Wednesday’s soccer news starts with the UEFA Champions League play-off round first-legs and PSV drawing 2-2 at Rangers in the League Path. Sergino Dest subbed out in the 80th minute for PSV, who fell behind in the 45th. Ibrahim Sangare equalized for PSV in the 61st but Rangers retook the lead in the 76th. PSV’s Luuk de Jong equalized in the 80th minute. Ricardo Pepi and Malik Tillman were on the bench for PSV.
“It’s not going to be easy,” de Jong said about the home game on August 30. “We know this from last year. They are a tough team with some quality players. We have to be ready and focused. At home, with the fans behind us, we hope we can find a high level and win the game.”
In the Champions Path, Sam Vines subbed on in the 56th minute of Royal Antwerp’s 1-0 home win over AEK Athens. Vincent Janssen scored in the 16th and Royal Antwerp played a man down from the 50th after a red card to Jelle Bataille.
“The game in Athens will be very difficult,” Royal Antwerp coach Mark Van Bommel said. “They have a really good team. It’s never easy if you play an away game in Greece. I played there myself, always difficult.”
In the Copa Libertadores quarterfinal first-legs, Johnny Cardoso’s Internacional won 1-0 at Bolivar. Enner Valencia scored in the 16th minute and goalkeeper Sergio Rochet made five saves.
Moving to tonight’s US Open Cup semifinals, Cincinnati hosts Inter Miami and Real Salt Lake is at Houston. Two things are obvious about Inter Miami, very little that happened this season prior to the Leagues Cup still matters and after Saturday’s trophy this is a team that finds ways. In another knockout scenario on the road, Inter Miami has that immediate experience. Meanwhile, Cincinnati exited Leagues Cup on penalties in the round of 32 to eventual runners-up Nashville and lost 3-0 at Columbus in MLS on Sunday.
“Well, there’s no better moment or more important moment to be able to put a poor showing in the past quickly and focus on the next couple of days of prep to play another very important game,” FC Cincinnati coach Pat Noonan said after the game in response to a question about his team’s ability to recover. “So like you said, we’ve responded in good ways before but now will be the biggest challenge in terms of doing that because you lose to a rival and now you have a Cup semifinal. So I’m confident that they’ll respond in a good way.”
On the other side of the bracket, Houston lost to Charlotte in Leagues Cup round of 16 on August 7 and returned to MLS with a 5-0 home win over Portland on Sunday. Real Salt Lake also exited in the round of 16 on August 8, but that 4-0 loss at LAFC is the last game they’ve played.
“RSL is a very tough opponent who has been good on the road,” Houston coach Ben Olsen said on Tuesday. “They’re a team that’s really upgraded in a bunch of areas, so we’ll have our work cut out for us. It’s a challenge we’re very excited about. There’s a lot at stake. Moving into the final for this club would be a massive deal. It’s a big game, and we have to do a lot of little things to get past a tough Salt Lake team.”
THURSDAY’S SOCCER TV
Pro League on Fox Soccer Plus: Al Raed vs Al Hilal at 2pm. Fox Deportes has Al Riyadh vs Al Ittihad at 2pm. Copa Sudamericana on beIN Sport: LDU Quito vs Sao Paulo at 6pm. Caribbean Club Championship on Fox Soccer Plus: Defense Force vs Cavalier at 8pm. Copa Libertadores on beIN Sport: Fluminense vs Olimpia at 8:30pm. Central American Cup on FS2: Real Espana vs Diriangen at 10pm ET.
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Photo by Neil Hanna – CSM via ZUMA Press Wire – ISIPhotos.com