Al Sadd claimed a 3-1 win at home to Al-Nassr in Monday's second leg to edge through 4-3 on aggregate and become the first team to book their place in the AFC Champions League semi-finals.

Xavi's side squandered a one-goal lead to trail 2-1 from last month's reverse fixture but they were right back in the tie when Akram Afif headed in from the edge of the six-yard box with 26 minutes played in Doha.

Al-Nassr were again in front on aggregate seven minutes later as Abderrazak Hamdallah fired home a free-kick, but the hosts produced a stirring comeback in the second half.

Hassan Al Haydos guided a shot into the top corner to level things up once more and Baghdad Bounedjah completed the comeback from the penalty spot seven minutes from time after Afif was brought down inside the box by Abdullah Madu.

Carlo Ancelotti rates Liverpool as favourites to win the Champions League but has warned that his Napoli side have also improved since last season's meeting.

Liverpool lost 1-0 in Naples last October but won the reverse fixture to scrape through the group stage at Napoli's expense and went on to lift the famous trophy for a sixth time.

The sides face off again at Stadio San Paolo on Tuesday in their Group E opener and Ancelotti has targeted another victory on home soil against "the best team in Europe".

"Liverpool have grown because last season gave them so much awareness," he said at his pre-match news conference.

"On the other hand, we've also grown because we've added more quality to our squad.

"It'll be a hard-fought match as we'll be facing the best team in Europe. We hope to get the same result as last season."

Liverpool have built on their Champions League success by making a perfect start to this season's Premier League campaign, Jurgen Klopp's men winning all five of their matches.

Napoli conceded seven goals in their opening two Serie A games before Saturday's 2-0 win over Sampdoria, meanwhile, but Ancelotti does not intend to alter his tactics.

"We mustn't distort our identity and idea," he said. "We must take inspiration from the good things we've done and the problems we've been faced with.

"We defended very well against them last season and the defensive aspect is very important in games like these.

"I expect a team capable of defending when necessary, attacking when the opportunity arises and keeping the ball when needed. We'll need the perfect game."

Ancelotti has mixed memories of playing and managing against Liverpool but is relishing this latest showdown.

"My biggest disappointments and my greatest joys are linked to Liverpool," he said. "I lost two finals against them - one as a player with Roma and one as a coach with Milan, and I won one.

"They're a team who I feel affection for. Playing at Anfield is always a unique feeling for the environment that it creates.

"We want to be leading lights in the Champions League, but your progress is influenced by so many factors."

Hellas Verona have insisted they will always condemn incidents of racism, with the club adamant they were not made aware of any abuse allegedly aimed at AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie.

The Serie A side issued a tweet on Monday distancing themselves from reports that Kessie was targeted during Milan's 1-0 win at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi on Sunday.

Kessie is alleged to have been subjected to monkey chants from a small section of home fans, but Hellas have reiterated in a statement on their official website that the suggestions are "baseless".

"Hellas Verona FC, in reference to what was put out today by the club's Twitter account, specify that it was not at all a final position to understate any discriminatory behaviour, which has taken place on various playing fields," the statement read.

"That's because we've always condemned these incidents, committing ourselves directly to various initiatives so as to confront them and fight them as much as possible and within our competence.

"That said, we therefore believe it was simply our duty to emphasise that, in the face of some baseless news, except for the sound of whistles and general disappointment from fans regarding some debatable incidents during the game, we weren't made aware of any chants against the opposing player Kessie, nor did we hear any.

"Nevertheless, we reiterate once more that we'll always be firm in condemning any misconduct which should occur in the future, with a collaborative spirit and sensitivity."

Antonio Conte is committed to building a "special" Inter side but has called for patience from fans and media alike ahead of the Nerazzurri's Champions League meeting with Slavia Prague.

Inter have won all three of their opening Serie A fixtures under Conte and sit top of the table.

Head coach Conte, though, has insisted patience will be required throughout the campaign, conceding the Champions League will make it more difficult for him to pin down Inter's new style of play.

"It will be hard to play on more than one front. The more time you have the easier it is for the coach and also for the players to recover," Conte told a news conference.

"The Champions League is a great source of motivation, we all want to do well and go far for the fans too, but it is not easy for me in my goal of creating a side with an identity.

"There is real desire to create something special, we are laying solid foundations for something important.

"It is vital we keep our feet on the ground, but the enthusiasm must come from the results, from our hard work and our aims, so time and patience is needed.

"I played in three Champions League finals and coached Juventus in the Champions League too, my record there was good.

