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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's magic number stays at 2

Astros drop series finale to Mariners after rough start by Greinke

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With their magic number at 2 to secure their spot in the 2020 MLB postseason, the Astros returned to T-Mobile Park in Seattle for this three-game series' finale and rubber game. Here are the highlights from the game:

Final Score: Mariners 3, Astros 2.

Record: 28-28, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Nick Margevicius (2-3, 4.57 ERA)

Losing pitcher: Zack Greinke (3-3, 4.03 ERA).

Greinke unable to complete five innings

While the Astros were being held scoreless, the Mariners were putting up runs on Zack Greinke. They took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first with back-to-back singles followed by an RBI-double with one out. Greinke would stop the damage there, then looked to settle in over the next few frames.

He allowed just one baserunner in the second through fourth innings, a one-out single in the bottom of the fourth. Then, in the fifth, the Mariners would knock him out of the game by getting a one-out single that would come around to score on a two-out RBI-double, followed by an RBI-single to extend the lead to 3-0. Greinke faced one more batter, allowing a single before Dusty Baker would take the ball and move to the bullpen. His final line: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 HR, 92 P.

Astros try a late rally, come up short

On the other end, the Astros were unable to break through against Nick Margevicius, getting just one hit and two walks through the first four innings. They had a chance to get on the board in the top of the fifth, starting the inning with back-to-back singles before a walk loaded the bases with one out to turn the lineup over. They'd come up empty, though, with George Springer striking out before a long flyball to center by Jose Altuve to end the inning.

After finishing the fifth for Greinke, Andre Scrubb returned for a scoreless sixth, working around a one-out walk. Still 3-0, Blake Taylor took over on the mound in the bottom of the seventh, erasing a leadoff single and two-out walk to keep Seattle from extending their lead. Houston had another chance to score in the top of the eighth, getting two runners in scoring position, but again would strand them.

Cy Sneed was the next reliever out for the Astros, working around a two-out walk to send the game on to the ninth. The Astros would avoid the shutout, getting a two-RBI single by pinch-hitting Josh Reddick in the top of the ninth to make it a one-run game at 3-2. That's as close as they'd come, though, as the Mariners would eventually get the final out to take the series and keep the Astros' magic number stagnant at 2.


Up Next: There is one series left in the regular season for Houston, and it awaits them in Arlington with a four-game series against the Rangers, who are well eliminated from playoff contention. The first of the four games will start at 7:05 PM Central on Thursday with a pitching matchup of Lance Lynn (6-2, 2.53 ERA) for Texas and Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.33 ERA) for the Astros.

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