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Juventus 3 Frosinone 0: Ronaldo rounds off routine romp

Juventus took another step towards an eighth Serie A title in a row with a routine 3-0 win over Frosinone on Friday.
A spectacular early goal from Paulo Dybala set Massimiliano Allegri's side on their way at Allianz Stadium, before Leonardo Bonucci and Cristiano Ronaldo made the three points secure.
Juve were able to withdraw Ronaldo and Giorgio Chiellini in the second half, with their attentions now turning to the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.
The hosts needed only six minutes to break the deadlock, Dybala sending a stunning left-foot strike flying into the top-right corner from 25 yards out.
11 - Paulo #Dybala has scored all his three Serie A goals current season during the first 11 minutes of play. Timely.#JuventusFrosinone
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) February 15, 2019
It was 2-0 only 11 minutes later, with Bonucci prodding the ball in from on the line after Marco Sportiello had reacted well to save Mario Mandzukic's diving header from a corner.
Juve rather eased off and allowed Frosinone to threaten, and Camillo Ciano sent a curling free-kick inches over the bar with the last kick of the first half.
Any fears of a possible comeback from the visitors were dispelled after 62 minutes, though, when Ronaldo swept home Mandzukic's low cross from the right before being taken off for extra rest ahead of his return to Spain.
A fourth goal eluded them, with Federico Bernardeschi's stinging strike beaten away by Sportiello, but Juve will head to the Wanda Metropolitano in confident mood.

Augsburg 2 Bayern Munich 3: Classy Coman shines in comeback

Kingsley Coman starred as Bayern Munich twice came from behind to earn a 3-2 win at Augsburg that moves the Bundesliga champions two points behind Borussia Dortmund, but he did not see out the match after picking up an apparent ankle injury in the closing stages.
Augsburg ended Niko Kovac's run of seven straight wins in all competitions at the start of his Bayern reign and they again gave his side a headache, opening the scoring in the first minute at WWK Arena on Friday.
But a brilliant individual performance from Coman, who twice scored first-half equalisers before setting up David Alaba for the winner after the interval, ensured Bayern go to Liverpool for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on the back of an exhilarating victory.
Bayern captain Manuel Neuer was back in goal after missing three games with a thumb injury but he conceded after just 13 seconds, Leon Goretzka turning a Philipp Max cross into his own net.
Joshua Kimmich's 10th Bundesliga assist of the season helped Bayern get back on level terms, with Coman's smart low volley providing the finishing touch.
But Augsburg retook the lead in the 23rd minute as Max raided down the left wing again, his cross taking a couple of deflections on its way through to Ji Dong-won, who smashed home.
Robert Lewandowski hit the crossbar with a header from another Kimmich cross but it was Coman who levelled again on the stroke of half-time, drilling through Gregor Kobel's legs.
And within seven minutes of the restart Bayern led, Coman adding an assist to his brace by setting up Alaba for a thumping finish that beat Kobel at his near post.
Reece Oxford missed a great headed chance from yet another Max centre and Kobel denied Coman his hat-trick before a late injury scare for the winger, but Bayern held on for three vital points in the increasingly close title race.

Romelu Lukaku could be handed Man Utd escape route - Club considering HUGE transfer bid

MANCHESTER UNITED forward Romelu Lukaku could be handed a way out of the club this summer.
The Belgian has struggled for game time since the arrival of interim United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in December.
Marcus Rashford is currently keeping Lukaku out of the side, despite him costing United £75m back in 2017.
But the club may look to recoup some of the fee in the summer depending on who is appointed manager at the end of the season.
TuttoMercatoWeb report that Inter Milan are considering an audacious swoop for the 25-year-old, should star striker Mauro Icardi leave in the coming months.
Duvan Zapata, of Atalanta, is seen as a cheaper alternative to Lukaku, who would command a fee of around £90m, according to the Italian outlet.
It looks certain the European side will have to replace Icardi this summer after the player was involved in yet another bust-up with club chiefs.
The Argentinian's wife and agent Wanda Nara made comments this week which upset Inter bosses, who have since stripped him of the captaincy.
Samir Handanovic wore the armband on Thursday evening against Rapid Vienna after Icardi refused to travel for the game.
"The decision to remove the captaincy from Icardi was difficult and painful, absolutely shared by all the club members and taken for the good of Inter," Inter boss Luciano Spalletti said.
"He was called up for Vienna, but he did not want to be there.
"Things around him have disturbed him and the team he captained."
Lukaku played 90 minutes against Fulham last weekend but has had to settle with starting roles on the bench in recent weeks.
The Belgian still has three years to run on his current Old Trafford deal.

