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Lazio vs Juventus score, takeaways: Leonardo Bonucci dominates at both ends of the field in victory

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Juventus needed help from the Lazio defenders but they converted two penalties into a workman like victory, a result which the side desperately needed as they try to dig themselves out of the hole their early season struggles have dropped them into. The win takes them provisionally into sixth place. 

Juve welcomed Leonardo Bonucci back to the starting lineup and were rewarded with a clean sheet and a brace from their captain who fired home twice from the spot. Max Allegri was struck with an injury worry just 11 minutes into the game as Danilo was forced off and was replaced by Dejan Kulusevski marking a change to a more attacking formation. They were rewarded for the change as just eight minutes later Danilo Cataldi’s challenge on Alvaro Morata was deemed to be a penalty after a video review. Bonucci wouldn’t miss his kick from the spot to give Juventus the lead only 23 minutes into the match. 

From there, the Juve defense went to work stifling Lazio. No one could get a sniff at goal for Lazio no matter who they tossed on the field. Ultimately, as is often the case for Maurizzio Sarri coached teams, Lazio dominated possession playing 620 passes to Juventus’ 457, but despite needing to chase the match and having so much of the ball, the hosts only managed eight shots worth 0.29 expected goals.

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Another penalty for Juventus would seal it when in the 80th minute as Pepe Reina went adventuring outside the box. Chiesa spotted the empty net and went driving toward the goal but was caught by a two-footed challenge by Reina. That earned him a yellow card while providing Bonnuci another chance from the spot. Bonnuci wouldn’t miss putting the match out of sight for Juventus.  

This was quite the win for Juventus in their race for a top four spot. Lazio will have better games but Saturday’s match was proof that, despite their struggles, Juve’s dominant defense remains capable of putting in world class performances when needed. The question for the rest of the season is just how often will they be able to hit this level, when they’ve given themselves so little margin for error in their chase for Champions League spots.

Here are three takeaways from the match: 

1. What was Pepe Reina doing?

It’s one thing to get caught outside the box as a keeper, but to not only get caught out and then concede the penalty is a bad look. Reina is an erm… experienced keeper who should know better than to be in these spots but he cost his team in a big way and could’ve had a chance to be sent off due to his two-footed challenge on Cheisa. 

2. Only a captain’s calmness will do

Bonnuci gave Juve just what they needed as the double from the spot vaults them right back into the European race.  Helping clean up the defense was just an added bonus at that point but Bonnuci also took the fourth most touches on the team as he and Mathias De Ligt brought a much needed calmness to things. 

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3. Sorry Sarri?

Lazio has to find a way to turn possession into attacking chances. Seeing as much of the ball as they did, they should’ve been able to put more than one shot on goal. If they can’t up the tempo a little, a European dream will be just that, a dream.





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After a long season grind, the Blue Jays are ready for another

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BALTIMORE – There is achievement in baseball by simply completing the grind, showing up day in and day out, putting in the work, getting after it on the field and fighting through the cumulative toll. The relentlessness of the schedule makes finding and sustaining success all the more difficult, so to be among the last teams standing at the end really means something.

“You know, 162 is tough,” interim manager John Schneider said after a 5-1 win by his Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday, securing a final-day, doubleheader split with the Baltimore Orioles and a 92-70 finish.

“People that do it every day, they realize that and it’s something they don’t take for granted. So it’s a collective effort, from start to finish, today being the exclamation point. But 162 games, winning 92 of them, very, very proud of the guys, everyone that is here, everyone that has been here. Really looking forward to the post-season.”

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That was universal around the Blue Jays clubhouse, as was a sigh of relief that they had emerged unscathed from the unexpected – and unwanted – twin-bill. With Game 1 of the wild-card series against the Seattle Mariners set for Friday at Rogers Centre – and yes, Alek Manoah is starting, official and announced – covering 18 innings could easily have upended their plans, especially after clinching home-field on Monday.

Instead, everything unfolded as they had mapped out, with relievers Trevor Richards, Adam Cimber, Yimi Garcia and Jordan Romano each throwing a shutout inning ahead of Mitch White in a 5-4 loss in the opener, while David Phelps, Anthony Bass and Tim Mayza getting an inning each in front of Casey Lawrence, Yusei Kikuchi and Trent Thornton in the nightcap.

