Daily Archives: March 12, 2018

Juventus rises to Serie A summit as Napoli draws with Inter Milan

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Juventus rose to the top of Serie A after Napoli were forced to a goalless draw against Inter Milan at San Siro.

Forward Paulo Dybala, who scored in Juventus’s midweek win over Tottenham, curled home a superb first-half free kick before slotting in a second just after the break from Gonzalo Higuain’s ball.

However, Higuain also missed a penalty after Dybala had been fouled.

“After the drama of Wednesday night, there was a risk that we might have gone into this match too relaxed,” Dybala said. “Instead we showed character and experience to seal all three points.”

“I’m happy to have helped the team with my goals. We’re putting pressure on our rivals and we keep moving forwards. It all depends on us now.”

Previously, Napoli had led the table by a point on Sunday morning but were deposed when Juve defeated Udinese 2-0 in the afternoon, and after they missed out on three points from their evening trip to Milan that would have restored their status as front-runners for the Scudetto.

The Azzurri could even be as far as four points adrift of Juve should the Bianconeri make the most of their game in hand against Atalanta, which takes place in Turin on Wednesday night.

Nonetheless, Napoli had started well against Inter, and the Milan team found themselves packed into their own half until the half-hour mark, although Antonio Candreva managed to send a drive inches wide of Jose Reina’s post.

Things were more even after the restart, with Slovakian centre-back Skriniar headed against the Napoli bar as Lorenzo Insigne curling the ball just off target.

The latter was also unfortunate when trying and failing to net with a volleyed swipe of Dries Mertens’ clever assist, while mistake by Napoli allowed Mauro Icardi to snaffle the ball and take aim but Reina stood firm to collect.

Inter, however, missed out on a last opportunity to score in the 86th minute when Joao Cancelo swung a free-kick into a packed Napoli box. However, Reina punched clear with confidence and the points were shared.

Marcus Rashford double overcomes Liverpool at Old Trafford

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Marcus Rashford scored twice on his recall to the Manchester United starting XI to give Jose Mourinho’s side the full three points through 1 2-1 win over Liverpool at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils opened the scoring when Romelu Lukaku’s header from David de Gea’s clearance found Rashford charging into the visitors’ box, and the 20-year old cut inside Trent Alexander-Arnold before firing into the bottom corner.

Lukaku also contributed to United’s second as he held up the ball from another goal-kick before feeding Juan Mata and, although he could not get a shot away, the ball fell for Rashford to score via a slight deflection from Alexander-Arnold.

Liverpool were second best in every department, could have fallen further behind even further when Juan Mata volleyed acrobatically from an Alexis Sanchez cross, although the Spaniard hit it wide.

Jurgen Klopp’s side improved dramatically after the break but even with United defending deep, the visitors cranked up the pressure without ever really opening up their hosts.

Furthermore, it took an own goal for the Reds to reduce the deficit when Eric Bailly turned Sadio Mane’s cross past De Gea while attempting to clear at the near post.

However, Mourinho’s win was marred and criticized as a largely defensive display in which they had just 32% of possession and two shots on target, but Jose Mourinho added that he “doesn’t care” whether people think his Manchester United side deserved the victory.

“It was a complete performance by us with two different halves,” Mourinho said. “If people don’t think we deserved it, I don’t care. I am a bit tired, we have a match on Tuesday. I don’t care what people say. The boys are happy, I’m happy.”

“The second half it was not our intention to be as defensive as we were. Liverpool pushed us back but I don’t remember the chances that needed David de Gea to make the goal safe. I don’t remember a dangerous situation to our goal. It was control by them having the ball and control by us without the ball. I think we deserved the three points.”

Harry Kane injury brings concerns to World Cup availability

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Tottenham striker Harry Kane could face a long period out of action and could miss the World Cup after sustaining in Spurs’ 4-1 victory over Bournemouth yesterday.

Kane, 24, was substituted just 35 minutes into the match after injuring his right ankle in a collision with home keeper Asmir Begovic, with the striker then leaving the field immediately and going straight down the tunnel.

The player had since received treatment but was unable to continue and will undergo a scan today to assess just how bad the damage is.

“I hope it is not a big issue,” said Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino. “We are concerned but need to wait.”

“We hope it is not a massive issue. We need to wait until [the scan]. Harry has a great character and is positive. We are, of course, disappointed with his problem but, if you are positive, you start the recovery now.”

“It’s the same ankle he suffered with before. He landed and twisted his ankle. He’s positive, he’s happy with the victory for the team.”

The Argentinian manager also declined to put a time limit on how long Kane will be absent, but it would concern both England and Tottenham given that the player missed 14 matches last season having hurt the same joint on two separate occasions.

But for Tottenham, they have another injury concern after Dele Alli sustained a groin strain, although Pochettino insisted that it was not a “big problem” but also admitted the player would have to be “managed” in the upcoming weeks.

With Tottenham having only 11 games left and England having two upcoming international friendlies, England coach Gareth Southgate would most likely feel concern that Kane would miss out on Russia 2018.