“Courtois is the best for me”

first_imgZinedine Zidane appeared in the flash interview to assess the suffered victory of Real Madrid against Getafe (0-3) in the Coliseum. The French coach said he was very happy for the intensity shown by his players and for achieving a triumph in a difficult field.Important win: “Yes, in a difficult field. It is difficult to add here and we did it. It is an important victory. It is a victory fought because we have fought. We achieved a very good result.”What would you highlight about the match your team made? “In the effort, especially solidarity and intensity. We interpreted the game very well. We suffered and it cost us to leave our field in the first part. Playing more directly in the second part we were much better. We got a good result fighting despite not being a great football game. The players have made a very supportive and very serious game. “Getafe is a bone: “Yes and we knew it. We knew it would be difficult for us, but in the end we made it.”How have you countered Getafe: “We knew that they were going to play like that with a more direct game. They are things they always do. We have suffered twice or three times, but with Courtois well in the goal and all solidarity. In the end it is like that. You must suffer in the field and today we suffer. It’s a different game and we have to accept the game that we played today and in the end we got a good result and the goal was zero. I’m happy. They were talking about starting the year badly and today we started well. “Satisfied because it is a victory after three draws?: “That and especially because we started the year well because they told us that we started the year badly. Starting this way is important for us.”Barça pressure: “That’s the least of it. For us it’s what we did today, we add, it’s a very complicated League. Today we can say that the boys have been superblocked, with tremendous intensity and that’s what had to be done.”Varane, scorer: “It is important from time to time to hurt the opponent with a stopped ball. Today we get it.”Fede Valverde started as a substitute: “Everyone is involved. I have 25 players and they always play 11. In the end it is a matter of all. Every time it is up to one to play it is good and it is important when you have a group as good as I have.”Courtois: “Happy and he sure is also very happy with his work. He is our goalkeeper, we are happy for him. We must continue, the goal to zero … Happy. He is my goalkeeper, for me he is the best, I have no doubts.” Morale for the Super Cup: “Now we’re going to rest and then we’ll think about the next game.”Positive: “You have to be very satisfied with such a game in a very complicated field. They squeezed us very well. I am very proud of all the players. Also those who do not play. They are all in and plugged in and that is essential. We will rest first, enjoy this game and from Monday we’ll see Wednesday’s game. “Later, Zidane appeared before the media in the press room of the Coliseum.Modric’s role: “I never count on what is said outside. It is very important. He is demonstrating it. Today he has played a great game. Modric is always Modric. We know what he can contribute and I am happy especially because in the 90 ‘, with Fede, there done that sprint; it means it’s very good. “Another door to zero: “It is also true that we suffered in the first half, a little stopped ball … We had Courtois very well today. We have been a team, which is the most important in this field, with a rival that has tightened us a lot in the first part. We got a good result as a team, everyone. “Favoritism for the Super Cup: “As always, the first thing is to enjoy what we did today. We have just won a league game, now to rest and then we will think about Wednesday. Favorites are the four of us who are going to play it. There is no favorite here.”Key League match: “Clearly. We had complicated matches, in Eibar, against Alavés, today, which has been even more difficult. We have achieved it as a team. It has been a different game, it has cost us to get the ball out. But we must accept these matches . We interpret it very well. “Courtois performance rating: “I value your game well. It has saved us twice or three times in the first half. It has clearly been decisive. He is an important player in our team and he is demonstrating it. Not only in this match, but for a long time. I am happy. for his performance. To follow. “Scorer inflection point: “I used to say that we had to be calm. It’s what we’re going to do, keep working, because this works, and you have to be very serene in the face of goal because sometimes the ball does not fit. Varane’s two goals mean that we have many resources”.If Courtois is the best goalkeeper in the world: “He is my goalkeeper, so for me he is the best, I have no doubt. He is proving it. All the players I have here are the best.”last_img read more

