Udinese End Roma’s Unbeaten Run With 4 Nil Thrashing

Udinese players at the end of the game. [email protected]_1896

 

Roma’s unbeaten start to the Serie A season came to a sobering end as they suffered a 4-0 thrashing at Udinese on Sunday, missing out on the chance to reclaim the top spot.

Jose Mourinho’s side had only conceded one goal in their opening four games of the campaign but were dismantled at the Stadio Friuli.

Teenage wing-back Destiny Udogie, on loan from Tottenham, put Udinese into a fifth-minute lead as he pounced on a Rick Karsdorp error to score for the second time in three games.

The hosts doubled their advantage 11 minutes into the second half as Roma goalkeeper Rui Patricio allowed Lazar Samardzic’s long-range strike to bounce into the net.

READ ALSO: Man Utd Beat Arsenal At Old Trafford

Roberto Pereyra curled a fine shot past Patricio with a quarter of an hour remaining to put the game to bed.

Sandi Lovric added to Roma’s woes in the 82nd minute by finishing off a counter-attack, sending Udinese above their opponents into fourth place.

Napoli lead the standings on goal difference from reigning champions AC Milan, who edged out city rivals Inter 3-2 at the San Siro on Saturday.

AFP

French Police Begin Probe Into Pogba’s Extortion Claims

Juventus’ French midfielder Paul Pogba, who is currently injured, waves from a tribune prior to the Italian Serie A football match between Juventus and AS Roma on August 27, 2022 at the Juventus stadium in Turin. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)

 

French police have opened an investigation into claims by World Cup winner Paul Pogba that he is the victim of a multi-million euro blackmail plot by gangsters involving his brother, a source close to the case told AFP on Sunday.

Pogba’s allegations came after his brother Mathias published a bizarre video online — in four languages (French, Italian, English and Spanish) — promising “great revelations” about the Juventus star.

READ ALSO: Serena Williams Readies Farewell As US Open Begins

A statement signed by his lawyers, his mother Yeo Moriba and current agent Rafaela Pimenta said that the videos published on Saturday night “are unfortunately no surprise”.

“They are in addition to threats and extortion attempts by an organised gang against Paul Pogba,” read the statement.

“The competent bodies in Italy and France were informed a month ago and there will be no further comments in relation to the ongoing investigation.”

Mathias Pogba, 32, promised “great revelations about (his) brother Paul Pogba and his agent Rafaela Pimenta”, who took over as head of the company of former agent Mino Raiola who died in April.

He said the “whole world, as well as my brother’s fans, and even more so the French team and Juventus, my brother’s team-mates and his sponsors deserve to know certain things”.

Also a professional footballer, Mathias Pogba said people needed to know what he knew in order to judge whether his brother “deserves his place in the French team and the honour of playing in the World Cup. If he deserves to be a starter at Juventus.”

“All this is likely to be explosive,” he concluded without adding any substance to his “revelations”.

According to two sources close to the Pogba family contacted by AFP, large sums of money are being demanded from Paul Pogba if he wants to avoid the dissemination of the allegedly compromising videos.

France Info reported that Paul Pogba told investigators he had been threatened by “childhood friends and two hooded men armed with assault rifles”.

They are demanding 13 million euros from him for “services provided”.

A source close to the matter confirmed the France Info reports to AFP.

Kylian Mbappe’s name also came up in the affair.

Pogba explained to investigators that his blackmailers wanted to discredit him by claiming he asked a marabout (holy man) to cast a spell on the Paris Saint-Germain and France star, which Pogba denies.

Late Sunday, Mathias Pogba reacted to the day’s developments.

“Paul, you really wanted to shut me up and lie and send me to prison,” wrote Mathias.

“You left me in the hole while running away and you want to play the innocent. When all is said people will see that there is a no  bigger coward, bigger traitor and bigger hypocrite than you on this earth.”

Pogba, who won the World Cup with France in 2018, returned to Juventus on a free transfer this summer after six years at Manchester United and is currently sidelined with a knee injury.

The 29-year-old is expected to return to action next month.

AFP

Dybala Signs Three-Year Deal With Mourinho’s Roma

Argentina international forward Paulo Dybala signs his three-year deal with Roma on July 20, 2022.

