Saturday , September 22 2018

Juve ‘edge’ Roma in SO – Lacazette limps off as Arsenal win

NEW YORK, July 31, (AFP): Juventus closed out the International Champions Cup friendly tournament with a 5-4 win on penalties over Roma after the Italian clubs played to a 1-1 draw.

Mario Mandzukic’s opening goal for Italian champions Juventus was cancelled out by Edin Dzeko’s second-half strike.

The match, between last season’s top two teams in Serie A, offered a tantalizing glimpse of the upcoming domestic campaign.

Managers Massimiliano Allegri and Eusebio Di Francesco named strong starting lineups.

Juventus were more active in the opening minutes and were rewarded in the 29th when Croatian forward Mario Mandzukic beat Federico Fazio onto a through ball from Alex Sandro, dribbling around Roma goalkeeper Allison and firing to make it 1-0 in the 29th minute.

Roma’s Diego Perotti and Dzeko combined for three promising exchanges but were unable to break through and Roma went into the break a goal down.

But Dzeko delivered the equalizer in the 74th, tapping in a cross from Aleksandar Kolarov from close range.

But in the shootout, Marco Tumminello’s miss proved too much to overcome and Juventus handed Roma a second shoot-out defeat of the tournament.

The match drew some 33,000 fans to Gillette Stadium, home of the NFL’s Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

Meanwhile, Alexandre Lacazette gave Arsenal an injury scare as the club’s record signing limped off after scoring his first home goal in 2-1 Emirates Cup defeat against Sevilla.

Lacazette is under pressure to make an immediate impact after Arsene Wenger splashed out £52 million ($68 million, 58 million euros) to sign the France striker from Lyon earlier this month.

The 26-year-old shrugged off an anonymous first half to mark his maiden start at the Emirates Stadium with Arsenal’s second-half equaliser after Joaquin Correa had put the Spaniards ahead.

But Lacazette’s afternoon ended in pain when he was forced off in the closing stages of the pre-season friendly.

With Arsenal due to face Chelsea in the Community Shield at Wembley on August 6 before opening their Premier League campaign against Leicester City five days later, Wenger will be hoping Lacazette’s injury is nothing serious.

Steven N’Zonzi scored Sevilla’s winner, but Arsenal finished top of the four-team group on goals scored to clinch the Emirates Cup for a fifth time.

Having thrashed Benfica 5-2 on Saturday, Wenger was far more interested in his team delivering a positive performance than securing a meaningless pre-season prize.

In the end, Lacazette’s injury and a sloppy defensive display meant it was a frustrating afternoon for the Arsenal manager.

Egypt midfielder Mohamed Elneny had been deployed as one of Arsenal’s three centre-backs with only limited success during the team’s tour of Australia and China.

Wenger again experimented with the positional switch and Sevilla almost took advantage of Elneny’s lack of experience in his new role when Ever Banega clipped a pass beyond the Egyptian to put Wissam Ben Yedder clear on the edge of the area.

Ben Yedder took a touch before drilling a shot across Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech, only to see it hit a post and rebound to safety.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s future remains unresolved, with Chelsea and Liverpool said to be interested in the England winger, and he was by far Arsenal’s most impressive performer, with 17-year-old Joe Willock starting alongside him in midfield.

However, Correa put the Spanish side ahead in the 49th minute with a cool finish after sprinting onto Ben Yedder’s smart reverse pass.

Lacazette then shot tamely at David Soria before making amends with the equaliser in the 62nd minute.

Oxlade-Chamberlain powered down the right flank before crossing into the six-yard box and, when Danny Welbeck mistimed his shot, Lacazette was on hand to slot home from close range.

It was Lacazette’s second goal for Arsenal after he opened his account in a pre-season friendly against Sydney FC in Australia.

Former Stoke City midfielder N’Zonzi restored Sevilla’s lead with a superb curling strike from the edge of the area seven minutes later.

In Sunday’s other Emirates Cup match, RB Leipzig won 2-0 against Portuguese champions Benfica.

Marcel Halstenberg put the Bundesliga side ahead in the 19th minute and Marvin Compper added their second in the 53rd minute.

 

 

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