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Arnautović helps Inter beat Atlético 1-0 in 1st leg of Champions League last 16

Arnautović helps Inter beat Atlético 1-0 in 1st leg of Champions League last 16

Daniella Matar, Associated Press  |  Updated Feb. 20 - 4:27 p.m.  |  Save Story

Marko Arnautović came off the bench to help Inter Milan to a 1-0 win over Atlético Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16. Arnautović replaced the injured Marcus Thuram at halftime and redeemed himself after missing a couple of early chances by scoring the winning goal 11 minutes from time. The second leg is in Madrid on March 13. Inter was a surprise Champions League finalist last year but appears to have stepped up a level since and looks to be storming to the Serie A title after an eight-match winning streak in all competitions.
De Jong penalty earns PSV Eindhoven 1-1 draw with Dortmund in Champions League round of 16

De Jong penalty earns PSV Eindhoven 1-1 draw with Dortmund in Champions League round of 16

Mike Corder, Associated Press  |  Updated Feb. 20 - 4:24 p.m.  |  Save Story

Luuk de Jong converted a penalty to cancel out a goal by his former teammate Donyell Malen as PSV Eindhoven and Borussia Dortmund drew 1-1 in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 matchup. Malen scored against his old club in the 24th minute Tuesday with a shot that appeared to deflect off the outstretched leg of defender Sergiño Dest. De Jong equalized when he calmly slotted a low penalty past Alexander Meyer in the 56th minute after Mats Hummels had brought down Malik Tillman. It took De Jong's Champions League goal tally to a PSV record nine, one more than Ruud van Nistelrooy.
Haaland comes to the rescue for Man City with second-half goal in 1-0 win over Brentford

Haaland comes to the rescue for Man City with second-half goal in 1-0 win over Brentford

The Associated Press  |  Updated Feb. 20 - 3:40 p.m.  |  Save Story

Erling Haaland has come to the rescue of Manchester City with a 71st-minute goal to clinch a 1-0 win over Brentford in the Premier League. It looked like City would be dropping points in the title race for the second time in four days after a 1-1 draw with Chelsea. Then Haaland finally got some space behind Brentford's defense after collecting Julian Alvarez's pass. He raced past Kristoffer Ajer and took his shot early to score with a low finish for his league-leading 17th goal of the campaign. It was enough to move City into second place, one point above Arsenal and one behind Liverpool. All three title contenders have played 25 of 38 games.
Soccer academy in Southern California will join an evolving MLS system that's paying dividends

Soccer academy in Southern California will join an evolving MLS system that's paying dividends

Anne M. Peterson, Associated Press  |  Updated Feb. 20 - 3:34 p.m.  |  Save Story

An international soccer academy called Right to Dream is coming to the United States as the academy under San Diego FC, which will join Major League Soccer as the league's 30th team in 2025. Right to Dream is unique in MLS in that its reach is international, with academies in Ghana, Denmark and Egypt. It is owned by Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Mansour, owner of San Diego FC along with the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation. The academy becomes part of a player development system in MLS that is seeing growing success in fostering world-class players.
Ratcliffe secures minority stake in Man United and vows to lift English club to top of world soccer

Ratcliffe secures minority stake in Man United and vows to lift English club to top of world soccer

The Associated Press  |  Updated Feb. 20 - 3:16 p.m.  |  Save Story

Manchester United says British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe has completed his purchase of a minority stake in the club. The deal had already been approved by the English Football Association while the Premier League has cleared Ratcliffe to take up a minority share under its rules regarding who is allowed to be an owner or director of a soccer club. The 71-year-old Ratcliffe paid $1.3 billion for up to 25% of the club and has already invested $200 million for additional shares to take his ownership to 27.7%. He will invest a further $100 million by Dec. 31. Ratcliffe is one of Britain's richest people and the owner of petrochemicals giant INEOS.
An impossible task? Calzona takes over Napoli 48 hours before facing Barca in Champions League

An impossible task? Calzona takes over Napoli 48 hours before facing Barca in Champions League

Andrew Dampf, Associated Press  |  Updated Feb. 20 - 1:08 p.m.  |  Save Story

It might be an impossible task but new Napoli coach Francesco Calzona has taken over the defending Serie A champion 48 hours before facing Barcelona in the Champions League. But Calzona knows Napoli through and through. He was an assistant to Maurizio Sarri with the Partenopei from 2015-18 and then was part of Luciano Spalletti's staff in 2021-22. Calzona was credited with coming up with the idea of Dries Mertens' highly successful move to a false 9 position under Sarri. Then with Spalletti he helped to lay the foundation for Napoli's run to the Serie A title.
Real Madrid in good shape financially ahead of possible signing of Mbappé. Barcelona still struggles

Real Madrid in good shape financially ahead of possible signing of Mbappé. Barcelona still struggles

Tales Azzoni, Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 20 - 1:01 p.m.  |  Save Story

Signing Kylian Mbappé likely would not be a problem for Real Madrid financially as it remains the Spanish league club with the highest spending limit at $786 million. But Barcelona's financial struggles continue and its cap was reduced to $220 million. The Catalan club will likely be in a delicate situation going into the next transfer window. Atletico Madrid has the second-highest cap at $327 million. Each Spanish league club has a different spending limit based on factors such as revenues, costs and debts. It is proportional to roughly 70% of a club's revenues. The limits denote the maximum amount each club can spend on players, coaches, youth systems and other areas.
Mia Fishel tears her right ACL in US practice for the Gold Cup. Alex Morgan replaces her