Some, if not most of their primary bullpen arms would likely have been used Wednesday to stay sharp even if Tuesday’s contest hadn’t been rained out, but the key is that no one sure to be on the wild-card roster Friday was overextended.

The same applied on the position player front, as only bench players started both contests with Otto Lopez, with a combined five hits and three RBIs, and Gabriel Moreno, with four hits including his first major-league home run, leading the way.

“The pitchers were pretty efficient with their pitch count,” said Schneider. “Guys got the at-bats they needed. We’ve been talking and it’s such a different animal come Friday night, whether you haven’t played in four or five days or if you played 18 innings today, you’re going to be ready to go. But all things considered, we wanted to get guys in, stay sharp, get guys at-bats. That worked out well.”

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As did the ability to put players in different spots for a quick look, from Moreno playing catcher, left field, second and third, to Lopez getting reps at both second and shortstop, to Whit Merrifield at first. With Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (hamstring) and Santiago Espinal (oblique) flying back to Toronto early in order to get their work in at Rogers Centre on Wednesday, the Blue Jays still have to figure out which position players will be on their roster come Friday, which will impact how many pitchers are selected.

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Moreno is one of those calls, and while there are merits to carrying a third catcher, particularly with how Danny Jansen and Alejandro Kirk are used, a display of his versatility and offensive skill-set adds to the considerations.

“I had the feeling that could happen at some point during those two games and it happened and I was ready for that,” Moreno said of playing around the diamond through interpreter Hector Lebron. “Grateful to have the opportunity to play all of these positions. I can say I have the ability to play different positions and I worked for that. Just having fun, I’m full of emotions. But I did have fun.”

White, who allowed five runs in four innings, was optioned between games for Thornton, meaning he’ll be ineligible for the next 15 days, barring an injury. The same applies to Nate Pearson, who was reinstated from the 60-day injured list after his rehab assignment expired and optioned back to triple-A.

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Intriguingly, Kikuchi has put himself back into consideration for the post-season roster with four straight scoreless appearances, including 1.2 clean innings with two strikeouts in the second game versus the Orioles. Since moving to the bullpen in mid-August, he’s struck out 33 batters in 18.1 innings over 12 outings, although he’s also had a few rough ones in there as he’s adjusted to a new role.

The swing and miss stuff is tempting though, and “I feel like I’m able to attack and get in that attack mindset” as a reliever, Kikuchi said through interpreter Kevin Ando.

“We’ve all talked about it from the beginning of the year, but I just wasn’t quite able to do it,” he continued. “But now I really do feel like I’m able to focus on one pitch at a time, focus on that moment and that moment only, and just go out and attack.”

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Kikcuhi isn’t sure yet about his status for the post-season and Schneider was careful not to tip his hand, although his comments left things open to speculation.

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“Love how he’s looked against left-handed hitters out of the bullpen. He’s throwing strikes, striking guys out. Today was just another example of it,” he said. “What he’s proven down the stretch is, we’re not afraid to put him in spots that matter, spots that are big. He also provides length, too.”

The Blue Jays, barring a surprise, shouldn’t need that bulk from him in the post-season if their rotation pitches to expectation. Schneider didn’t divulge whether it would be Kevin Gausman, who left his last start with a cut on his right middle finger but was said to be fine, or Ross Stripling in Game 2, but either is a fine complement to Manoah, the obvious choice for Game 1.

“Seeing him in those really big moments and obviously the month of September that he’s had,” said Schneider, “like the way he matches up against anybody but confident in him just embracing the atmosphere and doing what he’s been doing all year.”

The same goes for the rest of the Blue Jays, who completed one grind and are now set for another.

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NFL odds Week 5: Ride Mahomes, Chiefs as favorites; best betting trends

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NFL Week 5 is here! Check out why you should place your wager on the Chiefs this week, along with other Week 5 betting trends.



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Ohio State, Alabama, and Michigan headline Joel's Week 6 Top 10 | Breaking the Huddle With Joel Klatt

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On the Week 6 edition of “Breaking the Huddle With Joel Klatt,” Klatt gives an updated version of his Top 10 of the week including the Ohio State Buckeyes, the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Michigan Wolverines. Also included are the Clemson Tigers, Georgia Bulldogs, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Southern California Trojans, Penn State Nittany Lions, Tennessee Volunteers, and Utah Utes.



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