Juventus 1-3 Barcelona: Luis Suarez’s late winner seals another Champions League triumph

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Barcelona are once again champions of Europe, after knocking off Juventus, 3-1, in the 2015 UEFA Champions League final at the Olympiastadion in Berlin, Germany, on Saturday. Goals scored by Ivan Rakitic, Luis Suarez and Neymar were enough to complete the Blaugrana‘s second treble-winning season in seven years.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s UCL coverage ]

In the end, it was the unstoppable force — Barcelona’s all-time great attacking trio unit — that was too much for the immovable object — Juventus’ staunch, disciplined defense. Barca now have their fifth European title, halfway to the total of Spanish rivals Real Madrid.

Barca drew first blood in the 4th minute. Neymar made a jinking run down the left and cut back inside, where he threaded a through ball into the penalty area for the onrushing Iniesta, who took a touch before squaring to Rakitic near the penalty spot. Rakitic struck left-footed, first-time and beat the outstretched Gianluigi Buffon.

Buffon came up huge to keep the deficit at one just nine minutes later. Lionel Messi played Suarez down the right wing, where the Uruguayan cut his cross back for Dani Alves near the top of the penalty area. Alves’ first-time shot looked destined for the back of the neat, but Buffon made the acrobatic stop at his near post.

Suarez came very close to doubling the lead not one, but twice in the 40th minute. His first attempt, a right-footed effort dragged just wide of the far post from a difficult angle, was quickly succeeded by a second attempt at the end of a Juve giveaway inside their defensive third. The ball fell to Suarez, whose first-time curler was palmed high into the air by Buffon.

[ MORE: 2014-15 Barcelona team goes down as one of the all-time greats ]

Claudio Marchisio registered Juve’s first shot on target, in the 45th minute. A rare counter-attacking opportunity for Juve provided the Italian midfielder with a bit of time and space just outside Barca’s penalty area, where he unleashed a powerful, right-footed shot, but Marc-Andre ter Stegen got two hands and his body behind the chest-high shot and made the save with ease.

Quickly countering five-versus three just after halftime, Barca continued to chase the now-elusive second goal, as Messi’s through ball set up Suarez for a toe-poke shot from beyond the edge of the six-yard box, but Buffon had his near post covered and made the save.

In the 55th minute, Barca were made to pay for failing time and again to grab that second goal and put the game away. Marchisio began the move for Juve’s equalizer with a brilliant backheel to play Stephan Lichtsteiner into space down the right. The Swiss full back crossed for Arturo Vidal near the penalty spot, where he let the ball run on and fired low with his left foot, but Ter Stegen was quick to get down and make the save, though the rebound spilled toward his far post. Alvaro Morata arrived on the scene late and cleaned up the mess, slotting home from close range to level the game at 1-1.

Juve, who had settled into and subsequently continued a purple patch of possession and chances created, nearly took the lead when a quick counter attack resulted with Carlos Tevez all alone at the top of the penalty area, where the Argentine fired just over the bar in the 63rd minute. Paul Pogba fired a well-hit shot of his own straight into the clutches of Ter Stegen a minute later.

[ MORE: WATCH: Neymar, Iniesta, Rakitic combine masterfully to open the scoring ]

Almost completely against the run of play at this point, Barcelona jumped back into the lead, thanks to Buffon’s first blunder of the game, overshadowing his heroic performance through the game’s opening 67 minutes. Messi weaved his way through the Juve defense, creating space for a perhaps difficult-to-see shot through traffic, which Buffon did well to keep out, but parried the ball into the path of Suarez, who cleaned up at the back post and reclaimed the lead.

Barca’s lead was momentarily doubled three minutes later, when Neymar headed home Jordi Alba’s cross into the box, but the additional assistant referee on the endline whistled Neymar for handball and the goal was disallowed, rightly so.

Juve’s best chance for yet another equalizer came in the 88th minute, when Marchisio found ample space 25 yards from goal and ripped a low, bouncing shot that Ter Stegen needed every last inch of his 6-foot-2 frame in order to push the ball wide of his left-hand post.

With the referee a matter of seconds from blowing the full-time whistle, Neymar added the emphatic exclamation point for Barca, capping off a counter attack with a low, placed finish past Buffon.

LINEUPS

Juventus: Buffon, Evra (Coman 89′), Bonucci, Barzagli, Lichtsteiner, Pirlo, Marchisio, Pogba, Vidal (Pereyra 79′), Morata (Llorente 85′), Tevez

Goals: Morata (55′)

Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Alba, Pique, Mascherano, Alves, Busquets, Rakitic (Mathieu 90+1′), Iniesta (Xavi 78′), Neymar, Suarez (Pedro 90+6′), Messi

Goals: Rakitic (4′), Suarez (68′), Neymar (90+7′)

Europa League: How to watch, odds, start time, predictions

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The UEFA Champions League and Europa League resume this week and I’m going to reveal my predictions for this next round as well as the latest odds for Europe’s top two continental tournaments.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores

With Manchester City and Chelsea still in the Champions League and Manchester United and Wolves among the favorites to win the Europa League, there is a lot on the line for Premier League clubs in the coming weeks.

