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Eden Hazard injury not as significant as Real Madrid feared

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Zinedine Zidane and the rest of the Real Madrid staff believed they may have lost winger Eden Hazard for an extended period of time after the Belgian limped off the pitch in the 69th minute of the 2-2 Champions League draw with Paris Saint-Germain.

Thankfully, their fears were quelled after news was released that tests showed Hazard suffered just an ankle bruise and will miss only 10 days of action.

Zidane said after the match that Hazard’s injury “worries me” and that “I hope it is minor.”

Madrid confirmed Wednesday morning that Hazard’s injury was not serious, officially announcing he had suffered an “external bruise on his right leg.” No official timetable was given for his return, but journalists in Spain speculated he would miss about a week and a half. Most importantly, Hazard will likely be fit for the December 18 El Clasico game against Barcelona, only likely to miss a pair of La Liga matches against Alaves and Espanyol plus a meaningless Champions League clash with Club Brugge.

The injury occurred in a clash with international teammate Thomas Meunier.

Injuries have slightly stunted the start of Hazard’s Real Madrid career, as he missed time with a hamstring problem at the start of the season, and he has scored just a single goal in 13 appearances across all competitions. Still, the Belgian has been one of the best players on the squad this season despite the low goal tally, ramping up his play after a slow start.

UCL wrap: 4-goal Lewandowski just unfair; PSG comes back at Real

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Real Madrid, Tottenham Hotspur, and Manchester City joined Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich, and Juventus in the knockout rounds at the conclusion of Tuesday’s action in the UEFA Champions League.

[ RECAPS: Man City-Shakhtar | Spurs-Olympiacos ]

Paulo Dybala scored a gorgeous goal, PSG erases a 2-goal Real Madrid lead in 3 minutes, and Robert Lewandowski is currently the best center forward on Earth.

Read on…


Red Star 0-6 Robert Lewandowski Bayern Munich

Robert Lewandowski only had an assist in Bundesliga play this weekend, so you kinda figured something special was headed to Serbia.

Red Star Belgrade trailed 1-0 at the break when the powerful Polish forward took control with a haul of four goals (Corentin Tolisso scored the sixth marker).

This man is insane. It takes a lot to put up a UEFA Team of the Year worthy performance in a world with Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Kylian Mbappe (Lewandowski has never claimed a First Team spot), but look at these numbers in all competitions:

20 matches
27 goals
1 assist

So selfish. Ten of those goals have come in five UCL matches, as he’s scored multiple times against every team in the group.

Real Madrid 2-2 Paris Saint-Germain

A thriller here, with controversy to boot.

Karim Benzema completed a brace in the 79th minute to put the hosts, seemingly, in control of the match.

Unfortunately for the Bernabeu, it was just cruise control and PSG tapped the brakes via two goals in four minutes.

Kylian Mbappe — who else? — made it 2-1 in the 81st and Pablo Sarabia scored an incredible strike in the 83rd. Gareth Bale smashed the post with a gorgeous free kick in stoppage time, and the game ended at 2.

It could’ve been much worse for Real despite the blown 2-goal lead, as a red card to Thibaut Courtois was removed via VAR due to a touchy foul on Idrissa Gana Gueye in the build-up.

Juventus 2-0 Atletico Madrid

It takes a lot to break down a Diego Simeone defense. This, however, will do the trick. Paulo, Paulo, Paulo Dybala had himself a moment on a day.

Too hot for the keeper’s hands, apparently:

Galatasaray 1-1 Club Brugge

Amazing stuff at the end, and not just because Krepin Diatta scored a point-winning equalizer in the second minute of stoppage. Diatta was shown a second yellow card for taking off his shirt, while teammate Clinton Mata was shown a second yellow as well for snapping the corner flag pole with a celebration.

WATCH that here.

Elsewhere

Atalanta 2-0 Dinamo Zagreb
Lokomotiv Moscow 0-2 Bayer Leverkusen

UCL AT HALF: Spurs down in Mourinho’s home debut; VAR stars at Real

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The UEFA Champions League is seeing some nerves on display on the penultimate match day of the group stage.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

In the case of Man City, Shakhtar Donetsk has been very up to the task at the Etihad Stadium and the first goal has yet to arrive in England.

At Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, however, things are dicier for the hosts in Jose Mourinho’s first home match as boss. Spurs are down 2-1 after a beautiful opener and sloppy follow-up have Olympiacos in front, with Dele Alli pulling one back before the break.

Elsewhere…

Karim Benzema put Real Madrid ahead of visiting Paris Saint-Germain, but the hosts looked down to be 10 men when Thibaut Courtois slid Kylian Mbappe on the edge of stoppage time.

VAR spotted a foul in the build-up against PSG’s Idrissa Gana Gueye, however, and it pulled back the entire play. A dodgy decision goes in favor of Real at the Bernabeu? Gasp.

