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Soccer PIX: Milan held by Sassuolo; PSG thrash St Etienne

December 16, 2019 11:49 IST

Serie A witnessed some breath-taking football action, especially when AC Milan could not convert the umpteen chances they had against Sassuolo while Inter went to top. In Ligue 1 action, all the star players found the net for PSG. Here are images from the soccer matches played across Europe on Sunday.

AC Milan players were left frustrated multiple times with a galore of missed chances during their in Serie A match against Sassuolo on Sunday

IMAGE: AC Milan players were left frustrated multiple times with a galore of missed chances during their in Serie A match against Sassuolo. Photograph: AC Milan/Twitter

AC Milan had a goal chalked off by the video assistant referee, missed an open goal, were foiled by the goalkeeper and twice hit the woodwork in an extraordinary 0-0 draw at home to Sassuolo in Serie A on Sunday.

The draw left the seven-times European champions 10th on 21 points and put a dampener on their 120th anniversary celebrations which saw a host of past Milan players gather on the pitch at halftime.

 

"In the second half, we had nine or 10 shots on goal, we tried everything but the ball just would not go in," said Milan coach Stefano Pioli.

"We made some technical mistakes that can prove very costly at this level. With a bit more precision and sharpness in front of goal, we could have brought home all three points."

Milan thought they had taken the lead on the half hour when Theo Hernandez's shot took a huge deflection and looped into the net.

The stadium announcer went through his celebration ritual and Sassuolo were waiting to restart when referee Gianluca Manganiello indicated a VAR review.

This was delayed as the official ushered players away from the pitch-side monitor before the goal was disallowed for handball by Franck Kessie in the build-up.

Minutes later, Milan midfielder Ismael Bennacer missed a glorious chance to score his first goal for the club.

Francesco Magnanelli lost the ball to the Algerian who burst forward, evaded a challenge from the onrushing goalkeeper Gianluca Pegolo but dallied long enough in front of an open goal for a Sassuolo player to get back and block his shot.

Pegolo atoned for his mistake with an excellent second-half performance which included an outstanding double save to stop a shot from Hakan Calhanoglu and then block Giacomo Bonaventura's effort from the rebound.

Substitute Rafael Leao thumped a shot against the underside of the crossbar in the 84th minute and the Portuguese then saw another shot hit the post three minutes later.

It could have been worse for Milan as Sassuolo were always menacing on the break and Gianluigi Donnarumma had to be at full stretch to turn away Hamed Traore's long-range shot near the end.

Inter go top despite brilliant late Fiorentina equaliser

Inter Milan's Lautaro Martinez clashes with Fiorentina's Kevin-Prince Boateng during their Serie A match at Stadio Artemio Franchi in Florence

IMAGE: Inter Milan's Lautaro Martinez clashes with Fiorentina's Kevin-Prince Boateng during their Serie A match at Stadio Artemio Franchi in Florence. Photograph: Jennifer Lorenzini/Reuters

Inter Milan returned to the top of Serie A with a 1-1 draw at Fiorentina on Sunday but were denied victory by a superb late Dusan Vlahovic equaliser.

Former Fiorentina midfielder Borja Valero fired Inter in front after eight minutes, but Vlahovic carried the ball from inside his own half in stoppage time before smashing in a powerful finish.

The result leaves Inter level with Juventus on 39 points at the summit of the table but with a superior goal difference, while the late goal also eased the pressure on Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella.

Montella's side went into the game on a four-match losing streak, but a point moves them up to 13th place on 17 points.

Inter coach Antonio Conte thought his side deserved more than a point, and drew parallels with a 2-1 defeat to Barcelona at San Siro last week that guaranteed his side's elimination from the Champions League.

 “These are games where we didn’t take the results we deserved," Conte told Sky Italia.

"Against Barcelona, we paid for wasting several chances to score and allowing two situations where we could’ve done a lot better.

“It was a strong response from the team. It’s disappointing about that late equaliser, because we deserved more, both tonight and against Barcelona. We must try to improve our finishing and our defending.”

