Atalanta achieve incredible goalscoring feat with Zapata goal against Juventus

By Sports Desk July 11, 2020

Duvan Zapata's opener for Atalanta against Juventus on Saturday saw Gian Piero Gasperini's side achieve a feat not witnessed in Serie A for 68 years.

Colombia international Zapata drilled home a clever pass from Alejandro Gomez to score his 15th league goal of the season in the 16th minute at the Allianz Stadium.

It meant Atalanta became the first team with three players to score at least 15 goals in the same Serie A campaign since Ermes Muccinelli, Giampiero Boniperti and John Hansen for Juventus in 1951-52.

Josip Ilicic was already on 15 when Zapata struck, while Luis Muriel was on 17.

Atalanta have now scored in 20 successive Serie A matches – their best run in the competition since netting in 23 consecutively in 1955-56.

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    The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has welcomed the Jamaican government’s decision to grant approval for the resumption of Jamaica’s Premier League after more than a year of inactivity because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Football was suspended in March 2020 after the virus began to spread across the country.

    However, after months of meetings and deliberations, the decision to allow for the resumption of football was announced today by Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Desmond McKenzie following a meeting between representatives of the Ministries of Health and Wellness, and Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Premier League Clubs Association, the Jamaica Football Federation, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management and the Social Development Commission.

    “We have been meeting for some time to ensure that all possible mechanisms concerning the efficient prevention and management of COVID-19 are applied to all aspects of Club competition, including the health and safety of players, referees and Club workers and administrators. Further details regarding the starting times and the conditions under which the competitions will be held, will be disclosed at a later date,” Minister McKenzie said.

    “Even as the management of COVID-19 remains paramount, the Government is keen for sport to resume in a phased, orderly manner, consistent with the continued reduction in the country’s positivity rate. The impact of sport on social well-being and social development is well recognized, and the Government will support all efforts to promote the enjoyment of sport in the safest way possible. In this regard, the Government is actively considering applications from a range of sporting associations.”

    JFF President Michael Ricketts welcomed the news.

    “This is very positive news for the stakeholders of football,” Ricketts said in a statement late Wednesday.

    “Of course, my first thoughts are with our players and coaches who will now have opportunities open to them to resume the trade that they so love. I also want to commend and thank the partners who have invested, for their patience and loyalty to the sport.

    “Finally, thanks to the ministries and state agencies for the work done to get us here. While I am sure the players are overjoyed with the news, I implore them to be constantly mindful of the current local health conditions and act responsibly. While we play, let’s play our part in containing this pandemic. Let the games begin.”

    The approval was given for the format that allows clubs to train at their home grounds with the official matches to be held at central venues. Most recently, the PFJL had developed a protocol for the official matches to be held in a controlled environment based on the significant upsurge in the number of COVID-19 cases in Jamaica starting in February. However, with the success of the most recent measures that have cut back the number of new cases, all parties were satisfied that the previous model would align with the current measures.

    There is also greater confidence with the start of national vaccination efforts.

    The JFF will now work to finalize the design of the format for the official matches following the delay in receiving approval and the resulting shortened season. The JFF will also have to integrate the Jamaica Premier League matches with those on the national and regional calendars as both the Gold Cup and World Cup Qualifiers are being held in the coming months.

    Details of the start, duration and league format will be shared in the coming days.

    Like most sporting events globally, the Jamaica Premier League will be held without spectators in order to contribute to the nation’s efforts to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. However, fans will be able to enjoy the matches as the PFJL has secured a broadcast partner for the Caribbean who will be responsible for identifying television broadcasters for Jamaica and the region.

    Acting General Manager of the PFJL, Arlene L. Martin was very pleased with the go-ahead.

     “The PFJL appreciates the government’s recognition of the importance of the resumption of professional football as well as the confidence in the approved protocol and the ability to comply with these measures. The PFJL has worked with our national and regional stakeholders to develop a thorough protocol that we are confident will support and even enhance the government’s efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to an exciting season with the Clubs and our commercial partners and to delivering quality football to our fans.”

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    The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has cautioned any players, officials or referees who take part in an illegally organised youth competition that they could face possible sanctions.

    A fixture list for a competition, which features several youth academy teams, that was scheduled to take place from May 1 to June 13, has come to light in recent days.  The teams listed on the flyer included Phoenix Academy, Kickers Academy, Baptist Alliance Academy, Pembroke Elite, Irvin Youth Academy, Aptitude Academy, and LAX.

    The competition venue listed was the Mona High school, which is the training base of Phoenix Academy.  The JFF, who is the only body capable of sanctioning official club competitions across the island, has made it clear it has given no permission for the event to be staged and demanded its immediate termination.

    The JFF themselves have not received permission to resume competition on the island by the Jamaican government, based on the existing COVID-19 protocols.

    “No permission has been granted for any tournament to go ahead, and all players, coaches and other individuals associated with any tournament do so illegally under the country’s disaster preparedness laws,” a release issued by the JFF read.

    “The JFF is therefore mandating all concerned with any tournament, youth or adult, to cease and desist all activities. Anybody found to be involved in any new activity will face the full force of the laws of the federation and will be reported to the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management for their attention.”

  • Mourinho will do a great job at Roma, says departing boss Fonseca Mourinho will do a great job at Roma, says departing boss Fonseca

    Jose Mourinho has been backed to do a great job at Roma by Paulo Fonseca, the man he will be replacing at the Serie A club.

    Roma announced on Tuesday that Fonseca will step down from his role at the end of the season to make way for the arrival of Mourinho.

    It marks a swift return to management for the Portuguese, who was sacked by Tottenham on April 19 after a disappointing 17 months in charge. He left Spurs with a 51 per cent win ratio in all competitions - only with Leiria (45 per cent) at the start of his managerial career had he posted a worse return.

    However, Mourinho won two league titles, the Coppa Italia twice and a Champions League during his only previous spell in Italian football, which was with Inter between 2008 and 2010.

    Fonseca expects his successor to do well during his time in the Italian capital.

    "He is a great coach, we all know that. I think he will do a great job," Fonseca said at a news conference on Wednesday previewing his side's Europa League clash with Manchester United.

    Asked if the decision to step down at the end of the season was mutual, Fonseca replied: "Speaking honestly, I thought it was time to follow different paths with Roma.

    "It is not one of the most difficult tests of my career, I live this moment with normality, as a professional focused on my work until the last day.

    "For me, professionalism is a sacred value. I am here today as on the first day: motivated. I want to make the best of Rome until the last day."

    Fonseca guided Roma to a fifth-placed finish in the 2019-20 season but they sit seventh this campaign, 14 points adrift of the Champions League qualification places.

    An impressive run to the Europa League semi-finals appears likely to come to an end on Thursday, however, as United lead 6-2 heading into the second leg in Rome.

    Yet Roma famously overturned a 4-1 first-leg deficit to knock Barcelona out of the Champions League quarter-finals in 2018 and Fonseca is not ruling out another miracle result.

    "It's not easy to beat Manchester 4-0, but I've seen a lot of things in football. I believe in everything," he said.

    Roma have not lost both legs of a two-legged knockout tie in major European competition (excluding qualifiers) since the 2015-16 Champions League last-16 meeting with Real Madrid.

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