Sousa’s woes continue
Embattled ACF Fiorentina coach Paulo Sousa’s woes continued after the misfiring Viola were held to a scoreless stalemate at home to Atalanta BC yesterday. Fiorentina were among the early season challengers to champions Juventus last season, but with only three points from their last four Serie A outings the Florence-based club are well below mid-table position. Fiorentina have a game in hand, but are in 13th spot, 12 points behind leaders and champions Juventus, who have a five-point lead on second-placed AS Roma. Injury to Slovenian international Josip Ilicic meant Sousa drafted in Khouma Babacar for a rare start at a sun-drenched Artemio Franchi stadium. However, despite creating a series of chances throughout, Nikola Kalinic notably coming closest for the hosts in both halves, the perfect playing conditions failed to inspire the hosts against a decidedly defensive Atalanta.
Messi scores on return
Lionel Messi scored within three minutes of returning to action for the first time in more than three weeks to help fire La Liga champions Barcelona to a resounding 4-0 home win over RC Deportivo de La Coruna on Saturday. Brazilian midfielder Rafinha put Barca ahead in the 21st minute with the help of lax goalkeeping from Deportivo’s German Lux and slid in the second in the 35th after the stopper failed to hold Gerard Pique’s header. Luis Suarez combined with Neymar to stretch Barca’s lead two minutes before the break and substitute Messi latched on to a through ball from the Brazilian to stroke the ball high into the net in the 58th.
Cavani steers PSG to win
Top scorer Edinson Cavani netted his ninth goal of the Ligue 1 season as Paris Saint-Germain geared up for next week’s Champions League match with a 2-1 win at bottom club AS Nancy-Lorraine on Saturday. PSG got off to a brilliant start before letting Nancy back into the contest. The French champions moved up to second with 19 points from nine matches, four behind leaders OGC Nice who beat Olympique Lyonnais 2-0 on Friday. They lead third-placed AS Monaco, who slumped to a 3-1 defeat at Toulouse on Friday, on goal difference. PSG went ahead in the 13th minute when forward Lucas scored with a long-range free-kick. It took the visitors five minutes to double the tally when Cavani intercepted a poor header toward Ndy Assembe and easily beat the keeper. Nancy’s Alou scored in the 55th minute with a header into the top corner from Benoit Pedretti’s free-kick.
Embolo breaks ankle
Schalke 04 are expected to be without teenage striker Breel Embolo for the rest of the year after the Swiss international broke his left ankle on Saturday. The 19-year-old was stretchered off after 25 minutes of Schalke’s 1-1 draw at Augsburg, which lifted them out of the Bundesliga’s relegation places into 15th. Embolo was taken to hospital where X-rays revealed the injury suffered in a clumsy tackle from Augsburg defender Konstantinos Stafylidis, who was booked. “We wish Breel Embolo all the best and a speedy recovery,” Augsburg coach Dirk Schuster said. “Stafylidis got himself into a stupid situation.” This is the latest blow to Schalke’s new head coach Markus Weinzierl, who set a new club record after they lost their first five games of the season. “Very unfortunate news. Breel Embolo will be out for some time with a broken ankle,” Schalke tweeted on the club’s official account.
‘CRIMINAL ACT’: The UCI said it ‘strongly condemns’ Dylan Groenewegen’s ‘dangerous behavior,’ which left Jakobsen in critical condition and injured other cyclists Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen was in a coma on Wednesday, in “serious” condition, after he was thrown into and over a barrier at 80kph in the conclusion to the opening stage of the Tour de Pologne. Footage showed 23-year-old Jakobsen, of the Deceuninck-Quick-Step, racing elbow-to-elbow with fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen of Jumbo-Visma as both men frantically tussled in a tight sprint to the line in Katowice. However, Jakobsen came off worst, somersaulting over the barriers before colliding with a photographer after Groenewegen had veered suddenly to the right, squeezing his rival into the security wall. “His condition is very serious. His life is
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational
STAYING COOL: Hamilton said that his ‘heart nearly stopped’ when he noticed the puncture, but he kept going to beat Alain Prost’s total of six home wins in France Lewis Hamilton said he feared he might not make it home when a last lap puncture almost derailed his charge to a record seventh British Grand Prix victory on Sunday. “I didn’t think I would make it round the last two corners,” the world champion said. The front left tire of his Mercedes had delaminated and deflated on his final lap, leaving the six-time world champion to nurse his vehicle to the finish as second-placed Max Verstappen hunted him down. “I just can’t believe it,” Hamilton said. “It was heart-stopping. I backed off and stayed chilled and was so glad it happened on