La Liga and Serie A roundup: AC Milan break winless run, Atletico blank Getafe

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The weekend of Serie A and La Liga action is far from over, but with Friday and Saturday in the books, there a few results from both Spain and Italy to catch up on.

Today, only two matches took place in Serie A, while five contests occurred in Liga BBVA.

In La Liga on Sunday, Real Madrid will face Barcelona in El Clasico, the most notable match from both countries.

Sampdoria and Inter Milan, two teams hoping to end the season in the top five, will clash against each other tomorrow in Italy’s top flight.

From Saturday

Chievo 1-0 Palermo: A wonderful sequence highlighted the lone score of this competition when forward Riccardo Meggiorini’s back heel flick landed for Alberto Paloschi to bury the goal in the 35th minute. Chievo Verona’s Paloschi also missed a penalty kick but his squad held on regardless. In the 86th minute, Sinisa Andjelkovic, who gave Paloschi his PK opportunity with a hand ball, was sent off with the red card, and Palermo’s chances to draw level plummeted. Palermo, in 11th place due to their inability to gain a result, is ten points off from Europa League qualification. On the other hand, Chievo is creeping away from demotion.

AC Milan 3-1 Cagliari: Milan is still fighting to slip into the top five, and three games without a victory had the Red and Blacks frustrated. But facing 18th-place Cagliari, Filippo Inzaghi’s outfit benefitted from one of Serie A’s top scorers, Jeremy Menez, who totaled two goals en route to a relatively smooth-sailing outcome. Philippe Mexes also struck for Milan in the 49th minute, but for a moment early on, the Sardinians looked as if they could keep the game within reach, the scoreline being halved on Diego Farias’ 47th-minute goal.

On Sunday

-Empoli v. Sassuolo

-Udinese v. Fiorentina

-Sampdoria v. Inter Milan

-Cesena v. Roma

-Juventus v. Genoa

-Napoli v. Atalanta

-Lazio v. Verona

-Parma v. Torino


From Saturday

Atletico Madrid 2-0 Getafe: Atletico Madrid had a previously familiar goal scorer net the opening score, with Fernando Torres spinning header that was assisted by Koke on the free kick. The second goal originated from a set piece as well, and it was Tiago who headed it home for his fifth goal on the year. This win marked Atletico’s first league triumph in four matches after they had drawn three consecutive times. The incumbent champion is now one point behind third place, where Valencia currently resides. Getafe, meanwhile, has moved closer to the relegation zone, only four points away despite being in 13th place.

Rayo Vallecano 1-0 Malaga: Chelsea loanee Gael Kakuta buried a header in the 22nd minute to essentially solidify the three points for Rayo, who continues to stay strong in the table with their fourth win in six games. Malaga had just won a crucial match versus Cordoba and began this match with a near-converted effort on goal from 20-year-old forward Samu Castillejo. But Rayo came back to net the only goal and managed to remain firm defensively in the second half, while the Anchovies truly faltered when Marcos Angeleri picked up a second yellow card in the 74th minute.

Other Saturday results

Levante 0-1 Celta Vigo

Granada 0-0 Eibar

Athletic Bilbao 2-1 Almeria

On Sunday

-Deportivo v. Espanyol

-Real Sociedad v. Cordoba

-Villarreal v. Sevilla

-Barcelona v. Real Madrid

Red-hot Rebić scores again as AC Milan tops Torino

AC Milan
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MILAN (AP) Ante Rebić kept up his scoring form to lead AC Milan to a 1-0 win over struggling Torino in Serie A on Monday.

The Croatia international beat his marker to redirect a cross from the center of the area midway through the first half at the San Siro.

The score raised Rebić’s tally to six goals and an assist in eight matches since he earned his starting spot – a move that coincided with Zlatan Ibrahimović’s return to the Rossoneri.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Bouncing back from a derby loss, Milan moved up to eighth and just beyond the Europa League places. The seven-time European champion is hoping to return to continental competition after voluntary withdrawing from this season’s Europa League to pay for UEFA financial fair play breaches.

Torino, meanwhile, lost its fifth straight, with new coach Moreno Longo still unable to turn things around in his second match in charge.