There was much at stake for both sides going into the game, as Fiorentina looked to arrest their slump in form and Inter targeted a return to the top of the table after Juventus moved ahead of them with a win over Udinese earlier in the day.

Montella's side face Roma on Friday in their final game before the winter break, and he insisted that he still feels he has the backing of the Fiorentina hierarchy.

"I will always be under pressure, that’s the nature of the job," he said.

"If the club hasn’t made that step so far, despite pressure from the outside, it means they believe in me.

"At the same time, I am well aware that four consecutive defeats are unacceptable.”

Valero, who spent five years at Fiorentina before joining Inter in 2017, showed great composure to turn inside his marker and fire a low finish in at the near post, but refused to celebrate against his former employers.

Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic performed a superb flying save to deny Milan Badelj, before the visitors came close when Lautaro Martinez’s goal was chalked off for an offside in the build-up and Bartlomiej Dragowski clawed a Romelu Lukaku header off the line.

Lukaku threatened again in the second half when he shrugged off his marker to find space six yards from goal, but his shot was saved by the leg of Dragowski.

Vlahovic, however, stole the show in the 92nd minute when he gathered the ball near the halfway line, sprinted the length of the Inter half and fired a shot into the far corner from a tight angle to earn his team a precious point.

Roma go fourth with comeback win over bottom club SPAL

AS Roma launched a second-half comeback to beat Serie A's bottom side SPAL 3-1 at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday and move into the top four.

Andrea Petagna's penalty gave the visitors a shock lead late in the first half but goals from Lorenzo Pellegrini, Diego Perotti and Henrikh Mkhitaryan turned the game on its head after the break.

Roma move above Cagliari into fourth on 32 points, but the Sardinian side (29) will move ahead of them again if they beat third-placed Lazio (33) on Monday evening.

 

SPAL are without a league win in nine matches and are rooted to the bottom of the table with just nine points, six adrift of safety.

After dominating the first half, Roma were punished on the stroke of halftime when Aleksandar Kolarov tripped Thiago Cionek inside the box to gift the visitors a penalty, which Petagna dispatched calmly.

Roma continued to press after the break and found a fortuitous breakthrough when SPAL defender Nenad Tomovic diverted a Pellegrini cross into his own net after 53 minutes.

Perotti completed the turnaround from the penalty spot on 66 minutes after Edin Dzeko was bundled over in the box by Francesco Vicari, before substitute Mkhitaryan tapped in a third seven minutes from time.

Wolfsburg stun Gladbach 2-1 with stoppage-time winner

VfL Wolfsburg's Maximilian Arnold celebrates with teammates on scoring their second goal against Borussia Moenchengladbach during their Bundesliga match at Volkswagen Arena in Wolfsburg

IMAGE: VfL Wolfsburg's Maximilian Arnold celebrates with teammates on scoring their second goal against Borussia Moenchengladbach during their Bundesliga match at Volkswagen Arena in Wolfsburg. Photograph: /Fabian Bimmer/Reuters

VfL Wolfsburg's Maximilian Arnold fired in a stoppage time winner as they beat Borussia Moenchengladbach 2-1 on Sunday and sent them dropping into second place in the Bundesliga after leading the title race for the last two months.

The Wolves, in eighth place, showed no respect for Gladbach, playing their best season since last winning the title in 1977, and hit the post after four minutes with Joao Victor.

Two minutes after that Xaver Schlager fired them into the lead.

Gladbach levelled with a Breel Embolo volley two minutes later and could have scored again early in the second half with Marcus Thuram and Alassane Plea.

Wolfsburg hit the woodwork again in their share of scoring chances before Arnold drilled in the winner in stoppage time.

Gladbach drop to second in the standings on 31 points, with RB Leipzig on 33 after Saturday's 3-0 win at Fortuna Duesseldorf.

"It is a bitter defeat, especially after conceding so late in the game," Gladbach coach Marco Rose told reporters. "We knew it would be tough. I would have liked to have taken at least one point from this game."

Schalke 04 climbed to fourth on 28 points after beating Eintracht Frankfurt 1-0 thanks to Benito Raman's 53rd minute winner.