Mia Fishel tears her right ACL in US practice for the Gold Cup. Alex Morgan replaces her

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 20 - 12:30 p.m.  |  Save Story

Veteran Alex Morgan will replace Mia Fishel on the U.S. national team's roster for the CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup after the Chelsea forward tore a ligament in her right knee during practice. Fishel, who injured her ACL on Monday, was included among the 23 U.S. players for the tournament that started Tuesday. The United States was set to open group play against the Dominican Republic at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, on Tuesday night. Fishel, a 22-year-old forward who plays for Chelsea in the Women's Super League, was considered one of the U.S. team's up-and-coming young players.
Inter Miami and Real Salt Lake face off for season opener

Inter Miami and Real Salt Lake face off for season opener

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 20 - 9:46 a.m.  |  Save Story

Real Salt Lake takes on Inter Miami for the season opener.
Milan forward Rafael Leão latest victim of racial abuse in Italian soccer

Milan forward Rafael Leão latest victim of racial abuse in Italian soccer

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 20 - 9:15 a.m.  |  Save Story

AC Milan forward Rafael Leão has denounced "small-minded" people after he was the latest victim of racial abuse as the problem continues to blight Italian soccer. Leão is Black and was the target of a racist message on Instagram. The latest incident of racism in Italian soccer comes exactly a month after Leão walked off the field with the rest of his Milan teammates after goalkeeper Mike Maignan was racially abused at Udinese. Milan has posted a message of support for Leão.
Andreas Brehme, scorer of West Germany's winning goal in the 1990 World Cup final, dies at 63

Andreas Brehme, scorer of West Germany's winning goal in the 1990 World Cup final, dies at 63

The Associated Press  |  Updated Feb. 20 - 8:52 a.m.  |  Save Story

Andreas Brehme, who scored the only goal as West Germany beat Argentina to win the 1990 World Cup final, has died. He was 63. Brehme's partner Susanne Schaefer has confirmed his death in a statement to Germany's dpa news agency. Schaefer says Brehme died "suddenly and unexpectedly" in the night from a cardiac arrest. Brehme's 85th-minute penalty decided the 1990 World Cup final in Rome against Argentina. Winning the World Cup brought a wave of national celebrations across Germany. The country was in the process of reunification after the fall of the Berlin Wall the year before.
Félix and Roberto back in Barcelona squad for Champions League match at Napoli

Félix and Roberto back in Barcelona squad for Champions League match at Napoli

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 20 - 8:28 a.m.  |  Save Story

Forward João Félix and midfielder Sergi Roberto have been included in Barcelona's squad for the Champions League match against Napoli after recovering from injuries. Both were named by coach Xavi Hernández for the first-leg match in the round of 16 in Italy on Wednesday. João Félix has been nursing a right ankle injury for about three weeks. Roberto was out for more than 20 days with a foot problem. Still not available for Xavi because of injuries are Alejandro Balde, Marcos Alonso, Ferran Torres and Gavi. The return match will be on March 12 in Barcelona.
Jota out for months, says Klopp, as Liverpool's injury crisis deepens

Jota out for months, says Klopp, as Liverpool's injury crisis deepens

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 20 - 8:16 a.m.  |  Save Story

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says forward Diogo Jota will be missing for months because of injury. The Portugal international hurt his right knee in the first half of Liverpool's 4-1 win at Brentford in the English Premier League on Saturday. The injury potentially threatens Jota's involvement in the European Championship in Germany starting in June. Liverpool's injury crisis has deepened with nine senior players unavailable heading into a key period of the season that includes the English League Cup final against Chelsea on Sunday.
Sports on TV for Wednesday, Feb. 21

Sports on TV for Wednesday, Feb. 21

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 20 - 8:00 a.m.  |  Save Story

(All times Eastern)
Chelsea targets Brighton again to bring in its head of recruitment

Chelsea targets Brighton again to bring in its head of recruitment

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 20 - 5:59 a.m.  |  Save Story

Chelsea has targeted English Premier League rival Brighton once again to strengthen its technical staff. Brighton says head of recruitment Sam Jewell has been placed on leave after accepting a new position at Chelsea. Jewell took up the role with Brighton in 2022 following the departure of Paul Winstanley, who also moved to Chelsea. Other Brighton staff who have joined Chelsea in recent years include Graham Potter and Bruno Salter. Potter lasted six months as the Chelsea manager before being fired and Bruno was briefly an interim coach after Potter's departure. Chelsea also spent approaching $250 million on signing goalkeeper Robert Sanchez, defender Marc Cucurella and midfielder Moises Caicedo from Brighton inside the last two years.
Gasset becomes new Marseille coach following Gattuso's firing

Gasset becomes new Marseille coach following Gattuso's firing

Samuel Petrequin, Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 20 - 5:56 a.m.  |  Save Story

Jean-Louis Gasset is Marseille's new coach. Less than a month after getting fired by Ivory Coast, Gasset has been appointed as the replacement for Gennaro Gattuso. Gasset coached Ivory Coast at the start of the Africa Cup of Nations but was fired on the same day the team qualified for the knockout stage after a lackluster start to the competition. Ivory Coast went on to win the Africa Cup without him. Gasset has huge experience in France, having spent years at various clubs including Montpellier, Saint-Etienne and Bordeaux.
Bayern Munich lacking full backs as Noussair Mazraoui out injured