Tony Becca: Cricket’s duty to its minnows

first_img NEW VERSION OF CRICKET There is a new version of cricket, however. It is T20 cricket. It is taking over like wildfire and it has given those in charge the opportunity to spread their wings, to cover the whole wide world. For years now, there has been a call to add more teams to cricket and there has always been a counterclaim by the ‘big shots’ of cricket that the game would be too one-sided if that was done. There is no doubt that was true. Can you imagine a Test match between Australia and Canada at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and, at end of day two, at the end of the first innings, the scoreboard read: Australia 400 for one or two declared, Canada70 and 20 for five? Who would watch this match and who would pay for the exercise? Based on their performances over the years and their performance this year, however, the minnows, or some of them Ireland, the Netherlands, Oman, Afghanistan, Scotland, Hong Kong and Kenya, deserve their places. And so do others like Papua, New Guinea, Canada and the USA. If they never get to compete, no one will ever know of them, just as we would never have known of players like Mohammad Shahzar; Afghanistan’s batsman Kyle Coetzer; Scotland’s batsman Zeeshan Maqsood; Oman’s batsman Dawlat Zadran; Afghanistan’s pacer and one of the real finds of the tournament, Afghanistan’s young right-arm leg-spinner Rashid Khan. And what of countries like China, Argentina and even Brazil if they so desire? T20 cricket is made for them. RANKED NO. 3 T20 cricket is ranked number three in the general scheme of things. It is played regularly in local competitions, hardly in international competitions and up to last month, it was played every two years as a world tournament. Regrettably, it is scheduled for every four years as of the next time. T20 cricket is big business. It is, however, easy to play, it is fun, it caters to the spectators, and although the players, including the West Indies players, or most of them, prefer the Test version, it is the most popular format today. T20 cricket is ideal as a tool to spread the game. The minnows can upset the ‘big boys’ occasionally, just as how The Netherlands defeated England in both the 50-over World Cup and the World Twenty 20 and just as how Afghanistan defeated the West Indies a few weeks ago in the World Twenty20. Those defeats were embarrassing for England and that defeat was also embarrassing for the soon-to-be crowned world champions, West Indies, a few days ago. They added to the excitement of the tournament, however, and as far as The Netherlands and Afghanistan are concerned, they contributed to the growth of the game. The ICC has a duty to its minnows and a responsibility to cricket to let them loose and offer them more opportunities. This is the time to allow cricket to grow. The International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20 tournament of 2016 is behind us and despite many events of its kind – and many successful ones at that – the world of cricket can truthfully say that this one was a tremendous success. Maybe it was the different types of pitches found in India this time around and maybe it was the different kinds of bowling, especially the presence of right-arm leg-spin bowling, which made it so successful. Maybe it was the quality of batting throughout, the tournament and the brilliance of the fielding which lifted the standard and thus the excitement throughout and maybe it was the energy and performance of the minnows which caused it all. Maybe it was, in the final analysis, the performance of the big hitters of the West Indies which made the difference and the stylish and dramatic way in which they ended the tournament on a winning note, with the ball disappearing into the outskirts of Kolkata. Maybe it was simply an improving mindset by the players. Whatever it was that caused it, it was a tournament to remember and to duplicate and, at least, the next time around. For years now, and but for a few changes, cricket has remained the same. It has been basically the same teams, with nothing new to add spice and colour to the scenery. Cricket, it is said, is a hard game to learn, but that is Test cricket.last_img read more

Holloway ‘perfect fit’ for GlobalPort, says Pumaren

first_imgOSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ‘a duplicitous move’ – Lacson LeBron James scores 31 points, Lakers beat Rockets McGregor blasts Cerrone in 40 seconds in UFC return End of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legend Globalport averts disaster, holds off Phoenix ‘Star Wars’ cast reveal which co-stars they’d go caroling with and hopes for the New Year PLAY LIST 02:28’Star Wars’ cast reveal which co-stars they’d go caroling with and hopes for the New Year01:11Top Pentagon general: US maintains ‘high levels of readiness’ regarding N. Korea01:10Maguindanao massacre victims’ kin eagerly awaiting justice, says lawyer01:40Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks01:32Taal Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ ‘I’m out!’: PewDiePie releases last video before taking break from YouTube Despite Holloway’s gaudy numbers in his PBA debut, his head coach Franz Pumaren said the stocky forward’s best is yet to come after joining the team just five days ago.READ: Globalport averts disaster, holds off PhoenixFEATURED STORIESSPORTSEnd of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legendSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’“Our import just arrived last Friday. He only practiced with us for only a couple of minutes. He practiced a little with us yesterday because he was throwing up. Despite that, he pushed himself to finish the game,” said Pumaren after the Batang Pier held off the Phoenix Fuel Masters, 100-91, on Wednesday night.The 27-year-old Holloway replaced Jabril Trawick, who played his first and last game on Friday after scoring just three points in a loss to Rain or Shine. PBA IMAGESMurphy Holloway was exactly what GlobalPort was looking for in an import.Holloway provided the muscle and inside presence on both ends, bullying his way to 29 points, 26 rebounds, two steals and three blocks in close to 42 minutes of action.ADVERTISEMENT Marcosian mode: Duterte threatens to arrest water execs ‘one night’ READ: One and done: Trawick plays first and last gamePumaren had high praise for Holloway, who also excels in a different sport.“He’s a former NFL player. That’s why despite his size, he’s agile and fleet-footed,” said Pumaren. “He showed a glimpse of what he can do.”Holloway was signed to play tight end for the Baltimore Ravens in the National Football League (NFL) in May 2013 but was cut four days later.“I guess we found the perfect fit for us.”ADVERTISEMENT Indian national gunned down in Camarines Sur View comments 787 earthquakes recorded in 24 hours due to restive Taal Volcano Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES Kawhi Leonard, Clippers rally to beat Pelicanslast_img read more

