England have announced a friendly against Wales at Wembley on October 8.

Gareth Southgate's side will take on their cross-border rivals behind closed doors in their first home game of 2020.

The last meeting between the two countries was in a group match at Euro 2016, when England secured a 2-1 victory courtesy of Daniel Sturridge's last-gasp goal.

After taking on Ryan Giggs' side, World Cup semi-finalists England face a Nations League double-header with home matches against Belgium and Denmark on October 11 and 14 respectively.

England will use the Wales fixture to stage a tribute to former internationals who have died in the past 12 months, including 1966 World Cup winners Jack Charlton, Martin Peters, Norman Hunter and Peter Bonetti.

 

Francisco Trincao is a great talent who can prosper at Barcelona, according to Danilo Pereira.

Barca announced the signing of Trincao back in January, the 20-year-old penning a five-year contract to join from Braga for a €31million fee.

The Portuguese forward is to finish the season in his homeland before heading to Camp Nou and has scored eight goals in 25 league appearances, in the process impressing Porto midfielder Danilo.

For Danilo, the key for his compatriot when he heads to Spain is having the right coach at Barca to aid his development.

"He's a great talent, a great talent," the Portugal international told Stats Perform News.

Danilo was in the Porto side that lost 2-1 at home to Trincao's Braga back on January 17.

"I think he's only 20 years old but he's playing very well in Braga, scoring a lot of goals. He has a lot to improve, but he's a great player," Danilo said.

"If he has the confidence and if he has a good coach for him, to help him grow, I think he will do really well in Barcelona."

Danilo was on target on Wednesday as Porto clinched their 29th Primeira Liga title with a 2-0 victory over rivals Sporting CP.

They have capitalised on a collapse by Benfica to be crowned champions again and Danilo has praised the impact Iker Casillas, the legendary goalkeeper whose retirement was confirmed in February, has had this season.

The former Spain captain moved to Porto in 2015 but had not played since suffering a heart attack during a training session last May. However, having joined the backroom staff, Casillas has continued to have a major influence.

"I like Casillas so much – he's always trying to help the youngsters," Danilo said when the Portuguese season was paused due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"He's a leader for us. I think he's a great man who tries all the time to help the people, to help the coach and everybody. For me, Iker Casillas is a legend."

Milos Ninkovic believes Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is perfectly suited to the Premier League as he compared the in-demand Lazio star to Paul Pogba.

Milinkovic-Savic has long been linked with a Lazio exit following his exploits for the Serie A side, where he arrived from Genk in 2015.

Chelsea, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Juventus and Inter have all emerged as reported suitors for the Serbia international midfielder.

As speculation grows over Milinkovic-Savic's future in the Italian capital, former Serbia international Ninkovic feels it is time for the 25-year-old to leave Lazio.

"He is an unbelievable talent," Ninkovic, who now plays for Sydney FC in Australia, told Stats Perform News. "Probably one of the best midfielders in Italy. He reminds me of [United star] Pogba, he is that type of player because he is good on the ball, tall, strong, can score outside of the box and he is good in the air.

"For him, the most important thing is to be happy. If he is happy at Lazio, he should stay there. But if he wants a different challenge, than he definitely needs to leave. They talk about PSG, Man Utd… but it depends on how he feels.

"I think if he makes the right choice, he will be one of the best midfielders in the world.

"Personally, I think he needs a new challenge in his career because he's spent three or four years at Lazio. It's hard when that's the first time in the last years they're fighting for the Scudetto and probably next season it will be the same or fourth or fifth. For him it would be better if he can go somewhere else to play Champions League as well.

"Of course it also depends on his president and how much he wants. Especially now after coronavirus, everything won't be like before in terms of transfer fees and salaries."

Milinkovic-Savic has scored five goals and supplied four assists in Serie A this season and Ninkovic, 35, added: "I think England is perfect for him. Even France, when you have good players around you it's much easier to play.

"If he goes to Manchester United, Real Madrid or PSG, there's not much of a difference because they're all good players there. It will be even much easier for him, I think he will score more goals and supply more assists."