Bayern Munich lacking full backs as Noussair Mazraoui out injured

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 20 - 5:49 a.m.  |  Save Story

All three of Bayern Munich's specialist right backs are out injured after the club confirmed Noussair Mazraoui has a hamstring strain. The Morocco defender went off injured in the 3-2 loss to Bochum on Sunday. That result leaves the German champion eight points off Bundesliga leader Bayer Leverkusen and piles more pressure on coach Thomas Tuchel. Bayern says Mazraoui will be out "for the time being" after a medical examination. The club hasn't specified a timeline for his return.
Japan-North Korea women's Olympic soccer qualifier moved to Saudi Arabia

Japan-North Korea women's Olympic soccer qualifier moved to Saudi Arabia

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 20 - 1:33 a.m.  |  Save Story

The first of two home-and-away Olympic qualifying matches in women's soccer between Japan and North Korea has been moved from North Korea to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the Asian Football Confederation has announced. The governing body of soccer in Asia moved the match after Japanese officials said there were not enough flights to North Korea for its fans. The match is to be played on Saturday with the game in Tokyo set for Feb. 28. The top team over the two matches will get an Olympic berth  for Paris. The other Olympic berth from Asia will go to either Australia or Uzbekistan. Only 12 teams advance to the Olympics in women's soccer. The men's tournament features 16 teams.
Philadelphia's Kai Wagner reinstated for first Union game of the season

Philadelphia's Kai Wagner reinstated for first Union game of the season

The Associated Press  |  Updated Feb. 19 - 7:21 p.m.  |  Save Story

Philadelphia Union defender Kai Wagner's suspension for violating Major League Soccer's on-field discrimination policy has been lifted for the team's opening game of the season. Wagner received a three-game suspension during last season's playoffs after allegations he used a racial slur against a New England Revolution player. The suspension was supposed to extend one game into this season. But MLS announced Monday that Wagner had completed the league's new restorative practices program. The Union open the regular season at home on Saturday against the Chicago.
Girona loses to Athletic Bilbao, misses chance to cut into Real Madrid's lead

Girona loses to Athletic Bilbao, misses chance to cut into Real Madrid's lead

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 19 - 3:53 p.m.  |  Save Story

Girona has missed a chance to cut into Real Madrid's lead of the Spanish league after losing to Athletic Bilbao 3-2. Alex Berenguer scored twice and Iñaki Williams got a third as Athletic moved to within two points of fourth-placed Atletico Madrid in La Liga. Viktor Tsygankov and Eric Garcia scored for Girona but the second loss in a row means the Catalan club remains six points behind Real Madrid.
Morata and Paulista added to Atletico Madrid squad for Champions League game at Inter Milan

Morata and Paulista added to Atletico Madrid squad for Champions League game at Inter Milan

The Associated Press  |  Updated Feb. 19 - 3:47 p.m.  |  Save Story

Striker Álvaro Morata and defender Gabriel Paulista have been included in Atletico Madrid's squad for the Champions League game against Inter Milan after recovering from injuries. The players were named a day before the match on Tuesday in Italy in the first leg of the round of 16. Morata had been nursing a knee injury that kept him from playing on Saturday in the 5-0 rout of Las Palmas in the Spanish league. Paulista was dealing with abdominal problems and also didn't play in the match at the Metropolitano Stadium.
D.C. United fan groups plan protest of the MLS club's preseason trip to Saudi Arabia

D.C. United fan groups plan protest of the MLS club's preseason trip to Saudi Arabia

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 19 - 3:40 p.m.  |  Save Story

Five D.C. United fan groups say they'll remain quiet for the first four matches this season to protest the Major League Soccer team's partnership with Saudi Arabia. D.C. United went to the Middle Eastern country for four preseason games. The groups say they will refrain from banging drums or bringing flags and banners as a sign of protest. In a joint statement they took issue with the club's values not including a deliberate respect for human rights. D.C. United's biggest fan group was not among those signed to the statement.
New coach watches Crystal Palace denied win by late Everton equalizer

New coach watches Crystal Palace denied win by late Everton equalizer

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 19 - 3:35 p.m.  |  Save Story

New Crystal Palace coach Oliver Glasner was watching from the stands as his team was denied a victory at Everton by a late equalizer in the English Premier League. They drew 1-1. Jordan Ayew's sizzling strike from just outside the box 20 minutes into the second half put Palace ahead but Amadou Onana equalized with six minutes remaining. Glasner was appointed just hours before kickoff to replace Roy Hodgson, who stepped aside due to health issues. The point lifts Everton out of the relgation zone on goal difference above Luton.
Napoli fires coach Mazzarri and hires Calzona just 2 days before facing Barcelona

Napoli fires coach Mazzarri and hires Calzona just 2 days before facing Barcelona

The Associated Press  |  Updated Feb. 19 - 2:15 p.m.  |  Save Story

Defending Serie A champion Napoli has made its second coaching change of the season just two days before facing Barcelona in the Champions League. Napoli has fired Walter Mazzarri and appointed Slovakia coach Francesco Calzona. Calzona was former assistant at Napoli under Maurizio Sarri and Luciano Spalletti but has never managed at club level. Mazzarri only replaced Rudi Garcia in November and Napoli became the first Serie A team to change coaches twice in the season after winning the league. Garcia took over this offseason from title-winning coach Spalletti.
Hodgson, 76, leaves Crystal Palace days after falling ill. Glasner hired as replacement

