Seydou Doumbia

UEFA Champions League roundup: Hosts, including Manchester United, go five-for-five in playoff first legs

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Aside from a pair of away goals, the five visiting sides of Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League playoff first legs don’t have much to do beside lick their wounds and hope for something better at home.

CSKA Moscow and Club Brugge both scored on the road, but both also lost on Tuesday. And Bayer Leverkusen, Partizan Belgrade and APOEL Nicosia find themselves down 1-0 after 90 road minutes.

[ MORE: Champions League schedule ]

Here are your quick recaps:

Manchester United 3-1 Club Brugge
— RECAP | Van Gaal reacts

Memphis Depay scored twice and added a valuable stoppage time assist as the Red Devils overcame an early Michael Carrick own goal to set themselves up well for next Wednesday’s second leg in Belgium.

Lazio 1-0 Bayer Leverkusen
Keita Balde Diao scored in the 77th minute, eight minutes after Bayer had a goal controversially but correctly ruled offside.

BATE Borisov 1-0 Partizan Belgrade
The visitors went down to 10 men after a first half stoppage time red card, and Mikhail Gordeychuk reaped the rewards off a corner kick with a quarter hour to play.

Astana 1-0 APOEL Nicosia
Eleven-times capped Kazakh midfielder Bauryzhan Dzolchiev, 25, scored the lone goal of a close match in the 13th minute.

source: AP
Ruiz (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

Sporting Lisbon 2-1 CSKA Moscow
Islam Slimani’s 82nd minute goal lifts the Portuguese side into a first leg lead. Seydou Doumbia scored for the visitors. Costa Rican attacker Bryan Ruiz had an assist for the victors.

Wednesday’s UCL first legs (all at 2:45 p.m. ET)
Valencia vs. Monaco
Basel vs. Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Celtic vs. Malmo
Rapid Wien vs. Shakhtar Donetsk
Skenderbeu vs. GNK Dinamo

Roma striker Seydou Doumbia returns to CSKA Moscow on loan

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After just seven months at the club, 27-year-old Ivorian striker Seydou Doumbia has left Roma on a four-month loan deal to his former club CSKA Moscow, Roma confirmed Monday.

Doumbia left CSKA after five seasons and transferred to Roma on Deadline Day last January for a reported $15.8 million, but after just two goals in 13 Serie A appearances, he has departed back to the Russian Premier League.

With Doumbia sitting behind the ageless Francesco Totti, Edin Dzeko, and Mattia Destro, he would have likely struggled for minutes. He only started six of his 13 league appearances last season.

The loan deal will expire on January 4, 2016. A report by Sky Italia suggests there could be an option to buy at the expiry of the loan, as well as an option to simply extend the loan through the end of the season.

Doumbia had significant success during his first stint in the Russian Premier League, scoring 84 goals in 129 appearances for CSKA across all competitions during his five years there. He joined Moscow in 2010 from Swiss club Young Boys.

DONE DEAL: Seydou Doumbia to Roma headlines quiet Saturday for transfers

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With much of Europe competing on the field rather than in the transfer market, Saturday was a fairly quiet day of transfer dealings as Monday’s deadline looms large.

[ MORE: All of PST’s transfer rumor coverage ]

In the day’s biggest transfer news, Roma announced the signing of 27-year-old forward Seydou Doumbia from CSKA Moscow for the price of $16 million. Doumbia fills the hole in Roma’s squad left by Mattia Destro, who on Thursday completed a loan-to-permanent move to AC Milan.

Doumbia, who is currently with the Ivory Coast national team, will return to Moscow following his run at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations before joining his news teammates in Rome, he confirmed via his Instagram page on Saturday. Doumbia score 61 goals in 95 league appearances for CSKA, with another 10 goals in 15 appearances in UEFA Champions League competition.

[ MORE: All of Friday’s DONE DEAL transfer action ]

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal announced on Saturday that Darren Fletcher’s move to West Ham United has been cancelled, despite the player having a medical in London on Friday. According to van Gaal, the original deal was for a permanent transfer, but West Ham tried to pick the player up on loan at the last moment.

Africa Cup of Nations roundup: Ivory Coast, Cameroon rescue points with late goals

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The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is quietly one of the world’s most exciting, entertaining and underrated competitions in all of world soccer, and if you’ve not been paying attention to this year’s gem of a tournament, you’re truly missing out. (Monday’s AFCON action vehemently agrees, too.)

[ MORE: All of PST’s 2015 AFCON coverage ]

Ivory Coast 1-1 Guinea

While upsets — and near-upsets thwarted by late comebacks — were the story of the day on Monday, Tuesday offered much of the same as Guinea, who have never in their history reached an AFCON semifinal, pushed 1992 winners and two-time runners-up Ivory Coast dangerously close to a nightmare start to their 2015 campaign.

Guinea went a goal ahead after 36 minutes when Lyon forward Mohamed Yattara scored a powerful half-volley from seven yards. Ivory Coast and Roma midfielder Gervinho was shown a straight red card for a half-punch-half-slap to the face of Naby Keita in the 58th minute.

