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04-26-2016, 10:43 AM

Juventus crowned Serie A champions after Napoli slip up



Juventus have claimed their fifth successive Serie A title after closest rivals Napoli fell to a 1-0 defeat to Roma on Monday afternoon, ending their slim hopes of catching the Turin outfit.

After an early season blip which saw them pick up just one point from their opening three games, Max Allegri's side have been in stunning form, unbeaten in their last 25 league matches and drawing only one of those against Bologna.

That run has seen them rocket to the top of the table and they remain 12 points clear of Napoli after the Partenopei failed to close the gap, meaning, with three games to spare, Juve are champions again.

Napoli were undone by an 89th-minute winner from Radja Nainggolan as Roma won an entertaining clash at Stadio Olimpico, meaning Juventus' 2-1 victory over Fiorentina on Sunday was enough to secure the title.

Juventus currently have 85 points and are on course to eclipse their points tally from last season, while summer signing Paulo Dybala leads their scoring charts with 16 goals - ranking him second in Serie A behind Napoli's Gonzalo Higuain (30).

Veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon also played a key role in Juventus' success, keeping 20 clean sheets in 34 games and setting a new mark of 973 minutes without conceding along the way.

Juventus meet Carpi, Verona and Sampdoria in their remaining three Serie A games, before they take on AC Milan in the Coppa Italia final on May 21 as they chase the domestic double.
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04-26-2016, 10:44 AM

Congratulations Juventus!

Early season back to back defeats walin passe niyama comeback 1kak
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04-26-2016, 10:45 AM

Verona 2-1 AC Milan: Incredible comeback gives hosts lifeline



Bottom-placed Verona escaped relegation with a 2-1 comeback victory at home to AC Milan, thanks to a late free-kick from Luca Siligardi which secured a vital win.

The bottom club came into Monday's clash at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi knowing anything other than a victory would see their three-year stay in the division come to an end.

And it looked as though they would fall short in their quest, with the scores level at 1-1 after former Milan striker Giampaolo Pazzini had cancelled out Jeremy Menez's first league goal of the campaign.

But, in the ffith minute of stoppage time, Verona were awarded a free-kick 20 yards from goal and Siligardi stepped up to rifle a stunning effort over the wall and in off the underside of the crossbar.

It was just Verona's fourth victory of the season, and took them to within seven points of safety with three games remaining, although their stay of execution will only prove a brief one if 17th-placed Carpi defeat Empoli later on Monday.

For sixth-placed Milan, it was a significant blow to their quest for European qualification, and a first defeat for head coach Cristian Brocchi following four points from his first two games after replacing Sinisa Mihajlovic earlier this month.

Pazzini was the first to threaten and ought to have opened the scoring in the eighth minute when he shot straight at Gianluigi Donnarumma after the visitors failed to deal with a long ball.And Verona were left to rue that miss as Menez opened the scoring in the 21st minute.

Pierluigi Gollini was unable to hold Keisuke Honda's low 25-yard drive and Menez was quickest to react, following up to slot in the rebound from close range.Menez went close to doubling his tally eight minutes later, but on this occasion Gollini was quick to race from his line and smother the Frenchman's effort.

Pazzini shot too close to Donnarumma for a second time after Cristian Zapata's dalliance in possession afforded him a chance, prior to Carlos Bacca seeing a goal correctly ruled out for offside.

Bacca should have found the net just before the hour mark but the Colombian attempted a rabona finish on the run when it was much simpler to score with a straightforward effort.

As the game opened up, Pazzini and Honda saw goalbound efforts blocked at either end, before Eros Pisano's excellent intervention denied Menez a second in the 68th minute.

The importance of that sliding block was underlined four minutes later as Verona were awarded a penalty.Substitute Juanito met a left-wing corner with a powerful header, which struck Alessio Romagnoli on the arm after he had been wrestling with Pisano.

Donnarumma guessed right from the spot, but Pazzini's kick had too much accuracy and suddenly Verona smelled blood, Pazzini bringing two fine saves out of the goalkeeper in quick succession.

