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5 talking points as Napoli seal win in Coppa Italia semifinals first-leg against Inter Milan

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Coppa Italia is the biggest cup competition in Italy which is now edging towards the final stages. In the first leg of the first semi-final of the mega-event, it was a rather surprising result where Napoli got the better of favourites Inter Milan with a 1-0 scoreline, that too while playing at the San Siro.

Here we are bringing you five talking points which we gathered from an intense battle where it was the home side who were on the receiving end.

Fabian Ruiz—the special one

Fabian Ruiz is a special player who has many admirers in the world of football and on Wednesday, he just reminded everyone of his qualities once again. The Spain international scored a winner in the 57th minute out of nothing, that too with a strike with his weakest left-foot which ended in the top corner and gave Inter’s goalkeeper Daniele Padelli absolutely no chance. That individual display of brilliance is a testament that the 23-year-old is amongst the best young midfielders in the world and there should be no surprise to see the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona or Manchester City making a move for the former Real Betis midfielder in the upcoming transfer window.

Inter’s big night syndrome

Another big night, another failure for Inter is the story which should concern manager Antonio Conte going in the final part of the season. The Milan-based club suffered another heartbreaking defeat on their home ground—just like they did in the match against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League. That night, Inter just needed to match Borussia Dortmund’s result against a weakened Barcelona side but they couldn’t and on Wednesday, the Milan-based outfit followed the same pattern once again as they lost against a team while playing at home who were coming in the match on the back of suffering a home defeat against Lecce which was their fifth in last 10 matches.

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Lifeline for Gennaro Gattuso

Gennaro Gattuso’s career with Napoli started on a very uneasy note and it will be an understatement to say that if there was one man who wanted a win on Wednesday at any cost, it was surely him. Ever since taking charge of the Naples-based club on December 11 in place of Carlo Ancelotti, Gattuso’s men suffered five defeats in just 10 outings before yesterday’s win—a record which is surely not good enough to keep the job at a big club like Napoli. However, an away win against a team who is competing for the league title can very well prove to be a lifeline the 42-year-old was looking for as he is already fighting to keep his new job just months after starting it.

Serie A or nothing for Inter

When the season started, Inter’s manager Conte—just like any other manager—had the vision to have a longer run in the Champions League and compete for the league title. Coming to the very end of the season, it seems like it is either Serie A or nothing for the Milan-based outfit, especially after suffering defeat in the first leg of the Coppa Italia semifinals on Wednesday. Even though the Nerazzurri are still present in the UEFA Europa League but it was reported in the Italian media that the club are not eager to go all the way in the second-tier club competition in Europe as their priority is now more focused towards other projects. Therefore, going into the last 15 matchdays in the Serie A, there will be extreme pressure on Conte and his men as they just cannot afford to falter on another front.

READ   Antonio Conte laments gifted goals as 'scared' Inter fall to Scudetto rivals Lazio

There is life without Koulibaly for Napoli

Kalidou Koulibaly is perhaps the most famous Napoli player from the current squad and for many, he is simply irreplaceable at the club. However, on Wednesday, Napoli produced a pretty decent defensive performance in the match against Inter without the Senegal international and managed to keep a clean sheet. There were reports in the media recently that Napoli are looking to sell the 28-year-old in the summer and the performance in the Coppa Italia semifinals will give some hope for the Napoli fans that there can be a decent life after the departure of their prized asset.

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Serie A

Lazio’s Ciro Immobile set to join an exclusive club as the highest-scoring player in Europe this season

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Ciro Immobile

In a decade dominated by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the underrated Italian is near assured of winning the European Golden Shoe for the continent’s top scorer.

From Messi, to Ronaldo, Mohamed Salah, Robert Lewandowski and Erling Braut Haaland, nobody in Europe has managed to keep pace with the Naples-born player.

Immobile overtook Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski with his 35th goal against Brescia midweek, and will close his campaign against Napoli on Saturday.

Juventus star Ronaldo, on 31 goals, is four behind before the Serie A champions’ final game against Roma in Turin, in which he may not even play with the Champions League looming.

It would not be the first time that 30-year-old Immobile has topped the Serie A goal-scoring charts, having won the ‘Capocannoniere’ twice before in 2014 and 2018.

But he would become just the third Italian winner of the European Golden Shoe after Roma’s Francesco Totti (26) in 2007 and Luca Toni for Fiorentina in 2006 (31).

READ   Gennaro Gattuso: Kalidou Koulibaly a doubt for Barcelona

Another two goals on Saturday would also see him surpass Gonzalo Higuain’s Serie A record of 36 goals, set playing for Napoli in the 2015-16 season.