Ibrahimović narrowly missed a curling shot shortly after the break.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Simeone: Liverpool intensity “makes me admire it as a rival”

UEFA Champions League
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The UEFA Champions League returns at long last on Tuesday, and two of the greatest managers in the game will match wits for the first time.

No we’re not talking about Lucien Favre and Thomas Tuchel, the meeting of the minds in Tuesday’s other kickoff between Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain in Germany.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp will go head-to-head with Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone in Spain, and the fiery German thinks it will be “absolutely interesting.”

From The Liverpool Echo:

“People say I emotional on the sideline,” Klopp said. “I am only on level 4, Diego is level 12. Really I am the kindergarten cop against him. He is so impressive after all these years, after so many years at the club – eight years. That is really long and having still this emotional level, still, wow. So impressive. I say, his teams are always organized world class.”

The admiration is mutual.

Simeone expects a huge challenge from a Liverpool team he regards on a historic plane.

“We are facing a magnificent team, really well-trained by a coach who is different and has different alternatives in his team,” he said, via The Independent. “We have always spoken about great teams throughout time and I have no doubt this Liverpool is going to go down in history as a great team because it is different to teams that we have admired. This team is much more intense, more adaptable, and it makes me admire it as a rival.”

The bettors say Liverpool is the heavy favorite in the first leg despite the match’s location at the Wanda Metropolitano. With football geniuses like Klopp and Simeone, however, either could have a plan to throw the other for a loop.

CONCACAF Champions League preview: Five MLS sides eye history

CONCACAF Champions League preview
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Once the Premier League and La Liga had taken their final bows of the day on Saturday, there felt was a particular absence, one soon-to-be filled by domestic soccer.

Yes, MLS is coming soon, and the CONCACAF Champions League is even closer.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Five MLS sides begin their Round of 16 ties over the next three evenings, some with easier paths than others to elusive CCL glory.

The competition may not have burned itself onto the mainstream, lagging behind continental competitions in Europe and South America, but those who’ve embraced it (hint: this guy) love the thing.

For all the progress Major League Soccer has made in its quarter-century, it’s yet to find much success in dealing with Liga MX powers in the fight to qualify for the Club World Cup.

MLS sides have not won the competition since it was rebranded the CCL. Only three MLS sides have made the CCL final this decade, with Real Salt Lake (2011), Montreal Impact (2015), and Toronto FC (2017) all coming up short at the last step.

The CCL provides everything you love and hate about World Cup qualifying, and those dicey pitches with sometimes worse lighting mean the favorites aren’t guaranteed much.

The top half of the bracket sees three MLS teams — Montreal, Seattle, and NYCFC — and just one Liga MX side, while the bottom half gives us a Liga MX v. MLS match-up straight away.

That’s Leon v. LAFC, and it begins Tuesday night in Mexico. That tie carries the added intrigue of MLS superstar Carlos Vela bringing his act back to his home country for the first time… ever.

Bracket

Saprissa (Costa Rica) v. Montreal — 8 p.m. ET Weds.
Olimpia (Honduras) v. Seattle — 10 p.m. ET Thurs.

San Carlos (Costa Rica) v. NYCFC — 8 p.m. ET Thurs.
Alianza (El Salvador) v. UANL Tigres — 8 p.m. ET Weds.

Leon v. LAFC — 10 p.m. ET Tues.
Portmore United (Jamaica) v. Cruz Azul — 8 p.m. ET Tues.

Comunicaciones (Guatemala) v. Club America — 10 p.m. ET Weds.
Montagua (Honduras) v. Atlanta United — 10 p.m. ET Tues.

The 2 Robbies podcast: VAR carnage at Stamford Bridge

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Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle dissect a crazy game at Stamford Bridge that saw Chelsea on the wrong side of several VAR decisions (00:45).

The gents also recap the big moments from the weekend; Liverpool beat Norwich (18:30), Son’s late winner against Aston Villa (24:45) and Arteta‘s attackers thrash Newcastle United (30:15).

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

To listen to more lively conversations and passionate debate from Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, subscribe to The 2 Robbies Podcast on Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

And you can follow them on Twitter @The2RobbiesNBC here.

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]