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Serie A: Bastoni inspires leaders Inter to Lazio win



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Inter Milan defender Alessandro Bastoni scored one goal and set up another in a 2-1 win over Lazio at San Siro on Sunday, as the champions reclaimed first place in Serie A with their eighth consecutive league win.

The Italy international fired home a superb long-range opener after half an hour, but Lazio captain Ciro Immobile soon equalised.

Milan Skriniar headed home the winner in the 67th minute from an inviting Bastoni cross, giving Nerazzurri coach Simone Inzaghi his first victory over the club he led for five-and-a-half years before joining Inter in the off-season.

Inter are top with 49 points, one ahead of AC Milan with a game in hand, while Lazio are eighth with 32 points.

“We have the league winners’ badge on our chest and we want to defend it at all costs,” Bastoni told DAZN.

“In the last two years we have created a winning mentality, we want to continue like this.”

Inter were out for revenge against the only team to have beaten them in Serie A so far this season, and came into the game in formidable form, after winning their last six without conceding.

Lautaro Martinez had an early strike disallowed for offside following a VAR review before Thomas Strakosha produced an excellent save to deny the Argentina striker.

But Inter took the lead in style when a corner was cleared to Bastoni, who guided a curling low shot around a line of Lazio defenders and into the bottom corner from long range.

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Some quick thinking from Danilo Cataldi led to Lazio’s equaliser, as the midfielder played a ball over the top that caused confusion in the Inter defence, and Immobile profited.

It was the Italy striker’s 15th league goal of the season, making him the third player in Europe’s top-five leagues to reach that tally in six consecutive seasons after Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski.

Inter are the top scoring team in Serie A and rarely have trouble finding the net, but they again had a defender to thank for giving them the lead when Skriniar thumped a header off the bar and in to seal an important victory.



AFCON: Hakimi scores another free-kick stunner to send Morocco into quarter-finals



A sensational free-kick from Achraf Hakimi lifted Morocco to a 2-1 win over Malawi and into the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals.

Malawi’s Gabadinho Mhango gave his nation a shock lead in the first half with arguably the goal of the tournament from 35-yards out, but a thumping header from Youssef El Nesyri and Hakimi’s set-piece booked Morocco’s place in the last eight.

Vahid Halilhodzic’s side, considered one of the favourites to win the tournament, will play Ivory Coast or Egypt in the next round.

Morocco began the game firmly on the front foot and were piling numbers forward from the first whistle, but Mhango stunned the Atlas Lions with a goal of the year contender in the seventh minute.

The 29-year-old Orlando Pirates striker picked the ball up near the halfway line before he fired a vicious curling strike beyond the helpless Yassine Bounou in goal for his third goal of the tournament.

Mhango came close to scoring again in the 22nd minute as he broke behind the Morocco defence, but he dragged his low strike just wide.

After Watford midfielder Imran Louza hit the bar 10 minutes later, Malawi goalkeeper Charles Thomu was extremely busy. He made great diving saves to deny Hakimi and Sofiane Boufal from close range.

But on the stroke of half-time Morocco got a deserved equaliser through En Nesyri, powerfully heading in a fine Selim Amallah cross at the far post.

Morocco continued to push for a winner in the second half and they got it in stunning fashion in the 70th minute as Hakimi curled his sublime free-kick into the top corner.



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EPL: Watford appoint Roy Hodgson as manager




Watford have named Roy Hodgson as their new manager following the sacking of Claudio Ranieri.

The Italian was shown the door just 112 days into his two-year contract following Friday night’s horror 3-0 loss at home to relegation rivals Norwich.

An official club statement said: “Watford FC is delighted to confirm the appointment of Roy Hodgson as the club’s manager.

“The ex-England national team boss is joined by his trusted assistant Ray Lewington, who managed the Hornets so admirably from 2002 until 2005.

read also:Referees are ‘spoiling’ AFCON and have turned it into ‘red card’ party – Fans

“Best known for leading the Three Lions during a four-year spell which took in Euro 2012, World Cup 2014 and Euro 2016, Hodgson has also managed extensively at club level in England and across the world.”

It went on to add: “Hodgson and Lewington begin preparations immediately for Watford’s next Premier League fixture; away to Burnley on Saturday February 5.

“Welcome to Watford, Roy. And welcome back, Ray!”


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Referees are ‘spoiling’ AFCON and have turned it into ‘red card’ party – Fans



Senegalese Referee Ndiaye Maguette

Africa Cup of Nations has been labelled an ‘absolute joke’ because referees are ‘spoiling’ the tournament with red cards.

Fans angrily took to social media after Cape Verde’s last-16 defeat to Senegal was overshadowed by the fact they were reduced to nine men.

Midfielder Patrick Andrade was sent off midway through the first half before goalkeeper Vozinha was also sent off following a collision with Liverpool’s Sadio Mane.

‘AFCON is an absolute joke,’ one fan wrote on Twitter. ‘Referees are spoiling the tournament man.’

Another disgruntled follower of the tournament wrote: ‘These referees at AFCON 2021 have given me more than enough reason to discontinue watching the tournament. Officiating at its lowest.’

The dismissal of Vozinha was the 13th so far in this instalment of the tournament, as many as in the previous four AFCONs combined.

Many of the red cards have been awarded after the fact following the use of the video assistant referee (VAR).

‘AFCON referees should be reminded that they don’t have to issue a red card every time they visit the VAR monitor,’ another angry fan tweeted.

Another added: ‘These referees at AFCON believe visiting a monitor is red card offense, they don’t challenge the VAR decision, pathetic #AFCON2021.’

The decision to send off Vozinha proved highly contentious in Tuesday night’s Senegal-Cape Verde knockout tie, which Senegal won 2-0.

All five of the last-16 matches has seen a red card, with the group stage also littered with reds

Vozinha and Mane collided in what appeared to be a 50-50 clash of heads but in a blink of an eye the Blue Sharks found themselves down to nine men.

‘#AFCON2021 refereeing is ridiculous,’ another tweet read. ‘The underdogs are always crippled by the decision of the referees. #SENCPV no red card for the keeper.’

The two dismissals in the Senegal-Cape Verde game mean there has now been at least one sending off in all five of the knockout matches played so far.

Across those five games, seven red cards have been shown.


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