"At Chelsea too, I coached in the Champions League, this is my fourth season as a coach in the Champions League, but it takes time to win it, you need experience, you need to create a side with an identity.

"In the past I have coached sides still being built. It has not been easy for me."

The arrival of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez have boosted Inter's attack, while Conte's side have scored seven and conceded just once in their three league matches so far.

Lukaku has scored twice so far, though had to be taken off with an injury midway through the second half against Udinese on Saturday.

"Lukaku will train today," Conte said when asked if the forward was fit.

"He had a back injury against Udinese but we will see and evaluate his fitness."

Mexican giants Monterrey potentially await Liverpool in the semi-finals of the FIFA Club World Cup after the draw was made on Monday.

Runners-up in their only previous participation in 2005, UEFA Champions League winners Liverpool enter the tournament at the final-four stage alongside the victors of the Copa Libertadores and could face one of four sides in the semis.

The tournament opens on December 11 with New Caledonian side Hienghene Sport facing either home hopefuls Al Sadd or the AFC runners-up in Qatar.

The winners of that game will then take on Monterrey, who lifted the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League with a 2-1 aggregate win against Tigres, for the right to challenge Liverpool.

On the other side of the draw, South America's continental champions will face ES Tunis or the Asian champions in the semi-finals.

The final is scheduled for December 21 and Liverpool are guaranteed to play at least two matches as the third-place play-off takes place on the same day.

David de Gea has committed his future to Manchester United by signing a new deal until June 2023, the Premier League side have confirmed.

De Gea, 28, was set to be out of contract at the end of the 2019-20 season but has instead signed to stay at United for at least another four years.

The Spain international, who helped United win the Premier League in his second season at the club in 2012-13, had previously been linked with Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Serie A champions Juventus.

But any doubt over his future has been cleared up and De Gea could take his Old Trafford stay to 13 years if the option to extend his new deal by a further year to 2024 is exercised.

"It has been a privilege to spend eight years at this great club and the opportunity to continue my career at Manchester United is a genuine honour," De Gea told United's official website.

"Since I arrived here, I could never have imagined I would play over 350 games for this club. Now my future is fixed, all I want is to help this team achieve what I believe we can and win trophies again, together.

"As one of the senior players in the squad, I want to support and lead in any way that I can to assist the younger players, so they know what it means to play here.

"I still feel that I have so much more to achieve at the club and I truly believe that Manchester United can build on the club's tradition of success and reward our fans for their support.

"I am committed to continuing repaying the fans for all of the care that they've shown me during the good times and the bad."

Reports suggest De Gea's new deal is worth £375,000 per week and makes him the world's highest-paid goalkeeper.

The shot-stopper, who is now in fierce competition with Chelsea's Kepa Arrizabalaga to start for Spain, almost left United for Madrid in 2015, but paperwork was not submitted in time.

De Gea claimed the Premier League Golden Glove in 2017-18 and has widely been regarded as one of the world's best at his position, although he is coming off a disappointing 2018-19 campaign.

His new contract is a major boost for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's United, who have endured a mixed opening to the campaign, with the Red Devils taking eight points from five matches.

During De Gea's time at United, he has also lifted the FA Cup, EFL Cup and Europa League, and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes he will be vital in their quest to return the glory days to Old Trafford.

"I am delighted that David has committed his long-term future to the club," he said. "Over recent years, David has proved himself to be the best in the world and a vital part of our plans as we look to take Manchester United back to where it belongs.

"David is a fantastic person and his outstanding quality provides the perfect base to our defence.

"Over his time here, David has really understood the values of playing for Manchester United and now represents everything you want in a goalkeeper."

Frank Lampard has no set expectations for Tammy Abraham this season but believes the Chelsea striker has given himself every opportunity of earning an England call-up.

Abraham scored a hat-trick in a 5-2 win over Wolves on Saturday, taking his tally of Premier League goals to the season for seven, with all of them coming in Chelsea's last three outings.

The forward missed out on Gareth Southgate's most recent England squad, though he has since moved level with Sergio Aguero at the top of the Premier League scoring charts.

Abraham is also eligible for Nigeria should he decide to snub an England call-up, though Lampard is certain the 21-year-old has the mentality to succeed if he is selected by Gareth Southgate.

Chelsea's head coach also insists he always had full faith in the youngster to lead the line this term regardless of their transfer ban.

"I never had clear expectations for him, only that I believed in him and trusted him," Lampard told a news conference ahead of Chelsea's Champions League meeting with Valencia on Tuesday.

