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UCL wrap: USMNT’s Pulisic, McKennie shine

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Christian Pulisic can score by blocking clearances and Weston McKennie won’t stop running, as Americans made their impacts felt in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.

[ MORE: PL Player Power Rankings ]

Of course, Spurs and Liverpool threw away leads and only the latter recovered to get a result on a busy night in Europe.

Inter Milan 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur RECAP

Christian Eriksen scored for Spurs, as the North London side had a 1-0 lead in the 53rd minute. But Inter struck twice in the final few minutes, including Matias Vecino’s winner in the second minute of stoppage. That will leave Spurs licking their wounds after a third-straight loss.

Barcelona 4-0 PSV EindhovenRECAP

Lionel Messi now has more hat tricks than anyone in Champions League history — for now — nabbing his eighth in moving ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus plays Wednesday). And Ousmane Dembele scored a gorgeous dribble and finish in the win.

Liverpool 3-2 Paris Saint-GermainRECAP

The Reds went ahead 2-0 through a Daniel Sturridge header and James Milner penalty, and controlled much of the proceedings. Thomas Meunier’s 40th minute goal seemed destined to mean very little when Mohamed Salah gave away the ball late in the second half.

Kylian Mbappe made it 2-2, but it only set the stage for Roberto Firmino.

Schalke 1-1 Porto

USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie turned provider on the match’s first goal, sliding across for Breel Embolo’s fortunate offspeed finish (see below). But Salif Sane conceded a penalty to the visitors, and Otavio finished his chance for a share of the points.

Monaco 1-2 Atletico Madrid

A goal from diminutive Serge Grandsir gave the hosts an early lead, but Diego Costa and Jose Maria Gimenez scored before halftime to give Diego Simeone’s men all three points.

Red Star Belgrade 0-0 Napoli

The Serbians send a message that no one’s coming to their house and getting an easy night. Napoli managed 20 shots to Red Star’s six, but a 7-save performance from Canada’s Milan Borjan got a point for the hosts at the Stadion Rajko Mitic.

Galatasaray 3-0 Lokomotiv Moscow

Garry Rodrigues and Erden Derdiyok scored on either side of halftime to give the Turkish powers a win at the Turk Telekom Arena.

Club Brugge 0-1 Borussia Dortmund

Christian Pulisic began the game on the bench, entering for the final 20 minutes or so of his 20th birthday to make his 100th BVB appearance.

Happy birthday, kid.

Pochettino: “Best performance of season” in 2-1 loss

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Tottenham Hotspur came within minutes of picking up an unexpected away win at Inter Milan to kickoff live in this UEFA Champions League season.

[ RECAP: Inter Milan 2-1 Spurs ]

Christian Eriksen had given Spurs a lead it held until the 85th minute. That’s when Mauro Icardi’s wonderful volley leveled the score line before a Matias Vecino header in stoppage time gave Inter a 2-1 win at the San Siro.

Serge Aurier did not appreciate the result, according to Football Italia.

“Every player played well but we conceded two stupid goals,” Aurier said. But we stay focused and we stay together for the next week. You just have to stay focused, I’m sad for my team today because every player wanted to win the game.”

His manager struck a different tone despite the set back.

Mauricio Pochettino loved his team on the day, and said it was better than it was when it handed Manchester United a 3-0 loss last month.

From Football Italia:

“I’m happy with the performance, we dominated until the end but it’s so cruel,” Pochettino told BT Sport.

“For me it was the best performance of the season. I’m happy with the performance but so disappointed and so annoyed, because we deserved more but we conceded twice in two actions.

“We made a mistake and we paid for that mistake, sometimes you don’t but in the last few games we’ve been punished for our mistakes.”

Pochettino said Spurs have to be patient during this “negative period,” which has the club losers of three-straight in all competitions.

Next up: Away to Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Saturday, then home to Watford in the League Cup.

Tottenham collapse late, lose at Inter

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Tottenham Hotspur lost 2-1 with Inter Milan at the San Siro on Tuesday, with Mauricio Pochettino‘s side opening up their UEFA Champions League Group B campaign with a late collapse to seal their third-straight defeat in all competitions.

