THE SOCCER REPORT

Champions League returns with PSG, Spurs and Real Madrid wins

Adidas unveiled the match ball for the 2019 UEFA Champions League Final. Courtesy: adidas

The theme of this week's actions was international competition with the return of the UEFA Champions League, the Europa League and the third round of the Copa Libertadores of South America. Concacaf teams are about to join in on the action with the start of the 2019 Concacaf Champions League, in which the Houston Dynamo will play in Guatemala City on Tuesday night.

UEFA Champions League

Roma and Tottenham were the winning home sides this week while Real Madrid and PSG picked up important away wins against Ajax and Manchester United respectfully. This week, Lyon vs. Barcelona, Liverpool vs. Bayern Munich, Atletico vs. Juventus and Schalke 04 vs. Manchester City will round out the rest of the round of 16 first leg matches.
Round of 16 - first leg results:
  • Roma 2-1 Porto
  • Manchester United 0-2 PSG
  • Tottenham 3-0 Dortmund
  • Ajax 1-2 Real Madrid

UEFA Europa League

Round of 32 - first leg results:

  • Fenerbace 1-0 Zenit St. Petersburg
  • Olympiacos 2-2 Dynamo Kyiv
  • Lazio 0-1 Sevilla
  • Rapid Vienna 0-1 Inter Milan
  • Slava Praha 0-0 Genk
  • Galatasaray 1-2 Benfica
  • Rennes 3-3 Real Betis
  • BATE 1-0 Arsenal
  • FC Krasnodar 0-0 Bayer Leverkusen
  • Plzen 2-1 Dinamo Zagreb
  • Brugge 2-1 Red Bull Salzburg
  • Celtic 0-2 Valencia
  • Malmo 1-2 Chelsea
  • FC Zurich 1-3 Napoli
  • Shakhtar Donetsk 2-2 Eintracht Frankfurt
  • Sporting CP 0-1 Villareal
  • Ajax 1-2 Real Madrid

English Premier League

Action in England's top division was stalled this weekend as the FA Cup took center stage. The quarter-final matches are paired as follows: Millwall vs. Brighton, Swansea City vs. Manchester City, Watford vs. Crystal Palace and Wolves vs. Manchester United. The Prem resumes Friday with a London match-up as West Ham hosts Fulham.
Top six: 1. Manchester City (65), 2. Liverpool (65), 3. Tottenham (60), 4. Manchester United (51), 5. Arsenal (50), 6. Chelsea (50)

Scoring leader: 17 - Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) / Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)

Assists leader: 10 - Eden Hazard (Chelsea FC)

Spain's La Liga

In Spain's top-flight, FC Barcelona continues to make room between themselves and the field in the title race. Leo Messi and co. collected three points while Real Madrid slipped 2-1 to Girona, allowing Atletico Madrid to jump back up to second with a 1-0 win over Rayo Vallecano. The rest of the top six remained the same.

Top six: 1. FC Barcelona (54), 2. Atlético Madrid (47), 3. Real Madrid (45), 4. Sevilla (37), 5. Getafe (36), 6. Alaves (36)

Scoring leader: 22 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

Assists leader: 10 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

German Bundesliga

Borussia Dortmund rebounded from a midweek loss in the Champions League with a draw at Nurnberg, keeping the separation with rivals Bayern Munich to three points. The Black and Yellow lost American Christian Pulisic to injury in the UCL match against Spurs and could be in doubt for a few more games.
Top six: 1. Dortmund (51), 2. Bayern Munich (48), 3. Monchengladbach (43), 4. RB Leipzig (41), 5. Bayer Leverkusen (36), 6. Wolfsburg (35)

Scoring leader: 14 - Luka Jović (Eintracht Frankfurt)

Assists leader: 10 - Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)

Italian Serie A

Juventus 3-0 Frosinone | Ronaldo and Dybala Help Juventus Beat Frosinone | Serie A www.youtube.com

Cristiano Ronaldo can't stop scoring, adding one more to his season tally in Juve's 3-0 win over Frosinone. Milan picked up a 3-1 win over Atalanta to solidify their place in the top four. Inter Milan and Roma also picked up three points this week.