Hodgson, 76, leaves Crystal Palace days after falling ill. Glasner hired as replacement

Steve Douglas, Associated Press  |  Updated Feb. 19 - 12:53 p.m.  |  Save Story

Roy Hodgson has stepped down as manager of English Premier League team Crystal Palace. The 76-year-old former England coach was hospitalized last week after falling ill in training. The incident came amid reports that Palace was about to replace him as manager. Hodgson says he took the decision to step aside "so that the club can bring forward their plans for a new manager." The club hired Austrian coach Oliver Glasner as Hodgson's replacement hours later on a deal until the end of the 2025-26 season. Glasner led Eintracht Frankfurt to the Europa League title in 2022 before leaving last year. Palace says Hodgson has left the hospital and was "doing well."
LAFC's Bouanga, Seattle's Morris and Dallas' Ferreira highlight MLS Western Conference clubs

LAFC's Bouanga, Seattle's Morris and Dallas' Ferreira highlight MLS Western Conference clubs

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 19 - 11:13 a.m.  |  Save Story

LAFC finished third in the Western Conference last season and advanced all the way to the MLS Cup final before falling to champion Columbus. LAFC should be strong again this year, with Golden Boot winner Denis Bouanga showing no signs of slowing down. St. Louis, the team that LAFC beat in the first round, finished atop the the West, a stunning achievement for an expansion team. The West's last-place team, the Colorado Rapids, was busy in the offseason with a complete overhaul.
Major League Soccer kicks off with all eyes on Lionel Messi & Co. at Inter Miami

Major League Soccer kicks off with all eyes on Lionel Messi & Co. at Inter Miami

Anne M. Peterson, Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 19 - 10:54 a.m.  |  Save Story

Messi Mania returns to Major League Soccer as Lionel Messi embarks on his first full season with Inter Miami. The team also signed Luis Suarez in the offseason, reuniting the two close friends. The pair, along with former Barcelona teammates Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets, have made Miami the team to watch heading into the Major League Soccer's 29th season. The Columbus Crew are the league's defending champions, following a 2-1 victory over LAFC in the final. High-profile additions to the league include Bundesliga veteran Emil Forsberg of the New York Red Bulls and French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris with LAFC.
Messi and Miami are grabbing the attention in Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference

Messi and Miami are grabbing the attention in Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 19 - 10:10 a.m.  |  Save Story

The Columbus Crew won last season's MLS Cup championship and look to repeat in 2024. But they'll have strong competition in the league's Eastern Conference. Inter Miami has created what some are calling a "super team" with Lionel Messi, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and new addition Luis Suarez. Then there's FC Cincinnati, which won the Supporters Shield for the league's best record.
After fallout in China, Messi insists politics had nothing to do with missing game in Hong Kong

After fallout in China, Messi insists politics had nothing to do with missing game in Hong Kong

Kanis Leung, Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 19 - 9:04 a.m.  |  Save Story

Lionel Messi has made another conciliatory gesture to fans in Hong Kong and mainland China by releasing a video on social media to explain why he didn't play in an exhibition match this month, and insisted that there were no political reasons behind his decision. Messi disappointed fans in Hong Kong and the city's government after he remained on the bench during a match between Inter Miami and a local team on Feb. 4. Messi and Inter Miami said he had a groin injury, but the grievances have spread to mainland China after he played for 30 minutes in Tokyo against Vissel Kobe days later. As criticism ramped up on Chinese social media, the sports bureau in Hangzhou canceled next month's friendly between Nigeria and World Cup champion Argentina.
Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth to leave amid links to Man United

Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth to leave amid links to Man United

Steve Douglas, Associated Press  |  Updated Feb. 19 - 8:51 a.m.  |  Save Story

Dan Ashworth has been a key figure working in the shadows in English soccer for more than a decade. That started with instilling a so-called "DNA" into its national teams and continued by shaping the growth and philosophy of Premier League teams Brighton and Newcastle. Now Ashworth could be handed the task of overseeing the reboot of fallen giant Manchester United. He has been placed on leave by Newcastle amid interest from Man United about taking up the role of sporting director amid an overhaul of the club's soccer operations under British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe.
Why children are still playing tackle football, despite brain risks

Why children are still playing tackle football, despite brain risks

Torrence Banks And Andrew Chodes / Shirley Povich Center For Sports Journalism And The Howard Center For Investigative Journalism, Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 19 - 8:22 a.m.  |  Save Story

Tackle football offers children as young as 5 the chance to make friends, learn teamwork and maybe win a college scholarship. But growing research shows it can also cause injuries that damage developing brains. That leaves families to balance the risks against the opportunities. A four-month investigation found the decision to let kids play varies by race and is often driven by the hope for a better future, according to the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism and Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at the University of Maryland.
In an Atlanta suburb, youth tackle football is a way of life

In an Atlanta suburb, youth tackle football is a way of life

Sapna Bansil And Jack Rothenberg / Shirley Povich Center For Sports Journalism And The Howard Center For Investigative Journalism, Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 19 - 8:16 a.m.  |  Save Story