"A lot has been made of the [transfer] ban giving young players the potential opportunities, but I thought the time was right to give Tammy the opportunity at this club anyway because of the quality he's got.

"I'm really delighted he's got his goals, there's more still to come. He's in a place now where he just needs to sustain and improve even more, and I think with his mentality and how he is I hope to see that.

When asked about Abraham's England chances, Lampard said: "It's not a question for me.

"I've just spoken about how I feel about Tammy. He's put himself in the bracket for England with being top scorer at this point.

"It's one for Gareth, I'd hate to step on his toes but it's clear with what Tammy is doing he's going to be wanted."

Prior to this season, Abraham had spent the past three campaigns out on loan at Bristol City, Swansea City and Aston Villa, respectively.

Marcelo is a major doubt for Real Madrid's Champions League tie with Paris Saint-Germain after injuring his neck.

The Brazil international appeared to sustain the issue during the first half of Saturday's 3-2 win against Levante after landing awkwardly.

He completed the full 90 minutes but is now expected to miss Wednesday's Group A opener with PSG at the Parc des Princes.

Madrid, who confirmed the injury blow on Monday, have suffered a number of fitness setbacks in the opening weeks of the campaign, with the likes of Isco, Marco Asensio and Luka Modric also on the sidelines.

Zinedine Zidane is already without skipper Sergio Ramos and fellow defender Nacho Fernandez for the trip to Paris due to suspensions carried over from last season.

Lionel Messi is back in the Barcelona squad for the first time this season after recovering from a calf injury ahead of Tuesday's Champions League meeting with Borussia Dortmund.

Messi suffered the injury in pre-season and has been unable to feature even as a substitute in Barca's first four LaLiga games of the 2019-20 season.

The 32-year-old returned to training last week and took part in the full session on Sunday, despite coach Ernesto Valverde suggesting prior to Saturday's 5-2 demolition of Valencia that Messi would not be fit enough to face Dortmund.

But ahead of Tuesday's Champions League opener, Messi has been named on Barca's squad list, meaning an appearance at Signal Iduna Park is a possibility.

Barca's start to the domestic season has been indifferent without Messi.

While they thrashed Valencia and Real Betis 5-2, those victories came after a 1-0 defeat at Athletic Bilbao and either side of a 2-2 draw at promoted Osasuna.

Youngsters Carles Perez and Ansu Fati have been drafted in to help alleviate Barca's injuries woes in attack during Messi's absence, and both players have impressed.

Perez has scored one goal in four outings, while 16-year-old Fati has netted twice and got an assist in just three matches.

Luis Suarez made his return to from a brief absence against Valencia and scored twice off the bench, meaning he could potentially be brought into the starting XI in Dortmund.

Italian police have arrested 12 leading Juventus 'ultra' members as part of an investigation headed by the Turin Public Prosecutor's office.

The suspects are accused of a range of crimes, including the use of extortion and violence to obtain tickets to matches that they could later sell on.

Police confirmed fans also threatened to carry out racist chanting at games, which would result in the club being fined and potentially docked points, leading to a clampdown from Juventus.

"We found proof that many things were obtained through violence or the retaliation through racist chants, with a ban and expensive fines as a consequence [for the club]," deputy prosecutor of Turin, Patrizia Caputo, told a press conference on Monday, as reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport

"The club have had the courage to sue and that was very important. But even the other tifosi [fans] were victims of threats and couldn't go to the stadium anymore because they can't stand menaces, the environment and the racist behaviour."

Hellas Verona have denied their supporters racially abused AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie and demanded more respect for their fans.

Kessie was allegedly targeted during Milan's 1-0 Serie A win at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi on Sunday.

Monkey chants are reported to have been aimed at the Ivory Coast international, but Hellas have issued a statement on Twitter to refute those suggestions.

"Racist chants against Kessie? Insults against [Gianluigi] Donnarumma? Maybe someone was baffled by the decibel of the Gialloblu supporters," the club tweeted. 

"[We heard] unavoidable whistles against the referee's decisions which still leave us very perplexed today. 

"And then, lots of cheers for our gladiators at the end of the match. Let's not stumble on cliches and old labels. Respect for Verona and its people."

An Italian sports programme has suspended pundit Luciano Passirani after he made a racist remark on air about Inter striker Romelu Lukaku.

Passirani made the comment on TopCalcio24 on Sunday while praising Lukaku's performances for Inter this season after the Nerazzurri earned a third win from as many Serie A games by beating Udinese 1-0.

