdoria.

Duvan Zapata got the equaliser on 56 minutes with Gianluca Caprari pulling the Genoa outfit ahead three minutes later and Karol Linetty sealing victory on 65 minutes.

Sampdoria move up to sixth place with the side from Bergamo now in 12th.

Torino settled for a point at Crotone with Lorenzo De Silvestri nodding in the equaliser two minutes into injury time.

Torino are now eighth, with Bologna moving just ahead with a 2-1 derby win over SPAL.

French striker Cyril Thereau scored in either half to get Fiorentina back to winning ways with a 2-1 success over his former club Udinese.

It was a third win of the season for Fiorentina who have suffered four defeats and move to 11th two places ahead of Udinese.


Improve Your Skills, Milan Coach Tells Bonucci

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 on September 28, 2017.

Coach Vincenzo Montella wants captain Leonardo Bonucci to improve his leadership skills as AC Milan host Roma in a crucial Serie A clash this weekend.

Montella’s side fell to their second defeat of the Serie A campaign against Sampdoria last weekend with fitness coach Emanuele Mara getting the boot in the fallout.

The northerners then struggled to a last-gasp 3-2 win over Croatian outfit Rijeka in Europa League action at the San Siro on Thursday, after throwing away a two-goal lead.

“I was a little fired up with Leonardo Bonucci, as he is the captain and should set the example on how to control a lead, but it was an affectionate telling off,” said Montella.

“We’ve got to grow in the way we handle games. This was a valuable learning experience — you have to control a match at the 70th minute.

“We must improve our defensive organisation as we have perhaps struggled a little in terms of temperament under the weight of expectation.”

Bonucci arrived at the San Siro during the summer in a shock move worth an estimated 40 million ($45.8 million) after helping Juventus win six consecutive titles.

The 30-year-old immediately stepped into the role of captain as the Chinese-owned side push for a return to Champions League football.

But two losses have left Milan trailing in sixth, six points adrift of leaders Napoli and Juventus and four off city rivals Inter Milan.

“I’m not happy with my performances for Milan so far,” conceded Italian international centre-back Bonucci.

“As a leader, I have to do more. When I decided to join Milan, I knew there would be ups and downs, but I don’t feel like a scapegoat.

“Being questioned ignites a fire in me to get out of trouble and give 100 percent.”

– ‘Fundamental’ –

Montella himself has been in the firing line and was hauled in for a meeting with club directors Massimiliano Mirabelli and Marco Fassone earlier in the week.

“Mirabelli and Fassone have supported me. They’re helping me,” insisted Montella.

“There’s no time to look back and reflect, we need to lead Milan into the Champions League and fight for the leading positions in Serie A — it’s fundamental.”

Roma — in fifth — are just ahead of Milan but with a game in hand.

Eusebio Di Francesco’s side have lost just once this season and are coming off a midweek Champions League win at Qarabag which put them second in Group D behind Barcelona.

Inter Milan are confident of keeping pace with the leaders at Benevento, but the tailenders will be desperate to earn their first points of the campaign at home.

Luciano Spalletti has problems in defence with Belgian youngster Zinho Vanheusden suffering a cruciate ligament injury requiring surgery in the coming days.

Juventus follow their midweek 3-1 Champions League win over Olympiakos with a trip to Atalanta, who were held 1-1 in their Europa League fixture at Lyon.

Bosnian midfielder Miralem Pjanic is a doubt for the champions after pulling up with a thigh muscle strain before Wednesday’s game in Turin.



D’Ambrosio Saves Inter, AC Milan Crash In Serie A


Inter Milan’s defender Danilo D’Ambrosio celebrates after scoring during the Italian Serie A football match Inter Milan Vs Genoa on September 24, 2017, at the San Siro stadium in Milan.

Danilo D’Ambrosio scored late as Inter Milan squeezed past Genoa 1-0 in Serie A action Sunday to keep in touch with the leaders, as AC Milan fell 2-0 at Sampdoria.

D’Ambrosio headed in off a corner with two minutes to go at the San Siro to earn three points for Luciano Spalletti’s side, who saw their winning run ended on Tuesday with a last-gasp 1-1 draw at Bologna.

Adel Taarabt and Stephane Omeonga were sent off for Genoa in injury time as the club from Liguria remain winless in their opening six games.

Inter stay third, two points behind leaders Juventus and Napoli, who both claimed their sixth wins out of six on Saturday against Torino, 4-0, and SPAL, 3-2, respectively.

“It was a tough match, but we stayed solid,” said Spalletti. “We must create this winning mentality that makes us believe that we can beat anyone.

“There is a gap with Napoli and Juventus, but that’s to be expected, considering where we’re coming from. It’s tough to recreate a winning mentality after a poor campaign. There is always that fear of reality setting in.

“Napoli and Juventus have that mentality, so do Roma and Lazio. We also mustn’t underestimate Sampdoria and Torino, who are two strong sides.”

Ciro Immobile scored a double including one from the spot to bring his tally to eight for the Serie A season, as injury-hit Lazio stayed fourth with a comfortable 3-0 win at Verona.

Immobile converted a penalty after 24 minutes, scored from the edge of the box before the break and then teed up Adam Marusic for his first Serie A goal on 60 minutes.

Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi was delighted that his side knew how to respond positively to their 4-1 defeat midweek to Napoli.

“On Wednesday we had a setback that we didn’t foresee, even though we were playing Napoli,” said Inzaghi.

“One goal would have allowed Verona back into it at home, but we never risked it.

“There are no more adjectives for him (Immobile). He gives a lot and (Italy coach Giampiero) Ventura will definitely be counting on him.”

City rivals Roma — who have a game in hand — are fifth, after easing past Udinese 3-1 on Saturday.

– Milan worried –

Duvan Zapata and Ricky Alvarez scored as Sampdoria condemned big-spending AC Milan to their second defeat of the campaign.

Zapata broke through after a terrible clearance by his cousin and fellow Colombia international Cristian Zapata on 72 minutes with substitute Alvarez getting the second just before the final whistle.

Chinese-owned Milan — who spent almost 200 million euros in the summer — remain sixth after six games with Sampdoria, who have a game in hand, moving seventh just a point behind.

Milan defenders Cristian Zapata, Leonardo Bonucci and Alessio Romagnoli struggled to contain the Genoese.

“We have to get our heads down to work,” said Milan captain Bonucci. “It depends on each of us. To improve we have to go beyond our limits.”

Sampdoria had been awarded an early penalty, but the handball decision was overturned by the video referee.

Elsewhere substitute Orji Okwonkwo scored a minute from time to give Bologna maximum points at neighbouring Sassuolo who had captain Francesco Magnanelli sent off for two late bookable offences.

Chievo won at 10-man Cagliari thanks to Roberto Inglese and Mariusz Stepinski’s second-half goals as Crotone earned their first win 2-0 over tailenders Benevento.


Immobile Scores Hat-Trick As Lazio Humble Milan

Immobile Scores Hat-Trick As Lazio Humble Milan
Lazio’s defender from Romania Stefan Radu (C) heads the ball between AC Milan’s midfielder from Argentina Lucas Biglia (R) and AC Milan’s defender from Switzerland Ricardo Rodriguez (L) during the Italian Serie A football match Lazio vs AC Milan on September 10, 2017, at the Olympic stadium in Rome.
Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

Ciro Immobile scored a hat-trick as Lazio stunned AC Milan 4-1 in Serie A, while city rivals Inter joined Juventus at the top with a 2-0 win over SPAL on Sunday.

Luciano Spalletti’s Inter were too strong for promoted SPAL in the San Siro and joined Juventus on maximum nine points after the champions beat Chievo 3-0 on Saturday.

Simone Inzaghi’s Lazio ran riot over the Chinese-owned Milan with an on-fire Immobile scoring three goals in the space of 10 minutes, including a penalty, in a match delayed for an hour due to torrential rain in the capital.

Riccardo Montolivo pulled one back for the visitors off a deflected Hakan Calhanoglu free-kick, but Vincenzo Montella’s side fell to their first defeat in three games.

“Not many teams will get four goals against Milan,” said Immobile, who also scored for Italy against Israel in a World Cup qualifier this week.

“I think we’re on the right track.”

Lazio remain unbeaten this season and overtake Milan to move third with seven points.

Earlier, Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi added to his Serie A tally with a 27th-minute penalty, giving him a fifth goal of the season after braces in the opening two games.

The spot-kick was awarded after the intervention of the video assistant referee (VAR), after Joao Mario was tripped inside the box with Icardi slotting in.

Ivan Perisic sealed the victory after 87 minutes with a powerful volley into the top corner.

“They are valuable points which allow us to consolidate our place in the table and build self-confidence,” said Inter assistant manager Marco Domenichini.

SPAL boss Leonardo Semplici believes Inter under former Roma boss Luciano Spalletti can now challenge Juventus’ dominance.

“Inter will challenge for the Scudetto, but I still have to compliment my boys for their performance. I tip my hat to Luciano Spalletti, who is both a friend and a great coach,” he told Sky Sport Italia.

“We caused Inter problems and had a few chances to score too, but I think if we play like this, we will ensure our Serie A safety.”

Inter and Juventus could be joined at the top by Napoli later Sunday, when they visit Bologna.

After two easy matches against Crotone and Cagliari, Milan got a reality check against Lazio.

Immobile’s first was from a penalty on 38 minutes, and four minutes later he added a second with a volley off a Senad Lulic cross.

The Italian international then got his third six minutes later and quickly assisted Luis Alberto for the fourth.

Fiorentina bounced back from successive defeats with their first win of the season — a 5-0 rout at Verona.

Argentine striker Giovanni Simeone, son of Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone, scored his first goal for the Tuscany club after two minutes.

Elsewhere, Atalanta won 2-1 at home against Sassuolo while Cagliari achieved their first win in their new stadium, beating Crotone 1-0, and Udinese defeated Genoa 1-0.

Torino left it late with Iago Falque scoring three minutes into time added on to beat Benevento 1-0.

Paulo Dybala inspired Juventus to victory over Verona side Chievo ahead of next week’s Champions League opener at Barcelona, with the game between Sampdoria and Roma in Genoa postponed because of adverse weather conditions.