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Man United sleepwalk 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.

Champions League wrap: Dzeko dominates again; Real wins (just)

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Another terrific day in the UEFA Champions League saw goals, fine finishes, and star performances across Europe.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]


Roma 3-0 CSKA Moscow

Powerful striker Edin Dzeko scored twice and assisted Cenzig Under’s 50th minute marker as Roma joined Real Madrid on six points in Group G.

How about a little love for Dzeko, by the way? The Bosnia and Herzegovina striker has five goals for Roma in this season’s UCL, and has 17 goals and seven assists in 23 appearances for Roma in the competition.

[ READ: PST’s talk with Dzeko on Serie A chase ]

Manchester United 0-1 JuventusRECAP

A spirited second half wasn’t enough for Jose Mourinho’s men to overcome another sloppy start, as Paulo Dybala’s 17th minute goal holds up at Old Trafford.

Shakhtar Donetsk 0-3 Manchester CityRECAP

David Silva‘s star show could’ve produced 7 or 8 goals, but he’ll settle for the match winner as Bernardo Silva and Aymeric Laporte also scored to send Man City atop its group.

Hoffenheim 3-3 Lyon

Talk about a back-and-forth affair.

Lyon led 1-0 and 3-2, in between overcoming a 2-1 deficit, but fell apart in stoppage time as Hoffenheim kept its UCL hopes alive via a Joelinton stoppage time finish.

Andrej Kramaric had the Bundesliga club’s other goals, while Bertrand Traore, Tanguy Ndombele, and Memphis Depay bagged goals for Lyon.

Hoffenheim and Shakhtar are three points back of Lyon and four behind Man City after three matches.

Real Madrid 2-1 Viktoria Plzen

Wobby Real built a 2-0 lead through Karim Benzema and Marcelo, but Slovakian midfielder Patrik Hrosovsky’s 78th minute goal gave the champions quite a fright at home.

Young Boys 1-1 Valencia

Michy Batshuayi struck first, but this one was all Young Boys. The Swiss side converted a 55th minute penalty through Guillaume Hoarau and out shot the La Liga side 18-8.

Ajax 1-0 Benfica

Dutch-born Moroccan right back Noussair Mazraoui scored in stoppage time to move Ajax level with Bayern Munich and in pole position to reach its first Champions League knockout round since 2005-06.

AEK Athens 0-2 Bayern Munich

Scoreless at halftime, Javi Martinez and Robert Lewandowski scored within a 3-minute run at Bayern. It was a fine leaping volley for Martinez.

Report: FIFA considering limiting loan players to eight

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FIFA has a proposal on the table to limit clubs to a maximum of eight loans from their squad to other teams in a season.

Sport Bild has the story, detailing the plan, which is reportedly supported by the Bundesliga.

[ MORE: Wk5 Premier League storylines ]

According to the report: “The sole exception to the FIFA decision: Talents under the age of 21 who have been trained by their home club and have been under contract there for an extended period of time may continue to be loaned in unlimited numbers to further their development by collecting match practice elsewhere.”

This would waylay the current practice of bigger clubs like Chelsea, which has 40 players playing for other clubs including Americans Matt Miazga (Nantes) and Kyle Scott (Telstar).

Could this lead clubs to subvert academy rules and sign more players, younger? There are limits on scholars, sure, but clever teams are going to look for an edge.

And what would it mean to players from outside of Europe? Certainly Major League Soccer, Liga MX, and several name South American leagues would have its best young players a bit longer, but at what cost, if any, to national team development?

The rule would certainly strengthen teams deep into the market on account of Chelsea; Michy Batshuayi, Baba Rahman, Kenedy, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Kurt Zouma, Kylian Hazard, Mario Pasalic, and Kenedy would have the loan number at 8 before Chelsea considered what to do with any of their other non-CFC Academy talents.

And while 40 is an absurd number, eight is average if pretty low.

Arsenal has 7, Bournemouth 6, Brighton 5, Burnley 8, Cardiff 4, Crystal Palace 6, Everton 14, Fulham 1, Huddersfield Town 5, Leicester 4, Liverpool 12, Man City 12, Manchester United 5, Newcastle 5, Southampton 12, Spurs 2, Watford 8, West Ham 7, Wolves 19.

Batshuayi double helps Belgium beat Scotland 4-0 in friendly

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GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Substitute Michy Batshuayi scored twice in eight minutes as Belgium eased to a 4-0 victory over Scotland on Friday in its first game since finishing third at the World Cup.

Seven minutes after coming on at halftime in the friendly, Batshuayi took a pass from Eden Hazard in a swift Belgium break and guided the ball low into the net.

Batshuayi, who is on loan at Spanish club Valencia from English Premier League side Chelsea, struck again from just outside the penalty area on the hour.

The earlier goals in Glasgow came from Romelu Lukaku in the first half and Hazard a minute into the second half.

The Belgian players showed the quality that saw them achieve their team’s best-ever World Cup showing by finishing third in Russia in July.

Scotland hasn’t qualified for a tournament since the 1998 World Cup.

Ranking the tough UCL draws for Premier League clubs

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All the Premier League clubs will tell you they like their chances of advancing to the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds following Thursday’s group stage draws.

[ MORE: Full UCL draw ]

Only one should be feel confident it can top theirs.

Manchester City faces solid clubs — this is the UCL, after all — but can look at its Premier League peers and exhale in relief at the dodged challenges.

4) Man City will face Shakhtar Donetsk, the only team to beat them in the group stage last season albeit in a meaningless game. Hoffenheim and Lyon are good teams from power leagues, but no more of a challenge than last season’s Napoli-Feyenoord group.

3) Manchester United will need to get past either Juventus or Valencia to get to the knockout rounds, which isn’t to say Young Boys are going to let the Red Devils waltz through Switzerland. Valencia brings the threats of Michy Batshuayi and Denis Cheryshev, as well as familiar names Francis Coquelin, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Goncalo Guedes. And Juve’s threat is well-known. The Old Lady will be just as fired up for Paul Pogba‘s return as Old Trafford is to renew acquaintances with Cristiano Ronaldo.

1b) Tottenham Hotspur sits just behind Liverpool for the toughest group. First off, there’s Barcelona. That requires no explanation, as Lionel Messi and pals are deep at every position. Spurs also drew the most difficult Pot 4 option in Inter Milan, though drawing a young PSV Eindhoven slots them second.

1a) Liverpool’s task stands tall, and it will surely hope to get some benefits from the fixture makers. The Reds have to visit Red Star Belgrade in Serbia in addition to getting past either Paris Saint-Germain and Napoli. Holy smoke.