Overseas football: Sharpe goes close on debut

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The Independent Online
LEE SHARPE came on as a second-half substitute to make his debut for Sampdoria - and almost grabbed a victory for the new coach David Platt. Sharpe, who moved to Italy from Leeds on loan until the end of the season, came on when Samp were 1-0 down against Bologna.

Giuseppe Signori had put Bologna in front, but six minutes after Sharpe's introduction Francesco Palmieri levelled in the 63rd minute. Sharpe had a volley with time running out, but his effort flashed narrowly wide of the mark.

The rest of Serie A revelled in a goal bonanza, as Parma hammered Piacenza 6-3, Internazionale crushed Venezia 6-2 and Cagliari beat Roma 4-3.

At San Siro, Inter coach Mircea Lucescu's gamble of playing a three-man attack paid dividends as bottom side Venezia were demolished by Ronaldo, who scored twice, Roberto Baggio and Ivan Zamorano, who scored a hat-trick. The victory, along with superior goal difference, enabled Inter to leapfrog over neighbours Milan, who snatched a late 1-1 draw at Empoli.

Italy's struggling champions, Juventus, had to settle for a disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Bari. The Juventus honorary president, Umberto Agnelli, said afterwards that Carlo Ancelotti, the former Parma coach, is likely to take over the reins at Juventus next season. There had been speculation in the Italian media that the top two contenders to replace Marcelo Lippi were Ancelotti and the Chelsea manager Gianluca Vialli.

Real Mallorca retained their lead of the Spanish first division with a 2-1 victory over European champions Real Madrid. Mallorca went ahead after 10 minutes when a shot from Cameroon international Lauren Etame- Mayer was parried by Bodo Illgner and Ariel Ibagaza put in the rebound.

The islanders extended their lead after 27 minutes when Real Madrid captain Manuel Sanchis turned the ball past Illgner. Real pulled a goal back 56 seconds into the second half but Mallorca held out.

A second-half double from Rivaldo wrapped up a 4-2 victory for Barcelona in a thrilling game with Athletic Bilbao, taking Barcelona to second place in the table.

Strasbourg crashed out of the French League Cup 4-1 after extra time at home to second division leaders Troyes yesterday. The first division side, cup winners in 1997, played extra time a man short after midfielder Mickael Marsiglia was sent off for collecting a second yellow card.

Olympique Lyon also had a player sent off before going out 2-0 to fellow first division Montpellier in a snowstorm at their Gerland stadium. Nancy beat second division Beauvais 1-0, while the league championship leaders, Olympique Marseille, lost to RC Lens last night on penalties after extra time.

Among the 12 teams that qualified for the second round on Saturday were Le Havre, who upset Girondins Bordeaux 1-0, and holders Paris St-Germain, who beat second division St Etienne by the same score.

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