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Pulisic “a bit lucky” on 20th birthday match-winning goal

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BRUGES, Belgium (AP) Christian Pulisic celebrated his 20th birthday by scoring on his return from injury to give Borussia Dortmund a late 1-0 win at Club Brugge in the Champions League on Tuesday.

“It was great to come back after injury to and to be back with the team,” said Pulisic, who also made his 100th appearance for the club.

[ MORE: Champions League wrap ]

The American, who hadn’t played since Aug. 26 due to muscular problems, came on with around 20 minutes remaining and scored in the 85th when Matej Mitrovic’s attempted clearance rebounded off his shin and looped in over Brugge goalkeeper Karlo Letica.

“It was a bit lucky but I’ll take it on my birthday,” said Pulisic, who had missed two Bundesliga games for Dortmund and the U.S. friendlies against Brazil and Mexico.

“I just saw the ball getting played through. I think the defender tried clearing it but I was in the right spot at the right time,” Pulisic said. “I think we deserved the goal at the time.”

Pulisic, who also netted against Benfica in March last year, is only the third American to score multiple Champions League goals after Fabian Johnson – who had two for Borussia Moenchengladbach – and DaMarcus Beasley, who scored six in stints at PSV Eindhoven and Rangers.

“I’m just going to enjoy the rest of the night with the team,” Pulisic said of his birthday celebrations.

Mario Goetze made a rare start for Dortmund but was unable to provide much of a spark against the spirited hosts. Leticia saved his effort in the first half. It was Dortmund’s only shot on target apart from Pulisic’s goal.

“It was a lucky win, a dirty win,” Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc said.

The win means Dortmund has already bettered its Champions League campaign from last season, when it earned just two points in six group games.

Brugge was back in the Champions League group stage after a one-year absence and created the better chances.

In the other Group A game, Atletico Madrid beat Monaco 2-1.

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UCL wrap: USMNT’s Pulisic, McKennie shine

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Christian Pulisic can score by blocking clearances and Weston McKennie won’t stop running, as Americans made their impacts felt in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.

[ MORE: PL Player Power Rankings ]

Of course, Spurs and Liverpool threw away leads and only the latter recovered to get a result on a busy night in Europe.

Inter Milan 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur RECAP

Christian Eriksen scored for Spurs, as the North London side had a 1-0 lead in the 53rd minute. But Inter struck twice in the final few minutes, including Matias Vecino’s winner in the second minute of stoppage. That will leave Spurs licking their wounds after a third-straight loss.

Barcelona 4-0 PSV EindhovenRECAP

Lionel Messi now has more hat tricks than anyone in Champions League history — for now — nabbing his eighth in moving ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus plays Wednesday). And Ousmane Dembele scored a gorgeous dribble and finish in the win.

Liverpool 3-2 Paris Saint-GermainRECAP

The Reds went ahead 2-0 through a Daniel Sturridge header and James Milner penalty, and controlled much of the proceedings. Thomas Meunier’s 40th minute goal seemed destined to mean very little when Mohamed Salah gave away the ball late in the second half.

Kylian Mbappe made it 2-2, but it only set the stage for Roberto Firmino.

Schalke 1-1 Porto

USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie turned provider on the match’s first goal, sliding across for Breel Embolo’s fortunate offspeed finish (see below). But Salif Sane conceded a penalty to the visitors, and Otavio finished his chance for a share of the points.

Monaco 1-2 Atletico Madrid

A goal from diminutive Serge Grandsir gave the hosts an early lead, but Diego Costa and Jose Maria Gimenez scored before halftime to give Diego Simeone’s men all three points.

Red Star Belgrade 0-0 Napoli

The Serbians send a message that no one’s coming to their house and getting an easy night. Napoli managed 20 shots to Red Star’s six, but a 7-save performance from Canada’s Milan Borjan got a point for the hosts at the Stadion Rajko Mitic.

Galatasaray 3-0 Lokomotiv Moscow

Garry Rodrigues and Erden Derdiyok scored on either side of halftime to give the Turkish powers a win at the Turk Telekom Arena.

Club Brugge 0-1 Borussia Dortmund

Christian Pulisic began the game on the bench, entering for the final 20 minutes or so of his 20th birthday to make his 100th BVB appearance.

Happy birthday, kid.

No Pulisic on USMNT roster for Brazil, Mexico

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United States men’s national team interim coach Dave Sarachan will not have Christian Pulisic for this month’s friendlies against Brazil and Mexico, as the federation announced its call-ups on Sunday.

Pulisic was left off Borussia Dortmund’s roster this weekend with an unspecified muscle injury.

[ MORE: Vinicius Junior scores 2, bitten ]

In-form center back John Brooks and right back DeAndre Yedlin headline the group, which includes Tim Weah, Julian Green, and Andriya Novakovich.

New York Red Bulls youngster Tyler Adams is joined by uncapped teammate Aaron Long and veteran center back Tim Parker.

Ethan Horvath is the third goalkeeper called up to join MLS stars Alex Bono and Zack Steffen.

Full roster (Clubs, Caps/goals provided by USSF)

GoalkeepersAlex Bono (Toronto FC/CAN; 1/0), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/BEL; 2/0), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC; 3/0)

DefendersJohn Brooks (Wolfsburg/GER; 33/3), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea City/WAL; 4/0), Eric Lichaj (Hull City/ENG; 15/1), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Matt Miazga (Nantes/FRA; 7/1), Shaq Moore (Reus Deportiu/ESP; 2/0), Tim Parker (New York Red Bulls; 2/0), Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic/ENG; 2/0), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG; 52/0)

MidfieldersKellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; 17/1), Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls; 5/0), Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 16/2), Julian Green (Greuther Fürth/GER; 10/4), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 3/1), Weston McKennie (Schalke/GER; 4/1), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 3/0), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 6/0), Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain; 3/1)

ForwardsAndrija Novakovich (Fortuna Sittard/NED; 2/0), Bobby Wood (Hannover 96/GER; 39/12), Gyasi Zardes (37/6; Columbus Crew SC)

BVB held at Hannover; Pulisic’s 100th appearance on hold

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An injury stopped Christian Pulisic from making his 100th senior appearance for Borussia Dortmund, who failed to trouble Hannover 96 without their teenage American.

Pulisic, who turns 20 on Sept. 18, sees his status doubt for the USMNT’s upcoming friendlies against Brazil and Mexico.

[ PL PREVIEW: Leicester vs. Liverpool ]

His club did not fare well without him, with Marco Reus hitting the bar and missing a sliding attempt. Hannover had more of the ball, and BVB attempted eight shots to the hosts’ seven.

American striker Bobby Wood subbed into the match at halftime for Hannover 96 and was credited with a team-high two shots on goal.

Fox broadcaster Kate Abdo noted that the clean sheet was Hannover’s first since Dec. 2017.

USMNT’s Christian Pulisic out injured

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Christian Pulisic may not be heading back to the U.S. to play for the national team next week.

Pulisic, 19, didn’t travel with the Borussia Dortmund squad for their Bundesliga game at Hannover on Friday night.

Dortmund said Pulisic was suffering from “muscular problems” and that suggests he’s a big doubt to travel Stateside ahead of the international break next week.

The USMNT face Brazil and Mexico in two top-class friendlies and Pulisic will have been back with the U.S. full-time after some much-needed time off last summer.