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UCL preview: Leicester, Bayern have deficits to overturn vs. two Madrids

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Previewing Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League fixtures, in which two European giants (or newcomers) will book their places in the 2016-17 semifinals…

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Leicester City (0) vs. (1) Atletico Madrid1ST LEG RECAP

Leicester weren’t supposed to be here — not here, potentially 90 minutes away from a Champions League semifinal — heck, they almost weren’t even in the Premier League at the start of last season, yet they went on to defy 5,000-to-1 odds and claim the league title. This year, they were supposed to come crashing back down to the Earth, and they have — in the PL, that is.

In the CL, though, they’ve been nearly unbeatable. They cruised through the group stage and finished top, ahead of a trio of established European sides — Porto, Copenhagen and Brugge. The Foxes lost the first leg of their round-of-16 tie against Sevilla, but overturned the deficit in their home leg and advanced, 3-2 on aggregate.

On Tuesday, they’ll have to do the same against another Spanish side, Atletico Madrid, at the King Power Stadium in order to keep the impossible fairytale alive. Having recently (presumably) secured their PL status for another season, Craig Shakespeare’s side can focus every ounce of energy and fight they have left on securing yet another historic result on Tuesday, and perhaps beyond.


Real Madrid (2) vs. (1) Bayern Munich1ST LEG RECAP

In the other quarterfinal, Bayern find themselves in the same position as Leicester — only, they’re much worse off, having lost their home leg to Real Madrid and conceded not one, but two away goals.

To make things worse, Madrid have only lost at home once all season — to Celta Vigo, in the Copa del Rey (Zinedine Zidane’s side has also drawn just four times at home this season). A bit of positive news for Bayern: all three of Gareth Bale, Pepe and Raphael Varane will miss Tuesday’s second leg due to injuries. Inversely, Bayern will be without hugely influential midfielder/defender Javi Martinez after the Spaniard was booked twice in the first leg. Bayern do expect star striker Robert Lewandowski to be available after missing the first leg with a shoulder injury.

Cristiano Ronaldo could reach the century mark in Champions League play with a hat trick, having already become the first player to reach 100 goals scored in European club competition last Wednesday.

USMNT: Brooks out with hip strain; World Cup qualifiers loom

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John Brooks is out of Hertha Berlin’s lineup “for the time being” after scans revealed a hip strain suffered in this weekend’s win over Wolfsburg.

That’s all Hertha has said, and that makes it hard to imagine whether American fans should be a little concerned or very concerned ahead of the USMNT’s World Cup qualifiers against Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago in early June.

Brooks was unavailable for two weeks with an adductor strain in September, missing a month before returning to the starting lineup.

The U.S. center back pool isn’t teeming after Brooks and Geoff Cameron. Matt Besler, Tim Ream, Omar Gonzalez, and Walker Zimmerman were called up for the last World Cup qualifiers, and Gonzalez struggled but is a Bruce Arena favorite from their time in L.A.

WATCH: Snazzy Sargent goal leads U.S. U-17s past Mexico

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Josh Sargent scored a pretty goal as the United States Soccer program had another banner day against Mexico.

Nearly two months to the day after the U.S. U-20 side beat Mexico for the first time in 31 years, the U.S. U-17 topped El Tri for the first time ever. That win snapped Mexico’s 25-match unbeaten streak.

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The goal is the first of Sargent’s two goals, as the 16-year-old latched onto a long diagonal ball and used his right foot and head to move the ball into position for a strong shot.

The U.S. clinches a spot in the next round of U-17 World Cup qualifying with one match remaining in group play.

Sargent is from St. Louis and plays with Scott Gallagher-Missouri. Former Philadelphia Union coach John Hackworth coaches the U.S. U-17s.

Heads of South American soccer sent $128M in bank transfers

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SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) The leaders of South America’s soccer confederation transferred $128.6 million between 2000 and 2015 to personal accounts, suspicious accounts, or unauthorized third-party accounts, according to an audit released Wednesday by Ernst & Young.

According to the audit presented to the annual CONMEBOL congress in the Chilean capital, the confederation’s former president Nicolas Leoz transferred $26.9 million to his personal accounts. Leoz was the president for 27 years until resigning in 2013 for what he said were health reasons.

The audit also found $58 million in payments “to third parties without adequate documentation,” payments of $33.3 million to “unidentified accounts,” and $10.4 million to “suspicious third-parties.”

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“We had said that we would have four pillars, and the first two pillars were clear accounts and accountability,” said Alejandro Dominguez, the president of CONMEBOL who commissioned the audit last year. “Today we are accountable to the leaders and the whole world of football.”

Leoz, 88, is one of three ex-presidents of CONMEBOL accused on corruption charges by the United States Department of Justice. He is in Paraguay fighting extradition to the United States.

The South American body has been plagued by corruption, which was exposed two years ago during the FIFA scandal. Leoz’s two successors, Eugenio Figueredo and Juan Angel Napout, were both arrested on corruption charges.

“I’m here, I’m the manager” – Moyes will not quit Sunderland

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This has been one horrible stretch for David Moyes.

The Sunderland manager probably thought he’d been through the worst once he left Real Sociedad, where he went 12-15-15.

But he’s managed just seven wins and seven draws in 38 matches in charge of the Black Cats — an 18 percent win mark. He’s also been charged for threatening to slap a female journalist.

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And after Wednesday, Moyes has lost both of his derby matches against Middlesbrough.

Sunderland is 12 points back of safety with five matches left. The odds the Black Cats are headed for the Championship are somewhere north of 99 percent, and fans are calling for his job.

Well, he isn’t quitting. From the BBC:

“No, I’m here, I’m the manager, you take it on the chin. … I’m a football supporter, I know what it’s like. You don’t like seeing your team lose.

“There is nobody who wants to win more than me. I am used to winning, I’m not used to losing and I don’t want to get used to it either.”