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

‘I Need To Continue Working Hard’: Osimhen Pledges More After Sampdoria Brace

Osimhen is expected to lead Napoli’s push for the Serie A. Photo: Napoli website.

 

Super Eagles forward Victor Osimhen says he is determined to do better following a stunning start to the season. 

The Nigerian scored a brace as Napoli outclassed Sampdoria 4-0 in a Serie A game on Thursday evening to take his goal tally in all competitions to five.

But Osimhen, who admitted the impact of the COVID-19 and injury on his performance last season, has expressed readiness to continue working hard for the remainder of the campaign.

“Last year I had COVID and then got a bad injury. I’m in good shape this season,” the 2015 U-17 World Cup winner told Napoli’s website, one week after he netted a brace against Leicester City in a Europa League game.

“I’m training consistently and I’m listening to the advice the coach gives me and the help I get from the team. I’m pleased with what I’m doing but I know I need to continue working hard. We all need to continue down this track.”

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

Juventus Win First Serie A Game Since Ronaldo’s Departure

‘Victor Is Doing Well’

File photo: Napoli’s Nigerian forward Victor Osimhen (L) vies with Granada’s Spanish defender German Sanchez during the UEFA Europa League round of 32 first leg football match between Granada FC and Napoli at Nuevo Los Carmenes stadium in Granada on February 18, 2021.
JORGE GUERRERO / AFP

 

On Thursday,  he opened the scoring chart in the 10th minute after beating  goalkeeper Emil Audero and completed his brace five minutes into the second half before Piotr Zielinski sealed the win for the Parthenopeans. 

Shortly after the match, an excited Osimhen singled out the club’s coach, Luciano Spalleti for praise following his impressive form this term.

“I’m really happy,” he added.  “It was important for me to start the season well and I want to thank the coach for his confidence in me. I’m honored to play for this club.”

Osimhen’s recent form, reminiscent of his start to life in Naples, has also caught Spalletti’s attention.

The Italian, 62, lauded the Nigerian’s technical abilities and commitment to doing more.

“Victor is doing well and working hard for every ball,” the coach said. “He finishes his chances very well. I think we did well to read the game, both when there were challenges and when there were more positive moments.”

Before the Sampdoria game, the 22-year-old was also on target as Napoli thrashed Udinese in another league match on Monday.

Osimhen began his Serie A career in the 2020/2021 season following a reported £45m switch from Ligue 1 side, Lille.

In the 2019/2020 campaign, his debut season in France, he netted 18 goals in 38 games.

 

 

 

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

 

Young Scores First Goal Of Season In Inter’s Winning Finale As Fans Return


Inter Milan’s Slovenian goalkeeper Samir Handanovic (Top C) lifts the Scudetto Trophy as Inter players and staff celebrate winning the Serie A 2020-2021 championship after their last Italian Serie A football match Inter Milan vs Udinese on May 23, 2021 at the San Siro stadium in Milan.
MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

 

Ashley Young struck early with his first goal of the season as champions Inter Milan celebrated their Serie A title in front of their home fans with a 5-1 season-ending victory over Udinese on Sunday.

The game was watched by 1,000 fans inside the 75,000-seater San Siro for the first time in a campaign played behind closed doors because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Young grabbed the opener after eight minutes following a one-two with Lautaro Martinez for the English midfielder’s first effort in 26 games having scored four last season.

READ ALSO: Suarez Scores As Atletico Madrid Win La Liga

The former Manchester United and Aston Villa winger has scored five goals in 59 games since moving to Italy in January 2020.


Inter Milan’s English midfielder Ashley Young (L) celebrates after opening the scoring during the Italian Serie A football match Inter Milan vs Udinese on May 23, 2021 at the San Siro stadium in Milan. MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

 

The 35-year-old also won the Premier League with United in 2013 and is the third English player to win in Italy after Jimmy Greaves and Gerry Hitchens with Inter in the 1960s.

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen came off the bench and scored with a freekick through the Udinese wall just before the break.

Martinez marked his 100th Serie A appearance with the third goal from the penalty spot ten minutes after the break for a foul on Achraf Hakimi.

Ivan Perisic and Romelu Lukaku added two more in the second half.

There was a party atmosphere both inside and outside the stadium with the song of Italy’s Eurovision winners Maneskin blasting out during the interval.

