Paul Pogba made his long-awaited second Juventus debut as the Bianconeri twice came from behind to beat city rivals Torino 4-2 in an entertaining Derby della Mole.

Pogba, who has endured several injury setbacks since re-joining from Manchester United, appeared as a second-half substitute at the Allianz Stadium and helped Juve record their fourth successive Serie A win.

Massimiliano Allegri's side were forced to respond twice in the first half, Juan Cuadrado and Danilo cancelling out goals from Yann Karamoh and Antonio Sanabria.

Juve completed the turnaround in the final 20 minutes with Bremer and Adrien Rabiot sealed the points and ensured the Bianconeri's 18th straight derby without defeat.

Torino shook off the tag of being the only team not to score from a corner in Serie A this season after just 92 seconds when Alessandro Buongiorno flicked on Aleksey Miranchuk's corner and an unmarked Karamoh tucked away.

Juventus responded in the 16th minute as Filip Kostic found Cuadrado at the far post, with the Colombia international's effort deflecting into the roof of the net via Ricardo Rodriguez.

Torino regained the lead two minutes before the break when Sanabria poked home Ivan Ilic's low cross, but a frantic first half saw Juve level again in stoppage time – Danilo heading in from Angel Di Maria's corner.

Both sides rattled the crossbar after the break; Dusan Vlahovic denied before Karol Linetty was thwarted by the woodwork at the other end.

Allegri introduced Pogba and Federico Chiesa and the latter made an impact within two minutes, delivering a precise centre that was headed in by Bremer.

And local bragging rights were secured when Rabiot bundled home Kostic's free-kick at the far post – that goal allowed to stand after a long VAR check for offside. 

Massimiliano Allegri accepts it will take time for Paul Pogba to get fully up to speed as the midfielder prepares to make his long-awaited second debut for Juventus.

The France international has yet to feature for Juve since rejoining the club last July following his Manchester United exit due to a succession of setbacks.

He sustained a knee injury in pre-season that required surgery, forcing him to miss the entire season to date and France's World Cup campaign.

Pogba was on the substitutes' bench for Juve's shock 2-0 home loss to Monza in January, but Allegri opted against bringing him on and he has not featured in the squad since.

However, Allegri confirmed at his pre-match news conference on the eve of Tuesday's Serie A match with city rivals Torino that the 29-year-old is finally ready to play.

"He's feeling better and he's been called up for tomorrow's game," Allegri said. "If necessary, we'll play him. We know he won't have much playing time, but he can play.

"I've talked to him like I have all the others. He understands it's an important part of the season to get back playing. He must remain motivated to help us finish the season well."

Pogba, who signed a four-year deal with Juventus, has not played a competitive game since his former club United's 4-0 Premier League loss to Liverpool last April.

 

Allegri also confirmed Federico Chiesa, who has missed Juve's past two matches, is in contention to play against Torino.

"He trained with the team yesterday," Allegri said. "He can't start from the beginning. Players who come back from a long period of inactivity must be managed. He's fine, though.

"We have Pogba, who has not played for 315 days, and Chiesa, who missed 10 months. It'll take a little patience. It's normal – they're humans. We need to help them grow."

Juventus, who were docked 15 points last month following an investigation into the club's past transfer dealings, have won their past three Serie A games without conceding.

The Bianconeri are now eighth, 12 points off the top four ahead of their midweek Derby della Mole showdown with Torino, who are one point and one place further back.

Juve are unbeaten in their past 17 derbies in all competitions, with 13 wins and four draws.

"The derby is always an important game for both teams, especially for us. We must continue this climb by increasing our points in the league," Allegri said.

"This match has the value it must have. On the pitch, regardless of what happens outside, we have to get the points to stay in the top-four battle."

Not since April 1995 have Torino won away at Juventus, losing 11 times and drawing five since then.

Neymar is contracted with Paris Saint-Germain until 2025 but the French champions have reportedly transfer listed him.

The Brazilian forward is on a hefty wage, believed to be around €36 million per year.

Neymar has netted 12 goals in 19 Ligue 1 games this season, adding another five goals in nine appearances in other competitions.


