Giovani Lo Celso

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Blades earn point at poor Spurs

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Sheffield United overcame one VAR incident to grab a point from Tottenham Hotspur in North London on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

George Baldock scored in the second half after snake-bit David McGoldrick had a goal pulled back for a toenail’s worth of offside. Fine margins.

Spurs were again quite poor aside from Heung-Min Son and some moments from Giovani Lo Celso. Son scored the goal.

Sheffield United remains sixth with 16 points, while Spurs also claim a 16th point but sit below their visitors on goal differential.


Three things we learned

1. VAR follows rules to perplex: Lundstram was offside by a toenail in the build-up, pulling back David McGoldrick’s goal that would’ve leveled the score at 1 (which of course it later was). The decision-making process slowed the game for several minutes, those thin lines calling back a goal that no team’s fans would feel was understandable. When is the moment the ball is struck, and how can you be certain enough to call it offside for centimeters.

2. Son continues to shine: Not only are puns really fun, but where would Spurs be this season without their South Korean star? Son scored a deserved goal and took six shots on the day, making three successful dribbles, and completing 21 of 23 passes.

3. Kane invisible: Maybe England’s star striker is still getting over the sickness that cost him a start against Everton, but Harry Kane was quite poor against the Blades’ disciplined back line. Good for just one shot and six of 12 passing. On a day when the two attackers underneath him were quite good, Kane was absent.

Man of the Match: McGoldrick — Should’ve had his first Premier League goal but will settle for the assist, we suppose. His day must be coming.


[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Giovani Lo Celso and Heung-min Son both came close for Spurs in a lively start, though cagey Sheffield United wasn’t overwhelmed by the venue either.

John Lundstram scuffed a 27th minute chance wide of the frame. Soon after, he smashed a Jack O'Connell cross off the post.

Son curled wide in the 50th minute as both sides started their second frames well, and in-form Lys Mousset turned Davinson Sanchez around before firing wide of the far post.

Dean Henderson made a fine save on Son in the 54th, but was left in a bad situation when abhorrent inactivity from the left side of his line gave the South Korean a clear cut chance. Given the day he was having, a goal felt inevitable.

But Blades had the ball in the net for an equalizer soon after, McGoldrick knifing home. A long VAR review followed for an offside in the build-up, and the slimmest of margins made it “clear and obvious” to… someone… that Lundstram was offside.

Baldock’s goal also had to withstand VAR review — don’t they all — when his shot took a slight turn off Ben Davies‘ rear end to beat Paulo Gazzaniga.

Son, Spurs cruise to win in Serbia

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Red Star Belgrade is going to be happy to see the back of Tottenham Hotspur after the North London side clobbered the Serbian side for the second-straight UCL match.

This time it was a 4-0 score line in Serbia, as a brace from Heung-Min Son led Tottenham to keep hold of second place in the group with two matches to play.

[ MORE: Walker in goal during Man City draw ]

Giovani Lo Celso and Christian Eriksen also scored in the win, with assists for Danny Rose, Ryan Sessegnon, and Dele Alli.

Three things we learned

1. Closer to their best: Make no mistake about Red Star Belgrade’s team this season — it’s not great — but two complete performances have cemented Spurs’ favorite status to emerge as the second team from Group B. Perfect Bayern Munich has already advanced and is a point away from winning the group, but Spurs could join them with a defeat of Olympiacos at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Nov. 26.

2. Humbled Son at the double: If Son’s two goals following Sunday’s dispiriting (and overturned) red card tackle of Andre Gomes gave him any relief, he didn’t show up. The South Korean nearly twice came close to scoring on Spurs’ first goal, but delivered twice in the second half as the North London side took control of the match. There was only a minor prayer celebrating after the first goal, and perhaps even less of a reaction after the second one.

3. New boys have their moments: Making his first Spurs start, Lo Celso scored his goal and had a Man of the Match style performance with three shots, five tackles, and 90 percent passing while also being a master of possession as Spurs held close to 67 percent of the ball. The 19-year-old Sessegnon came off the bench three days after making a 1-minute cameo versus Everton, and set up Eriksen’s goal. Not bad!

Man of the Match: It’s Son. It just has to be.

UCL AT HALF: Spurs score one of the nuttiest goals you’ll see

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Well this was just bonkers.

Tottenham Hotspur took about four bites at the apple before taking a halftime lead at Red Star Belgrade in Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League action.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

You’ve rarely seen a sequence like this, as Harry Kane hit the post, Heung-Min Son saw a rebound cleared off the line and another shot smash off the cross bar before Giovani Lo Celso finally put the ‘1’ on the score board.

