Allegri confirms Favilli loan to Genoa after ICC heroics

Massimiliano Allegri has confirmed that Andrea Favilli will be sent out on loan to Genoa this season. 

The Italian striker took advantage of the absences of every member of Juventus strike force – including newly-acquired superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, World Cup star Mario Mandzukic and Argentina duo Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain – by scoring a pair of first-half goals to help Juve earn a 2-0 victory over Bayern at Lincoln Financial Field on Wednesday, with his manager confirming after the match the the young forward would be loaned out. 

Acquired by Juventus in a €7.5 million (£7m/$m) transfer from Serie B side Ascoli earlier this summer, Allegri confirmed that a loan deal has been struck with Genoa for his services. 

“Favilli is a good player,” Allegri said after the match. “He has good potential and capabilities, but he’s going to go to Genoa.

“We are going to loan him out to Genoa this year.”

The 21-year-old took advantage of some shaky play from young Bayern defender Josip Stanicic and goalkeeper Sven Ulreich to net his double on Wednesday. It was an ill-advised Ulreich save of a bad Stanisic back-pass that found Juventus veteran Claudio Marchisio, who fed Favilli’s for the night’s opening goal.

Favili struck again eight minutes later when he ran onto a perfectly-timed pass from Alex Sandro pass to slip behind the Bayern defense and beat an indecisive Ulreich, who was caught off his line.

Favili was always going to find minutes tough to come by given the Turin club’s embarrassment of riches at striker, with the club having added Ronaldo into what was already a crowded group. 

But his showing against Bayern bodes well for the 21-year-old, who is primed to experience his first full season in Serie A with Genoa. 

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MLS Review: Wright-Phillips hits century mark, Ruidiaz opens Seattle account

Bradley Wright-Phillips has etched his name in MLS history after netting his 100th league goal for the New York Red Bulls. 

The goal came early on in a 1-0 win over D.C. United, with BWP opening the scoring inside two minutes. 

He becomes the second player in the league to have reached the century mark this season, with Kei Kamara having hit his 100th goal earlier in the year . 

Wright-Phillips is just the 11th player in league history to join the 100-goal club and did it in just 159 appearances – surpassing Taylor Twellman 100 goals in 174 games as the fastest in MLS history to reach the mark. 

The forward, who wears the 99 shirt for the Red Bulls, stripped from his red kit to a white Red Bulls kit with the number 100 on it as his celebration for the goal. 

The Philadelphia Union were forced to come from behind to take a 3-1 win over the Houston Dynamo. 

Mauro Manotas got the home side on the board 10 minutes in, but Alejandro Bedoya found the equalizer just before the break. 

A Cory Burke strike in the 70th minute gave the Union their first lead, and they capped off the night with a penalty six minutes into stoppage time. 

Raul Ruidiaz opened his account for the Seattle Sounders in a 1-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes. 

The Peruvian striker was signed as a designated player earlier in the summer and took a Cristian Roldan pass off his chest before a classy finish put his club in front. 

Ruidiaz ended up playing just over an hour in his first start for the Sounders as he came off soon after his first MLS strike. 

The Canadian clubs were also in action on Wednesday night, though not in league play. 

Toronto FC rolled to a 3-0 win over the Ottawa Fury to advance to the Canadian Championship final. TFC had already taken a narrow 1-0 win in the first leg of the semifinal tie before rolling over the lower-league opponent in the second leg with goals from Ayo Akinola, Jordan Hamilton and Jonathan Osorio. 

The other semifinal featured MLS clubs Montreal and Vancouver going head-to-head. 

The Impact carried a 1-0 lead from the first leg into the night but a Yordy Reyna goal 19 minutes in and a Kamara finish from the penalty spot put the Whitecaps in front, with Vancouver holding on to set up a showdown with Toronto in the final. 

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Roma 1 Tottenham 4: Llorente, Moura at the double for emphatic Spurs

Fernando Llorente and Lucas Moura scored twice in the first half as Tottenham accounted for Roma 4-1 in their International Champions Cup opener.