 

Argentina international forward Paulo Dybala has joined Italian side AS Roma on a free transfer following his departure from Juventus, the Europa Conference League champions said on Wednesday.

Dybala, who was linked with a transfer to Serie A side Inter Milan after his deal with Juventus expired, has signed a three-year contract with Roma.

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The deal is worth 6 million euros ($6.14 million), Italian news agency ANSA said.

“The days that have led up to me signing this contract have been filled with so many emotions,” Dybala said in a statement.

“I am joining a team that is on the up, a club that continues to put in place strong foundations for the future, and a coach, Jose Mourinho, that it will be a privilege to work with.”

The 28-year-old won five league titles and four Coppa Italia trophies with Juventus after joining them from Palermo in 2015, scoring 115 goals in 293 appearances across all competitions.

However, his last two seasons with the Turin-based club were hampered by a string of injuries.

Dybala, who has earned 34 caps for Argentina since his senior debut in 2015, will become Roma’s fourth signing of the transfer window after the arrivals of midfielder Nemanja Matic, goalkeeper Mile Svilar and defender Zeki Celik.

Roma finished sixth in Serie A last season and won the Europa Conference League under Mourinho.

They kick off their league campaign with a trip to Salernitana on August 14.

AC Milan Win First Serie A Title Since 2011


AC Milan players celebrate after AC Milan won the Italian Serie A football match between Sassuolo and AC Milan, securing the “Scudetto” championship on May 22, 2022 at the Mapei – Citta del Tricolore stadium in Sassuolo. Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

 

AC Milan won their first Serie A title in 11 years on Sunday after beating Sassuolo 3-0 to snatch the crown from local rivals Inter Milan.

Needing just a point to claim the Scudetto Milan swept their hosts aside thanks to an Olivier Giroud brace and another from Franck Kessie in the first half in front of an army of away fans at the Mapei Stadium.

Stefano Pioli’s Milan finished two points ahead of Inter, who beat Sampdoria 3-0 in the San Siro.

Fans partied in Milan and poured onto the pitch in Reggio Emilia as the ‘Rossoneri’ returned to the top of the Italian game after years of poor teams and financial problems since their last league crown in 2011.

READ ALSO: Arsenal Miss Out On Champions League For Fifth Season In A Row

Pioli’s side were imperious in winning their sixth match on the bounce and securing a title which for long tracts of the season locked like Inter’s to lose.

They were helped by a hat-trick of assists from exciting winger Rafale Leao, who has come of age this season and is reportedly a summer target for Paris Saint-Germain.

Giroud has struck some of the most important goals of Milan’s charge to the title and again showed why he is the man for the big occasion in the 17th minute.

Milan had already gone close through the France forward, Rafael Leao and Alexis Saelemaekers when Giroud was in the right place at the right time to sweep Leao’s low pass through Andrea Consigli’s legs and send the massed ranks of Milan fans wild.

Sassuolo immediately wilted in the face of a Milan onslaught and practically handed Giroud the chance to net an almost identical second just after the half-hour mark.

Leao was again the provider, this time robbing the ball from Gian Marco Ferrari before rolling another low pass over for Giroud, who lashed in his 12th of the season and made it party time in the stands.

And it was another poor mistake from a Sassuolo player four minutes later which allowed Milan to relax and enjoy the celebrations kicking off around them.

This time it was Maxime Lopez who was robbed by Rade Krunic, with Leao bursting this time down the right and cutting back for Kessie, who smashed in the third to sign off in perfect fashion ahead of his move to Barcelona as a free agent in the close season.

The second half was dedicated to the Milan celebrations and despite some spirited Sassuolo play it was only a matter of time before the away side sealed the title for a 19th time.

AFFP

Osimhen Wins Serie A U-23 Most Valuable Player Award

File photo of Victor Osimhen

 

Super Eagles striker Victor Osimhen has won the Italian Serie A Most Valuable Player (MVP) for U-23 footballers. 

The Napoli hitman beat Juventus striker Dusan Vlahovic and AC Milan’s Rafael Leao to the prize which was announced on Friday evening.

“Goals, goals, goals. A young striker with the experience of a veteran:
@victorosimhen9 is the best Under-23 of this #SerieA,” the league tweeted on its official handle while unveiling the former U-17 World Cup champion as the winner.

