Lucas Vazquez

Tagliafico Chelsea
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Transfer news: Tagliafico, Onana to Chelsea; Vazquez to Tottenham

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The latest transfer news from the Premier League sees Andre Onana and Nicolas Tagliafico linked with Chelsea again, while Lucas Vazquez is could head to Tottenham.

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First up, starting in west London it appears Chelsea are not slowing down anytime soon when it comes to buying new players and an Ajax duo could be heading to Stamford Bridge.

Ajax boss Erik ten Haag told Dutch radio station Het Parool that Tagliafico will be leaving this summer, while Andre Onana and Donny van de Beek have agreements with the Dutch giants that they can leave if an acceptable transfer offer comes in.

Tagliafico, 27, has been targeted by Chelsea and Arsenal as a possible left back option but it appears that Chelsea are now the frontrunners. Frank Lampard wants Ben Chilwell but that could be too expensive and Tagliafico would be a very good option to add experience to his defense. Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmeri have been switched time and time again this season and neither have impressed Lampard.

After signing Hakim Ziyech from Ajax, Timo Werner from RB Leipzig and being linked with Kai Havertz, Chelsea aren’t messing around. With left back a weak spot in their squad, Chelsea probably need a new goalkeeper too. They’ve been linked wit Onana on multiple occasions and with Kepa doing okay, would Onana be an upgrade on the Spanish goalkeeper? Reports suggest that Kepa could head to Valencia on a two-season loan and that could be a good option for Chelsea. Onana, 24, has shown his class in the Champions League for Ajax and as Lampard continues this squad overhaul, it appears he could be heading back to Ajax a few more times over the summer.

Vazquez
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Switching from west to north London, Tottenham could bring in Lucas Vazquez from Real Madrid as he’s out of contract next summer.

Vazquez, 28, has been linked with an $18 million move this summer, according to Mundo Deportivo, and the Spanish winger has real quality but may struggle to get into Zinedine Zidane’s team on a regular basis considering their incredible strength in depth in the attacking areas of the pitch. Mourinho worked with Vazquez when he was manager at Real Madrid and injuries have plagued the Spanish international in recent seasons.

Do Tottenham need another attacking midfielder? That is the one area where they are set. With Heung-min Son, Dele Alli, Erik Lamela, Steven Bergwijn, Giovanni Lo Celso and others around, why sign Vazquez?

Unless he can play at the back or as a holding midfielder, this doesn’t seem like a good move for Tottenham. Vazquez is a quality player and if he can stay fit, $18 million would be a bargain. With Jose Mourinho’s transfer funds set to be limited this summer, he should probably focus on buying a new holding midfielder over everything else. Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez have formed a surprisingly strong partnership at center back and Toby Alderweireld is a back up option. Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko can get by in central midfield but an extra player is needed in that area.

La Liga roundup: 10-man Real Madrid hold off Celta in season opener

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Spain’s top flight is back, and here’s a roundup of all of Saturday’s action.

[ FOLLOW: PST’s La Liga coverage ]

Celta Vigo 1-3 Real Madrid

If Real Madrid and Barcelona are, again, going to battle toe-to-toe for La Liga, consider the former team to have a head start.

Hours after Barca got the Aritz Aduriz treatment, Real Madrid – playing with 10 men for more than 40 minutes – took care of business, calmly beating Celta Vigo behind goals from Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos and Lucas Vasquez. Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric was sent off for a straight red in the 54th minute, while Gareth Bale, who stole headlines this summer after being rumored to leave time and time again, started and played 75 minutes.

Despite not having control of possession, the quality from Zinedine Zidane’s men was too much for Ruben Blanco. For instance, just look at Kroos’ strike from distance:

Celta, on the other hand, had a goal disallowed by VAR right before halftime, but still managed to spoil Thibaut Courtois‘ clean  in the dying minutes when Iker Losada, 18, scored two minutes after taking the field.

Valencia 1-1 Real Sociedad

Four minutes into stoppage time, Kevin Gameiro had the picture-perfect opportunity to record a brace and seal three points for Valencia in their first showing of the new campaign.

In front of an anxious Mestalla, he missed.

And just six minutes later, in the final breathe of the match, Mikel Oyarzabal did what Gameiro failed to do: convert from the spot. The rumored Manchester City target was influential all match and, in the end, rewarded with a goal.

A tough pill to swallow, Valencia will now look to earn their first win against Celta Vigo, while Sociedad next stop in their three-game road trip to start the season is Mallorca.

Villareal 4-4 Granada 

It wasn’t the matchup the majority had circled on their calendars, but Villareal and Granda’s 4-4 draw proved to be the most entertaining game on Saturday. A pair of penalties and an own goal were a few of the goals that made up the eight-goal frenzy.

Santi Carzorla – looking healthier than ever before – opened things up from the spot 35 minutes in. In the 75th minute, another familiar face, Roberto Soldado, put Granada a goal away from the home side. Shortly after, in the 81st minute, Antonio Puertas bagged Granada’s fourth and the night’s final goal.

An eight-goal match in such fashion will be hard to top on Sunday, that’s for sure.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Leganes 0-1 Osasuna

RCD Mallorca 2-0 Eibar

El Clasico: Real gets away goal in 1st leg Copa del Rey draw

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Real Madrid takes an away goals advantage away from its Copa del Rey semifinal first leg at Barcelona following a 1-1 draw in El Clasico.

The match was much closer than Barca’s 5-1 rout in La Liga player earlier this season, and Real led after six minutes through Lucas Vazquez.