Another Serbian player in the headlines recently has been United midfielder Nemanja Matic following his form for the Red Devils.

Out of favour and looking set for a move away from Old Trafford at the start of the season, Matic has forced his way back into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's plans and signed a new three-year contract.

Ninkovic played alongside Matic for Serbia and he hailed his 31-year-old compatriot, saying: "I spoke with him maybe a month ago. Obviously he didn't know anything and he said he would like to stay. I'm very happy for him because he is an unbelievable player and a very nice guy which is the most important thing.

"But I thought maybe there was a chance if he didn't re-sign that he could come to Australia. Maybe we will have to wait two or three more years. Maybe now it's easier for him because they started to play with one six and two eights or 10s, which is much better for him. We used to play that formation in the national team and he was unbelievable.

"You need to be strong mentally, especially at Manchester United with so many great players."

United, who sat fifth in the Premier League ahead of Thursday's trip to Crystal Palace, have strung together an 18-game unbeaten streak across all competitions, with Matic, Pogba and Bruno Fernandes earning plaudits.

Ninkovic believes the Red Devils now boast a better midfield than champions Liverpool and can challenge for the title next season.

"I think they needed some player like Fernandes and now they have Pogba, Fernandes and Matic in the middle," Ninkovic said. "I think they have one of the best midfields in the Premier League – maybe Manchester City [have the best]. I would say a better midfield than Liverpool.

"Probably they will try to sign one or two more players and definitely they will fight for the title."

Football, arguably more so than any other sport, has a compulsive need to compare young talents with those who have come before. There's no getting away from it, and it's likely everyone has made such observations.

It has become so ingrained in debates about the sport and players that perhaps we don't even realise anymore, and many of 'the greats' will have been subject to precisely this phenomenon when setting out to establish themselves.

Lionel Messi is an obvious one – one of many Argentinian players to be dubbed the next Diego Maradona in his youth, it's certainly arguable that the Barcelona great has gone on to surpass his compatriot.

But for every Messi there are hundreds of players who, for whatever reason, cannot live up to their early promise and the expectations dumped on their shoulders.

It seems such a harmless occurrence, to suggest an emerging player is comparable – at least stylistically – to an established superstar in conversation with friends, or even over Twitter.

But what we don't tend to see is the other side, how those comparisons take root and spread, eventually spiralling out of control and impacting on the very player being discussed.

Ryan Gauld can attest to that.

'Mini Messi'

Now 24 and playing for Farense, who've just been promoted to Portugal's Primeira Liga, Gauld is very familiar with such player comparisons and the adverse effect they can have.

Before joining Sporting CP on a long-term contract in 2014, Gauld had broken into the first team at Dundee United where he was first dubbed 'mini Messi' for his stature, dribbling ability and the fact he was left-footed. The comparisons began and ended there, but that was all it needed.

"To be honest, I wish it was never written," he explains to Stats Perform News from his home in the Algarve. "What are the similarities between us? We're small and left-footed, that's about as far as you can go. I would've been more relaxed than I already was if it wasn't a thing."

For Gauld, the 'mini Messi' label became a stick to beat him with more than anything, ramping up the pressure after moving to Sporting – he was always expecting it to be tough to breakthrough in Lisbon, but being compared to an all-time great took its toll.

"I would be lying if I said it didn't crop up in my head a couple of times. Like, as soon as people see me as that, they weren't caring what I could do, what I was good at, they were looking to see why I was like Messi, and then if I couldn't do something he could do, they'd say, 'He's rubbish, he's not a mini Messi, he's not worth that tag', or whatever."

The prominence of the 'mini Messi' tag grew to such an extent that Gauld doesn't even think most people knew his actual name for his first two years in Lisbon.

"If they saw me walking about Lisbon or in a shopping centre, Sporting fans who wanted a photo or something, they'd shout 'mini Messi', they wouldn't shout 'Ryan'," he recalls with an exasperated smile. "It makes you think how many people actually know your name – I was known as 'mini Messi' for about two years."