The opening goal of the game came via Christian Erisken’s first of the season, with the Danish playmaker scoring in the second half after a sluggish start from Tottenham. It looked like that would be the winner, but Mauro Icardi smashed home a stunning volley in the 85th minute then Matias Vecino scored the winner in stoppage time.

Elsewhere in Group B, Barcelona beat PSG 4-0 thanks to a hat trick from Lionel Messi and a moment of magic from Ousmane Dembele to set up a mouthwatering clash at Wembley against Tottenham on Oct. 3. Inter head to PSV on the same day.

[ MORE: Champions League stats/schedule ]

Tottenham started the game slowly with Ivan Perisic causing Serge Aurier plenty of problems, while at the other end Eriksen’s free kick was pushed out by Samir Handanovic.

Marcelo Brozovic then sent a shot just wide from a good position for Inter but the best chance of the first half came and went for Tottenham.

A lovely clipped ball over the top from Eriksen found Harry Kane and he danced past Handanovic, but then tripped over his own feet and dribbled the ball out of play from a tight angle. That summed up Spurs’ first half performance.

They did improve in the second half and Eriksen soon had them ahead.

His initial low effort from the edge of the box was pushed out by Handanovic but the ball went straight back to Eriksen and his deflected follow-up looped into the far corner. A bizarre goal, but exactly what Tottenham needed.

Buoyed by the opener Erik Lamela had a curled effort deflected just wide as the Premier League side tried to wrap the game up.

Inter pushed hard to equalize but Perisic’s header was easily saved by Michel Vorm and on the break they were opened up by Spurs as Lamela twice went close again.

Icardi clattered into Vorm as Inter pinned Spurs back late in the game and the Argentine eventually equalized.

Keita Balde’s cross from the left found him unmarked on the edge of the box and Inter’s skipper smashed home a beautiful volley to make it 1-1.

The drama wasn’t over.

Yet more frustration arrived for Spurs in stoppage time as Vecino headed home from close range in the 92nd minute to send Inter’s fans wild at the San Siro.

UCL, LIVE – Inter v Tottenham, Barcelona v PSG

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The UEFA Champions League group stage is back for the 2018-19 season, with some early kick offs (12:55 p.m. ET) in Group B serving up mouthwatering clashes.

It is okay to drool over the UCL games instead of your lunch this Tuesday. Honest.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Tottenham Hotspur head to the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium to take on Inter Milan as Mauricio Pochettino has raised some eyebrows with his squad selection following back-to-back defeats in the Premier League. Inter have had a tough start in Serie A, winning just once and losing twice (against Sassuolo and Parma) in their opening four games, but the likes of Ivan Perisic and Mauro Icardi start in attack as they look to inflict more misery on Spurs.

Elsewhere in Group B, Barcelona host reigning Dutch champs PSV Eindhoven at the Nou Camp with Lionel Messi and Co. starting off as one of the favorites to lift the trophy in Madrid next May. PSV and Mexico star Hirving Lozano will be seen as a huge threat to Barca, as the Dutch giants aim for an upset.

Click on the link above to follow all the action live, while we will keep you up to date with all of the UCL across Europe right here at Pro Soccer Talk.

While here are the starting lineups for all four teams.


Inter Milan v Tottenham

Barcelona v PSV

CL Preview: Liverpool, Spurs have tough tests

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Premier League teams were given tough draws in the 2018/19 Champions League group stages, and that gets under way on Tuesday as Tottenham travels to Italy to take on Internazionale, while Liverpool hosts French giants Paris Saint-Germain to Anfield.

Spurs has a mountain to climb, heading into the trip on the heels of two straight Premier League defeats that saw them squander a lead at Watford and soundly beaten at home by Liverpool. Mauricio Pochettino has the task of getting Harry Kane back on track, without a goal in either of those losses.

