Three things we learned from Juventus vs. Real Madrid


Juventus is the real deal.

They proved that in Turin on Tuesday as Carlos Tevez lead them to a 2-1 victory over Real Madrid.

[ RELATED: Juve beat Real 2-1 ]

The reigning European champions couldn’t cope with the high-pressure of the Italian champions and Juve’s experienced core prevailed to take a slender lead into the second leg at the Santiago Bernabue next week.

Here are three things we learned after a pulsating clash in Italy.


Early on Juventus came flying out of the traps and pinned Real Madrid back. It was relentless from the home side but proved impossible to keep up as the Italians took a breather in the first half and were caught out by Real Madrid as Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 76th Champions League goal, overtaking Lionel Messi for the night, and despite dominating Real they only have a one-goal lead to take to Spain with them. That said, it was admirable application from Juve as their oldest outfield player, Andrea Pirlo, covered the most distance during the match. Arturo Vidal was the heartbeat of Juventus’ side as the Chilean destroyer broke up the play and allowed the likes of Alvaro Morata and Carlos Tevez to stay high and occupy the shaky Madrid backline. Tevez epitomized Juve’s workrate and the leading scorer in Serie A saw his shot parried into the path of Morata for the first and his driving run won the penalty kick, which he scored, for the second. The Argentine warrior is the perfect spearhead for Juventus’ wily side and his relentless running set the tone for a famous win for La Vecchia Signora. Tevez has now scored eight times in the Champions League this season and stole the show.

[ VIDEO: Ronaldo scores 76th UCL goal, makes history once again ]

It was all about high-pressing from Juve. There was poise to Massimiliano Allegri’s tactics. He knew his side couldn’t continue to press Real’s stars higher and higher up the pitch so Juventus switched to a back three once they went 2-1 up to give themselves more protection. It worked, as they stood off Real and dealt with long, floating balls into the box with ease.

Tevez stole the show as Juventus beat Real Madrid in Turin.


Juventus’ squad is ageing like a fine French wine. On Tuesday their legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffaon was 37, while Pirlo (35), Patrice Evra (33), Carlos Tevez (31), Giorgio Chiellini (30) and Stephan Lichtsteiner (31) all started and provided bags of experience. Allegri has sprinkled in the youth of Paul Pogba and Alvaro Morata to balance things out this season as the Italian side clinched their fourth-straight Serie A title last weekend. On the back of that triumph that were spurred on by an incessant home crowd who were witnessing Juve’s first appearance back in the UCL semifinals since 2003. The old heads did not let the team down and even the likes of Fernando Llorente (30) and Andrea Barzagli (33) helped shore things up late on as Allegri tweaked his formation. Plus Llorente shoudl have done better with a late header he sent straight at Iker Casillas.

[ RELATED: Champions League schedule ]

With the Serie A title wrapped up, Juve’s old boys will now get plenty of rest between now and the second leg in Madrid next Wednesday. Nobody expected Juventus’ old guard to make a run to the Champions League final this season but they are 90 minutes away from achieving just that. Juve’s experience prevailed over Real’s star-power in the first leg.


Returning from injury for his first start in three weeks, Gareth Bale was a shadow of his usual self. As the stat above shows, he failed to make an impact in the first half and it took him until the 65th minute to produce a glimmer of quality as he cut back on his left foot in the box and clipped a cross to the back post which just evaded the onrushing Ronaldo. The 65th minute. That was as good as it got before he was substituted for Jese and the Welsh wizard had another night to forget in a Real Madrid jersey.

source: AP
Ancelotti has a lot of thinking to do ahead of the second leg.

