Today’s 10 most important matches to Track for us – the newish American soccer fans – is highlighted again by the best from UEFA Champions League group stage.
Pods of four. Each club plays six games. The top two finishers move on to the Knockout Stage. 3rd placers are demoted to the ongoing Europa League. These are some of the fifth of those six games to be played.
Juventus vs. Barcelona – UEFA Champions League
This has to be the top-heaviest Group. Juve in 2nd, three points in back of Barcelona. It’s almost or already mathematically guaranteed now that one of them will finish 1st. The visitors are this Group’s only side with a positive GD. Barcelona will advance! Juve still has to fend off FC Porto one point back. RESULT: 0-0
B. Atletico Madrid vs. AS Roma – UEFA Champions League
This is the collectively second-strongest match today. That said, Atletico didn’t win any of their four Group matches. Amazingly, they could still win the Group, though they’re four points behind 2nd place. AS Roma is in 1st by just a point. Roma gives up first place to Chelsea. But they’re still two points up on Atletico, and they get hapless Qarabag for their last Group match. RESULT: Atletico Madrid 2-0
Qarabag vs. Chelsea – UEFA Champions League
These two are in the same Group as entry #B above, 4th and 2nd place respectively. The Azerbaijanis should get housed even on their own pitch. RESULT: Chelsea 0-4
Biiihg government house in Baku!
FC Basel vs. Manchester United – UEFA Champions League
Man U is 4-0-0, already guaranteed to advance to the Knockout Stage. Basel is tied for 2nd on points, up big on GD tiebreaker with CSKA Moscow. Which of these other two will advance out of this Group is perhaps the most intriguing question moving towards being answered today. Swiss upset!! They’re still just tied for 2nd with CSKA Moscow, but they also fave 0-0-5 Benifica for their final match. RESULT: Basel 1-0
Paris Saint-Germain vs. Celtic – UEFA Champions League
Celtic can finish no higher than 3rd, get dropped into a Europa League slot. PSG is in 1st by three points over Bayern Munich. The French hosts with not be hospitable. Understatement, anyone? RESULT: PSG 7-1
Perhaps he’s not with PSG
Toluca vs. Morelia – Liga MX
It’s the Liguilla! A Review: Like many Latin American countries’ leagues, this one’s year is split into two seasons. The first half – the Apertura – just wrapped up it’s regular league games. Now the top eight play a mini-tournament, the Liguilla. The winner of this event and the winner of the team that wins the Liguilla after the second half – the Clausura – face off for the overall championship.
This is the First Round of the Apertura’s Liguilla. Each pair of teams faces of in a two-legged tie (play two matches, home and away. The lesser seed hosts the first leg. #5 Toluca gets #4 Morelia here. The hosts here are a weird case. They scored a whopping 20 goals over their home games. Yet they only managed four on the road. RESULT: Toluca 1-0
Tampico Madero vs. FC Juarez – Ascenso MX
Mexico’s second-tier league has its Apertura Liguilla first round already in the books. This is event is going to continue to be REALLY competitive. In league, the top dozen teams of 16 were separated by only eight points in the standings. One could starve a mouse on the difference between these, the #3 and #2 seeds. RESULT: 2-2
“The Brave Crab”? Alrighty then
Gremio vs. Lanus – Copa Libertadores
The final of South America’s version of Champions League is here! This match is the first of two legs. Quite unsurprising that Brazilian and Argentinian clubs are here. Over the Knockout Stage – the last six matches – Gremio’s given up just one goal. Lanus is just as good on paper overall though. #2 and #3 seeds making for a worth Final. RESULT: Gremio 1-0
Australia vs. China – international women’s friendly
The Matildas are #6 ranked by FIFA and have won five in a row against quality competition (including the U.S. and Japan. China’s ranked #13. RESULT: Aus 3-0
Matilda – a traveler’s bag, in Australia
Cape Town City vs. Baroka – South Africa Premiere
This one was slated for yesterday, is now for today. Noob isn’t posting much on it. Baroka’s armadillo-beaver-looking mascot freaked me out. Nope, it got played yesterday after all. RESULT: 1-1