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UCL: PSG embarrasses Barcelona 4-0 in first leg

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Angel Di Maria’s brace helped Paris Saint-Germain dismantle poor Barcelona, and PSG is on the verge of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals after a 4-0 win at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday.

Three of PSG’s goal came from birthday boys, as Di Maria (29) and Edinson Cavani (30) celebrated anniversaries. Julian Draxler also scored, but his birthday is Sept. 20.

The second leg is March 8 at the Camp Nou.

[ MORE: Champions League scores ]

Di Maria put a left-footed free kick between the heads of Gerard Pique and Luis Suarez in the Barcelona wall, giving the French side a 1-0 lead.

Suarez’s jumped forward to help open the gap, but it’s still a fine strike by the former Real Madrid and Manchester United man (WATCH IT HERE).

[ MORE: Champions League scores ]

Barcelona was down to 10 men at the time thanks to an injury to Neymar, and PSG pounced to take a first leg lead in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16.

Andre Gomes found Barcelona’s first chance in the 27th minute, as Neymar played Andre Gomes through on Kevin Trapp. Gomes tried to meg the keeper, but Trapp got a piece of it.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Julian Draxler was dangerous for PSG, winning the free kick Di Maria scored and later dribbling in from the left to force a save from Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.

Moments later, Di Maria nearly found the head of Edinson Cavani on a break on goal. Would they find a second?

Yep. Draxler belted a shot home after a clinical counter attack. The German was played onto his right foot by Marco Verratti, and it was 2-0 in the 40th. Verratti was incredible during his 68th shift, controlling the midfield and looking dangerous nearly every time the ball found him.

Di Maria stumbled before belting home a goal in the 55th minute, and Edinson Cavani needed one touch to score PSG’s fourth following a terrific dribble and pass from Thomas Meunier.

MLS Three Things: RBNY beats Atlanta, is a special club right now

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At this point, Jesse Marsch could take the USMNT job, Tyler Adams could bolt for the Bundesliga, and we’d still have to select the New York Red Bulls to finish with a home playoff game.

[ MORE: Willian’s shot at Conte ]

That’s how well run RBNY is these days, which is to take nothing away from their coach and 19-year-old star, but considering they navigated a solid CONCACAF Champions League run en route to this start… well…. wow.

On a night when Luis Robles’ ironman streak ended, Kaku recorded two assists, and Ezequiel Barco bagged his second goal in three matches, they don’t even meet the requirements of our three things.

Form giants deliver more goals

Marsch’s men have been shutout once this season, and most multiple goals in four-consecutive wins. Three of those four wins have come on the road, at LA, Colorado, and now Atlanta.

RBNY has the best points-per-game in Major League Soccer, has scored the joint-most goals despite playing in the second-fewest games, and is allowing barely more than a goal-a-game.

Bet against ’em. We dare ya.

BWP delivers the goods

RBNY’s 33-year-old English star scored twice and won a penalty that Daniel Royer converted as he continued his assault on all future Red Bulls’ hopes of becoming the club’s leading scorer.

Bradley Wright-Phillips has almost 50 more goals than his nearest competitor, Juan Pablo Angel, and he makes headers look like child’s play.

Victory comes with a price

Kemar Lawrence was lost with a scary-looking face-plant on a clearance, and needed to be stretchered off the pitch. Hopefully it’s not long-term for the Jamaican back.

Willian “edits” Conte out of FA Cup champions photo

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Willian is not a fan of Antonio Conte.

Come to another conclusion if you like, but it’s hard to argue the Brazilian wizard’s feelings following his Instagram post after Chelsea beat Manchester United in the FA Cup Final.

[ MORE: Matic wants squad changes at Man Utd ]

Willian covered his manager in trophies following the win, and it’d be a stretch to call that a tribute to the Italian’s tactical brilliance.

The player recorded seven goals and six assists despite playing less than all but 12 Chelsea players in league play (12th place Alvaro Morata had 11 and 6).

We’re accepting alternative explanations for the since-deleted Instagram photo below:

Elis scores twice as Dynamo beat Fire 3-2

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BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (AP) Alberth Elis scored two second-half goals to help the Houston Dynamo beat the Chicago Fire 3-2 on Sunday for their first road win of the season.

Elis, on a one-on-one breakaway, cut back to evade defender Johan Kappelhof and ripped a right-footer from the center of the box into the back of the net to give Houston (4-3-3) a 3-2 lead in the 74th minute.

[ MORE: Man Utd youngster gets USMNT call-up ]

The Dynamo’s Romell Quioto opened the scoring in the fourth, running onto a long through ball from Tomas Martinez and rolling the finish past sliding goalkeeper Richard Sanchez. Nemanja Nikolic tied it in the 14th minute and then fed Diego Campos for a goal about two minutes later. Elis converted from the spot to make it 2-2 early in the second half after Mauro Manotas drew a foul in the area conceded by Sanchez.

Chicago (3-6-2) has lost three of its last four games.

 

Inter Milan back in the Champions League after late heroics (video)

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It’s been more than a half-decade since Inter Milan qualified for the UEFA Champions League, an infamous run that ended on Sunday.

Inter scored twice in the final 13 minutes to beat fifth-place Lazio and advance into the Top Four via head-to-head record.

[ MORE: Man Utd youngster gets USMNT call-up ]

Lazio held 1-0 and 2-1 leads, but could not get the job done at home, collecting red cards in the 79th minute and stoppage time.

Uruguayan midfielder Matias Vecino scored his third goal of the season, redirecting a corner kick home in the 81st minute, as Inter clinched fourth place in Serie A.