Handanovic makes history 

Inter captain Samir Handanovic was untroubled in goal against his former club in a game which saw him overtake Walter Zenga as the goalkeeper with the most league appearances for the club.

The 36-year-old lifted his first trophy with the club he joined in 2012 after eight seasons with Udinese.

The Slovenia keeper was substituted at half-time with Daniele Padelli coming off the bench with Roberto Pereyra getting a goal back for Udinese from the penalty spot with 10 minutes to go for an Eriksen handball.

(From L) Inter Milan’s Vice-President Javier Zanetti, Inter Milan’s President Steven Zhang, Inter Milan’s Italian coach Antonio Conte, Inter Milan’s Sports Coordinator Gabriele Oriali and Inter Milan’s CEO Giuseppe Marotta hold the Scudetto Trophy as Inter players and staff celebrate winning the Serie A 2020-2021 championship after their last Italian Serie A football match Inter Milan vs Udinese on May 23, 2021 at the San Siro stadium in Milan. MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

 

Outside, over 4,000 Nerazzurri fans celebrated their 19th Serie A title and first since 2010, which had been secured with four games to spare.

The fans gathered early in the day with fireworks, flares and singing as the team bus arrived.

Antonio Conte’s side were presented with the trophy after the game having denied his former club Juventus a 10th consecutive league title this campaign.

Dethroned Juve are in a three-team race with AC Milan and Napoli for the final two Champions League places behind Inter and Atalanta.

Juve travel to 11th-placed Bologna trying to avoid missing out on the European top-tier for the first time since 2011-12.

But a win may not be enough with the results of Milan at Atalanta and Napoli at home against Hellas Verona, also deciding their fate.

AFP

Ronaldo Scores Brace To Rescue Juventus Against Udinese

Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo scores a goal during the Italian Serie A football match between Udinese and Juventus on May 2, 2021, at the Dacia Arena Stadium in Udine. MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP

 

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice late to rescue a 2-1 win for Juventus at Udinese on Sunday hours after the Turin giants lost their Serie A crown to Inter Milan.

Inter broke Juve’s nine-year streak of domestic dominance by clinching their 19th ‘Scudetto’ after nearest rivals Atalanta drew 1-1 at Sassuolo to leave the ‘Nerazzurri’ 13 points clear with four games remaining.

Antonio Conte’s side had needed just one point to take the title regardless of how Atalanta fared after their 2-0 win at Crotone on Saturday, and have denied Juve a 10th consecutive league title.

Juve’s win moves them up to third as they target a Champions League spot, but are equal on 69 points with second-placed Atalanta and AC Milan in fourth.

Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A football match between Udinese and Juventus at the Dacia Arena Stadium in Udine, on May 2, 2021. MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP

 

Napoli are two points behind in fifth after a 1-1 draw against Cagliari while Lazio are still in the running, five points off a top-four finish with a game in hand after an exciting 4-3 win over Genoa.

“The nine years are over, we will no longer have the Scudetto attached to the shirt, but we will start again with the same desire as before,” said Juve coach Andrea Pirlo.

“We lost points against teams that we should have beaten, sometimes naively, we let Inter escape and now we are focused on reaching the Champions League.”

READ ALSO: Inter Milan Win First Serie A Title Since 2010

Juventus had trailed for most of the game in Udine after Nahuel Molina put Udinese ahead in the 10th minutes, blasting in off a quickly taken Rodrigo De Paul free kick while Juventus players were still protesting.

Weston McKennie missed a chance to level for the away side before the half hour mark when he sent a diving header wide.

Matthijs de Ligt had a shot charged down with Ronaldo nodding the follow-up over.

The equaliser came with seven minutes to go after De Paul conceded a penalty for handball from a Ronaldo free kick, with the Portuguese forward making no mistake from the penalty spot.


Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A football match between Udinese and Juventus at the Dacia Arena Stadium in Udine, on May 2, 2021. MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP

 

Four minutes later he grabbed the winner when he headed home an Adrien Rabiot cross with relieved coach Andrea Pirlo racing to join the celebrations.

Ronaldo brings his Serie A-leading tally to 27 goals, six more than Inter’s Romelu Lukaku.

Atalanta hold on for a point 

In Emilia-Romagna, Atalanta played most of the match a man down after goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini saw red after 22 minutes at the Mapei Stadium.

Atalanta’s Robin Gosens scored 10 minutes after Gollini’s sending off for recklessly bringing down Jeremie Boga.

