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Ibrahimovic Scores, Limps Off As AC Milan Stay Top In Serie A

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice to bring his tally to 10 league goals this season before limping off with a muscle strain as AC Milan stayed top in Serie A on Sunday with a 3 -1 win at 10 -man Napoli.
Milan move back two points ahead of Sassuolo — 2- 0 winners earlier at Hellas Verona — with 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 ,” said Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso of his former Milan teammate .
“ Milan strongly believes in Ibra, his teammates trust him 100 percent .
“ In my opinion, their team is not the strongest but they have the mentality.
“ We play well but lose as soon as it gets difficult. ”
Ibrahimovic continued his fine form , heading in a Theo Hernandez cross after 20 minutes , sending in the second with his knee nine minutes after the break .
But the 39 -year – old pulled up clutching his left hamstring and was substituted after 79 minutes.
The Swede has scored in all six games he has played this season, having missed two after contracting coronavirus.
Coach Stefano Pioli missed the trip south with Covid- 19 , but his side got their first league win in Naples since October 2010 , the season they last won the Scudetto , with Ibrahimovic also on the scoresheet that time .
Napoli played the final half an hour a man down after Tiemoue Bakayoko was sent off for two yellow cards , just after Dries Mertens had pulled a goal back for the hosts .
Norwegian Jens Petter Hauge completed the scoring five minutes into injury time , the 21 – year -old getting his first Serie A goal .
Champions Juventus are fourth — four points off top spot — after winning 2 -0 at Cagliari on Saturday .
Last season’ s runners -up Inter Milan are just behind in fifth , after a Romelu Lukaku double inspired a 4 -2 comeback win over Torino , with Napoli dropping from third to sixth — six points off top spot .
– Inter ‘lack ferocity ’ –
In Milan , Torino got off to a strong start despite playing without top striker Andrea Belotti who pulled up during the warm – up .
Simone Zaza took the skipper ’ s place and scored the opener just before the break with Cristian Ansaldi adding a second from the penalty spot after an hour .
Inter reacted in the 64 th minute , with Alexis Sanchez bundling the ball in after Lukaku ’ s initial effort was tipped onto the crossbar , before the Chilean set up his fellow former Manchester United forward for the equaliser three minutes later .
Lukaku pulled Inter ahead from the penalty spot six minutes from time and then provided the cross for substitute Lautaro Martinez to score the fourth on 90 minutes.
“ I didn’t like what I saw ,” said Inter coach Antonio Conte three days before his side host Real Madrid in the Champions League.
“ We lack the ferocity of last season.
“ But we showed character as being 2 -0 down could have destroyed us. ”
Torino drop into the relegation zone after their fifth defeat .
In Verona , Sassuolo continued their impressive run thanks to goals in either half from Jeremie Boga and Domenico Berardi .
The side from Emilia Romagna are unbeaten this season and are the joint top scorers with 20 goals .
Roma meanwhile stretched their unbeaten run in all competitions to 10 matches , cementing victory with three first- half goals .
Borja Mayoral got his first Serie A goal just before the half -hour mark, with Mkhitaryan adding two more before the break to bring his tally to five in two games after scoring a hat -trick last time out against Genoa .
In Tuscany , Cesare Prandelli had a nightmare start as coach of struggling Fiorentina with a 1 -0 home defeat by Benevento .
Former Italy coach Prandelli returned to the ‘ Viola ’ a decade after leaving for the Azzurri job in 2010 , but the team fell to their fourth defeat.
To add to Prandelli ’s woes, French midfielder Franck Ribery went off injured .
“ The fragility worries me most , ” said Prandelli .
“ Perhaps the team succumbed to their fears and negative thoughts when Franck came off .”
Riccardo Improta scored his first Serie A goal for Benevento on 52 minutes , slotting in a Gabriele Moncini cross after a Cristiano Biraghi defensive error.
Fiorentina slip to 15 th in the Serie A table , just behind Benevento.
(AFP)

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Tottenham Appoint Conte As Manager — Hours After Sacking Nuno

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Tottenham Hotspur have announced Antonio Conte as their new manager — less than 24 hours after the sacking of Nuno Espirito Santo.

The club announced Conte’s appointment in a statement released on its official website on Tuesday.

The Italian, who had been out of work since he parted ways with Inter Milan in the summer, is now back in the English Premier League (EPL) to take over the reins at the White Hart Lane.

The statement revealed that Conte, who won the EPL with Chelsea in 2017, had penned a deal that will see him lead Spurs till 2023.

“We are delighted to announce the appointment of Antonio Conte as our Head Coach on a contract until the summer of 2023, with an option to extend,” the statement read.

“Antonio has won titles in Serie A, including a hat-trick of Scudettos with Juventus, the Premier League and also managed Italy, leading the Azzurri to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016.

“Born in Lecce, Antonio began his playing career at his hometown team (1985-1991) before achieving legendary status at Juventus (1991-2004). A midfielder, he won five Scudettos with La Vecchia Signora, the UEFA Cup in 1993 and the Champions League in 1996. He earned 20 caps for Italy and was part of squads that achieved runners-up status in the 1994 World Cup and Euro 2000.