A career interrupted

In the eyes of some, especially those who actually referred to him as 'mini Messi', Gauld's career hasn't quite panned out as might have been expected – he only managed two league appearances for Sporting's senior side in five years, while loans with Vitoria Setubal, Desportivo Aves and Hibernian yielded little.

While he believes his struggles with certain expectations didn't help, Gauld also harbours grievances with Sporting regarding his development, specifically their decision to terminate his loan with Setubal just when he had started to find his groove.

"It was my first shot in the top division. I found it difficult in the beginning to get a place in the team because they started really well and I didn't start the season with the them, and then, I got an opportunity," he said. "The manager was really happy with how I did and I think I played six or seven games on the bounce, and then we had Sporting in the cup.

"I was cup-tied, so couldn't play, but we beat Sporting with a last-minute penalty to knock them out. The next day I received a call from one of the directors to say they were cancelling my loan agreement because we beat them. I think they took the huff a bit, so that was really frustrating."

Another loan was set up, but after spending a month waiting up in the north of the country for clearance to begin training with his new team, he was told Setubal wouldn't sign release papers – a return to Sporting's B team beckoned. "That was the most frustrating part of my whole time here. I would've thought Sporting could have done more to make sure it went through, but no, nothing happened, no one apologised for anything that happened or gave any explanations. It wasn't a very good time."

A social media hiatus and a brighter outlook

After a disappointing return to Scotland with Hibs in January 2019, Gauld's time with Sporting ended – a spell that promised so much finished with the former Scotland youth international barely making a splash.

But he wasn't done with Portugal yet. While many would have expected him to head back to Scotland permanently, Gauld took the eyebrow-raising decision to drop a division, joining Farense on a two-year deal after the two parties left a strong impression on each other during a short loan spell in 2018.

His new-found happiness hasn't only been influenced by on-field matters, though – turning his back on social media played a major role, particularly with respect to being able to detach himself from his 'mini Messi' demons.

"A year, a year and a bit I've been off social media, it's made such a difference," he explains. "You're not seeing it [criticism], you're not looking for it, looking for the negative energy that comes from it. I think that's played a big role in me not thinking about it [the 'mini Messi' label] too much.

"There was a game on TV, and I played terrible, it'd be in my head, 'Oh no, what are people going to be saying about me now?' I don't care what anyone says, it's difficult if that comes up on your phone, it's difficult to not read it."

In 2019-20, Gauld scored nine league goals in 21 matches for Farense, making him their top-scorer as they secured a return to the top flight for the first time since 2001-02 – in the intervening seasons, they have sunk as far as the sixth tier.

Sporting will be the first match he looks out for when the fixture list is announced - like the returning Farense, Gauld has a score to settle in the Primeira Liga.

Paris Saint-Germain have reportedly told Barcelona what they want for Neymar, while Paul Pogba is set for a Manchester United stay.

Neymar continues to be linked with a return to the LaLiga giants, three years after leaving for PSG in a world-record €222million move.

It seems Barcelona know what PSG want for the attacker.

 

TOP STORY – PSG WANT €80M AND DEMBELE FOR NEYMAR

PSG want €80m and Ousmane Dembele from Barcelona in exchange for Neymar, according to El Chiringuito.

Dembele has struggled with injuries since arriving at Barcelona from Borussia Dortmund in 2017.

Like Neymar, the France international has regularly been linked with a move.

ROUND-UP

- Happy again amid Manchester United's resurgence, Pogba may be ready to extend his stay. The Sun reports the midfielder is close to agreeing to a five-year deal with the Premier League giants.

- Staying in Manchester and City are eyeing Inter star Lautaro Martinez as a long-term replacement for Sergio Aguero, according to Sky Sports. Martinez has been heavily linked with a move to Barcelona.

- After having their European ban overturned, Manchester City are reportedly ready to spend. The Mirror reports City have been quoted a cut-price £65million (€71.6m) price for Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly, who has been linked to Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea among others.

- Manchester United are fighting to qualify for the Champions League late in the season. According to Sport Bild, Borussia Dortmund are expecting a £108.9m (€120m) bid from United for Jadon Sancho if they qualify for the Champions League.

