Inter 3-1 Roma: Serie A champions stretch winning home run

By Sports Desk May 12, 2021

Serie A champions Inter saw off Roma 3-1 at San Siro on Wednesday to stretch their club-record winning home league run to 15 matches.

Antonio Conte's men had failed to beat Roma on home soil in the league since 2015, but they raced into a two-goal lead in this latest clash inside the opening 20 minutes.

Midfield pair Marcelo Brozovic and Matias Vecino both scored from clinical finishes before Henrikh Mkhitaryan pulled one back just after the half-hour mark.

Edin Dzeko hit the crossbar in the second half but Inter, who were crowned champions with four games remaining, rounded out the win through Romelu Lukaku late on to extend their unbeaten league run to 20 matches.

With the Scudetto already sealed, Conte continued with his rotation policy and two of Inter's recalled players linked up for the opener with 11 minutes played.

Matteo Darmian pulled the ball back from the byline and Brozovic fired a first-time finish away from Daniel Fuzato.

The Nerazzurri did not take long to double their lead through a well-taken Vecino strike following some good play from Lukaku to chase down a pass and wait for support.

Roma put five unanswered goals past bottom side Crotone on Sunday and they were back in this game thanks to Mkhitaryan's curled finish away from Ionut Radu.

The visitors almost levelled up 11 minutes into the second half when Dzeko turned in the box and arrowed a shot against the frame of the goal.

Bryan Cristante headed wide from a glorious position and Mkhitaryan volleyed another chance into the hands of Radu, but Lukaku sealed the points for Inter with a last-minute tap-in after being unselfishly teed up by substitute Achraf Hakimi on the counter.

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    Kasper Hjulmand said Denmark after thinking about Christian Eriksen "all the way" as the head coach revelled in the nation's magical night at Euro 2020.

    Denmark remarkably booked their place in the last 16 of Euro 2020 with a stirring 4-1 win over Russia in Copenhagen on Monday, setting up a showdown against Wales.

    After losing 1-0 to Finland – a game overshadowed by the cardiac arrest suffered by star midfielder Eriksen – and 2-1 to star-studded Belgium, Denmark's hopes of making the knockout stages were slim before the clash at the Parken Stadium. 

    But Denmark produced a devastating performance to open their account at Euro 2020 and seal second spot in Group B thanks to goals from Mikkel Damsgaard, Yussuf Poulsen, Andreas Christensen and Joakim Maehle.

    Denmark became the first team in European Championship history to reach the knockout stages of the competition having lost their first two group-stage games, while it also marked the first time Denmark had scored four goals in a major tournament game since a 4-1 victory over Nigeria at the 1998 World Cup.

    "What a night. We hoped that it would be a magic night at Parken," Hjulmand told reporters. "I want to start by saying thank you to all the people who have been supporting us and have shown so much love.

    "I don't think it would have been possible without all the support. I could feel that it really affected the players, so thank you so much for all the support. It means the world to us.

    "The motivation, the team spirit and the friendship among the players were amazing. We played three games at a very high level, and if anyone deserves this, it's our players. I can't imagine how they managed to come back from what they went through, so a big credit to the boys. Thanks a lot for the support we've got from the whole of Denmark.

    "I think it helps the team and hopefully it gives the country some good moments. It's something we all love, so thank you and a huge congratulations to the boys. It's really awesome."

    Hjulmand added: "I have to say that the team spirit we have, and how everyone contributes, is amazing. And then mixing it up with amazing performances is just fantastic.

    "AC [Andreas Christensen] is one of the best defenders out there. He has everything that a player needs. Joakim [Maehle], I don't know if he is still running out there. He just runs. He's very, very strong. He runs a lot. I don't know what he's taking, but he runs a lot. He manages the left side, but that's of course with more players. That's part of the team spirit, and people who didn't get to play today, I respect them a lot. I respect the people who did contribute on the pitch, the technical staff.

    "It's hard to describe what this team has been through in the past four weeks. We're thinking about Christian [Eriksen] all the way, and Wales are a very tough opponent. They came very far last time. They have really great players, so I think it's going to a very equal game. They're very flexible, they change their strategies and their positions, so it's going to be hard to know what to expect from that time.

    "It's just like with ourselves. We started a little weakly, but we moved AC and changed a few positions, and that's what Wales do a lot. It's going to be a very interesting and equal game."

    Russia boss Stanislav Cherchesov said: "I thanked the guys for what they've done. They were up for this game but it just didn't go our way. We could have taken our chances in the first half but didn't, then conceded a goal from a half-chance and couldn't get back in the game. We have to think about all of this and move forward."

  • 76ers have plan to help beleaguered Simmons amid trade talk – Rivers 76ers have plan to help beleaguered Simmons amid trade talk – Rivers

    Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers said the franchise have a plan to address Ben Simmons' shooting woes as speculation over the embattled All-Star's future intensifies.

    Simmons was subjected to boos after the top-seeded 76ers crashed out of the NBA playoffs in the Eastern Conference semi-finals following a shock 103-96 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Game 7 on Sunday.

    Philadelphia fans vented their frustration after Simmons attempted just four shots for five points in the series decider, while tallying 13 assists and eight rebounds against the fifth-seeded Hawks.

    Simmons also passed on a wide-open dunk during the closing stages against the Hawks, instead passing to Matisse Thybulle – who was fouled and made just one of the two free throws.

    Amid trade rumours after Simmons was reportedly at the centre of Philadelphia's attempts to acquire James Harden in January before the former MVP was dealt to the Brooklyn Nets by the Houston Rockets, Rivers discussed the Australian.