The 17-year-old excelled three more times, saving from Romulo twice and once from Pisano, but there was nothing he could do right at the death as Siligardi thundered his set-piece past the motionless keeper.
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04-26-2016, 10:47 AM

Tottenham 1-1 West Brom: Dawson scores at both ends to frustrate Spurs' title dreams



Craig Dawson made up for a calamitous own goal by earning West Bromwich Albion a 1-1 draw away to Tottenham, putting a serious dent in the hosts' hopes of catching Leicester at the Premier League summit.

For the second week in succession, Spurs were playing more than 24 hours after Leicester, this time having seen their rivals thump Swansea City 4-0 on Sunday.

Needing a win to close back to within five points of the Foxes, Spurs took the lead when Dawson diverted Christian Eriksen's dangerous free-kick through the legs of Boaz Myhill from close range in the first half.

The hosts had already struck the woodwork twice before that opener, and did so for a third time in the second period through Erik Lamela as the Spurs faithful grew increasingly edgy.And those nerves soon turned to despair as Dawson recovered from his own goal by heading home Craig Gardner's corner 17 minutes from time.

The draw means Leicester can now seal the most remarkable of Premier League crowns by winning at the home of 13-time champions Manchester United on Sunday while Spurs, not in action until they visit Chelsea on Monday, will have to hope for a favour from Louis van Gaal's men.

Myhill was in for Ben Foster as one of four West Brom changes and the goalkeeper was forced into two excellent saves inside the opening seven minutes.

First, he got down to his right to touch Eriksen's free-kick behind and then, following great link-up play between Dele Alli and Harry Kane, a fine save onto the inside of the post denied the latter what looked a certain goal.

Another Eriksen free-kick clipped the top of the crossbar and Kane's low 20-yard drive was parried by Myhill as Spurs dominated the opening 20 minutes.

And their pressure paid off in the 33rd minute as Eriksen swung in a devilish set-piece from the right and, under severe pressure from Jan Vertonghen, Dawson could only bundle the ball into his own net as he attempted to stoop and head away.

The visitors showed more of an attacking threat in the early stages of the second period, although it was Spurs who went closest to a second goal just before the hour.

Eriksen broke free down the left and cut the ball back for Lamela, whose first-time effort struck the base of the right-hand post.

Perhaps buoyed by their good fortune, West Brom carved out their first real chance five minutes later as Salomon Rondon leapt highest to meet Gardner's cross but planted his header wide.

The Venezuelan then saw a rasping effort tipped over by Hugo Lloris and, from the resulting corner, Dawson beat the Spurs keeper to the ball and nodded in from six yards.

There was further cause for concern for Spurs - and England - as Eric Dier was forced off with an injury picked up in attempting to challenge Dawson for the goal, and Stephane Sessegnon fired into the side netting with four minutes to go as West Brom threatened a shock win.

An increasingly desperate Tottenham pushed for the winner, but they were left frustrated as Leicester edged ever closer to a stunning triumph.
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04-26-2016, 10:47 AM

Zidane: Benzema and Ronaldo '100% fit' for Man City clash



Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema are both fit to play against Manchester City on Tuesday, according to Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane.

Ronaldo had pulled up at the end of Wednesday's Liga victory over Villarreal, while the French striker came off at the weekend against Rayo Vallecano.

But the coach insisted that both would be fine to feature in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final.

"I think they are going to be 100 per cent," Zidane told reporters. "They are fine today.

"They’re players who look after themselves. My idea is that they are both going to be fit to play.

Benzema is expected to lead the Madrid attack despite the short recovery time between the Rayo game and the clash at the Etihad Stadium.

"[Monday] afternoon's training session will be key," he admitted. "But he should make it for tomorrow's game."
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04-26-2016, 10:48 AM

Allegri hails 'amazing' Scudetto success



Massimiliano Allegri described Juventus' Serie A title win as "amazing" following their recovery from a dismal start to the 2015-16 campaign.

Juve's fifth straight Scudetto was confirmed on Monday, after second-placed Napoli went down 1-0 at Roma to leave them 12 points behind the leaders with only three games remaining.

And Juve's title triumph is all the more remarkable given their dreadful opening to the season, which saw them in mid-table at the end of October with just 12 points from 10 games.

Since then, however, Juve have been on a scarcely believable run, dropping just two points from their next 25 matches to storm to the Scudetto, leaving Allegri elated."It's amazing. We'll still honour the league, and above all prepare for the Coppa Italia final [versus AC Milan on May 21]," he told Sky.

