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Rediff.com  » Sports » Football Extras: Roma and Inter share spoils in Serie A thriller

Football Extras: Roma and Inter share spoils in Serie A thriller

Last updated on: December 03, 2018 18:48 IST

News of all that's transpired on and off the football field

IMAGE: AS Roma's Nicolo Zaniolo, left, tries to get the ball past Danilo D'Ambrosio of Inter Milan. Photograph: Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

AS Roma fought back from behind twice to earn a 2-2 draw with Inter Milan in Serie A in a Stadio Olimpico thriller on Sunday.

A fraught game packed with incident ended in a result that did little to help either team.

Inter missed the chance to leapfrog second-placed Napoli, who play Atalanta on Monday, while Roma remain outside the European places in seventh, having won just one of their last six league games.

Roma came close to scoring early on when captain Alessandro Florenzi’s shot rattled the post.

The home fans and players were then left furious when Nicolo Zaniolo appeared to be tripped inside the box, only for their appeals to be waved away without a pitch-side VAR consultation.

Moments later, Inter broke up the field and Keita Balde volleyed in the opening goal.

Roma equalised with a superb long-range equaliser from Cengiz Under after the break, but parity lasted just 15 minutes before Nerazzurri skipper Mauro Icardi rose to head his side back in front from a corner.

The capital club were awarded a penalty following a VAR review when Marcelo Brozovic was penalised for handball. Aleksandar Kolarov converted to earn his side a point.

The result leaves Inter 11 points adrift of Serie A leaders Juventus ahead of their meeting in Turin on Friday.

It was a significant day in the Champions League race as Milan overtook Lazio to move into fourth thanks to a comeback victory at home to Parma in the lunchtime kick-off.

The high-flying visitors started the day in sixth place, two points behind Milan, having won on their last trip to San Siro against Inter in September, and it looked like history might repeat itself when Roberto Inglese headed them in front early in the second half.

However, their advantage was short-lived as Patrick Cutrone equalised six minutes later before Franck Kessie converted the winning penalty with 19 minutes remaining.

That result meant Lazio had to win to retain fourth place, but the Roman club could manage only a draw against Domenico Di Carlo’s resolute Chievo side.

The 54-year-old Di Carlo, who is the Verona club’s third coach of the season, followed up an impressive debut draw away to Napoli with another good result.

Veteran Chievo striker Sergio Pellissier struck in the first half before Ciro Immobile equalised in the 66th minute to earn Lazio a point.

Lazio dropped to fifth place on 24 points, one behindMilan in fourth, while Parma’s defeat sent them down to ninth.

Winless Chievo earned their fifth draw of the season but remain bottom on two points, having started the season with a three-point penalty.

Two goals in first-half injury time helped Torino to come back from behind and secure a 2-1 win over 10-man Genoa that moved them ahead of Roma into sixth, while Cagliari drew 1-1 at Frosinone despite Nicolo Barella’s late red card and Udinese held Sassuolo to a goalless draw.

PSG drop first points of season in 2-2 draw at Bordeaux

IMAGE: Paris St Germain's Neymar reacts. Photograph: Regis Duvignau/Reuters

Paris St Germain dropped their first points of the Ligue 1 season on Sunday as Girondins de Bordeaux held the visiting champions to a 2-2 draw and halted the longest winning run in Europe's top five leagues.

Despite twice holding the lead with goals in either half from Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, PSG were pegged back by an 84th minute equaliser to see their perfect 14-match start to the campaign ended.

The result, though, did little to change the picture at the top of the league, with runaway leaders PSG sitting atop the table with 43 points from 15 matches, 14 clear of second-placed Montpellier.

The visitors had enjoyed the better of the first half with Angel Di Maria hitting the woodwork and Neymar having a goal chalked off for offside.

Yet by halftime, they only had one goal to show for their dominance, a Neymar strike that was sclaffed home and verified on the VAR for a possible offside decision against Mbappe before being awarded.

Bordeaux, though, came out a different side in the second period and were on level terms after 54 minutes thanks to a goal from Jimmy Briand.

The veteran striker got his third goal of the season when he slotted home after Younousse Sankhare set him up following good work from Yann Karamoh on the right.

