More teams clinched their places in the knockout round of the Champions League on Tuesday. Manchester United qualified as Group A winners after beating CSKA Moscow 2-1. In group C, Roma were the surprise group winners, as Chelsea finish second, and Atletico Madrid crash out of the Champions League. It’s a great Champions League campaign for Roma, who face a decent shot to advancing to the quarterfinals. Chelsea will be disappointed to have dropped points at home against Atletico Madrid and Roma, and this could spell trouble for them, as finishing second allows them to possibly draw Barcelona or Paris Saint-Germain in the next round. For Atletico Madrid, this is the first time they miss out on knockout rounds of the Champions League under Diego Simeone. Also, Juventus qualified as runner-up in Group D with a 2-0 win over Olympiakos, and PSG finish as Group B winners despite losing 3-1 away to Bayern Munich.
The next round of the FA Cup was drawn, and the headliner of the draw was Liverpool and Everton meeting up in a Merseyside Derby clash. Though both teams have had their struggles this year, it’s always a fiery affair when they meet. The two have had someone recent history in the FA Cup, with Liverpool beating Everton 2-1 in the semi-final in 2012, and Everton winning 1-0 in 2009 with an extra-time goal by Dan Gosling. None of the other matchups in the draw are as compelling, but here’s hoping another edition of the Merseyside derby is a good one.
Diego Valeri of the Portland Timbers wins the 2017 MLS MVP. Valeri is a four-time aMLS All-Star and a three-time MLS Best XI member. Valeri had a truly remarkable season, and had a career high in goals with 21. This was also a record for MLS, as the most goals in a season by a midfielder. Portland was decimated by injuries this year, and the fact that they finished first in the West is a testament to how great Valeri was. This was his first MVP, but if he keeps paying at this level, it won’t be his last.
Tuesday there was the stunning news that the International Olympic Committee has banned Russia as a nation from competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics. The IOC panel ruled that Russia engaged in state-sponsored doping and then tried to cover it up. This is an unprecedented penalty, and it will have huge ramifications for the Olympics and Russian sports going forward. But this also begs the question, how does this impact the World Cup next year? Russia hosting the World Cup is not without its controversies, with the stadium troubles, the racism rife in Russian soccer, as well as the questions of how exactly Russia won the World Cup bid. And if the doping was so widespread with Russian Olympic athletes, would it be a surprise if Russian soccer was a part of that program? This is sure to be a big story ahead of the World Cup, and we’ll see how this plays out.
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