Romagnoli scores stunner
Alessio Romagnoli on Wednesday scored a spectacular goal as AC Milan beat Genoa 2-1 in Serie A action to move into the Champions League places. Romagnoli, a centerback, met a punched clearance from goalkeeper Andrei Radu with a lobbed volley from beyond the area. The winner made up for Romagnoli’s own-goal earlier, after Suso had given Milan an early lead. Milan moved level on points with fifth-placed SS Lazio, but ahead on goal-difference, ahead of the rest of the games in the round. It was the opportunity this season for Milan to take stock of their position after the Genoa game was postponed from August after 43 people died in the Morandi Bridge disaster. Suso opened the scoring with a blistering shot five minutes into the first half. The left-footed Spaniard has scored nine of his past 11 Serie A goals with shots from outside the area. After the break, Romagnoli’s deflection of a powerful shot from Christian Kouame ended up in his own goal.
COPA DEL REY
Real Madrid advance
Real Madrid on Wednesday began life without Julen Lopetegui with a comfortable win in the Copa del Rey, while Barcelona struggled to defeat a third-division opponent. Barcelona needed an injury-time goal to win 1-0 against Cultural y Deportiva Leonesa, while Madrid cruised to a 4-0 victory over third-tier UD Melilla in their first-leg, round-of-32 match. Interim coach Santiago Solari was on the bench as Madrid won with goals from Karim Benzema, Marco Asensio, Alvaro Odriozola and Cristo Gonzalez in a match played in the Spanish enclave in Africa. It was Madrid’s first game since Lopetegui was sacked on Monday, a day after the team were crushed 5-1 by Barcelona at the Camp Nou, their fifth loss in seven matches in all competitions. “I’m happy because the team worked hard and showed character,” Solari said. “The players showed they are fully committed.” Benzema scored his sixth goal of the season from close range after a low pass by Odriozola in the 28th minute and Asensio added to the lead with a one-timer from near the penalty spot after a nice touch by youngster Vinicius Jr on the final play of a rainy first half. Vinicius Jr helped set up Odriozola’s 79th-minute goal, his first with the club. Odriozola then made the cross for the injury-time goal by Gonzalez, also his first with the main squad.
National team bans Jang
Defender Jang Hyun-soo has received a lifetime ban from playing for the national team and fined 30 million won (US$26,448) after he was found to have falsified records relating to his military service exemption. All able-bodied South Korean men must complete almost two years of military service, but athletes can earn exemptions by winning a medal at the Olympics or gold at the Asian Games. As part of the exemption conditions, athletes must undergo four weeks of basic military training and undertake more than 500 hours of community service over a three-year period. Jang, who has 58 caps and was part of the team who won gold at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, admitted to submitting false records detailing how many hours of community service he performed. The Ministry of Sports also gave Jang an additional five days of compulsory service.
Kamaru Usman put on a Fight Island masterclass yesterday to retain his UFC welterweight world title by grinding down a brave Jorge Masvidal in Abu Dhabi. “I’m at the top of the mountain and everyone’s looking at me,” said the 33-year-old Usman after scoring a unanimous points decision 50-45, 50-45 and 49-46 on the three judges’ cards. The Nigerian-American Usman (17-1) looked the fresher fighter, with Masvidal (35-14) having taken the UFC251 headline bout at just six days’ notice when Brazil’s Gilbert Burns (19-3) tested positive for COVID-19 and was unable to travel. The Las Vegas-based UFC pulled off a power-packed schedule with
MONKEYS ALSO WIN: The Rakuten Monkeys kept the Brothers from the first-half title as they dominated the Uni-President Lions, scoring four in the fourth The CTBC Brothers still need another win to clinch the first-half CPBL title, despite thrashing the hapless Fubon Guardians 17-0 yesterday, after the Rakuten Monkeys beat the Uni-President Lions 9-2. Fans of CTBC Brothers were hoping to celebrate the first-half title, with a crowd of more than 10,000 packed into the Taichung Intercontinental Stadium for their home game against the Guardians. The figure was an attendance record for this year, when baseball and most other major sports events worldwide have been played in empty venues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Entering the game, CTBC had pushed their magic number down to 2, meaning
Thailand international Pitsamai Sornsai, a new arrival for Inter Taoyuan, is to lead her team against Taipei Bravo tomorrow in the 10th round of the Taiwan Mulan Football League. Sornsai, who is nicknamed Pui, has attracted interest from media and fans as the first foreigner signed to play in Taiwan’s women’s league. Inter are among six teams battling for the title this year. The addition of Sornsai is a boost for the international profile of women’s soccer in Taiwan and elevates the competition. The 31-year-old brings a wealth of experience, including from the Asian Football Confederation’s Women’s Championship, the Southeast Asian Games and
Preparing to complete a ninth Serie A campaign without winning the scudetto, AC Milan decided that returning to the pinnacle of club soccer required a new approach. Roc Nation, the entertainment agency of US rapper Jay-Z is at the center of it, linking up with Milan to scour the world for sponsors, and use concerts and other high-profile events to attract new fans. And who better to ask about how to end a title drought than the team who just won their league for the first time in 30 years? “We have been talking to Liverpool, because they’ve been through the same path