Just because the Premier League season is over, that doesn’t mean the action is over. Far from it.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores ]

In the next few days the Europa League and Champions League Round of 16 second legs will take place before mini tournaments begin.

Man City lead Real Madrid 2-1 from their first leg in Spain, while Chelsea trail Bayern 3-0 as they head to Germany for the return game. Man United are all but in the quarterfinals, while Wolves are favored to make the Europa quarters too.

Lisbon, Portugal will host the Champions League games from the quarterfinal stage onwards, while the Europa League games will be hosted around Germany.

Below is a look at my predictions, the odds for the games this week and how to watch and follow all of the fixtures in the USA.


How to watch, stream Champions League and Europa League

Dates: August 5-23
Location: Round of 16 at home venues; Quarterfinals onwards in Lisbon/Germany
How to watch: CBS Sports
Live updates: UCL here at NBCSports.com & Europa League here at NBCSports.com


JPW’s Champions League predictions

Round of 16 (August 7-8)
Friday, August 7: Manchester City 1-1 Real Madrid (2-1)
Friday, August 7: Juventus 2-1 Lyon (0-1)
Saturday, August 8: Barcelona 3-1 Napoli (1-1)
Saturday, August 8: Bayern Munich 2-1 Chelsea (3-0)


JPW’s Europa League predictions

Round of 16 (August 5-6)
Copenhagen 1-2 Istanbul Basaksehir
Wolves 2-0 Olympiakos
Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 Rangers
Shakhtar Donetsk 1-3 Wolfsburg
Basel 1-2 Eintracht Frankfurt
Manchester United 3-1 LASK
Inter Milan 3-0 Getafe
Sevilla 1-3 Roma


Champions League betting odds

Round of 16 (August 7-8)
(-139) Manchester City v. Real Madrid (+320). Tie: +340
(-230) Juventus v. Lyon (+650). Tie: +340
(-150) Barcelona v. Napoli (+400). Tie: +300
(-250) Bayern Munich v. Chelsea (+650). Tie: +410

Quarterfinals (August 12-13)
(+200) Atalanta v. Paris Saint-Germain (+120). Tie: +285
(+225) RB Leipzig v. Atletico Madrid (+133). Tie: 220

Outright winner
Manchester City (+350)
Bayern Munich (+365)
Paris Saint-Germain (+450)
Atletico Madrid (+700)
Atalanta (+950)
Barcelona (+1100)
RB Leipzig (+1500)
Juventus (+1700)


Europa League betting odds

Round of 16 (August 5-6)
(+155) Copenhagen v. Istanbul Basaksehir (+180). Tie: +235
(-134) Wolves v. Olympiakos (+390). Tie: +260
(-162) Bayer Leverkusen v. Rangers (+410). Tie: +310
(+135) Shakhtar Donetsk v. Wolfsburg (+185). Tie: +265
(+155) Basel v. Eintracht Frankfurt (+155). Tie: +275
(-455) Manchester United v. LASK (+1200). Tie: +550
(-143) Inter Milan v. Getafe (+385). Tie: +285
(+110) Sevilla v. Roma (+270). Tie: +230

Outright winner
Manchester United (+160)
Inter Milan (+500)
Bayer Leverkusen (+700)
Wolves (+800)
Sevilla (+900)

Reports: Arsenal nearing agreement on new Aubameyang contract

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Arsenal is close to making their biggest signing of the summer and it’s not a new face: The Gunners are nearing a new contract for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, according to Sky Sports.

The deal would give Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta long-term access to a player he wants “to build the squad around.”

[ MORE: Premier League announces VAR, subs rules ]

The move is a break from tradition for the Gunners, who will give a massive raise to an older player.

Aubameyang is no ordinary veteran, though, the 31-year-old scoring 29 times in 44 matches across all competitions this season.

The Gabonese star won a share of the Golden Boot during the 2018-19 season, his first full season at Arsenal.

Aubameyang has not scored less than 22 league goals in any of his last five seasons, including the 23 he scored between Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal in 2017-18.

Recently, he led the Gunners to a record 14th FA Cup with a Man of the Match performance that included a brace.

Aubameyang has 252 goals across his last three stops at Arsenal, Dortmund, and Saint-Etienne.

The only danger here would be Aubameyang’s big money becoming an albatross akin to what happened to Alexis Sanchez at Manchester United and Mesut Ozil at Arsenal.

For now, though, there’s no sign of Aubameyang slowing down and the Gunners can save those worries for a later date, as attracting a player of his character without Champions League football is a tall task.

And perhaps Aubameyang cementing his time at the Emirates will sway a star currently on the fence about a season in the Europa League.

Bayern Munich – Chelsea: How to watch, team news, prediction

Bayern Munich - Chelsea
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Bayern Munich – Chelsea: This is a bold statement, but Chelsea overturning its 3-0 first-leg deficit over Bayern Munich on Saturday would be a bigger flip than what Liverpool did to Barcelona in last season’s Champions League.

Yeah, Liverpool’s 4-0 second leg win over Barcelona came against a Messi-led team but Chelsea would be doing it to a Bayern team which hasn’t lost in ages and has three away goals heading into the Allianz Arena.

[ MORE: Does Man Utd need Sancho? ]

Bayern is on a 26-match unbeaten run with just one draw, though Hansi Flick’s men have been away from serious match action since a July 4 win over Bayer Leverkusen in the German Cup Final.

Team news

Chelsea’s disadvantage is made more severe by who isn’t available to Frank Lampard. Marcos Alonso and Jorginho are suspended, while Christian Pulisic and Cesar Azpilicueta limped off the pitch at the FA Cup Final and Billy Gilmour is a long-term absence. Plus, N’Golo Kante and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are doubts and who knows what’s happening with Willian (though he seems likely to at least be in the 18).

Benjamin Pavard is out for Bayern Munich, while questions surround the status of Kingsley Coman.

First leg

February’s first leg at Stamford Bridge looked more like a London vacation for Bayern, Robert Lewandowski setting up ex-Arsenal man Serge Gnabry for two of the Bavarians’ three goals in a clean sheet win for Manuel Neuer.

Bayern Chelsea
LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 25: Serge Gnabry after scoring the first goal in West London (Photo by Harriet Lander/Copa/Getty Images)

Odds and ends

Chelsea is +700 to win the leg, let alone the tie, and Bayern is -278 to grab a second win over Chelsea, according to DraftKings. Bayern is a wild minus-10000 (yes, four zeroes) to advance compared to Chelsea’s +5300.

Prediction

Shorthanded Chelsea will still be firing a bit more early and should find a way onto the score sheet. Bayern will figure it out, though, and we see a 1-1 draw on the cards (if not a 2-1 Bayern win). The Bundesliga side is very, very good.

How to watch Bayern Munich – Chelsea

When: 3 pm ET Saturday
Stream: CBS All Access

Transfer news: Updates on Silva, Hojbjerg; Leeds chase defenders

Silva to Lazio
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There are updates on David Silva to Lazio, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to Tottenham, and more in Thursday’s Premier League transfer rumors.

[ MORE: Does Man Utd need Sancho? ]


Silva to Lazio latest

Last week’s report keeping David Silva in sky blue, albeit in another country, has been buttressed by Thursday news out of Italy.

Sky Sports says Lazio is increasingly confident of bringing the living Man City legend to Rome.

Silva is set to star in Friday’s UEFA Champions League second leg against Real Madrid, a result and three more wins from a European Cup to add to his World Cup, two EUROs, Copa del Rey, and 15 trophies with City.

Lazio faded down the stretch after challenging Juventus for the scudetto for much of the 2019-20 season. The club has rumor mill mainstays Ciro Immobile and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic under contract as well as Luis Alberto and Joaquin Correa, the quartet combining for 58 goals and 30 assists.

Silva’s not going to hurt that production, given six goals and 11 assists for Pep Guardiola this season.

Leeds linked with defenders

Marcelo Bielsa is readying his back line for the test of 19 other Premier League attacks, one with an eye for the future.

Fulham teenager Cody Drameh and Rangers veteran left back Borna Barisic are being linked with a move to the Peacocks.

Barisic, 27, has surged back into the Croatia set-up since arriving Glasgow from NK Osijek in 2018. He had two goals and 14 assists for Steven Gerrard last season.

Drameh is just 19 and yet to make his first team debut for Scott Parker’s also-promoted Cottagers. An England U-18 right back, he registered seven assists in 17 PL2 appearances for Fulham last season.

Barisic to Leeds
Rangers’ Borna Barisic (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group via Getty Images)

Hojbjerg to Tottenham, Walker-Peters to Southampton update

There are 18 million reasons for Southampton to be okay with wantaway former captain Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg taking the next step in his career.

That’s the transfer fee reportedly set for St. Mary’s as Spurs purchase the Danish midfielder.

The Express says that Everton had a $33 million bid accepted for Hojbjerg but that Tottenham interest swayed the player.

Spurs have also agreed a fee with Saints over Kyle Walker-Peters, who spent the second half of the 2019-20 season on loan to Southampton.

For some reason, the clubs wanted the deals kept apart, though it’s difficult not to read them as basically a swap given Walker-Peters’ reported $15 million deal.