TOP STORY – MEETING HELD AS CHELSEA'S NEYMAR INTEREST DEVELOPS

Le Parisien reports Chelsea owner Todd Boehly has met with PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi about a transfer for Neymar.

The report claims the meeting was held in Paris, discussing the conditions around a potential transfer in the next transfer window.

It is claimed that a fee of around €60 million (£53m) has been discussed, although Neymar's significant wages may be a stumbling block to overcome.

 

ROUND-UP

– Inter defender Denzel Dumfries is set to be the subject of off-season bids from both Arsenal and Manchester United, claims Fichajes. The Premier League duo both see an opportunity to sign the Dutchman below market value.

– Fabrizio Romano reports Barcelona have agreed to sign Mexican right-back Julian Araujo from MLS club LA Galaxy. The deal is worth €4 million, with a contract to be signed up until 2026.

– Sport Bild claims Bayern Munich are monitoring the status of Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford, with consideration being put to a bid prior to the next transfer window. Arsenal are also keep tabs on Rashford's situation, according to Football Insider.

– Bild also reports Bayern are still keen on Tottenham forward Harry Kane but will not be drawn into a bidding war for his services, with Manchester United in the hunt too.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta wants the club to sign Real Sociedad's 24-year-old midfielder Martin Zubimendi, reports Sport.

Liverpool have held preliminary talks for Torino defender Perr Schuurs, claims Tuttosport.

Real Madrid are eager to bolster their forward options, with a quality striker wanted to deputise for Karim Benzema.

Benzema, who is now 35-years-old, has battled injuries this season and played in 12 of their 20 LaLiga games.

Los Blancos have been regularly linked with Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, while there have been reports of a big-money bid for Eintracht Frankfurt's Randal Kolo Muani in recent days.

Instead of signing another French forward though, there is a report that Madrid are eyeing up a Brazilian.


TOP STORY – ANCELOTTI WANTS FIRMINO

Real Madrid want to sign Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino on a free transfer at the end of this season, claims Gazzetta dello Sport.

Liverpool are bullish on re-signing Firmino but no extension has yet been agreed, with his contract due to expire in June.

According to the report, Atletico Madrid and Inter are also interested in the 31-year-old, who has been battling a calf injury in recent months.

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona president Joan Laporta is determined to sign Julian Alvarez from Manchester City, reports Fichajes. The report claims "Laporta will do everything in his power" to land the Argentinean World Cup winner.

- Manchester City are monitoring Southampton full-back Tino Livramento, claims the Evening Standard. The English 20-year-old is viewed as a long-term successor to Joao Cancelo, who is currently on loan at Bayern Munich.

- Tuttomercatoweb reports that Bayer Leverkusen will compete with Juventus to sign Alex Grimaldo from Benfica. The Bianconeri want the left-back as a replacement for the departing Alex Sandro.

- Chelsea have joined the contenders to sign Brentford goalkeeper David Raya, writes Football.London. Raya's contract expires in 2024, with interest also from Tottenham and Manchester United too.

- West Ham United are circling for Brazil international striker Pedro, who plays for Flamengo, according to Fichajes.

- Former Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch is being considered for the vacant Southampton job following Nathan Jones' dismissal, claims The Athletic. Football Insider reports Southampton and Leeds both want Marcelo Gallardo, while the Mail adds that Saints are also interested in Torino boss Ivan Juric.

Milan coach Stefano Pioli believes Tuesday's Champions League meeting with Tottenham arrives at the ideal time for his team, saying Friday's win over Torino helped to "cleanse our spirit".

Scudetto holders Milan halted a five-game winless run in Serie A with the 1-0 victory, as Olivier Giroud scored the only goal of a tight contest at San Siro.

The result lifted the Rossoneri from sixth to third in the Italian top flight ahead of Saturday's fixtures, but they must swiftly turn their attention to Europe in the coming days.

Milan will play their first match in the Champions League knockout stages since 2014 when they welcome Antonio Conte's Spurs to Italy for the first leg of their last-16 tussle.

Asked whether that game comes at a good time for Milan after their confidence-boosting victory, Pioli said: "Yes. The Champions League is what we wanted and deserved. 

"From the round of 16 onwards, anyone would have been a very difficult and competitive opponent, especially the English teams. 

