Simone Inzaghi never doubted his Inter side had what it took to fight back from two goals down to beat Empoli 4-2 in Friday's thrilling Serie A contest.

Inter were two goals down at San Siro after Andrea Pinamonti, who is registered to the reigning Italian champions, and Kristjan Asllani found the net inside the first 28 minutes.

That had Empoli well on course for a first away win in 10 away league matches, only for Milan youth product Simone Romagnoli to put into his own net and give Inter a lifeline.

Lautaro Martinez then blasted home a couple of first-time finishes either side of half-time, before substitute Alexis Sanchez made certain of the victory in added time.

The win for Inter – their ninth in a row against Empoli in Serie A – moves them one point above Milan, who can reclaim top spot when they travel to Hellas Verona on Sunday.

And despite his side uncharacteristically gifting the visitors two early goals, Inzaghi was ultimately pleased with the response. 

"We've said in the past few days that we must pay attention to Empoli and defend well. But I always knew that the team would have the right reaction," he told DAZN.

"We created chances and took many shots. [Guglielmo] Vicario was very good in goal."

 

Inter registered 37 shots in total – 10 of those on target – which is the most of any side in a single game in Europe's top five leagues this season.

In front of a packed home crowd, Inzaghi felt his side tried too hard to make a fast start and were made to pay by their opponents.

"An experienced team like ours shouldn't concede goals like that, but the feeling is that we wanted to score immediately in front of this crowd," he said.

"I think we set the record today for the number of shots. In the first 25 minutes or so we were too frenzied to take the lead and Empoli put us under pressure.

"But we showed a great reaction and that has to be congratulated."

Inter will have one eye on Milan's trip to Verona on Sunday, but their immediate focus now switches to Wednesday's Coppa Italia final showdown with Juventus.

And with six wins from their past seven games in all competitions, Inzaghi's side will enter that match at Stadio Olimpico with the wind in their sails.

"We'll take a great injection of confidence for what lies ahead," the Inter head coach added. "This team has been going strong since August, moving forward in all competitions.

"This victory against a very organised opponent will only give us confidence."

Charles Oliveira has been stripped of his belt after failing to make weight for his lightweight title fight with Justin Gaethje at UFC 274. 

The Brazilian will still take on Gaethje in Nevada on Saturday but a victory would only see the lightweight belt remain vacant. Should Gaethje win, however, he would be crowned champion. 

Oliveira initially weighed in half a pound over the 155lb limit and was unable to shift it after being granted an extra hour. 

The UFC did not confirm what fine Oliveira would face for failing to make weight for the main event. 

Oliveira won the lightweight championship after it was vacated by Khabib Nurmagomedov by beating Michael Chandler at UFC 262 in May 2021. 

He then mounted a successful defence against Dustin Poirier at UFC 269 in December.

Mauricio Pochettino has found an ally in Peter Bosz after the Paris Saint-Germain boss was snubbed in nominations for a Ligue 1 coach of the year award.

Lyon boss Bosz said Pochettino's PSG have produced "a very good season" and commended Pochettino for his work in Paris, where he led a star-studded team to title success.

The French players' union, UNFP, revealed nominees this week for the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 prizes.

Pochettino did not make the five-man shortlist for the Ligue 1 coach award, which instead was made up of Christophe Galtier (Nice), Bruno Genesio (Rennes), Antoine Kombouare (Nantes), Jorge Sampaoli (Marseille) and Julien Stephan (Strasbourg).

Galtier won the award last year when he led Lille to the league title, pipping PSG, but this year has been a procession, with Pochettino's team 14 points clear of second-placed Marseille with three games remaining.

Bosz said of Pochettino: "Of course he has the best individual players, but in my opinion to build a team is the hardest thing at this club.

"He's a good coach. He's champion of France with the best players certainly, but you can't be champion all the time. His job is the most difficult in our championship.

"They've been champions since October, that's clear. They've always been ahead. They've produced a very good season."

