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Champions League wrap: Messi, Neymar shine for Barca, PSG (video)

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Neymar had his new trident flying, while Lionel Messi didn’t need much more than his own boots.

The UEFA Champions League group stage got off to a goal-heavy start on Tuesday, with its stars on show.

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Premier League sides Manchester United and Chelsea cruised to wins, while Barca flattened visiting Juventus and PSG made Celtic Park a house of horrors for their Scottish hosts.

All that and more below…

Barcelona 3-0 Juventus

Lionel Messi scored twice and helped set up a third as the Blaugranas got off to a flying start in the 2017-18 UEFA Champions League.

A solid save from Gianluigi Buffon on Luis Suarez kept the hosts off the scoreboard, but Lionel Messi was sure to have Barca in front when the halftime whistle blew at the Camp Nou.

Messi nearly struck again in the second half, but Ivan Rakitic deposited the Argentine’s blocked effort in the goal to double Barca’s advantage. He added his third soon after as Barca cruised to a win.

Here’s the opener:

Chelsea 6-0 QarabagRECAP

Five different Blues helped bury the Azerbaijan visitors, as Pedro, Davide Zappacosta, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Michy Batshuayi, and Cesar Azpilicueta all scored in the blowout.

Batshuayi finished with a brace.

It did not take long for the Blues to take an expected lead on their visitors from Azerbaijan, with Willian playing a corner kick that Pedro blasted into the roof of the goal.

Then Davide Zappacosta, making his first Chelsea start, dribbled down the right flank before scoring a sensational curling effort from outside the far right corner of the 18.

Manchester United 3-0 Basel — RECAP

Paul Pogba pulled up with a leg injury and had to leave the rainy contest before the 20 minute mark. Marouane Fellaini replaced the Frenchman, and connected with the cross of fellow longtime Premier League veteran Ashley Young to make it 1-0 in the 35th minute. Romelu Lukaku headed a Daley Blind cross home for the second, and Fellaini teed up Marcus Rashford for the final marker.

Roma 0-0 Atletico Madrid

Alisson made nine saves as Atletico’s 20-11 edge in shots on goal could not translate to an away win.

Benfica 1-2 CSKA Moscow

Haris Seferovic’s 50th minute opener did not hold up long, with Vitinho converting a 63rd minute penalty and Timur Zhamaletdinov breaking the deadlock eight minutes later in Portugal.

Olympiacos 2-3 Sporting Lisbon

Seydou Doumbia put the Portuguese visitors ahead in the second minute. Cape Verde attacker Gelson Martins made it 2-0 just over 10 minutes later, and Bruno Fernandes has also scored for Sporting. Felipe Pardo scored two late concession goals for the hosts.

Bayern Munich 3-0 Anderlecht

As if Bayern needed help from its Belgian visitors, a 11th minute red card to Anderlecht was met by a 12th minute penalty kick goal from Robert Lewandowski. Thiago Alcantara scored in the 65th minute, and Joshua Kimmich scored late in the match.

Celtic 0-5 Paris Saint-Germain

Neymar scored, and set up Kylian Mbappe for another, and Edinson Cavani won and converted a penalty as each member of PSG’s trident (KEN?) have scored at Celtic Park. A Mikael Lustig own goal and second marker from Cavani completed the scoring.

Mexicans Abroad: Rodolfo Pizarro’s goalscoring start headlines handful of debuts

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A handful of Mexicans abroad debuted with their respective clubs over the weekend, but none were at par with Rodolfo Pizarro’s.

The 26-year-old attacking midfielder scored on his fourth touch as an Inter Miami player, two minutes after coming off the bench. Pizarro’s right-footed strike proved to be historic, as it became the first official goal in club history.

Also on Saturday, in different regions of the United States, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Alan Pulido, respectively, made their debuts. Chicharito played 78 minutes in Los Angeles Galaxy’s 2-1 preseason loss to Toronto FC, while Pulido logged 61 minutes in Sporting Kansas City’s scoreless bout.

Qatar’s new marquee star, Marco Fabian, debuted in Al-Sadd’s hard-earned cup win.

Here is a list of several other Mexico national team affiliates making a name for themselves (or not) outside of Mexico this weekend.


Premier League

Raul Jimenez, Wolverhampton Wanderers —  Jimenez started and played all 90 minutes in Wolves’ 0-0 draw against Leicester City. The forward registered four shots off target and one blocked.

La Liga

Hector Herrera, Atletico Madrid —  Herrera was not called up by Diego Simeone for Atletico Madrid’s draw against Valencia on Friday.

Andres Guardado, Real Betis —  Guardado dressed but didn’t take the field on Sunday.

Diego Lainez, Real Betis — The 19-year-old was is out after undergoing appendicitis surgery.

Nestor Araujo, Celta Vigo — Araujo played a vital part in La Liga’s most surprising outcome of the matchweek – Celta’s 2-2 draw with Real Madrid. The defender recorded eight clearances, one interceptions and two tackles throughout the 90 minutes.

Serie A

Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, Napoli —  Lozano, Napoli’s most expensive player in team history, was not called up by Gennaro Gattuso on Sunday. The 24-year-old and the Italian manager seem to be on different pages, and the situation doesn’t appear to be getting better with time. It might be time to panic for Lozano’s development in Italy.

