It's hard to imagine, but nine-time winner Real Madrid, domestic champions Arsenal and Valencia and defending titlist FC Porto have just one more chance to reach the second round. \nStar studded Madrid, an Arsenal team that won the Premier League without losing a game, Spanish champion Valencia and Porto, which won the UEFA Cup and Champions League back to back, are chasing four of the remaining seven places in the last 16 going into Tuesday's and Wednesday's final group matches. German champion Werder Bremen is another team that could lose out. \nNine teams have already qualified -- Italian clubs AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus, England's Chelsea and Manchester United, Germany's Bayern Munich, Spanish league leader Barcelona, French champion Lyon and Dutch club PSV Eindhoven. \nThe draw for February's knockout stage will be made Dec. 17. Third-place teams drop down into the UEFA Cup. \nToday is the must-win day for Arsenal, Valencia and Porto, while Bremen only needs a draw to advance. \nArsenal hosts Rosenborg at Highbury needing a win to advance from Group A. Panathinaikos can edge out the Gunners is if they beat PSV Eindhoven in Greece and Arsenal loses. A draw will not be enough for the Greeks, even if Arsenal lose. \nThe Gunners, which won for the first time in five matches with a 3-0 victory over Birmingham on Saturday, will be without influential midfielder Patrick Vieira and defender Lauren through suspension. \n"When things are bad, you have to dig in and come out of it. You can't perform all the time and be one of the best on the pitch," Arsenal striker Thierry Henry said. "But when you play for Arsenal, everyone expects you to win -- no matter what." \nManuel Almunia could start again in goal after displacing Jens Lehmann on Saturday. The Spaniard kept Arsenal's first clean sheet in 14 matches, but didn't have a lot to do. Lehmann had played in all of Arsenal's 49-match unbeaten league streak. \nGroup H is the only group where all four teams could reach the next round. Chelsea is certain of the top spot, with Paris Saint-Germain, Porto and CSKA Moscow fighting for second. \nPSG can assure itself of staying in second place by beating CSKA Moscow in Paris. CSKA will progress if it beats PSG and Porto doesn't beat Chelsea. Porto can qualify if it beats Chelsea in Portugal and PSG draws or loses. \nJose Mourinho returns to Porto after guiding the club to the Champions League title last season. He's likely to rest several players in preparation for the top-of-the-table league clash with Arsenal next Saturday. \nMourinho has also called on extra security for the match after he was spat at during Chelsea's 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge. \nPorto will be without defender Nuno Valente and midfielder Raul Meireles. \n"It will be a decisive game for Porto and knowing Jose Mourinho like I do, even though Chelsea are in he will not make things easier for us," striker Maciel Cunha said. \nIn Group G, Inter Milan is already through and will only finish second if it fails to beat Anderlecht -- which has yet to earn a point -- and Werder Bremen wins in Spain. \nValencia has to beat Bremen by more than one goal to earn second place over the Germans on goal difference. Valencia beat Albacete 1-0 on Saturday to extend its unbeaten run to five matches. In Group F, AC Milan and Barcelona are already through. Celtic, which hosts AC Milan, needs to match or better Shakhtar's result to secure third place. Shakhtar hosts Barcelona. \nTomorrow, Real Madrid will ensure its place in the next round with a win over Roma in an empty Stadio Olimpico in Group B. The Spaniards will finish second if Leverkusen or Dynamo Kiev win their last match -- but will top the group if the two draw in Germany. If Madrid draws with Roma, a point will be enough for Leverkusen and Dynamo to go through on goal difference. \nMadrid welcomes back Zinedine Zidane, who had missed the club's last two matches with back trouble. \n"I think they'll see the game as an important one because they are playing against Real Madrid and their players will give 100 percent even though they've got nothing to play for," Zidane said. \nRoma has one point from five games and will finish bottom.
Hong Kong media reported that police briefly detained a man in a Liverpool team jersey who shouted “long live Liverpool” during anti-government protests on Wednesday, over suspicion that he was inciting independence. In-Media reported that the man was across the street from police officers who were conducting stop-and-searches on a group of protesters, when he shouted: “Long live Liverpool.” Others reportedly cheered and joined in the chant, before officers detained him. The man told In-Media that police had accused him of inciting Hong Kong independence, which now is a punishable crime. He said that he has been a fan of the English soccer
WOLFSBURG BEATEN: Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski scored from a penalty, his 34th league goal this season, finishing as the top Bundesliga scorer for the fifth time Werder Bremen gave themselves hope of avoiding relegation from the Bundesliga by thrashing Cologne 6-1 to grab a playoff place on the last day of the season, while champions Bayern Munich routed VfL Wolfsburg before lifting the trophy on Saturday. Japan striker Yuya Osako scored twice as Bremen stole the lifeline of the relegation/promotion playoff place from Fortuna Duesseldorf, who lost 3-0 against Union Berlin and were relegated with SC Paderborn, finishing one point behind Bremen. “We put in a great performance under pressure, but we are aware that we haven’t achieved anything — in the relegation playoff, the emotions will be
Dustin Poirier won a thrilling unanimous decision over Dan Hooker on Saturday, surviving a brutal second round and persevering to finish a well-rounded performance in the main event at the UFC’s corporate gym. Mike Perry also ended his two-fight skid with a one-sided unanimous decision over Mickey Gall in the penultimate fight of the UFC’s fifth consecutive fan-free event in its hometown. The main event was a barn-burner from the opening round, with both lightweights trading wicked strikes and displaying minimal regard for defense. The second round was a particular spectacle, with each fighter badly hurting the other while throwing punches and
Raptors guard Fred VanVleet is already in Florida with the rest of his Toronto teammates, and he knows the time to take a stand and counter the NBA plan to restart the season has passed, but his opinion on the matter has not changed. “It sucks,” VanVleet said on Monday in a videoconference of his choice to return to the court during the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter campaign. “It’s terrible timing, but that’s been 2020 for us. We all know the right thing to do is to not play, to take a stand. Morally, yes, that makes sense, but