Buford, Georgia, excels at producing football talent. Last season, 23 football players from the town of 16,800 dotted the rosters of the five most prominent college conferences. That's more players than were produced by 12 states and Washington, D.C. Participation in tackle football leagues is declining nationwide. Concerns about the potential for brain disease related to repeated blows to the head have turned off some parents. But passion for the sport is undiminished in this Atlanta suburb. As the president of the local league says, "This is a 365-day-a-year football community. It never stops."
Eintracht Frankfurt forward Kalajdžić out with ACL tear for 3rd time in 5 years

Eintracht Frankfurt forward Kalajdžić out with ACL tear for 3rd time in 5 years

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 19 - 8:09 a.m.  |  Save Story

Eintracht Frankfurt forward Saša Kalajdžić is set to miss the rest of the season after suffering a third ACL tear in five years. Frankfurt said Monday that Kalajdžić tore the cruciate and lateral ligaments in his right knee during the team's 3-3 draw at Freiburg in the Bundesliga on Sunday. The club said he will be "out indefinitely." The 26-year-old Kalajdžić sustained the injury in an off-the-ball incident and was taken off in the 11th minute. He was on crutches after the game. It's the Austria forward's third serious knee injury since 2019 after twice tearing the ACL in his left knee.
Sports on TV for Tuesday, Feb. 20

Sports on TV for Tuesday, Feb. 20

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 19 - 8:00 a.m.  |  Save Story

(All times Eastern)
French league club Marseille fires coach Gennaro Gattuso, AP source says

French league club Marseille fires coach Gennaro Gattuso, AP source says

Samuel Petrequin, Associated Press  |  Updated Feb. 19 - 7:23 a.m.  |  Save Story

Marseille coach Gennaro Gattuso has been fired by the French league club, a person with direct knowledge of the decision has told The Associated Press. Gattuso was fired a day after Marseille lost 1-0 to Brest in the French league, a result that dented the club's hopes of qualifying for a European competition next season. Marseille and Gattuso have started a legal proceeding to part ways and the club is actively looking for a replacement, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because Gattuso's departure has not been announced by the club. Marseille is ninth in the standings after 22 matches, trailing leader Paris Saint-Germain by 23 points.
Bayern Munich's 11-year era of domestic dominance nearing its end after new stumble

Bayern Munich's 11-year era of domestic dominance nearing its end after new stumble

CiarÁn Fahey, Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 19 - 6:59 a.m.  |  Save Story

It feels like the beginning of the end of an era for Bayern Munich. The Bavarian powerhouse lost again Sunday, and its chances of securing a record-extending 12th consecutive Bundesliga title look slim as league leader Bayer Leverkusen pulled eight points clear with 12 rounds remaining. It was Bayern's third defeat in eight days. Bayern midfielder Leon Goretzka says "it feels like a horror film that just doesn't end." Bayern had not lost three games in a row since May 2015, when the team coached by Pep Guardiola had already clinched the Bundesliga title. Of greatest concern for Bayern is the disappearance of its aura of domestic superiority. Bayern is not the best team in Germany anymore.
Thorgan Hazard leaves fans puzzled with goal celebration dedicated to family parakeet

Thorgan Hazard leaves fans puzzled with goal celebration dedicated to family parakeet

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 19 - 3:19 a.m.  |  Save Story

Thorgan Hazard left fans puzzled about his goal celebration after scoring for Anderlecht in the Belgian league on Sunday. The midfielder celebrated by mimicking a bird flapping his wings after his header put Anderlecht level at 1-1 with Sint-Truidense in the 49th minute, in a game his team went on to win 4-1 to guarantee a spot in the season's playoffs. The 30-year-old Hazard said the celebration was a request from his children after one of the family's parakeets passed away. Hazard said "my children asked me to dedicate a goal for it. They are the ones who choose my celebrations."
Real Madrid held to 1-1 draw at Rayo Vallecano in Spanish league. Almeria winless in 28 games

Real Madrid held to 1-1 draw at Rayo Vallecano in Spanish league. Almeria winless in 28 games

Tales Azzoni, Associated Press  |  Updated Feb. 18 - 3:44 p.m.  |  Save Story

Real Madrid could see its Spanish league lead reduced after being held to a 1-1 draw at Rayo Vallecano. Joselu put Madrid ahead only three minutes into the match against its southern Madrid rival but the hosts equalized through Raúl de Tomás in the 27th. The draw moved Madrid six points clear of second-place Girona. The Catalan club visits fifth-place Athletic Bilbao on Monday. Last-place Almeria made history for the wrong reason by becoming the first team to go 28 straight games without a league win. It drew 1-1 at Granada for its 25th consecutive winless game this season. It also hadn't won its last three matches last season.
Thomas Tuchel's job as Bayern Munich coach safe for now despite 3 straight defeats

Thomas Tuchel's job as Bayern Munich coach safe for now despite 3 straight defeats

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 18 - 3:34 p.m.  |  Save Story

Thomas Tuchel's job as Bayern Munich coach is safe for the moment despite the Bavarian powerhouse losing three games straight for the first time since May 2015. Bayern squandered a lead and lost 3-2 at Bochum in the Bundesliga on Sunday, days after a midweek 1-0 loss at Lazio in the Champions League. That came after last weekend's 3-0 loss at Bayer Leverkusen. The latest defeat left the 11-time defending champion eight points behind Leverkusen with 12 rounds of the league remaining. Bayern CEO Jan-Christian Dreesen says Tuchel will "of course" be in charge for Bayern's next match against visiting Leipzig on Saturday but he doesn't rule out making a change at a later stage.
Brest copes with sending off to beat Marseille 1-0 and move into 2nd place in French league

