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Liverpool advances to Champions League Final

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  • Liverpool qualifies for 8th UCL Final
  • First since losing to AC Milan in 2007
  • Will face Real Madrid on May 26 in Kiev
  • WATCH: Goals from Mane, Wijnaldum

Georginio Wijnaldum and Sadio Mane scored in Wednesday’s 4-2 UEFA Champions League semifinal second leg loss as Liverpool advanced past Roma 7-6 on aggregate to clinch a berth opposite Real Madrid in the final.

Radja Nainngolan scored twice to go with an Edin Dzeko marker and a James Milner own goal but i Lupi was sloppy with the final ball for most of the match.

Liverpool’s eighth UCL Final berth ties Barcelona for the fifth-most all-time, behind Real Madrid, Juventus, Bayern Munich, and AC Milan.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Nainngolan’s mistake on the left of midfielder allowed Liverpool a 3v2 break on i Lupi.

Roberto Firmino led the rush, and his pass was in tune with Sadio Mane’s run. The Senegalese forward buried his chance beyond the reach of Alisson.

The lead didn’t last, as Roma got a goal back when Patrik Schick’s pressure forced Dejan Lovren into a clearance that bounded off James Milner’s face and past Loris Karius. Roma would again need three more goals, and had 75 minutes.

Alisson dragged his back leg to make a great save on Mane, but Wijnaldum restored the four-goal cushion in the 26th minute with a header off a corner kick.

Stephan El Shaarawy saw a deflected effort bound off the post in the 35th minute.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

El Shaarway’s 52nd minute shot rebounded to Dzeko, who scored for the fifth-straight UCL game to pull Roma within three.

Cenzig Under flicked an over-the-top pass toward goal, but it bounded to Karius as it remained 2-2 at the hour mark.

Trent Alexander-Arnold could’ve given away a penalty when he blocked an in-tight shot with his hand, but there was no call.

Nainngolan smashed a 23-yard shot across goal and off both goal posts to make it 3-2 in the 87th minute.

Ragnar Klavan handled a ball in the second of three minutes of stoppage time, and Nainngolan scored that one, too.

Ronaldo explains his new chin hair at World Cup

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Now that Cristiano Ronaldo has taken to sporting a reasonable hairstyle atop his head, people are talking about the foliage on his face.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

Ronaldo, 33, drew speculation when he stroked his chin following a goal in his hat trick performance against Spain in the World Cup opener. Some said he was demonstrating defiance against Lionel Messi posing with a goat (Greatest Of All Time) in a recent photograph.

Ronaldo scored again on Wednesday, and there was seemingly little doubt his goatee was a wink to the speculators. But what did it mean, CR7? From ESPN:

“This goatee? It’s a joke I had with [Ricardo] Quaresma. “We were in the sauna [before Friday’s match against Spain] and I started to shave and I left the goatee. I said if I score tomorrow, I would leave it for the rest of the tournament. And it gave me luck.

“I scored in that game, I scored in this one, so it stays.”

Personally, I like to imagine Ronaldo starting to get as wild with his facial hair as he did his head hair.

Perhaps a beatnik style, or something like Serj Tankian from System of a Down. Get nuts, C-Ron.

Report: Southampton could sell Tadic to Ajax for $20m

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Could Southampton be selling one of its most creative forces?

Dusan Tadic, 29, is in the middle of a World Cup run with dark horse Serbia, but the Saints star is also being talked about as a purchase item for Ajax.

[ MORE: Serbia tops Costa Rica ]

The celebrated Eredivisie has traditionally been a selling club for the Premier League, but could be a $20 million buy for Ajax.

The report says director of players Marc Overmars and financial director Jeroen Slop have flown to Southampton to work out a deal.

Tadic starred for Dutch sides Groningen and Twente between 2010-14 before moving to St. Mary’s for a reported $12 million.

He’s scored 24 goals with 35 assists in 162 appearances for Saints, 21 and 30 of which came in the Premier League.

Toronto locks down USMNT backstop Bono with extension

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Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono is going to stay Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

The newly-capped USMNT backstop, 24, has been attracting interest from abroad since breaking past Clint Irwin to win the TFC job and guiding the club to multiple MLS Cup Finals.

Now general manager Tim Bezbatchenko has locked down his young goalkeeper to an undisclosed contract extension. From TorontoFC.com:

“Alex was a big part of our success last season. He set club records for wins and clean sheets and was a critical piece of our championship team,” said Toronto FC Sr. Vice-President, Soccer Operations & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Since joining the club as a first round pick in 2015, Alex’s ability to make key saves in big moments has been critical to our success.”

The Syracuse-born product of Syracuse University has made 64 appearances for the Reds.

WATCH: World Cup, Day 8 — Argentina on the edge; France aims for berth

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France, Denmark, and Croatia can clinch knockout round berths on Thursday in Russia, the last nation also holding the opportunity to help deprive the World Cup of an extended Lionel Messi run.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Messi’s Argentina drew Iceland in its opener, the megastar infamously missing a penalty, and will look to beat a Croatian side that looked quite good in dispatching Nigeria.

That’s the final match of the day, which begins with Denmark facing Australia and continues with a tasty match-up between France and Peru.

Below is Thursday’s schedule in full.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.


2018 World Cup schedule – Wednesday, June 20

Group C
Denmark vs. Australia: Samara, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
France vs. Peru: Yekaterinburg, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Group D
Argentina vs. Croatia: Nizhny Novgorod, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE