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Real Madrid signs Eder Militao for $56 million

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MADRID (AP) Real Madrid has signed young Brazilian defender Eder Militao from Portuguese club Porto.

Madrid says the 21-year-old player signed a contract until June 2025 and will join the squad next season.

[ MORE: La Liga scores, schedule ]

Militao had been playing with Porto since signing from Brazilian club Sao Paulo at the beginning of this season. He played 34 matches with the Portuguese champions, scoring three goals, including one in the group stage of the Champions League. He has been a key piece for a Porto team that has reached the quarterfinals of the European competition.

Madrid says Militao is a quick defender who can play in the middle of the defense or as a right back. He can also help as a defensive midfielder if needed.

He made his debut with Brazil’s national team last year.

Real Madrid, again under coach Zinedine Zidane, hosts Celta Vigo in the Spanish league on Saturday.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

UEFA release statement on key VAR decisions

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After two UEFA Champions League last 16 second leg games were decided by penalty kicks awarded via VAR, European soccer’s governing body has released a statement detailing why both decisions were made.

That was rather nice of them, wasn’t it?

Manchester United’s dramatic 90th minute winner at Paris Saint-Germain came via a handball decision made by the on-field referee after reviewing the TV monitor on the side of the pitch, while Porto’s winning spot kick in the 116th minute of their clash against Roma was also given with the help of VAR.


Here is the explanation, in full, of the decision to hand Man United a penalty kick against PSG.

“The VAR, after checking various different angles available to him, recommended to the referee an on-field review following the penalty area incident. Given that the referee did not recognise the incident clearly during live play (referred to as serious missed incident in the VAR protocol) an on-field review was conducted.

“Following the on-field review, the referee confirmed that the distance that the ball travelled was not short and the impact could therefore not be unexpected. The defender’s arm was not close to the body, which made the defender’s body bigger thus resulting in the ball being stopped from travelling in the direction of the goal. The referee, therefore, awarded a penalty kick.”


And here is the explanation for FC Porto being awarded a penalty kick in the 116th minute

“The VAR, after checking the offside line – which confirmed the attacker to be onside – asked the referee if he had seen the holding offence committed by the AS Roma defender. The referee confirmed he was unaware of any holding during live play and he asked for the images to be prepared to allow him to conduct an on-field review (serious missed incident). The review convinced the referee that a penalty kick should be awarded for a holding offence.”


Now, these explanations do act to clear up the thinking behind the decisions and why the referee and/or his video assistants came to the decision they did.

But some of the reasoning given for United’s penalty at PSG raised a few eyebrows, especially with the line saying “the distance that the ball travelled was not short and the impact could therefore not be unexpected.”

If you accept that opinion on certain calls will not disappear with the introduction of VAR, then that will probably allow you to sleep at night…

Teenage Zaniolo sparks Roma over Porto (video)

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An emerging star in Italy has put AS Roma in good position to advance to the next round.

Nineteen-year-old attacker Nicolo Zaniolo scored a brace as Roma took down FC Porto, 2-1 in the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Tuesday evening. Zaniolo’s goals gave Roma a 2-0 lead with just 14 minutes left in the match, but Adrian Lopez popped up behind the Roma backline and scored to give Porto a lifeline before the second leg on March 6.

In the 70th minute, a pass in the box found its way to Zaniolo. The youngster took a touch to his right and fired off a quick strike on goal, one that went through the legs of left back Alex Telles and in to the delight of the home crowd. Six minutes later, Zaniolo finished again into a mostly empty net after Edin Dzeko hit the post for the second time, putting Roma up 2-0.

In the 79th minute, a scuffed strike ended up falling for Lopez, who connected on the half volley to fire past Antonio Mirante and make it 2-1.

With his brace, Zaniolo now has five goals and two assists on the season, with all five scored since Boxing Day 2018.

LIVE, UCL last 16: Man United v. PSG; Roma v. Porto

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The UEFA Champions League last 16 games kick off on Tuesday, as Manchester United host Paris Saint-Germain and FC Porto head to AS Roma (both games kick off at 3 p.m. ET).

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s United have been handed a huge boost as PSG’s star duo of Edinson Cavani and Neymar have been ruled out through injury for the first leg at Old Trafford. Solskjaer is hoping for yet another famous European night at OT as he remains unbeaten in his first 11 games as United’s caretaker boss. Thomas Tuchel and PSG provide Solskjaer with his toughest test yet.

In the other game Roma host FC Porto, with the former hoping to repeat their run to the UCL semifinals last season. Roma have the experience to advance, but Porto rolled through the group stage unbeaten with five wins from six games.

Click on the link above to follow live updates on the action, while here at Pro Soccer Talk we will have you covered for action during and after the games.

Porto stunned by Guimaraes, Benfica draws 1-1 with Sporting

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LISBON, Portugal (AP) FC Porto squandered a two-goal lead in a 3-2 home loss to Guimaraes on Saturday, while Benfica needed a late goal by 18-year-old Joao Felix to draw 1-1 with Sporting Lisbon in the Portuguese capital derby.

Defending champion Porto appeared to have the game well in hand after Yacine Brahimi and Andre Pereira both scored before halftime.

But Andre Andre converted a penalty in the 63rd minute and substitute Antonio Carvalho leveled in the 76th.

Substitute Davidson completed the comeback for the visitors with a goal in the 88th, dealing Porto its first loss in three rounds this season.

“We are not doing the things that made us champion,” said Porto coach Sergio Conceicao. “We need to talk.”

Porto’s second goal was scored with Pereira in an off-side position, but the video assistant referee apparently did not advise the referee due to a technical malfunction in the communication system.

“There needs to be an alternative to communicate,” Guimaraes coach Luis Castro said. “If the VAR goes down, there must be another option. A team could be hurt by this.”

In Lisbon, Joao Felix jumped to head in a cross from Rafa Silva to score for Benfica in the 86th minute, cancelling out a penalty converted by Sporting’s Nani in the 64th.

Goalkeeper Romain Salin made several saves to keep Sporting ahead until Felix finally got a ball past him.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports