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Champions League wrap: Real breaks out for five, Roma keeps pace

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What a day!

We’ve written it before, but this season’s UEFA Champions League has brought loads of entertainment on nearly every match day.

[ MORE: Kane backs Rooney for captain ]

Wednesday was no different, with last-minute drama in Italy and France.


Bayern Munich 2-0 AEK Athens

Robert Lewandowski scored twice, first with a penalty, then with a header, as the reigning German champions are within a result of the knockout rounds.

Benfica 1-1 Ajax

The Dusan Tadic signing continues to pay dividends, as the Serbian star’s 61st minute goal leveled things in Portugal after Jonas gave Benfica a halftime lead.

Group E
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Bayern Munich 4 3 1 0 7 1 6 1-1-0 2-0-0 10
Ajax 4 2 2 0 6 2 4 2-0-0 0-2-0 8
Benfica 4 1 1 2 4 6 -2 0-1-1 1-0-1 4
AEK Athens 4 0 0 4 2 10 -8 0-0-2 0-0-2 0

Manchester City 6-0 Shakhtar Donetsk RECAP

Gabriel Jesus struck for three, including two penalties, as Man City ran all over the visiting Ukrainian powers at the Etihad Stadium. David Silva scored and starred again, as did two-goal man Raheem Sterling.

Lyon 2-2 Hoffenheim

If these two draw each other in any competition, buckle up. After a 3-3 draw in Germany two weeks ago, Lyon opened up a 2-0 lead at halftime through Nabil Fekir and Tanguy Ndombele. But Andrej Kramaric scored in the 65th minute to set up Pavel Kaderabek’s stunning equalizer in stoppage time.

Group F
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Manchester City 4 3 0 1 12 3 9 1-0-1 2-0-0 9
Lyon 4 1 3 0 9 8 1 0-2-0 1-1-0 6
1899 Hoffenheim 4 0 3 1 8 9 -1 0-1-1 0-2-0 3
Shakhtar Donetsk 4 0 2 2 4 13 -9 0-1-1 0-1-1 2

CSKA Moscow 1-2 AS Roma

Arnor Sigurdsson’s 50th minute goal briefly gave the hosts level footing following Kostas Manolas’ fourth minute opener, but Lorenzo Pellegrini nabbed a winner for i Lupi in the 59th minute to stay level with Real on nine points.

Viktoria Plzen 0-5 Real Madrid

Santiago Solari’s Champions League debut as manager went pretty well, with Karim Benzema scoring twice en route to a 4-0 halftime lead for Real. Gareth Bale, Casemiro, and Toni Kroos also scored for the group leaders, who visit Rome on Nov. 27.

Group G
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Real Madrid 4 3 0 1 10 2 8 2-0-0 1-0-1 9
Roma 4 3 0 1 10 4 6 2-0-0 1-0-1 9
CSKA Moscow 4 1 1 2 4 7 -3 1-0-1 0-1-1 4
Viktoria Plzen 4 0 1 3 3 14 -11 0-1-1 0-0-2 1

Valencia 3-1 Young Boys

Santi Mina scored twice as the Spanish hosts stayed within striking distance of Manchester United.

Juventus 1-2 Manchester UnitedRECAP

Cristiano Ronaldo scored an absolute beauty, which has largely been lost in the sauce of United’s furious five-minute comeback and Jose Mourinho’s mostly hilarious post-match antics (Not sporting? Of course not, but don’t deny us the humor of it). So, wow, here it is:

Group H
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Juventus 4 3 0 1 7 2 5 1-0-1 2-0-0 9
Manchester United 4 2 1 1 5 2 3 0-1-1 2-0-0 7
València 4 1 2 1 4 4 0 1-0-1 0-2-0 5
Young Boys 4 0 1 3 2 10 -8 0-1-1 0-0-2 1

Atletico Madrid roster for MLS All-Star Game includes Felix

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Major League Soccer fans will get a good luck at one of the hottest prospects in world soccer when the MLS All Stars take on Atletico Madrid in next week’s MLS All Star Game.

Joao Felix, the $142 million 19-year-old, is among the roster announced by Diego Simeone for the match.

[ MORE: Newcastle in for $28M Saint-Maximin ]

Felix scored 20 times with 11 assists in 40 matches for Benfica before moving to Atleti in the summer. Those numbers include a hat trick against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League quarterfinals first leg.