"We'll be there, it will be a difficult match. I know Tottenham well because I know Conte and they deservedly won against [Manchester] City [last week]. 

"It comes at the right time, this victory will cleanse our heads and our spirit a little. We will be ready to play a match to the best of our ability. 

"I can only congratulate our fans, it was a difficult period for them. The fact that they continue to support us can only help us. 

"On Tuesday there will be an audience with great opportunities, and we want to live up to the fans and the Champions League."

The last meeting between Milan and Spurs came at the same stage of the competition in the 2010-11 campaign, when the London club triumphed 1-0 on aggregate via a Peter Crouch goal.

Meanwhile, Tottenham's former Juventus and Inter boss Conte has won eight of his last nine games against Milan (L1), and Pioli knows the Rossoneri will have to step things up.

"We have to do much better, raise the level of the game," he said. "Tottenham are a very strong team, but there is satisfaction. The team worked a lot during the match and that's the most important thing."

Olivier Giroud's superb header saw Milan end a five-game winless streak in Serie A but Zlatan Ibrahimovic had to wait for his comeback in a 1-0 victory over Torino.

Milan, playing their 3,000th Serie A game, had lost their last four matches in all competitions heading into Friday's tussle at San Siro, but they came away with the points thanks to Giroud's moment of quality.

Theo Hernandez teed up that goal but then missed a golden chance to double Milan's lead.

However, the champions held firm to get back on the winning trail, ensuring the only disappointment for the home fans was that veteran forward Ibrahimovic – back from injury – did not come on from the bench for his first appearance since May last year.

With Ibrahimovic poised on the bench, the first half in Milan unfurled more like a warm-up support show before the headline act.

Giroud and Antonio Sanbria lodged the only on-target shots of a low-wattage opening half, with the Milan strikers' header snuffed out by visiting goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic in the 29th minute.

Having resisted the urge to call on Ibrahimovic, Stefano Pioli was rewarded by an improved display after the break, with Milinkovic-Savic almost spilling Giroud's low effort over the line.

Milan's breakthrough came just after the hour, however, with Giroud rocketing a header home from Hernandez's cross.

Hernandez should have settled the nerves for Milan after latching onto Pierre Kalulu's excellent pass in the 76th minute, only to drill wide of a gaping goal.

Fortunately for Hernandez, Torino could not make Milan pay as the Rossoneri extended their unbeaten home run against them to 27 Serie A matches.

Stefano Pioli has defended Milan's decision to not sign a new goalkeeper, despite first choice Mike Maignan still being ruled out indefinitely.

Maignan has not played for Milan since injuring his calf during France's 2-0 Nations League win over Austria on September 22.

The 27-year-old was subsequently ruled out of France's World Cup campaign and has now missed Milan's past 20 matches, with veteran goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu deputising.

Reigning Italian champions Milan's form has nosedived since the turn of the year, having gone seven matches without a win in all competitions, losing five of those.

Milan are unsure when Maignan will return, meaning Tatarusanu is set to start Friday's league game with Torino and next week's Champions League last-16 first leg with Tottenham.

It was previously suggested Milan's board were behind the decision to not recruit an established keeper in January, but Pioli has confirmed he also had a say in the matter.

"The choice was mine and that of the technical team," he said at Thursday's pre-match press conference ahead of facing Torino. 

"We have faith in Tatarusanu and we think that Maignan could be back in action soon."

Asked exactly when he expects Maignan to return to the side, Pioli said: "I don't know. His recovery is progressing well and he's returned to the field, albeit not with the team."

 

In better news on the injury front for Milan, veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned to team training last week and is closing in on a comeback after nine months out injured.

Pioli, whose side have slipped to sixth and are 18 points off leaders Napoli, suggested Ibrahimovic may play a part against Torino.

"He's feeling better," Pioli said. "His role in the side is to be a great motivator and a great player. He'll be with us tomorrow because he wants to be with us."

Rafael Leao is pushing for a recall after being named as a substitute in Milan's past two Serie A games – not since between March and July 2020 has he been benched three games in a row.

"Leao is important for me and the team," Pioli said of the Chelsea-linked forward, who has nine goals and seven assists in 28 appearances this season.

"He's back from the World Cup and played well against Salernitana before losing a bit of his brilliance. He's much happier when he's playing, but I see a motivated and focused player."