"Winning 24 out of 25 games is unique, though maybe another team will do better in the space of six years - maybe it'll be Juventus again."At Christmas the goal was to be six points off the top, and in March it was to be second. I have to say we did even better than predicted.

"To have Napoli behind after the extraordinary season they've had … They're close to 82 points, and usually if you get 82 points you get the Scudetto."

Even after losing their first two games of the season - the second 2-1 at Roma - Allegri was convinced his players would prove their quality come the end of the campaign.

"The bad start? After the Roma defeat I came away from the Olimpico calm, I knew we would have a great season," he said."Three or four months later, at the return game with Sassuolo we reviewed the game itself, and there was so much negativity at the time.

"We lost a strange game, and it was said that Juventus played badly. It's normal that we were missing something, but it wasn't as bad as everyone saw it."The merit for this Scudetto goes to everyone. If we reviewed everything that was said and written back then we'd laugh."
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04-26-2016, 10:49 AM

Mahrez: PSG? I don't want to return to France



Leicester City star Riyad Mahrez has distanced himself from returning to his homeland in the near future, stating he doesn't “dream” about a move back to France and is happy in England.

Mahrez, 25, was recently named PFA Player of the Year after his magnificent efforts have helped inspire Leicester's charge towards their first ever Premier League title this term.

The Algeria international moved to the Foxes from French outfit Le Havre in 2014 for as little as £400,000 and his remarkable rise to prominence is emblematic of Leicester's growth.

And Mahrez hopes to continue thriving in England for years to come after admitting he doesn't have any desire to ply his trade back in France in the short term.

“I'm not saying it's impossible,” said Mahrez when asked about whether a move back to France would interest him. “But I really didn't like it [playing in France]. I don't want to return to France. France doesn't tempt me at all, I like England.”

Mahrez, who was brought up in the Parisian suburb of Sarcelles, was linked with both Marseille and local club Paris Saint-Germain while he was with Le Havre.

PSG have since grown into an emerging force in European football but Mahrez insists he specifically isn't keen on turning out for Laurent Blanc's side.

Mahrez added: "PSG has become a very big club. They have strong players and the club is currently building a big project. I loved Marseille when I was a boy. Even today, Paris doesn't make me dream too. this is my town, but I don't see myself returning.”
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04-26-2016, 10:50 AM

Dortmund open to Hummels exit



Borussia Dortmund are open to a Mats Hummels exit but only if the price is right, according to chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke.Hummels, 27, has been heavily linked with a move away from the Bundesliga giants, including to rivals Bayern Munich and numerous Premier League clubs.

He has also admitted that he is considering his future, as Bayern and Manchester City pay close attention to his next moves.

Watzke said it would be wrong for Dortmund to deny the centre-back a move, but added there would be no hesitation if clubs are unwilling to meet their asking price.

"To forbid Hummels to leave would be small-minded," he said in the AUDI-Star-Talk on Monday.

"We have to accept that someone playing for Dortmund for eight years and getting [close to] 28 starts to think about his situation."If the club isn't ready to pay a lot of money, he has a contract in Dortmund. And I am sure that he has no problem with continuing playing for Dortmund."

Hummels has impressed during another consistent campaign and is under contract until mid-2017 in Dortmund.
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04-26-2016, 10:50 AM

Onna Hummels wa gannawanam chance 1ka
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04-26-2016, 10:51 AM

Dortmund leave door open for Gotze return



Borussia Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke believes the club's supporters would give Mario Gotze a second chance if he returned to Signal Iduna Park.

Gotze, 23, controversially joined Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich in July 2013 for a transfer fee of €37million.However, the World Cup winner has been linked with a return to his former club after only 12 Bundesliga appearances this season.

Watzke said Dortmund will have to talk to the fans, who unfurled a banner earlier this month telling Gotze to "p**s off", over any potential transfer. "If he's on the market, it's clear if we discuss about him," he said at the AUDI-Star-Talk.

"The door is always open for every player who comes from Dortmund. If he returns we have to talk with the fans and he has to explain how he left for Bayern.
"But I don't think that they won't give him a second chance."
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