Inter extended their lead at the Serie A summit to 10 points but could only draw 1-1 with Spezia following another Samir Handanovic error on Wednesday.

In their first match since joining and withdrawing from the much-criticised European Super League project, league leaders Inter failed to fully capitalise on second-place Milan's 2-1 loss to Sassuolo earlier in the day.

After scoring an own goal in the 1-1 draw that ended Inter's 11-game winning run in Serie A at Napoli on Sunday, some more shoddy goalkeeping from Handanovic enabled Diego Farias to put Spezia in front early on at Stadio Alberto Picco.

Ivan Perisic bundled in the equaliser on his 200th appearance in all competitions for Inter, who saw Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez each denied by the offside flag late on as they failed to find the winner that would have boosted their Scudetto hopes further.

Spezia were without their top scorer M'Bala Nzola but managed to take a surprise lead in the 12th minute when Farias' effort from just outside the box squirmed past Handanovic.

Inter's final pass was often lacking but after Nicolo Barella sliced their best opportunity wide, Achraf Hakimi teed up fellow wing-back Perisic for the equaliser ahead of half-time.

The Nerazzurri were buoyed by the goal and Martinez saw his shot come back off the post before being gathered by Spezia goalkeeper Ivan Provedel.

A woeful back pass from Ardijan Ismajli gifted Lukaku a chance to put Inter in front after the hour mark but he was unable to round Provedel cleanly and the keeper recovered well to block his second attempt.

Milan Skriniar was unable to turn substitute Alexis Sanchez's free-kick home before Martinez rattled the upright again in the 80th minute.

Lukaku and Martinez were frustrated by offside decisions, but it looked like the winner was finally about to arrive when the pair combined in stoppage time. However, the Argentina international lashed his effort straight at Provedel.

Alex Sandro inspired Juventus to a 3-1 comeback win against Parma in Wednesday's Serie A clash as Andrea Pirlo's men put continuing European Super League drama aside.

Juve chairman Andrea Agnelli was one of the chief architects of the breakaway plans, which are now in tatters after the vast majority of the 12 clubs involved withdrew their support.

Qualifying for next season's Champions League is now the Bianconeri's immediate aim - assuming they are not banned - and they dug deep to avoid the ignominy of losing to the league's second-bottom side at the Allianz Stadium.

Left-back Alex Sandro struck either side of half-time after Gaston Brugman had opened the scoring for Parma from a free-kick and Matthijs de Ligt added a third as Juve strengthened their top-four hopes.

Cristiano Ronaldo was back in Juve's line-up after missing Sunday's 1-0 loss to Atalanta through injury and he tested Simone Colombi inside the opening eight minutes.

But it was the visitors who took the lead through Brugman's swirling free-kick from 25 yards that left stand-in Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon rooted to the spot.

Parma have lost more points from winning positions in 2021 than any side in Europe's top five leagues and they were pegged back just before half-time in Turin.

De Ligt nodded the ball down to Alex Sandro, who used his first touch to flick the ball into the air and his second to blast it away from Colombi on the half-volley.

Alex Sandro added a second 92 seconds into the second half when heading in a Juan Cuadrado cross intended for Paulo Dybala that made it all the way to the back post.

Giuseppe Pezzella went close to levelling with a header that was stopped in front of goal by Arthur - a big moment in the game as De Ligt powered in a header of his own four minutes later.

That set up a serene conclusion to the match for Pirlo's side as they made it four league wins in a row in this fixture for the first time ever.

Son Heung-min scored a late penalty to ensure Ryan Mason's first match as Tottenham caretaker manager ended in a 2-1 win over Southampton, boosting their top four hopes in the absence of Harry Kane.

Spurs' build-up to Wednesday's game was hardly ideal given the loss of Kane to injury before Mourinho was sacked amid the backdrop of the European Super League controversy, but Mason – who became the Premier League's youngest-ever manager (29 years, 312 days) – saw his team recover following a rocky start.

Seemingly a result of Kane's absence, Spurs failed to get a single shot on target in the first half for the first time this season, with Southampton – who went ahead through Danny Ings – good value for their lead.

