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La Liga & Serie A: Barca, Real, Atleti win; Roma’s stunning comeback

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A roundup of Wednesday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s La Liga coverage ]

We covered Barcelona’s 8-0 demolition of Deportivo earlier, but it wasn’t the only shutout win for the trio of powers seeking La Liga’s crown. Barca hosts Sporting Gijon on Saturday.

The league’s three-worst sides all play on Thursday, including a big 6-pointer between Granada and Levante.

Real Madrid 3-0 Villarreal

Zinedine Zidane’s side has won eight straight in La Liga thanks to goals from Lucas Vazquez, Karim Benzema and Luka Modric. Real remains a point back of both Atletico Madrid and Barcelona ahead of a Saturday match at Rayo Vallecano.

Athletic Bilbao 0-1 Atletico Madrid

Atleti doesn’t allow very many goals — just 16 in league play this season — and only needed a solitary marker to pick up yet another win and keep pace with Barca and Real. Fernando Torres got the goal, and Atleti is home to Malaga at the weekend.

Elsewhere
Espanyol 1-1 Celta Vigo — Tuesday
Real Betis 1-0 Las Palmas — Tuesday
Valencia 4-0 Eibar
Sporting 2-1 Sevilla
Malaga 1-1 Rayo Vallecano
Real Sociedad vs. Getafe — 2:30 p.m. ET Thursday
Granada vs. Levante — 3 p.m. ET Thursday

Standings

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Barcelona 34 25 4 5 96 29 67 14-1-2 11-3-3 79
Atlético Madrid 34 25 4 5 58 16 42 12-3-1 13-1-4 79
Real Madrid 34 24 6 4 101 30 71 15-1-2 9-5-2 78
Villarreal 34 17 9 8 42 31 11 12-3-2 5-6-6 60
Athletic 34 16 6 12 51 41 10 9-4-4 7-2-8 54
Celta Vigo 34 15 9 10 47 54 -7 7-6-4 8-3-6 54
Sevilla 34 13 10 11 47 42 5 13-1-3 0-9-8 49
Valencia 34 11 10 13 42 40 2 6-7-4 5-3-9 43
Málaga 34 10 12 12 31 31 0 6-6-5 4-6-7 42
Real Sociedad 33 11 8 14 41 44 -3 6-5-5 5-3-9 41
Eibar 34 11 8 15 45 53 -8 8-3-6 3-5-9 41
Betis 34 10 11 13 31 46 -15 5-6-6 5-5-7 41
Las Palmas 34 11 7 16 38 46 -8 7-4-6 4-3-10 40
Deportivo 34 7 17 10 42 56 -14 4-8-5 3-9-5 38
Espanyol 34 10 7 17 35 63 -28 7-5-5 3-2-12 37
Rayo Vallecano 34 8 11 15 46 66 -20 7-4-6 1-7-9 35
Sporting de Gijón 34 8 8 18 35 55 -20 5-4-8 3-4-10 32
Granada 33 7 9 17 33 60 -27 4-5-7 3-4-10 30
Levante 33 7 7 19 30 56 -26 6-4-7 1-3-12 28
Getafe 33 7 7 19 29 61 -32 6-5-6 1-2-13 28

during the Serie A match between AS Roma and Torino FC  at Stadio Olimpico on April 20, 2016 in Rome, Italy.
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Roma 3-2 Torino

I Lupi more or less guaranteed Inter and Fiorentina won’t catch them for third place in Serie A, and did it in remarkable style. Roma legend Francesco Totti subbed on with five minutes to play and his side down 2-1. By the time the final whistle blew, he had netted twice and all three points were on the side of the home side.

Juventus 3-0 Lazio

Meanwhile, The Old Lady is back to sleepwalking to a scudetto. Paulo Dybala nabbed his 15th and 16th goals of the season, and Mario Mandzukic also scored for Juventus, whose table lead goes back to nine points.