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Osimhen, 23, was out for two months due to a facial injury but managed 14 league goals in 26 games for Napoli who are set to finish the season under review in 3rd spot.

Four out of his 18 goals in 31 games in all competitions were scored in Napoli’s Europa League campaign.

The Nigerian’s future has been a subject of rife speculations for months. Reports are linking him away from the Italian side whom he joined in 2020 for a club and African record fee of €81.3m.

He has been linked to several sides including Arsenal, Manchester United, and lately, Newcastle United.

African Players In Europe: Osimhen Scores 13th Serie A Goal


Napoli’s Nigerian forward Victor Osimhen celebates after scoring during the Italian Serie A football match Napoli vs Sassuolo at Diego Armando Maradona stadium in Naples, on April 30, 2022.
Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP

 

Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen netted his 13th Serie A goal over the weekend as Napoli beat Sassuolo. 

Also, Naby Keita enjoyed a rare day in the spotlight for second-placed Liverpool by scoring the goal that earned a 1-0 Premier League win at Newcastle United and kept the pressure on leaders Manchester City.

Guinea midfielder Keita usually operates in the shadows for the Reds while Senegal talisman Sadio Mane and Egypt captain Mohamed Salah take turns at fulfilling the star role.

A few hours after Liverpool triumphed to go top, City thumped lowly Leeds United 4-0 to regain a one-point advantage with four rounds to play in a thrilling English title chase.

READ ALSOEverton Shock Chelsea To Boost Premier League Survival Hopes

Here, AFP Sport highlights some of the top African performances in European leagues at the weekend:

ENGLAND NABY KEITA (Liverpool)

The match was only 19 minutes old when three players brought into the side by Reds manager Jurgen Klopp combined to break the deadlock. James Milner snapped into a tackle on Fabian Schar and, while Newcastle were furious no free-kick was given, the visitors played on with Diogo Jota finding Keita, who kept his cool to round Martin Dubravka and fire into the unguarded net for quadruple-seeking Liverpool.

WILFRIED ZAHA (Crystal Palace)

The Ivory Coast striker came off the bench to score a stoppage-time winner as Palace won 2-1 at Southampton. Not fit to start because of ankle problems, Zaha secured all three points for the London club when he cleverly rolled away from Southampton centre-back Jan Bednarek and let fly with a low shot from the edge of the box that went in via the post for his 12th league goal this season.

SPAIN SAMUEL CHUKWUEZE (Villarreal)

Chukwueze in action during the match. [email protected] CF

 

The 22-year-old grabbed his first La Liga goal since last December, but that could not prevent his side from suffering a 2-1 loss at Alaves. But the Nigerian and his teammates’ focus will be on their Champions League semi-final second leg against Liverpool on Tuesday when the ‘Yellow Submarine’ will be looking to overturn a 2-0 deficit.

ITALY VICTOR OSIMHEN and KALIDOU KOULIBALY (Napoli)

Napoli’s two African stars were key to Luciano Spalletti’s side thrashing Sassuolo 6-1 and securing Champions League football next season. Senegal captain Koulibaly led a blitz that put Napoli four goals ahead in the first 21 minutes by heading home the opener from a Lorenzo Insigne corner before Nigeria forward Osimhen netted in almost identical fashion to take his Serie A tally to 13 in 24 appearances.

FRANCE KARL TOKO EKAMBI (Lyon)

The Cameroon international continued his fine run of form with a late goal in Lyon’s 3-0 win at second-placed Marseille. Toko Ekambi has now scored five goals in as many games.

ANDY DELORT (Nice)

The Algerian’s 13th Ligue 1 goal of the season gave Nice a crucial 1-0 win at struggling Bordeaux which kept their Champions League hopes alive. Nice trail third-placed Rennes by two points with three matches left in the season.

GERMANY ERIC MAXIM CHOUPO-MOTING (Bayern Munich)

The Cameroon striker started alongside Robert Lewandowski in a 3-1 defeat at Mainz as newly-crowned Bundesliga champions Bayern suffered a hangover from their title celebrations. A week after being confirmed champions for the 10th consecutive season, Bayern were 2-0 down before Choupo-Moting’s pass found Lewandowski, who slipped his marker and fired in.