Pioli is aiming to avoid losing four successive Serie A games as a manager for only the second time, having previously done so in 2012 as Bologna head coach.

Milan have lost their past two meetings with seventh-place Torino – not since 1969 have they lost three in a row in this fixture – and Pioli accepts an improvement is needed.

"They are a tricky team to play against," he said. "They have caused problems by pressing all over the pitch.

"We have to move a lot better and do something different compared to our past two games against them."

Europe's elite clubs raced to beat the January transfer deadline as Pedro Porro signed for Tottenham and Enzo Fernandez neared a record Premier League move when the window slammed shut.

Argentina's World Cup winner Fernandez appeared set to complete a long-awaited move to Chelsea in a record-breaking Premier League transfer.

While Chelsea aimed to bring in the youthful Fernandez, veteran Italy international Jorginho departed as he joined Arsenal after Mikel Arteta's side were unable to secure Brighton and Hove Albion's Moises Caicedo.

Manchester United also looked to strengthen their midfield with a loan deal for Bayern Munich's Sabitzer after an injury to key playmaker Christian Eriksen at Old Trafford.

Meanwhile, Tottenham solidified their defensive options by snaffling Spanish wing-back Porro from Sporting CP after lengthy negotiations.

Stats Perform provides a rundown of the notable deals as the mid-season transfer window finally closed.

 

BOEHLY BREAKS RECORD FOR FERNANDEZ

Fernandez emerged as a target for Chelsea following his influential displays for Argentina during their World Cup triumph in Qatar and the Blues' Todd Boehly-led consortium appear to have finally got their man. 

After already snatching Mykhaylo Mudryk from under the noses of Arsenal, Chelsea are set to splash a reported £105.5million (€120m) on Fernandez from Benfica.

That would break the Premier League record of £100m Manchester City paid Aston Villa for Jack Grealish, as the Blues looked to secure the former River Plate midfielder on a reported seven-and-a-half-year contract.

ARSENAL'S CAICEDO BLUES CURED BY JORGINHO

Arteta and Arsenal's pursuit of Caicedo fell on deaf ears as Brighton refused to budge, despite the Gunners lodging a reported £70m bid for the 21-year-old.

After missing out on primary midfield target Caicedo, Jorginho switched the blue shirt of Chelsea for the red of Arsenal as he completed a reported £12m transfer to the Premier League leaders.

The 31-year-old will provide able competition for the impressive Thomas Partey after penning an 18-month contract at Emirates Stadium.

TEN HAG FINDS ERIKSEN COVER IN SABITZER

With Eriksen ruled out for three months, Erik ten Hag and United acted swiftly to attempt to bring in experienced midfielder Sabitzer on a short-term loan.

Opportunities had been hard to come by for the Austria international after joining Bayern from Bundesliga rivals RB Leipzig ahead of the 2021-22 season.

He started just 15 times in his 40 appearances for the Bundesliga champions, though he may now have the chance to impress in the Premier League with Ten Hag's resurgent Red Devils.

CONTE GETS PORRO AS DOHERTY AND SPENCE DEPART

It appeared Tottenham may not secure the services of attack-minded wing-back Porro, formerly of Girona and Manchester City, after it seemed negotiations had come to a halt with Sporting.

But Spurs confirmed the 23-year-old's arrival late on, with Porro signing a five-and-a-half-year deal after a reported £40m (€45m) move from Sporting, who signed Barcelona's Hector Bellerin as a replacement.

That transfer saw Djed Spence, who only signed from Middlesbrough in a deal worth up to £20m in July, sent out to Ligue 1's Rennes for the rest of the season on loan.

Fellow full-back Matt Doherty also made way as he joined Atletico Madrid on a six-month contract, with Spurs terminating the 31-year-old's contract to "enable him to join another club".

OTHER DEALS

Bournemouth paid their second-highest transfer fee in history for Illya Zabarnyi, parting with a reported £24m (€27.2m) for the Ukraine centre-back from Dynamo Kyiv.

Gary O'Neil's Bournemouth added a second signing soon after, confirming the arrival of Sassuolo midfielder Hamed Traore on a loan that will become permanent on a five-year deal in June.