Olunga seals mega-dollar deal to Japan

first_img0Shares0000Michael Olunga poses in the stadium after signing a deal with his new Japanese club Kashiwa Reysal on August 9, 2018. PHOTO/CourtesyNAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 10- Harambee Stars striker Michael Olunga has put to an end his un-adventurous stint in the Chinese Super League by sealing a three-year move to the Japanese J-League, signing for Kashiwa Reysol in a deal estimated to be in the region of Sh300mn.Olunga made a permanent move to Japan after returning to his Chinese club Guizhou Hengfeng F.C. following a season-long loan stint with Spanish top tier side Girona FC. The deal to Japan is reportedly set to rake Olunga a whooping Sh15mn a month. “New roads, new rivers, new chapter, beginning of another unfolded story,” Olunga posted on his official Instagram handle posing with the jersey of his new club.He is expected to be unveiled later Friday as he begins his three year stint. Reysol are currently placed 13th in the 18-team J-League with 23 points off 20 matches.Formed in 1940, Reysol were founding members of Japan Soccer League in 1965 and have spent majority of their existence in the top tier of Japanese football.They have been Japanese league champions twice, in 1972 and 2011, and have won three Emperor’s Cups.With 14 rounds of matches left before the season ends, Reysol will look onto the goal scoring prowess of the Kenyan international to help them finish in the top half of the table.Olunga stepped of the bench to score three and assist one to become the first ever Kenyan to score in Spanish top division. Photo/COURTESYThe Engineer as he is fondly referred as made his first pro move to IF Djugardens in Sweden in 2016 scoring 12 goals in 27 matches before the mega bucks in China came calling.However, he couldn’t quite get settled in his new environment and only managed nine matches notching a meagre two goals. He was loaned out to Catalan club Girona at the beginning of the 2017/2018 season where he played 14 matches, only four of them as a starter.He managed to score four goals in those 14 games, three of them being a hattrick in a 6-0 win against Las Palmas, making him the first ever Kenyan to score in the La Liga as well as the first ever Girona player to score a La Liga hattrick.🥇 The first Kenyan to score in #LaLigaSantander 🇰🇪🥇 The first @GironaFC player to ever score a hat-trick in #LaLigaSantander ⚽⚽⚽👋 @OgadaOlunga 👋 pic.twitter.com/gh0rO3HQ70— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) July 25, 2018Prior to going for the pro leagues abroad, Olunga started off at Tusker FC straight from the Upper Hill High School where his football career started. The Liberty Academy product spent a season with the brewers before moving to Thika United.His big break came when he joined Gor Mahia in 2015 helping them to finish the league unbeaten scoring 19 goals the entire season and finishing as the league’s Most valuable Player.0Shares0000(Visited 4 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Special-interest cash muddles bill-signing period

first_imgSo, ho hum, here we are again, facing yet another bill signing period. By the hundreds, putative new laws are now and will be piled upon the desk of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who must decide whether to sign them, exercise a veto or let them become law without his signature. It’s a heady, if hectic, time for any governor, one made more crowded by the fact that there are fundraisers to attend and campaign donors to glad-hand. Nothing different there from any previous governor. Except this governor promised not to do it. While campaigning in the 2003 recall election, he observed that, “There is no question these contributions have some influence. Any of these kinds of real, big special interests, if you take money from them, you owe them something.” Since then, of course, he has maintained nothing can influence his decisions, that he is his own man pure and simple, beyond influencing. But the facts argue otherwise. Schwarzenegger, who campaigned on the promise of eliminating contributions to both governors and legislators during the budget-making period and pledged to end contributions to governors while their desks are loaded with passed bills, continually sets records for fundraising in both periods. And yet, his 2003 analysis remains as correct today as it was then. All you need to do is look at his past actions: Twice he has vetoed a bill that would mandate a comprehensive study of whether California has any immediate need for liquefied natural gas. Sempra Energy, which will soon begin bringing LNG into the state from its under-construction gas receiving facility in Baja California, Mexico, has kicked more than $400,000 into his various political committees. ChevronTexaco is another contributor, the big company and its executives having kicked in $665,000 as of the June 15 reporting date. If it reaches him, what will Schwarzenegger do with AB 118, the bill by Democratic Assembly Speaker Fabian N ez aiming to tax oil companies that drill in California to the tune of about $137 million per year to fund research on alternative energy? ChevronTexaco was one of several oil companies that kicked in tens of millions of dollars last year, when a similar proposal made the November ballot as an initiative and was overwhelmed by the tide of petro dollars thrown against it. Schwarzenegger hit on the problem when he first sought office: Unless he signs the N ez bill, his motives will be open to question, no matter what his real, underlying beliefs about it may be. Even before the bill-signing period began, the governor ran afoul of the more than $15 million contributed to his committees by developers like the Spanos Companies of Stockton ($2.7 million), statewide homebuilder KB Home and its top executives Eli Broad and Bruce Karatz ($429,000) and Los Angeles developer Rick Caruso ($653,000). When Schwarzenegger’s chief of staff and cabinet secretary lobbied the Air Resources Board to go slow with rules regulating particulate smog from old diesel construction equipment, critics immediately noted the amounts contributed by developers and the fact that Chief of Staff Susan Kennedy and Cabinet Secretary Dan Dunmoyer actually are paid more by Schwarzenegger’s campaign committees than by the state. This, of course, came at the very time Schwarzenegger was traveling the world posing as a leading opponent of greenhouse gases and other harmful emissions. “A tarnished green giant,” some critics said. Others began calling him “the pollutinator.” The question raised by these facts is simple: Who do he and they really work for, the people or the donors who pay those salaries and for Schwarzenegger’s private jet and the klieg lights at his every public appearance? Similar questions have arisen in previous bill-signing periods, when Schwarzenegger vetoed consumerist bills like one that would have guaranteed cell phone users the right to cancel contracts within 30 days if unsatisfied with service (AT&T and affiliates have contributed $235,000) and another toughening the state’s automotive lemon laws (car dealers have tossed in more than $2.8 million). The bottom line: If Schwarzenegger wants to be taken seriously as both an impartial decision-maker acting on his own convictions and as the world leader in the fight against climate change, he will first have to clean up the foul image created by the very existence of his vast corps of big-money business contributors. Tom Elias is author of The Burzynski Breakthrough: The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It, now available in an updated third edition. His e-mail address is tdelias@aol.com. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Everton step up pursuit of Marseille shot-stopper amid Villarreal interest