Red Star Belgrade 0-1 Spurs

Atalanta 0-1 Manchester City

Raheem Sterling has his fourth goal against the Italians in two matches as City can win the group with a win and help.

Dinamo Zagreb 1-1 Shakhtar Donetsk

This is the help City would need, a draw in Croatia.

Real Madrid 4-0 Galatasaray

Kind of a dud here, huh? Rodrygo has two goals and an assist on a third as the UCL legends look more like themselves this afternoon.

Elsewhere

HT
PSG 1-0 Club Brugge
Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 Atletico Madrid

FT
Bayern Munich 2-0 Olympiacos
Lokomotiv Moscow 1-2 Juventus

Messi back with Argentina after three-month ban; Aguero also returns

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Lionel Messi is back in the Argentina team for friendlies against Brazil and Uruguay in November, after serving a three-month ban.

[ MORE: Liverpool fixture congestion presents serious conundrum ]

Messi and Sergio Aguero were both included in the squad announced by Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni on Thursday for matches against Brazil on Nov. 15 in Saudi Arabia and three days later against Uruguay in Israel.

Messi is available after a three-month ban imposed by South American soccer body CONMEBOL after he made accusations of corruption following the Copa America tournament in Brazil in July.

Aguero had not been called up by Scaloni since the continental tournament.

Full Argentina squad

Goalkeepers: Agustin Marchesin (Porto), Juan Mussi (Udinese), Emiliano Martinez (Arsenal), Esteban Andrada (Boca Juniors)

Defenders: Juan Foyth (Tottenham), Renzo Saravia (Porto), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), German Pezzella (Fiorentina), Marcos Rojo (Manchester United), Walter Kannemann (Gremio), Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax), Nehuen Perez (Famalicao)

Midfielders: Guido Rodriguez (America de Mexico), Giovani Lo Celso (Tottenham), Leandro Paredes (Paris Saint-Germain), Nicolas Dominguez (Velez Sarsfield), Rodrigo de Paul (Udinese), Marcos Acuna (Sporting Lisbon), Roberto Pereyra (Watford), Lucas Ocampos (Sevilla)

Strikers: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Nicolas Gonzalez (Stuttgart), Lucas Alario (Bayer Leverkusen), Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan) and Paulo Dybala (Juventus)

UCL preview: Spurs desperate for a win; Man City host Atalanta

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By the end of the week, we’ll be at the halfway point of the UEFA Champions League group stage, and while some Premier League clubs (Manchester City and Liverpool) are currently in rather strong positions, a couple others (Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea) have some serious work to do to rescue their respective campaigns.

[ MORE: Sheffield United beat Arsenal with stellar defensive display (video) ]

Tottenham’s start to the group stage has gone about as poorly as it could have done, considering the positions in which they’ve found themselves early in games. Going from 2-0 up to a 2-2 draw away to Olympiacos was bad enough, but going from 1-0 up to a 7-2 home defeat to Bayern Munich was the real demoralizer.

Now, last year’s UCL runners-up find themselves third in the group with just one point. However, Mauricio Pochettino‘s side is set for a back-to-back home-and-away with (presumed) doormat Red Star Belgrade, beginning Tuesday when the Serbian side visits the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Spurs will continue to be without goalkeeper Hugo Lloris following his dislocated elbow, while midfielders Christian Eriksen and Giovani Lo Celso are back in full training and expected to be available for selection. Tanguay Ndombele was only involved as a second-half sub during Spurs’ draw with last-place Watford over the weekend, so he is likely to return to the starting lineup.

[ MORE: Referee officials explain VAR decision on Rashford goal ]

Man City, meanwhile, are coming off a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace and feeling a renewed sense of PL title contention after Liverpool dropped their first points of the season. While a domestic three-peat is undoubtedly high on the list of priorities for Pep Guardiola‘s side, it’s probably safe to assume that breaking though in the UCL is the main objective for 2019-20. Since Guardiola took over at the Etihad Stadium, City have reached the quarterfinals twice and the round of 16 once. Under the direction of Manuel Pellegrini, City reached the semifinals the season before Guardiola’s arrival.

Outside of long-term knees injuries to Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane, City have a clean bill of health.

Tuesday’s full UEFA Champions League schedule

Atletico Madrid v. Bayer Leverkusen — 12:55 p.m. ET
Shakhtar Donetsk v. Dinamo Zagreb — 12:55 p.m. ET

Tottenham Hotspur v. Red Star Belgrade — 3 p.m. ET
Manchester City v. Atalanta — 3 p.m. ET
Galatasaray v. Real Madrid — 3 p.m. ET
Juventus v. Lokomotive Moscow — 3 p.m. ET
Brugge v. Paris Saint-Germain — 3 p.m. ET
Olympiacos v. Bayern Munich