- Staying with Borussia Dortmund, the Bundesliga club will pay €25m (£22.7m) for Birmingham City teenager Jude Bellingham, according to Sport Bild.

Luka Jovic needs to be more professional if he wants to have a future at Real Madrid, warned former team-mate Milos Ninkovic.

Jovic has endured a turbulent first season with Madrid following his big-money arrival from Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt, the 22-year-old managing just two goals in 25 appearances.

A €60million signing after scoring 27 goals in 2018-19, Jovic has struggled for form and fitness, while the Serbia international's woes were compounded when caught breaking lockdown rules during the coronavirus pandemic.

Talk of a Madrid exit has intensified amid links to Premier League sides Leicester City and Arsenal and Serie A club Milan, while Hertha Berlin have reportedly joined the chase to bring Jovic back to Germany as Los Blancos close in on just their second LaLiga title in eight seasons.

Ninkovic knows Jovic better than most, having provided the assist for the latter's debut goal as a 16-year-old for Serbian giants Red Star Belgrade in 2014.

And Ninkovic – a former 28-time Serbia international now playing for A-League champions Sydney FC – told Stats Perform News: "His biggest problem is not how he performs on the pitch, it's how he performs off it.

"He had so many problems off the pitch with some injuries and hanging out with some friends from Serbia when this virus started.

"I understand that because I was young as well. I signed, not for such a big club like Real Madrid, but I signed for Dynamo Kiev when I was 19, probably the biggest club in Ukraine and Russia.

"When you're young and you sign for a big club, he is on big money as well, it's hard to stay normal. He wants everything. As a young kid, he wants to stay with friends and go out. I read that [Zinedine] Zidane believes in Luka and he will stay next season.

"They probably understand that he is still young and everyone went through this. I understand him but he needs to be more serious because Madrid are a big club, they won't wait three, four years… He needs to be more professional if he wants to stay there."

Gianluigi Donnarumma is motivated to stay at Milan amid reports of a contract extension for the goalkeeper, according to head coach Stefano Pioli.

Donnarumma, 21, is reportedly set to re-sign with the Serie A club, where his current deal ends in 2021.

Speaking after Milan's 3-1 win over Parma on Wednesday, Pioli said the Italy international was happy at San Siro.

"Nobody is talking about their future. We have to stay focused only on the present," Piolo told Sky Sport Italia.

"I see him calm and motivated to stay at Milan. He made a careful performance.

"I want to enjoy this team, it's nice to work with them."

Donnarumma has made 198 senior appearances for Milan since debuting in 2015-16.

The goalkeeper has been linked with the likes of Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham amid uncertainty over his Milan future.

Shea Salinas scored a fine individual goal in the eighth minute of stoppage time as San Jose Earthquakes produced a stunning comeback to beat Vancouver Whitecaps 4-3 in the MLS is Back Tournament.

The Earthquakes trailed the Whitecaps 3-1 after 59 minutes in Orlando, Florida and were staring at their first Group B defeat on Wednesday.

But the Earthquakes – who drew their opening match – rallied midweek thanks to veteran striker Chris Wondolowski, Oswaldo Alanis and substitute Salinas' memorable 98th-minute solo run.

Opening their MLS is Back Tournament campaign, the Whitecaps made a fine start as they raced out to a 2-0 lead at Walt Disney World resort.

Ali Adnan's curled effort from the top of the penalty area put the Whitecaps ahead in the seventh minute before a Judson own goal following a swift counter-attack doubled Vancouver's lead 15 minutes later.

The Earthquakes gave themselves some hope on the stroke of half-time when Andres Rios reduced the deficit, only for Cristian Dajome to restore Vancouver's two-goal buffer approaching the hour-mark following a goalkeeping error.

Wondolowski came off the bench and kept San Jose in the contest with 18 minutes remaining – the league's all-time leading scorer improving his tally to 160.