Domenico Berardi pulled Sassuolo level from the penalty spot seven minutes after the break after Hamed Traore went down in the penalty box under pressure from Rafael Toloi.

Sassuolo also played the final quarter of an hour with 10 men after Brazilian defender Marlon was sent off for a second yellow card, but goalkeeper Andrea Consigli saved Muriel’s penalty to hand Inter the title.

In Naples, Nahitan Nandez got a late equaliser for Cagliari to cancel out Victor Osimhen’s 13th-minute opener.

Napoli are still in the running for the Champions League while Cagliari move one point clear of the relegation zone.

Lazio’s thrilling victory over Genoa secured a club-record 11th consecutive win.

Joaquin Correa scored a brace, breaking the deadlock after half an hour and striking again 11 minutes after the break.

Ciro Immobile added the second from the penalty spot before half-time after an Ivan Radovanovic foul.

Genoa made a triple substitution after the break and got back into the game when under-pressure Lazio defender Adam Marusic turned into his own net.

Luis Alberto curled in a third for the hosts just after with Correa then making it 4-1.

The hosts survived a late scare as Genoa fought back with Gianluca Scamacca slotting in a penalty with 10 minutes to go and Eldor Shomurodov blasting in another goal almost immediately afterwards.

AFP

Simy Nwankwo Equals Aiyegbeni’s 10 Years Goal Record 

Simy Nwankwo is among the top scorers in the Serie A. Photo: [email protected]_official_99

 

Super Eagles star, Simy Nwankwo has equalled compatriot, Yakubu Aiyegbeni’s ten-year-old record of the most goals scored by a Nigerian in Europe’s top five leagues –  English Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Série A, Ligue A. 

The Nigerian scored the only goal as his lowly-ranked Crotone lost 2-1 to Udinese in a week-30 Serie A game on Saturday.

Aiyegbeni netted 17 goals for Blackburn Rovers in the English Premier League during the 2011/2012 season, a development that earned him the accolade until Simy’s fine form shattered it.

READ ALSO: Goalkeeper Sent Off In Ecuador For Urinating Behind His Goalpost

Crotone were at the bottom of the table with relegation breathing down their neck before the game and needed a win to boost their chances of survival.

But it was their defensive weakness that once again saw them concede a goal, forty minutes into the encounter. The defenders were slow to respond as Alex Cordaz stopped a Roberto Pereyra shot with his leg.

Pereyra was quick to react, gathering the ball before laying it for Rodrigo De Paul to give Udinese the lead.

Nwankwo then levelled things for his side, just a few minutes later after converting a penalty.

His effort was, however, not enough with De Paul slamming the ball past the goalkeeper to seal the win for his club, further compounding Crotone’s chances of survival.

READ ALSO: Chelsea End Man City’s Quadruple Quest To Reach FA Cup Final

The Nigerian is fourth on the top scorers’ chat in Italy; behind Portuguese star, Cristiano Ronaldo; Romelu Lukaku and Luis Muriel.

Nwankwo had a few weeks ago equalled George Weah’s record, becoming the third African to strike in five consecutive Serie A matches.

Serie A: Osimhen Hospitalised After Losing Consciousness

File photo: Napoli’s Nigerian forward Victor Osimhen reacts during the UEFA Europa League round of 32 first leg football match between Granada FC and Napoli at Nuevo Los Carmenes stadium in Granada on February 18, 2021. JORGE GUERRERO / AFP

 

Napoli forward Victor Osimhen was hospitalised on Sunday after losing consciousness following a knock to the head in Sunday’s 4-2 defeat to Atalanta in Serie A.

The Nigeria striker was stretchered off the pitch in Bergamo after 90 minutes after hitting his head on the ground after a Cristian Romero challenge.

The 22-year-old came around as he was transported to hospital in northern Italy where tests revealed head trauma, but were reassuring, Napoli said.

“The player will remain in Bergamo until tomorrow (Monday) under clinical observation,” the team said in a statement.

Neither coach Gennaro Gattuso nor his players spoke to the media after the match which was a clash for fourth place and the Champions League berths.

The forward, who joined the club from Lille last summer, had only returned to action last month after being sidelined for over two months with a shoulder injury and coronavirus.