Brest copes with sending off to beat Marseille 1-0 and move into 2nd place in French league

Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press  |  Updated Feb. 18 - 3:25 p.m.  |  Save Story

Brest has coped with having a player sent off in the second half to beat Marseille 1-0 and move up to second place in the French league. Veteran midfielder Pierre Lees-Melou scored in the 88th minute as Brest moved above Nice into second spot, 13 points behind league leader Paris Saint-Germain. Brest has never finished higher than eighth in its history and, despite one of the smallest budgets in the league, coach Eric Roy's players remain on course to qualify for the Champions League for the first time with 12 rounds of games remaining. Monaco dropped to fifth place after losing 2-1 at home to struggling Toulouse. There were wins for Rennes, Montpellier and Lorient.
Luton's Tom Lockyer says heart stopped for 2 minutes, 40 seconds after cardiac arrest during game

Luton's Tom Lockyer says heart stopped for 2 minutes, 40 seconds after cardiac arrest during game

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 18 - 3:12 p.m.  |  Save Story

Luton captain Tom Lockyer says his heart stopped for more than 2 1/2 minutes when he suffered cardiac arrest in a Premier League game at Bournemouth in December. But he is still hoping that doctors give him the all clear to keep playing professionally. The 29-year-old defender collapsed in the 59th minute at Vitality Stadium on Dec. 16, resulting in the game being abandoned. Lockyer was discharged from the hospital five days later following a successful procedure to fit an implantable cardioverter defibrillator. He told Sky Sports that he was out for "2 minutes 40 seconds" and that "I remember thinking 'I could be dying here.'"
De Rossi's impact at Roma is clear with 4 wins in 6 games, more attacking soccer than under Mourinho

De Rossi's impact at Roma is clear with 4 wins in 6 games, more attacking soccer than under Mourinho

Andrew Dampf, Associated Press  |  Updated Feb. 18 - 3:08 p.m.  |  Save Story

New Roma coach Daniele De Rossi stretched his record to four wins in six matches with a 3-0 victory at Frosinone in Serie A. De Rossi is using more offensive tactics than predecessor Jose Mourinho and has moved Roma up from ninth to sixth place to put the Giallorossi back in contention for a spot in Europe. Ten-man AC Milan was beaten 4-2 at neighboring Monza to waste a chance at leapfrogging Juventus into second place. Bologna remained in contention for a Champions League place with a 2-1 comeback victory at Lazio. Fiorentina was held to a 1-1 draw at Empoli in a Tuscan derby and Udinese and Cagliari also drew 1-1.
Model airplanes keep protests flying high in Bundesliga. Bayern slumps to 3rd straight loss

Model airplanes keep protests flying high in Bundesliga. Bayern slumps to 3rd straight loss

CiarÁn Fahey, Associated Press  |  Updated Feb. 18 - 2:45 p.m.  |  Save Story

Bayern Munich has slumped to its third consecutive defeat as Bochum held on to defeat the 11-time defending champion 3-2 in the Bundesliga. It left Thomas Tuchel's team eight points behind league leader Bayer Leverkusen with 12 rounds remaining and will increase doubts over the coach's future after a midweek loss to Lazio in the Champions League and last weekend's 3-0 defeat at Leverkusen. Remote-controlled model airplanes were flown onto the field during Eintracht Frankfurt's 3-3 draw with Freiburg as fans continued protests against an outside investor. Supporters throwing tennis balls later interrupted Bayern's match at Bochum over the German soccer league's same controversial plan to sell a stake in media rights income.
Hojlund's scoring form has Man United pushing for top-4 spot. Brighton cruises at Sheffield United

Hojlund's scoring form has Man United pushing for top-4 spot. Brighton cruises at Sheffield United

Mattias Karen, Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 18 - 12:41 p.m.  |  Save Story

The goals are suddenly flowing freely and easily for Manchester United striker Rasmus Hojlund. That was about the only thing that came easily for United in a 2-1 win at Luton on Sunday but the Dane's scoring form could be enough to fuel a late push for a top-four spot for Erik ten Hag's team. Hojlund netted twice in the opening seven minutes at Kenilworth Road to become the youngest player to score in six straight Premier League games after going scoreless in his first 14. In the early game, Brighton hammered last-place Sheffield United 5-0 after Mason Holgate was sent off for a horror tackle in the 13th minute.
Hojlund scores early double and Man United hangs on for win at Luton for 4th straight EPL victory

Hojlund scores early double and Man United hangs on for win at Luton for 4th straight EPL victory

Mattias Karen, Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 18 - 11:37 a.m.  |  Save Story

Rasmus Hojlund scored twice in the opening seven minutes and Manchester United then withstood a spirited fightback to hang on for a 2-1 win at Luton and a fourth straight Premier League victory. Hojlund extended his scoring streak to six straight league games when he seized on a defensive howler to net the opener after just 37 seconds. He added the second with a slice of luck as a shot deflected off his chest and into the net. But Luton dominated the rest of the first half, and captain Carlton Morris pulled one goal back with a close-range header in the 14th.
Brighton cruises to 5-0 win over Sheffield United after Holgate's early sending off