PSG were knocked out of the Coupe de France by Nice on penalties in January, and saw their Champions League challenge ended in March by Real Madrid, who came back from 2-0 down on aggregate deep into the second leg of their last-16 tie to win 3-2 overall, setting the tone for the Spanish giants' dramatic run to the final.

By winning only two major trophies – this season's Ligue 1 and last term's Coupe de France – Pochettino has faced speculation over whether PSG intend to keep him at the helm.

While Pochettino was not included in the UNFP nominations, and nor were Neymar and Lionel Messi, PSG do have some representation ahead of the May 15 Trophees du Football ceremony.

Kylian Mbappe has been nominated as a contender for player of the year, Gianluigi Donnarumma is on the goalkeeper of the year shortlist, and teenage left-back Nuno Mendes features in the five-man pool for the young player of the year honour.

Real Madrid's dramatic Champions League turnaround against Manchester City showed Carlos Sainz he has plenty of time to get his Formula One season back on track. 

Riyad Mahrez looked to have done enough to deny Madrid a place in the final of Europe's premier club competition on Tuesday but two last-gasp goals from Rodrygo forced extra time at the Santiago Bernabeu. 

Karim Benzema's penalty then gave the Spanish giants a 6-5 aggregate semi-final victory to book their place in the showpiece match against Liverpool. 

Madrid fan Sainz is finding himself under pressure to turn things around at Ferrari, having been forced to retire in the opening stages of the previous two races. 

Ahead of this weekend's maiden Miami Grand Prix, Sainz joked that anything is still possible for him this season given the feat Madrid managed to pull off. 

"Missing the 600 kilometres [of the past two races] hurts me more than the zero points, because the kilometres are what make you learn about the car and the new regulations," he told AS. 

"I did a test in Imola in which I also had a problem, but we are recovering as best we can. It's part of the athlete's life. There are always better and worse moments. 

"The last two races have not been ideal – far from it – but we have also had a bit of bad luck. Now we want a clean weekend to try to recover. 

"Madrid had it worse. I have 19 races left. Madrid had five minutes left!" 

However, Sainz revealed that promotional duties meant he missed Rodrygo's late double. 

"It was amazing. I missed the last few minutes of chaos because I was in the middle of an event with Shell. It shows that nothing is decided until the last minute," he added. 

Mumbai Indians claimed back-to-back Indian Premier League wins with a stunning final-ball success against top-of-the-table Gujarat Titans, with Daniel Sams giving up just three runs in a thrilling final over.

Ishan Kishan (45) and Rohit Sharma (43) made it a good start for Mumbai with the bat, but the IPL's bottom side suffered a succession of losses midway through their innings as they reached 177-6.

The Titans appeared to be well on their way to chasing down that target, as Wriddhiman Saha (55) and Shubman Gill (52) fired them to 106 before their first loss.

However, the Titans suffered their own middle-order collapse, with Sams eventually producing a terrific final over to deny them the nine runs they needed for victory.

Having been put in to bat, Mumbai began strongly, with their classy top-order pair holding out until the eighth over before Rohit was dismissed by Rashid Khan following a review.

While Ishan went in the 12th over, Suryakumar Yadav (13), Tilak Varma (21), and Kieron Pollard (four) struggled to make inroads as Khan recorded another wicket and two catches, before Tim David hit 44 off 21 balls to set a respectable target for the Indians, who claimed their first victory of the season last time out after losing their first eight contests.

Having watched the Mumbai top-order produce a strong display, Saha and Gill went even better until the 13th over when both fell to Murugan Ashwin, before Sai Sudharsan and Hardik went for 14 and 24 respectively as Mumbai set up a tense finale.

Having failed to take a wicket in his two previous overs, Sams took the ball for the decisive final moments, denying David Miller (19 not out) a crucial boundary with the final two balls as the Indians belied their dreadful season to limit the Titans to 172, claiming a dramatic win.