The Earthquakes then drew level through Alanis nine minutes later before Salinas' moment of magic completed the breathtaking comeback.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said it is "not fair" Chelsea have been afforded 48 hours more rest ahead of Sunday's FA Cup semi-final showdown.

United will meet rivals Chelsea at Wembley for a place in the decider, not before facing Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Thursday.

Chelsea will enter the FA Cup clash having not played since Tuesday and Solskjaer questioned the scheduling as United also try to qualify for the Champions League.

"There is a concern, obviously, that they will have had 48 hours' more rest and recovery than us," Solskjaer told a news conference on the eve of the Palace fixture.

"It's not fair. We spoke about a fair scheduling going into this restart and of course it isn't.

"But I have to think about Thursday [against Crystal Palace], winning that one, focusing on that one, and then pick up the pieces after that."

United will take on Palace amid an 18-game unbeaten streak across all competitions following Monday's last-gasp 2-2 draw at home to Southampton.

The Red Devils missed the chance to climb above Chelsea and Leicester City into third position – United now fifth with three games remaining.

With United's season and future plans on the line, Solskjaer is confident his team can cope with the physical demands.

"We've not really played every three days but we definitely will now," said Solskjaer. "The next two weeks will be hectic but then again we're fit, very fit – our lads have not felt as fit as this for years, I'm sure.

"It was a big thing towards the end of last season that we felt our team wasn't fit enough, we got a few injuries, this season we've not had that kind of a problem. It's not going to be a problem and a concern for us but 24 hours, 48 hours is a big difference at this time [of the season] so we've not been handed four Aces, to put it that way, for the last two weeks."

United are set to make changes against Palace after Luke Shaw picked up an ankle injury last time out, while Paul Pogba – who has starred alongside Bruno Fernandes – could be rested.

"I've been speaking more or less every day with Paul, he knows that he wouldn't be dropped," said Solskjaer. "When Paul plays like this he wouldn't be dropped from any team in the world – France or Man United – but he's been out for a long, long time, there was a question mark before the game [against Southampton], 'How do you feel?' But he felt ready for it, which was great, so now let's see how he is.

"He's been fantastic since the restart and brought a lot to the team. There were one or two question marks before the Southampton game about who was going to play but we made the decision that we did."

Dimitar Berbatov has hit out at Real Madrid's Gareth Bale for his "unprofessional and disrespectful" behaviour in the Spanish capital.

Bale has found himself out of favour at Madrid, with the star forward playing just 100 minutes of LaLiga action since the league returned from its three-month hiatus in June amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The four-time Champions League winner sparked uproar when he was seen on camera with his face mask over his eyes before turning and laughing with team-mates from the stands during Madrid's 2-0 victory over Deportivo Alaves last week.

Bale – a substitute – then simulated holding a pair of binoculars in front of his face while he watched Madrid's 2-1 win at Granada and former Tottenham team-mate Berbatov criticised the Welsh outcast.

"Gareth Bale is in the headlines again for pretending to sleep in the stands when he found out he was going to be an unused substitute against Granada," Berbatov wrote in his column for Betfair.

"When I saw it, I couldn't believe it. I watched him put his mask over his eyes and pretend to be asleep. I cannot support that. It is unprofessional and disrespectful to Real Madrid.

"I love watching Bale play and I can feel his pain at not playing because I have been in the same situation. But that kind of reaction is going too far.

"Madrid need to find a solution to the Bale saga. It's not good for Bale or the team and it is bad publicity. I do feel his pain, I have been in his shoes of not playing and nobody is probably giving him any answers, then you are provoked to do those kinds of things, but I cannot support what he did.

"The only solution is for Bale to leave Real Madrid. If I was a Real Madrid fan and saw a player disrespecting the team like that, it would be too much. Bale should be asking for a solution, even if it is a loan move. It was a show of power, it was if he was saying: 'Play me or I'll do whatever I want.' That doesn't sit right with me."

Porto captured their 29th Primeira Liga title following the stunning capitulation of Portuguese rivals Benfica.

Boasting former Real Madrid defender Pepe, Porto celebrated a second league trophy in three seasons thanks to Wednesday's 2-0 victory over fierce foes Sporting CP.

