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.
Red Bull team chief Christian Horner has welcomed Ferrari’s U-turn to support a Formula One engine freeze from 2022. The move gives Red Bull a chance to continue using Honda power after the Japanese supplier exits next year. Speaking ahead of yesterday’s final practice for today’s Bahrain Grand Prix, Horner said that Ferrari’s decision was encouraging for F1 and everyone involved in the business end of the sport. “It’s positive news,” he said. “I think all the manufacturers, all the CEOs of the automotive industry, they all recognize the investment and cost of these engines, particularly with the new technology coming for 2026,
An influx of soccer players to India from Australia has highlighted changing fortunes as the Indian Super League (ISL) flourishes and the A-League hits lean times during the COVID-19 pandemic. Just two Australians played in the Indian Super League last year, but 10 were among the 11 teams when the competition got under way in a bio-secure “bubble” in Goa last week. Non-Australian A-League players have also made the move, including English striker Adam Le Fondre — last season’s second-highest goal-scorer with Sydney FC — along with German defender Matti Steinman and Aaron Holloway of Wales. Much of the change is down to
‘YOU’RE CHAMPIONS’: Pope Francis told the NBA delegation that they had become models of teamwork, while remaining humble and preserving their own humanity Pope Francis on Monday met with NBA players at the Vatican, lauding them as “champions” and saying he supported their work on social justice. The five players — Marco Belinelli, Sterling Brown, Jonathan Isaac, Kyle Korver and Anthony Tolliver — were joined in the delegation by National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts and two other union executives, Sherrie Deans and Matteo Zuretti. “We’re here because, frankly, we’re inspired by the work that you do globally,” Roberts told the pope during the meeting in the Vatican Apostolic Library. The union said that the players spoke about their “individual and collective efforts addressing
Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Sunday scored twice to bring his tally to 10 league goals this season before limping off with a muscle strain as AC Milan stayed top of Serie A with a 3-1 win at 10-man SSC Napoli. Milan move back two points ahead of US Sassuolo — 2-0 winners earlier at Hellas Verona — with AS Roma third after Henrikh Mkhitaryan netted a brace in a dominant 3-0 win over Parma. “For me Zlatan is stronger now than 10, 12 years ago,” Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso said of his former Milan teammate. “Milan strongly believes in Ibra, his teammates trust