The soccer news starts in the Champions League round of 16. Zack Steffen is injured and wasn’t in the squad for Manchester City’s 5-0 win at Sporting. Riyad Mahrez opened the scoring in the 7th minute and Bernardo Silva doubled the lead in the 17th. Phil Foden made it 3-0 City in the 32nd and Silva scored again in the 44th. Raheem Sterling finished off the City goals in the 58th minute.
“Don’t misunderstand me. I am more than delighted,” Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said. “I know how difficult this competition is. 5-0 is fantastic, today we were so clinical, arrive goal, arrive goal, arrive goal and when that happens it is difficult for the opponent. But we didn’t do our build up well. We defended well and we got an incredible result. But we have a duty as a manager and as a team to analyse exactly how we performed individually and collectively. Not just the result. The result is a dream but we can perform better.”
Christian Ramirez’s Aberdeen drew 1-1 at home against St Johnstone in the Scottish Premiership. Falling behind in the 6th minute, Lewis Ferguson converted an Aberdeen penalty in the 71st.
“I felt the players were brave, especially second-half,” Aberdeen interim manager Barry Robson said. “You’ve got to remember where we’ve been the last few weeks and months, we’re a bit fragile. It was a patched up team, they played Motherwell on Saturday, physical game on a really heavy pitch, and then we had to go again tonight. You saw tonight that they’re an honest bunch, they kept going despite that, and I thought they did enough to win it.”
Moving to the Concacaf Champions League, NYCFC won 2-0 at Santos de Guapiles in the opening leg of their round of 16 series. Valentin Castellanos converted a 5th minute penalty and doubled the lead in the 30th. NYCFC finished a man down with a red card to Santiago Rodriguez in the 68th. The series concludes next Wednesday with NYCFC playing its home leg at LAFC’s Banc of California Stadium.
“I think we had absolute control of the game,” NYCFC coach Ronny Deila said. “I think definsively, they didn’t create anything. Even though we get to ten men, we were really solid, disciplined, compact. So that was very pleasing. The big chances we created as well, we had many chances, we should’ve scored a little bit more.”
Santos Laguna took a 1-0 lead over CF Montreal at home in their round of 16 opener. The goal came in the 88th minute with Santos outshooting Montreal 26 to 7, putting 8 of those on goal to Montreal’s 2.
“It’s unfortunate to concede that goal in the end but I told the players that we had four halves to play,” Montreal coach Wilfried Nancy said. “We could have done better in the first but I liked the second half with more personality in our game and we created more chances. We had good moments collectively. I’m happy because this is who we are, and this is how we want to play at home or on the road but we lacked that final pass. We will now focus on the next game and we will have to win.”
Concacaf announced that New England has advanced to the quarterfinals due to AS Cavaly’s visa issues. Cavaly planned to play its home leg at Gillette Stadium, with that game originally scheduled for Tuesday and then moved to Friday before Cavaly’s official exit from the tournament. As Concacaf noted in their statement, “The matter of AS Cavaly’s withdrawal from the competition will be referred to the Concacaf Disciplinary Committee.”
Moving to the soccer news, MLSsoccer’s Charles Boehm with NYCFC’s strong showing at Santos de Guapiles. The Montreal Gazette’s Herb Zurkowsky with the pressure on CF Montreal in the Champions League. Soccer America’s Scott French explains the difference for the LA Galaxy this season. AP’s Steve Douglas on the Champions League without the away goals rule.
THURSDAY’S SOCCER TV
Europa League on Galavision: Borussia Dortmund vs Rangers at 12:45pm and RB Leipzig vs Real Sociedad at 3pm. TUDN has Barcelona vs Napoli at 12:45pm and Porto vs Lazio at 3pm. Concacaf Champions League on FS2: Comunicaciones vs Colorado at 7pm and Motagua vs Seattle at 10pm. USWNT vs Czech Republic at 11pm ET.
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