It wasn’t just Bale who looked lost, playing in the unfamiliar role of central midfield Sergio Ramos gave the ball away time and time again as the center back was bullied into rushing passes by Vidal. With Luka Modric out injured and Sami Khedira left out of the squad due to his contract situation which will see him become a free agent in a month, Toni Kroos played slightly deeper alongside Ramos and the German playmaker sprayed the ball around superbly. However, Real’s midfield couldn’t support Ronaldo and Bale sufficiently and the balance seemed off. That’s something they have a week to tweak and get right for the second leg. Pepe could play in a true holding role and allow Kroos to roam, while Khedira could be brought in from the dark or perhaps Asier Illarramendi will be thrust onto the big stage. Carlo Ancelotti has options, but he also has a one-goal deficit to overturn.

There were moments of brilliance from Real in the first half after Ronaldo equalized. In the 40th minute a sumptuous flowing move down the left saw Isco’s overlapping run produce a cross that James Rodriguez somehow headed against the bar from four-yards out. The situation is not disastrous for Ancelotti, his side can win 1-0 at home in the second leg and go through, but Real Madrid’s manager will be a little worried after his team were bullied out of the first leg. He needs his star men, like Bale, to step up if Real’s quest to defend their UCL crown will continue.

Man City vs Man United: How to watch live, stream link, team news


Manchester City vs Manchester United: Erling Haaland is set for his Manchester derby debut when the two-time defending champions host the rapidly improving Red Devils at Etihad Stadium on Sunday (watch live, 9 am ET on Peacock Premium). 


Haaland has taken the Premier League by storm with an absurd 11 goals scored in his first seven games after (ostensibly) choosing Man City over Man United before leaving Borussia Dortmund this summer.

Six weeks ago, Manchester United had not a single point from their first two games, including a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of tiny Brentford, but Erik ten Hag has since switched tactical course en route to four straight wins, including a 3-1 victory over PL leaders Arsenal last time out, to set up this hugely intriguing showdown on Sunday.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Man City vs Man United

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

How to watch Manchester City vs Manchester United live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 9 am ET, Sunday
Online: Stream via Peacock Premium

Key storylines & star players

Despite a pair of disappointing draws (Newcastle and Aston Villa), it’s been an unbeaten start to the 2022-23 season for Man City, who still lead the PL in possession (66.4 percent per game) while also becoming an unstoppable offensive force from last season (14 goals in their first seven games) to this season (23). That’s not to say it’s been easy as Manchester City go through a tactical shift of their own to better appeal to the big Norwegian’s poaching abilities. Though they have been forced to grind out results a few times already this season, it’s highlighted a newfound spontaneity for a side that’s been as regimented as any in the world. Will that freedom be what ultimately lands Pep Guardiola his first Champions League trophy since 2011, and perhaps a third straight PL title (and a fifth in six years) to boot?

As for Manchester United, the Ten Hag era has been a wild roller-coaster ride already, short as it’s been. The back-to-back defeats were one thing, but the abject performances were the real cause for discontent. While picking up the four straight victories, the Dutchman has also settled on a midfield setup with Scott McTominay and Christian Eriksen operating in (effectively) a double pivot with Bruno Fernandes the most advanced of the three. It has brought defensive stability, of course, but more importantly the change has revealed a deadly counter-attacking side. Each of Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Fernandes have scored twice during the winning run, with new boy Antony also getting in on the fun on his debut. With space in behind (and the proper service from deep), Ten Hag might just have his first winning formula (albeit quite unlike him).

Manchester City team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Kalvin Phillips (shoulder), John Stones (hamstring), Benjamin Mendy (suspension – MORE) | QUESTIONABLE: Aymeric Laporte (knee)

Manchester United team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Harry Maguire (hamstring), Marcus Rashford (thigh), Brandon Williams (undisclosed), Mason Greenwood (suspension – MORE) | QUESTIONABLE, Donny van de Beek (knock), Martin Dubravka (knock)

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WATCH: Lionel Messi spins gorgeous free kick goal past Nice’s Schmeichel


Lionel Messi got the better of Kasper Schmeichel with an outstanding free kick as Paris Saint-Germain outlasted Nice 2-1 on Saturday at the Parc des Princes.