Gareth Bale's equaliser sparked Spurs into life and, despite the disappointment of having a Son strike disallowed, the South Korean subsequently converted an 88th-minute spot-kick to give Mason's men a boost ahead of Sunday's EFL Cup final with Manchester City.

Milan's hopes of Champions League were qualification were hit by a 2-1 home defeat to Sassuolo in their first match since playing a part in European football's remarkable Super League saga.

The Rossoneri were among 12 elite clubs signed up to play in a controversial new continental competition until England's 'big six' backed out on Tuesday and prompted its collapse.

Milan have not played in the Champions League - the tournament the lucrative Super League sought to rival - since 2013-14 and have work to do to clinch the top-four finish that would end that wait, barring any UEFA sanctions.

Substitute Giacomo Raspadori's quickfire late double, after a superb Hakan Calhanoglu opener, leaves the second-placed side still well within reach for Napoli in fifth, six points ahead but with a game in hand to come for the Partenopei.

Faf du Plessis and Deepak Chahar produced fine displays as Chennai Super Kings just held on to beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 18 runs in an Indian Premier League thriller.

Super Kings moved top of the IPL table with their third consecutive win, while it is now three straight defeats for KKR, all coming while chasing.

Du Plessis scored 95 not out at Wankhede Stadium as Super Kings set KKR a daunting target of 221.

The South African put on 115 for the opening wicket with Ruturaj Gaikwad (64) and added 50 with Moeen Ali (25), remaining at the crease until the innings ended with the score at 220-3.

Chahar (4-29) took four wickets for the second time in three outings, with KKR's top order crumbling as they fell to 31-5 within the first six overs, though CSK's victory was nowhere near as convincing as it should have been from there.

Some trademark huge hitting from Andre Russell – who smashed 54 from 22 balls with six maximums – gave KKR hope. With much-needed support from Dinesh Karthik (40), he embarked on an extraordinary innings until being bowled behind his legs by Sam Curran (1-58).

Russell had reached his fifty in just 21 balls and was visibly frustrated after his dismissal.

Karthik became only the third player ever – after MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma – to reach 200 IPL games and kept going until Lungi Ngidi trapped him lbw, while Pat Cummins continued the fight, scoring 66 not out for his highest career T20 score.

He racked up six maximums and scored 30 from the 16th over off a bewildered Curran, only to see his hopes of engineering a famous win end when numbers 10 and 11 were both run out in the last two overs.

FAF ON FINE FORM

A tremendous innings from Du Plessis saw him score 13 boundaries, including four sixes.

He came close to a hundred and was on strike with 94 to his name with two balls to go only to hit a single, allowing Ravindra Jadeja to smash a six off the only ball he faced and finish the Chennai innings with a flourish.

Du Plessis' 95 was the second-highest score of IPL 2021 and the highest unbeaten innings.

He now holds the highest average (82) of any player – quite the recovery after going out for a duck in the first match against the Delhi Capitals.

UNWELCOME RUN FOR KKR

KKR have gone two years without reaching the play-offs and their start to the season is not helping their hopes of a return to the top four, with this their fourth loss in five meetings with Super Kings.

With three straight defeats, the last time they lost as many consecutive matches in the IPL was back in 2019, when they had a miserable streak of six. They must halt this current run against Rajasthan Royals on Saturday.

Trey Lance took to the field at the Fargodome for the final time on Monday with an opportunity to state one last case to be the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. In these unusual times, it is perhaps fitting that a quarterback with his irregular resume had such a chance.

Behind closed doors at the home of the North Dakota State Bison, Lance threw in front of several teams in his 'second pro day', having shown off his remarkable arm at his first.

The sequel showcase was undoubtedly primarily aimed at impressing Kyle Shanahan, head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, whose trade up to the third overall pick for a successor to much-maligned and oft-injured quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has given them control of a draft in which the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets are widely expected to select Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson one and two.

Whether Lance did enough to convince the Niners he should be the third player off the board remains to be seen. However, if he did, then San Francisco would be taking one of the most significant risks in the history of the NFL Draft.

Lawrence, Wilson, Justin Fields and Mac Jones all have varying strengths and weaknesses, but it is Lance who stands as the draft's ultimate wild card.

