#UCLDRAW

2019/20 Champions League groups set; Van Dijk, Messi among UEFA Awards winners

Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus are among the contenders for the UEFA Champions League trophy. Credit: Adidas

The eight groups for the 2019/20 edition of the UEFA Champions League have been announced following Thursday's draw in Monaco. Teams will face each other home and away over the course of four months with the two group winners advancing to the Round of 16 stage in February.

The 2020 UEFA Champions League Final will take place on May 30 at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey.

Group A: Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Club Brugge, Galatasaray

Group B: Bayern München, Tottenham Hotspur, Olympiacos, Crvena zvezda

Group C: Manchester City, Shakhtar Donetsk, Dinamo Zagreb, Atalanta

Group D: Juventus, Atlético Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Moskva

Group E: Liverpool, Napoli, Salzburg, Genk

Group F: Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Internazionale Milano, Slavia Praha

Group G: Zenit, Benfica, Lyon, RB Leipzig

Group H: Chelsea, Ajax, Valencia, LOSC Lille

UEFA Awards winners

A build up to the draw the announcement of the award winners for the previous season. Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk and Alisson, champions after a win over Tottenham Hotspur in this past June, were among those taking home personal honors.

Men's Player of the Year - Virgil van Dijk
Forward of the Season - Leo Messi
Midfielder of the Season - Frenkie de Jong
Defender of the Season - Virgil van Dijk
Goalkeeper of the Season - Alisson Becker

Sights and sounds

Part of the glamour of the draw is how much of a star-studded affair it becomes, the highlight of this year's edition being the reunion of rivals Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Of course, both were flown in via a private helicopter.


The "group of death" may be fitting for Group F where Barcelona, Dortmund and Inter Milan all have cases to advance as top of the group. Czech side Slavia Prague is, without question, the weakest link of the group and their staff know their odds to advance are small.

Manchester United Legend Eric Cantona was present to receive the President's Award, though you wouldn't guess it was him if you saw him walking down the street.

The UEFA Champions League group stage begins on September 17 and will be broadcast in the United States through the TNT / B/R Live in English and Univision / TUDN in Spanish.

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Houston loses first game to Oakland

A's end losing streak against Astros with late homers

Lance McCullers Jr. went five innings of one-run ball Friday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After maintaining their stronghold against the A's in Thursday's home opener, the Astros had the chance to lock up the three-game series victory against Oakland with a win on Friday night. On the mound, Lance McCullers Jr. hoped to improve upon his first start against this same team, a five-inning one-run outing.

Instead, he would have the same outcome, once again lasting five innings while allowing one run, before a big tie-breaking home run late in the game would push Oakland out of their losing skid against the Astros.

Final Score: A's 6, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-2, tied for first in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Yusmeiro Petit (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Bryan Abreu (1-1)

McCullers Jr. makes it through five

McCullers Jr. looked sharp through the first three innings, allowing just two baserunners, one on a second-inning single, then a walk in the third. Oakland did better against him the second time through their order in the fourth, with Jed Lowrie leading the inning off with a solo home run to put Oakland in front 1-0.

They went on to load the bases with one out on an error and two walks, but McCullers would strand them all. He returned for the fifth, a much cleaner inning where a caught stealing by Martin Maldonado would help him face just three batters. His final line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 88 P.

Oakland gets homer-happy to even the series

McCullers Jr. would leave the game without being eligible for the winning or losing decision, as an RBI-groundout by Kyle Tucker in the fourth would have it tied 1-1. Bryan Abreu was the first out of Houston's bullpen, and he would attempt to eat up multiple innings. He had perfect innings in the sixth and seventh, retiring six A's in order to maintain the stalemate.

Abreu remained in the game in the top of the eighth, allowing a single before getting a strikeout, ending his run as Dusty Baker would bring in left-handed Blake Taylor. Taylor would give up a single against his first batter, then a loud go-ahead three-run home run to Matt Olson to push the A's back in front 4-1. They'd add two more insurance runs off of Joe Smith in the top of the ninth, getting a two-run home run by Mark Canha to extend the lead to 6-1.

Oakland's bullpen would hold on to the newly created lead, allowing just one run on a sac fly by Jose Altuve in the bottom of the ninth, finally ending their losing streak against Houston and setting up the rubber game on Saturday to be for the series victory.

Up Next: This series's finale will be a Saturday afternoon start, with first pitch scheduled for 3:05 PM. For the Astros, Jose Urquidy (0-0, 4.15 ERA) will look to get a win on the board, while Oakland will hand the ball to Frankie Montas (0-1, 23.63 ERA).

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