File photo: Napoli’s Nigerian forward Victor Osimhen (L) vies with Granada’s Spanish defender German Sanchez during the UEFA Europa League round of 32 first leg football match between Granada FC and Napoli at Nuevo Los Carmenes stadium in Granada on February 18, 2021.
JORGE GUERRERO / AFP

 

Despite a promising start to the season he has scored just two goals for the club.

Napoli fell to their third defeat in five league games as Atalanta warmed-up for next week’s Champions League clash with Real Madrid to move fourth in Serie A.

READ ALSO: Osaka Aims To Inspire New Generation But Says Williams Is Still The Queen

After a first half marked only by the red card given to Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini, for arguing with the referee for a penalty after Matteo Pessina went down, the hosts dominated after the break.

Colombian striker Luis Muriel set up compatriot Duvan Zapata to head in seven minutes after the break.

Piotr Zielinski pulled Napoli level six minutes later volleying in off a Matteo Politano cross.

Robin Gosens restored Atalanta’s advantage on 64 minutes with Muriel adding a third seven minutes later.

German midfielder Gosens sent the ball into his own net five minutes later as he attempted to head clear but Romero headed in a fourth with 11 minutes to go.

Atalanta are fourth one point behind third-placed Roma who were held 0-0 at Benevento.

Napoli are seventh, three points off the Champions League places, with pressure on Gattuso after also losing their Europa League tie at Granada during the week.

AFP

Lautaro Hat-Trick Sends Six-Goal Inter Milan Top Of Serie A

Inter Milan’s Argentine forward Lautaro Martinez kisses the ball after scoring the 3-2 goal during the Italian Serie A football match Inter Milan vs Crotone on January 3, 2021 at the Giuseppe-Meazza (San Siro) stadium in Milan. MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

 

Lautaro Martinez scored a hat-trick as Inter Milan kicked off 2021 in blistering form with a 6-2 win over lowly Crotone on Sunday to take top spot in Serie A.

Inter claimed an eighth consecutive league win to move two points ahead of AC Milan who travel to midtable Benevento later on Sunday with champions Juventus hosting Udinese.

Martinez and Romelu Lukaku proved decisive for the northerners, the strike duo being involved in five of Inter’s goals.

Antonio Conte’s side had been pegged back 2-2 at the break with Niccolo Zanellato breaking through with a 12th-minute header for the promoted Calabrians who are second from bottom with the worst attack in the league.

But Martinez picked up a Lukaku cross to pull the hosts level eight minutes later.

Martinez had a role in Inter’s second just after half an hour when Crotone defender Luca Marrone turned the ball into his own net under pressure from Argentina forward.

Vladimir Golemic put the sides level six minutes later after Arturo Vidal fouled Arkadiusz Reca, with Conte replacing the Chilean midfielder after the break.

Martinez pulled Inter ahead before the hour connecting with a Marcelo Brozovic through ball and headed in his third with 12 minutes to go off a rebound.

Lukaku blasted in his 50th goal in the Inter jersey after 64 minutes before going off after taking a knock to his thigh, before Achraf Hakimi sealed the win with three minutes to go.

“There is a great desire and it shows,” said Conte as Inter target their first Serie A title since 2010 with their European campaign over this season.

“It’s important to continue like this, we produce and create a lot, we score a lot of goals, it’s a pity for the goals conceded.”

AFP

Napoli Get First Win In Stadio Maradona As Inter Retake Second Spot

Napoli’s Polish midfielder Piotr Zielinski (C) celebrates with teammates after opening the scoring during the UEFA Europa League Group F football match Napoli vs Real Sociedad on December 10, 2020 at the newly renamed Maradona stadium, formerly known as the San Paolo, in Naples, Italy.
Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP

 

Napoli got their first win in the newly-named Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Sunday, beating Sampdoria 2-1 to move third in Serie A behind Inter Milan, who fought back to see off Cagliari 3-1.

Napoli needed to come from behind in the stadium renamed a week ago following the death of club legend Maradona last month.

Maradona led the club to their only league titles in 1987 and 1990 and the UEFA Cup in 1989.

The match in Naples was preceded by a minute’s silence in memory of Italy’s 1982 World Cup winner Paolo Rossi, who died on Wednesday, aged 64.

Jakub Jankto put Sampdoria ahead in the 20th minute, but Hirving Lozano came off the bench in the second half to spark a Napoli revival.