Lionel Messi backing Gerard Pique in new Davis Cup venture

Lionel Messi is one of the investors in the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid later this year, according to Barcelona team mate Gerard Pique whose Kosmos company has been instrumental in a revamp for the historic tennis competition. Pique’s investment firm Kosmos has backed the new format to the tune of $3 billion over 25 years and will jointly run the competition alongside the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
The inaugural 18-nation finals, which have replaced the 16-nation World Group played throughout the year, will take place at Madrid’s La Caja Magica (Magic Box) stadium on Nov. 18-24. Speaking before Thursday’s draw ceremony, Pique confirmed Argentina forward and fellow tennis fan Messi, who already has a stake in Kosmos, was involved.
“Leo knows more than anyone about this because he is involved in Kosmos,” Pique was quoted as saying by British media on Friday. “He is a partner, he is part of the Kosmos family, he likes tennis. We have a relationship of 18 years since he arrived at the club and I always try to share with him things I’m thinking, he loves to be part of it and he wanted to be part of it.”
Pique’s involvement in the ITF’s 119-year-old team competition has drawn scorn in some quarters, with former world number one Lleyton Hewitt, who will captain Australia at the event, questioning his credentials. Swiss great Roger Federer even suggested the competition was in danger of becoming the “Pique Cup”.
“I hate it, because it’s not about me and I don’t want my name on the competition,” Pique said. “Davis Cup history is so big. I hope we can change this opinion. After a few years, I hope they go back and say ‘We were wrong, Davis Cup is more alive than ever’.
“I respect the opinion of Lleyton, he was a great player. I can understand that when a footballer comes in the tennis world it can seem a little bit awkward or strange, but at the end of the day I’m not going to be changing the rules of tennis.”
Pique, 32, also said he was too busy trying to help Barcelona win La Liga and the Champions League than meddling too much in the ITF’s flagship tournament. “I don’t want to be distracted because I have another job, which is to play football. It helps me be focused, more concentrated and not to make mistakes on the pitch because otherwise I know there will be criticism,” he said in the Daily Mail.
The Davis Cup Finals, which will offer a large prize money pot, will be staged in Madrid for two years before possibly moving to the California resort of Indian Wells owned by another Kosmos stakeholder Larry Ellison.

Five reasons why West Coast Eagles can win back-to-back premierships

Sweet, sweet redemption

There’s a tale of despair in almost every premiership team. Last year, the Eagles had three.
Nic Naitanui’s second ACL injury, suffered against Collingwood in July, sent shock waves through West Coast’s camp. Not only did it spell the end of his campaign, questions still linger over whether the superstar ruckman will ever return to the heights he reached earlier in his career. He’ll want to prove his doubters wrong.
Brad Sheppard’s hamstring tendon injury was less serious but just as agonising. The dependable - and once durable - defender was in career-best form, playing his 95th consecutive AFL match when a sharp pain shot through his left leg. What he did to deserve such bad fortune remains a mystery.
Then there’s Andrew Gaff, whose circumstances were of his own doing. Having repaid faith in the club that drafted him by rebuffing free agency, Gaff has an opportunity to rebuild his brand and move on from the notorious incident with Fremantle Dockers teenager Andrew Brayshaw.
All are quality players. All have a point to prove. All were visibly distraught on grand final day. You can’t help but feel the trio’s desire to win a flag will rub off on their teammates.