AFP

Inter Outclass Roma To Return Top Of Serie A

Inter Milan's Argentinian forward Lautaro Martinez celebrates after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A football match between Inter Milan and AS Roma on April 23, 2022 at the San Siro stadium in Milan. MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP
Inter Milan’s Argentinian forward Lautaro Martinez celebrates after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A football match between Inter Milan and AS Roma on April 23, 2022 at the San Siro stadium in Milan. MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP

 

Reigning Serie A champions Inter Milan reclaimed top spot on Saturday after beating Roma 3-1 at home to move one point clear of AC Milan.

Denzel Dumfries and Marcelo Brozovic scored first-half goals at San Siro before Lautaro Martinez headed in a third shortly after the break to earn Inter a fourth consecutive win.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan drilled in a late consolation as Inter capped off a successful week that began with a 3-0 victory Tuesday over Milan in the second leg of their Italian Cup semi-final.

“We were really worried about this match a few days after using up a lot of energy in the derby,” said Inter coach Simone Inzaghi.

READ ALSO: Bayern Munich Win 10th Straight Bundesliga Title

“We played a great match against an opponent in good shape, strong physically and tactically. It’s an important signal.”

Milan could regain first place by winning at Lazio on Sunday, but Inter have a game in hand away to Bologna in midweek.

Third-placed Napoli on Sunday play an Empoli side who are winless in 16 matches since they defeated Luciano Spalletti’s title challengers 1-0 in Naples on December 12.

Jose Mourinho’s Roma arrived in Milan unbeaten in 12 games, a run which had given them an outside shot of qualifying for the Champions League.

They dampened Napoli’s Scudetto hopes at the start of the week by snatching a last-gasp equaliser in a 1-1 draw, but Inter ensured there was no such slip-up against the man who led them to the treble in 2010.

Moments after Roma defender Gianluca Mancini powered a header narrowly wide, Hakan Calhanoglu played Dumfries through and the Dutchman finished past Rui Patricio to put Inter in front.

Croatia international Brozovic then slammed into the top corner after skipping past several defenders inside the Roma box.

Martinez rose unmarked at a corner to nod in his team-leading 16th goal this term seven minutes into the second half.

Mkhitaryan rifled in from Eldor Shomurodov’s cutback five minutes from time but Roma remain five points back of Juventus in the race for fourth place.

Mourinho backs Inter for title

“They’re the strongest team in the league,” said Mourinho, whose team have lost all three meetings with Inter this season.

“Now that we no longer play against Inter, AC Milan, Juventus or Napoli, I can say that I would like Inter to win the Scudetto. But before the match I wanted to win.”

Atalanta ended a run of three consecutive losses earlier in the day by beating Venezia 3-1 as Colombia striker Duvan Zapata scored his first goal in four months.

Mario Pasalic broke the deadlock for Atalanta just before half-time in Venice and Zapata doubled the lead moments after the interval after being set up by compatriot Luis Muriel.

Zapata had not scored in the league since late November and missed the first three months of the year because of injury, coinciding with Atalanta’s downward spiral out of the top four.

“I was waiting for this goal since my return, but especially this win which we needed,” Zapata told DAZN after notching his 10th Serie A goal this term.

Muriel headed in a third for Atalanta shortly past the hour before Domen Crnigoj grabbed a consolation for Venezia, who dropped to the foot of the table after an eighth straight loss.

Atalanta stayed eighth but pulled to within two points of the European places. Venezia are level with Salernitana and Genoa, all of whom are six points from safety.

Fiorentina Lose Castrovilli To Knee Surgery

Gaetano Castrovilli of ACF Fiorentina looks on during the Serie A 2021/2022 football match between ACF Fiorentina and Venezia FC. Fiorentina won 1-0 over Venezia. AFP

 

Fiorentina’s Italian international midfielder Gaetano Castrovilli is facing surgery on his left knee following a serious injury during the weekend win over Venezia, his club announced on Tuesday. 

He underwent diagnostic tests which revealed “damage to the anterior cruciate ligament, the medial collateral ligament and the lateral meniscus in his left knee,” the Serie A club said in a press release.

“The player will need to undergo reconstructive surgery in the next few days.”

The 25-year-old, who was a member of Italy’s triumphant Euro 2020 squad last year, has made 27 appearances for Fiorentina this season.