first_img1 Everton have stepped up their pursuit of Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda – but they will have to stave off competition from La Liga side Villarreal.The Ligue 1 club captain is set to leave Stade Velodrome when his deal expires at the end of June and he is believed to have offers from across Europe and China.According to L’Equipe, Mandanda is seriously considering offers tabled by Everton and Villarreal and the 31-year-old favours a switch to the Premier League.Everton have made signing a goalkeeper their first priority in the close season, having lost Tim Howard to the MLS. The Merseysiders view the experienced Mandanda as the ideal replacement for the American. Marseille’s French goalkeeper Steve Mandanda last_img read more

GAA: BURT WIN U-16 CUP FINAL WITH WIN OVER MALIN

first_imgU16 A Inishowen Final- Downey/McLaughlin Memorial Cup Final.Final Score: Burt 1:10 Malin 1:05.This long awaited Cup Final was set to be a competitive, intense and dramatic game, the opening half seing Burt scoring the first three points of the game. Malin defence were put under pressure, with Malin goalkeeper Lee McDaid making three consecutive saves which disrupted the Burt attack. Malin’s Christopher Mc Laughlin (F) replied with a point, while Burt got a further three points, leaving the Half Time Score Burt 0.06 Malin 0.01.The second half saw the Malin attempt a comeback, but Burt matched three points with three of their own, leaving the scoreline Burt 0.09 Malin 0.04.Shortly following this the Burt side were reduced to 14 players, however were able to place another point and goal to step forward with Burt 1.10 Malin 0.05. The game took a dramatic turn when Malin’s Mid- fielder Jonathon Mc Laughlin powered through the Burt defence and placed a low controlled shot to into the back of the Burt net, leaving the score line Burt 1.10 Malin 1.05. The final few minutes of the game were dramatic with both teams fighting to gain scores, however on this occasion the home side of Burt won against their Malin opponents. Final Score Burt 1.10 Malin 1.05.Burt Team: Mark Mc Elhinney, Tom Doherty, Kyle Mc Grath, Conor Bradley, Shaun Gallagher, Kyle Long, Matthew Doherty, Sean Mc Hugh, Ryan Mc Laughlin. Ryan Doherty, Mark Coyle, Calvin Gallagher, Paul Mc Grath, Tony Cregan, Stephen Mc Cafferty. Subs: Dylan Clarke, Matthew Mc Dermott, Jonathon Mc Daid, Aaron Doherty, Callum Porter, Caolan Mc Dermott, Jordon Arbuckle, Shaun O’ Donnell, Sean Mc Bride, Josh Arbuckle. Malin Team: Lee Mc Daid, Ruaidhri Mc Carron, Peter Doherty, Thomas Mc Laughlin, Aiden Bambrick, Ryan Doherty, Conor Mc Colgan, Jonathon Mc Laughlin, Christopher Doherty (PM), Christopher Mc Laughlin, Andrew Mullan, Tiarnan Stevens, Conor Mc Geoghegan, Aaron Mc Laughlin, Danny Mc Carrron. Subs: Diarmuid, Joe Doherty (PM), Cian Stevens, Niall Kelly, Mitchell Dutton, Donall Walsh, Jordon Mc Laughlin, Joe Doherty, Cormac Cullinane. GAA: BURT WIN U-16 CUP FINAL WITH WIN OVER MALIN was last modified: May 25th, 2013 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:GAA: BURT WIN U-16 CUP FINAL WITH WIN OVER MALINlast_img read more

MASSIVE CROWDS GREET NA DÚNAIBH PLAYERS RETURN HOME

first_imgHUGE CROWDS have turned out this morning (the wee small hours) to welcome home the victorious All-Ireland Champions Na Dúnaibh.Downings is packed.And so was Letterkenny just after midnight as hundreds of supporters gathered to cheer the team bus at the Mount Errigal Hotel – before joining a cavalcade home. Downings won the Gaeltacht Junior title in Co Cork today – their first gaeltacht title in almost a quarter of a century.Naomh Conall retained their senior title later in the day.But it looks like Rosguil is the place to be….  MASSIVE CROWDS GREET NA DÚNAIBH PLAYERS RETURN HOME was last modified: June 7th, 2016 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:DowningsGAANa Dunaibhlast_img read more

