Roma kept up their faint title hopes with a 3-1 win over Inter Milan at the San Siro. Belgian midfielder Radja Nainggolan scored twice as Roma did the league double over Inter to close the gap on Juventus to seven points.
Nainggolan opened the scoring with a well-hit shot early in the first half and doubled Roma’s advantage with a superb rising shot 10 minutes into the second period.
With nine minutes remaining, Mauro Icardi marked his return from suspension with a close-range finish to reduce the deficit but Diego Perotti converted a late penalty to seal victory for Roma.
Juventus extended their lead at the top of Serie A to 10 points with a 2-0 win over Empoli in Turin while Atalanta had pulled off a shock 2-0 win over Napoli.
With Roma not in action until they head to the San Siro on Sunday evening to tackle Inter Milan, Massimiliano Allegri’s men took full advantage as a second-half brace finally overcame the visitors, who are battling for points at the other end of the table.
Gonzalo Higuain and Mario Mandzukic both saw first-half chances squandered before the Bianconeri finally made the breakthrough on 52 minutes.
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Juve Go 10 Points Clear At Serie A Summit While Napoli Lose
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Roberto Mancini reveals he was offered a three-year contract to stay with Inter, stands up for Claudio Ranieri and denies Leicester City talks.
The Coach spoke to Radio Deejay ahead of tonight’s guest slot on Italy’s version of Dancing with the Stars.
“I have not talked to anyone from Leicester, so that is not true,” he assured after reports he was the favourite to replace sacked Premier League winner Ranieri.
“The team is having trouble, but what Ranieri did last season was incredible. He could’ve taken them to Premier League safety this season too. I’m afraid in England the clubs are picking up some of our bad Italian habits.
Inter vice-President Javier Zanetti admits the visit of Roma on Sunday night is “a cup final”.
The Nerazzurri are aiming to qualify for the Champions League this season, and move to within five points of the capital club with a win this weekend.
Zanetti famously scored a late equaliser against the Giallorossi in the 2007-08 season, in what was a crucial match in securing the Scudetto.
“I definitely remember running down the pitch [in celebration] with my teammates yelling at me to stop, and [Patrick] Vieira saying he couldn’t catch me,” ‘Pupi’ recalled in an interview with Il Giornale.
Roma will play French side Lyon in the Europa League Round of 16.
The Giallorossi swept aside Villarreal 4-1 over two legs in the last round, and that’s no mean feat—the Spanish side boast the best defence in La Liga with just 15 goals conceded in 23 matches.
With strength running throughout their side, they’re among the best teams left in the competition.
Lyon are among the more difficult teams they could have drawn and should not be taken lightly—they beat AZ Alkmaar 11-2 on aggregate in the last round.
Substitutes Marko Pjaca and Dani Alves put Juventus on the brink of a Champions League quarter-final, as they came off the bench to score against Porto in the first leg of their last-16 tie.
Porto, who played with 10 men from the 27th minute after Alex Telles was sent off, had defended manfully for 70 minutes, but two goals in three minutes look to have ended their hopes of making it through.
Juventus, unbeaten at home this season, take a two-goal advantage, and two away goals, back to Turin, and will now be heavy favourites.
He is one third of Itay’s renowned ‘BBC’ defence, and ahead of their Champions League tie with Porto, defender Leonardo Bonucci spoke to UEFA.com about how Antonio Conte improved him and why Massimiliano Allegri’s approach to coaching is different. Here are some of Bonucci’s comments:
On the appointment of Antonio Conte in 2011 …
Appointing Conte as manager opened up a lot of new ideas for myself and more experienced defender like [Andrea] Barzagli and [Giorgio] Chiellini.
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Bonucci On The Difference Between Allegri And Conte
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Marcello Lippi believes Serie A has improved thanks to “a change of mentality, a courageous attitude”.
Both Fiorentina and Roma won tricky Europa League ties away from home last week, and the former Inter and Juventus Coach believes it’s a sign of improvement.
“It’s not a coincidence, but the work of [Luciano] Spalletti and [Paulo] Sousa,” Lippi told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“They persuaded their players that they can play as well away from home as they can in Rome or Florence. There’s a change of mentality, a courageous attitude.
Gonzalo Higuain is confident Juventus “can win the Champions League” but “we have to be calm”. The striker joined the Serie A champions in a €90m move from Napoli over the summer, and says he can get his hands on Europe’s biggest prize.
“We can win the Champions League, but we have to be calm,” Higuain told La Stampa.
“Porto? It’s a beautiful stadium, a nice atmosphere, with a team which is always in the Champions League. They’re strong and cynical, in a sporting sense. We need to be careful.
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Higuain: “Signing For Juventus Was The Right Choice”
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The center of Italian football this summer will be Milan where Inter and AC Milan are set to go on unprecedented spending sprees as both clubs look to reclaim past glory.
Inter’s Chinese owners Suning have promised a transfer kitty of over €100m this summer to Stefano Pioli and Milan’s Chinese consortium, Sino-Europe Sports, have reportedly agreed to a transfer budget of over €130m.
According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Fininvest is expecting €420m to be put into the club in the takeover process by Sino-Europe Sports. Of that figure, €320m is to buy the club, with €200m already paid, so only a further €100m will go toward the actual takeover.
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Milan To Have Massive Transfer Budget This Summer
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