Ashwin eliminates dangermen to kick-start comeback

Ashwin's two wickets were crucial in instigating Mumbai's fightback, taking down Saha and Gill when the table-topping Titans looked certain to cruise to victory, recording his seventh and eighth wickets of the campaign.

Indians share the scoring with the bat

Neither Ishan nor Rohit have reached top form this term, averaging just 30.00 and 19.80 respectively, but their combined 88 established a foundation for Mumbai's victory, while David's quickfire 44, his highest score of the campaign, provided just enough impetus to get Mumbai over the line.

Lautaro Martinez struck twice as Inter recovered from two goals down to beat Empoli 4-2 in a thrilling contest and climb above fierce rivals Milan at the top of Serie A.

Empoli had failed to win any of their previous nine away league games yet took the lead inside five minutes at San Siro through Andrea Pinamonti, who is on loan from Inter.

Inter were two goals behind when Kristjan Asllani fired in, but Martinez struck after ex-Milan man Simone Romagnoli had put into his own net to level up before half-time.

Martinez completed the comeback in the 64th minute and Alexis Sanchez added a late fourth as Inter moved one point above Milan, who travel to Hellas Verona on Sunday.

Pinamonti slid in to meet Szymon Zurkowski's cross and give Empoli an early lead, the striker proving true to his word by not celebrating the goal.

Asllani had a goal ruled out for an offside infringement but, after Inter had a penalty awarded and then ruled out by VAR, the youngster brilliantly controlled a pass and fired home.

But Romagnoli's own goal when trying to cut out Federico Dimarco's cross gave Inter hope and Martinez guided in a first-time shot five minutes later to wipe out Empoli's lead.

Martinez's second arrived following a sustained spell of Inter pressure, the Argentina striker volleying past Guglielmo Vicario after Riccardo Fiamozzi only half-cleared the ball.

Sanchez then added some gloss to the scoreline in added time when converting a pass from fellow substitute Edin Dzeko.

Novak Djokovic labelled Carlos Alcaraz as "special" and praised the Spaniard for "breathing new life into the world of tennis".

Serbian Djokovic defeated Pole Hubert Hurkacz 6-3 6-4 to reach his seventh Madrid Open semi-final, where he will meet Alcaraz, who overcame Rafael Nadal 6-2 1-6 6-3 on Friday.

Victory made 19-year-old Alcaraz the first teenager to beat record 21-time grand slam winner Nadal on clay on the ATP Tour.

Alcaraz has won his last five matches against top-10 opponents and next faces world number one Djokovic for a place in the final in the Spanish capital.

Djokovic was quick to hail Alcaraz, who will play in his third ATP Masters 1000 semi-final on Saturday.

"There are many things that are special about him," Djokovic said in a news conference.

"In the last decades, we have had some incredible champions [as teenagers] like Michael Chang. But, nowadays, we're not used to seeing someone who is a teenager and already breaks into the top 10 and plays at such a high level.

"His growth, his improvement and his trajectory, especially in the last six months, have been incredible.

"He is a very nice guy off the court. I had the opportunity to train with him and spend a little time off the court with him here in Madrid, and I must say that on all fronts, he is great on and off the court."

Quoted by Spanish media, Djokovic said of Alcaraz: "I love watching him play, like many other players on tour. I praise his game without a doubt. It's fantastic for our sport, without a doubt.

"I think it's fantastic that we have a young player who is doing so well and who is breathing new life into the world of tennis."

Alcaraz expressed personal delight after defeating clay-court great and compatriot Nadal, battling back from an injury worry in the second set.

"It means a lot to me. All the hard work I put in every day has paid off," he said in the aftermath of his victory. "To beat Rafa, the best player in history on clay, it means a lot.

"The fall in the second set affected me a lot. When I lost the set I went to the bathroom and thought I would be able to come back to do my best and try everything.