GET YOUR TEETH INTO A BITE-SIZED GUIDE TO LETTERKENNY

first_imgEver wondered why Letterkenny has a Glencar Scotch and a Glencar Irish? Or why there’s a Castle Street but no castle? And we bet you’ll be surprised when you find out just how old ‘Old Town’ really is!In Echoes of Time An Grianan Theatre offers a bite sized guide to the origins of Letterkenny.In just 30 minutes Danny the Townie and his ancestors will give you an overview of what effect the Ulster Plantation had on the development of the town and how its influence continues to this day in our accents and place names. Each performance will be followed by an optional question and answer session.Written and directed by local historian and actor Kieran Kelly, the play features Daniel Conaghan, Eoghan MacGiolla Bhrighde and Nora Kavanagh.The play is recommended for family audiences and anyone interested in the history of Letterkenny.Echoes of Time can be seen at An Grianán Theatre on Sat 4 June as part of a programme of events commemorating the town’s 400th anniversary. There will be performances at 12.30pm and 2.30pm and admission is free.Echoes of Time was originally developed as a Living History schools project supported by PEACE III Programme managed for the Special EU Programmes Body by Donegal County Council. It was performed in 11 national schools in the Letterkenny district as well as in St Mary’s Primary, Strabane.For further information on Echoes of Time and other events marking the town’s anniversary check outwww.angrianan.com/inhouse/echoesoftime.GET YOUR TEETH INTO A BITE-SIZED GUIDE TO LETTERKENNY was last modified: June 1st, 2011 by gregShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:400 yearsAn griananletterkenny historylast_img read more