“Antonio began his coaching career as an assistant in Siena in 2005 and had spells at Arezzo, Bari – where he won Serie B – and Atalanta before returning to Juventus in 2011. He won the title in his first season, 2011/12, completing the campaign unbeaten and equalling a club-record 28-match unbeaten run set by Fabio Capello. He completed a hat-trick of titles with success in 2012/13 and 2013/14 when Juve amassed a Serie A record of 102 points.

“Antonio took charge of the Italian national team in 2014 and led them to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016, topping their group and beating Belgium and Spain along the way.”

Conte won Serie A with Inter Milan last season before departing, reportedly due to issues with the club’s hierarchy.

“I am extremely happy to return to coaching, and to do so at a Premier League club that has the ambition to be a protagonist again,” Conte said.

“Tottenham Hotspur has state-of-the-art facilities and one of the best stadiums in the world.

“I can’t wait to start working to convey to the team and the fans the passion, mentality and determination that have always distinguished me, as a player and as a coach.

“Last summer our union did not happen because the end of my relationship with Inter was still too recent and emotionally too involved with the end of the season, so I felt that it wasn’t yet the right time to return to coaching. But the contagious enthusiasm and determination of Daniel Levy in wanting to entrust me with this task had already hit the mark. Now that the opportunity has returned, I have chosen to take it with great conviction.”

Nuno was sacked by Tottenham on Monday after failing to produce the type of football that births convincing results.

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World Cup Qualifiers: Ighalo Makes Rohr’s Final List Amid Criticism

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Gernot Rohr has included Odion Ighalo in the Super Eagles final squad list for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Liberia and Cape Verde later this month.

Ighalo had announced his retirement in 2019, shortly after picking up the golden boot at the AFCON in Egypt.

But last week, Rohr had revealed that he included the 32-year-old in the Eagles provisional squad for the next World Cup qualification fixtures.

The revelation has spurred an avalanche of criticism among fans and former Nigerian footballers.

Mutiu Adepoju, former Super Eagles forward, said the Franco-German has no reason to recall Ighalo back to the team as other young strikers have stepped up since his retirement.

“I like Ighalo as a player and he is a very good striker. He retired from the Super Eagles about two years ago and I believe we presently have strikers that are good enough in the team,” he had said.

“If we have players! Who are doing very well and scoring goals in their clubs, do we still have to recall Ighalo? It’s just my opinion.”

Despite the backlash, Ighalo has been named in the final Eagles squad list, which was released in a statement on Monday.

Wilfred Ndidi and Alex Iwobi will also be returning after being sidelined from the last two matches of the qualifiers with injuries.

Samuel Chhukwueze was handed his first Eagles call-up since May when he damaged his knee in Villareal’s Europa League game to Arsenal at the Emirates.

Super Eagles will face Liberia on November 13 before hosting Cape Verde three days later as they push to book a place in the final round of qualifiers for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

FULL LIST:

Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (AC Omonia, Cyprus); Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa); Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

Defenders: Chidozie Awaziem (Alanyaspor FC, Turkey); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Leon Balogun (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); William Ekong (Watford FC, England); Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Jamilu Collins (SC Paderborn 07, Germany); Abdullahi Shehu (AC Omonia, Cyprus); Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto, Portugal); Kevin Akpoguma (TSG Hoffenheim, Germany)

Midfielders: Frank Onyeka (Brentford FC, England); Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Fatih Karagumruk, Turkey); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain); Victor Osimhen (Napoli FC, Italy); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Paul Onuachu (KRC Genk, Belgium); Chidera Ejuke (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Odion Jude Ighalo (Al-Shabab Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)

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Iheanacho Shines As Leicester Beats Spartak Moscow 4-3

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Patson Daka scored four goals as Leicester revived their Europa League campaign by fighting back from two goals down to beat Spartak Moscow 4-3 in the Russian capital on Wednesday.

Zambia striker Daka, a close-season signing from Salzburg, became only the fifth player to score four goals in a Europa League game since the competition was rebranded from the UEFA Cup, and the first since Willian Jose for Real Sociedad in 2017.

Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester moved up to second place in Group C behind leaders Legia Warsaw, a point above third-placed Spartak.

“It’s been an amazing few days for me and the team,” Daka told BT Sport. “It was a very good effort from the team. I’m just happy I was able to help the team.”

Goals from Aleksandr Sobolev and Jordan Larsson put Spartak in control, but Daka netted his first European goal for the visitors just before half-time.

Less than three minutes after the break, Kelechi Iheanacho claimed his second assist, crossing low for Daka to tap in from close range.

Leicester, and Daka, made it three goals in the space of nine minutes when the 23-year-old slid the ball under home goalkeeper Aleksandr Maksimenko.

He completed his four-goal haul with 12 minutes remaining by picking out the corner of the net after collecting James Maddison’s pass.

That goal made Daka, who also netted in Leicester’s 4-2 win over Manchester United on Saturday, the Foxes’ all-time joint-top scorer in Europe.

Sobolev gave Spartak hope in the 86th minute, but Leicester held on.

AFP

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