The soccer news starts with Manchester City drawing 0-0 at home with Sporting to advance 5-0 on aggregate to the Champions League quarterfinals. Zack Steffen wasn’t in the squad for City, who finished with four of their 14 shots on goal to Sporting’s three from six.
“I’m a guy who learns at the time to enjoy the moment,” Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said. “When I qualify for the quarterfinals, I enjoy it, when I quality for the last 16 I know how difficult it is. When you go through, every opponent is difficult. Now time to congratulate everyone, focus on the Premier League and next week we see the draw.”
It was the other Champions League round of 16 game that is now the talking point in European soccer. Real Mdrid knocked out PSG 3-2 on aggregate after winning 3-1 at home. A Karum Benzema second-half hat-trick made the difference, calling into question PSG’s vaunted Neymar, Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe strikeforce. Mbappe opened the scoring, but that was it for the PSG offense. Once again, a superstar version of PSG isn’t going to lift the Champions League trophy.
“Paris Saint-Germain have been chasing the Champions League for a number of years now,” PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino said. “I’m really disappointed, upset – but these things can happen. The next few weeks are not going to be easy.”
The New England Revolution shutout UNAM Pumas 3-0 at home in the opening leg of their Concacaf Champions League quarterfinal series. Sebastian Lletget put the Revs up in the 19th minute and Adam Buska added goals in the 72nd and two minutes into stoppage time. New England goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr kept the clean sheet with three saves.
“Well, it’s very important,” New England coach Bruce Arena said about adding the late goals. “This is a 180-minute game, basically, and away goals count. I think Concacaf is about a year behind the rest of the world with this stuff. So, away goals count in this competition. So, it was important to score goals, as well as not concede any, so we can go to Mexico City with a little bit of a cushion, but it’s not going to be easy.”
Montreal was in Mexico City for the opening leg, losing 1-0 at Cruz Azul. Uriel Antuna scored in the 20th minute with Montreal finishing without a shot on goal.
“It is several games now that we’ve played in the space of very few weeks,” Montreal coach Wilfried Nancy said “If in the second half the opponent missed their chances, it is because we did a good job of defending until the very last moment because we made it difficult for them to finish. So we have to put things in context. In the second half, we were in control. We could have had better finishing ourselves. But you have to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, what we’ve been doing since the beginning of the year and what we were able to do tonight.”
The NY Times’ Rory Smith on Real Madrid advancing in the Champions League. The Athletic’s Sam Stjeskal looks at Charlotte FC after their big home opener. ESPN’s Cristina Alexander with a suggestion for Liga MX.
FRIDAY’S SOCCER TV
Ligue 1 on beIN Sport: Lille vs St Etienne at 3pm. Primeira Liga on GolTV: Benfica vs Vizela at 3pm. Liga MX on TUDN: Necaxa vs Queretaro at 8pm and Juarez vs Atlas at 10pm ET.
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