    "I believe, without going into detail with what we're doing, I believe we know what the right work is, and the right type of work, and the right way to do it," Rivers told reporters on Monday when asked why this offseason will be different for Simmons.

    "You can do the work all the time. But if it's not done in the right way and the right type of work, you may not improve.

    "After being here for a year, I really do believe we've identified what and how, and now we have to do the do part.

    "We have to work to do it. It's not going to be an easy job. But it's definitely a job that Ben can do."

    It comes after Rivers casted doubt over Simmons' future with the 76ers following another failed run at a first NBA championship since 1983.

    The debate around Simmons – an elite defender and creator – centres on his offense or lack thereof, with the 76ers often handicapped by his unwillingness to shoot.

    Simmons' field-goal percentage has regressed, dropping from 58.0 in 2019-20 to 55.7 this season – he only managed worse in his 2017-18 rookie campaign (54.5).

    The 24-year-old only averaged 10.1 field-goal attempts in 2020-21 – a career low, which dropped to 7.9 in the playoffs. It is the same story with his scoring as it dropped to a career low 14.3 points per game and 11.9 in the postseason – both career lows.

    Asked if he thought Simmons could be a guard on a championship team, Rivers told reporters post-game: "I don't know the answer to that right now.

    "I don't know. He struggled from the free throw line and that became a factor in the series. There's no doubt about that. Still believe in him.

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  • Uruguay end drought but can't burst Chile's bubble Uruguay end drought but can't burst Chile's bubble

    For a period in the build-up to the 1-1 draw between Uruguay and Chile, it was anyone's guess as to whether the game would go ahead or not, with the Chilean ranks appearing to be in chaos.

    While the Football Federation of Chile (FFC) accepted a group of unnamed players had broken its COVID-secure bubble by bringing a barber into the team hotel, further allegations refused to go away.

    Media reports claimed there was a second breach that revolved around several women being brought into accommodation, and head coach Martin Lasarte was apparently considering resigning over the matter.

    It didn't stop there. The Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) is said to have asked CONMEBOL to check security footage from the hotel to see if there was only the one breach, seemingly in the hope of being awarded the three points in the event of major sanctions.

    As it was, three of the Chile players allegedly involved were named in the starting XI in Cuiaba, and perhaps it was predictable – in more than one sense – that one of them put La Roja in front.

    Eduardo Vargas latched on to Ben Brereton's clever first-touch offload and burst into the right side of the penalty area. Having noticed he had no one else in support, the Atletico Mineiro forward lashed a right-footed striker beyond Fernando Muslera and into the top-left corner.

    Vargas wheeled away and, just before sharing a strong embrace with Chile's unlikely new hero Brereton, the goalscorer made a 'talking' gesture with his hand, presumably showing his disapproval of the chatter surrounding he and his team-mates in the last few days.

    In converting, Vargas moved above the likes of Gabriel Batistuta in the Copa America's all-time leading scorers rankings, going joint-fifth with Paolo Guerrero on 14 – the record, shared by Norberto Mendez and Zizinho with 17, is certainly within his reach.

    Vargas' need to be withdrawn could play a role in that regard, however, as the 31-year-old went off just before the hour clutching the back of his thigh.

    Nevertheless, his job was done to a certain extent, Vargas' goal a devastating show of clinical finishing that Uruguay just haven't seen in recent times – and not just in the Copa America.

    La Celeste went into the game without scoring in their previous four games, a run that stretched back to November when Darwin Nunez netted the last in a 3-0 win over Colombia.

    They were especially toothless in attack – despite the presence of talismanic duo Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani – in their first match against Argentina, their 0.1 xG (expected goals) a tournament-low figure only previously achieved by Venezuela (against Brazil and Colombia) in this year's competition.

    In fact, at the halfway point on Monday, Suarez and Cavani had only managed one shot on target between them in 135 minutes of Copa football – that solitary accurate attempt coming in the first half in Cuiaba as Claudio Bravo made a necessary, albeit expected, block to deny the Atletico Madrid man.

    Of course, a key nuance to the struggles of Uruguay's front two would be that the service to them had been underwhelming – so much so that Suarez appeared determined to try and take matters into his own hands as a cross forced the Chile defence into action just before the break, while he also played a match-high three key passes over the course of the 90 minutes.

    It arguably wasn't until the inexperienced Facundo Torres – making just his fourth appearance for Uruguay – came on in the 60th minute that La Celeste started to look genuinely lively in attack, though.

    The 21-year-old quickly saw a rasping volley tipped wide by Bravo, and his lovely delivery from the resulting corner was flicked on by Matias Vecino, and the ball subsequently found its way in via a combination of Suarez and Vidal, who was ultimately credited with the own goal.

    While further chances came and went at either end, a stalemate felt a fitting end to a match largely lacking in real quality.

    But such situations are surely a by-product of the tournament's jeopardy-sapping format, with all but two of the 10 teams involved across the two groups set to reach the quarter-finals.

     

    For those in Group A, it's a case of 'do better than Bolivia and you're through' – over the course of their four games, it would be a major shock if either Uruguay were to fail in that regard, while the point here sealed Chile's route through to the next round.

    The main thing here for Uruguay was to finally get a goal on the board, even if it was given to Vidal, as it should provide something of a boost to their mentality, especially after significant criticism in the wake of that defeat to Argentina.

    As such, it was all hugs and smiles between the two teams at full-time, with Chile and Uruguay well aware that dropping points here won't permanently burst their Copa bubble.

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