Despite the man disadvantage for the game’s final half-hour, Ivory Coast finished the game with slim advantages in the possession (53 percent) and shots (10-7, 3-2 on target) departments, and got the equalizer they so desperately needed in the 72nd minute. CSKA Moscow forward Seydou Doumbia and Manchester City’s Wilfried Bony worked a completed a tidy move that put the forward one-one-one with the goalkeeper 12 yards from goal. Doumbia finished neatly and Les Elephants were back on level terms after 72 minutes.

Mali 1-1 Cameroon

Much like their fellow Group D favorites had done hours earlier, Cameroon found themselves a goal down with minutes to be played in regular time. Sambou Yatabare put Mali scored from a near-impossible angle in the 71st minute to give Mali, third-place finishers in the 2012 and 2013 AFCONs, the inside track to three points in the group stage opener. Yatabare found himself unmarked following a free kick flicked on to the back post, where the Guingamp (France) midfielder drove the ball into the ground and between the legs of goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa.

Cameroon equalized, though, with six minutes of regular time to be played. New York Red Bulls (soon to be Montreal Impact?) defender Ambroise Oyongo made a diagonal run into Mali penalty area where Raoul Loe found Oyongo eight yards from goal. Oyongo’s three touches went, in quick succession while bearing down on goal, 1) right foot, 2) left thigh, 3) inside of left foot, and back of net.

[ FULL PREVIEW: PST’s 2015 Africa Cup of Nations preview ]

As things currently stand, given a pair of 1-1 results on Tuesday, no team in Group D holds any advantage over anyone else. Group D action resumes on Saturday as Ivory Coast and Mali face one another (11 am ET), followed by Cameroon vs. Mali (2 pm ET).

Wednesday’s AFCON schedule

Equatorial Guinea vs. Burkino Faso (11 am ET)
Gabon vs. Congo (2 pm ET)

Álvaro Negredo hat trick helps Manchester City claim first Champions League knockout round spot

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Nothing symbolized the status of Manchester City’s climb into Europe’s elite like their Champions League record, but after Tuesday’s result at the Etihad Stadium, the ignominious distinction of having never made the knockout stage is gone. Thanks to five goals from their forward tandem, the Sky Blues have clinched a place in final 16, their 5-2 win over visiting CSKA Moscow giving Manuel Pellegrini’s team a six-point edge on the Russian champions. The head-to-head tiebreaker gives City the spot with two group stage matches left.

As opposed to the teams’ contest two weeks ago, one which saw a resourceful City take an invaluable 2-1 win out of Khimki Arena, Tuesday’s game was never close. Zoran Tosic’s third minute take down of David Silva in the left side of the area allowed Sergio Agüero to open the scoring from the spot.  At the 20-minute mark, the Argentine international scored his second, his movement along CSKA’s defense utilizing a weapon that would prove unstoppable throughout the night. The right-footed finish into Igor Akinfeev’s lower-left hand corner giving City a 2-0 lead.

It’s been a persistent problem for both CSKA and the Russian national team: The lack of foot speed in central defense. Unfortunately for Leonid Slutsky’s side, Sergio Agüero is one of the worst matchups in the world for a team with that deficiency. From the get-go on Tuesday, center halfs Sergei Ignashevitch and Alexei Berezoutski were out-matched, left chasing a dynamo Khimki’s poor pitch slowed down two weeks ago.

But come the half hour, Agüero took a back seat to Álvaro Negredo, who started and finished the movement on City’s 30th minute goal. A perfect cross from Agüero set up the Spaniard for a tap-in far post, leaving the home side up three.

Seydou Doumbia pulled CSKA within two just before halftime, but after another open net finish from Negredo in the 51st minute, City had restored their lead. The Spanish international completed his hat trick just before the final whistle, by which time Doumbia had scored again, this time from the spot.

Coming off a 7-0 win in Premier League, Tuesday represented City’s second offensive explosion in four days, one which earned the club a bit of history. Though they remain three points behind Bayern Munich for first in Group D, their six-point edge on third-place CSKA ensures the team will be in Champions League come February. For the first time in club history, the team will take part in the competition’s knockout rounds, and while that’s a misleading factoid given City have only made three appearances in the competition, third and fourth place group stage finishes the last two years were seen as bitter disappointments – part of the season Manuel Pellegrini was brought in to replace Roberto Mancini.

After four rounds, Pellegrini has already put that history behind them, and although the first three months of the season have not been perfect, the Chilean has City playing as well as they have all season. With relative ease, the Citizens are into the final 16, looking capable of not only debuting but doing damage come February.

Goals

Manchester City: 3′, 20′ Sergio Agüero, 30′, 51′, 90′ Álvaro Negredo

CSKA Moscow: 45′, 71′ Seydou Doumbia

Lineups

Manchester City: Costel Pantilimon; Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Demichelis, Matija Nastasic, Gael Clichy; Samir Nasri (77′ Jesus Navas), Fernandinho (45′ James Milner), Yaya Touré, David Silva (66′ Aleksandar Kolarov); Sergio Agüero, Álvaro Negredo

Unused Subs: Edin Dzeko, Micah Richards, Joleon Lescott, Joe Hart

CSKA: Igor Akinfeev; Georgy Schennikov, Segei Ignashevich, Alexei Berezoutski, Kiril Nabakin; Pontus Wernbloom, Georgi Milanov (45′ Rasmus Elm); ZoranTosic, Keisuke Honda (78′ Vitinho), Ahmed Musa (45′ Steven Zuber); Seydou Doumbia