Fantastic five: West Coast’s elite

According to the stats boffins at Champion Data, West Coast is equal third for players ranked ‘elite’ in their positions and equal fifth for those deemed ‘above average’ or better.
Jeremy McGovern, Shannon Hurn, Josh Kennedy, Tom Barrass and Naitanui sit atop the tree.
But what’s to say the likes of Norm Smith medallist Luke Shuey, all-Australians Elliot Yeo and Andrew Gaff, and dynamic quartet Jack Darling, Jamie Cripps, Liam Ryan and Willie Rioli won’t join them this season?
Moreover, most of the above have room for improvement. Last year was Yeo’s first in the midfield, Shuey could be more consistent, Kennedy’s season was hindered by injuries and Barrass, Ryan and Rioli are still learning their craft.
On face value, it appears Adam Simpson’s list has more to give.

The pressure’s off

Financially, West Coast has never been stronger.
On-field, Simpson and his chargers have already created history.
What the Eagles achieved in 2018 will live long in the memories of those who witnessed it, leaving the club with precious little to lose if the team falls short of the mark.
Of course, that’s not the attitude they’ll employ; expect Simpson to wheel out the ‘we’re not resting on our laurels’ catch-cry at every opportunity.
And West Coast will embark on 2019 brimming with belief - a perennially underrated commodity - determined to repeat the dose.
But should they stay competitive and emerge empty-handed, only the harshest critics could justify slamming Simpson’s legacy.
As it stands, the premiership coach and his flag-winning side are assured a place in West Coast folklore.

No weak defensive links

A common thread of all the great AFL teams is their ability to defend.
Last year, West Coast’s backline was as cohesive as any. And on the evidence of this pre-season, not a lot seems to have changed.
McGovern and Barrass are among the best intercepting defenders in the competition, both capable of playing lockdown roles when required.
Will Schofield might be the most accomplished ‘reserve’ backman on an AFL list, though to call him a back-up undermines the phenomenal match he played on September 29.
Brad Sheppard’s return will only help Shannon Hurn, who in his own right is at the peak of his powers.
And what of Josh Smith, the former Collingwood rookie who stole Chris Masten’s longstanding mantle as the club’s best endurance runner?
All told, West Coast’s defensive set up – at least on paper – has every dimension covered.

Dynamic small forwards can improve

How good were Rioli and Ryan last year?
Moreover, how much better will they be with another pre-season under their belts?
It’s easy to forget the pair were AFL debutants in 2018.
They combined for 48 goals (Rioli 28, Ryan 20), tackled ferociously and stood up in big moments, particularly on grand final day.
An output that is poised to improve - particularly if reports of Rioli’s markedly improved fitness are to be believed.
Rioli and Ryan are already weapons for West Coast. The prospect of them getting better will send shivers down the spines of the competition’s best small defenders.
Throw the names of Kennedy, Darling and Cripps into the mix, and you’ve got a mouth-watering forward set-up that could once again be the envy of the competition.

