Marko Marin

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UCL Roundup: Red Star, The New Saints (Wales) advance to second round

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Second legs are underway in the UEFA Champions League first qualification round, and both Red Star Belgrade and The New Saints from Wales are through to the second round.

Here’s a short roundup of UCL action on Tuesday:


Red Star Belgrade 2-1 Sudova (2-1 on Aggregate)

The Serbian giants advance to the next round with a big 2-1 win over Lithuanian Champions Sudova. Richmond Boakye and former Chelsea midfielder Marko Marin both scored in the first half. Red Star Belgrade was set to keep a clean sheet but Sudova scored late.

With the win, Red Star Belgrade moves on to face HJK Helsinki in Finland in the second round.


The New Saints 1-0 Feronikeli (3-2 on aggregate)

Welsh Premier League side The New Saints defeated Kosovan club Feronikeli, 1-0, thanks to a goal from Irish forward Dean Ebbe. Ebbe came off the bench and headed home a lofted ball into the box.

Feronikeli had chances to take the lead early, including twice in the first ten minutes, but blasted shots in the box well over the wall.

UEFA Champions League Second Leg Results

Shkendija 1 – 2 Nõmme Kalju 
Saburtalo 1 – 3 FC Sheriff
Valletta 1 – 1 F91 Dudelange
HB 2 – 2 HJK 

Champions League wrap: Atleti, BVB stay perfect

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Premier League clubs may not be enjoying their tournaments so far, but there’s no doubt the Champions League is entertaining all comers this season.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur both lost on Wednesday, while Barcelona, Inter Milan, and Barcelona stayed perfect.

Borussia Dortmund 3-0 AS Monaco

Paco Alcacer, Jacob Bruun Larsen, and Marco Reus entered this match in fine form, and all found the back of the goal in the second half as BVB went 2-0 in the UCL to join its table-topping start to the Bundesliga season.

Atletico Madrid 3-1 Club Brugge

Antoine Griezmann scored in each half and Koke added a stoppage time marker as Atleti joined BVB on six points. Arnaut Groeneveld scored Brugge’s goal.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Tottenham Hotspur 2-4 BarcelonaRECAP

Lionel Messi was full of magic, with two goals and a hand in the other two as Barca outlasted an industrious but injury-hit Spurs side at Wembley Stadium. Ivan Rakitic and Philippe Coutinho also scored, with Harry Kane and Erik Lamela on the board for the hosts.

PSV Eindhoven 1-2 Inter Milan

The Serie A visitors went behind on an outlandish Pablo Rosario goal, but Radja Nainggolan leveled the score before halftime and Mauro Icardi nabbed a 60th minute winner to put Inter level on points with Barcelona ahead of consecutive UCL match-ups.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Napoli 1-0 LiverpoolRECAP

Lorenzo Insigne’s 90th minute winner gave Napoli a deserved three points on a day they kept the dangerous Reds from recording a shot on target.

Paris Saint-Germain 6-1 Red Star BelgradeRECAP

Neymar’s hat trick was joined by three other stars on the score sheet, as Edinson Cavani, Angel Di Maria, and Kylian Mbappe all scored for Les Parisiens. Marko Marin‘s 74th minute goal came with his team down 5-0.

Lokomotiv Moscow 0-1 Schalke

USMNT youngster Weston McKennie scored his first senior goal for Schalke, potting an 88th minute header to give the German side a big win in Russia.

Porto 1-0 Galatasaray

Moussa Marega scored the lone goal as Porto joined Schalke on 4 points.

PSG hammers Red Star Belgrade, McKennie wins it for Schalke

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The early Champions League kickoffs treated fans to a pair of games as an appetizer to the main 3:00 p.m. ET event, and while Neymar was the star of the show, an American youngster stole some of the spotlight.

The Brazilian scored a hat-trick, including a pair of free-kicks, as Paris Saint-Germain cruised to a 6-1 victory over Red Star Belgrade in the French capital. His first came on a delicious set-piece from straight-on outside the top of the box, curling it over the wall and into the top-left corner, leaving Red Star goalkeeper Milan Borjan no chance as he went full stretch.

Neymar scored again just two minutes later as PSG displayed speed in the attack. He played a perfect one-two with Kylian Mbappé, first springing the young French star with a through-ball before trailing the play and roofing the cross for a 2-0 lead.

Edinson Cavani followed that with his first goal of the game for a blistering 3-0 lead eight minutes before the break. It was a hilariously sloppy goal that came off a bungled clear, falling right into Cavani’s lap as he danced around scattered defenders and fired a shot that deflected past Borjan. Angel Di Maria added a fourth for the hosts minutes later, and Mbappe got himself on the scoresheet in the second half before former Chelsea midfielder Marko Marin grabbed a consolation for Red Star late.

Neymar finished off his hat-trick in the dying minutes as he whipped in a free-kick from nearly the exact same position as the first – only a few feet further out – and he went to the top-right corner this time, leaving Borjan with no chance. This time, the goalkeeper didn’t even dive, just giving it an exasperated look before starting to laugh. Cavani nearly had his second and PSG’s seventh, but it was ruled out for offside.