Spurs went behind to an early Patrik Schick goal at the Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, but Llorente – who was deputising up front in the absence of Harry Kane – netted twice in nine minutes to make it 2-1 on Wednesday.

Moura then scored twice before half-time to put the result beyond doubt as Tottenham opened their ICC campaign with victory against the Serie A outfit.

Roma, who reached the Champions League semi-finals last season, made the perfect start as Czech forward Schick found the far corner of the net inside three minutes for his fifth goal in three pre-season fixtures.

But Spurs hit back six minutes later when Spanish veteran Llorente latched onto a deflected Luke Amos cross to head in the equaliser.

The former Juventus, Bilbao and Swansea forward then gave Tottenham the lead when he followed up from Moura’s saved shot at the back post.

Former Paris Saint-Germain winger Moura was becoming an influential figure Spurs, and having provided the assist for Llorente’s second goal, the Brazilian added a third when he headed home Serge Aurier’s pin-point cross.

Moura scored Tottenham’s fourth goal on the stroke of half-time after he collected the ball on the edge of the area and drilled accurately into the bottom corner.

A raft of changes were made by both teams as Son Heung-min and Davinson Sanchez featured in their first pre-season games for Spurs, while Daniele De Rossi, Edin Dzeko and Kevin Strootman were among the introductions for Roma.

Substitute Tottenham goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga made a fine save with 15 minutes remaining when he turned Dzeko’s strike around the post.

But there would be no further goals as Tottenham cruised to a comfortable win against their Italian opponents.

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Gnagnon joins Sevilla from Rennes

Sevilla have completed the signing of France Under-21 international defender Joris Gnagnon from Rennes.

Gnagnon has signed a five-year contract with the La Liga side for a fee reportedly worth €15 million.

The Paris-born defender made the move to Rennes at the youth level in 2014, making his first team debut in 2016.

The next season would see Gnagnon make 27 appearances, all starts, in Ligue 1 for the Brittany club, scoring his first senior team goal in the process.

The 21-year-old added two more goals last season for Rennes, as he played in 36 league games, starting 32.

His campaign earned him a call up to France’s youth international side, and he would make four appearances for them.

Previously, Gnagnon – who is of Ivorian descent – had previously chosen to play for the Ivory Coast, but never made an appearance for the country.

With Clement Lenglet’s departure to Barcelona earlier this summer , Gnagnon will likely be among those tasked to fill his shoes.

He is Sevilla’s fifth signing of the transfer window having already completed deals for Roque Mesa, Sergei Gomez, Tomas Vaclik and Ibrahim Amadou.

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Salah shines for Liverpool despite shambolic surface in New Jersey

If Liverpool hoped Mohamed Salah’s return would add some stardust to their International Champions Cup campaign, then they were right.

The Egyptian returned to action in style in New Jersey, helping Jurgen Klopp’s side to a 2-1 win at a rain-drenched MetLife Stadium. Manchester City, who suffered at the 44-goal man’s hands (or rather, feet) repeatedly last season, were again left to curse the former Roma man’s presence. He is, it seems, the Premier League champions’ tormentor-in-chief.

Salah marked his first game for the Reds since that ill-fated Champions League final appearance with a goal, headed home just 62 seconds after his appearance as a second-half substitiute. If Klopp worried about rustiness, he needn’t have. Liverpool’s star man looked like he hadn’t missed a beat.

So too did Sadio Mane, whose stoppage-time penalty sealed the victory. The Reds have two of their deadly trio back, and their American supporters could hardly have been happier.

Together, Salah and Mane terrified a callow City side. Pep Guardiola’s men, shorn of the majority of their own star names, post-World Cup, led through Leroy Sane but were overwhelmed as Liverpool sent on their big guns from the bench.

These sides served up a host of classics last season, but if they are to cross paths again this season – and it’s easy to imagine they will – then we can only hope it is in rather different settings.

The MetLife Stadium is some arena, a vast, 82,500-seater venue which cost close to $2 billion (£1.5bn) to build. It hosts two NFL teams, the Giants and the Jets, and is among the favourites to stage football’s biggest fixture, the World Cup final, in 2026.