But the Royal Blues, who also hit the post in the 84th minute through Guido Burgstaller, will probably be without keeper Alexander Nuebel for the rest of the year after he was shown a red card for a brutal foul in the 67th minute.

Nuebel is likely to be banned for more than one game after charging knee-first into Frankfurt's Mijat Gacinovic outside the box.

Champions Bayern Munich, who crushed Werder Bremen 6-1 on Saturday, are fifth on 27 points, two behind Borussia Dortmund.

PSG trio on target again in victory over St Etienne

Paris St Germain's Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring their fourth goal with Neymar and teammates after scoring against AS Saint-Etienne during their Ligue 1 match at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Etienne

IMAGE: Paris St Germain's Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring their fourth goal with Neymar and teammates after scoring against AS Saint-Etienne during their Ligue 1 match at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Etienne. Photograph: Emmanuel Foudrot/Reuters

Paris St Germain's serial goal-getters Kylian Mbappe, Mauro Icardi and Neymar were at it again as the Ligue 1 leaders extended their advantage to seven points with a 4-0 victory at 10-man St Etienne on Sunday.

Neymar struck early before Mbappe netted either side of the break and Icardi also scored to lift PSG to 42 points from 17 games as St Etienne had Jean-Eudes Aholou sent off midway through the first half.

Neymar, who set up France international Mbappe for his eighth and ninth league goals of the season, missed a penalty just after the hour.

Elsewhere, Olympique Lyonnais slumped to a 1-0 home defeat against Stade Rennais and lost Memphis Depay and Jeff Reine-Adelaide to knee injuries for the rest of the season.

PSG went ahead in the ninth minute when Paredes's 18-metre volley took a deflection off Neymar after Mathieu Debuchy had cleared the ball into Paredes's path.

Les Verts went down to 10 men when Aholu was shown a straight red card for a dangerous tackle on Paredes.

The visitors were untroubled and Mbappe fired home from Neymar's through ball in the 44th minute to double the tally.

Brazil forward Neymar saw his spot kick hit the post in the 62nd after he was brought down by Debuchy and Icardi netted his 13th goal in 14 games, volleying home from close range from a Layvin Kurzawa cross.

Mbappe rounded off the scoring with a clinical angled shot one minute from fulltime.

PSG have not lost a league match at St Etienne since 2008.

The result left St Etienne in 11th place, level on 25 points with eighth-placed Lyon who endured a dismal evening at the Groupama stadium.

Eduardo Camavinga scored the only goal from just inside the box with one minute left to lift Rennes up to fourth on 30 points from 17 games, five behind second-placed Olympique de Marseille who have played one more game.

Both Depay and Reine-Adelaide suffered cruciate knee ligament injuries which will keep them out of action 'for at least six months', Lyon said in a statement.

Netherlands international Depay is now a major doubt for the Euro 2020 finals that start on June 12.

Another slip up for injury-hit Lyon as Rennes win

Olympique Lyonnais's mediocre Ligue 1 season continued when they slumped to a 1-0 home defeat against Stade Rennais and lost both Memphis Depay and Jeff Reine-Adelaide for the remainder of the season on Sunday.

Dutch striker Depay's knee injury now even makes him a major doubt for the Euro 2020 finals that start on June 12.

Eduardo Camavinga scored the only goal from just inside the box with one minute left to lift Rennes up to fourth on 30 points from 17 games.

Lyon, who have been at odds with some of their own fans recently despite qualifying for the Champions League last 16, slipped down to eighth with 25 points from 18 matches.

The evening took a calamitous turn for the hosts when Dutch forward Depay, who has scored nine league goals this season, had to be replaced at halftime with a cruciate knee ligament injury.

That blow came after midfielder Reine-Adelaide was also forced to leave the pitch with a similar injury.

"They should be out of action for at least six months," OL said in a statement.

Lyon remained toothless after the break and some sloppy defending allowed Camavinga to enter the area and fire a last-gasp winner.

Leaders Paris St Germain travel to St Etienne later on Sunday.

Source: source
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