The other early game appeared to be devoid of excitement, until 20-year-old American midfielder Weston McKennie stepped up and bagged the winning goal in the 88th minute. The shot was just the sixth on target of the entire match for both sides, but it made all the difference.

McKennie becomes the eighth American international to score a Champions League goal – and his goal is the latest of any American international in the competition – while more importantly, it marks his first professional club goal.

Champions League: Napoli, Sevilla move on

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Celtic’s 8-4 aggregate win over Astana earlier Tuesday was just the tip of the iceberg.

[ MORE: 426 world clubs, ranked weekly ]

Eight more goals came calling in a quartet of UEFA Champions League playoff round second legs on Tuesday, as Sevilla, Napoli, Maribor, and Olympiacos joined the Bhoys in the group stage.

Sevilla 2-2 (4-3 agg.) Basaksehir

When Sevilla brought two away goals back to Spain, this leg threatened absolute boredom. That couldn’t have been more off base, as the Turkish visitors took a 1-0 through Eljero Elia to put the match back in the balance and didn’t quit once the Istanbul side made it 4-2. But Edin Visca’s 83rd minute goal was all they’d muster, and Sevilla avoided a massive upset to reach the UCL group stage.

Nice 0-2 (0-4 agg.) Napoli

There will be no Mario Balotelli reunion with Anfield in the UEFA Champions League, as Napoli got an early second half goal from Jose Callejon to bury any hopes of the Ligue 1 side coming back from a 2-0 first leg hole. Lorenzo Insigne scored in the 89th minute to make the final moments even less dramatic. He hit the ball really well.

Maribor 1-0 (2-2 agg.) Hapoel Be’er Sheva

It’s cliche to say there were “scenes” in any given big game, but the Ljudski vrt spent the final 15 minutes building to a crescendo. If there was a lid on the place, it would’ve blown at the final whistle as the Slovenian side knocked its Israeli visitors into the Europa League.

Rijeka 0-1 (1-3 agg.) Olympiacos

Not much drama here, as ex-Chelsea winger Marko Marin scored in the 25th minute to put Croatia’s Rijeka in a pretty deep hole.

Still to come Wednesday
All matches at 2:45 p.m. ET

Copenhagen vs. Qarabag (Qarabag leads 1-0)
CSKA Moscow vs. Young Boys (CSKA leads 1-0)
Slavia Prague vs. Apoel Nicosia (Apoel leads 2-0)
Liverpool vs. Hoffenheim (Liverpool leads 2-1)
Steaua Bucharest vs. Sporting CP (First leg 0-0)

PFA chairman says Chelsea’s transfer policy amounts to “warehousing” players

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Chelsea’s recent transfer dealings have been called into question by Professional Footballers’ Association chairman Gordon Taylor after the Blues loaned out 33 players to 26 different clubs across Europe during the recently-completed summer transfer window.

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More than $150 million worth of players (transfer fees paid by Chelsea to acquire the players) were loaned out by the reigning Premier League champions, and Taylor says it’s not only a questionable business practice for Chelsea, but also having too much of an impact on too many different competitions across the continent.

Taylor so far as to say Chelsea’s recent transfer policy amounts to “warehousing of players,” given the way they buy an unprecedented number of players, only to loan them out to various clubs season after season.

Taylor, on Chelsea’s transfer policy, from Goal.com:

“It’s a bit of a worry with so many Chelsea players out on loan. It’s almost a warehousing of players. You wonder whether it brings into question the integrity of the various competitions.”

“But then there are players at these clubs in Europe who are denied the chance because others are coming in with their parent clubs paying their wages. It makes that option more ­attractive.

“So then it is not about the best team winning a ­particular competition, it is about who has the best ­relationship with the biggest clubs.

“It’s not so much something that we’ve been alerted to. It’s something that you can’t fail to notice because it has been such a phenomenal number of players out there.”

The folks running the show at Chelsea are unlikely to be fazed by Taylor’s comments, for a number of reasons. For starters, let’s consider how much money they’ve made by simply buying players at a young age, playing them sparingly or not at all, loaning them out to great success and selling them for more than they paid themselves. Kevin De Bruyne, anyone? Chelsea paid $10 million in January 2012 and sold him to Wolfsburg (after a loan stint at the club) for $27 million two years later.

There’s also Mohamed Salah, for whom Chelsea paid not even $17 million in January 2015. Following a successful loan spell to Fiorentina last season and another deployment to Roma, the Egyptian will likely fetch the Blues $25 million or more next summer. Of course, Chelsea do run the risk of poor investments that don’t return any profit and often times result in a loss — Juan Cuadrado ($35 million last January), Marko Marin ($9 million) and Victor Moses ($14 million) immediately come to mind.

[ MORE: England qualify for EURO 2016 as Rooney ties all-time goals record ]

Taylor’s biggest (and most valid) point, though, is that Chelsea’s farming out of players could — and perhaps already has done so — lead to other clubs relying more on acquiring Chelsea’s best recyclables than focusing on developing and bringing through their own young players.

For instance, if I’m an 18-year-old rising star at Vitesse, the Dutch club who took five Chelsea players on loan this summer, I’m heading straight for the exit door and searching for a club willing to play its own players. In the long run, that’s best-case scenario for nobody but Chelsea.