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UCL: Man City collapse in Monaco, fail to reach quarterfinals

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Another year, another disappointing, self-inflicted elimination from the UEFA Champions League for Manchester City — only, this time, it was largely accepted beforehand they weren’t real contenders for Europe’s crown-jewel trophy in Pep Guardiola‘s first season, yet the manner in which they went out still ranks right up there with spectacular failures of seasons past.

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With a 5-3 aggregate lead heading into Wednesday’s second leg, away to Monaco, Man City were slight favorites to reach the quarterfinal round, provided they could defend in a competent manner rather than competing in an up-and-down track meet resembling the first leg. Then, the lineup. Fernandinho at the base of midfield (no problems so far), with all-out attackers David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne playing ahead of him (problem).

City would spend the next 90 minutes — the opening 45 in particular — chasing the ball around the field with reckless abandon (Fernandinho) and ball-watching in and around their 18-yard box, as Bernardo Silva and Kylian Mbappe connected for the first goal on eight minutes, and Benjamin Mendy set up Fabinho to make it 5-5 on aggregate (with Monaco’s three away goals the difference) just before the half-hour mark.

[ MORE: Leicester overcome deficit to Sevilla, reach UCL QFs ]

The second half wasn’t without a number of golden scoring chances for City. Sergio Aguero had a handful of breakaway opportunities snuffed out in last-gasp fashion. Then, the lifeline. Danijel Subasic couldn’t hold onto Raheem Sterling‘s low, bouncing effort from distance, and the rebound fell right to Leroy Sane with the goal wide open. 6-5 on aggregate, in City’s favor.

[ MORE: Juventus see off Porto to reach round of eight ]

Then, the deja vu. It came in the form of shambolic set-piece defending, as Tiemoue Bakayoko went unmarked with Thomas Lemar’s free kick floating high above the French Riviera, only the goalkeeper to beat. Bakayoko’s header was pinpoint and powerful, leaving Willy Caballero stranded and helpless. 6-6 on aggregate, Monaco advance on away goals.

Monaco join Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, Leicester City and Real Madrid in Friday’s quarterfinal draw.

Coutinho rocket helps LFC to PL Asia Trophy (video)

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Goals from Mohamed Salah and Philippe Coutinho helped Liverpool come back from an early deficit to win the PL Asia Trophy on Saturday in Hong Kong.

Islam Slimani gave Leicester City an early lead in front of a heavy pro-Liverpool crowd at Hong Kong Stadium, but Coutinho delivered the goods on both goals in a 2-1 win.

The tournament win is Liverpool’s first in its second trip to the PL Asia Trophy Final.

[ EXCLUSIVE: Strootman talks Roma w/ PST ]

First he crossed for Salah to head home, and then he scored the above goal by cutting in from the left and lashing a shot past a flailing Kasper Schmeichel.

We’ve seen this one before from Coutinho, just not on this particular continent. The Brazilian remains a Barcelona target, but looks prepared for the season in whatever land he sets foot.

Transfer rumor roundup: Latest on Alexis, Neymar to PSG; Van Dijk

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Neymar and Alexis Sanchez to Paris? Brazil and Chile’s finest living as one? Reunited and it feels so French?

The latter’s talents will see Arsenal’s resolve tested by a $46 million bid, according to Sky Sports, though Gunners manager Arsene Wenger has been adamant that Sanchez will not be sold this summer.

Reports circled last year that Arsenal was prepared to offer Sanchez and Mesut Ozil record deals to stay at the club, though PSG has reportedly met with Sanchez and his agent with ideas of incredible $650,000 per week wages at the Parc des Princes.

[ EXCLUSIVE: Strootman talks Roma w/ PST ]

A source also told Sky Sports that it would take “a miracle” for Neymar to remain at Barcelona, so that Sanchez/Edinson Cavani/Neymar trident could be coming to a theater near you.


Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino is hopeful of convincing Virgil Van Dijk to stay at St. Mary’s, but for now he’s been forced to ask the defender to take time away from the club.

Van Dijk, hopeful to engineer a move to a UEFA Champions League club, has not been in the preferred mental state for Pellegrino.

“When I was talking with him, the boy said that he is not available to play because he wants to leave. I need to work with a player that works at 100 percent to defend Southampton. This is the decision. I had to say: ‘OK, if you don’t want to be involved because you don’t feel OK, you have to train alone until this period of time.'”

Liverpool publicly ended their interest in Van Dijk following Southampton complaints, and the club maintains it will not sell the influential center back.


West Ham’s loan move for Joe Hart could see both of its 2016-17 goalkeepers leaving the London Stadium. Multiple reports say Darren Randolph could be off to Middlesbrough, with Adrian also heading to the Northeast to play for countryman Rafa Benitez at Newcastle.

Must watch Milivojevic free kick leads Palace past WBA (video)

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Goals from Luka Milivojevic and Bakary Sako led Crystal Palace to a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion in the third place game of the PL Asia Trophy.

Palace had lost 2-0 to Liverpool in its semifinal, while West Brom fell to Leicester City in penalty kicks after trading goals over 90 minutes.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]  

Milivojevic’s free kick, won by Wilfried Zaha, was super. Whipped in with force and a wicked curl, Baggies keeper Ben Foster didn’t have a chance to reach it with his dive.

Sako created his goal with a darting move off a long dribble, though it needed a pair of deflections to get behind Foster.

The Baggies had their chances, and Julian Speroni made an outstanding save on Matty Phillips late in the match.

STREAM LIVE: Liverpool-Leicester duel for PL Asia Trophy

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Goals from Bakary Sako and Luka Milivojevic spearheaded Crystal Palace’s 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion in the PL Asia Trophy third place game, and now Liverpool and Leicester City tangle for the title.

The final will be staged at 8:30 a.m. ET, when Liverpool will hope to build on a 2-0 semifinal win paced by Divock Origi and Dominic Solanke goals.

[ LIVE: Stream PL Asia Trophy here ]  

West Brom lost to Leicester City in its semifinal when youngster Sam Field missed the side’s seventh attempt in penalty kicks. Jay Rodriguez scored the Baggies goal in regulation of a 1-1 draw.

Here are the lineups for Leicester City and Liverpool: