Sampdoria win the derby
A first-half goal by Maxi Lopez gave UC Sampdoria a 1-0 win over Genoa in their derby on Monday as they avenged their 3-0 drubbing by their old rivals earlier in the season. The former River Plate, Barcelona and AC Milan forward fired the winner midway through the first half after playing a one-two with Eder as Sampdoria continued to pull clear of the relegation zone. The fixture was moved to Monday evening after both Genoa and Sampdoria fans threatened to boycott the match in protest at the original Sunday midday kickoff time. The boycott was called last week by the hardcore “ultra” fans of both clubs. Sampdoria are 13th with 25 points, having won four and drawn four of 10 games since former Serbia coach Sinisa Mihajlovic took charge of the side in November last year. Genoa, who have also enjoyed a revival under Gian Piero Gasperini, are two points and two places above their rivals.
Lotito getting death threats
SS Lazio president Claudio Lotito has received more than 50 death threats since the club sold midfielder Hernanes to Inter at the end of last month’s transfer window, he said on Monday. “Yesterday, I received between 50 to 70 to 80 telephone calls from pseudo-fans, in which they asked me to leave Lazio and made death threats against me,” Lotito told reporters. “I live under escort. The supporters are part of the club, but now they have overstepped the mark.” Lotito was also reported to have received death threats in September last year after the club failed to sign Turkish forward Burak Yilmaz from Galatasaray.
Villarreal close on Bilbao
Villarreal sparked to life in the second half to beat CA Osasuna 3-1 on Monday, gaining ground on Athletic Bilbao in the chase for La Liga’s final UEFA Champions League place. Villarreal missed midfielders Bruno Soriano and Cani, and were held in check until just after the restart, when Jeremy Perbet redirected the ball into the net. The hosts went on to produce another impressive performance at El Madrigal and Manuel Trigueros doubled the lead from long range in the 55th minute. Perbet capped a slick team move with his second goal in the 70th minute as Villarreal moved to within three points of Bilbao in fourth. Oriol Riera scored a skillful goal in the 87th minute to give Osasuna some consolation and the visitors came close twice more before the final whistle.
Newcastle’s Kinnear quits
Joe Kinnear has stepped down from his position as Newcastle United director of football, the Premier League club announced late on Monday. The 67-year-old was appointed on a three-year contract in June last year and given responsibility for the club’s transfer activity, but he made only two loan signings — Loic Remy and Luuk de Jong — during his tenure. Newcastle’s fans were also angered by the club’s decision to sell star midfielder Yohan Cabaye to Paris Saint-Germain last week without bringing in a replacement. Kinnear previously spent five months as manager of the northeast club, before stepping down due to illness in 2009, and was an unpopular figure with a large body of Newcastle supporters. Newcastle lost 3-0 at home to derby rivals Sunderland on Saturday and are currently in eighth place in the Premier League table, having finished 16th last season.