The world’s greatest scorer was fouled to set up a free kick just inside the arc. Nice, of course, got into a wall and former Leicester City keeper Kasper Schmeichel arranged it to his liking.

As he does so many times, however, Messi spun a free kick just over the wall. The ball, which came so close to taking a slight turn off a leaping wall member (actually, did it?), tumbled down and right into the side netting to give PSG a 1-0 lead before the match was a half-hour old.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Ricardo Pepi scores relentless Groningen goal ]

Gaetan Laborde tied the match before halftime, and Nice’s revamped roster looked set to hold tight for a point (The club’s signed familiar Premier League names Schmeichel, Ross Barkley, Aaron Ramsey, and Mario Lemina).

Even that wouldn’t be enough, though, as Kylian Mbappe came off the bench to replace young Hugo Ekitike to finish a Nordi Mukiele assist for a 2-1 win.

PSG has eight wins and a draw this season, good for a two-point lead on second-place Marseille. Messi has five goals and a joint-league-best seven assists, tied with Neymar. Mbappe and Neymar are tied for the league goals lead with eight.

Lionel Messi free kick goal video

USMNT’s Ricardo Pepi defies xG with relentless goal (video)


USMNT forward Ricardo Pepi’s goal while trying to will Groningen back into an eventual 4-1 loss to AZ Alkmaar on Saturday will not be one of the expected variety.

The 19-year-old striker, on loan from Augsburg, ran onto an audacious long pass from 20-year-old defender Neraysho Kasanwirjo but had plenty of work to do with AZ leading 2-0.

[ MORE: Josef Martinez scores audacious overhead goal ]

Pepi sees one defender fall in a race to the ball, then bodies up AZ’s Sam Beukema a little outside the six-yard box.

Hand-to-hand combat sees both players hit the turf, and Pepi probably could won a penalty.

But the World Cup hopeful spins while on the pitch and snaps a shot past charging AZ goalkeeper Hobie Verhulst to make it 2-1.

Video after the jump.

Ricardo Pepi

Ricardo Pepi goal video: Fantastic start to Groningen loan

Pepi now has a goal or an assist in his first three Eredivisie outings, not unlike his fantastic start to life in a USMNT shirt.

His goal contributions have taken a dive since his first two USMNT matches — World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Jamaica — and he only has one assist from the following 10 outings in a U.S. shirt.

Still, Pepi is clearly one of Gregg Berhalter’s favorite options for the upcoming World Cup, and his performances will be measured against Union Berlin’s Jordan Pefok, FC Dallas’ Jesus Ferreira, and others.

In a tournament where every moment matters, his work for this scrappy finish will be well-noted by the USMNT staff.

Josef Martinez scores vicious overhead kick in Atlanta United loss (video)


If this is the last goal of Josef Martinez’s (likely) final season with Atlanta United, it will be very appropriate.

So for Martinez, even in a losing effort, to go airborne for an overhead kick that is a simply sensational feat of athleticism and power, well, it just feels right.

The 29-year-old Venezuelan forward joined the Five Stripes in 2017 in what seemed a massive capture for the club at the time and now seems downright gargantuan, but he’s fallen out with current manager Gonzalo Pineda and was even suspended for a match last month.

[ MORE: West Ham beats Wolves | Klopp reacts to latest setback ]

Martinez has nine goals and four assists in an injury-abbreviated 25-game season, giving him 111 goals in 156 appearances for ATL UTD. The former Torino and Young Boys striker is still being capped for Venezuela and would leave with an MLS Cup, Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, and Campeones Cup as well as a boatload of individual honors.

Atlanta lost 2-1 to New England on Saturday and returns home for their season finale next weekend versus New York City FC. The Five Stripes won’t make the playoffs unless at least two teams decide not to field teams, so if the NYCFC game doesn’t go well, let’s pretend this one was his final appearance for the club.