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Holders Liverpool go down to Napoli, Barca held by Valencia in UEFA Champions League

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Napoli footballers celebrate after scoring against Liverpool.

Paris: Holders Liverpool began their defence of the Champions League trophy with a defeat against Napoli on Tuesday, while one missed spot-kick condemned Chelsea to defeat against Valencia and another came to Barcelona’s rescue.current sports news

Liverpool survived a 1-0 defeat in Naples in the group stage last season to go on and win their sixth European Cup, and this time a 2-0 reverse at the San Paolo made them the first reigning champions to lose their opening game in the competition since 1994.

Both sides had chances in the Group E clash before the hosts won a late penalty with barely 10 minutes remaining when Jose Callejon went down under an Andy Robertson challenge.

Dries Mertens beat Adrian from 12 yards and substitute Fernando Llorente — who played for Tottenham Hotspur against Liverpool in last season’s final — then took advantage of a rare defensive lapse by Virgil van Dijk to make it 2-0 in stoppage time.

“I don’t think it’s a penalty. What can I say, for me, it is clear and obvious no penalty,” Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said of the spot-kick to BT Sport. “We played a lot of good football but didn’t finish it off.”

Hat-trick hero Haaland

Liverpool must now bounce back in two weeks when they host Austrian champions Salzburg, who made a stunning return to the group stage as teenage forward Erling Braut Haaland netted a hat-trick in a 6-2 demolition of Genk.

Salzburg had fallen in the qualifying rounds in the last seven campaigns but finally progressed this season to the group stage for the first time since 1994-95.

Haaland, the teenage English-born Norwegian striker whose father Alf-Inge played for Manchester City, gave Salzburg a second-minute lead and netted twice more before half-time.

Aged just 19 years and 58 days, Haaland is the third-youngest player to score a Champions League hat-trick behind Wayne Rooney and Raul, according to sports statisticians Opta.

The South Korean Hwang Hee-Chan and Dominik Szoboszlai also struck before the break for Salzburg, while captain Andreas Ulmer completed the rout in the second half.

Jhon Lucumi and Tanzanian striker Mbwana Samatta scored for the Belgian champions.

Last season’s Europa League winners Chelsea ensured it was two defeats out of two on the night for English sides as they lost 1-0 at home to Valencia.

The Spaniards scored in the 74th minute when a Dani Parejo free-kick was converted by Rodrigo Moreno. Chelsea were given a chance to rescue a draw when Daniel Wass was penalised for handball in the box, but Ross Barkley’s 87th-minute penalty hit the bar and went over.

“It’s a harsh lesson of Champions League football, a game we’ve played pretty well in and we lose it,” said Chelsea boss Frank Lampard. “The good thing is we have five more games to turn it around.”

Ajax impress

Also in Group H, last season’s semi-finalists Ajax claimed an impressive 3-0 home win over Lille with two of their newest signings among the goals.

Quincy Promes headed the Dutch champions in front and the Mexican Edson Alvarez doubled their lead early in the second half before Nicolas Tagliafico sealed the win.

After a patchy start to the season, Barcelona will be relieved to escape from their trip to Borussia Dortmund with a 0-0 draw as Lionel Messi returned from injury as a second-half substitute.

The home side will feel they should have won, but Marco Reus had a second-half penalty saved before Julian Brandt hit the bar late on.

“We played brilliantly in the second half, and it feels a bit like we have lost two points,” Dortmund defender Mats Hummels told Sky.

Those two appear well placed already to progress from Group F after Inter Milan needed a stoppage-time Nicolo Barella goal to rescue a 1-1 draw against rank outsiders Slavia Prague.

Nigerian forward Peter Olayinka put Slavia ahead in the 63rd minute, only for Barella to level in the second minute of stoppage time after a Stefano Sensi free-kick hit the bar.

In Group G, RB Leipzig won 2-1 at Benfica with Timo Werner bagging a brace before Haris Seferovic pulled one back.

Earlier, Memphis Depay’s penalty gave Lyon a 1-1 draw at home to Zenit Saint-Petersburg after Iranian striker Sardar Azmoun opened the scoring.

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Jamshedpur rally to beat debutants Odisha FC in ISL

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Action during JFC's match against Odisha FC.

Jamshedpur: A 10-man Jamshedpur FC overcame the odds and put up a spirited display to defeat Odisha FC 2-1 in a thrilling Indian Super League match.

Farukh Choudhary broke the deadlock in the 17th minute fortuitously, but the lead was put in danger by a red card that Bikash Jairu picked up with 10 minutes to go for the half-time whistle.

Aridane Santana stuck soon after to restore parity for Odisha FC but a fighting second-half culminated in Sergio Castel finding a winner in the 85th minute for the home side at the JRD Tata Sports Complex.

The two teams looked to get on the scoresheet early and it was Odisha FC that threatened first. Xisco Hernandez fed Jerry Mawhmingthanga down the right flank and the winger’s floating cross was headed just wide by Aridane Santana.

The re-branded Bhubaneswar-based side continued to push and went close again four minutes later. Xisco split the Jamshedpur defence to send Jerry free down the right flank but the winger’s curling effort ricocheted off the post.

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‘Ageless’ Cristiano Ronaldo not ready to retire yet

Press Trust of India

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Turin: Cristiano Ronaldo reassured Juventus supporters and his legions of fans worldwide that at 34 he’s not ready for retirement yet.

“Age is just a number. It does not mean that at 34, 35, 36 you are at the end of your career,” Ronaldo said at a news conference ahead of Juventus’ Champions League match against Lokomotiv Moscow.

“I can show that with my performances, how I play, the way I play, the way I still feel good, sharp, thinking about the game, more mature. This makes the difference.”

In the second season of a four-year deal at Juventus, Ronaldo had sparked concern among his fans when he said in an interview published a few weeks ago that he was starting to enjoy seeing himself “outside of football, so who knows what will happen in the next year or two?”

Ronaldo recently scored his 700th goal as a professional while on international duty with Portugal and has been nominated for a record sixth Ballon d’Or award which would break his tie of five with Lionel Messi.

But Ronaldo said he’s more interested in winning a treble with Juventus.

“We want to win Serie A, we want to win the Cup, the Champions League,” he said. “Juventus should think big. … We are going to try to win all the trophies, we know it will be difficult, especially the league and the Champions League, but I think it is possible. Everything is possible.

“In terms of individual, I have nothing to say as this is individual. It is not the most important thing,” Ronaldo added.

“The most important is the collective awards. If you win the collective awards you have more chance to win the individual awards. … The Golden Ball is for me in second place.”

While retirement may not be on Ronaldo’s mind yet, family time is a big part of his life now.

“To win games, to score goals, to enjoy myself, to arrive home and see my kids happy and say, ‘Congratulations daddy for scoring a goal.’ That makes me happy,” he said. “This is my motivation to come to train, for the games, to entertain people and the fans with my passion.”

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Messi to battle Ronaldo, Van Dijk for Ballon d’Or award

Press Trust of India

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Paris: Lionel Messi will have Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk as rivals for the 2019 Ballon d’Or award. But not Neymar.

When the long list of 30 candidates was announced where Neymar has played for more than two years at Paris Saint-Germain the Brazil star’s name was missing from the nominations by a global voting panel of journalists.

Messi and Ronaldo’s 10-year grip on the individual award organised by France Football magazine was broken by Luka Modric last December.

Modric is also absent one year after he swept the Ballon d’Or and FIFA best player awards after a stellar 2018 with Real Madrid and Croatia.

World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe is favored to add a Ballon d’Or to her FIFA award won last month.

The United States star is joined on a 20-woman list by teammates Tobin Heath and Alex Morgan. Defending her title is Ada Hegerberg, winner of the inaugural women’s award, from Europe’s dominant club team Lyon which has six nominees.

Neymar has twice placed third in Ballon d’Or voting, both times finishing behind Messi and Ronaldo. Moving out of Messi’s shadow in Barcelona, where they won a Champions League title together in 2015, has not delivered the personal acclaim Neymar sought.

Messi won his sixth FIFA award last month, edging Van Dijk who starred in Liverpool’s Champions League-winning team.

Van Dijk would be the first defender topping the poll since Italy’s World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.

The Liverpool center back was among seven teammates nominated, including Alisson Becker and Roberto Firmino. They also won the Copa America with a Brazil team that managed without an injured Neymar.

Van Dijk and Georginio Wijnaldum also figured in the five nominees from a resurgent Netherlands team. No Dutch player has won since Marco van Basten in 1992.

Liverpool forwards Sadio Man and Mohamed Salah are among a six-strong African challenge, including Man ‘s Senegal teammate, Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly.

The only Asian player on the list is South Korea forward Son Heung-min of Champions League finalist Tottenham.

The awards ceremony is December 2 in Paris.

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Men’s list: Sergio Ag ero (Argentina, Manchester City), Trent Alexander-Arnold (England, Liverpool), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon, Arsenal), Alisson Becker (Brazil, Liverpool), Karim Benzema (France, Real Madrid), Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium, Manchester City), Frenkie De Jong (Netherlands, Ajax/Barcelona), Matthijs de Ligt (Netherlands, Ajax/Juventus), Jo o F lix (Portugal, Benfica/ Atl tico Madrid), Roberto Firmino (Brazil, Liverpool), Antoine Griezmann (France, Atl tico Madrid/Barcelona), Eden Hazard (Belgium, Chelsea/Real Madrid), Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal, Napoli), Robert Lewandowski (Poland, Bayern Munich), Hugo Lloris (France, Tottenham), Riyad Mahrez (Algeria, Manchester City), Sadio Man (Senegal, Liverpool), Marquinhos (Brazil, Paris Saint-Germain), Kylian Mbapp (France, Paris Saint-Germain), Lionel Messi (Argentina, Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, Juventus), Mohamed Salah (Egypt, Liverpool), Bernardo Silva (Portugal, Manchester City), Son Heung-Min (South Korea, Tottenham), Raheem Sterling (England, Manchester City), Dusan Tadic (Serbia, Ajax), Marc-Andr ter Stegen (Germany, Barcelona), Donny van de Beek (Netherlands, Ajax), Virgil van Dijk (Netherlands, Liverpool), Georginio Wijnaldum (Netherlands, Liverpool).

Women’s list:

Kosovare Asllani (Sweden, Link pings/Tacon), Sarah Bouhaddi (France, Lyon), Lucy Bronze (England, Lyon), Pernille Harder (Denmark, Wolfsburg), Ada Hegerberg (Norway, Lyon), Amandine Henry (France, Lyon), Nilla Fischer (Sweden, Wolfsburg/Link pings), Tobin Heath (United States, Portland Thorns), Sofia Jakobsson (Sweden, Montpellier/Tacon), Sam Kerr (Australia, Perth Glory/Chicago Red Stars), Rose Lavelle (United States, Washington Spirit), Dzsenifer Marozsan (Germany, Lyon), Marta (Brazil, Orlando Pride), Lieke Martens (Netherlands, Barcelona), Vivianne Miedema (Netherlands/Arsenal), Alex Morgan (United States, Orlando Pride), Megan Rapinoe (United States, Seattle Reign), Wendie Renard (France, Lyon), Sari van Veenendaal (Netherlands, Arsenal/Atletico Madrid), Ellen White (England, Manchester City).

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