[ PREDICTIONS: PST gives CL group stage picks ]

In addition, Tottenham has a number of significant injuries to work around. Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has been missing since late August with a thigh strain, leaving Michel Vorm in net for the pair of league losses. Midfielder Dele Alli is also confirmed to be out after picking up a hamstring strain on international duty with England. Spurs released a video on social media showing the team departing for Italy, and neither Lloris or Alli – highly visible team stars – were not present in the video. 19-year-old Alfie Whiteman was present in the video, meaning he will likely be the backup.

Inter also comes into this match with early-season struggles, owning just one win and one draw over four matches to start the Serie A season, including a road loss at newly-promoted Parma.

Meanwhile, Liverpool welcomes PSG to England in a marquee Champions League matchup. The defending French champions have a full bill of health Merseyside, and have high hopes for their Champions League campaign after failing to progress past the Round of 16 in each of the last two seasons. “With the players they have and the manager they have, they all brought it together to go as far as possible in the Champions League and we are aware of that,” Klopp said ahead of the match.

The Reds are preparing to start Daniel Sturridge at striker, with a trio of forwards all set to miss the match. Roberto Firmino was injured in the win over Tottenham this weekend after Jan Vertonghen‘s finger went into his eye. Klopp described his fitness as “close” but it is assumed the Brazilian will miss out. Divock Origi and Dominic Solanke were both injured in a U-23 match, so they will be sidelined.

For PSG, American international Timothy Weah did not make the matchday squad, while goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is suspended from his antics in last year’s semifinal. Marco Verratti will also sit out after being sent off in the Round of 16 loss to Real Madrid last season. Only Dani Alves and Layvin Kurzawa, who have yet to make their debuts this season, are out injured. Thiago Silva was injured late in the home win over St. Etienne over the weekend, but is expected to return in time.

Elsewhere, Barcelona hosts Dutch side PSV Eindhoven. The visitors are no slouch, having begun the Eredivisie season at the top of the table after five wins out of five, blasting ADO Den Haag and Willem II by a combined 13-1 in their most recent two games. Mexican international Hirving “Chucky” Lozano has already scored six goals this season, while Argentinian Gaston Pereiro and Steven Bergwijn each have five, although the latter’s status is questionable due to a groin problem.

Barcelona will be looking to avenge last season’s early (and stunning) Round of 16 exit, and are at full strength with Sergio Busquets and Philippe Coutinho set to return after being rested over the weekend.

AS Monaco hosts Atletico Madrid in an intriguing first leg. The Spanish side has won just once in its first four La Liga matches, with just three goals in that span. The French side has also struggled to start the season, sitting 15th in the Ligue 1 table with one win and five points in five matches. Monaco could be missing World Cup stars Alexsandr Golovin and Danijel Subašić who have yet to debut this season after struggling to regain match fitness following long summer adventures on international duty.

Christian Pulisic is set for his 100th match in yellow as Borussia Dortmund visits Belgian side Club Brugge. The American has made just one Bundesliga appearance for Dortmund this season thanks to a slight leg injury suffered in the opener against RB Leipzig, but could return on Tuesday according to ESPN. Club Brugge has not won in any of its last 10 Champions League matches, losing nine and drawing just one.

Napoli enters the European competition on a high as they visit Red Star Belgrade. The Italians, having finished second last year in the Serie A table, have wins over Lazio, AC Milan and Fiorentina to start the season, although they did inexplicably fall apart in a 3-0 loss to Sampdoria earlier this month. The hosts have had success of their own of late, into their first Champions League group stage since 1992 thanks to a come-from-behind win over Red Bull Salzburg in the playoff round. Former Le Havre youth product El Fardou Ben Mohammed scored twice in three minutes to complete the comeback, giving Belgrade the spot in the group stage on away goals after a 2-2 draw.

In addition, FC Porto visits German club Schalke, who has suffered a dreadful start to the Bundesliga season with three losses in three. Turkish side Galatasaray also hosts last year’s Russian Premier League winners Lokomotiv Moscow, who are into the Champions League group stage for the first time since the 2002/03 competition when they were also matched up against Tuesday’s opponent.