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Penalty problems: Hulk, Oscar miss 3 in a week for Shanghai SIPG

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It was a week to forget for Brazilian internationals Hulk and Oscar, both of whom now ply their trade for Shanghai SIPG of the Chinese Super League.

[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup — Spurs apply pressure to Chelsea (again) ]

The duo, which earns a combined $839,000 per week in wages, failed to convert not one, not two, but three penalties in two games this week (below videos) — first in Shanghai SIPG’s 1-0 defeat to Urawa Red Dragons in the AFC Champions League on Tuesday, and again in a 1-1 draw with Tianjin Quanjian in CSL action on Saturday.

Oscar saw his first attempt against Urawa saved by the goalkeeper and pushed onto the crossbar, before blasting another spot-kick attempt over the bar 11 minutes later. Penalty-taking duties were thus bestowed upon Hulk this weekend, and he responded by completely fooling the ‘keeper before pushing the ball well wide of a wide open post.

[ MORE: Chelsea lose at Old Trafford, leave the door open for Spurs ]

Through five league games this season, Hulk has three goals and three assists to his name; Oscar is yet to find the back of the net himself, but has tallied three assists.

Benfica scores twice late to shock Zenit, advance in UEFA Champions League

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Portuguese powers Benfica scored twice after the 84th minute to overcome Hulk’s second half header and advance past Zenit Saint-Petersburg into the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals.

Benfica joins Wolfsburg and Real Madrid in the final eight after their 3-1 aggregate win. It was 1-0 after the first leg in Russia.

[ MORE: Champions League schedule ]

Hulk put the game on the path to extra time with his 69th minute header, but Nicolas Gaitan scored in the 85th minute and Anderson Talisca scored in the sixth minute of stoppage to cap the game 2-1 and the tie 3-1.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

[ MORE: Europa League schedule ]

Benfica 1-0 Zenit St. Petersburg: Eight yellows and one late Jonas goal

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  • Eight yellow cards in testy tie
  • Gaitan finds Jonas for stoppage winner
  • Return leg at Noon ET on March 9 in Russia.

A tightly-contested match at the Estádio da Luz saw Benfica and Zenit St. Petersburg trading shoves more than shots before the home side found a late winner on Tuesday in a first leg of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16.

Benfica attempted more shots than Zenit, but neither side produced much danger until Nicolas Gaitan’s cross was buried by the head of Jonas for a 1-0 win.

[ MORE: Champions League schedule ]

The first half saw Benfica with a load of possession, but just one big chance when Jonas’ 25-yard shot deflected within a hair of the far post.

Zenit had a chance itself, as Hulk battered a low free kick that skipped wide of the Benfica goal.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

[ MORE: Watch full Premier League match replays ]

The match was more memorable for its chippy nature than scoring chances, with eight yellows handed out.

The winner came with a red card, as a second yellow was given to Zenit’s Domenico Criscito. Fittingly, Jonas was given a yellow himself for excessively celebrating his winner.

Hulk once again the victim of racist chants in Russian League match

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With the 2018 World Cup in Russia fast approaching, all eyes are on the host country’s clear issue with racism. It’s been spoken about, discussed, dissected, and analyzed.

The one thing it hasn’t done is go away.

Yet again, Brazilian forward Hulk – one of the most notable and recognizable players in the Russian Premier League – has called out fans in a Russian stadium for racist chants directed at him.

The 29-year-old striker was substituted in stoppage time of a 2-2 draw at Spartak Moscow, and he sarcastically blew kisses to the crowd as he walked off the field. Hulk later confirmed he did that as a response to racist chants he was receiving from the Spartak fans.

“Unfortunately, the same things are happening – racism in the stands,” he said in comments published on Zenit’s official website. “I won’t pay any attention to this, as I have already talked about this. Therefore, I will continue to blow kisses and answer them with the way I play on the pitch. These things don’t even deserve to be discussed.”

As Hulk said, he’s already talked about this. A whole lot. Back in March, racist chants from Torpedo Moscow fans caused Zenit manager Andre Villas-Boas to label the opposing supporters a “disgrace.” In July, Hulk said there are racist chants in “almost every game” in Russia. Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong was suspended for two matches after showing fans an explicit gesture as a reaction to racist chants.

UCL roundup: Arsenal, Barca start slow; Chelsea win

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Just like that, Matchday 1 of the 2015-16 UEFA Champions League group stage is done and dusted. For the four sides representing the Premier League, it wasn’t the best 24 hours England’s top flight has ever had — one win and three defeats in four games played.

Dinamo Zagreb 2-1 Arsenal MORE

Olivier Giroud had a really, really bad night out in Croatia. The French striker had a pair of close-range chances saved in before the hour mark and was eventually sent off shortly before halftime. With just 10 men on the field, Arsenal shipped a second goal to the reigning Croatian champions and currently find themselves third in Group F.

Chelsea 4-0 Maccabi Tel Aviv MORE

Back in London, Chelsea made fairly easy work of Maccabi Tel Aviv, despite a stumble out of the blocks that included a skied penalty attempt from Eden Hazard. Willian, Oscar (penalty), Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas provided the Blues’ haul of goals on the evening, sending the reigning Premier League champions top of Group G.

Roma 1-1 Barcelona

Roma midfielder Alessandro Florenzi did this, which was pretty memorable. On second thought, it was an all-time great Champions League goal. Luis Suarez scored Barcelona’s only goal of the game off a header from close range. Lionel Messi appeared in the 100th Champions League of his career, and for what seems like the first time ever, failed to mark the occasion with a goal.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

Olympiakos 0-3 Bayern Munich

Not wanting to feel left out in the wake of Florenzi’s stunner, Thomas Mueller scored a cheeky chip of his own, though it felt more like a wayward cross that crept inside the far post. That made it 1-0 in the 52nd minute. Mueller completed his brace in the 89th minute, two minutes after Mario Goetze had made it 2-0 to the Bavarian giants. The reigning Bundesliga champions are top of Group F.

Bayer Leverkusen 4-1 BATE Borisov

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez scored his first goal for Leverkusen (WATCH HERE), which made the score 3-1 in the 58th minute. Hakan Calhanoglu, who is widely recognized as “the free kick master,” bagged a brace as Leverkusen rolled to a 4-1 victory and the top spot in Group E.

Valencia 2-3 Zenit St. Petersburg

Hulk bagged a brace, including one particularly notable laser beam from 25 yards out — typical Hulk stuff, you know — to cancel out a goal scored by Andre Gomes and an own goal pushed over the line by Zenit midfielder Axel Witsel. It was Witsel, though, who scored the eventual winner in the 76th minute to put the reigning Russian champions top of Group H.

[ MORE: Champions League schedule ]

Dynamo Kyiv 2-2 Porto

Porto’s Vincent Aboubakar bagged a brace of his own, but goals scored by Oleg Gusev and Vitaliy Buyalsky — the latter coming not until the 89th minute — meant the points were to be split between the reigning Ukrainian champions and Portuguese league runners-up.

Gent 1-1 Lyon

Christophe Jallet gave Lyon a 1-0 lead int he 58th minute, but Danijel Milicevic equalized 10 minutes later for the reigning Belgian champions to rescue a point at home.