Limited second-tier seasoning

He will enter the league with just one full season of college experience - and an uneven 'showcase game' against Central Arkansas last year - after the coronavirus pandemic pushed the Bison's 2020 season into the spring of 2021. And Lance only averaged around 18 pass attempts in a run-heavy offense in his sole campaign.

In addition to inexperience, the level of competition is also a question-mark against Lance's name, his 16 games in 2019 coming in the FCS, college football's second tier. Bison alumnus Carson Wentz made the grade in the NFL, at least initially, playing at the same level, but the pithy cliche about college prospects often playing against 'future insurance salesmen' is one all too easily applied to Lance.

Yet so impressive were his performances in 2019 that Lance represents an enticing potential project for coaches like Shanahan, and there is significant visual and statistical evidence to suggest he can silence doubts about his inexperience and lack of elite opposition to develop into one of the NFL's most exciting young quarterbacks.

Boundless throwing upside

The raw yardage numbers do not make for spectacular reading for Lance, who finished 2019 with 2,786 passing yards.

However, that is more down to the philosophy of the NDSU offense rather than any limitations he has as a thrower.

Lance averaged 9.71 yards per pass attempt in 2019, ranking eighth among all quarterbacks in the FBS and FCS, with Fields (9.25) 13th and Lawrence (9.00) 18th.

His completion percentage of 66.9 was 17th across the FBS and FCS, below Fields (67.2) but above Lawrence (65.8) and it could have been markedly higher had Lance been more consistent with his downfield accuracy.

Blessed with arm strength that makes throws to all levels of the field available to him, Lance can hit on the deep ball with unerring placement but, unsurprisingly for a player of his limited experience, underthrows and overthrows were also a regular feature of his time with the Bison.

While that may be a concern in terms of his immediate impact at the next level, the fact he still connected on passes at that rate while often missing downfield is illustrative of the room to grow that has many believing he could end up being the best pro of this crop of quarterbacks.

A calm head on young shoulders

Lance's composure and his discipline in taking care of the football should make his transition to the pros smoother and potentially more expedient.

The standout number from his 2019 campaign was his interception tally. Zero. No other quarterback in the FBS and the FCS with a minimum of 200 pass attempts avoided throwing the ball to an opposition player.

That is not to say there weren't instances where Lance was fortunate not to be picked off, and he was finally intercepted in his sole 2020 appearance, but the consistency of his decision-making combined with the fact his blemish-free season came in a year where he also accounted for 42 touchdowns played a significant role in his rapid rise up draft boards.

Fourteen of those scores came in an area of the game where his case for having the edge over the rest of the first-round quarterbacks is most impressive.

Dual-threat dominance

A devastatingly effectively runner in the open field, Lance is a frightening dual-threat who builds speed with long strides and uses every inch of an imposing 6ft 4in and 226-pound frame to inflict punishment on opposing defenders and barrel them over for extra yardage.

Only four quarterbacks across the FBS and FCS had more rushing touchdowns than Lance's 14, while his rushing average of 6.5 was fifth among signal-callers to have registered at least 100 rushing attempts.

Lawrence's 2019 rushing average was only a yard shy of Lance's as the Clemson phenom added nine scores on the ground.

Fields had 10 rushing touchdowns in his sophomore campaign, with that duo each continuing to excel as runners in 2020 as Wilson also produced a demonstration of his athletic upside last season with 10 scores (Lawrence had eight and Fields five).

But none of that trio have proven as physically dominant as Lance when he gets into space and it is the blend of his upside as a rusher and the variety of high-difficulty throws at his dispsoal that makes the prospect of putting him at the helm of a pro offense such an enticing one.

The determination the 49ers and other teams eyeing a quarterback in the draft must make is whether his astronomical ceiling is worth the risk of investing in a player whose bridge from high school to the pros was essentially one season of bullyball against second-rate opponents.

Regardless of how his career ultimately turns out, Lance's diverse and dynamic skill set ensures the team that decides to take that gamble is in for a thrilling ride.

Robert Lewandowski has returned to full Bayern Munich training after recovering from knee ligament damage.

Bayern's superstar striker has not played since Poland's 3-0 World Cup qualifying win over Andorra on March 28.