Danilo Pereira and Moussa Marega scored in the second half to ensure Porto dethroned defending champions Benfica midweek with two matches remaining as iconic goalkeeper Iker Casillas heads into retirement.

Porto have been almost flawless since the season resumed in June following the coronavirus-enforced break in March, winning six of their eight matches, including five in a row.

Benfica, meanwhile, have only managed three victories since returning to action last month and just four wins from 13 league games since February to slip eight points adrift of Porto.

"The team is to be congratulated for what we did, and not only in this game," Pepe said. "Sporting were in very good form but we knew how to cancel out their strong points. This is down to the hard work and sacrifice our squad put in, we never stopped, not even during the confinement.

"What made us champions? Above all, the togetherness we had. We know we represent a very important region of the country and we all identify with this region. When things get tough we use this strength to overcome adversities. If I'm not mistaken, in the first game of the season against Gil Vicente [a defeat] I said we lose together and we win together, and today is proof of that. Not only us the players, but the entire club and all the fans.

"We didn't have holidays, we were always working, striving for perfection. It's difficult, but we were always striving for it. The spirit we had, the belief in our coach, he always believed. Today, here, we see the result."

Porto head coach Sergio Conceicao added: "We won one of the most important titles in Porto's history. I'd like to dedicate this title to my family, who suffer a lot, my wife and my children and my parents."

Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri bemoaned his team's thrilling 3-3 draw at Sassuolo, with the stuttering Serie A leaders' inconsistency leaving him "perplexed".

Juve surrendered a 2-0 lead against in-form Sassuolo as they suffered a setback in their efforts to clinch a ninth successive Scudetto on Wednesday.

Defending champions Juve – who squandered a 2-0 advantage as they lost 4-2 to rivals Milan earlier this month – raced out to a two-goal advantage inside 12 minutes via Danilo and Gonzalo Higuain before Filip Djuricic reduced the deficit prior to half-time.

Domenico Berardi's stunning free-kick restored parity six minutes into the second half and the forward then set up Francesco Caputo to put Sassuolo 3-2 ahead three minutes later.

Alex Sandro salvaged a point for Juve past the hour-mark as the league leaders improved to 77 points through 33 games, seven clear of high-flying Atalanta.

"A coach expects consistency from his team, it's something we've been lacking both physically and mentally. We have some very strong moments in a match and some moments of passivity that are difficult to understand," Sarri told Sky Sport Italia.

"We've been up against teams in remarkable form recently and Sassuolo are no different, as they'd won four in a row and if they consolidate, they can become the Atalanta of the future.

"I do believe that if we resolve the issue of consistency throughout the game, we are on the right track. Any team becomes dangerous if you let them pass it around in our final third.

"We struggled because they played between the lines with the trequartista and we gave the ball away too many times. It was strange, as our full-backs in the first half were conservative, but then started to push forward and win the ball back early towards the end of the game.

"It's not so much something that doesn't work as it works in fits and starts. At times, I get the feeling this team has enormous potential. At other times, it leaves you perplexed, as it allows the opponents to enter the box far too easily. We need to find the right balance and that is not easy.

"We had to keep the ball more, as there are times when the passing move will help you to control the tempo and stay in the opposition half. We sometimes feel too rushed in trying to get to the goal in a couple of passes, which creates a situation where you go from end to end."

Juve host struggling Lazio – third in the standings – in Turin on Monday.

Stefano Pioli praised "lion" Zlatan Ibrahimovic and believes the star forward is helping Milan grow after a 3-1 win over Parma.

Milan came from behind at San Siro on Wednesday and sit seventh in Serie A, boosting their chances of European qualification.

After Jasmin Kurtic gave Parma the lead, goals from Franck Kessie, Alessio Romagnoli and Hakan Calhanoglu saw Milan to victory.

Ibrahimovic played 90 minutes and Pioli said the 38-year-old's determination was pushing Milan.

"He demands the maximum from himself and from others," the Milan coach told Sky Sport Italia.

