If you cannot find something to like in soccer this week, you really aren’t trying very hard.
England’s FA Cup reaches its fifth round, with several compelling stories spicing the stew; most matches are Saturday and Sunday.
Major League Soccer teams are into the back half of their preseason training; first kick is now less than 20 days away.
The week’s headlining act is Champions League, which spills gloriously into its elimination phase. Sixteen teams remain alive in the world’s most premier club competition.
On Tuesday, one of the old giants of Europe gets a taste of past glory when Celtic meets Juventus in the first leg of their home-and-away series. This is Celtic’s first reach into the Round-of-16 since the 2007-08 season.
The same day, Paris Saint-Germain travels to Spain to meet Valencia, where one David Robert Joseph Beckham could make his debut for PSG. Given the Beckham effect, what looked like a pretty interesting match just became a potentially fascinating one. (You may believe Beckham is overrated as a player, and you surely would not be alone – but it’s a talker either way, eh?)
A day later, Ukranian club Shakhtar Donetsk, known recently for punching above its weight class in Champions League, takes on Dortmund, which navigated group stage without a loss. That’s not such a surprise given the talent around Jürgen Klopp’s stylish side.
And then the biggie … Real Madrid vs. Manchester United. We’ll let Real’s humble manager Jose Mourinho (pictured) sketch out the bottom line on Wednesday’s contest: “This is the match the world wants to see. The only shame is that it is not the final.”
More, obviously, on this one is coming here at ProSoccerTalk.
Despite a late scare, dominant Brighton and Hove Albion put an end to Frank Lampard‘s run in the FA Cup with a 2-1 defeat of Derby County at the Amex Stadium on Saturday.
Anthony Knockaert and Jurgen Locadia scored in the final dozen minutes of the first half for the Seagulls, who will learn their quarterfinal foe on Monday.
[ MORE: Lingard, Martial injured ]
Substitute Ashley Cole scored in the 80th minute for the Rams, who were heavily outshot in the match.
It was Cole’s first goal in England since 2012, when he bagged a Premier League marker for Chelsea against Stoke City.
Locadia was injured just before the Seagulls conceded, and looked to be in considerable pain with an ankle injury.
American attacker Duane Holmes started up top for Derby but was subbed after 45 minutes. The 24-year-old Columbus-born man has become a regular starter under Lampard.
The 20th Anniversary of Manchester United’s treble, to the day, will see Sir Alex Ferguson managing the club.
This, of course, is for a single night only, as the Red Devils celebrate their 1999 treble with a testimonial of sorts against Bayern Munich, who it beat 2-1 to win the Champions League on May 26, 1999.
[ MORE: Lingard, Martial injured ]
“I’m really looking forward to what will be a special day at Old Trafford. It will be great to catch up with some familiar faces and a great opportunity to support the work of Manchester United Foundation,” Ferguson said.
Players for the game are not confirmed but imagine the possibilities: Peter Schmeichel was across the field from Oliver Kahn. Lothar Matthaus had to deal with Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole. David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, and the Neville brothers started or were in the 18.
Keep in mind that Solskjaer scored the winner for Ferguson’s United that day at the Camp Nou, as the Red Devils scored twice in stoppage time for a remarkable comeback win.
A pair of Premier League team attempt to dodge upset bids with varying degrees of likelihood, while one of the guaranteed lower league quarterfinal berths will also be clinched during Saturday’s FA Cup action
Brighton and Hove Albion opens the day hoping to outlast Frank Lampard-led Derby County at the Amex Stadium.
[ LIVE: Follow all the FA Cup scores here ]
The other Premier League side, Man City, visits League Two side Newport County. Pep Guardiola is wary of the side’s physicality, but an upset is the longest of long shots.
Sandwiched in the middle is Millwall’s visit to AFC Wimbledon, the League One hosts hoping to continue the magic that helped them knock off the visitors’ rivals: West Ham United of the Premier League.
FA Cup Saturday
Brighton and Hove Albion v. Derby County — 7:30 am. ET
AFC Wimbledon v. Millwall — 10 a.m. ET
Newport County v. Man City — 12:30 p.m. ET
Rogelio Funes Mori is healthy again for Monterrey, and that’s a big reason why they lead the Clausura standings.
The 27-year-old Argentinian striker is in great form this Clausura after missing a significant portion of the Apertura with injuries. He had five goals in six Clausura matches coming into Friday night’s match with 16th-placed Monarcas Morelia.
He now has six goals, and his last one was an absolute stunner.
Funes Mori stole the ball off Aldo Rocha’s sloppy touch, looked up, and noticed Monarcas goalkeeper Sebastian Sosa just a hair out of his net. That was all the space he needed, letting loose from at least 35 yards out and producing an absolutely stunning finish that Sosa barely even had time to back up and give a stretch. Just like that, Monterrey went ahead.
Unfortunately for Monterrey, they gave up an equalizer less than a minute later as the left flank of the Monterrey defense saw their controller batteries die, allowing Edison Flores to snag a loose ball behind the lollygagging defenders and fire a low shot past Marcelo Barovero to level the score. The game ended 3-2 to Monterrey as Funes Mori would score a 78th minute equalizer and then the visitors won in stoppage time.
Still, win, lose, or draw, that strike by Funes Mori is something to behold. On the same day that a French top flight player unleashed from nearly halfway, Liga MX has a goal of the same caliber.