Lozano got his head to a Dries Mertens cross seven minutes after the break with the Mexican international then crossing for Andrea Petagna to nod in the winner with 22 minutes remaining.

Inter Milan bounced back after their Champions League exit, reclaiming second place and moving two points behind leaders AC Milan, who host Parma later on Sunday.

Antonio Conte’s Inter were trailing with a quarter of an hour to go in Sardinia, after Riccardo Sottil put the hosts ahead before the break and a series of fine saves from home goalkeeper Alessio Cragno.

Former Cagliari player Nicolo Barella volleyed in the equaliser after 77 minutes with Danilo D’Ambrosio coming off the bench to immediately nod in a second with six minutes to go.

Romelu Lukaku added a third deep into injury time as Inter returned to second spot two points behind leaders AC Milan who host Parma later on Sunday with champions Juventus at Genoa.

“I’m really happy with their reaction because the lads still had the Shakhtar games on their minds,” said Conte.

“We went a goal down despite a great first-half performance and numerous chances created.

“(Cagliari goalie) Cragno was their best player on the pitch, but the lads believed right up to the end and showed they wanted to win at all costs.”

 Roma thump Bologna

Inter’s hopes in Europe are over after finishing bottom of their Champions League group midweek after a goalless draw with Shakhtar Donetsk, having also failed to score in a stalemate in Ukraine.

Conte’s side are now focusing on claiming a first league title since 2010, and preventing Juventus from winning a 10th consecutive ‘Scudetto’.

Roma got back to winning ways with an emphatic 5-1 victory at Bologna to move fifth, one point ahead of Juventus.

All six goals came in the first half at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara.

Bologna’s Andrea Poli turned into his own net after five minutes before Edin Dzeko added a second to give the hosts a two-goal advantage after 10 minutes.

The Bosnian became the third-highest scorer in Roma’s history with his 111th club goal.

Lorenzo Pellegrini, Jordan Veretout and Henrikh Mkhitaryan added three more before the break, with a Bryan Cristante own goal putting Bologna on the scoresheet.

In Bergamo, Atalanta eased past Fiorentina 3-0, days after qualifying for the Champions League last-16.

Robin Gosens opened the scoring just before half-time when he finished off a Duvan Zapata cross.

A Ruslan Malinovskyi free-kick nine minutes after the break, and a Rafael Toloi header in the 63rd minute secured all three points for the northerners who are in the eighth position with a game in hand.

Fiorentina are in 17th position after their sixth league match in a row without a win.

AFP

Ibrahimovic Scores Brace As AC Milan Stay Top Of Serie A

AC Milan's Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic centres the ball before feeling pain at his left leg, a thigh muscle strain during the Italian serie A football match Napoli vs AC Milan on November 22, 2020 at the San Paolo stadium in Naples. ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP
AC Milan’s Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic centres the ball before feeling pain at his left leg, a thigh muscle strain during the Italian serie A football match Napoli vs AC Milan on November 22, 2020 at the San Paolo stadium in Naples. ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP

 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice to bring his tally to 10 league goals this season before limping off with a muscle strain as AC Milan stayed top in Serie A on Sunday with a 3-1 win at 10-man Napoli.

Milan move back two points ahead of Sassuolo — 2-0 winners earlier at Hellas Verona — with Roma third after Henrikh Mkhitaryan netted a brace in a dominant 3-0 win over Parma.

“For me Zlatan is stronger now than 10-12 years ago,” said Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso of his former Milan teammate.

“Milan strongly believes in Ibra, his teammates trust him 100 percent.

“In my opinion, their team is not the strongest but they have the mentality.

“We play well but lose as soon as it gets difficult.”

Ibrahimovic continued his fine form, heading in a Theo Hernandez cross after 20 minutes, sending in the second with his knee nine minutes after the break.

But the 39-year-old pulled up clutching his left hamstring and was substituted after 79 minutes.

The Swede has scored in all six games he has played this season, having missed two after contracting coronavirus.

Coach Stefano Pioli missed the trip south with Covid-19, but his side got their first league win in Naples since October 2010, the season they last won the Scudetto, with Ibrahimovic also on the scoresheet that time.

Napoli played the final half an hour a man down after Tiemoue Bakayoko was sent off for two yellow cards, just after Dries Mertens had pulled a goal back for the hosts.

Norwegian Jens Petter Hauge completed the scoring five minutes into injury time, the 21-year-old getting his first Serie A goal.

