Soccer News and Notes: Champions League Race Is On In England
Liverpool wrapped up the English Premier League and now has the most points ever after 34 games (92), which gives them a good chance at breaking Manchester City’s 100 points record with four games left.
While we still await news of City’s appeal of their two-year Champions League ban, it is unknown whether fifth place will be good enough to secure 2020-21 CL play. Eventually, four teams from England will advance, and City’s ban may be upheld.
City heads into the weekend in second place with 69 points, nine ahead of Chelsea, and 10 ahead of Leicester City. Manchester United set a Premier League record by winning their fourth-straight game by three goals or more on Thursday and are one point behind Leicester.
Those teams will face each other in the final game of the season, while Chelsea plays sixth-place Wolverhampton, which has slipped to 52 points.
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Real Madrid Charging Forward
Real Madrid has won all seven games since the restart, outscoring its opponents 13-2, and they have four straight shutouts as they have taken over first place from Barcelona by one point. However, Los Blancos have four games remaining, and Barcelona only has three fixtures left.
The schedule is kind as well for Real Madrid as they face two teams in the bottom five, 10th-place Granada and fifth-place Real Villarreal, down the stretch.
Atletico Madrid and Sevilla are in the final two Champions League spots scrambling to hold off Villarreal while Getafe and Real Sociedad are still mathematically alive for the top four. Espanyol was sent to relegation after a 1-0 loss to cross-town Barcelona on Sunday while Leganes and Mallorca are desperate to catch Eibar.
Juventus Stumbles; Lazio Can’t Capitalize
Serie A was the last major European league to restart, and they still have seven games remaining for all teams heading into the July 10-12 weekend. Juventus stumbled against AC Milan midweek, blowing a 2-0 lead and falling 4-2, but Lazio couldn’t capitalize as they lost to 19th-place Lecce 2-1. Juventus still has a seven-point lead as they go after their ninth straight Scudetto.
Nothing is clinched in Serie A, but Lazio (68 pts), Atalanta (66) and Inter Milan (65) have separated themselves in the top-four Champions League race. Roma and Napoli sit tied for fifth with 51 points while AC Milan has 49.
MLS is Back Tournament
The MLS is Back Tournament kicked off Wednesday night with an emotional tribute to George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement. Players from multiple teams took a knee in silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds before Orlando City faced Inter Miami in the tournament opener.
The display was organized by Black Players for Change, an initiative formed in June to bring inclusion to MLS players.
On the field, Nani’s late goal gave Orlando City a 2-1 win in the Group A opener at the Wide World of Sports Complex while Philadelphia Union beat NYCFC 1-0 in the second game.
The tournament has had some off-the-field hiccups as both FC Dallas and Nashville SC were removed from the tournament due to multiple cases of COVID-19, while some stars elected not to play at all.