"I wanted to fight until the last ball and that was the key."

Lewis Hamilton has hit back at Helmut Marko's suggestion he should have retired last year, calling the Red Bull advisor's words "disrespectful" and pledging to use any criticism thrown his way as "fuel".

Hamilton has made a poor start to the 2022 campaign after losing the drivers' championship title to Max Verstappen in a thrilling conclusion to the 2021 season, finishing 13th at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix last time out.

After the seven-time world champion was lapped by Verstappen at Imola, Marko, who made nine Formula One starts in his own racing career in the early 1970s before being made blind in one eye by an accident, suggested Hamilton might be regretting his decision to participate this season.

"I mean, he was lapped by us, so I don't know," Marko told Sky Sports F1 in the aftermath of the race. "Maybe he is thinking he should have stopped last year."

On the eve of the inaugural Miami Grand Prix, Hamilton said such comments will only motivate him to get back to top form.

"People always love you when you're up, and love to kick you when you're down. It's a part of life," Hamilton told Sky Sports.

"Naturally, I've seen some people I've grown up admiring as a kid and even in the sport, that have come out with some things, some disrespectful, or not particularly respectful of my name.

"For me, I have to make sure I use that as fuel. I'm putting that into the pot, and I'm going to turn that into a positive and come back stronger. We are going to come back stronger as a team.

"Four bad races, or five, six, seven, 10 bad races… is not going to stop me doing what I love doing. It's not going to stop me in my tracks.

"I've been racing for 29 years and I've had way more difficult times than this and bounced back. It's not how you fall, it's how you get up.

"Nothing you say or do is going to stop me in my tracks."

Hamilton sits seventh in the drivers' championship standings after four races of the new season, having recorded just one podium finish so far this term.

 

Carlos Alcaraz withstood an injury scare and a fightback from Rafael Nadal to beat his countryman and set up a semi-final with Novak Djokovic at the Madrid Open.

The 19-year-old had lost his previous two encounters with Nadal, but he came out on top 6-2 1-6 6-3 in Friday's match in the Spanish capital.

It made him the first teenager to beat the record 21-time grand slam winner on clay on the ATP Tour.

Alcaraz has now won his last five matches against top-10 opponents and will next take on world number one Djokovic, who earlier defeated Hubert Hurkacz 6-3 6-4, for a place in Sunday's final.

Nadal, who had won his previous 25 matches against fellow Spaniards, struggled to handle the intensity of his opponent's game in a first set that saw him lose serve three times.

Alcaraz struck 19 winners in the opening set in total and took three games in a row to edge ahead, though the youngster lost his footing at 1-1 in the second set and required a medical time-out.

After having his ankle strapped up, Alcaraz struggled to match his levels from the first set and Nadal – competing in a record-extending 99th Masters 1000 quarter-final – went through the gears, taking 20 of the final 22 points to level the contest.

That gave Nadal momentum heading into the deciding set, yet it was Alcaraz who earned the only break of serve in the fourth game with some powerful hitting before seeing out a statement victory.

Lewis Hamilton warned Formula One risks taking "a step backwards" if governing body FIA continues to impose "unnecessary" jewellery regulations on drivers.

New race director Niels Wittich, who replaced Michael Masi at the start of the season, reminded drivers at the Australian Grand Prix in early April that the FIA's code prohibits drivers wearing jewellery in the car.

Hamilton still competed in Melbourne with piercings in both ears and a nose stud, and Wittich has reiterated the rulings ahead of the inaugural Miami Grand Prix this weekend.

Wittich explained that wearing jewellery under flameproof clothing can reduce protection and increase the risk of burn damage, but Hamilton remains staunch in his refusal to conform to the FIA's demands.

"I couldn't get any more jewellery on today," the Mercedes star told reporters on Friday.

"But I don't really have a lot more to add than what I already said the last time I was in front of you guys and we spoke about it.