Champions Juventus are fourth — four points off top spot — after winning 2-0 at Cagliari on Saturday.

Last season’s runners-up Inter Milan are just behind in fifth, after a Romelu Lukaku double inspired a 4-2 comeback win over Torino, with Napoli dropping from third to sixth — six points off top spot.

Inter ‘lack ferocity’

In Milan, Torino got off to a strong start despite playing without top striker Andrea Belotti who pulled up during the warm-up.

Simone Zaza took the skipper’s place and scored the opener just before the break with Cristian Ansaldi adding a second from the penalty spot after an hour.

Inter reacted in the 64th minute, with Alexis Sanchez bundling the ball in after Lukaku’s initial effort was tipped onto the crossbar, before the Chilean set up his fellow former Manchester United forward for the equaliser three minutes later.

Lukaku pulled Inter ahead from the penalty spot six minutes from time and then provided the cross for substitute Lautaro Martinez to score the fourth on 90 minutes.

“I didn’t like what I saw,” said Inter coach Antonio Conte three days before his side host Real Madrid in the Champions League.

Inter Milan's Belgian forward Romelu Lukaku (L) and Inter Milan's Italian coach Antonio Conte tap hands at the end of the Italian Serie A football match Inter vs Torino on November 22, 2020 at the Giuseppe-Meazza (San Siro) stadium in Milan. MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP
Inter Milan’s Belgian forward Romelu Lukaku (L) and Inter Milan’s Italian coach Antonio Conte tap hands at the end of the Italian Serie A football match Inter vs Torino on November 22, 2020 at the Giuseppe-Meazza (San Siro) stadium in Milan. MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

 

“We lack the ferocity of last season.

“But we showed character as being 2-0 down could have destroyed us.”

Torino drop into the relegation zone after their fifth defeat.

In Verona, Sassuolo continued their impressive run thanks to goals in either half from Jeremie Boga and Domenico Berardi.

The side from Emilia Romagna are unbeaten this season and are the joint top scorers with 20 goals.

Roma meanwhile stretched their unbeaten run in all competitions to 10 matches, cementing victory with three first-half goals.

Borja Mayoral got his first Serie A goal just before the half-hour mark, with Mkhitaryan adding two more before the break to bring his tally to five in two games after scoring a hat-trick last time out against Genoa.

In Tuscany, Cesare Prandelli had a nightmare start as coach of struggling Fiorentina with a 1-0 home defeat by Benevento.

Former Italy coach Prandelli returned to the ‘Viola’ a decade after leaving for the Azzurri job in 2010, but the team fell to their fourth defeat.

To add to Prandelli’s woes, French midfielder Franck Ribery went off injured.

“The fragility worries me most,” said Prandelli.

“Perhaps the team succumbed to their fears and negative thoughts when Franck came off.”

Riccardo Improta scored his first Serie A goal for Benevento on 52 minutes, slotting in a Gabriele Moncini cross after a Cristiano Biraghi defensive error.

Fiorentina slip to 15th in the Serie A table, just behind Benevento.

 

 

AFP

Ibrahimovic Rescues Point For AC Milan As Juve, Inter Also Held

AC Milan’s Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic gestures during the UEFA Europa League first round day three Group H football match between AC Milan and Lille (LOSC) at the Meazza stadium in Milan on November 5, 2020.
MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

 

 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed a penalty before scoring a late equaliser as Serie A leaders AC Milan salvaged a point in a 2-2 Serie A draw against Hellas Verona on Sunday to let rivals Juventus and Inter Milan off the hook after both were held 1-1 in earlier games.

“I’ll let Franck Kessie take the next one, that would be better,” said Ibrahimovic, who has now missed four of the last six penalties he has taken for AC Milan.

Stefano Pioli’s side are top of Serie A with a two-point advantage on second-placed Sassuolo, who were held to a goalless draw against Udinese on Friday.

Champions Juventus drop to fifth, four points behind the leaders after Lazio’s Felipe Caicedo scored five minutes into injury time to cancel out Cristiano Ronaldo’s first-half goal.

Inter Milan and Atalanta also shared the spoils in Bergamo after Aleksey Miranchuk scored on his first Serie A start for the hosts to cancel out Lautaro Martinez’s header.

Milan had the chance to pull four points clear at the top of the table in the final match before the international break.