Nottingham Forest continued their spending after signing Atletico centre-back Felipe on a deal that will run until 2024, while Jonjo Shelvey also arrived from Newcastle United on a deal until 2025, and a move for Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Keylor Navas on loan was reportedly nearing.

Patrick Vieira's Crystal Palace bolstered their midfield by bringing in Naouirou Ahamada for a reported £10.5m (€12m) fee from Stuttgart, while Arsenal's Albert Sambi Lokonga joined on a six-month loan.

Leeds United's Diego Llorente joined Jose Mourinho's Roma on loan until the end of the season, with an option for a permanent transfer reportedly worth €18m (£15.9m).

Ayoze Perez is another Premier League player who will spend the second half of the term on loan, with the Leicester City forward moving to LaLiga side Real Betis.

Aleksandar Mitrovic's Serbia team-mate Sasa Lukic traded Torino for Fulham in a transfer reportedly worth £8.8m (€10m) including add-ons, signing a contract until June 2027.

Lukic will likely be joined by Arsenal full-back Cedric Soares after Marco Silva's side reportedly agreed to bring the former Southampton defender on a six-month loan.

Outside of England, Borussia Dortmund and Belgium midfielder Thorgan Hazard completed a short-term loan move to Eredivisie title hopefuls PSV.

Roma head coach Jose Mourinho has labelled the Coppa Italia as "the worst cup in Europe" despite Giallorossi's 1-0 win over Genoa on Thursday.

Mourinho's side booked their place in the quarter-finals with Thursday's triumph, courtesy of Paulo Dybala's 64th-minute winner, setting up a clash with the winner of the Napoli-Cremonese Round of 16 encounter.

But the Portuguese legend was damning of the Coppa Italia format in light of Torino's upset 1-0 extra-time win over Milan on Wednesday, which saw them progress to the last eight where they will face Fiorentina away.

"First of all, I'll say I would love to win it, I won it once playing against Roma, I would love to win it playing with Roma in Rome," Mourinho told Sportmediaset.

"I think it's the worst cup in Europe, it doesn't protect the smaller teams. It doesn't put on a show.

"I'm talking about Torino for example who win on the pitch of the Italian champions Milan, then they have to play the next elimination game away from home, I don't understand this structure of the Coppa Italia.

"We played against a Serie B team with a full stadium, if there are empty stadiums they must understand why we are full and the others are not.

"Last year we finished sixth, the year before we finished seventh and I want to invest in the Coppa Italia, but a lower team doesn't want to play, what motivation do these people have?

"Torino won against the Italian champions, they made great history in the Round of 16 and they have to play away. Where is the beauty of the Coppa Italia? It would be nice to play on a Serie B or Serie C pitch, where is that? Because people accept it.

"The next elimination game will be either in Naples or at home with Cremonese, if we lose like last year, we'll lose, but we'll try to win. For a squad like ours, playing three competitions together is very hard.

"There's too much build-up for people of more quality, it's a big risk to play three or four players who don't play all the time or to put so many kids together, I could have done Bove-Tahirovic but I didn't.

"If we want to win the Coppa Italia I won't say we want to, because everyone wants to, we will try to win the next game of the tournament."

Roma, who have advanced to the Europa League knockout round playoffs, bowed out in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals last season to eventual winners Inter.

Milan technical director Paolo Maldini is increasingly confident that the club can complete new deals for Rafael Leao and Ismael Bennacer.

Portugal international forward Rafael Leao has been linked with a host of top clubs, including Liverpool, Chelsea, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester City.

The 23-year-old is contracted until 2024 and Maldini revealed prior to Milan's 1-0 Coppa Italia home loss to Torino that they were closing in on agreement on an extension, with the player keen to stay.

"We are talking, there are videocalls too and not just in-person meetings," Maldini told Mediaset. "We will try to reach an agreement. It seems like both parties want to continue together and we will try to close a deal.

"We've been trying to do that for the last year and a half, but a lot happened in that time. The important thing is we want to extend and it seems as if the player wants to as well.

"This team was largely built on the transfer campaign of 2019 and practically all of those who arrived have extended their contracts. I have to say, all those who wanted to renew their deals have done so."