Elsewhere
Napoli 6-0 Bologna — Tuesday
Sassuolo 0-0 Sampdoria
Empoli 1-0 Verona
Palermo 2-2 Atalanta
Udinese 2-1 Fiorentina
Chievo 5-1 Frosinone
Genoa 1-0 Inter Milan
AC Milan vs. Carpi — 2:45 p.m. ET Thursday

Standings

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Juventus 34 26 4 4 65 17 48 14-2-1 12-2-3 82
Napoli 34 22 7 5 72 29 43 14-3-0 8-4-5 73
Roma 34 19 11 4 73 38 35 11-5-1 8-6-3 68
Inter Milan 34 18 7 9 44 31 13 11-2-4 7-5-5 61
Fiorentina 34 17 8 9 55 38 17 11-4-2 6-4-7 59
AC Milan 33 14 10 9 43 35 8 9-4-3 5-6-6 52
Sassuolo 34 12 13 9 41 38 3 6-8-3 6-5-6 49
Chievo 34 13 9 12 43 41 2 7-6-4 6-3-8 48
Lazio 34 13 9 12 44 45 -1 9-3-5 4-6-7 48
Genoa 34 12 7 15 39 41 -2 10-3-4 2-4-11 43
Torino 34 11 9 14 44 47 -3 6-6-5 5-3-9 42
Empoli 34 11 9 14 37 45 -8 6-5-6 5-4-8 42
Atalanta 34 9 11 14 36 43 -7 7-5-5 2-6-9 38
Udinese 34 10 8 16 31 49 -18 6-4-7 4-4-9 38
Sampdoria 34 9 10 15 46 50 -4 7-4-6 2-6-9 37
Bologna 34 10 7 17 31 44 -13 4-5-8 6-2-9 37
Carpi 33 7 10 16 33 51 -18 5-5-7 2-5-9 31
Frosinone 34 8 6 20 32 66 -34 6-4-7 2-2-13 30
Palermo 34 7 8 19 31 63 -32 4-4-9 3-4-10 29
Verona 34 3 13 18 28 57 -29 2-6-9 1-7-9 22

LIVE, UCL last 16: Atletico v. Liverpool; Dortmund v. PSG

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The 2019-20 UEFA Champions League is finally back as the Round of 16 kicks off this week and Atletico Madrid host Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain head to Borussia Dortmund in what should be two epic battles.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores

Liverpool are the first Premier League club to get going as Jurgen Klopp locks horns with Diego Simeone’s Atleti, who are a very dangerous team to play and they will scrap and battle for every ball against the reigning European champions. With Sadio Mane back fit, he could be the difference for Liverpool as the runaway Premier League leaders return to the stadium where they win their sixth European title at the end of last season. Madrid holds fond memories for Klopp’s boys. Atletico Madrid are struggling along in La Liga but they have played the underdog role very well in recent seasons and this encounter will be full throttle from the start.

Borussia Dortmund host Paris Saint-Germain in the other UCL last 16 first leg clash on Tuesday and that should be a cracking game between two very evenly-matched teams as former Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel takes PSG to the Westfalenstadion. Kylian Mbappe v. Jadon Sancho equals chef’s kiss.

[ MORE: Which Premier League team(s) will reach last eight? ]

Next week the other four last 16 first legs take place as Man City and Chelsea are in action against Real Madrid and Bayern Munich respectively. Out of the four Premier League teams still in the competition, Liverpool and Spurs will be the most confident of advancing.

Below is the full schedule for the two UCL last 16 first leg games on Tuesday, with bothgames kicking off at 3 p.m. ET. You can follow the action live by clicking on the link above.


Tuesday Champions League action

Atletico Madrid v. Liverpool
Borussia Dortmund v. Paris Saint-Germain

Champions League score predictions: Round of 16

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The 2019-20 UEFA Champions League is finally back as the Round of 16 kicks off this week and two of the four Premier League clubs are in action.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores

Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, the two finalists from last season, are first up and both will be happy enough with their draws in the last 16.

