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UEFA Champions League Wednesday preview

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Two sides hold distinct advantages heading into Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second legs, but we saw how well that worked out for Real Madrid.

Paris Saint-Germain and Roma each bring two goals from the first legs, PSG’s a vital away pair.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Both Wednesday kickoffs are slated for 3 p.m. ET Wednesday.

Paris Saint-Germain v. Manchester United (PSG leads 2-0)

Manchester United is going to need to go into the Parc des Princes and beat a very good PSG team by two goals or better to advance to the quarterfinals.

Red Devils defender Victor Lindelof knows his side will need to score goals without letting Kylian Mbappe run wild, but he also is thinking very much like his boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who continues to tap into the lore of Manchester United. Here’s Lindelof:

“We’re Manchester United, so anything is possible. Of course it is going to be a tough game but we’re coming here to win the game and go through. Anything can happen and we know that, so if we can get an early goal things could look good.”

PSG manager Thomas Tuchel is prepared for United to come out of the gates with vigor, much like his old side Borussia Dortmund did on Tuesday against Spurs (via En.PSG.fr):

“We know a team like that can score at any moment. But if they score first tomorrow, we’ll have to be able to react. The ideal thing would be to open the scoring, but we mustn’t lose our focus or waste energy by being afraid. We have to be ready for every possible scenario. And we have to accept that Manchester will be ready to do anything it takes to get a result.”

He also says, plainly, “We have to forget that we have an advantage.”

Porto v. Roma (Roma leads 2-1)

The Portuguese hosts know AS Roma is going to present a stiff challenge, and manager Sergio Conceicao is careful not to confuse the reputation of Serie A and what he learned as a player with Inter Milan and Lazio with the actual powers of i Lupi.

“We’re prepared for a difficult game,” said boss Sergio Conceicao. “We know that regardless of the way Italian teams think, Roma concede lots of goals. However we must be ready to face a Roma side who will defend their lead strongly, that’s clear. During the match, it may be that we’ll switch to a different strategy.”

Charlton wins promotion to Championship in stoppage time

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Charlton Athletic struck a wildly late blow to clinch the final place in the 2019-20 Football League Championship, defeating Sunderland 2-1 in Sunday’s promotion playoff at Wembley Stadium.

A stoppage time free kick in a cagey affair led to a scrum in the box, with Patrick Bauer sliding to strike a shot off a Sunderland defender and into the goal.

[ MORE: Real, Chelsea debate Hazard fee ]

The goal came at the 3:55 mark of four minutes stoppage time, and was the 26-year-old defender’s first goal of the season.

Ben Purrington had leveled the score line for Charlton after Sunderland went ahead via an early own goal. The Addicks were relegated from the Championship after the 2015-16 season, while Sunderland went down last year.

It had to feel extra special to manager Lee Bowyer, who played with Sunderland local rivals Newcastle United from 2003-06.

Pique: Copa-losing Barca still “really hurting” from UCL exit

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Barcelona was the favorite to win La Liga, the UEFA Champions League, and the Copa del Rey for the majority of the season, but only claimed one.

Liverpool’s amazing comeback to beat Barca in the second leg of the UCL semifinals met Saturday’s loss to Valencia in the Copa del Rey Final to give Barca a league title alone.

[ MORE: Real, Chelsea debate Hazard fee ]

Even with that La Liga advantage being decisive — Barca carried the table by 11 points over Atletico Madrid and finished 19 ahead of Real Madrid — there’s a very dour mood and promised change for the Camp Nou set.

And Gerard Pique says it all traces back to the loss against Liverpool. From The Liverpool Echo:

“I believe that if we had gotten through at Liverpool, we would have won the treble. We would have come here [to the Copa del Rey final] with a different mood, and I’m convinced we would have won the Champions League final, but that is football. We are really, really hurting.”

There are hints of a massive clear-out at Barcelona, with Lionel Messi and Pique two of the only safe bets to stay. When will Barca get over it?

Brazilian team tangles in locker room futmesa (video)

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It was defense versus attack in the Brazil dressing room.

Neymar and Gabriel Jesus squared off with international teammates Filipe Luis and Ederson in a game of futmesa/table soccer this week.

[ MORE: Real, Chelsea debate Hazard fee ]

Neymar and Filipe Luis are used to be on different sides of the field from their time in La Liga, while Jesus and Ederson are teammates at Manchester City.

Brazil is hosting this summer’s Copa America and is the favorite to win its first tournament since 2007, when it claimed its fourth in five tries.

It’s really impressive stuff for us normal to subpar athletes, even if standard for those with such deft talent.

Quite a winner from Man City’s young striker.

Jovic could see himself in Premier League, Serie A

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Maybe Luka Jovic’s presumed move to Real Madrid won’t happen this summer.

Or at all.

[ MORE: Real, Chelsea debate Hazard fee ]

The Eintracht Frankfurt striker has been tipped for a move away from the Bundesliga after another strong campaign, and taking the center forward reins from Karim Benzema at Real Madrid.

Several outlets reported the deal as done, but Jovic isn’t speaking that way (or at least the Serbian is throwing us off the scent.

From Goal.com:

“In terms of the physique, the Bundesliga is very demanding, but after the games against Chelsea or Inter Milan, I personally had the feeling that I could feel even better [playing] in the Premier League or Serie A. … The way the teams play there suits me better.”

Jovic scored 27 times in 48 appearances for Frankfurt, adding seven assists at the tender age of 21. Ten of those came in the Europa League, and we’re not talking about flooding the nets of minnows; Jovic scored against Chelsea (twice), Marseille (three), Lazio (two), and Inter Milan (once).