A clip was subsequently shared on social media and Passirani has now been banned from appearing on the show.

"Mr Passirani is 80 years old and to compliment Lukaku he used a metaphor that turned out to be racist," programme director Fabio Ravezzani, who also confirmed Passirani had apologised, stated.

"I think it was a terrible lack of momentary lucidity. I cannot tolerate any kind of errors, even if momentary."

Lukaku made the switch to Inter from Manchester United in the August and has scored twice in three Serie A outings thus far.

Lukaku was the target of abuse in Inter's win over Cagliari last month.

Monkey chants could be heard as the Belgium striker converted a penalty in the 2-1 win, with Lukaku posting on Instagram afterwards: "Football is a game to be enjoyed and we shouldn't accept any form of discrimination that will put our game in shame.

"Ladies and gentlemen it's 2019 – instead of going forwards we're going backwards."

Cristiano Ronaldo said he felt "embarrassed" after being accused of rape.

Kathryn Mayorga claimed Ronaldo raped her in a hotel room in Las Vegas 10 years ago, with German publication Der Spiegel reporting the story last October.

Ronaldo repeatedly denied the accusation and the Clark County District Attorney's Office announced in July that the Juventus striker would not face charges as they could not "be proven beyond a reasonable doubt".

According to Der Spiegel, Mayorga first made a complaint of sexual assault in 2009 and subsequently reached an out-of-court settlement with Ronaldo. It was claimed by the magazine she was paid $375,000 as part of a privacy agreement, preventing her from going public with the allegations.

The Portuguese, speaking to Piers Morgan in an interview to be aired on ITV on Tuesday, has spoken for the first time about the impact the case has had on his family life.

"They play with your dignity. It's hard," said Ronaldo.

"You have a girlfriend, you have a family, you have kids. When they play with your honesty, it's bad, it's hard.

"I remember one day I was at home in the living room with my girlfriend watching the television, to see the news and they talk about Cristiano Ronaldo and this and that, I listened to my kids coming down the stairs and I changed the channel because I was embarrassed.

"I felt embarrassed, I just changed the channel for Cristiano Jr not to see that they speak badly about his father, about a very bad case. It makes me feel so bad, to be honest."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic broke an LA Galaxy goalscoring record in Sunday's 7-2 win over Sporting Kansas City and said finding the target is easy for him. 

Ibrahimovic scored a hat-trick in Sunday's rout, taking him to 26 MLS goals for the season, surpassing Carlos Ruiz as the player with the most league goals in a single season for the Galaxy.

The victory moved Guillermo Barros Schelotto's men up to fifth in the Western Conference, boosting their play-off chances with four matches of the regular season remaining.

Former Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United star Ibrahimovic, however, was typically flippant in his response to bringing up his landmark tally.

"Scoring goals is easy, you just have to be like Zlatan and it's coming," said the 37-year-old, who is two goals behind leading scorer Carlos Vela.

"I try to help the team in the best way and that is by scoring goals. I scored and I have to keep going, I have to help my team in the best way and that is to score goals and make it easier for everybody."

Despite the large margin of victory, the Galaxy did not have it all their own way at Dignity Health Sports Park, where Felipe Gutierrez put Kansas ahead before Ibrahimovic equalised and the hosts ran riot in the second half.

Joe Corona headed the hosts in front after the interval, with Ibrahimovic's second goal of the match setting the club's new record before Uriel Antuna got in on the act.

"It's a great result, it was a good game," said Ibrahimovic.

"The result says something else but the first half was very even, we played against a good team which plays good football. In the second we were stronger and when we got the opportunities we were scoring so that was the difference.

"It's good, we still have four games to go. To win, to get the confidence, even to score many goals for the goal difference. Everyone did a good job, even if we were a little bit tired in the end, but we did a good job."

Once dubbed the 'German Messi', Marko Marin has found his home at boyhood club Red Star Belgrade.

Marin's European odyssey has taken him to Borussia Monchengladbach, Werder Bremen, Premier League giants Chelsea, Sevilla, Fiorentina, Anderlecht, Trabzonspor and Olympiacos.

Now, in Belgrade – less than a three-hour drive from where Marin was born in the Bosnian city of Gradiska – the 30-year-old attacker is playing a key role in restoring the global reputation of 1991 European Cup champions Red Star, having disappeared off the radar.