But the leaders were two goals down in the San Siro after Antonin Barak opened the scoring in the sixth minute and Milan defender Davide Calabria bundled into his own goal quarter of an hour later.

Ibrahimovic had a chance for the equaliser after 66 minutes, after Verona defender Giangiacomo Magnani’s own goal had reduced the deficit for the hosts.

But the 39-year-old embarrassingly fired over the crossbar before redeeming himself deep into injury time by heading in his eighth league goal this season.

“With so many matches you are not always 100 percent,” said the veteran Swedish striker.

“It was important not to lose. Thank goodness there is a break now, so I rest a little.”

Milan avoided a first league defeat after their 24-match unbeaten run was ended with a Europa League loss to Lille during the week.

Napoli move third after a Victor Osimhen header sealed a 1-0 win over Bologna.

Roma are equal on points with Napoli, both one point ahead of Juventus, after a Henrikh Mkhitaryan hat-trick delivered a 3-1 win at Genoa.

 

 

Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo controls the ball during the Italian Serie A football match between Lazio (SSL) and Juventus (JFC) , at the Olympic stadium in Rome on November 8, 2020.
Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

 

– Ronaldo ‘crucial’ for Juve –

Earlier Juventus once again demonstrated how dependent they are on Portuguese star Ronaldo, letting three points slip after he limped off with an ankle injury with 15 minutes to go.

“Ronaldo is a crucial player,” said Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo.

The 35-year-old had scored his sixth goal in four games and had further chances for a second, rattling the post before Pepe Reina tipped a free-kick over the bar.

Caicedo, who came on early in the second half, once again had the final word.

He picked up a Correa cross and swivelled to fire in the equaliser as Juventus drew for the fourth time in seven league games.

Caicedo also scored in the midweek 1-1 Champions League draw at Zenit Saint-Petersburg and the winner in last weekend’s 4-3 victory at Torino.

“We played like Juventus for 93 minutes and 45 seconds, but then we conceded a goal because we eased off,” said defender Leonardo Bonucci who played his 400th game for Juventus.

Simone Inzaghi’s Lazio, embroiled in coronavirus chaos with star striker Ciro Immobile back in isolation after playing last weekend, are ninth, six points off the leaders.

“This team has heart, difficulties are part of our DNA,” said Inzaghi.

The Roman club are being investigated by the Italian football federation for possible Covid violations after UEFA blocked some players from Champions League games at Club Brugge and Zenit after testing positive.

– Inter lack ‘killer instinct’ –

Both Inter and Atalanta missed the chance to close the gap on the leaders days after Champions League defeats to Real Madrid and Liverpool respectively.

Former Lokomotiv Moscow midfielder Miranchuk came off the bench just before the hour and scored 19 minutes later in his first game for the home side.

Romelu Lukaku returned from a thigh strain, playing the final quarter of an hour, but could not find a winner for Inter.

“We’re lacking a bit of the killer instinct to take home games,” said coach Antonio Conte, whose side are seventh just behind Atalanta.

-AFP

Osimhen Celebrates Debut Serie A Goal With #EndPoliceBrutality Shirt

Super Eagles striker celebrates his debut Seria A goal with Napoli on October 17, 2020. Credit: @IntChampionsCup

 

Super Eagles striker, Victor Osimhen, on Saturday scored his first goal in Serie A as a Napoli player.

The striker scored his debut goal with a finish against Atalanta in the 43rd minute.

After scoring, Osimhen held up a shirt with the inscription “End Police Brutality in Nigeria”.

He has previously shown his support for the #EndSARS protesters in Nigeria.

On October 12, the striker took to Twitter saying the power of the people outweighs those in government.

“The power of the people is always stronger than the people in power. remember DAT #ReformNigeriaPolice,” he tweeted.

Two days earlier, he also called for an end to police brutality in the country, insisting that the human rights abuses by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) must end.

This comes three months after Napoli signed him with a $94.6 million to bring Nigeria forward to southern Italy on a five-year deal.

Osimhen’s move to the Gli Azzurri trumps the prize Arsenal paid for Ivory Coast forward, Nicolas Pepe last year.

Last term, the former Charleroi (from where he moved to France) man scored 18 goals in all games for Lille and has been linked with a move to Naples in recent times.

His stellar showing for the French side saw him winning the Lille Player of the Season just as he made it to Ligue 1’s team for the 2019/2020 campaign.