PSG went ahead again after 58 minutes when Mbappe, by now working without Neymar, who had been taken off injured a few moments earlier, hammered home his 12th goal of the season after finishing off a superb counter-attack.

Yet Andreas Cornelius headed an equaliser for the home team with six minutes remaining to snap PSG's remarkable winning start to the season.

Elsewhere in Ligue 1 on Sunday, Stade Rennais took the lead in the ninth minute at home to Strasbourg only for the visitors to hit four, including two penalties from Jonas Martin, to win 4-1 and move into eighth place in the table.

Toulouse drew 2-2 at home to Dijon while Olympique Marseille and Reims also shared the points in a goalless draw.

Leipzig stun Glabdach 2-0 with Werner double

Timo Werner scored twice as RB Leipzig beat in-form Borussia Moenchengladbach 2-0 on Sunday and climbed to third spot in the Bundesliga, a point behind their opponents.

Striker Werner struck in the third minute and then again deep in first-half stoppage time to take his league tally to eight goals as the hosts outclassed Gladbach, who were on a three-game winning run.

Gladbach mislaid their attacking game and, apart from Lars Stindl's deflected shot that hit the bar in the 75th minute, they rarely threatened after the break.

Unbeaten at home this season, Leipzig also kept a fifth consecutive clean sheet at home and moved to 25 points into third place, a point ahead of champions Bayern Munich, and one behind second-placed Gladbach.

Eintracht Frankfurt missed their chance to move into the top three, losing 2-1 to visitors VfL Wolfsburg in their first defeat since September. They remain fifth on 23 points, while Wolfsburg moved up to eighth on 18.

Leaders Borussia Dortmund are on 33 points after their 2-0 victory over Freiburg on Saturday.

Arjen Robben will leave Bayern at season's end

Dutch winger Arjen Robben said on Sunday that he will leave Bayern Munich at the end of the season after a decade of success at the German champions.

The 34-year-old joined the Bavarians in 2009 and instantly formed a formidable attacking partnership with Frenchman Franck Ribery, who is also likely to leave at the end of the season.

"I can say that this is my last year (at Bayern) and it is good like that," Robben told reporters after a meeting with fan groups.

"I have taken the decision, personally, that this will be my last year.

"I think it is the right moment after 10 years. The club moves on and I may move on. It is the end of a very good and long period."

Robben has scored 98 goals in 198 Bundesliga games for Bayern and, since his arrival in 2009, he has played in three Champions League finals -- in 2010, 2012 and 2013 -- winning the title at the third attempt with Bayern.

He has also won seven German league titles, including the last six in a row, and four German Cups with the Bavarians.

Robben, who has also won league titles with PSV Eindhoven, Chelsea and Real Madrid and featured in the 2010 World Cup final for the Netherlands, added that he had no plans to retire.

"I may move on. I won't stop completely yet," he said.

UEFA approves new European club competition from 2021

European soccer's governing body approved the creation of a third-tier UEFA club competition on Sunday, a tournament which will mirror the current Champions League and Europa League format from 2021.

At their meeting in Dublin, UEFA's Executive Committee finalised plans to introduce the event, with the working title 'UEL2' and featuring 32 teams in the group stage, in the 2021 to 2024 competition cycle.

The Europa League group stage, meanwhile, will be reduced from 48 teams to 32.

UEFA said that the Champions League would remain unaltered, meaning that the four top-ranked leagues -- currently Spain, England, Germany and Italy -- would each keep four guaranteed places in the group stage.

"No changes will be made to the format and access list of the UEFA Champions League," said UEFA.

The umbrella organisation representing Europe's domestic leagues had asked UEFA to reduce the number of places guaranteed to teams from the top leagues, reversing changes made for the current cycle.

UEFA said the new setup would ensure that at least 34 countries would be represented in the group stages of UEFA club competitions, compared to today's total of 26.

"The new UEFA club competition makes UEFA's club competitions more inclusive than ever before," UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said.

"There will be more matches for more clubs, with more associations represented in the group stages. This competition was borne out of ongoing dialogue with clubs through the European Club Association."

The format will see eight groups of four teams, followed by the round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final. Like the Europa League, matches will be played on Thursdays.