Algerian defensive midfielder Bennacer, 25, is contracted with the Rossoneri until 2024 as well, but Maldini said they are within days of finalising an extension.

"Absolutely, I think we will in the next 24-36 hours," he said.

The reigning Italian champions are currently third in Serie A, seven points behind leaders Napoli after 17 games.

Stefano Pioli believes Milan struggled to cope with the psychological demands of facing 10 men in Wednesday's shock Coppa Italia defeat to Torino.

Milan's wait to lift their sixth Coppa Italia will extend to at least 21 years after they failed to take advantage of Koffi Djidji's red card, with Michel Adopo firing Torino through in extra time.

The Rossoneri were unable to beat impressive visiting goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic despite introducing big names including Rafael Leao, Olivier Giroud and Theo Hernandez, before Adopo capped a rapid break with a penalty shoot-out looming.

After Djidji was shown his second yellow card for a mistimed challenge on Junior Messias with 20 minutes of normal time remaining, Pioli acknowledged Milan lost their way.

"We thought the match had become easy and when you think like this you lose your lucidity, you play frenetically," he said at a post-match press conference.

"We certainly made many mistakes in the offensive phase, without dribbling speed, without having patience to move the defence, which became very dense and physical.

"We have faced the numerical superiority badly, mentally."

Wednesday's defeat followed a dramatic 2-2 Serie A draw with Roma in which Milan threw away a two-goal lead late on, but Pioli feels the pair of results represent something of an anomaly. 

"These are just episodes. The results are penalising us beyond our performances," the Milan boss added.

"But if tonight we were eliminated by a team with a numerical inferiority, it means that there is something to improve.

"It's a big disappointment, it was our aim to go forward in the Coppa Italia and we did not succeed. We all have to do better because this is not the level of the team."

Torino also dealt Milan just their second Serie A defeat of the season in October, meaning they have beaten the Rossoneri twice in a single campaign for the first time since doing so in 1984-85.

Torino stunned Milan to reach the Coppa Italia quarter-finals with a remarkable extra-time win at San Siro on Wednesday, Michel Adopo scoring the only goal to fire the 10-man visitors through.

A much-changed Milan side produced a disjointed display, struggling to break Torino down even after Koffi Djidji received his second booking with 20 minutes remaining in normal time.

After Vanja Milinkovic-Savic kept the Rossoneri at bay with a series of fine saves, Adopo capped a rapid break by converting Brian Bayeye's squared pass to snatch victory with a penalty shoot-out looming.

The result represents another setback for Stefano Pioli's men following Sunday's capitulation against Roma, ensuring Milan's wait for Coppa Italia glory will stretch to at least 21 years. 

Cristiano Ronaldo's departure from Manchester United this week has put plenty of clubs on alert.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner is a wanted commodity, given his quality and sudden availability.

Ronaldo and United parted ways with a mutual termination of his contract after his explosive interview with TalkTV.

 

TOP STORY – SAUDI AND BRAZILIAN GIANTS TO MOVE FOR RONALDO

Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal and Brazilian giants Flamengo are among the clubs queuing to sign free agent Cristiano Ronaldo according to reports.

Sky Sports claims that Al Hilal are exploring a deal with the Portuguese, who had declined a £305m bid from an unnamed Saudi Arabian club in the off-season.

Brazilian outlet Veja reports that the 2022 Copa Libertadores winners intend to formalize a proposal to Ronaldo's representatives, although an offer has not yet been made, nor have talks commenced.

 

ROUND-UP 

- Football Insider reports that Chelsea are set to open talks with Brighton and Hove Albion's Belgian forward Leandro Trossard with his contract to expire at the end of season. New Blues boss Graham Potter knows Trossard well from his time at Brighton.

- Chelsea are ready to swoop for Manchester United target Diogo Costa, having made contact with him, according to Relevo. The goalkeeper recently re-signed with Porto and has a €75 million (£64.5m) release clause in his contract.

- Amid talk that Chelsea will try to sell Romelu Lukaku at the end of this season, SkySport claims Inter will extend the Belgian forward's loan for another year.

- Torino's Ivorian defender Wilfried Singo could snub interest from Juventus to remain with his current club, reports Calciomercato.