Brighton cruises to 5-0 win over Sheffield United after Holgate's early sending off

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 18 - 9:09 a.m.  |  Save Story

Brighton took full advantage of Mason Holgate's early sending off by cruising to a 5-0 win over last-place Sheffield United in the Premier League. Sheffield was coming off just its third league win of the season against Luton last weekend but any hopes of getting consecutive victories ended with Holgate's reckless studs-up tackle on Kaoru Mitoma, which was upgraded to a straight red card after a VAR check in the 13th minute. Facundo Buonanotte and Danny Welbeck then scored inside a four-minute span to put the visitors 2-0 up by the 24th. Three late goals in the second half, including two by recent Africa Cup of Nations winner Simon Adingra, padded the scoreline.
Sports on TV for Monday, Feb. 19

Sports on TV for Monday, Feb. 19

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 18 - 8:00 a.m.  |  Save Story

(All times Eastern)
Lewandowski converts stoppage-time penalty in second attempt to give Barcelona win

Lewandowski converts stoppage-time penalty in second attempt to give Barcelona win

Tales Azzoni, Associated Press  |  Updated Feb. 17 - 3:19 p.m.  |  Save Story

Robert Lewandowski has converted a penalty kick seven minutes into stoppage time after missing his first attempt for Barcelona to win at Celta Vigo 2-1 in the Spanish league. The result relieves some pressure on the club ahead of the Champions League playoffs. Lewandowski had his first attempt saved by Celta goalkeeper Vicente Guaita but the Poland striker received a chance to retake the penalty after video determined Guaita moved off the goal-line before Lewandowski shot. Atletico Madrid ended its three-game winless slump by routing Las Palmas 5-0.
Mbappé comes off bench and scores a penalty as leader PSG wins at Nantes

Mbappé comes off bench and scores a penalty as leader PSG wins at Nantes

Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press  |  Updated Feb. 17 - 3:19 p.m.  |  Save Story

Kylian Mbappé comes off the bench to score a late penalty as French league leader Paris Saint-Germain wins at Nantes 2-0 and moves 14 points clear of second-placed Nice. Mbappé was fouled and confidently converted his spot kick in the 78th. He then pointed at a television camera and smiled before vigorously clenching his fist. Mbappé has a league-leading 21 goals and 32 overall this season. He was put on the bench by coach Luis Enrique two days after finally telling PSG he's leaving at the end of the season. Canada striker Jonathan David grabbed a hat trick as Lille beat Le Havre 3-0 to move up to third place.
Juventus' Serie A title hopes fading after draw. Napoli winless in 5 matches with Barca next

Juventus' Serie A title hopes fading after draw. Napoli winless in 5 matches with Barca next

Andrew Dampf, Associated Press  |  Updated Feb. 17 - 2:44 p.m.  |  Save Story

Juventus has twice needed to come back from a goal down at relegation-threatened Hellas Verona to draw 2-2 in Serie A. That extended Juve's winless streak in the league to four matches. Second-placed Juventus trails Inter Milan by nine points. Defending champion Napoli needed a late equalizer from Cyril Ngonge against Genoa to rescue a 1-1 draw at home ahead of a Champions League match against Barcelona. The draw ends a two-match losing streak for Napoli but the Partenopei have extended their winless streak to five matches across all competitions. Atalanta beat Sassuolo 3-0.
Tennis balls disrupt Bundesliga as Bayer Leverkusen moves 8 points clear at top

Tennis balls disrupt Bundesliga as Bayer Leverkusen moves 8 points clear at top

CiarÁn Fahey, Associated Press  |  Updated Feb. 17 - 2:14 p.m.  |  Save Story

Tennis balls have been raining on the Bundesliga. None of Saturday's games escaped fans' wrath with the German soccer league for its controversial plan to sell a stake in the Bundesliga's media rights income to an outside investor. Supporters threw tennis balls onto the field across four of the afternoon's five games, forcing interruptions and delays. Bayer Leverkusen has consolidated top spot by beating Heidenheim 2-1. Jeremie Frimpong and Amine Adli scored for Xabi Alonso's team to move eight points clear of Bayern Munich before the defending champion's match at Bochum on Sunday.
Man City loses ground in EPL title race after home draw with Chelsea

Man City loses ground in EPL title race after home draw with Chelsea

James Robson, Associated Press  |  Updated Feb. 17 - 1:51 p.m.  |  Save Story

Manchester City has barely avoided a first defeat of 2024 after Rodri's deflected effort salvaged a 1-1 draw against Chelsea in the English Premier League. The midfielder's 83rd-minute goal extended the defending champions' unbeaten run in all competitions to 15 games. But the draw at Etihad Stadium saw City lose ground on league leader Liverpool and second-placed Arsenal. Both of those teams won earlier. Third-placed City is four points behind Liverpool and two off Arsenal. Former City forward Raheem Sterling gave Chelsea the lead just before halftime. Rodri levelled when his shot deflected off Trevoh Chalobah past Chelsea goalkeeper Dorde Petrovic.
Salah's back and Liverpool and Arsenal win big in the EPL as Man City slips