"Even more for me, with my childhood club because I'm a fan from a kid," Marin, a league winner with Red Star and Olympiacos, told Omnisport as he reflected on Red Star's Champions League qualification. "To play Champions League with them is even more special. It's a very nice experience to bring the Champions League back to Serbia after so many years."

Born in Bosnia-Herzegovina to Bosnian Serb parents in 1989, Marin – a Europa League winner with Chelsea (2013) and Sevilla (2014) moved to Germany at the age of two and 16 international caps for his new country followed.

Marin waited for calls from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia but they were not forthcoming as he opted for Germany – he was rewarded with a spot in Joachim Low's 2010 World Cup squad after impressing for Bremen.

While he represented Die Mannschaft, Marin's love for Serbian powerhouse Red Star – who snapped a 26-year drought from Europe's premier club competition last term – runs deep and a second successive season of Champions League football means a lot to the club captain.

"It's different because you play with more passion for the club," Marin said when asked about the satisfaction of qualifying. "You always give everything for the club you represent because it's your job and love football. But it's different if you play for the club you really loved as a kid.

"We have many players in the team like this. The foreign players maybe give us more quality but the main group of the team and the strength – when you grow up as a Red Star fan, many of them trained in the youth team. It's a bit different to play Champions League for Chelsea or Werder Bremen for example."

"After every game, Belgrade and Serbia is so happy and even kids outside of the country," he said. "I grew up in Germany and I was a fan of Red Star and when I went with my friends to school, you would always talk and I said that I'm a Red Star fan but they didn't really know. But now, Red Star are playing in the biggest competition in Europe. You make Red Star big again. They're getting used to it. This is a motivation.

"For sure this season, we will make some good games. Even qualifying for the group stage is a big, big success. If you compare with Manchester City, Barcelona or Real Madrid, their aim is to win the Champions League... ours is to qualify first."

Marin arrived at Red Star from Greek giants Olympiacos prior to the side's 2018-19 Champions League group-stage campaign involving eventual champions Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain and Napoli.

One of the game's most promising talents a decade ago, Marin's switch from Piraeus to Belgrade last year barely made the news outside of Serbia. What could have been is a question often asked about the Bosnian-born German. But what does he think about his career?

"It's a fantastic career," Marin replied. "I played in nearly every big league for the biggest teams. When I was at Bremen, we played for the title and in the Champions League. At Chelsea, I don't have to explain how big this team is and Sevilla.

"Maybe it could be better, for sure. There are some reasons. Maybe I wasn't patient enough in some situations. Injuries didn't help to make it even bigger. But I wouldn't have this experience with Red Star if this didn't happen. I'm very happy with my career. To feel this what I feel at the moment, it's the best part of my career."

Marin, who joined Chelsea on a five-year deal from Bremen in 2012, added: "Who knows what would've happened if I stayed longer in Germany? The experience to play for Chelsea was amazing. To play alongside the best players, the professionals. [Frank] Lampard, [John] Terry – these leaders. How they train every day and the passion and quality. I saw this for the first time in Chelsea. I played before with very good players but that was another level."

Fast forward to this season and Marin's Red Star are preparing to welcome Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, 2019 Champions League runners-up Tottenham and Olympiacos to Rajko Mitic Stadium – also known as the Marakana – in Group B.

Red Star will be relying on their fanatical and daunting home support in the Serbian capital, where Liverpool lost 2-0 in November – one of four defeats for last season's champions in the 2018-19 competition – as Vladan Milojevic's men eye a third-place finish.

"It's difficult for teams coming here because they don't know, they can't expect this," Marin said. "Before last season's game against Liverpool in the news conference I said you will see it's completely different. I know Anfield is amazing with a big crowd, but it's totally different to what they experienced in Belgrade. You cannot explain it.

"They go to warm-up and the stadium is already full. We were waiting to come out of this big, long tunnel that you don't have anywhere in the world. Then you go out and the stadium is exploding. It's not easy for visiting teams. We play 11 against 11 but when they feel this atmosphere, it's different.

"I hope we can challenge for third place. I'm not sure if would be a surprise if we take some points because people know us and how difficult it is to play at Marakana. Our strength is team work and it's even more so at home. Of course we have quality but the biggest strength is teamwork."

And what about the 'German Messi' tag? "I couldn't change this. It didn't come from me. We all know there's only one Messi and no one is even near him. It wasn't big pressure because I don't think they took it seriously when they compared me to Messi. He is the number one. [Cristiano] Ronaldo is another type of player. Maybe they see it as my ability maybe in one-on-one situations. I take it as a compliment but it's not a real comparison."

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