SPORT

THE MYAN­MAR TIMES

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Sport - DE­CEM­BER 28, 2018

Ju­ven­tus can’t af­ford to give Cris­tiano Ron­aldo a rest.

Massimiliano Al­le­gri was forced to bring on Ron­aldo for the fi­nal 25 min­utes, while Ju­ven­tus was trail­ing and down to 10 men. The Por­tu­gal su­per­star lev­eled but did not have time to com­pletely res­cue Ju­ven­tus as it was held at Ata­lanta to 2-2 on Wed­nes­day.

It was only the se­cond time this sea­son that Ju­ven­tus has dropped points in Serie A, but it ended up ex­tend­ing its ad­van­tage to nine points ahead of se­cond-placed Napoli after Carlo Ancelotti’s side lost at In­ter Mi­lan 1-0 in dra­matic fash­ion.

“All con­sid­ered it’s a good point against a good team,” Al­le­gri said. “We were good in not go­ing out of the match when we went down to 10 men.”

The Bian­coneri, as win­ter cham­pi­ons with two rounds to spare, took the op­por­tu­nity to rest Ron­aldo and some oth­ers. And it seemed as if that would not af­fect Ju­ven­tus as it took the lead after less than two min­utes when Ata­lanta de­fender Berat Djim­siti turned Alex San­dro’s in­nocu­ous­look­ing cross into his own net.

But Ata­lanta shook off that and lev­eled in the 24th. Du­van Za­p­ata gath­ered a Papu Gomez through­ball, turned Leonardo Bonucci and scored in a fifth suc­ces­sive Serie A match.

Mat­ters started to go wrong for Ju­ven­tus eight min­utes into the se­cond half when Ro­drigo Ben­tan­cur was sent off fol­low­ing a se­cond yel­low card.

It took Ata­lanta just three min­utes to ex­ploit the nu­mer­i­cal ad­van­tage as Za­p­ata headed in a cor­ner.

Al­le­gri sent on Ron­aldo in the 65th and he lev­eled 13 min­utes later, head­ing in from point-blank range after Gior­gio Chiellini flicked on a cor­ner. Ju­ven­tus also thought it got a stop­page-time win­ner but Bonucci’s goal was ruled out for off­side.

Costly send­ing off Napoli de­fender Kali­dou Koulibaly cost his side dearly as he was need­lessly sent off and In­ter scored a stop­page-time win­ner to close the gap to its op­po­nent.

Napoli played the fi­nal 10 min­utes a man short after Koulibaly re­ceived two yel­low cards in quick suc­ces­sion, the se­cond for sar­cas­ti­cally ap­plaud­ing the ref­eree after be­ing shown the first.

But Ancelotti ex­cused his player, say­ing the Sene­gal in­ter­na­tional lost his cool after mon­key noises were made at him all night through­out the game.

“We asked three times for the match to be halted be­cause of racist chants,” Ancelotti said. “An­nounce­ments were made but the match con­tin­ued. Next time we’ll stop the match by leav­ing the pitch, even if that means maybe for­feit­ing the match.

“Koulibaly was ag­i­tated and ner­vous, which is nor­mal. It’s not good for us and it’s not good for Ital­ian foot­ball.”

Koulibaly posted on Twit­ter of his pride of be­ing born in France to Sene­galese par­ents.

“I’m sorry about the de­feat and es­pe­cially to have left my broth­ers! But I am proud of the color of my skin. Of be­ing French, Sene­galese, Neapoli­tan: a man,” he wrote.

Lau­taro Martinez fired Keita Balde Diao’s cross into the bot­tom left cor­ner to spark wild scenes at San Siro. Third-placed In­ter moved to within five points of Napoli.

Koulibaly ear­lier made a de­ci­sive goal-line clear­ance to deny In­ter cap­tain Mauro Icardi, who also hit the cross­bar straight from kick­off.

Napoli ended the match with nine men after Lorenzo In­signe was also sent off fol­low­ing an off-the-ball in­ci­dent with Keita.

Fight for fourth At the age of 35, Fabio Quagliarella is al­most sin­gle­hand­edly pro­pel­ling Sam­p­do­ria into a Cham­pi­ons League qual­i­fy­ing berth.

Quagliarella was on tar­get again — for the eighth suc­ces­sive Serie A match — with a stun­ning back­heeled goal to help his side beat bot­tom club Chievo Verona 2-0. – AP her dom­i­nance.

This one was about her per­se­ver­ance.

Wil­liams de­vel­oped blood clots after giv­ing birth to daugh­ter Alexis Olympia Oha­nian Jr. on Sept. 1, 2017, and four surg­eries would fol­low. She re­turned to the WTA Tour in March and played in just a pair of events be­fore the French Open, where she com­peted in a skintight, full-length black cat­suit .

She said the out­fit – worn partly for health rea­sons be­cause of the clots – made her feel like a su­per­hero, but her game was rarely in su­per­star shape. She had to with­draw in Paris be­cause of a right pec­toral in­jury and didn’t play again un­til Wim­ble­don, where she lost to An­gelique Ker­ber in the fi­nal.

Wil­liams came up short again in New York, where her loss to Naomi Osaka in the fi­nal will be re­mem­bered best for her out­burst toward chair um­pire Car­los Ramos, who had pe­nal­ized Wil­liams for re­ceiv­ing coach­ing and later pe­nal­ized her an en­tire game for call­ing him a “thief” while ar­gu­ing.

That loss leaves her one ma­jor ti­tle shy of Mar­garet Court’s record as she starts play next year in a WTA Tour that will look dif­fer­ent in part be­cause of new rules com­ing about after is­sues in­volv­ing Wil­liams. – AP

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