“I am only sorry that I cannot celebrate these numbers with the fans,” said Immobile, nicknamed ‘King Ciro’ in the capital, but whose career before arriving in Rome had been erratic.

Success has not followed onto the national team, where he has scored ten goals in 39 games, taking the brunt of criticism after Italy failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Immobile started his career at Juventus, where he made just three appearances before a breakthrough loan season in 2011-2012 at Pescara where his 28 goals lifted the Serie B side into the top flight.

 

Source: BeSoccer

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Juventus ‘Irritated’ By Maurizio Sarri After He Refused To Stop Smoking Even While Struggling With Pneumonia

Jack Kenmare in FootballLast updated 8:37 AM, Thursday August 29 2019 GMT+1Serie A champions Juventus are reportedly ‘irritated’ by manager Maurizio Sarri after he ‘refused to stop smoking’ despite being diagnosed with Pneumonia. The 60-year-old, who averages around four packs of cigarettes a day, missed the club’s first league game of the season against Parma on Saturday…

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Juventus ‘Irritated’ By Maurizio Sarri After He Refused To Stop Smoking Even While Struggling With Pneumonia

Serie A champions Juventus are reportedly ‘irritated’ by manager Maurizio Sarri after he ‘refused to stop smoking’ despite being diagnosed with Pneumonia.

The 60-year-old, who averages around four packs of cigarettes a day, missed the club’s first league game of the season against Parma on Saturday after club doctor’s advised him to take a rest.Sarri’s condition has improved ‘sufficiently’ in recent days but Juventus are still concerned about their manager’s smoking habits.

In fact, it is believed that they are ‘irritated’ and would prefer him to stop while being treated for the infection, according to news agency Ansa via Football Italia.Sarri was pictured holding a pack of cigarettes while outside his home this week, which prompted the Italian side to be displeased with the former Chelsea boss. So how many does Sarri really smoke on a daily basis?

According to reports, the Italian gets through 80 cigarettes a day. That means if he’s awake for 16 hours then Sarri will smoke five an hour. That is a cigarette every 12 minutes.The guys over at Dream Team worked out that if a pack costs £11.50, then the Chelsea manager smokes £46 of his salary every day, which works out at a hefty £1,400 every month.

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But back in June this year, the Italian confessed to smoking 60 a day and admitted his habit is getting out of control. “I smoke 60 a day, which is probably a few too many,” he revealed to La Nuova Riviera via Football Italia.”I don’t particularly feel the need to smoke during games, but straight afterwards it really is necessary,” he added. “I had back problems tormenting me for weeks, but I feel much better now.”After signing a three-year deal at Juventus, the 60-year-old accepts that he’ll have to win over some fans considering his ties with Napoli.”I arrive with scepticism, just as I did with all my other clubs,” he said at his unveiling.”I understand that, but I know only one way to change that and that is to win and convince while entertaining and getting results.”For three years [at Napoli] I would wake up and think about how to defeat Juventus, because they were a winning team. I gave 110%, but we still couldn’t do it. I will now give everything for this club.

READ   Gennaro Gattuso: Kalidou Koulibaly a doubt for Barcelona

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The Championship Can Resume On June 20 – Italian Sport Minister

The green light has been given for Italy’s Serie A football championship to begin on June 20.

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The Italian Minsiter of sports on Thursday May 28 said, the government’s Technical and Scientific Committee (CTS) had agreed to the health protocol proposed by Italian football chiefs.

“Italy has started to return to normal life again, it is only right that football should do the same. The federation assured me that it had a Plan B and a Plan C. In light of these considerations, the championship can resume on June 20,” Spadafora said.

He added that, “The CTS agreed with the medical protocol, but confirmed the absolute necessity for a quarantine period if a player were to test positive.”

In a video conference, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) President Gabriele Gravina said, there would be a play-off system if the championship were again interrupted, while the existing standings would be used if it were stopped.
I’m happy and satisfied. The restart of football represents a message of hope for the whole country,” Gravina said.
Being one of the hardest hit countries by the coronavirus pandemic with over 33,000 deaths, Italy begun to ease restrictions. No top-flight matches in Italy have been played since Sassuolo beat Brescia 3-0 on March 9. Italian football now faces a scheduling nightmare, for matches, which will take place behind closed doors.

READ   Juventus Meet Reds Officials to Discuss Potential Deal for Soon-to-Be Out of Contract Star Emre Can

Italians clubs on Friday May 29 meet to examine the possibility of playing the remaining Serie A and Italian Cup matches, amounting to some 127 in total. Most teams have 12 league games left to play, but there were four postponed fixtures.

By Etienne Mainimo

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