As with the established competitions, there will also be four rounds of qualifying matches played in July and August.

An additional knockout round will be played before the round of 16 between teams ranked second in their groups and the third-ranked teams in the groups of the Europa League, which will run concurrently.

Similarly, the teams finishing second in the Europa League groups will play in a knockout round against teams ranked third in the Champions League groups for a place in the Europa League round of 16.

The seventh-placed teams in Europe's four top-ranked leagues will qualify directly for the final qualifying round of the new competition.

Teams entering the early qualifying rounds of the new competition will be mainly those finishing second, third and fourth in Europe's smaller leagues.

Teams eliminated in the Europa League qualifiers will also drop down to the new competition.

The new competition will feature 141 matches over 15 match weeks, exactly like the Europa League. The winners of the new competition will be entitled to participate in the Europa League in the following season.

Stade de Rennais part company with coach Lamouchi

Stade de Rennais fired their coach Sabri Lamouchi on Monday, a day after they were hammered 4-1 at home by Strasbourg in the Ligue 1, the French side said.

The defeat left them 14th in the 20-team table, just four points above the relegation zone.

Reserve team coach Julien Stephan will be in charge for their next match, away to Olympique Lyonnais on Wednesday.

Berhalter appointed US men's national team coach

Gregg Berhalter will be the first US World Cup player to coach the men's national team, US Soccer said on Sunday as it announced the 45-year-old's appointment to the top job.

Berhalter, a journeyman defender who made 44 appearances for the national team, competed in two World Cups.

He has resigned as coach of Major League Soccer (MLS) side Columbus Crew to take up his new position.

"This is a tremendous honour," Berhalter said in a statement.

"Having played for the national team I know what it means to represent our country.

"I believe in our players and our program, and together we will work to build something special and develop a team that will make our supporters proud."

Berhalter takes the helm of a national team that suffered a debacle when it failed, shockingly, to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Juergen Klinsmann was fired after the US lost their first two World Cup qualifiers in the weak CONCACAF group.

Former coach Bruce Arena returned in an effort to salvage things but resigned after he could not turn the ship around in time to qualify for Russia.

The failure led to much soul-searching for the US governing body, and cost Sunil Gulati his job as president.

Berhalter, who was the first player for English club CrystalPalace to appear in a World Cup finals, played in the 2002 and 2006 editions.

He played in Europe for 15 years, plying his trade in Germany, the Netherlands and, briefly, England, where he made 14 league appearances for the then second-tier Palace in 2001 and 2002.

Berhalter retired in 2011 and three years later took the head coach job with the Crew, where he quickly carved out a strong reputation, taking the team to the MLS Cup final in 2015.

"I am absolutely convinced Gregg is the right man to lead the national team program moving forward," national team manager Earnie Stewart said.

"He ticks all the boxes with his background as a person, a successful coach and an accomplished former international player."

Berhalter will be officially introduced in his new job at a media conference on Tuesday.

Vitoria relegated from Serie A after 3-2 loss at Palmeiras

Brazilian champions Palmeiras beat Vitoria 3-2 to end their season on a winning note on Sunday but there was disappointment for the visitors who were one of four teams relegated to the second division.

Edu Dracena and Gustavo Scarpa scored goals for Palmeiras either side of halftime but Yago and Luan pulled it back to 2-2 before Bruno Henrique got Palmeiras' winner and confirmed Vitoria as one of the teams going down.

Parana had already been relegated before the final day began and were joined by Sport, whose 2-1 win over Santos was too little too late, and America-Mineiro, who lost 1-0 at Fluminense.

Flamengo, Internacional, Gremio, Sao Paulo and Atletico-Mineiro join Palmeiras among the Brazilian clubs that qualify for the 2019 Copa Libertadores, South America's premier club competition.

Cruzeiro, who finished the league in eighth after a drab 0-0 draw with Bahia, also qualify as winners of the Copa do Brasil.

Fluminense, Corinthians, Bahia, Botafogo, Santos and Atletico Paranaense all guaranteed themselves places in the Copa Sudamericana, South America's equivalent of the Europa League.

Serie B champions Fortaleza, led by former Sao Paulo goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni, were promoted to the Serie A and will be joined by CSA, Avai and Goias.

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