"He knows that the team is growing and he is giving his best, then he becomes a lion on the field. He gets very angry, sometimes out of turn, but we know how he is made.

"His anger is positive … it is a determination that has made us and is making us grow.

"The mental strength of the team has increased, we are more aware of our quality."

Milan had found themselves behind before Kessie produced a moment of magic, the 23-year-old's 30-yard rocket bringing his side level.

Kessie is up to four league goals this season and Pioli said he was happy with the midfielder.

"He and I had some relationship difficulties, then we understood each other better," he said.

"I think it is essential to get the most out of players. He is proving to be a very high level player."

Milan are in action again on Saturday, when they host Bologna.

Juventus suffered a setback in their efforts to clinch a ninth successive Serie A title as they were held to a thrilling 3-3 draw at Sassuolo.

The Bianconeri looked to have all but sealed the Scudetto when two penalties helped them preserve a nine-point lead at the top with a 2-2 draw against Atalanta on Saturday.

Atalanta cut the lead down to six points with a 6-2 thumping of Brescia on Tuesday and Juve could be only four points ahead by the time they face Lazio on Monday after an engrossing contest saw the spoils shared.

Danilo and Gonzalo Higuain put them 2-0 up inside 12 minutes before Filip Djuricic pulled one back. Domenico Berardi levelled matters six minutes into the second half and then teed up Francesco Caputo to make it 3-2, only for Alex Sandro to secure a point for Maurizio Sarri's men.

Former Manchester City defender Danilo bent home from Miralem Pjanic's low corner delivery to the edge of the area and the Bosnia-Herzegovina international's sublime throughball led to the second goal as Higuain – preferred to Paulo Dybala – converted confidently on the half-volley.

Wojciech Szczesny produced a pair of stunning saves to first deny Mert Muldur and then Berardi, but he could do nothing to prevent Djuricic from finding the top-right corner with a fine first-time finish after more good work from Muldur.

Szczesny did well to hold a drive from Berardi as Sassuolo continued to press for an equaliser, with Cristiano Ronaldo seeing a gilt-edged chance to restore Juve's two-goal lead in first-half stoppage time deflected over.

That advantage was eradicated in spectacular fashion by Berardi as he left Szczesny no chance with a superb free-kick from the edge of the area.

And a remarkable turnaround was completed three minutes later when Berardi's ball across the face of goal found Caputo to tap in at the far post.

Adrien Rabiot headed wide and Ronaldo shot straight at Consigli but Alex Sandro made no mistake in converting from Rodrigo Bentancur's corner to make it three apiece.

Consigli thwarted Ronaldo from close range and at the other Szczesny produced heroics to deny Hamed Junior Traore, with Alex Sandro clearing Jeremie Boga's goal-bound follow-up in a fittingly frantic finale.

Pep Guardiola repeated his praise for Gabriel Jesus but acknowledged his return to form in front of goal represented a boost to Manchester City.

Jesus has had a key role to play for City since the season's restart, with Sergio Aguero ruled out for the rest of the domestic campaign.

However, the Brazil striker had not scored since the February Champions League win at Real Madrid until netting in a rout of Newcastle United last week.

Jesus added to that strike in a 5-0 win at Brighton and Hove Albion, then scored the decisive goal as City edged past struggling Bournemouth on Wednesday.

A third goal in three games for his front man gave Guardiola some cheer, even if he insisted Jesus' earlier contributions had also been appreciated.

"Even when it was the first four or five games and he didn't score, I said many times about the amount of things he is able to do for us," Guardiola told a news conference.

"But we are very satisfied for him, for the team. In the past three games, he's scored three goals and he's playing really well.

"He can play in different positions. It's really good."

Jesus has started City's past six games in all competitions, but his involvement against Bournemouth – when others were rested – might hint at a substitute role for this weekend's FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal.

And Guardiola confirmed his plans for the Wembley clash were in place regardless of performances in midweek.

"No, I rotated all of the team for this period," the manager explained. "Now we have time to recover, the players who played. Some players who played are going to play."

Page 1 of 350
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.