Top six: 1. Juventus (66), 2. Napoli (53), 3. Inter Milan (46), 4. Milan (42), 5. Roma (41), 6. Atalanta (38)

Scoring leader: 19 - Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)

Assists leader: 8 - Suso (A.C. Milan)

French Ligue 1

Marseille made the biggest jump in the standings this week by swapping places with Montpellier and cracking the top four. As for the champs, PSG continues to roll behind the league's top scorer in Mbappé.

Top six: 1. PSG (62), 2. Lille (50), 3. Lyon (46), 4. Marseille (40), 5. Saint-Étienne (40), 6. Montpellier (38)

Scoring leader: 19 - Kylian Mbappé (PSG)

Assists leader: 8 - Nicolas Pepe (Lille) / Angel Di Maria (PSG) / Kenny Lala (Strasbourg)

Dutch Eredivisie

Top three: 1. PSV Eindhoven (57), 2. Ajax (53), 3. Feyenoord (42)

Belgian First Division A

Top three: 1. Genk (57), 2. Club Brugge (49), 3. Standard Liège (46)

Portuguese Primeira Liga

Top three: 1. Porto (54), 2. Benfica (53), 3. Braga (49)

Scottish Premier League

Top three: 1. Celtic (60), 2. Rangers (52), 3. Aberdeen (47)

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Concacaf Champions League

The 2019 edition of the Concacaf Champions League begins Tuesday night with the 1st leg matches of the quarterfinal stage. Costa Rica's Saprissa and Mexico's Tigres UANL will kick this year's edition simultaneously with Panama's Independiente hosting Toronto FC. The Houston Dynamo will face off in Guatemala against Guastatoya in the 9 p.m. match. Matches will be broadcast in English on Yahoo! Sports.


Major League Soccer

While five MLS teams take part in the Champions League, the rest continue their preparations ahead of the league's opening weekend in two weeks. FC Cincinatti will be the new expansion team that joins the league in 2019.

Liga MX

Top eight: 1. Monterrey (17), 2. Tigres UANL (16), 3. Leon (14), 4. Chivas Guadalajara (14), 5. Necaxa (11), 6. Santos (11), 7. Pachuca (11), 8. Club Tijuana (10)

Scoring leader: 7 - Rogelio Funes Mori (Monterrey)

Assists leader: 5 - Angel Mena (Cruz Azul)

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Copa Libertadores

Third round - first leg matchups:

  • Melgar vs. Caracas FC
  • Talleres Cordoba vs. Palestino
  • Defensor Sporting vs. Atletico Mineiro
  • Libertad vs. Atletico Nacional

Superliga Argentina

Top four: 1. Racing Club (45), 2. Defensa y Justicia (45), 3. Boca Juniors (35), 4. Atletico Tucuman (32)

Scoring leader: 15 - Lisandro Lopez (Racing)

Assists leader: 7 - Walter Montillo (Tigre)

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Upcoming Matches (All Times CT):

Tuesday, Feb. 19

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Liverpool vs. Bayern Munich (TNT/Galavision)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Lyon vs. Barcelona (Unimas/Univision Deportes)

9:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] CD Guastatoya vs. Houston Dynamo (Yahoo! Sports/Univision Deportes)

Wednesday, Feb. 20

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Atletico Madrid vs. Juventus (TNT/UniMas/Univision Deportes)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Schalke 04 vs. Man City (B/R Live/Galavision)

Thursday, Feb. 21

12:00 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Arsenal vs. BATE (B/R Live/Galavision)

12:00 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Valencia vs. Celtic (B/R Live/Univision Deportes)

12:00 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Villarreal vs. Sporting CP (B/R Live/UniMas)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Chelsea vs. Malmo (B/R Live/UniMas)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Inter Milan vs. Rapid Vienna (B/R Live/Galavision)

Friday, Feb. 22

1:30 p.m. - [Bundesliga] Werder Bremen vs. VfB Stuttgart (FS2)

1:45 p.m. - [Premier League] West Ham vs. Fulham (NBC Sports)