But after nearly a month out, the club confirmed on Wednesday Lewandowski "completed the majority of full training", with coach Hansi Flick optimistic he could feature at Mainz on Saturday.

Bayern also had Serge Gnabry, returning from coronavirus, and Corentin Tolisso, out since February with a thigh injury, back in light training.

The defending Bundesliga champions can clinch another title this weekend and would be delighted to welcome back Lewandowski.

Despite missing several weeks, the 32-year-old still leads all players in Europe's 'top five' leagues in goals (42) and goal involvements (50) in all competitions.

Lewandowski has scored with 28.8 per cent of his shots across 36 matches, although he has also missed 25 Opta-defined 'big chances'. Only Duvan Zapata (29) and Cristiano Ronaldo (27) have squandered more, though this is likely down to the sheer number of chances that come their way.

Of his goals, 35 have come in the Bundesliga, putting Lewandowski just five shy of Gerd Muller's 1971-72 record of 40, albeit now with only four games remaining.

The domestic competition will be Lewandowski's sole focus after Bayern exited the Champions League to Paris Saint-Germain on away goals in his absence.

Lewandowski was badly missed as Bayern scored just three goals from 45 shots and eight 'big chances' over the two legs. In the 3-2 home defeat, their 31 attempts were worth 3.8 expected goals, meaning they should have netted roughly twice as many they did.

Not since Galatasaray lost 4-1 to Arsenal in December 2014 despite 32 efforts had a team been beaten while attempting 30 shots or more in a Champions League game that did not go to extra time.

Back-up Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting scored home and away against his former club, however, and had four goals in six games while Lewandowski was out.

Only Gerard Moreno (six), Kylian Mbappe and Memphis Depay (both five) in the 'top five' leagues netted more in all competitions over this period.

Jonny Bairstow ensured Sunrisers Hyderabad ended their winless start to the Indian Premier League with a thumping nine-wicket victory over Punjab Kings.

Punjab always looked likely to fall to a third straight defeat after they could only post 120 all out at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium on Wednesday.

After losing skipper KL Rahul for just four, their innings looked doomed when Mayank Agarwal (22) departed and Nicholas Pooran (0) in consecutive balls, with Chris Gayle (15) also dismissed before the halfway point.

Pooran was run out without facing a delivery after being promoted up to number four in the order.

Shahrukh Khan added 22 and scored the only two maximums of a disappointing Kings innings, as Khaleel Ahmed led the Sunrisers with figures of 3-21 from his four overs.

Openers Bairstow and David Warner scored 73 from the first 10 overs to ensure a maiden win of 2021 never looked in doubt for Sunrisers.

The Australia batsman fell for a run-a-ball 37 after Agarwal held on to a catch off the bowling of Fabian Allen (1-22).

But Bairstow (63 not out) remained for the duration of a comfortable run chase after being joined by Kane Williamson (16no).

SUNRISERS UP AND RUNNING

Sunrisers had lost their first three matches by just 10, six and 13 runs respectively, so they have not been far away despite their winless start.

Having also lost the last game they played in 2020, defeat in this game would have equalled their longest ever IPL losing run of five.

But having made the play-offs in each of the last five years, they will hope this much-needed victory kickstarts their season to ensure that impressive streak can continue.

BAIRSTOW FORM CONTINUES

It has been a good start to the competition for England batsman Bairstow, whose unbeaten 56-ball innings here contained six boundaries and included three maximums.

After coming into the match with scores of 55, 12 and 43 to his name, Bairstow now averages 57.66 and will be key to the Sunrisers' hopes of contending.

Ronald Koeman does not believe Barcelona's involvement in the collapsed European Super League will have an impact on the title run-in in LaLiga.

Barca were among 12 elite clubs - three of them from Spain - to sign up for the controversial new continental competition over the weekend.

But by Tuesday night, the tournament - a rival to the Champions League - had collapsed after England's 'big six' pulled out and others followed.

The Blaugrana were said to be considering their position ahead of the first U-turn from Manchester City, although no announcement of the Catalan club's withdrawal had followed at Camp Nou by Wednesday when Koeman faced the media.

The head coach was speaking ahead of Thursday's home game against Getafe.