Juventus, AC Milan renew rivalry as Serie A returns

first_img Tags: Italian Serie Atop Parma vs TorinoStadio Ennio Tardini, ParmaSaturday, 06-06-2019 @4pmTorino continue their push for European football and have to fancy their chances against a Parma side in crisis.The Ducali have been going through a miserable run, which was compounded midweek by a controversial stoppage-time VAR decision for Frosinone to convert a penalty at the 103rd minute, meaning another heart-breaking defeat for the Gialloblu.To make matters worse, the Ducali are still without frontmen Gervinho, Jonathan Biabiany and Roberto Inglese for this fixture, so could even resort to using left-back Federico Dimarco in a more advanced role as part of the trident attack.Bruno Alves’ continuing absence is another huge blow to a defence that has been leaking goals most of the season. That trend has intensified, as with 27 goals, they conceded more than any other Serie A side in 2019.Sporting Director Daniele Faggiano has called for Parma to pick up as many points as possible from their remaining fixtures and will be hoping for at least one at home to an in-form Toro.The Granata will be high on confidence after edging out Sampdoria in their Europa league showdown and will see Parma’s makeshift side and continuing woes as an ideal opportunity to pick up maximum points, which could guide them even further towards what would be a remarkable top four finish.Walter Mazzarri will be without suspended midfielder Sasa Lukic and injured forward Iago Falque, so Alex Berenguer battles Simone Zaza for the right to start up top alongside midweek goal hero Andrea Belotti.In the 2013-14 season star man Alessio Cerci missed a last-minute penalty for Torino against Fiorentina, allowing Parma to snatch the final Europa League spot. However, the Ducali’s financial malaise saw them expelled, permitting Toro to return to UEFA competition after a 20-year hiatus.Juventus vs AC MilanAllianz Stadium, TorinoSaturday, 06-06-2019 @7pmJuventus could theoretically win the Scudetto this weekend, but injury-hit Milan need a result to stay in the Champions League places.If the Bianconeri win and Napoli lose at home to Genoa, The Old Lady will be officially crowned champions of Italy for a record eighth time in a row.Juve’s last win in Cagliari was surrounded by controversy. Golden boy Moise Kean was racially abused after scoring a late goal and celebrating in front of the opposing fans, prompting teammates and players from all around the world to his defence.Their injury crisis is starting to calm down, as Paulo Dybala, Mario Mandzukic, Leonardo Spinazzola, Douglas Costa and Sami Khedira are back in training, although it remains to be seen who will be risked. Cristiano Ronaldo is still on the sidelines after that muscular injury on international duty and targeting a comeback against Ajax.This has been a bad week for Milan, mixing poor results and injuries. Atalanta’s surge means the gap between fourth and fifth place is now just one point, so the fight for a Champions League spot looks as if it’ll go down to the wire.The Rossoneri only managed to get one point out of their last three games and with direct confrontations against teams vying for European places coming up, they need to get back on track. Giacomo Bonaventura is out for the season. Gianluigi Donnarumma and Lucas Paqueta are out of action after picking up injuries in the 1-1 draw with Udinese, while Andrea Conti and Franck Kessie are also doubtful.Suso was rested midweek, but should return in a new trequartista role after the tactical experiment of using Paqueta behind Krzysztof Piatek and Patrick Cutrone.Both teams have lot at stake in this game. Juventus are trying to secure the Scudetto so they can turn their focus on the only trophy they’ve been missing for the last few years. Milan know Champions League qualification is absolutely decisive for the future of the club, Coach and many players.The Rossoneri have a terrible recent record in this fixture, losing their last seven Serie A trips to Turin on the bounce. Their last victory here in the league was 1-0 in March 2011, decided by a goal from none other than Rino Gattuso, when the Milan Coach was Max Allegri.Will Juventus’ Serie A dominance continue or Milan’s resolve to become relevant again come out on top?While managing Milan, Gennaro Gattuso has lost all four competitive meetings with Juventus, scoring one goal and conceding 10. That breaks down to two Serie A games, one Coppa Italia final and one Italian Super Cup.Sampdoria vs AS RomaStadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris, GenoaSaturday, 06-06-2019 @9:30pmA victory would put Sampdoria level with Roma on 48 points and almost certainly end Giallorossi hopes of a top four finish.The Blucherciati certainly need that boost after a 2-1 defeat to Torino saw them slide down the standings, falling behind in the race for a Europa League berth. The Lupi, on the other hand, head into this clash at Marassi knowing time is running out to salvage what is left of their season. Claudio Ranieri’s men had to fight back twice against Fiorentina, to eventually salvage a 2-2 draw at the Stadio Olimpico.Roma had perhaps their best performance of the season in the reverse fixture, thumping Sampdoria 4-1 on home turf, but a great deal has changed since then.Both teams are capable of pulling off a professional and effective performance one week, but then faltering to lower order opposition the next. It is for that reason that makes this match up so intriguing, because we really don’t know what we will get from these sides.Having said that, Sampdoria are the much more stable of the two, with a Coach that has quietly gone about his business identifying a style of play, that while can give up goals, can be highly entertaining at the same time, for example in their recent 5-3 away victory over Sassuolo.Roma have gone from one crisis to another, from being humiliated 7-1 by Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia, to firing Eusebio Di Francesco, to the tension between President James Pallotta and recently departed sporting director Monchi. Ranieri has tried his best to steady the ship, but the Roman problems are much bigger that just a managerial change.Given that only a win will suffice, expect both teams to go for the jugular and not hold back. Tinkerman Ranieri will be tweaking again, missing Davide Santon, Javier Pastore, Alessandro Florenzi and Stephan El Shaarawy, but should have Patrik Schick back against his old club. The former Sampdoria striker has never come close to the promise he showed at Marassi and it remains to be seen if he can work with Edin Dzeko.After he was dropped against Fiorentina, Robin Olsen is again benched