THE SOCCER REPORT

Chelsea-Bayern, Napoli-Barcelona, Lyon-Juve, Real Madrid-Man City on UCL menu, El Clasico on Sunday

Finale Istanbul is the Official Match Ball for the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League knockout stages. Photo: adidas

Plenty of big name clubs will highlight this week's action in the UEFA Champions League, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona face off in the sport's premier rivalry and the 25th season of Major League Soccer gets underway. In the Serie A, matches were postponed over the weekend due to the outbreak of the coronavirus in Italy.

Here is the week in soccer:

International Club competitions

UEFA Champions League

Round of 16 - First Leg

  • Atletico Madrid 1-0 Liverpool
  • Dortmund 2-1 PSG
  • Atalanta 4-1 Valencia
  • Tottenham 0-1 RB Leipzig

Concacaf Champions League

Round of 16 - First Leg

  • Portmore United 1-2 Cruz Azul
  • Motagua 1-1 Atlanta United
  • Leon 2-0 LAFC
  • Deportivo Saprissa 2-2 Montreal Impact
  • Alianza 2-1 Tigres UANL
  • Communicaciones 1-1 Club America
  • AD San Carlos 3-5 NYCFC
  • Olimpia 2-2 Seattle Sounders FC

English Premier League

Top six: 1. Liverpool (79), 2. Man City (57), 3. Leicester City (50), 4. Chelsea (44), 5. Manchester United (41), 6. Tottenham (40)

Bottom three (relegation): 18. West Ham (24), 19. Watford (24), 20. Norwich City (18)

Scoring leader: 17 - Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) / Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)

Assists leader: 16 - Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)

Spanish La Liga

Top six: 1. FC Barcelona (55), 2. Real Madrid (53), 3. Atletico Madrid (43), 4. Sevilla (43), 5. Getafe (42), 6. Real Sociedad (40)

Bottom three: 18. Mallorca (22), 19. Leganes (19), 20. Espanyol (19)

Scoring leader: 18 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

Assists leader: 12 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

German Bundesliga

Top six: 1. Bayern Munich (49), 2. RB Leipzig (48), 3. Dortmund (45), 4. Monchengladbach (43), 5. Bayer Leverkusen (43), 6. Schalke 04 (36)

Bottom three: 16. Fortuna (20), 17. Werder Bremen (17), 18. Paderborn (16)

Scoring leader: 25 - Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

Assists leader: 14 - Jadon Sancho (Dortmund) / Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich)

Italian Serie A

Top six: 1. Juventus (60), 2. Lazio (59), 3. Inter Milan (54), 4. Atalanta (45), 5. Roma (42), 6. Napoli (36)

Bottom three: 18. Genoa (22), 19. Brescia (16), 20. SPAL (15)

Scoring leader: 27 - Ciro Immobile (Lazio)

Assists leader: 11 - Luis Alberto (Lazio)

French Ligue 1

Top four: 1. PSG (65), 2. Marseille (52), 3. Rennes (44), 4. Lille (43)

Bottom three: 18. Nimes (27), 19. Amiens (22), 20. Toulouse (13)

Scoring leader: 16 - Kylian Mbappe (PSG) / Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco)

Assists leader: 14 - Angel Di Maria (PSG)

Liga MX

Clausura 2020

Top eight: 1. Club America (16), 2. Leon (15), 3. Pumas UNAM (14), 4. Cruz Azul (13), 5. Queretaro (12), 6. Atletico San Luis (12), 7. Juarez (11), 8. Santos Laguna (11)

Scoring leader: 5 - Angel Mena (Leon) / Ariel Nahuelpan (Queretaro) / Jonathan Rodriguez (Cruz Azul)

Assists leader: 5 - Pablo Barrera (Pumas)

TV listings (All Times CT):

For full info on soccer TV listings and streaming services in the United States, visit worldsoccertalk.com

Tuesday, February 25

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

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Napoli vs. FC Barcelona (UniMas / TUDN, B/R Live)

6:30 p.m. - [Copa Sudamericana] River Plate vs. Deportivo Cali (beIN Sports)

7:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] Atlanta United vs. Motagua (FS1, TUDN)

9:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] Cruz Azul vs. Portmore United (FS2, TUDN)

Wednesday, February 26

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Real Madrid vs. Manchester City (TNT, UniMas, TUDN)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Lyon vs. Juventus (Galavision, B/R Live)

5:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] NYCFC vs. AD San Carlos (FS2, TUDN)

7:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] Montreal lmpact vs. Deportivo Saprissa (FS2)

7:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] Tigres UANL vs. Alianza (TUDN)

Thursday, February 27

12:00 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Espanyol vs. Wolves (UniMas, B/R Live)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Manchester United vs. Brugge (UniMas, B/R Live)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Arsenal vs. Olympiakos (TUDN, B/R Live)

9:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] LAFC vs. Club Leon (FS1, TUDN)

9:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] Seattle Sounders FC vs. Olimpia (FS2)

Friday, February 28

1:30 p.m. - [Bundesliga] Dusseldorf vs. Hertha Berlin (FS2, FOX Deportes)

2:00 p.m. - [Premier League] Norwich vs. Leicester City (NBC Sports)

2:00 p.m. - [La Liga] Real Sociedad vs. Valladolid (beIN Sports)

9:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Monarcas Morelia vs. Cruz Azul (TUDN)

9:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Club Tijuana vs. Puebla (FOX Deportes)

Saturday, February 29

6:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Brighton vs. Crystal Palace (NBC Sports)

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Hoffenheim vs. Bayern Munich, (FS1, UniMas, TUDN)

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Dortmund vs. Freiburg (FS2, FOX Deportes)

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

9:00 a.m. - [La Liga] Valencia vs. Real Betis (beIN Sports)

11:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Watford vs. Liverpool (NBC Sports)

2:30 p.m. - [MLS] Houston Dynamo vs. LA Galaxy (Univision)

5:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Pachuca vs. Queretaro (TUDN, ESPN Deportes)

7:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] America vs. Necaxa (Univision)

9:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Tigres UANL vs. Pumas UNAM (Univision)

Sunday, March 1

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

8:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Tottenham vs. Wovles (NBC Sports Gold)

10:30 a.m. - [English League Cup Final] Manchester City vs. Aston Villa (NBC Sports)

2:00 p.m. - [La Liga] Real Madrid vs. FC Barcelona (beIN Sports)

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ROCKETS BEAT THUNDER

Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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