Barca head into the midweek round of fixtures third in LaLiga, five points behind leaders Atletico Madrid and two shy of Real Madrid but with a game in hand over both.

Although Atleti and Madrid were each also part of the Super League plans, it was put to Koeman that his players might be distracted in their pursuit of the championship.

"I don't agree," he replied. "Players want to win titles, I have no doubt about my players. We're going to be fine at tomorrow's game."

Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli - a key Super League figure - has accepted defeat in their breakaway bid, but Koeman was reluctant to comment on Barca's status as "no one knows what can happen".

"I spoke to the president yesterday and he explained the club's position," Koeman said.

"There's been so much movement that it's best not to have an opinion. No one knows what can happen and we have to wait. I want what's best for the club.

"I'm not the spokesman, it's the president. My job is to prepare the game. There is so much movement with this topic that we have to wait for how this ends.

"I'm not surprised. We want what's best for the club. If there's anyone who needs to talk about this, it's clearly the president.

"I don't know if they asked the players; I'm not interested. We're playing a game tomorrow."

Even those coaches critical of the Super League - like Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola - have highlighted issues with UEFA, which is pressing ahead with its own expanded Champions League.

Koeman said: "The number of matches is incredible. [The players] have had to play a lot of competitions.

"Everyone is talking about the Super League, the Champions League... but UEFA is not heeding players about the number of matches. All they care about is money.

"In LaLiga, anyway, tomorrow we play at 22:00 [local time]. We have to protect the players."

Getafe won 1-0 in the reverse fixture earlier this season but have never done the double over Barca, who have since turned their season around.

Prior to their Clasico defeat last time out in LaLiga, Koeman's side were unbeaten in 19 in the competition. An undefeated run at home stretches back 12 games.

Barca have scored 69 times in the league, their joint-lowest tally through 31 games in the past 13 seasons but also the highest mark in the league this term. Lionel Messi (23) alone has netted more goals than Getafe.

The Blaugrana also bounced back from the loss in Madrid by winning 4-0 against Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final on Saturday.

"The image of the team the other day in the final was very good, the attitude and the level of play," Koeman added.

"It's not just a title. We've been improving things for a while, and I think, according to a lot of people, they're happy.

"We're working well, but in a club it depends on the results. What we're doing is a big thing."

With each team down a superstar, Paul George lifted the Los Angeles Clippers to a 113-112 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday after a last-minute rally. 

The Clippers trailed by five entering the final minute of the game, but George hit two field goals and followed with two free throws to give the visiting side the lead with 4.8 seconds left. 

George finished with 33 points and 11 rebounds as Kawhi Leonard missed the game after returning from a sore foot two days earlier. 

The Blazers played without Damian Lillard, who missed his third consecutive game with a hamstring problem.

His absence left CJ McCollum to carry the load with 28 points, but he made only 11 of 26 shots from the floor and missed what would have been the game-winning shot at the buzzer. 

 

Irving lifts Nets past Pelicans

The Nets also continue to miss key players, but they too have enough stars on hand to get by. Tuesday it was Kyrie Irving stepping up for injury-wracked Brooklyn in a 134-129 win over the Pelicans in New Orleans. 

Irving scored 32 points and had eight assists and Joe Harris contributed 24 points as seven Brooklyn players scored in double figures. 

The Nets needed plenty of scoring to overcome a big night by Zion Williamson, who made 14 of 19 from the field to finish with 33 points and added seven rebounds. 

 

Fox's shooting touch disappears

After averaging 30.5 points in Sacramento's previous eight games, De'Aaron Fox managed only 14 in 28 minutes in the Kings' 134-120 home loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The point guard made just five of 17 shots from the field, a 29.4 per cent shooting effort. It was his worst offensive showing since he scored 12 points on five of 20 shooting in a loss to the Lakers on April 2.  

 

The Ant Man soars

Fans of the Timberwolves (16-43) haven't had much to cheer about this season, but at least top draft pick and Rookie of the Year contender Anthony Edwards can fill up a highlight reel on his own. The 19-year-old had a game-high 28 points in the rare Minnesota win.