The other stars will be there, too, provided no transfers happen in the interim. Koke, Thomas Lemar, Diego Costa, and Saul Niguez are in the squad.

New Atleti defender Kieran Trippier and longtime El Tri hero Hector Herrera will also be sure to help drive attendance in Orlando City.

The full roster is here.

Leagues Cup preview: MLS gets its next shot at Liga MX

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It’s not a typo; The s is very real.

The Leagues Cup — not the League Cup — is the new competition pitting Major League Soccer sides against some of the top sides from Mexico’s Liga MX.

The tournament has been expanded before it’s even seen a ball kicked in competition, as the second edition with go from eight to 16 teams.

[ MORE: Newcastle in for $28M Saint-Maximin ]

For now, though, we’ve got four American and four Mexican sides meeting over the next two months in a bid for North American supremacy not unlike a CONCACAF Champions League stripped of all the minnows.

Much like the CCL, the Mexican sides will be expected to triumph, even with all of the quarterfinals being staged in the United States.

Chicago Fire hosts Cruz Azul on Tuesday, followed by the LA Galaxy’s visit from Club Tijuana.

Wednesday will see the Houston Dynamo host Club America, and Tigres UANL at Real Salt Lake.

The winners meet Aug. 20, while the final will be played Sept. 18 in Las Vegas.

There’s a lot of promise in this, and it gives MLS another chance to make some statements about the distance between it and Liga MX. The Mexican sides have flat out dominated the CCL, and it’s not difficult to make the same prediction for this tournament.

But, like many tournaments, it also gives success-starved clubs a chance to give their fans something big and their players a tonic. For Bastian Schweinsteiger‘s Chicago, for one, it’s a huge opportunity. And for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the Galaxy, it’s a look toward another piece of silverware for one of the world’s biggest trophy cases.

USMNT prospect Ledezma earns praise from van Nistelrooy

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Even for talents of the highest levels with top soccer education, sometimes a kid’s gotta learn how to eat.

Richard “Richie” Ledezma, 18, is in the midst of his first year at Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven, a spot which beckoned after a five-match, one-goal season in the USL with Real Monarchs of the USL.

[ MORE: Chicago adds USMNT hero ]

Ledezma starred for U.S. U-20 team at the World Cup after his first half-season with PSV, which saw him play with the U-19s while trying to lose some weight.

From Goal.com:

“PSV help me with my nutrition, with my food and how I eat. It’s the quantity of food you eat, I guess,” he added. “Because I came a little chubby, when I got here, I guess. They all called me ‘fatty’ and stuff, so I was like, cool, you know? So no more McDonald’s.”

Goal’s James Westwood had a wide-ranging interview with Ledezma and also spoke with soccer royalty: longtime Real Madrid and Manchester United scorer Ruud van Nistelrooy was Ledezma’s coach with the U-19s.

“He’s making a difference in midfield with very quick-thinking passes, movement, can score a goal, play people in, he’s creating chances for the whole team.”

That’s not just good praise from a legend, but a solid sign for fans of the United States men’s national team. A proper No. 10 or playmaking midfielder could allow Gregg Berhalter or another future USMNT coach to use Christian Pulisic on the wings.

Ledezma has some work to do before he breaks into the first team of the Dutch runners-up, who have signed former Stoke City man Ibrahim Afellay and has Gaston Pereiro in the fold as well.

Newcastle reportedly in for $28M mercurial Nice attacker

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L’Equipe says that Newcastle United have returned to Nice in the hopes of landing Allan Saint-Maximin.

The Ligue 1 outfit wants $28 million for the playmaker, who could team up with Miguel Almiron and (maybe) Joelinton to give the Magpies a much-improved attack.

[ MORE: Chicago adds USMNT hero ]

Saint-Maximin, 22, has 10 goals and 10 assists across his last two seasons with Nice, and played everywhere in attack for Patrick Vieira: both wings, center forward, second striker, attacking mid… even some left and right midfield.

The player, however, has been a headache for Vieira at times, with the manager saying Saint-Maximin believes that he has enough talent to reach the highest level without the required amount of work.

That said, the youngster’s skill set is electric. He’s a March birth date, too, so a relatively young 22. That $28 million would be another transfer record broken for Newcastle, assuming it happens ahead of the Joelinton move.

Or… as Newcastle fan knows, neither could go through.