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Japan upsets ten-man Colombia in Group H opener

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On paper, the 61st-ranked team in the world beating the 16th-ranked team in the world is a massive upset. But considering the circumstances within the game, perhaps this wasn’t an upset after all.

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Two set pieces were the difference as Japan defeated ten-man Colombia, 2-1 on Tuesday morning in Saransk. Colombia played with ten men for nearly the entire match, after Carlos Sanchez was sent off for a handball in the box and a denial of a goal scoring opportunity.

The game took a massive turn in the third minute, as Colombia centerback Davinson Sanchez failed to control a pass and Yuya Osako found himself free on goal. His shot was parried away by Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina but Kagawa’s rebound shot was clearly blocked by Sanchez’s right arm. The referee, Damir Skomina immediately pointed to the penalty spot and went to the back pocket, sending Sanchez to the showers.

Kagawa stepped up and cooly sent Ospina the wrong way to put Japan on top.

Late in the first half, after both teams had chances on target, Colombia came back and evened the scoreline.

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Juan Fernando Quintero, starting in place of the recovering James Rodriguez, smartly took a free kick and fired it low, under the wall as it jumped. Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima reacted late and although he arrived as the ball was crossing the line, he couldn’t keep it from going over, tying the game in the 39th minute.

Ultimately, despite its efforts, Colombia began to tire and on a corner kick, the Blue Samurai took back the lead and control of their destiny in Group H. A corner kick from Keisuke Honda was re-directed past Ospina by Osako, who jumped well over Santiago Arias, to give Japan a 2-1 lead in the 75th minute.

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Rodriguez was introduced in the 57th minute but try as he did, Colombia was unable to find the final pass in the box, and Japan held on for the unexpected victory.

With the win, Japan top Group H ahead of a meeting with Senegal, while Colombia will have to regroup to face Poland.

In a World Cup full of unexpected results, Tuesday brought yet another memorable win for an underdog.

Who can Premier League clubs draw in the Champions League’s Round of 16?

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The dust has settled in Manchester, Valencia, and else in Europe, meaning we now know the identities of potential opponents for Premier League clubs in the UEFA Champions League’s Round of 16.

[ WATCH: Sane’s sensational free kick ]

The draw will be held Monday, when Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, and Liverpool will learn their next steps toward the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid (steps which may include a quick trip to the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid).

The Round of 16’s first legs will be played Feb. 12-13 and Feb. 19-20, while the second legs come March 5-6 and March 12-13.

Seeded teams
Borussia Dortmund
Barcelona
Paris Saint-Germain
Porto
Real Madrid
Bayern Munich
Manchester City
Juventus

Unseeded teams
Atletico Madrid
Tottenham Hotspur
Liverpool
Schalke
AS Roma
Ajax
Manchester United
Lyon

Manchester City can draw… Atletico Madrid, Schalke, Ajax, Roma.

Manchester United can draw… Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona, PSG, Porto, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid.

Tottenham Hotspur can draw… Borussia Dortmund, PSG, Porto, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Juventus

Liverpool can draw… Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona, Porto, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Juventus

Spectacular Sane guides Man City to group crown

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  • Sane scores world class free kick (video)
  • Also starts, finishes team goal
  • Man City wins group

Leroy Sane scored two beautiful goals as Manchester City came back from an early deficit to beat Hoffenheim 2-1 and claim its UEFA Champions League group on Wednesday at the Etihad Stadium.

City is the lone Premier League side to win its group.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

Kramaric curled a wonderful ball toward the City goal, but Ederson tipped it wide of the far post with an outstanding effort.

City conceded a penalty on the ensuing corner when Laporte took down Benjamin Hubner in the box, allowing Kramaric to converted the 16th minute penalty.

Gabriel Jesus nearly equalized two minutes later, heading a Leroy Sane corner kick off the post. Oliver Baumann then made a sprawling save on John Stones.

Sane answered with a beauty before halftime, bending a wicked free kick over and around the wall.

The Premier League champions were much better in the second half, with Raheem Sterling and Sane continuing their season-long danger.

Sterling then led a 3v1 break, passing to Sane who got a bit too unselfish with a layoff to Bernardo Silva, who was stymied by the goalkeeper. It was an astounding miss.

But Sane did the thing himself, playing a sensational low pass onto the path of Sterling before getting the ball returned and touching around Baumann to make it 2-1.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Man Utd sleepwalks in Valencia loss

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  • Soler beats Romero for opener
  • Jones scores ghastly own goal
  • Rashford pulls one back

Manchester United wasted a chance to win its Champions League group by falling 2-1 to Valencia at the Mestalla Stadium on Wednesday.

Marcus Rashford‘s 87th minute goal was all United could muster in the loss.

Young Boys stunned Juventus in Switzerland to open the door for Jose Mourinho’s men, but a Carlos Soler low drive and a Phil Jones own goal were United’s undoing.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

Antonio Valencia was extremely fortunate not to be sent off for a horrible studs-up tackle on Toni Lato that left the defender requiring medical attention for a gash.

Valencia, the club, scored through Soler’s low drive through traffic, which beat Sergio Romero.

The Spanish side missed two chances to make it 2-0, with Michy Batshuayi mis-hitting a terrific Cristiano Piccini cross and Geoffrey Kondogbia stymied by Marouane Fellaini‘s marking.

Pogba missed a straight-forward chance to level the score when Fellaini pounded a header into his path, but the French star hit the ball wide of the gaping frame from inside the six.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Michy Batshuayi ran alongside Phil Jones, and the English defender slid to push a perfect shot… past his own goalkeeper, David De Gea.

WATCH: Leroy Sane’s vicious, bending, world class free kick

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Distance, pace, and curl: Leroy Sane’s terrific free kick equalizer had it all.

[ MORE: Real rocked at home ]

Manchester City went into halftime level with Hoffenheim at 1 thanks to a German player scoring his first UCL goal of the season, and doing it against German opposition.

Trailing via a Andrej Kramaric penalty conceded by John Stones, City hit the woodwork through Gabriel Jesus and has several other chances to equalize at the Etihad Stadium.

But it was Sane who came through in stoppage time with this stunning effort which begs for more angles.