 

Tuesday's results

New York Knicks 109-97 Charlotte Hornets
Atlanta Hawks 112-96 Orlando Magic
Brooklyn Nets 134-129 New Orleans Pelicans
Los Angeles Clippers 113-112 Portland Trail Blazers
Minnesota Timberwolves 134-120 Sacramento Kings 

 

Suns at 76ers

The Phoenx Suns (41-16), second in the Western Conference, travel to face the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia 76ers (39-18) in a meeting of top NBA title contenders Wednesday.

The Angels' stars were on display Tuesday in Anaheim, as Mike Trout and Albert Pujols hit towering home runs to back two-way star Shohei Ohtani and the pitching staff in a 6-2 win over the Texas Rangers. 

Making his second start of the season, Ohtani baffled Rangers hitters for better or for worse in his four shutout innings. He allowed just one hit, but walked six and struck out seven as he worked his way into and out of jams throughout his stint on the mound. 

Though Ohtani's 11 walks through two starts are a concern, MLB hitters have yet to demonstrate they can do much damage against him with the bat. 

The same cannot be said for the heart of the Angels' lineup. After Trout hammered a 446-foot home run in the sixth inning, Pujols hit one exactly the same distance in the seventh. It was Pujols' second homer of the season and the 664th of his career.

 

Urias takes pitchers' duel

There was little margin for error between the Dodgers' Julio Urias (seven innings, one hit, career-high 11 strikeouts) and the Mariners' Marco Gonzales (seven innings, two hits, six strikeouts) on Tuesday.

The two teams combined for just three hits -- a single and a double by Los Angeles and a single by Seattle -- as the World Series champions prevailed 1-0.

According to Stats Perform, the four combined total bases were the fewest ever in an interleague game. 

 

Cardinals' bullpen blows up

Adam Wainwright turned in a vintage start for St. Louis against the Nationals, but a meltdown by the Cardinals' bullpen led to a 3-2 loss in Washington. Wainwright left after seven innings, holding a 2-1 lead after striking out 10. 

But his replacement, Giovanny Gallegos, could not close the door. He walked the first batter he faced and hit the second before eventually walking Josh Harrison with the bases loaded and two outs to force in what proved to be the winning run. 

 

Spectacular catch backs spectacular pitching

Corbin Burnes had another remarkable outing for the Brewers, striking out 10 without walking a batter to give him 40 strikeouts and zero walks this season. According to Stats Perform, Burnes is the first pitcher to fan at least 40 without walking a man over any four-game span in the modern era.

Impressive as those numbers are, Burnes would not have kept the Padres off the scoreboard in a 6-0 win without an incredible diving catch by Billy McKinney in left field to end the fourth inning with two San Diego runners stranded on base. 

 

Tuesday's results

New York Yankees 3-1 Atlanta Braves
Oakland Athletics 7-0 Minnesota Twins
Oakland Athletics 1-0 Minnesota Twins
Los Angeles Dodgers 1-0 Seattle Mariners
Chicago White Sox 8-5 Cleveland Indians
Baltimore Orioles 7-5 Miami Marlins
Washington Nationals 3-2 St. Louis Cardinals
San Francisco Giants 10-7 Philadelphia Phillies
Boston Red Sox 4-2 Toronto Blue Jays
Chicago Cubs 3-1 New York Mets
Tampa Bay Rays 14-7 Kansas City Royals
Colorado Rockies 6-2 Houston Astros
Los Angeles Angels 6-2 Texas Rangers
Milwaukee Brewers 6-0 San Diego Padres
Arizona Diamondbacks 5-4 Cincinnati Reds (suspended)
Pittsburgh Pirates-Detroit Tigers (postponed)

 

Giants at Phillies

San Francisco (10-6) will turn to pitcher Anthony DeSclafani to try to complete a three-game sweep of the Phillies (8-8). The right-hander has allowed just two runs over 17 innings in three starts this season, for a 1.06 ERA. 

Andrea Pirlo and his Juventus team are "calm" about the club's involvement in the breakaway European Super League and remain focused on first qualifying for the Champions League.

Juve were among 12 elite clubs to announce plans to launch a lucrative new continental competition on Sunday. All founding clubs would controversially be guaranteed participation every season.

