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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 gets the lopsided win

Valdez, Astros dominate the Angels in 10-0 rout in Anaheim

Framber Valdez was dominant against the Angels on Monday night. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With a series win at home over the weekend, the Astros started their final regular-season road trip on Monday, squaring off against the Angels in Anaheim. They held the momentum firmly in their favor all night, dominating both sides of the game to start the series with a victory.

Final Score: Astros 10, Angels 0

Astros' Record: 89-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Framber Valdez (11-5)

Losing Pitcher: Jaime Barria (2-4)

Siri leads off with a bang

With Jose Altuve being given the night off, Houston gave Jose Siri a shot at the leadoff spot, and he delivered to start the opener in Anaheim. He launched a missile to left field, 426 feet, to put the Astros in front 1-0 before the Angels could record an out. Later that same inning, they strung together three singles, the third being an RBI by Carlos Correa to double the lead.

Valdez goes seven shutout innings

That gave Framber Valdez a lead to work with as he stepped on the rubber in the bottom of the inning, and he didn't give it up as he would post a dominant start. He started with a 1-2-3 first, worked around a couple of singles in the second, then used a double play to face the minimum in the third.

He retired Los Angeles in order again in the fourth, stranded a two-out single in the fifth and a single and a walk in the sixth. He had his worst inning of the night in the seventh, giving up a leadoff single then loading the bases on back-to-back two-out walks. He'd escape the jam, though, keeping the shutout alive and finalizing his impressive line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 98 P.

Astros take the opener in lopsided fashion

Houston tacked on an insurance run in the top of the eighth, getting a one-out double by Correa to set up an RBI single by Marwin Gonzalez, pushing the lead to 3-0. Things escalated from there, as another single put two on base for Martin Maldonado, who blew the game open with a three-run homer to make it a six-run lead.

Brooks Raley took over for Valdez in the bottom of the inning, and with a 1-2-3 inning, made it his eighth appearance in a row without allowing a run. The Astros didn't let up in the top of the ninth, getting two hits and a walk to load the bases before a grand slam by Gonzalez made it 10-0 and gave him 5 RBI in a two-inning span. Seth Martinez, called up by the Astros earlier in the day, made his big-league debut in the bottom of the ninth and closed out the lopsided win to put Houston's magic number at 6.

Up Next: The second of this four-game set will be another 8:38 PM Central start on Tuesday. Jose Urquidy (7-3, 3.38 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros, going opposite Packy Naughton (0-2, 4.32 ERA) for the Angels.

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