The injury, which led to his substitution in the 78th minute of the game against Venezia, is likely to keep him out of action for several months.

“He will come back stronger than before, I told him that we were waiting for him. Too bad because he was in good shape,” said Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Italiano.

His side travel to Turin on Wednesday hoping to make up a 1-0 deficit against Juventus in the second leg of the Italian Cup semi-final.

AFP

Pereiro Brace Stuns Atalanta To Pull Cagliari Out Of Drop Zone

Cagliari players celebrate after winning Atalanta.

 

Gaston Pereiro pulled Cagliari out of the Serie A relegation zone on Sunday with a brace of goals that secured a shock 2-1 win at 10-man Atalanta.

Uruguay international Pereiro earned Walter Mazzarri’s side their third win in five league matches to move them up to 17th, two points ahead of Venezia who host title-chasing Napoli later on Sunday afternoon.

The 26-year-old gave Cagliari a surprise lead four minutes after half-time in Bergamo, and was crucial to Atalanta going a man down when he was brought down by onrushing goalkeeper Juan Musso just moments later.

Fourth-placed Atalanta, who will now drop out of the Champions League positions if Juventus beat Verona on Sunday night, pulled level through Jose Luis Palomino in the 64th minute.

However the hopeful home fans were silenced again four minutes later when Pereiro rolled home the winner from Raoul Bellanova’s low cross.

It was an impressive performance from Pereiro, who had scored just once before Sunday’s match and was leading an attack without suspended Joao Pedro and injured Leonardo Pavoletti.

Atalanta meanwhile have a game in hand but also have a fight on their hands to keep Champions League football after previously looking like title contenders.

They host Juventus next weekend and will have to do without Duvan Zapata for that match and their Italian Cup tie with Fiorentina, with the Colombia forward pulling up just 14 minutes after coming off the bench for his first appearance of 2022.

AFP

Serie A: Abraham Stars As Roma Beat Atalanta

AS Roma’s British forward Tammy Abraham (back) jumps after scoring during their Italian Serie A football match between Atalanta and AS Roma at the Gewiss Stadium (Stadio di Bergamo) in the northern city of Bergamo on Decembre 18, 2021. MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

 

Tammy Abraham struck twice as Roma ran out 4-1 winners at fancied Atalanta on Saturday, in the biggest win for Jose Mourinho since returning to Serie A.

English striker Abraham opened the scoring with less than a minute on the clock at the Gewiss Stadium and rounded off the match late on as Roma closed the gap between them and the Champions League places to five points.

“What a win, what else can I say? A lot of people doubted us today but this is by far one of the best wins we’ve had this season,” said Abraham to DAZN.

“We needed to win and what a win.”

Nicolo Zaniolo and Abraham’s countryman Chris Smalling also netted in an impressive win, their first against one of Italy’s top teams this season, which took them fifth and dented third-place Atalanta’s burgeoning title hopes.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s side sit third, six points behind champions and league leaders Inter Milan who crushed Salernitana 5-0 on Friday.

They will drop to fourth if Napoli win at fellow title-chasers AC Milan on Sunday following a defeat in which they dominated proceedings for large spells but were punished by Roma who were clinical in a classic Mourinho style.

Roma’s goals came from five shots on target after having less than 30 percent possession and no corners.

“There was a great spirit. It’s clear that playing against Atalanta you can never be in control of the match for 90 minutes… the team was great in every department today,” said Mourinho, who won the treble with Inter in 2010.

“I think Inter are on another level to everyone else but to beat the top teams like Milan, Napoli and Atalanta you can’t just have good organisation or tactics, you need a certain type of character which we had today.”

Smash and grab

Roma took the lead in an odd fashion when, after charging into the box, Abraham poked a close-range finish which looped high off Marten de Roon and into the net.

The away side were pinned back in their own area for long periods but, like Villarreal who performed their own smash-and-grab in Bergamo a few days ago, Roma struck on the breakthrough the marauding Zaniolo to double their lead against the run of play in the 27th minute.

It was the Italy’s forward’s first Serie A goal since July last year.

Atalanta continued to push and got back into the game in first-half stoppage time when substitute Luis Muriel’s low drive took a wild deflection off Bryan Cristante and left Roma goalkeeper Rui Patricio with no chance.