Bianconeri chairman Andrea Agnelli is at the forefront of the plans, prompting criticism from UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, who is charged with organising the rival Champions League.

Ceferin has made a number of threats towards the dozen clubs involved, including the suggestion their players could be banned from international fixtures.

But Pirlo is confident the saga is not providing a distraction ahead of Juve's game on Wednesday against Parma, who they could beat in four successive Serie A meetings for the first time.

Three points would be particularly precious with Pirlo's men in fourth, struggling to qualify for the Champions League.

While Super League proposals suggested a swift start to the new tournament, meaning Juve would no longer play in UEFA's competition, Agnelli has encouraged the players to ensure they finish in the top four this term.

"We are focused on what we need to do and that is to qualify for the Champions League," Pirlo said.

"This morning the president told us about the Super League. We are calm, because the president is planning this thing, but we have to think about the present, which is qualification for the Champions League.

"[The Super League] is a development for the world of football. There's been a lot of change over the years, but I'm not the right person to explain this.

"The president is at the forefront and he will be better able to explain things as they are these days, as the other presidents are doing.

"I didn't hear anything further from the president, because we see him most days and so he's always been close to the team.

"He explained the project to us broadly, not in detail, but he gave us great confidence and told us that the most important thing is to continue our work to earn the Champions League on the field.

"For now, [the Super League] is just a project and [the players] have to rest easy because football goes on.

"They know that the present is tomorrow's game and they must focus on the present and Parma."

Juve have lost five of their 31 league games so far this season, their most at this stage of a campaign since 2010-11 (nine) - the last time the title went anywhere other Turin.

The most recent of those defeats came last time out against Atalanta, but Pirlo was without Cristiano Ronaldo.

The coach confirmed Ronaldo, along with Gianluigi Buffon and Paulo Dybala, would start against Parma, one of the superstar forward's favourite opponents.

He has scored two or more goals in three games against Parma in Serie A. Against no side has he done so more often, also netting at least twice in three matches with Cagliari.

Head coach Mike Tomlin has signed a three-year contract extension with the Steelers, keeping him in Pittsburgh through the 2024 season.

Tomlin has been in charge of the Steelers since 2007 and won Super Bowl XLIII in February 2009.

The youngest coach to win the Super Bowl, Tomlin and Pittsburgh lost the big game on their next trip two years later and have not returned since.

But the Steelers have repeatedly challenged, reaching the playoffs in nine of his 14 seasons.

In 2020, the Steelers made an 11-0 start before an underwhelming end to the season. Four defeats in five and a 12-4 record was still enough to win the AFC North, but Pittsburgh then suffered a humiliating postseason defeat to division rival the Cleveland Browns.

They are keeping faith with Tomlin, however.

"Mike is one of the most successful head coaches in the National Football League," president Art Rooney II said.

"And we are confident in his leadership to continue to lead our team as we work to win another championship."

The Steelers have favoured continuity, with Tomlin just their third coach since 1969 – the others Hall of Famers Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher.

Tomlin, whose contract had been set to expire at the end of the coming season, said: "I am extremely grateful for this contract extension and want to thank Art Rooney II and everyone in the organisation for the support in my first 14 seasons.

"We have a goal of winning the organisation's seventh Super Bowl championship, and I couldn't be more enthusiastic about this upcoming season."

The Steelers have restructured veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's contract, so it voids after 2021.

But the 39-year-old is set to start under center for one more season after finishing the previous campaign with an eventful display against the Browns.

Roethlisberger threw for more than 500 yards (501) for the fourth time in his career and set new highs for attempts (68) and completions (47). He finished with four touchdowns and four interceptions.

Harry Kane faces a race to be fit for Tottenham's clash with Manchester City in the EFL Cup final after missing training on Tuesday.

The striker looks certain not to be involved in Wednesday's Premier League home match against Southampton after suffering an ankle injury in last Friday's 2-2 draw with Everton.

Caretaker head coach Ryan Mason, who took over from the sacked Jose Mourinho on Monday, could offer no guarantee the England captain would be ready for Sunday's Wembley trip.

Mason said in a news conference: "I'm not sure currently. He didn't train today. It's one of those cases of taking it day by day. We're still not sure about the weekend just yet.

