CONCACAF Champions League: Montreal survives scare, advances to final


The Montreal Impact has become the first Canadian team to reach the CONCACAF Champions League final.

Montreal entered the second leg of it’s matchup with Costa Rican side Alajuelense leading 2-0 on aggregate, which allowed the Impact to advance despite losing tonight’s match 4-2.

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Major League Soccer’s last representative in the tournament was outplayed the entire match and advances on away goals with the aggregate tied 4-4.

Alajuelense dominated the first half, with Montreal barely possessing the ball outside of their own half. The hosts nearly took the lead in the 30th minute when a quick throw-in caught Montreal off-guard. Referee Joel Aguilar was speaking with some Montreal players as Alajuelense took a quick restart, sending Armando Alonso in on goal. Alonso had his chip deflected by goalkeeper Evan Bush before being cleared off the line by Donny Toia.

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Against all the run of play, it was Montreal that opened the scoring on one of their first prolonged possessions in the Alajuelense half. Dominic Oduro played a quick one-two with Ignacio Piatti and sent a low cross into the box that found a streaking Jack McInerney. The 22-year-old finished neatly to give Montreal a rather undeserved lead heading into halftime.

Alajuelense continued to dominate in the second half and found an equalizer just two minutes after the break. Lining up for a free kick on the edge of the box, Pablo Gabas hit a left-footed shot that found the top corner to knot the score at one.

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Gabas got his second of the night in the 60th minute, another set piece foiling Montreal. Alajuelense swung in a corner kick that got the slightest of flicks in the box, finding Gabas on the back post. All it needed was a deflection as Gabas’s touch hit the underside of the bar and bounced in.

With Alajuelense pressing down 3-2 on aggregate, Montreal padded it’s lead with a goal from substitute Andres Romero.

Allen Guevara put the hosts ahead once again as Alajuelense continued to relentlessly press the Montreal defense. Jonathan McDonald scored in stoppage time to make the final score 4-2, but the Impact advance for the second straight round on away goals.


Alajuelense: Lewis, Acosta, Lopez, Gutierrez, Matarrita, Rodriguez (Guevara 68′), Gabas, Venegas, Calvo (Ortiz 59′), Alonso (Sanchez 81′), McDonald

Goals: Gabas (47′, 60′), Guevara (79′), McDonald (90’+3′)

Montreal Impact: Bush, Toia, Ciman, Soumare, Cabrera, Mallace, Reo-Coker, Duka (Romero 61′), Piatti, Oduro (Tissot 82′), McInerney (Bernier 70′)

Goal: McInerney (42′), Romero (72′)

Tuanzebe injured in warm-ups, Rojo now in Manchester United XI

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Well then.

Manchester United’s announced XI has changed thanks to a presumed injury to center back Axel Tuanzebe.

Marcos Rojo will take the youngster’s place in a back three with Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof.

Liverpool and United kickoff from Old Trafford at 11:30 a.m. ET (Watch live at on NBCSN and online via

The 29-year-old Rojo has played four times this season, but just 30 minutes in the Premier League.

Phil Jones has been added to the bench.


Manchester United: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Rojo, Young, Fred, McTominay, Pereira, James, Rashford. Subs: Romero, Mata, Martial, Jones, Greenwood, Garner, Williams.

Liverpool: Alisson, Robertson, Van Dijk, Matip, Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Mane, Origi, Firmino. Subs: Adrian, Lovren, Milner, Keita, Gomez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana.

Lukaku scores 2, celebrates with Conte as Inter Milan bounces back

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If this guy was still in red, Manchester United would have a lot more hope heading into today’s visit from Liverpool.

Romelu Lukaku scored his fourth and fifth Serie A goals of the season on Sunday as Inter Milan outlasted Sassuolo 4-3 at Stadio Citta del Tricolore.

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Lautaro Martinez also scored twice in the win, as Inter rebounded from its loss to Juventus and reclaimed second place. Inter sits a point back of The Old Lady.

Lukaku caused a bit of buzz online when he raced over to manager Antonio Conte following his second goal for a fiery embrace (It’s Conte. Fiery is his thing).

From Football-Italia:

“Conte and I are both team players, so when I score a goal, I want to celebrate with everyone. I am focused only on working and giving my best in every match.”

Inter is home to Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday in almost a must-win given its slow start to life in the Champions League.

Lukaku, who’s also scored six goals in his last four appearances for Belgium, already has a goal in a Milan Derby and a solid strike partner in Martinez.

He ranks near the top of Inter’s performance charts on WhoScored, chipping in on the defensive end as well.

Watch Live: Manchester United v. Liverpool

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Manchester United chases a notable home win over rivals Liverpool without Paul Pogba and David De Gea, as the visitors look to match a pair of Premier League records on Sunday at Old Trafford (Watch live at 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via


Liverpool can tie the standard for consecutive away Premier League wins (9) while also winning its 18th-straight league match.

There’s a place on the Manchester United bench for Anthony Martial, but there are three center backs in the forms of Harry Maguire, Axel Tuanzebe, and Victor Lindelof.

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah is not ready for any sort of return.

David De Gea and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have passed fit for United, while Divock Origi starts with Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane for Liverpool.


Manchester United: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Tuanzebe, Young, Fred, McTominay, Pereira, James, Rashford. Subs: Romero, Mata, Martial, Rojo, Greenwood, Garner, Williams.

Liverpool: Alisson, Robertson, Van Dijk, Matip, Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Mane, Origi, Firmino. Subs: Adrian, Lovren, Milner, Keita, Gomez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana.

Ederson as the league’s best? Increased action, stats make the case

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Christian Benteke rose above a pack of players, snapping a header toward the far post and, perhaps, a Crystal Palace lifeline against Manchester City.

The view from outside the 18 best tells the story of what happened next, as City goalkeeper Ederson appears from behind the fray to stop the ball from reaching its location with a remarkable save.

He had a few of those in Saturday’s win, the latest in which City’s Brazilian backstop kept a clean sheet behind cobbled together back line.

One of his makeshift center backs, Fernandinho, labeled the performance “superb,” while Pep Guardiola said the saves were “incredible.”

We’re seeing a lot more love for Ederson these days, mostly it seems because City is conceding more shots and the Brazilian has to play a bigger role.

The PL’s second place side and two-time reigning champs are one of five clubs to allow less than 10 goals this Fall, helping City stay within reasonable distance of Liverpool in a bid for a three-peat.

Brought for his skills in possession, Ederson has completed a league-high 90 percent of his passes and 65 percent of his long balls. Only three others are above 80 percent on all passes and just Kasper Schmeichel is above 50 percent on long balls.

Ederson, though, has been so much busier in dangerous spots, with his 19 saves inside the box behind only the backstops for three much weaker teams in Norwich City’s Tim Krul, Brighton’s Mat Ryan, and Newcastle’s Martin Dubravka.

[ MORE: Pulisic Watch  | Sargent scores ]

Perhaps this should then serve as a warning signal as City waits for Nicolas Otamendi to be fully fit, let alone star center back Aymeric Laporte‘s long-term return.

According to SofaScore, only the outstanding Bernd Leno and Ryan rate better than Ederson on the whole, and the incredible passing numbers take him over the top.