Daily Archives: March 6, 2017

Serie A: Bonucci saves Juve as Napoli trumps Roma

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Juventus needed Leonardo Bonucci’s header to save them against Udinese while Napoli strengthened hopes of gaining an automatic Champions League qualification spot after a 2-1 over fellow Serie A title challengers Roma.

Napoli netted twice through Dries Mertens as the Belgian international converted Marek Hamsik’s clever through ball after twenty five mintues to open the scoring and touched in Lorenzo Insigne’s cross early in the second half.

Roma scored a late consolation through Kevein Strootman, and threatened to bring the game level through Diego Perotti if not for Pepe Reina’s magnificent save for Napoli.

The result ensures that Napoli stays at third place as they advanced to two points behind of Roma.

Meanwhile Udinese stopped table leaders Juventus from heading to a runaway victory in the Italian top flight by forcing the Italian Champions to a 1-1 stalemate.

Napoli loanee Duvan Zapata put the hosts ahead by sprinting past Leonardo Bonucci and tucking the ball between Gianluigi Buffon’s legs.

Keen to make amends, Bonucci equalised by heading home Paulo Dybala’s free-kick — although Udinese almost won when Danilo’s header hit the post.

Although the match ended up as Juventus’ first draw in the season, they now advanced to eight points beyond closest table rivals Rome.

Luis Enrique: Barca boss has “indestructible faith” in team

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Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has “indestructible faith” that his team can get their UEFA Champions League campaign back on track.

FC Barcelona were handed their worst defeat in recent memory after a 4-0 loss in the Round of 16 at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain 3 weeks ago.

But two matches in the build-up to their second-leg encounter saw Barca demolishing La Liga teams with strong performances (6-1 against Sporting Gijon, 5-0 against Celta Vigo). These performances was something for which Barca had been renowned for since Pep Guardiola’s tenure as manager at the club — but one rarely seen this season.

It is hence vital that they repeat such displays against PSG, or risk their earliest exit from the Champions League since the 2006/07 season.

But Luis Enrique makes it clear that he has unshakable belief in Barca that they can do it at Nou Camp.

“I couldn’t have scripted two better games for the build-up to PSG. Not just because of the goals but because of how we got them,” said Enrique, who announced his departure from Barca by the end of the season last week.

“It was one of our best games of the season and the best of the last two months. And it came at the best time, with the end of the season approaching. This game was a huge boost for us.”

“Against PSG we will have the chance to get back into the tie, and we’ll keep going until the very last breath.”

“Our challenge is to show that we can be better than PSG. It will be difficult, but I have indestructible faith that we can play great and get right back into contention.”

Guardiola: Chelsea unstoppable, but City must win every game

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Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola believed that Chelsea are almost “unstoppable”, and that his team must win every game to remain within the race for the Premier League title.

City defeated Sunderland by 2-0 thanks to goals from Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane, taking back their 3rd place spot from Liverpool after the Merseyside club briefly leapfrogged them with a 3-1 win over Arsenal.

The blue side of Manchester could also move ahead of Tottenham and into second place in the table if they win their game in hand at Stoke City mid-week.

But while the Blues are still in contention on three titles (i.e: Premier League, FA Cup and the Champions League), Guardiola believed that his team need to win every game to keep in pace with Chelsea in the league.

Antonio Conte’s team currently holds a eight-point gap against them.

“It’s a pity that the distance between Chelsea is so big,” said Guardiola. “But that’s true. We are there behind, of course, Chelsea because they are almost unstoppable.”

“(But) I feel we are playing quite well and that’s why we are getting results. But now, of course, we are in a position when you arrive in March and April, every game if you win, you stay; if you lose, you are out.”

“In the Premier League, in the cup, in the Champions League. The players know, we know, the club knows, if we are not able to win the next game we will be out.”

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After the match against Stoke, City will be playing Middlesbrough next weekend in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, before a difficult European test in the Champions League Round of 16, against Ligue 1 leaders Monaco.

Prediction:

Manchester City 2 — 0 Stoke City