Bayern Munich has a lead at Red Star Belgrade through a 14th minute Leon Goretzka goal, and the other matches are scoreless.

Juventus is up on Atletico Madrid through a late Paulo Dybala goal.

Group A
PSG 1-0 Real Madrid
Galatasaray 1-1 Club Brugge — FINAL

Group B
Red Star Belgrade 0-1 Bayern Munich
Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Olympiacos

Group C
Man City 0-0 Shakhtar Donetsk
Atalanta 1-0 Dinamo Zagreb

Group D
Juventus 1-0 Atletico Madrid
Lokomotiv Moscow 0-2 Bayer Leverkusen — FINAL

LIVE, UCL: Tottenham v. Olympiacos, Man City v. Shakhtar

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Both Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City can secure their spot in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

In Jose Mourinho’s first home game in charge of Spurs they host Olympiacos, and Tottenham are heavy favorites to grab the three points they need to guarantee their progression to the knockout rounds.

Pep Guardiola‘s Man City will secure their spot in the knockout rounds if they get a point against Shakhtar Donetsk at the Etihad Stadium, while a victory would secure top spot in Group C.

Elsewhere, Real Madrid host PSG with the latter top of Group A after four wins fro four, while Atletico Madrid travel to Juventus in two monster clashes as all four teams look capable of making a deep run in the tournament.

Below is the full schedule for Wednesday’s late games, which all kick off at 3 p.m. ET.

Click on the link above to follow all of the action live, while we will have you covered with a roundup of the action right here on Pro Soccer Talk.


Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League schedule

Group A
PSG v. Real Madrid

Group B
Red Star Belgrade v. Bayern Munich
Tottenham v. Olympiacos

Group C
Man City v. Shakhtar Donetsk
Atalanta v. Dinamo Zagreb

Group D
Juventus v. Atletico Madrid

Where to next for Mauricio Pochettino?

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Following official word of Mauricio Pochettino being relieved of his duties as Tottenham Hotspur manager, we’ve already discussed how things got to this point and who is likely to replace Pochettino. Now it’s time to consider where the Argentine will work next.

[ MORE: Pochettino paid the price for Levy’s mistakes ]

The public perception — and perhaps honest truth — is that Pochettino faced nearly impossible odds to win trophies at Tottenham due to the financial limitations placed upon him by chairman Daniel Levy, therefore much of the outside world is likely to see Pochettino as still having loads of untapped potential as a manager.

“With the right resources, he could achieve absolutely anything,” the obvious line of thinking will go. Thus, he will almost certainly have his pick of any number of top jobs, depending on whether or not he would like to take a short break from employment and cash the first of many checks which will ultimately pay him more than $16 million to no longer manage Spurs.

[ MORE: Mourinho to replace Poch? ]

A few jobs which are likely to see the managerial post come available in the coming weeks and months, and appeal to a candidate of Pochettino’s caliber (in no particular order)…

  • Manchester United (Ole Gunnar Solskjaer) – Man United have severely underperformed in their first 12 games this season (nine points back of fourth place), leading to plenty of speculation that Solskjaer could be fired if the right replacement came available. United reportedly courted Pochettino after Jose Mourinho departed last season, but he remained loyal to Spurs.
  • Bayern Munich (Hans-Dieter Flick, interim) – Niko Kovac was fired earlier this month and the seven-time defending Bundesliga champs currently sit third, four points behind leaders Borussia Monchengladbach. Bayern is a squad mixed with veteran and youthful stars, a balance Pochettino might find attractive when considering both the long- and short-term prospects of his next employer.
  • Real Madrid (Zinedine Zidane) – Like United, the links to Madrid have been around for quite some time. While he’ll undoubtedly have far more to work with budget-wise in the Spanish capital, one thing to consider: if Pochettino found working with Levy a challenge, what might he call working for Florentino Perez?
  • Paris Saint-Germain (Thomas Tuchel) – PSG have to be considered anytime a high-profile manager comes available, because they’re not only willing to spend whatever it takes to get their man, but they change managers as frequently as anyone. Tuchel isn’t having the best of times (three losses from their first 13 games), though his side still sit eight points clear of the Ligue 1 pack. The league title is in the bag, but PSG’s owners have Champions League ambitions, and Pochettino is only five months removed from managing in that competition’s final.
  • Borussia Dortmund (Lucien Favre) – Dortmund currently sit sixth, though just two points back of second place. Favre’s side crumbled down the stretch when last season’s title was theirs to be lost. This is a job that’s probably only in play if Pochettino decides to take a brief sabbatical, as Dortmund are unlikely to have an itchy trigger finger.
  • Napoli (Carlo Ancelotti) – Napoli spent wildly (by their standards) this summer. Through 12 games all it’s gotten them is seventh place, and Ancelotti has come under fire of late. Much like Spurs when he took that job, Napoli represents a club with plenty of potential — and romantic dreams — which could very well appeal to Pochettino.