Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Brazil set to make changes in key WCQ for Chile

1 Comment

SAO PAULO (AP) Brazil appears set on at least two changes in its starting lineup for the South American qualifying clash that could keep Chile out of the World Cup in Russia next year. Coach Tite used goalkeeper Ederson and defender Marquinhos in his main team during Brazil’s practice in Sao Paulo on Sunday.

[ MORE: 3rd? 4th? 5th? USMNT scenarios on the final day of WCQ ]

Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson will replace Alisson, and Marquinhos comes in for injured Thiago Silva.

Tite also hinted he will give another chance to left-back Alex Sandro since Marcelo is injured as well.

Leader Brazil qualified for the World Cup as early as March this year. Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Argentina and Paraguay still depend on results on Tuesday.

The top four teams qualify for Russia with the fifth-place team facing New Zealand in a playoff.

[ MORE: Player ratings from USA 4-0 PanamaThree things we learned ]

Brazil tops the table with 38 points and Chile is third with 26, two points ahead of seventh-place Paraguay.

Chile’s main doubt for the decisive clash at Allianz Parque is midfielder Charles Aranguiz. As his teammates trained on Sunday in Sao Paulo – just a few meters away from the Brazilians – Aranguiz ran on the sidelines.

Coach Juan Antonio Pizzi will already be missing midfielder Arturo Vidal, who is suspended. Pizzi called up Esteban Pavez, who plays for Brazil’s Atletico Paranaense and arrived in Sao Paulo on Saturday.

[ MORE: Salah’s late winner ends Egypt’s 27-year World Cup drought ]

Brazil striker Gabriel Jesus said his team won’t go easy on the Chileans.

“We played three World Cup qualifiers since we secured our spot and the behavior of the team is the same,” Jesus said after the training session. “We will play to win.”

Defender Miranda agreed.

“If Chile is in this position, it is not our fault, it is theirs,” Miranda said. “When we were in a bad moment no one gave us anything. We earned everything we have and they will have to earn it to clinch the spot.”

UEFA Champions League last 16 draw

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The draw for the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League took place on Monday and it was a mixed bag for the four Premier League clubs.

[ MORE: Champions League schedule ]

Reigning Premier League champions Manchester City will play Schalke, while Manchester United were handed a tough draw after finishing second in their group as they face PSG.

Tottenham have also been handed a tough, but very likeable draw for the neutral, as they’ll play Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund. And Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will be heading back to Germany as the current PL leaders will play Bayern Munich.

Below is the draw in full, as the first legs will be played on 12–13 & 19–20 Feb. 2019 and the second legs on 5–6 & 12–13 Mar., 2019. The teams drawn first in the list below will play the first leg at home, with the second legs away.

And remember, VAR will be used in the UCL for the first time for all knockout round games. Get your VAR hand signals ready…


Last 16 draw for UEFA Champions League, 2018-19

Schalke v. Manchester City
Atletico Madrid v. Juventus
Manchester United v. Paris Saint-Germain
Tottenham Hotspur v. Borussia Dortmund
Lyon v. Barcelona
Roma v. Porto
Ajax v. Real Madrid
Liverpool v. Bayern Munich

England captain Kane finishes 3rd for Sportsman of the Year

Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
Leave a comment

BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) Geraint Thomas has been voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year after becoming the third British cyclist to win the Tour de France.

In a public vote, Thomas beat five-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton — a former winner of the BBC award — into second place, while England soccer captain Harry Kane, who led his team to the World Cup semifinals, was third.

The 32-year-old Welshman joined Bradley Wiggins (2012) and Chris Froome (2013, ’15, ’16, ’17) as Britons to win the Tour de France. Wiggins has won the BBC award, but Froome never has.

“It’s been an amazing year for British sport,” Thomas said, “and long may it continue.”

Liga MX: America wins at Cruz Azul to capture Apertura title

AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell
Leave a comment

Club America had a tall mountain to climb following their scoreless draw, at home, with Cruz Azul in the first leg of Liga MX’s Apertura final on Thursday, but climb that mountain they did with a 2-0 victory at Estadio Azteca on Sunday.

[ LA LIGA: Lionel Messi’s hat trick paces Barcelona in rout of Levante ]

Midfielder Edson Alvarez scored both goals in the game — five minutes into the second half and one minute before full-time — as America claimed their record 13th league title (first since 2014).

Cruz Azul goalkeeper Jose de Jesus Corona committed a costly error to set up Alvarez for the opener, and ultimately the winner. Alvarez’s second came courtesy of a bit of fortuitous timing, as Corona made the initial save on Cecilio Dominguez’s shot, but the rebound fell to Alvarez for a straightforward finish.

It was the second league title of manager Miguel Herrera’s career, and his first since his first stint with America, in 2013.

Cruz Azul saw their title-less streak reach 21 years, in heartbreaking fashion, after finishing top of the table in the regular season. They are now the first team in Mexican history to lose six straight finals appearances.

La Liga: Messi’s hat trick paces Barcelona in rout of Levante

AP Photo/Jose Miguel Fernandez de Velasco
Leave a comment

A roundup of all of Sunday’s action in Spain’s top flight…

[ SATURDAY: Atletico Madrid pull level with Barcelona; Real two points back ]

Levante 0-5 Barcelona

Lionel Messi recorded his 43rd hat trick for Barcelona (all competitions) on Sunday, leading the way in a 5-0 rout away to eighth-place Levante. The five-goal hammering could be seen as a measure of revenge for Barca’s only La Liga defeat last season, a 5-4 defeat to Levante on the penultimate weekend, with the title already wrapped up and sans Messi.

“We had circled this match on the calendar after what happened here last season,” Barca manager Ernesto Valverde said after the game.

While the goals will get most of the headlines, it was Messi’s assist — the first one, to clarify — that was perhaps most impressive. Dribbling down the left side of the penalty area, he drew three defenders into his orbit before threading a chipped cross between two of them and setting up Luis Suarez for a difficult acrobatic finish.

Messi then proceeded to score the game’s next three goals before setting up Gerard Pique for the fifth — his second assist of the day — to play a key role in all five goals.

The victory restores the three-point lead which Barca held coming into the weekend, prior to Atletico Madrid pulling level on points on Saturday.

Sevilla 2-0 Girona

Sevilla reclaimed second place from Atleti (level on points) with a 2-0 victory over Girona. Ever Banega (penalty kick) and Pablo Sarabia scored the goals nine minutes apart early in the second half to extend Pablo Machin’s side’s unbeaten run to seven league games.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Espanyol 1-3 Real Betis
Huesca 2-2 Villarreal