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Football: PSG look to go one better in Champions League but doubts remain

PARIS: Paris Saint-Germain came so close to winning the prize they crave more than anything in last ..

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PARIS: Paris Saint-Germain came so close to winning the prize they crave more than anything in last season's Champions League and are hoping to go one better this time, but there are concerns that the Qatar-owned club might actually have gone backwards in recent months.

Bayern Munich's greater experience told in Lisbon in August, and there were tears at the end for Neymar as the French champions agonisingly lost 1-0 in their first ever Champions League final.

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Two months on, Thomas Tuchel's side begin their latest bid for European success at home to Manchester United on Tuesday (Oct 20), in a rematch of the last-16 tie in 2019 which PSG lost to a controversial late penalty.

It therefore brings back memories of just one of several painful defeats in the Champions League in recent years, but the reality is that Paris should be considered favourites against the Old Trafford side and to win a group also containing RB Leipzig and Istanbul Basaksehir.

Yet whether this will be the season that they do go all the way remains to be seen.

Tuchel has been the first to complain that his squad is weaker than it was last season as PSG – having already seen several key players depart over the summer – have started the new campaign hamstrung by injuries, suspensions and coronavirus cases.

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PSG coach Thomas Tuchel and sporting director Leonardo have not seen eye to eye in recent weeks. (AFP/FRANCK FIFE)

"CLUMSY AND RUSHED"

Right-back Thomas Meunier and all-time record goal-scorer Edinson Cavani left when their contracts ended, not even sticking around for the latter stages of the Champions League in August – Cavani is now at United and so could come back to haunt his old side this week.

Skipper Thiago Silva did stay for the 'Final Eight' in Lisbon but has since joined Chelsea and complained that sporting director Leonardo had been "clumsy and rushed" in refusing to offer him a deal to stay.

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"Not only with me," the Brazilian told France Football. "Cavani is the top scorer in PSG's history. I am saying this so that the club progresses and doesn't make the same mistakes in future."

Tuchel would appear to agree with that view, with his apparently difficult relationship with the man who makes the signings producing regular headlines in France.

"We will do everything we possibly can and we will never accept excuses but we have to face up to the reality and that is that we have lost players," the German, who is in the final year of his contract, said earlier this month as he indicated PSG could not win the Champions League without major strengthening.

"We didn't like what he said. The club didn't like it and I didn't like it either," said Leonardo.

"If you decide to stay, you have to respect the club's sporting policy, the internal rules and the situation at the club."

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Freddy Rincón: Former Colombia captain in critical condition with severe head injuries after car crash

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Former Colombia soccer captain Freddy Rincón is in critical condition with severe head injuries after being involved in a car crash in Cali, the hospital treating him said in a statement.

The 55-year-old Rincón was admitted to hospital on Monday following a car accident in the early hours of the day, CNN en Español reported, citing local media.
The accident involved a van with four occupants, including the former player, and a bus, the Undersecretary of Mobility of Cali, Edwing Candelo, told the newspaper, El País Cali.
Five people were injured in the crash, added Candelo.
Rincón underwent surgery which lasted nearly three hours, the Imbanaco Clinic said in a statement later Monday, adding that he has been transferred to intensive care, where he remains in critical condition.

World Cup glory

Rincón played in three World Cups — 1990, 1994 and 1998 — and scored 17 goals in 84 games for Colombia.
He was born in 1966 in Buenaventura, in western Colombia, and was one of the key players of his country’s golden generation in the 1990s.
Notably, he scored against West Germany at the 1990 World Cup in Milan’s San Siro stadium, his goal coming late in the game to secure a 1-1 draw giving Colombia a place in the round-of-16 after the country’s 28-year absence from the tournament.
Rincón also scored two goals in a famed 5-0 win against Argentina in Buenos Aires in 1993.
In Colombia, he played for Santa Fe and América de Cali, with whom he won three trophies.
In 1994, Rincón joined Brazilian club Palmeiras, before then moving to Europe. He played for Italian club Napoli and then joined Spanish giant Real Madrid, becoming the first Colombian footballer to play for the La Liga club.
Rincón returned to Brazil in 1996, where he won three local titles and a Club World Cup with Corinthians.
He retired as a player in 2004 and later coached third division teams in Brazil. He was an assistant to former Brazil coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo at Atlético Mineiro in 2010 and to Jorge Luis Pinto at Millonarios de Colombia in 2019.

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Fantasy Premier League tips gameweek 19: Cristiano Ronaldo, Son Heung-min, Bukayo Saka and more

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Cristiano Ronaldo

The news of Liverpool vs Leeds’ postponement leaves a lot of managers in the lurch. Most of us have at least three players who will not be playing on Boxing Day, with captaincy favourite Mohamed Salah one of them. Where do we turn with our most reliable points-scorer suddenly wiped out?

It requires a bit of restructuring and probably a -4 hit but moving to Ronaldo, who travels to Newcastle, may not be a bad idea. Though Salah could return quickly against Leicester and Chelsea, the Africa Cup of Nations is fast approaching and Manchester United’s fixtures are strong, with an expected double gameweek on the horizon.

Son Heung-min

A more straightforward move is Salah to Son. Many managers could do it with their weekly free transfer and there is good reason to back the Tottenham winger, who scored against Liverpool last time out and has an enticing run of fixtures coming up and a likely double in gameweek 22.

Crystal Palace’s defensive numbers are still among the more impressive this season but are stronger at home than away and have faltered slightly of late, while Tottenham’s attack is gradually picking up under Antonio Conte. After the visit from Patrick Vieira’s side, Spurs face back-to-back trips to Southampton and Watford.

Bukayo Saka

After three consecutive impressive wins, Arsenal assets are all the rage this week, with heavy investment in the band of young, exciting attacking players at Mikel Arteta’s disposal. Gabriel Martinelli was a late call-up to our picks last time around and duly delivered, while Emile Smith Rowe keeps on scoring even as a substitute.

If we had to pick one for this weekend’s trip to Norwich though, it would still be Saka. He has a better chance of starting long-term than Martinelli and he has more impressive underlying numbers than Smith Rowe. In fact, those numbers have gradually ticked up after a slow start to the season, with an average of 0.6 non-penalty xG+xA over the last six games.

Kieran Tierney

While Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe are all popular picks this week, one thing to look out for is an unusual split coming up in Arsenal’s fixtures, where their schedule is a lot better from a defensive perspective than an attacking one.

With that in mind, 4.8m-rated Tierney offers a slightly more adventurous route into Arsenal’s backline than either goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale or the cheaper Ben White. The concern with Tierney, as ever, is injury and whether he can be trusted to start games during a tight schedule, but at a low ownership of 6.4%, he may be worth the risk.

Armando Broja

With all these heavy hitters to swap around and squad restructuring to do, it can be useful to leave money in the bank for flexibility. But at the same time, we need a deep squad in order to cope with the postponements and rotation. It is difficult to find players in the cheap but reliable sweet spot.

Broja is one of the better budget options. He carries a rotation risk himself and can get substituted early but, with Che Adams and Adam Armstrong still making their way back from injury, the 5.1m-priced Southampton striker should get enough minutes going forward to earn points, while freeing up funds to spend elsewhere.

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Real Madrid tied with Cadiz

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Real Madrid tied with Cadiz without goals in the match that brought them together today in the eighteenth round of the Spanish Football League “La Liga”.

With this result, Real Madrid raised its score to 43 points at the top of the standings of the Spanish League teams, and Cadiz raised its score to 14 points in 19th place.

Source: sena

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