Salah's back and Liverpool and Arsenal win big in the EPL as Man City slips

James Robson, Associated Press  |  Updated Feb. 17 - 1:47 p.m.  |  Save Story

Big wins for Liverpool and Arsenal feel even bigger after Manchester City lost ground in the race for the English Premier League title. Leader Liverpool won at Brentford 4-1 and Arsenal routed Burnley 5-0 before City was held by Chelsea to 1-1. There is still a lot of soccer to come and City has a game in hand but a rare slip by Pep Guardiola's defending champion could prove to be a key moment in the campaign. It took a deflected strike from Rodri in the 83rd minute for City to salvage a draw after former player Raheem Sterling gave Chelsea a first half lead.
Aston Villa moves up to fourth in EPL after win at Fulham

Aston Villa moves up to fourth in EPL after win at Fulham

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 17 - 12:54 p.m.  |  Save Story

Ollie Watkins' double has fired Aston Villa back up to fourth in the English Premier League after winning at Fulham 2-1. Villa has moved above Tottenham into the Champions League qualifying places, It dropped out last week after losing to Manchester United 2-1. The teams swapped places again after Spurs suffered a surprise 2-1 defeat at home to Wolves. Watkins took his league tally to 12 after strikes in the 23rd and 56th minutes at Craven Cottage. Rodrigo Muniz gave Fulham hope of a comeback with his goal in the 63rd.
Nottingham Forest boosts survival chances with win against West Ham

Nottingham Forest boosts survival chances with win against West Ham

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 17 - 12:06 p.m.  |  Save Story

Nottingham Forest's hopes of English Premier League survival have been boosted by defeating West Ham 2-0. Taiwo Awoniyi and Callum Hudson-Odoi struck in stoppage time at the end of each half at The City Ground. West Ham was reduced to 10-men after on-loan midfielder Kalvin Phillips was sent off in the second half.  The victory moved Forest five points above the relegation zone and ended a four-game winless run in the league. Forest took the lead in the fifth minute of first-half added time through Awoniyi. Hudson-Odoi sealed Forest's win in the fourth minute of stoppage when powering home from close range.
Gomes double earns Wolves second win against Tottenham this season

Gomes double earns Wolves second win against Tottenham this season

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 17 - 11:40 a.m.  |  Save Story

Two goals from Joao Gomes have secured Wolves a surprise 2-1 win at Tottenham in the English Premier League. Defeat at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium saw Spurs drop to fifth on the table in a blow to their hopes of Champions League qualification. Aston Villa moved above Spurs after winning at Fulham. Gomes scored in each half as Wolves completed a league double over Ange Postecoglou's team. The Midlands club won by the same scoreline at Molineux in November.
Newcastle salvage last-gasp draw with Bournemouth in EPL

Newcastle salvage last-gasp draw with Bournemouth in EPL

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 17 - 10:48 a.m.  |  Save Story

Substitute Matt Ritchie has come to Newcastle's rescue as they fought back twice to draw with Bournemouth 2-2 in an incident-packed English Premier League game at St James' Park. Ritchie had been on the pitch for only seconds when he scored in stoppage time. That cancelled out Antoine Semenyo's stunning strike just as it looked like the visitors would emerge with all three points. Dominic Solanke's 16th goal of the season gave Bournemouth the lead. Anthony Gordon leveled with a disputed penalty in front of a crowd of 52,224 which included sporting director Dan Ashworth, whose pursuit by Manchester United thrust him into the headlines this week.
Salah scores on return as Liverpool dispatches Brentford

Salah scores on return as Liverpool dispatches Brentford

The Associated Press  |  Updated Feb. 17 - 10:30 a.m.  |  Save Story

Mohamed Salah made a scoring return for Liverpool as the English Premier League leader dispatched Brentford 4-1. Salah had been out for a month since sustaining a hamstring injury at the Africa Cup of Nations. He came on as a substitute just before halftime at the Gtech Community Stadium and struck his 19th goal of the season in all competitions in the 68th minute. Liverpool already led 2-0 at that point. Darwin Nunez opened the scoring in the 35th and Alexis Mac Allister added another from Salah's assist 10 minutes after halftime. Ivan Toney pulled a goal back for Brentford and Cody Gakpo sealed Liverpool's win.
Arsenal keeps pressure on EPL leader Liverpool after routing Burnley

Arsenal keeps pressure on EPL leader Liverpool after routing Burnley

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 17 - 10:27 a.m.  |  Save Story

Bukayo Saka has scored twice and Arsenal has kept the pressure on English Premier League leader Liverpool by routing Burnley 5-0. Last week, Arsenal blew away West Ham 6-0. The Gunners have won their last six games in the league and scored five or more goals in three of them. Saka scored on either side of halftime and Arsenal remained within two points of Liverpool. Second-from-bottom Burnley is above only Sheffield United on goal difference, having played a game more.
Ancelotti not thinking about Mbappé just yet, says focus remains on winning this season

Ancelotti not thinking about Mbappé just yet, says focus remains on winning this season

Tales Azzoni, Associated Press  |  Posted Feb. 17 - 6:26 a.m.  |  Save Story

Coach Carlo Ancelotti is trying to keep Real Madrid focused on the task at hand despite all the talk about Kylian Mbappé. Ancelotti says he is not thinking about the possible signing of Mbappé and that his only concern is to get his team ready for Sunday's match at Rayo Vallecano in the Spanish league. Mbappé on Thursday told Paris Saint-Germain he will leave the French club at the end of the season. Ancelotti says he understands "that it is the topic of the day for you, but for us it's tomorrow's game."