in favour of veteran Antonio Mirante.Samp’s home form has dipped in recent times, with losses to Frosinone and Atalanta in the last couple of months. Bartosz Bereszynski is suspended, with Omar Colley in serious doubt after leaving the field against Torino with a badly bruised jaw. Gianluca Caprari, Albin Ekdal and Edgar Barreto are long-term absentees, but Riccardo Saponara and ex-Roma flop Gregoire Defrel should support Capocannoniere Fabio Quagliarella.Roma have lost their last two away fixtures, but three defeats would be their worst Serie A run since January 2013.Fiorentina vs FrosinoneStadio Artemio Franchi, FlorenceSunday, 07-04-2019 @1:30pmThis match feels more about morale than anything else, as Frosinone’s hopes of safety and Fiorentina’s Europa League chances are now slim.Taking the lead twice against Roma at the Stadio Olimpico, Fiorentina will rue yet another draw. Positioned dead centre in the league table, they have won eight matches, lost seven and drawn 15 (the most in Serie A) – a season that screams of mediocrity. The current form is slightly embarrassing for La Viola, as we must track back to February 17 to find the last victory, which came against SPAL.Stefano Pioli’s men must show some pride and hunger to reward the home fans in these final stages of the season. Sevilla loanee Luis Muriel has been a welcome addition to the frontline, as he has bagged six goals in 11 Serie A outings since joining in January.Frosinone come off a much-welcome last-minute 3-2 thriller against Parma – the very first home victory of the season. Trailing eight points behind Empoli with only eight matches left, and coming up against the likes of Inter, Napoli, Milan and a battling Udinese, Frosinone might as well relieve themselves of any pressure and just play for a nicer looking record to take with them back down to Serie B.Marco Baroni’s men will hope to ride the small high gained from the victory against Parma. Although Fiorentina are in a slump, they are by far the stronger team of the two and should come out the winners. Interestingly, Baroni made his professional playing debut for Fiorentina in the 1981-82 season.Federico Chiesa should be fit for a return to the starting XI, but Marko Pjaca and Edimilson Fernandes are injured. The visitors do without Federico Viviani and Mirko Gori yet again.Fiorentina have drawn their last five Serie A home games, but a sixth straight stalemate would be an all-time club record.The two teams are among the hard hitters in Serie A. Fiorentina have picked up 75 yellow cards and four red. Frosinone are none shyer with 81 yellows and two red cards.Udinese vs EmpoliDacia Arena, UdineSunday, 07-04-2019 @4pmAfter an unexpected win against Napoli, Empoli will be looking to grab some more points in their relegation battle against Udinese.Only one point separates the two teams, and with Serie A nearing an end, desperation to secure safety in Italy’s top flight can also be seen through the recent change of Coach for both sides.These changes had an important impact, with Igor Tudor’s return at the helm of Udinese seeing them earn four points in their last two matches, one of them being an important draw at San Siro against Milan midweek.Aurelio Andreazzoli’s reappointment saw him take revenge on Napoli, with the Tuscan Coach fired on his 65th birthday earlier this season after a 5-1 thrashing by the Partenopei.Encounters between the two teams have often been tight, with nine wins for the Friulani, six for Empoli and eight draws in their previous 23 encounters in Italy’s top flight. With Serie A safety at stake, expect an interesting match at the Dacia Arena.Tudor will be without Antonin Barak and Valon Behrami, their season already confirmed to be over, while Marco D’Alessandro and Bram Nuytinck are sidelined with light injuries.Empoli will certainly be without Lorenzo Polvani, Antonino La Gumina and Jacob Rasmussen, while Levan Mchedlidze and Kevin Diks are still being evaluated.Udinese are yet to beat a newly-promoted side this season, managing two points from four meetings. The only campaigns where they failed to defeat any new boys were 1989-90 and 1950-51.Cagliari vs SPALSardegna Arena, CagliariSunday, 31-03-2019 @4pmSPAL and Cagliari improved their status with big wins in recent weeks, but are not safe from relegation yet.After back to back victories over Fiorentina and Chievo, the Sardinians fell to a 2-0 defeat to champions Juventus at the Sardegna Arena midweek. The Rossoblu will look to bounce back this weekend, when they host SPAL at the Sardegna Arena.Rolando Maran’s men have won three of their last five home matches, scoring six and conceding same in the process. In the survival picture, this fixture is pretty significant for both clubs, who are within six points of the drop zone. Cagliari and SPAL occupy the 13th and 15th position respectively, with one point separating them.SPAL are in tip top mood now, after their celebrated victory over Champions League contenders Lazio on Wednesday. That’s three wins on the bounce and a fourth would be a new club top flight record. The Biancazzurri are also confident in their ability to score on the road, as they’ve found the net seven times in their last six away matches.However, the upturn in form coincided with the return of Manuel Lazzari from injury and the winger is now suspended for this game.SPAL have never won a Serie A match in Sardinia, managing just one draw from four attempts and scoring one goal in May 1967.Inter Milan vs AtalantaStadio Giuseppe Meazza, MilanSunay, 07-04-2019 @7pmIt’s third against fifth in a duel for Champions League football, but while Mauro Icardi is back for Inter, Atalanta lose Duvan Zapata.The Orobici destroyed Bologna 4-1, with all four of their goals scored in the opening 15 minutes, to move within a point of fourth-placed Milan. An Atalanta victory at San Siro would blow the entire race for the top four wide open, closing the gap from Inter in third to just two points.However, the situation has changed over the past three days. Icardi returned to the Inter squad with a bang for the first time since he was stripped of the captaincy and began a war of wills with the club on February 13. He made an immediate impact, earning and converting a penalty, getting Cristian Romero sent off and providing an assist to Ivan Perisic in the 4-0 triumph away to Genoa.On the other hand, Atalanta are losing their Capocannoniere candidate, because Duvan Zapata received a yellow card for handball and is suspended. The Colombian is no easy figure to replace, combining power and pace with a remarkable work-rate. Gian Piero Gasperini therefore might not even try with pacey Musa Barrow, instead using Papu Gomez and Josip Ilicic as interchangeable