"What we do now is Harry's working extremely hard to get over this injury."

Kane has scored 31 goals and had 16 assists across all competitions this season, making him the only player from Europe's 'top five' leagues to score 30 or more times and add at least 15 assists.

Handed the job until the end of the season, rookie coach Mason is a former Tottenham player who had to retire three years ago due to a head injury sustained while at Hull City.

The 29-year-old said he was "very proud" to be chosen to lead the team, and rallied the players by declaring: "I want us to be brave and aggressive and play like Tottenham Hotspur."

Chairman Daniel Levy proposed Mason should succeed Mourinho as interim boss after dismissing the former Chelsea and Manchester United manager.

"We had a very long conversation," Mason said. "I took training, we had another conversation and he asked me if I wanted it."

Former Charlton Athletic and England defender Chris Powell and ex-Watford man Nigel Gibbs will be assistants to Mason.

Mason said he and former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino had "exchanged a few messages" since the dramatic upheaval. He also said he had not spoken to Mourinho.

Mason was in the line-up the last time Saints won at Spurs in the Premier League, a 2-1 victory in May 2016, but Tottenham have typically had Southampton's number in north London, winning eight of their past nine at home in this fixture.

Tottenham's impressive record in home Premier League games on Wednesday is another positive omen as Mason seeks a winning start. Since a 1-0 loss to Leicester City in January 2016, they have won 10 of their 11 such matches (D1), scoring 25 goals and conceding just four.

Son Heung-min scored four goals in Tottenham’s 5-2 win against Southampton in the reverse fixture earlier this season, with all four assisted by Kane. That remains the only occasion in Premier League history when a player has scored four goals in a match with each of them assisted by the same player.

Mason will have plenty to think about as he prepares to boss a team in a Premier League game for the first time, a situation he had not seen coming and described as "crazy".

The man who joined Tottenham's academy as an eight-year-old, going on to reach first-team level and England selection, is determined to take the change of circumstances in his stride.

"It's football," he said. "Anything can happen. You just have to be ready for what football can throw at you at times."

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane deflected questions about the proposed breakaway European Super League, insisting it was a matter for president Florentino Perez.

Madrid were among 12 clubs to announce their involvement in the controversial new competition on Sunday.

Los Blancos have been European champions a record 13 times, but this tournament would rival the Champions League.

The anti-competitive nature of the format, which would mean the 12 'founding clubs' could not be demoted, has been widely criticised, yet Zidane would not give his opinion.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday's game against Cadiz, the coach said: "That's a matter of one person, of the president.

"I'm here to talk about the game, not to talk about other things. The rest is not my job."

UEFA could yet attempt to expel Madrid, along with fellow semi-finalists Chelsea and Manchester City, from this season's Champions League.

The idea of banning Super League players from international football has also been mooted.

But Zidane, who refused to give an opinion again when asked if he had spoken to Perez, insists his squad are not distracted by the matter.

"We don't talk about it in the locker room," he said. "We have a game to get right."

While there is uncertainty around how the remainder of this season might play out, as well as Madrid's involvement in competitions going forward, Zidane is determined his players will keep pushing to win LaLiga.

A goalless draw against Getafe at the weekend saw the champions lose ground in the title race, slipping three points behind leaders Atletico Madrid.

Having held Liverpool in Europe in their previous match, Los Blancos could have three consecutive 0-0 draws for the first time since March 2006.

And Cadiz beat Madrid 1-0 in the reverse fixture earlier this season. They are the only LaLiga opponents Zidane has never defeated and could become the first promoted side to achieve a league double against Madrid since Real Burgos in 1990-91.

But Zidane is not ready to concede the title, adding: "We've been here eight months and [people say] it's all over. I was on the street, the players were worthless...

"And that's never the case. The important thing is that there is life. We're competing, which is what we like, and we're going to compete until the last day.

"Whatever happens, we're going to compete until the last day. I don't know if we're going to win, but we're going to put all the strength in it."

Zidane confirmed Madrid would again be without record signing Eden Hazard, who has not featured since March 13 due to a calf injury.

The €100million winger has played just 646 minutes across 14 games in all competitions this season, scoring with three of his 14 shots and creating six chances and a single assist.

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