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Soccer Extras: Lukaku scores on Inter debut

Last updated on: August 27, 2019 14:48 IST

Inter Milan's Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring their third goal against Lecce during their Serie A match at San Siro in Milan on Monday

IMAGE: Inter Milan's Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring their third goal against Lecce during their Serie A match at San Siro in Milan on Monday. Photograph: Daniele Mascolo/Reuters

Forward Romelu Lukaku scored on his debut for Inter Milan as they made a flying start under new coach Antonio Conte with a 4-0 win over promoted Lecce in Serie A on Monday.

Marcelo Brozovic, with an exquisite curling shot, and Stefano Sensi gave Inter a 2-0 halftime lead before Lukaku, signed from Manchester United this month, opened his account on the hour.

 

Antonio Candreva completed the rout with a stunning strike from 35 metres.

Chinese-owned Inter appointed Conte, who previously won three Serie A titles with Juventus and one English Premier League title with Chelsea, to replace Luciano Spalletti in the close season in a bid to end eight seasons without a major trophy.

As expected, there was no place for forward Mauro Icardi who has been told he is not part of Inter's plans but has yet to negotiate a move away from the club.

"I am very happy and satisfied; I like working with these guys who have always shown great willingness," said Conte.

"Romelu has entered the Inter world with great humility, he is ready to work for the team."

Lecce, back in the top flight after a seven-year absence, made a bright start, forcing Brozovic to make an acrobatic clearance and then Milan Skriniar to clear away Gianluca Lapadula's effort with goalkeeper Samir Handanovic beaten.

But Inter quickly began playing the whirlwind football associated with Conte and Lautaro Martinez hit the crossbar with a free header from a Candreva cross.

Brozovic broke the deadlock in the 21st minute when he curled a delightful shot into the far corner from the edge of the area.

Sensi, making his debut after his move from Sassuolo, added the second three minutes later, scoring with a low shot which went through a defender's legs.

As Inter continued to pour forward after halftime, Lukaku snapped up a rebound after Martinez's shot was parried by goalkeeper Gabriel to add the third.

Lecce finished with 10 men after second-half substitute Diego Farias, making his debut after a move from Cagliari, was sent off for a reckless tackle from behind on Danilo D'Ambrosio.

Candreva's dipping, long-range effort capped a near-perfect start for Conte's side and sent Inter fans home with hope that this season they can finally challenge Juventus for the title.

Rodriguez joins Real's injury list

Real Madrid's injury worries continued at the start of the season after midfielder James Rodriguez sustained a calf injury.

The Colombian, who on Saturday started his first game for the club since May 2017 in the 1-1 La Liga draw with Valladolid, has been linked with a move away from the Bernabeu during the transfer window. However, the injury means he is likely to stay with the club until at least January.

"He has been diagnosed with a muscle injury in the right calf. His recovery will continue to be assessed," Real said in a statement.

There injury list has been growing at Real just two weeks into the new season.

Attacking midfielder Marco Asensio is likely to miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury, while new signings Eden Hazard and Rodrygo are both carrying muscle injuries, as is backup striker Mariano Diaz.

Rodriguez is almost certain to miss this weekend's trip to Villarreal as well as his country's friendlies with Brazil and Venezuela. 

Cantona to receive UEFA President's Award

Eric Cantona

IMAGE: Eric Cantona. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/ Allsport UK

Former Manchester United forward Eric Cantona will be presented the 2019 UEFA President's Award in recognition of his playing career and commitment to charitable causes after it, European soccer's governing body said on Tuesday.

The 53-year-old Frenchman will receive the award in Monaco on Thursday during the Champions League group stage draw.

"This award not only recognises his career as a player of the highest calibre, but also honours him for the person he is," UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said in a statement.

"A man who refuses compromise, who stands up for his values, who speaks his mind and in particular, puts his heart and his soul into supporting the causes he believes in."

Cantona won four Premier League titles in five years with United in the 1990s and scored 64 goals for the Old Trafford club in 143 appearances.

The former Auxerre, Marseille, Nimes and Leeds United player won 45 caps with France and tried his hand at acting and beach soccer following his retirement in 1997.

Cantona supports the Common Goal initiative, which funds soccer charities worldwide, and contributes 1% of his annual salary to the project co-founded by United's Juan Mata.

Former England captain David Beckham won the award in 2018.

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