[ RECAP: Everton 0-2 Man City ]

With Lionel Messi on the bench for the first 63 minutes, it was down to Malcom to level the tie with his 57th minute marker (below).

Vinicius Junior was perhaps the Man of the Match, helping to set-up Real’s goal.

The second leg is Feb. 27 at the Bernabeu.

Barca had more of the ball, and both teams attempted 11 shots.

Champions League wrap: Onward for 7 dreamers

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Seven of eight potential knockout round berths were sewn up Tuesday on Matchday 5 of the UEFA Champions League group stage.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]


Bayern Munich 5-1 Benfica

The old guard was roaring for Bayern, as the first of Robert Lewandowski’s two goals was his 50th Champions League goal for Bayern. He joined Arjen Robben in recording a double, and Franck Ribery also scored in the win.

Benfica will head to the Europa League.

AEK Athens 0-2 Ajax

Ajax is back in the knockout rounds after a Dusan Tadic double gave them an away win and second place in the group after of a Dec. 12 visit from leaders Bayern.

Group E
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Bayern Munich 5 4 1 0 12 2 10 2-1-0 2-0-0 13
Ajax 5 3 2 0 8 2 6 2-0-0 1-2-0 11
Benfica 5 1 1 3 5 11 -6 0-1-1 1-0-2 4
AEK Athens 5 0 0 5 2 12 -10 0-0-3 0-0-2 0

Lyon 2-2 Manchester CityRECAP

End-to-end action in France, where Pep Guardiola‘s men twice trailed to Maxwel Cornet goals (the first one a stunner). But Aymeric Laporte and Sergio Aguero headed home equalizers off set pieces as Man City avoided a series sweep and advanced to the knockout rounds along with their hosts.

Hoffenheim 2-3 Shakhtar Donetsk

Taison’s second goal of the match marched Shakhtar Donetsk into third place in the group as Hoffenheim’s rally from a 2-0 deficit wasn’t enough in the end. Ismaily and Taison scored a minute apart in the first half, but Andrej Kramaric had it 2-1 two minutes later and Steven Zuber leveled the score before halftime.

Group F
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Manchester City 5 3 1 1 14 5 9 1-0-1 2-1-0 10
Lyon 5 1 4 0 11 10 1 0-3-0 1-1-0 7
Shakhtar Donetsk 5 1 2 2 7 15 -8 0-1-1 1-1-1 5
1899 Hoffenheim 5 0 3 2 10 12 -2 0-1-2 0-2-0 3

CSKA Moscow 1-2 Viktoria Plzen

Nikola Vlasic‘s 10th minute penalty was all the hosts could muster, as Roman Prochazka and Lukas Hejda scored second half goals to keep Viktoria’s Europa League hopes alive.

Roma 0-2 Real Madrid

CSKA’s loss was Roma’s and Real’s gain, as both clubs knew they had qualified for the knockout rounds before they kicked off in Italy. Gareth Bale scored just after halftime then helped Lucas Vazquez put the match to bed in the 59th minute.

Group G
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Real Madrid 5 4 0 1 12 2 10 2-0-0 2-0-1 12
Roma 5 3 0 2 10 6 4 2-0-1 1-0-1 9
Viktoria Plzen 5 1 1 3 5 15 -10 0-1-1 1-0-2 4
CSKA Moscow 5 1 1 3 5 9 -4 1-0-2 0-1-1 4

Juventus 1-0 Valencia

Mario Mandzukic’s 59th minute goal made sure Valencia dropped the points necessary to open the door for Manchester United.

Manchester United 1-0 Young BoysRECAP

David De Gea made a spectacular reaction save minutes before Marouane Fellaini saved United blushes and clinched a spot in the next round for the Red Devils.

Group H
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away  

PTS

Juventus 5 4 0 1 8 2 6 2-0-1 2-0-0 12
Manchester United 5 3 1 1 6 2 4 1-1-1 2-0-0 10
València 5 1 2 2 4 5 -1 1-0-1 0-2-1 5
Young Boys 5 0 1 4 2 11 -9 0-1-1 0-0-3 1

Real tops Neymar-less PSG; Liverpool advances

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There were no surprises as the UEFA Champions League minted its first two quarter finalists of the 2017-18 season.

[ MORE: JPW’s wild World Cup predictions ]

Paris Saint-Germain 1-2 (2-5 agg.) Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo scored for the ninth-straight UEFA Champions League match as Real Madrid drew Neymar-less Paris Saint-Germain 1-1 at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday.

The tie entered its second leg with Real holding a 3-1 advantage but PSG carrying an away goal.

Ronaldo leveled that in the second half, leaping at the back post to head home work from Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez.

Marco Verratti was sent off with a second yellow card, but incredibly that’s when PSG started to impress.

Edinson Cavani got the last touch on a pinballed goal in the 71st minute to open a window of hope for the hosts, but Casemiro finished off a play started by Vazquez to ice the tie.

Zinedine Zidane’s philosophy wasn’t quite parking the bus as it was playing for the counter, and that got the job done as Real took another step toward becoming the first three-peat European Cup winner since Bayern Munich in 1976.

Liverpool 0-0 (0-5 agg.) Porto

Over in Liverpool, there wasn’t a ton to admire about the Reds’ second leg with Porto.

Up 5-0 with all those goals counting as away markers, Liverpool didn’t need to trouble Porto’s back line and did not in the first half.

Iker Casillas made a fin save in the 88th minute on a Danny Ings‘ header of a Mohamed Salah cross.

The Reds had 65 percent of the ball, and outshot Porto 10-8.