That said, Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool know that Diego Simeone’s Atleti are a very dangerous team to play as they will scrap and battle for every ball against the reigning European champions. As for Spurs and Jose Mourinho, the news that Heung-min Son has broken his arm and could be out for the rest of the season is a huge blow but they host an inconsistent RB Leipzig.

Borussia Dortmund host Paris Saint-Germain and Atalanta host Valencia in the other last 16 ties this week and both should be cracking encounters between two very evenly-matched teams.

[ MORE: Which Premier League team(s) will reach last eight? ]

Next week the other four last 16 first legs take place as Man City and Chelsea are in action against Real Madrid and Bayern Munich respectively. Out of the four Premier League teams still in the competition, Liverpool and Spurs will be the most confident of advancing.

Below we predict the scores for the UCL round of 16 games taking place over the next two days. Feel free to make your own predictions in the comments section below, too.


Tuesday
Atletico Madrid 1-2 Liverpool
Borussia Dortmund 3-2 PSG

Wednesday
Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 RB Leipzig
Atalanta 2-1 Valencia

Lampard issues Chelsea injury update; Pulisic remains out

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Chelsea boss Frank Lampard issued a lengthy injury update after their 2-0 defeat against Man United and USMNT fans will not be happy to hear that Christian Pulisic remains out.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

Ahead of Chelsea’s pivotal top four clash at home against bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), Lampard could be without as many as five key players.

Andreas Christensen broke his nose and came off at half time against United, while N’Golo Kante was subbed off early after yet another leg injury for the French superstar.

“Callum, no. Pulisic, no. N’Golo, no, from that today. Tammy is a maybe. It is not going our way with injuries at the moment but the players who come in they have to show that. That is what the squad is there for. It is frustrating,” Lampard told Chelsea TV when asked about availability for Saturday.

Lampard then gave an extra update on Kante, who walked through the mixed zone after the game looking okay and told the French journalists who were assembled that it wasn’t too bad.

“It is an adductor injury,” Lampard confirmed. “We will have to assess it and scan it. It doesn’t look great. It is on the same leg [as he injured before].”

With four wins in their last 14 Premier League games Chelsea are not in good form and are just one point ahead of fifth-place Tottenham ahead of their game this weekend.

They also have a nasty habit of dominating matches but are failing to put multiple chances away and with these injuries piling up it certainly makes Chelsea’s decision to not spend in the January window to strengthen their squad, especially in terms of strikers, very surprising.

With Bayern Munich coming up in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last 16 tie next week, Lampard will hope Chelsea’s luck turns and plenty of players return from injury.

FC Cincinnati coach Jans resigns amid investigation over remarks

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CINCINNATI — FC Cincinnati coach Ron Jans resigned amid an investigation by Major League Soccer of his use of a racial slur in the locker room.

Jans resigned late Monday, FC Cincinnati President Jeff Berding said: “The club had suspended Jans pending the investigation, which was prompted by a complaint from the MLS Players Association.

“As Major League Soccer’s investigation unfolded and some themes emerged, Ron offered his resignation and we agreed that it was the best course of action for everyone involved with FC Cincinnati,” Berding said.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

The club designated Yoann Damet as interim head coach while the team conducts a search. Cincinnati is training in Florida for its second season in MLS.

Cincinnati has been through two head coaches during its brief stay in the league. It fired Alan Koch after its 11th first-tier match, which left the expansion club with two wins, seven losses and two draws.

Damet also was the interim head coach while the team conducted a search that resulted in Jans’ hiring last August.

Cincinnati finished with the worst record in MLS in its inaugural season, with six wins, six draws and 22 losses. It scored a league-low 31 goals in 34 matches.

Cincinnati gained entry into MLS after a successful debut under Koch, who led the team to the semifinals of the United Soccer League’s playoffs in both 2017 and 2018.