Tuesday’s shameful display by some fans in the Netherlands is unfortunate for more important reasons, but this, too, should be mentioned:
It overshadowed a big step for AZ Alkmaar and Jozy Altidore, who are one step closer to a big spring goal: grabbing a spot in next year’s European competition through the KNVB Cup.
AZ’s big 5-0 win today over Den Bosch put Altidore’s club into the Dutch Cup semifinals.
Altidore may not be around to enjoy the achievement next year; given his continued strong goal scoring, a second consecutive fruitful season, it’s increasingly likely the small Dutch club will cash out on the young U.S. striker this summer.
(MORE: Altidore subject to racist abuse)
Either way, a presiding spring goal for AZ was winning the Dutch Cup and grabbing the Europa League spot that goes with it. AZ can still get into Europe via Dutch Eredivisie play – the team is currently ninth – but the KNVB Cup path looks slightly less troublesome now.
Even getting into the Dutch Cup semifinals might be enough; if the Dutch Cup winner is already into European competition by virtue of its Eredivisie standing, the competition’s runner-up gets that Europa spot. That means Altidore and Alkmaar may be one win away.
Round two of the UEFA Champions League is back on Tuesday, and while clubs cannot book their place in the Round of 16 just yet it’s just as easy for them to put themselves out of contention.
Three Premier League sides will be action on the afternoon, including Tottenham — who has the chance to start Group H play with six points.
Meanwhile, Liverpool and Manchester City will also take the pitch in Group E and F, respectively.
The day’s biggest clash of the day though comes in Germany as Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid meet in the other Group H fixture. Dortmund will be looking for a positive result after falling to Spurs in their opening day loss in the competition.
[ MORE: Who is the most complete striker in the Premier League? ]
Here’s the full rundown of matches on Tuesday’s UCL docket.
All games kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET
Spartak Moscow vs. Liverpool
Sevilla vs. Maribor
Manchester City vs. Shakhtar Donetsk
Napoli vs. Feyenoord
Besiktas vs. Red Bull Leipzig
Monaco vs. Porto
Borussia Dortmund vs. Real Madrid
APOEL vs. Tottenham Hotspur
The New Orleans Saints will be playing a different sort of football on Sunday at historic Wembley Stadium, but the NFL franchise took in Arsenal’s match today during their trip to London.
[ MORE: PL playback — Who is the most complete striker in the PL? ]
Super Bowl-winning quarterback Drew Brees posted a picture on Instagram with several of his Saints teammates taking in the Arsenal-West Brom fixture at the Emirates Stadium six days before the NFL team plays the Miami Dolphins.
The Saints-Dolphins matchup is the second NFL game to take place in England thus far in 2017, after the Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the Baltimore Ravens, 44-7, on Sunday at Wembley.
Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe react to Arsenal’s 2-0 win over West Brom, Brighton’s 1-0 victory against Newcastle and get into a deep discussion over the plethora of strikers in the Premier League.
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This isn’t what Atlanta United wanted to see right before the playoffs, but the club will be praying that it gets one of its biggest stars back in time for the MLS postseason.
[ MORE: Trio of USWNT players stay in locker room for national anthem ]
Miguel Almiron has been ruled out at least three weeks after suffering a hamstring injury during Sunday’s 2-0 win over the Montreal Impact.
Given the projected three-week timetable, Almiron could return for the team’s final two matches of the regular season against the New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC.
Meanwhile, Almiron will also likely miss out on Paraguay’s two final CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers, which is a devastating blow for the country’s qualification chances. Paraguay currently sits three points behind fifth-place Argentina in South American qualifying.
In his first season in MLS, Almiron has taken the league by storm after scoring nine goals and adding 13 assists. Additionally, the 23-year-old has three game-winning goals for the expansion side, who currently sits third in the Eastern Conference.