Champions League draw offers tough groups

By AP August 30, 2018
General view of the final draw for the UEFA Champions League groups A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H on an on an electronic board during the UEFA Champions League draw at the Grimaldi Forum, in Monaco, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. General view of the final draw for the UEFA Champions League groups A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H on an on an electronic board during the UEFA Champions League draw at the Grimaldi Forum, in Monaco, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. AP Photo/Claude Paris

Cristiano Ronaldo is going back to Manchester United and Paul Pogba will return to Juventus after the teams were drawn together in a Champions League group along with Valencia and Young Boys on Thursday. 

After winning four titles at Real Madrid, and one with United, Ronaldo aims to end Juventus' 23-year wait for a third European title.

Three-time defending champion Madrid will play Roma, CSKA Moscow and Viktoria Plzen.

Barcelona heads a tough group with Tottenham, PSV Eindhoven and Inter Milan, while three former European champions Bayern Munich, Benfica, Ajax are together with AEK Athens.

Liverpool, the runner-up last season, was the toughest third-seeded team and landed with Paris Saint-Germain, Napoli, and Red Star Belgrade.

English champion Manchester City got a favorable group with Shakhtar Donetsk, Lyon and Hoffenheim.

Atletico Madrid, whose Metropolitano stadium hosts the final on June 1, is grouped with Borussia Dortmund, Monaco and Club Brugge.

Lokomotiv Moscow, seeded in the top pot, will play Porto, Schalke and Galatasaray.

The 32 teams will share a record 1.95 billion euros ($2.28 billion) in prize money from UEFA.

Games kick off on Sept. 18.

Here is the draw in full:

Group A: Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Monaco, Club Brugge
Group B: Barcelona, Tottenham, PSV, Inter
Group C: Paris Saint-Germain, Napoli, Liverpool, Red Star Belgrade
Group D: Lokomotiv Moscow, Porto, Schalke, Galatasaray
Group E: Bayern Munich, Benfica, Ajax, AEK Athens
Group F: Manchester City, Shakhtar Donetsk, Lyon, Hoffenheim
Group G: Real Madrid, Roma, CSKA Moscow, Viktoria Plzen
Group H: Juventus, Manchester United, Valencia, Young Boys

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    Madrid were stunned in the last-16 first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday as Kevin De Bruyne's 83rd-minute penalty earned City a come-from-behind win.

    Gabriel Jesus cancelled out Isco's opener, although Madrid complained about a push from the City forward on Sergio Ramos, who was later sent off for a foul on the Brazilian.

    Vinicius lamented the decision not to penalise Jesus for a foul on Ramos for the equaliser.

    "The whole stadium saw Gabriel Jesus push Ramos. He did the same as me with [Riyad] Mahrez in the first half," he said.

    "They give us bad calls. We are the team with the most Champions Leagues and it will always be that way.

    "It has been a very clear foul and I don't understand why he hasn't called it."

    Madrid had appeared in control courtesy of Isco's opener on the hour-mark, only to collapse late.

    But Vinicius remains confident in his side's ability to turn the tie around in Manchester on March 17.

    "We've got to keep cool, we're going to win there and pull off the comeback," he said.

    "We lacked focus in that final 15-minute period and that's why they got the two goals. We have to improve.

    "We know that the return leg will be tough, but we'll pull off the comeback."

  • Garcia tells Lyon to 'remain humble' after Juventus win Garcia tells Lyon to 'remain humble' after Juventus win

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    Lucas Tousart's 31st-minute goal helped Lyon to a home victory in the first leg of the last-16 tie on Wednesday.

    Garcia was delighted with Lyon's performance, particularly in the first half at Groupama Stadium.

    "I am very happy with the victory and the match. We had two sides to our play," he said, via the club's website.

    "In the first period we defended very well, we conceded nothing and we managed possession by creating chances. We rose to the level of the occasion.

    "In the second period we had more difficulties because Juventus pressed and pushed to attack, but I liked the fact that we hung on and defended as well as we did.

    "It was essential not to concede a goal and we will have to try to score at Juventus Stadium in the return to qualify. Now we must remain humble, we are at half-time of this tie.

    "Juventus are not beaten every day. We rose to the occasion by competing and dominating Juventus. We gave a lot of effort and we ran a lot. We must now rest for Sunday."

    The return leg will be played in Turin on March 17.

  • Zidane upbeat despite Madrid's loss to Man City: The tie is over 180 minutes Zidane upbeat despite Madrid's loss to Man City: The tie is over 180 minutes

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    Winners of four of the past six Champions League titles, LaLiga giants Madrid earned a 1-0 lead courtesy of Isco on the hour-mark at the Santiago Bernabeu.

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    "In a result like that there aren't many positive things, we played well but for the last 10 or 15 minutes. Now we need to go there and win if we want to go through."

    "They are mistakes and you pay when you make mistakes," Zidane continued. "That's it. But mistakes are a part of football and that's the way it is.

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