Primeira Liga

Jesus “Tecatito” Corona, FC Porto — Tecatito started and played 84 minutes in Porto’s 2-1 victory over Vitoria, which was marred by racist abuse towards Moussa Marega by Vitoria supporters.

Eredivisie

Erick Gutierrez, PSV Eindhoven —  Gutierrez played the final five minutes of PSV’s 3-0 thumping of AOD Den Haag.

Edson Alvarez, Ajax — After several weeks of little activity, Alvarez seems to be making his way back into Ajax’s starting lineup. On Sunday, the Mexican defender played his second set of 90 minutes in four days.

Jupiler Pro League

Omar Govea, Zulte Waregem — Govea played 76 minutes in Zulte’s 2-1 loss on Sunday.

Major League Soccer

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, LA Galaxy – In front of a semi-full Dignity Sports Park, Chicharito made his Los Angeles Galaxy debut. The storied forward, however, failed to score despite seeing a decent amount of chances. Galaxy open the MLS season against Houston Dynamo on February 29.

Rodolfo Pizarro, Inter Miami – It took two minutes for an Rodolfo Pizarro to score on his unofficial Inter Miami debut. Ironically, the brand-new MLS franchise has yet to announce the signing of the 26-year-old from Monterrey.

Alan Pulido, Sporting Kansas City – Pulido played 61 minutes in SKC’s scoreless, preseason draw against Real Salt Lake.

Elsewhere around the globe:

Ulises Davila, Wellington Phoenix – Davila played all 90 minutes in Phoenix’s 1-0 victory over Melbourne City. The attacker also managed to pick up a yellow card throughout the match.

Marco Fabian, Al-Sadd – Fabian debuted for Xavi’s Al-Sadd on Saturday, playing all 120 minutes in his team’s win via penalties.

Hector Moreno, Al-Gharafa – Moreno and Al-Gharafa were inactive this weekend.

La Liga roundup: Celta spoil Hazard’s return in Real Madrid draw

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Real Madrid’s draw against relegation-battling Celta Vigo highlights La Liga’s Sunday action.

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Real Madrid 2-2 Celta Vigo 

Celta’s Santi Mina scored in 85th minute to give a depleted Celta Vigo a precious point at the Santiago Bernabeu, spoiling Eden Hazard‘s return to Real Madrid’s lineup after a notable absence.

Madrid’s eighth draw of the season moves champions Barcelona just one point behind Zinedine Zidane’s side.

Returning from ankle injury that kept his out of action for three months, Hazard returned to the pitch in fine style, leading all players on the field in chances created with three and earning a penalty that Sergio Ramos converted to put Real Madrid ahead.

Hazard – and all of his flair – left the field in the 70th minute, granting Vinicius Junior the final 20 minutes of the match.

Ramos’ sixth goal of the season builded on Toni Kroos’ left-footed strike early in the latter half of the match. Real Madrid, more or less, were cruising against Celta, who had a goal to their name following Fyodor Smolov’s early opener.

Celta, who had arrived in Madrid in 18th place and had lost their last seven at the host’s home, were destined to do the unthinkable. Denis Suarez and Mina – both utilized as substitutes – paired up for the equalizer with five minutes to go, spoiling Hazard’s return.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Sevilla 2-2 Espanyol

Leganes 0-0 Real Betis 

Athletic Bilbao 0-1 Osasuna

Teammates appear to stop Marega leaving after racist slurs

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LIBSON, Portugal — FC Porto striker Moussa Marega, who tried to walk off the field after being the target of racist slurs from fans, faced apparent attempts Sunday by his own teammates and opposition players to prevent him from leaving.

Marega, who is black and from Mali, was visibly angered by monkey noises targeting him after he scored Porto’s second goal in a 2-1 win at Guimarães in the Portuguese football league.

But when Marega started to walk off the field, several players from both Porto and Guimarães appeared to argue with him. Porto coach Sérgio Conceição also went on the field and spoke with Marega.

It took Marega several minutes to leave the field when he was substituted.

Marega held his thumbs down at the crowd as he went into the tunnel to the changing rooms. The crowd responded with loud jeers.

The attitude of the other players has drawn criticism on social media.

“We are indignant with what has happened. Moussa was insulted from warmups (before kickoff),” Conceição said after the match.

“We are a family. One’s nationality, color, or height does not matter. We are human beings. We deserve respect and what happened was despicable.”

Marega received a yellow card following his goal in the 61st minute when he appeared to respond to the slurs by pointing at his skin and by picking up a seat that had been thrown on the pitch.

Timothy Weah returns to action with Lille after lengthy| absence

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Timothy Weah was back in action in Lille’s 2-1 loss to Marseille on Sunday after a 183-day absence.

The American attacker played the final 10 minutes of the defeat after being inactive since Lille’s second match of the season back in August 17 in which he suffered a “very bad hamstring tear“.

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Weah arrived at Lille in June on a $12 million deal from Paris Saint-Germain, placing high expectations on the 19-year-old son of Ballon d’OR winner George Weah.

Since, however, the U.S. men’s national team player has had little activity with the French side, accumulating less than 100 minutes over a three-game stretch.

Lille manager Christophe Galtier will likely ease Weah’s way into the a starting role moving forward – which is largely contingent on his performances at practice and in official play.

Lille, who’ve accumulated 40 points in 25 matches, are currently fourth in Ligue 1.