"I feel it's almost like a step backwards. If you think of the steps we're taking as a sport and the more important issues and causes that we need to be focused on and really pushing.

"I think we've made such great strides as a sport. Look, we're here in Miami. This is such a small thing – I've been in the sport for 16 years, I've been wearing jewellery for 16 years.

"In the car I only ever have my earrings on and my nose ring, which I can't even remove. So it seems unnecessary for us to get into this spat."

The jewellery ban has been in place since 2004, but Wittich made a special effort to stress the rule in his pre-race notes in Melbourne before reaffirming his demands in the United States.

Hamilton also revealed he has reached out to FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem, although he is yet to get through, to try to find a resolution and encourage greater attention on more important matters.

"I am willing to sign a waiver to take the responsibility away from them if necessary," the seven-time world champion added. "It is about individuality and being who you are.

"I did try calling Mohammed this morning and I think he was super busy but I sent him a message. I wanted to reassure him and said: 'I want to be an ally. I don't want to fight with you guys over this.'

"It has never been a safety issue in the past. If they stop me, we have a spare driver. There are lots of things to do here."

AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly was quick to back Hamilton.

"I do believe there are bigger things to focus on," Gasly said. "I appreciate the FIA are looking after our safety.

"But in my case I am religious and there are things I have with me that I do not feel comfortable not having in the car.

"In the end, we are the ones who go out there and put our lives at risk and I do feel it should be a personal choice. I hope in the end we could find a better solution than this very strict one."

Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid has passed concussion protocol and there is "optimism" about his participation in Friday's Game 3 against the Miami Heat, according to reports.

Embiid has not played so far in the second-round series, which the 76ers trail 2-0 after a defeat on Wednesday.

Tyrese Maxey did his best to make up for the Cameroonian's absence, scoring 34 points, but Heat center Bam Adebayo (23 points and nine rebounds) enjoyed another big night as Miami secured a 119-103 victory.

The 76ers will look to get on the board in Philadelphia on Friday, but doubts remain around the availability of their MVP candidate, who suffered a facial fracture and concussion against the Toronto Raptors in round one.

Embiid is currently listed as out for Game 3, but according to The Athletic's Shams Charania, he cleared concussion protocol earlier on Friday and also participated in the team's shootaround, with Charania saying there was "optimism" about his chances of featuring in Game 3.

Coach Doc Rivers was unable to offer any assurances on Thursday, telling reporters: "I really don't know [if Embiid can play].

"We talked [on Tuesday], and we talked [on Wednesday]. He looked good, as far as talking... we just have to wait and see."

In the first round against the Raptors, Embiid averaged 26.2 points per game across his six appearances, with 11.3 rebounds per game.

Mathieu van der Poel snatched a dramatic win on stage one of the Giro d'Italia as the climb to the castle finish in Visegrad served up a spectacle.

The Giro got under way in Hungary and remains in the country over the weekend, before the riders head to Italy for the remainder of the 21-stage, 3,445.6-kilometre race.

Dutchman Van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) fended off Eritrean Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert), who marked his Grand Tour debut by finishing in second place.

Caleb Ewan (Lotto–Soudal) was rivalling both coming into the final corner but crashed heavily as he fought to make up ground.

Van der Poel, who won the second stage of the Tour de France last year, said of his Maglia Rosa success: "I knew positioning was going to be the key to winning today, and it was a bit difficult sometimes. It cost a lot of energy to catch the guys in front of me. I launched my sprint, and it was pretty close because the legs were full of lactate of course.

"I'm really happy. I knew I had a good chance, but it really hurt. It's incredible, after a yellow jersey to wear the pink now, we will see what the time trial brings tomorrow."

Girmay told Eurosport: "I tried all my best. I'm at my limit, but Van der Poel was stronger than me today, but I'm really happy."