- Fabrizio Romano claims that Scottish champions Celtic are in talks with Canada international Alistair Johnston, with personal terms already being discussed. The right-back is currently with MLS club Montreal.

- QPR are anticipating the departure of manager Michael Beale to take over Rangers, claims Talk Sport. The Gers sacked Giovanni van Bronckhorst earlier this week.

Jose Mourinho says he was "humble enough to apologise" to referee Antonio Rapuano after accepting he deserved his latest red card in Roma's late 1-1 draw with Torino.

Roma head coach Mourinho was sent to the stands in the 88th minute with his side a goal down for repeatedly protesting decisions made by the official in Sunday's fiery contest.

Mourinho watched on from the Stadio Olimpico stands as Nemanja Matic rescued a point with a 94th-minute goal – Roma's latest at home in the league in 12 years.

The 59-year-old is no stranger to being given his marching orders and did not react kindly to being banished from the sidelines, but he later held his hands up for his actions.

"It was the right decision – my words to the referee deserved a red card," he told DAZN. "I spoke to him after and apologised, but I don’t want to talk about his performance. 

"I was humble enough to apologise, but I will leave his performance and the hypothetical influence on the match to you. 

"I don't want to talk about what we said, that was private. My words deserved a red card, but I will not judge the referee's performance."

Matic's dramatic late leveller came immediately after substitute Paulo Dybala had hit the frame of the goal, while former Torino striker Andrea Belotti missed an injury-time penalty just moments earlier in an exciting end to the contest.

 

Mourinho's side enter the World Cup break seventh in Serie A after winning just one of their past five matches.

The 10 points the Giallorossi have collected from their opening seven home league games this term is their lowest return since the 2005-06 season, when accruing eight.

Roma's disappointing form has coincided with Dybala's month-long absence from the side, with the Argentina international making a difference on his return against Torino.

"There are two games tonight – one until the 70th minute and one after," Mourinho said. "Until the 70th, Roma fans wanted to just go home.

"But in the final 20 minutes we created more, perhaps more than we have done in the last four or five games. Why? Easy, because Dybala came on.

"When you have a player like Paulo and he doesn't play, it's different. How many extra points would we have now if Dybala hadn't been injured? 

"The break is coming up, it will be the right moment for certain players to look at themselves and try a little self-criticism.

"Despite all these problems, we are a united group. A team that misses a penalty at the 92nd minute is usually dead, but not us, we kept going."

Roma host Bologna on their return to action on January 4, before travelling to reigning champions Milan four days later.

Stefano Pioli insisted Milan were not distracted by Wednesday's decisive Champions League meeting with Salzburg during their demoralising Serie A loss to Torino.

Koffi Djidji and Aleksey Miranchuk scored in quick succession in the first half as Milan collapsed to a 2-1 defeat in Turin on Sunday.

Junior Messias got the Rossoneri back in the contest following a defensive mix-up after the break, but the Serie A champions never looked likely to complete a comeback on a chastening outing.

Milan will approach the European clash with Salzburg requiring just a point to join Chelsea in qualifying from Group E, but head coach Pioli is certain that was not on their minds.

"We could have done better in the flow of the ball, in defence and in attack. It was not the best evening," he said at his post-match press conference.

"To prepare well for the Champions League we had to do well tonight, we didn't think about it at all.

"We could have done better. It was a difficult and physical game, but we had to move better without the ball. You have to go looking for the chances, and you have to exploit them. They succeeded, with two goals in a few minutes.

"In the second half, we had a different attitude, but we didn't score immediately. The match went on the tracks preferred by Torino."

Djidji's opener halted a 499-minute streak in which Torino had not scored in their Serie A meetings with Milan, while the Rossoneri saw a 17-game unbeaten run on the road in Serie A come to an end.

Milan's frustrations were summed up by the efforts of Rafael Leao, who approached the trip to Turin in excellent form but was hauled off at the break after a poor opening period.

The Portugal forward failed to hit the target with four shots amounting to 0.51 expected goals (xG) during his 45-minute outing, leading Pioli to confirm he was substituted due to his poor display.

"It was not his best evening, this is evident," Pioli told DAZN after the defeat. "I tried to change the attack, but we needed to take a chance a little earlier, to play a little earlier, and we did not manage to get it back."

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