False 9 characters with support from Mario Pasalic. Rafael Toloi is still out injured in defence.Inter miss Lautaro Martinez, Stefan de Vrij and of course Sime Vrsaljko, but Radja Nainggolan got his first start in several weeks against Genoa and should again complete the supporting trident with Perisic and Matteo Politano. Roberto Gagliardini could face his old club, having bagged a rare brace midweek.Atalanta have lost their last four Serie A visits to Inter, scoring one goal and conceding 12.Lazio vs SassuoloStadio Olimpico, RomeSunday, 07-04-2019 @7pmLazio suffered a surprise setback with their late defeat to SPAL and need to get back on track, but Sassuolo seem to have found their way.The Aquile still have a game in hand to be played against Udinese, which in itself is a different prospect to the fixture when it was originally planned in February. They sit in sixth place, on a par with Roma and Torino, four points adrift of Milan and the Champions League spots.It had all been going so well with a victory away to Inter, but midweek a last-gasp Andrea Petagna penalty proved decisive to bring them back down to earth. That ended a run of 12 consecutive rounds on target for the Biancocelesti.Sassuolo had been sliding badly down the standings, but the confident dismantling of Chievo was their first victory since January 26. Defender Mehdi Demiral bagged a brace of headers, but Khouma Babacar again faces competition for a starting spot from Filip Djuricic.Lazio are likely to miss Stefan Radu again, with Felipe Caicedo the favourite rather than Joaquin Correa to support Ciro Immobile. Patric and Luiz Felipe are the two candidates to complete the defence with Bastos and former Sassuolo man Francesco Acerbi.Sassuolo managed one point from their last five Serie A meetings with Lazio, scoring four goals and conceding 14. The Neroverdi kept one clean sheet in 11 top flight encounters with Lazio, in February 2016.Napoli vs GenoaStadio San Paolo, NaplesSunday, 07-04-2019 @9:30pmNapoli and Genoa are both coming off disappointing defeats, with teams starting to breathe down their necks.The Partenopei’s trip to Empoli seemed, on paper, an easy win. Despite that, Carlo Ancelotti’s side seemed uninspired throughout the entire match and were unable to establish any sort of control.In addition to a lack of motivation, Napoli were hurt by uncharacteristically lacklustre performances from their key players. Kalidou Koulibaly, Jose Callejon and Arkadiusz Milik all struggled to find their footing during the match, with terrible decision making and simple errors. Credit goes to Empoli, though, as they put in an inspired performance to topple one of Serie A’s top clubs 2-1 and escape the bottom three.The Partenopei’s opponent this weekend isn’t heading into the match on a good note either. Genoa fell victim to Inter, and a returning Mauro Icardi, in a 4-0 defeat at home. Roberto Gagliardini’s goal put the Rossoblu in a bad spot early on, but it was Cristian Romero’s red card which led to Icardi’s penalty right before the half that signaled the end for Cesare Prandelli’s side.Simply put, Genoa were outplayed Wednesday. Stefano Sturaro and Christian Kouame were unable to get any momentum going for the home side, and it was Kouame’s miss on the former’s set-piece that could’ve shifted the momentum for the Grifone. Furthermore, Prandelli’s side failed to maintain any type of discipline at the back, opening them up to the likes of Ivan Perisic and Gagliardini.These two sides have an interesting relationship, with the fan bases of both teams taking a liking to each other after their mutual return to Serie A in 2007 established a friendship between the two.The last time Napoli and Genoa met at Marassi, torrential rain almost ended the match before the visitors snuck away with a 2-1 win. As well as better weather, Genoa will hope that the Napoli players continue to have their minds elsewhere, most notably their Europa League tie with Arsenal, so as to lead to another upset.However, it is unlikely Ancelotti will allow his team to put in a performance similar to the one against Empoli in front of the San Paolo faithful. Lorenzo Insigne, Raul Albiol, Amadou Diawara, Faouzi Ghoulam, Vlad Chiriches and David Ospina are still on the treatment table.Romero and Ervin Zukanovic are suspended for Genoa, so returning Domenico Criscito could step into central defence rather than his usual left-back role.Genoa have not beaten Napoli in Serie A since a 3-2 Marassi result in January 2012, managing three draws and 10 defeats, home and away. That includes four straight defeats. Their last win at the San Paolo was 1-0 in February 2009.Bologna vs Chievo VeronaStadio Renato dell’Ara, BolognaMonday, 08-04-2019 @9:30pmBologna slipped back into the bottom three and need a victory against doomed Chievo to stop momentum dissipating.Sinisa Mihajlovic’s men had won three on the bounce to climb out of the drop zone, but a crushing 4-1 defeat to Atalanta (where they were 4-0 down within 15 minutes) and Empoli’s victory over Napoli saw the tables turned again.Chievo, on the other hand, are staring relegation directly in the face. They have just one win all season, in late December when they beat fellow strugglers Frosinone 1-0 at home. Since that day, Chievo have picked up just three points, drawing with Empoli, Genoa and Atalanta.It seems as though Mihajlovic has targeted the tie with Chievo as a must-win. In Thursday’s match with Atalanta, the Bologna chief fielded largely reserves, far from the starting XI that rattled off three wins out of three. Expect to see the likes of Roberto Soriano, Rodrigo Palacio, Danilo and Blerim Dzemaili all make their returns to the pitch at the Dall’Ara.Federico Santander will also be vying for a spot from kick-off, as he comes back from several weeks out with a shoulder injury. Mattia Destro is out due to an injury he sustained while celebrating his goal against Sassuolo last week, joined by Federico Mattiello on the treatment table.Chievo are currently sitting on 11 points, and though not mathematically relegated, will surely be getting themselves ready for life in Serie B next season. Coach Domenico Di Carlo has a full squad available to him, with Fabio Depaoli returning from suspension. Depaoli may be the only bright spot for Chievo this season, with the young right-back looking like he has a very promising future.Di Carlo is also in a position to roll the dice on another upcoming youngster, Emanuel Vignato. The Italo-Brazilian came off the bench as a substitute against Sassuolo and looks like he could make an impact.If Bologna win this, it’ll be the first time they’ve managed three consecutive Serie A home victories since September 2016.Comments last_img read more