Let’s pray they produce a playing surface worthy of the occasion, if that is to be the case.

Here, it played host to the Premier League’s two most exciting sides, teams who thrilled so many, so regularly last season. Teams who met each other four times and served up 18 goals in the process.

The idea of another classic here was always a little far-fetched, of course. Pre-season is not a time for full-throttle football or for ultra-competitiveness. It is, as a terse Pep Guardiola told Goal before kick off,”about preparation, nothing else.”

Still both Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp might have expected a better pitch on which to continue those preparations. Good enough for Taylor Swift, who performed here last weekend, perhaps, but not fit for football.

“A wet pitch is better than a dry pitch,” a smiling Klopp told us pre-match. He hadn’t seen the “wet pitch” at that point. His grin won’t have lasted long.

Klopp is a regular critic of Premier League surfaces, often bemoaning those which are too dry or where the grass is too long. It grates with rival supporters at times and has led to accusations of excuse-making.

Here, his complaints were entirely understandable. Both Liverpool and City were lucky to get out of this friendly match unscathed.

The grass pitch, installed on top of the regular synthetic surface used for NFL games only 24 hours prior to this fixture, was a shocker. Bumpy and bare, with sand covering the patches where there was no grass, it was a manager’s nightmare, and helped ruin the spectacle for the spectators who braved the New Jersey rain to attend. Players slipped and slid, the ball bobbled unpredictably, and both sets of players looked uneasy, as if playing with the handbrake on. Even assured performers, such as Virgil van Dijk, looked affected. Klopp and Guardiola will have winced every time a challenge went in. 

MetLife stadium pitch Liverpool Manchester City ICC 2018

Liverpool, at least, fielded a side which resembled a ‘first team’ with the likes of Van Dijk, Adam Lallana, James Milner and new signing Fabinho all starting. Mo Salah and Sadio Mane, meanwhile, waited in the wings.

City, on the other hand, did not field a single player who started the sides’ Champions League quarter-final second leg meeting back at the Etihad in April. Riyad Mahrez, the first-half’s best player, was a lone star name in a team made up of U23 prospects and Claudio Bravo. Their preparation for the game was not aided by a traffic jam which delayed their arrival at the stadium. “That’s New York for you,” Guardiola joked.

It made for a low-key contest, bitty and slow-paced. What a contrast to those thrilling European ties, or to that Premier League barnstormer back in January. Pre-season ‘glamour friendlies’ are always better in theory than execution, though the game did come to life after the break, first through Sane, whose well-taken finish had City ahead, and then through Liverpool’s African pair.

From the outset, Salah and Mane were sharp, alive and dangerous. Salah’s second touch in the game had the ball in the net, a close-range header from a Rafa Camacho cross. His third touch almost produced a goal too, only for a goal-line block, while within another 60 seconds he’d clipped the bar when through one-on-one with Joe Hart. Talk about an impact substitute.

Mane was lively too, missing a couple of presentable chances before keeping his nerve to send Hart the wrong way from the spot with almost the last kick of the contest. The Senegal star finished last season in fine form, and like Salah he looks ready to pick up where he left off. Good signs indeed, for Klopp and for Liverpool. 

City, meanwhile, await the return of their stars, post-World Cup. They could be without Kevin De Bruyne, Vincent Kompany, John Stones, Raheem Sterling, Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy and Fabian Delph heading into the new season. A chance, perhaps, for their rivals to steal a march early in the campaign?

Liverpool will certainly hope so. Klopp’s side showed last season that they match, and better, the best team in England. The question is can they be as consistent and as ruthless over a 10-month campaign? Klopp hopes his summer signings, of which two are still yet to feature, will help them to be. 

The second leg of their US tour has not been especially kind to them. An eight-hour delay for their flight from Charlotte to New Jersey was a pain, and cost them Naby Keita for this game as he picked up a stiff neck, while the combination of rain and heat pleases nobody. 

Throw in a pitch that a Sunday league side would turn their nose up at, and you can see why they will be glad to head to Michigan tomorrow.

At least they avoided injuries, and at least their Egyptian King and their Senegalese star are back doing what they do best. 

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