A largely flat 195km ride from Budapest to Visegrad threw up little drama until the closing five kilometres. Belgian Lawrence Naesen (AG2R Citroen) made the first break up the hill and held a nine-second lead with 2.7km remaining, before he was caught by Germany's Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe).

Kamna, too, fell away, setting up the frantic dash to the line that gave Van der Poel his first Giro stage victory.

 

Maglia Rose delight for Van der Poel

Getting to wear the Maglia Rose (pink jersey) will make Van der Poel the third Dutchman to have held the lead in both the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia. Giro organisers said it means he follows the example of compatriots Wim van Est and Erik Breukink, who also led both race.

STAGE RESULT 

1. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 4:35:28 
2. Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) same time 
3. Peio Bilbao Lopez de Armentia (Bahrain Victorious) same time 
4. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education-Easypost) same time 
5. Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe) same time 

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS 

General Classification

1. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 4:35:18 
2. Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) +0:04
3. Peio Bilbao Lopez de Armentia (Bahrain Victorious) +0:06

Points Classification

1. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 50
2. Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 35
3. Peio Bilbao Lopez de Armentia (Bahrain Victorious) 25

King of the Mountains

1. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 3
2. Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 2
3. Peio Bilbao Lopez de Armentia (Bahrain Victorious) 1

Julian Nagelsmann says Bayern Munich have held encouraging contract talks with Robert Lewandowski's agent amid reported interest from Barcelona.

Lewandowski is contracted to the Bundesliga champions until June 2023 and Barca have been linked with a move for the prolific striker.

Bayern's management have met Pini Zahavi, Lewandowski's agent, as the Bavarian giants endeavour to keep the 33-year-old.

Nagelsmann is hopeful that an agreement can be reached.

The Bayern head coach said: "I asked if it was a good conversation. And it seems that it was. But there is nothing to report, in any sense.

"My position has not changed, we want to keep it as it is and extend his contract."

 

Nagelsmann is prepared to wait for Lewandowski to come to a decision over his future.

He said: "You know that Pini likes to negotiate and so you need a little patience. But that's one of my great strengths."

Lewandowski last week became the first player to score at least 34 Bundesliga goals in three consecutive seasons.

The Poland captain has found the back of the net an astonishing 49 times in all competitions in the 2021-22 campaign.

Inter's unlikely 2009-10 Champions League success under Jose Mourinho could inspire Cameroon to a shock World Cup triumph in Qatar, according to the former Nerazzurri and Indomitable Lions striker Samuel Eto'o.

The Cameroon great was part of the Inter side that completed a stunning treble in 2009-10, winning a fifth consecutive Scudetto, the Coppa Italia and their first Champions League or European Cup title in 45 years.

Diego Milito's brace was enough to down Bayern Munich in the final of UEFA's elite club competition, with Eto'o assisting the Argentina international for his second goal to wrap up victory.

Inter overcame Chelsea and Barcelona either side of defeating of CSKA Moscow en route to the final, and Eto'o – who is now president of the Cameroonian Football Federation – optimistically believes his country can follow the Nerazzurri's example at Qatar 2022.

"I don't see why he can't win it," he told reporters in Milan, where the 41-year-old has returned to announce a charity friendly game in San Siro on May 23 that will include the likes of Francesco Totti and Lionel Messi.

"I believe that in order to win the World Cup you don't need to be monsters or aliens, you need good preparation, a strong mentality and a pinch of madness.

"I won a bit in my career and to do it I gave everything. 

"I always take Inter as an example: no one at the beginning of the 2009-10 season thought we could win [the Champions League] and instead Mourinho did something crazy, with a group of men and warriors.

"I would like something like that for Cameroon too."

Cameroon's best performance at a World Cup saw them famously reach the 1990 quarter-finals, but they did not make it out of the group in any of their other six participations, failing to even register a point at either South Africa 2010 or Brazil 2014.

Having missed out on Russia 2018, Cameroon will have to overcome the world's number-one ranked side Brazil, Serbia and Switzerland in Group G later this year.

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