Moses confident of hitting straps with rookie halves partner

Parramatta halfback Mitch Moses showed positive signs that he could be the man to guide young playmaker Dylan Brown into first grade after a polished performance in his team's trial against the Raiders on Friday night.
Moses and prop Junior Paulo were the two best players on the park as the Blue & Gold raced out to a 20-0 lead against a Raiders squad comprised largely of depth players.
Coach Brad Arthur pulled his top squad from the field through the second half with the Jersey Flegg and Wentworthville players eventually getting run down in the final minute but the early signs were good for the Moses-Brown partnership.
At 24 and with five seasons of the Telstra Premiership behind him, Moses is now officially seasoned in NRL terms but is now heading into his first season where he will be the experienced half alongside a junior one – a role he knows a bit about from his past season and a half alongside Corey Norman.
"I thought [Brown] was really good," Moses said.
"He took the line on and did everything we asked. He had a good couple of kicks and made his tackles. That's all we asked from him and I thought it was a really good first trial for him.
"Everyone's feeling comfortable with him, it's good to have him take control. We've worked up a nice combination there in the pre-season but whatever Brad goes with in round one, whoever goes in there I'm sure will do a good job."
Moses was happy to embrace the role of senior half but said it wouldn't change his approach to his own game too much.
"It definitely feels a lot different," he said.
"Looking too much to it like that it will affect my game. I'm definitely feeling comfortable with where we're at, at the moment.
"I'm used to being that young kid still coming through, I had Normy there last year so I was still the young half. It's kind of just helping him out and taking a bit of pressure off Dyl there. There's still a lot we can work on.
"I think it's a lot on me as well to take pressure off him, letting him do what he did. I was kind of taking control of what we were doing, Dyl had the chance to take on the line like he did, he created a fair few opportunities for himself and almost got over the line two or three times. That's what we want him to do."
A fit-looking Moses confirmed he had added "a few kilos" to his frame over the pre-season.
"I feel comfortable. Hopefully we can keep training well. We've got another trial against Penrith, that will be a big test," he said.
Moses produced two stunning try assists midway through the first half playing instinctive eyes-up football and helped created the first try of the night with a nice long ball. He and Brown kicked well too, though it must be said the pair had a big leg up due to the dominance of a Paulo-inspired pack.
The two halves were each happy to swing both sides of the ruck and link out wide rather than be stuck in a structure where one plays left and one plays right. It's a style that has been a hallmark of the Eels under Arthur, promising plenty in the early days of the Kieran Foran-Corey Norman partnership before the former's tenure at the club was ended prematurely.
It also worked a charm in the team's top-four finish in 2017.
"We're confident if he [Brown] takes the line on we can play that eyes-up footy," Moses added.
"We're feeling comfortable with the way we're playing and the style of footy we're going to play going into the season. It was a good first hit-out."
Getting 55 uninterrupted minutes alongside likely round-one hooker Reed Mahoney and fullback Clint Gutherson was also welcome.
"Having Reed there, I think he did a good job in the middle and Gutho, I think Gutho is back – he looked a lot better than how he was last year, he looked a lot freer," Moses said.
"He was obviously coming off his knee reco, everyone knows it's always tough coming off that knee reco the first year. He did look good so hopefully he can carry that into the season. To have him firing for us is going to be big this year."

Bale faces threat of 12-game ban for 'obscene' Real Madrid goal celebration

The Wales international is to see his actions after finding the net during a derby date with Atletico scrutinised by the relevant La Liga authorities
Gareth Bale faces the threat of a 12-game ban after being reported to authorities for “a gesture of possible obscene and derogatory meaning” while celebrating his goal during Real Madrid’s derby win over Atletico.
The Wales international stepped off the bench to find the target in a 3-1 victory for the Blancos at Wanda Metropolitano.
Bale was introduced shortly before the hour mark and had only been on the field 17 minutes before hitting the back of the net.
La Liga have referred the incident to the competition committee of the Spanish federation and Bale must now wait to discover whether any disciplinary action will be taken.
A statement released by La Liga read: “In the 73rd minute of the game, after scoring his team's third goal, Real Madrid player Gareth Bale, who had been booed by the local fans, celebrated by raising his right hand close to his head, in a provocative gesture to the supporters, then in a gesture of possible obscene and derogatory meaning doubled his arm while cutting across the middle of it with his other hand.”
The sanctions which could be imposed on Bale vary in length.
The statement from La Liga added: “If it occurs, the offender will be sanctioned with a suspension of four to twelve games, or if the animosity is from the public, the suspension will be from one to three parties (games) or for a period of up to one month.”
Though La Liga do not have the final say on the punishment, it is understood that they are confident that the Spanish FA will only ban the former Tottenham man for a maximum of three matches.
If Bale were to be stung with a 12-game suspension, then he would miss almost all of the rest of the 2018-19 campaign.
Real have just 15 La Liga games left to take in this season, as they attempt to bridge the gap to leaders and defending champions Barcelona.
They will be hoping to see Bale, who now has 12 goals to his name this season and 100 in total for the club , play a leading role in that quest over the coming weeks.