D’Ambrosio saves Inter, AC Milan crashes in Serie A

Inter Milan’s Danilo D’Ambrosio, right, celebrates after scoring during a Serie A soccer match between Inter Milan and Genoa at Milan’s San SIro Stadium Sunday. (AP)
Updated 25 September 2017
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D’Ambrosio saves Inter, AC Milan crashes in Serie A

MILAN: Danilo D’Ambrosio scored the only goal as Inter Milan left it late to squeeze past Genoa 1-0 in Serie A action Sunday and keep in touch with the leaders, as AC Milan fell 2-0 at Sampdoria.
D’Ambrosio headed in off a corner with two minutes to go at the San Siro to earn three points for Luciano Spalletti’s side, who saw their winning run ended on Tuesday with a last-gasp 1-1 draw at Bologna.
Inter stay third, two points behind leaders Juventus and Napoli, who both claimed their sixth wins out of six on Saturday against Torino, 4-0, and SPAL, 3-2, respectively.
“It was a tough match, but we stayed solid,” said Spalletti. “We must create this winning mentality that makes us believe that we can beat anyone.
“There is a gap with Napoli and Juventus, but that’s to be expected, considering where we’re coming from. It’s tough to recreate a winning mentality after a poor campaign. There is always that fear of reality setting in.
“Napoli and Juventus have that mentality, so do Roma and Lazio. We also mustn’t underestimate Sampdoria and Torino, who are two strong sides.”
Ciro Immobile scored a double including one from the spot to bring his tally to eight for the Serie A season, as injury-hit Lazio stayed fourth with a comfortable 3-0 win at Verona.
Immobile converted a penalty after 24 minutes, scored from the edge of the box before the break and then teed up Adam Marusic for his first Serie A goal on 60 minutes.
Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi was delighted that his side knew how to respond positively to their 4-1 defeat midweek to Napoli.
“On Wednesday we had a setback that we didn’t foresee, even though we were playing Napoli,” said Inzaghi.
“One goal would have allowed Verona back into it at home, but we never risked it.
“There are no more adjectives for him (Immobile). He gives a lot and (Italy coach Giampiero) Ventura will definitely be counting on him.”
City rivals Roma — who have a game in hand — are fifth, after easing past Udinese 3-1 on Saturday.
Duvan Zapata and Ricky Alvarez scored as Sampdoria condemned big-spending AC Milan to their second defeat of the campaign.
Zapata broke through after a terrible clearance by his cousin and fellow Colombia international Cristian Zapata on 72 minutes with substitute Alvarez getting the second just before the final whistle.
Chinese-owned Milan again showed their difficulty against teams in the top half of the table as they remained sixth after six games with Sampdoria, who have a game in hand, moving seventh just a point behind.
“We deserved this victory, we fought to the end and must build on this performance,” said Zapata.
Milan had problems defensively with Cristian Zapata having a forgettable afternoon and Leonardo Bonucci and Alessio Romagnoli performing little better.
Sampdoria dominated from the outset with the visitors having a scare after two minutes when Ivan Strinic’s cross hit Franck Kessie on the arm and the referee awarded a penalty.
However, the decision was overturned by the video assistant referee.
Chievo won at 10-man Cagliari thanks to Roberto Inglese and Mariusz Stepinski’s second half goals as Crotone earned their first win 2-0 over tailenders Benevento.


Man City humbled in 2-1 loss to Lyon in Champions League

City were humbled by French side Lyon in Manchester. (Reuters)
Updated 20 September 2018
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Man City humbled in 2-1 loss to Lyon in Champions League

  • City’s players were humbled 2-1 by Lyon in a sloppy and apathetic display at the start of their European campaign

MANCHESTER, England: If Manchester City wants to finally win a first Champions League title, it will have to start taking the competition a bit more seriously — on and off the field.
Surrounded by swathes of empty seats in the Etihad Stadium, City’s players were humbled 2-1 by Lyon in a sloppy and apathetic display at the start of their European campaign on Wednesday.
Banned from the touchline and unable to communicate with the bench, City manager Pep Guardiola did fill one seat in the stands and he saw his Premier League champions easily picked apart by the French visitors.
“We felt under threat every time we lost the ball and sometimes that brings the confidence a little bit lower,” said City assistant manager Mikel Arteta, who was in charge on the bench in Guardiola’s absence.
Errors by midfielder Fernandinho led to both Lyon goals, typifying how careless City was against a team that finished third in the French league last season and was even held to a draw at the weekend by 10-man Caen.
When a pass by the Brazilian midfielder was intercepted around the halfway line, Lyon charged forward. Nabil Fekir sent in a cross from the left that evaded Fabian Delph’s swinging legs, allowing Maxwel Cornet to slot it home in the 26th minute. Delph held his head in his hands as the consequences of his mistake became clear.
City’s troubles deepened when Fernandinho was caught in possession again. Memphis Depay set Fekir on a run and the forward doubled Lyon’s lead in the 43rd by striking through the legs of John Stones.
“It was a difficult game,” said Depay, who struggled to make an impact at Manchester United before leaving after two seasons in 2017. “But when we had the ball we tried to play and when we won the ball we tried to counterattack.”
Perhaps the only reason for City to feel aggrieved in the first half was Gabriel Jesus being denied a penalty when he was tripped by former Manchester United defender Rafael da Silva just before Depay scored.
“To concede two goals like we did is very frustrating,” Stones said. “We came in at halftime a bit deflated I think. But we picked ourselves up and we came out second half fighting and played a better second half.”
But the improvement wasn’t sufficient.
City pulled one back in the 67th when Bernardo Silva scored from substitute Leroy Sane’s cutback. But the attacking threat was too patchy from a City side that won the Premier League with a record 100 points only four months ago, and are widely seen as one of the big favorites in this season’s Champions League.
“I suffered as I was scared they’d score a second goal,” Lyon coach Bruno Genesio said. “We would have taken 2-2 before the match but given the way the game went we’d have been disappointed not to leave with the three points.”
With Hoffenheim and Shakhtar Donetsk also in Group F, City appeared to have one of the kinder draws but is now playing catch-up.
Celebrating a decade under Abu Dhabi ownership, which allowed City to assemble a squad for more than $1 billion, the Champions League is the one big prize the club has yet to win.
But City fans still have a fraught relationship with Europe’s premier competition.