Saturday, Feb. 23

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Bayern Munich vs. Hertha BSC Berlin (FS2)

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Mönchengladbach vs. VfL Wolfsburg (Univision Deportes)

9:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Burnley vs. Tottenham (NBC Sports)

9:15 a.m. - [La Liga] Sevilla vs. FC Barcelona (beIN Sports)

11:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Leicester vs. Crystal Palace (NBC)

Sunday, Feb. 24

8:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Manchester United vs. Liverpool (NBC Sports)

9:15 a.m. - [La Liga] Atletico Madrid vs. Villarreal (beIN Sports)

10:30 a.m. - [Carabao Cup FInal] Chelsea vs. Manchester City (ESPN+)

11:00 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayer 04 Leverkusen (FS2)

1:45 p.m. - [La Liga] Levante vs. Real Madrid (beIN Sports)

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Houston loses to end the road trip

Dodgers get best of Odorizzi to split series with Astros

Jake Odorizzi allowed four home runs over three innings against the Dodgers on Wednesday. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

After spoiling the night of many Dodgers fans in the opener of this two-game series in Los Angeles the night prior, the Astros returned to the stadium to a fresh set of hostile fans, looking to get the mini-sweep. This one went much more in favor of the home team, though, as the Dodgers would ride three big innings to start the game to the win for the series split.

Final Score: Dodgers 7, Astros 5

Astros' Record: 65-43, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Max Scherzer (9-4)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (4-6)

Odorizzi gets shelled

After a Michael Brantley solo home in the top of the first run against Max Scherzer, making his Dodger debut, it looked like the Astros may continue their momentum from the night before to grab hold of this game as well. However, that all changed in the bottom of the inning, as the Dodgers would tee off against Jake Odorizzi.

In that inning, he allowed four runs, a leadoff solo shot by Mookie Betts, then later a three-run blast by Will Smith. Betts made it 2-for-2 with solo homers in the bottom of the second, extending the lead to 5-1. Things went from bad to worse in the third, with Los Angeles getting their fourth home run, this one for two runs to make it a 7-1 game. Odorizzi would finish the third but go no further.

Scherzer K's 10 over seven innings in his Dodger debut

Houston tried to start clawing back into it in the top of the fourth, getting a second run against Scherzer with a two-out RBI-single by Kyle Tucker, trimming the lead to five runs at 5-2. First out of Houston's bullpen was Yimi Garcia in the bottom of the fourth, and he tossed the first 1-2-3 inning for Houston. Rafael Montero was next in the bottom of the fifth, working around a leadoff double followed by a walk for a scoreless inning.

Montero remained in the game in the bottom of the sixth, still 7-2, and would get another scoreless inning, this time sitting down the Dodgers in order. Scherzer finished his quality debut for his new team in the top of the seventh, erasing a leadoff walk to complete seven innings while allowing two runs.

Astros lose to split the series with Dodgers

Brooks Raley was Houston's next reliever, and he, too, would get through a scoreless inning by erasing a two-out single. In the game-within-the-game, the Dodgers brought in Joe Kelly for the top of the eighth, who notched two strikeouts to bring none other than Carlos Correa to the plate, setting up a rematch of the well-known incident that led to the "pouty face" clip from 2020. Carlos Correa won this round, launching a 405-foot homer off of Kelly to make it a four-run game at 7-3.

Phil Maton kept the score there, stranding two runners in the bottom of the eighth to send the 7-3 game to the top of the ninth, where the Dodgers would bring in Kenley Jansen. After a leadoff single, Kyle Tucker would get the Astros within two runs on a two-run homer, making it 7-5. That's as close as they would get, as Jansen would regroup to get the next three batters out to wrap up the loss for Houston.

Up Next: With this road trip completed, the Astros will have a quick turnaround as they catch a late flight back to Houston then turn around with a game Thursday at 7:10 PM Central to open a four-game series with the Twins. Framber Valdez (7-2, 3.01 ERA) will take the mound for Houston in the opener, while Minnesota will counter with Griffin Jax (1-1, 6.41 ERA).

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