And the home fans thought they were set to witness a grandstand finish in the 68th minute when Duvan Zapata’s flick was touched home but Jose Luis Palomino was ruled offside by VAR after challenging for the ball with Cristante.

The decision infuriated Gasperini who raged to DAZN that the referee told him a Palomino goal had been ruled out even though the Argentine had not, in fact, touched the ball.

“If Palomino didn’t touch the ball, then why is it offside? If Cristante got the ball, then what difference does it make?” he asked.

“We would then have been level with 20 minutes to go, it’s a very different game.”

Four minutes later Smalling hit Atalanta with a sucker punch, meeting Jordan Veretout’s superb free-kick to jab home the third from close range.

Abraham made it six league goals for the season with eight minutes remaining, lashing home a powerful first-time finish after Veretout’s blocked shot fell to him perfectly in shooting range.

Juventus aim to get their season back up and running again later on Saturday as they travel to Bologna, while Cagliari try to get out of the relegation zone when they host Udinese in the day’s late match.

Napoli Slump To Inter, Lose First League Game Of The Season

Inter Milan’s players celebrate during the Italian Serie A football match between Inter and Napoli, at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, on November 21, 2021. Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

 

Inter Milan strengthened their Serie A title defence on Sunday with an enthralling 3-2 win over Napoli which moved them to within four points of the league leaders.

Simone Inzaghi’s side came back from Piotr Zielinski’s powerful early strike to close the gap on both Napoli and AC Milan, who lost 4-3 at Fiorentina on Saturday, in a breathless encounter at the San Siro.

Hakan Calhanoglu levelled the scores from the penalty spot midway through the first half. Ivan Perisic’s header just before the break and Lautaro Martinez’s smart finish after a heart-pounding upfield surge from Joaquin Correa made sure of the points and a three-way title race even more interesting.

“It was a very important game for us looking at the league table,” said Martinez to DAZN.

“We have been playing well but every now and again the result isn’t the right one for us, but today the team played with intensity and character.”

Napoli, who also scored through Dries Mertens with 11 minutes left, lost their unbeaten league record just as Milan did in Florence after Samir Handanovic pulled off a miracle save to deny Mario Rui’s header in stoppage time.

And Mertens then wasted a gilt-edged chance to snatch an unlikely point with second remaining when he skied Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa’s perfect cross, completely unmarked and at point-blank range.

To make matters worse for Napoli, Luciano Spalletti also had to watch two of his players come off worse in clashes of heads.

Star striker Victor Osimhen had to leave the field just after the break after he and Milan Skriniar thumped into each other, with Spalletti saying after the match that he hoped it to be a facial injury and nothing more.

READ ALSOMan Utd Sack Solskjaer After Dismal Run

 ‘No Fear’ 

And goalkeeper David Ospina collapsed to the ground in worrying fashion after his head whacked into Inter substitute Edin Dzeko’s, but both players carried on with their heads bandaged.

“I said to my players at half-time that if we play with fear we won’t make courageous choices,” said Spalletti of his team’s underwhelming first-half display.

“In the second half we did everything much better… We need to face our objectives with no fear, like we did in the second half.”

David Okereke struck the only goal to earn Venezia a surprise 1-0 win at Bologna on Sunday, their second impressive victory in as many Serie A games.

Nigerian attacker Okereke, on loan at promoted Venezia from Belgian outfit Club Brugge, poked home the winner in the 61st minute to move Venezia up to 13th and six points from the relegation zone.

The 24-year-old’s fourth league goal of the season gave Paolo Zanetti’s side a second straight shock win after also beating Jose Mourinho’s Roma before the international break.

Sampdoria jumped out of the drop zone with a 2-0 win at bottom side Salernitana which came through a Francesco Di Tacchio own goal and a nicely taken finish from Antonio Candreva.

Roberto D’Aversa’s Samp are 16th and sent local rivals Genoa into the bottom three ahead of Andriy Shevchenko’s first match in charge of the club against Roma in Sunday’s late match.

In the early game, Sassuolo drew 2-2 with lowly Cagliari, who snatched a point in part thanks to an acrobatic scissor kick from Keita Balde five minutes before half-time.

AFP

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.