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 is falling down the rankings

Tigers pound Odorizzi, Astros with homers as Houston drops fourth in a row

The Astros have not looked great in their last four games. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After watching their hot start of 6-1 cool down to a 6-4 record with three straight losses, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night, looking to do a better job at home against a beatable Tigers team.

Recent games' woes would continue, though, with Houston's pitching getting blasted by the opposing offense and their own bats primarily quiet.

Final Score: Tigers 8, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-5, tied for second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Matthew Boyd (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (0-1)

Astros score first, then Tigers unload on Odorizzi

Houston looked to have something brewing in the bottom of the second, with three singles in the first four batters of the inning, the third an RBI-single by Myles Straw to put the Astros in front 1-0. However, Matthew Boyd would limit the damage, getting back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.

After two easy innings for Jake Odorizzi in his regular-season debut for his new team, he would allow a game-tying solo homer to Akil Baddoo, his fourth of the year, in the top of the third. Detroit struck again in the top of the fourth, getting a leadoff double to set up a two-run go-ahead home run to jump ahead 3-1.

They didn't stop there, getting another two-run bomb later in the same inning; a frame that would take Odorizzi 31 pitches to get only one out before Houston would bring in Bryan Abreu to get the last two outs. Odorizzi's final line in his debut: 3.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 3 HR, 0 BB, 4 K, 80 P.


Detroit continues home run parade, Houston loses fourth in a row

Abreu would hope to do what Luis Garcia did the night before, eat up as many innings as possible after a poor outing from Houston's starter. The Tigers would get yet another two-run homer, though, in the top of the fifth, extending their lead to 7-1, with all seven runs coming over a three-inning span. For good measure, they'd knock one more out with two outs in the top of the ninth, making it 8-1.

As far as Houston at the plate, other than their string of hits to bring in a run earlier in the second, they were getting nothing done against Boyd, who would go six and two-thirds innings. Detroit's bullpen would finish things off, despite an all-too-late sac fly by the Astros in the bottom of the ninth, with Houston dropping their fourth-straight game and continuing to lose ground in the division.

Up Next: The finale of this three-game set with Detroit will be an hour earlier on Wednesday, getting underway at 6:10 PM Central. Lance McCullers Jr. (1-0, 1.80 ERA) will try to maintain his perfect record and improve upon his two five-inning one-run starts for the Astros, going opposite of Michael Fulmer (0-0, 2.57 ERA) for the Tigers.

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