The reigning UEFA Champions League champions can take a big step towards the UCL last 16 on Wednesday.
[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]
Premier League leaders Liverpool head to Genk as Jurgen Klopp‘s men aim to end their run of four-straight defeats away from home in the UCL group stage. Following their defeat to Napoli in their Group E opener and a narrow home win against RB Salzburg in Week 2, Klopp knows a big win is needed to get them back on track ahead of some tough games to close out to group stage.
Elsewhere, in Group F Borussia Dortmund head to Inter Milan in a monster clash at the San Siro, while Barcelona travel to Slavia Prague. Napoli head to RB Salzburg as Jesse Marsch’s upstarts have the chance to cause a huge shock in Group E, while Benfica host Lyon in Group G and Lille host Valencia in Group H.
Below is the full schedule for Wednesday’s late games, with all games kicking off at 3 p.m. ET.
Click on the link above to follow all of the action live, while we will have you covered with a roundup of the action right here on Pro Soccer Talk.
Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League schedule
Genk v. Liverpool
Red Bull Salzburg v. Napoli
Slavia Prague v. Barcelona
Inter Milan v. Borussia Dortmund
Benfica v. Lyon
Lille v. Valencia
Thierry Henry has been named as the new manager of the Montreal Impact in Major League Soccer.
Henry, 42, has signed a two-year contract to lead Montreal and has an option to extend his deal to 2022.
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Speaking about his return to MLS, this time as a manager, Henry is delighted to be heading to Quebec.
“It’s an honour to coach the Montreal Impact and return to MLS,” Henry said. “It’s a league I know well, in which I had some very nice moments. To be in Quebec, in Montreal, which has an enormous multicultural heritage, it’s extraordinary. I’ve always kept an eye on the club and now I’m here.”
Henry holds his UEFA Pro licence and his previous managerial experience includes being the assistant manager for the Belgian national team before and during the 2018 World Cup and then a brief stint at his former club Monaco.
The latter didn’t go well, with Henry fired less than four months into the job and with Monaco battling relegation in Ligue 1.
Henry has also worked as a TV pundit for Sky Sports in the UK after he called time on his legendary playing career with Monaco, Juventus, Arsenal, Barcelona and the New York Red Bulls.
But coaching has always been his plan, and now the World Cup winner has the chance, just like his former Arsenal and France teammate Patrick Vieira, to stamp his identity on an MLS club.
It will certainly be interesting to see how the legendary French striker gets on as a head coach in MLS, but at least he knows from his playing days how the league operates and some of the logistical challenges that will face him and his team.
The Impact have missed the MLS playoffs in each of the past three seasons and parted ways with previous boss Wilmer Cabrera, who had taken over after Remi Garde’s tumultuous time in charge.
Players will certainly flock to Montreal to play for Henry, but given some of the reports about his time in charge of Monaco and how strict he was on the training ground, it will be interesting to see how Henry’s approach has developed, if at all.
Senegal and Nigeria started with wins on the first day of the final stage of qualifying for the 2021 African Cup of Nations on Wednesday.
Senegal was comfortable in a 2-0 victory over Republic of Congo, and Nigeria less so when it came from behind to edge Benin 2-1.
Senegal opened its qualifying campaign less than four months after losing to Algeria in the final of this year’s African Cup in Egypt. Sidy Sarr and Habibou Diallo sealed the win over Congo in Group I with first-half goals. Sadio Mane also played.
Semifinalists at this year’s African Cup, the Nigerians made a fumbling start to the decisive group stage when they went behind in the third minute at home in Uyo to Stephane Sessegnon‘s goal following a defensive error. Victor Osimhen converted a penalty on the brink of halftime and Samuel Kalu scored the winner in the second half to put three-time African champions Nigeria top of Group L.
The result provided some relief for Nigeria head coach Gernot Rohr, whose relationship with the Nigeria Football Federation has become uneasy since failing to make the African Cup final in Egypt.
Cameroon, the 2021 host, was held 0-0 at home by Cape Verde to draw another blank under new coach Toni Conceicao, the second goalless draw in two games under Conceicao. Cameroon has already qualified as host but is playing in qualifying for match practice. The Cameroonians couldn’t find the target again in their Group F opener after a 0-0 draw against Tunisia in the Portuguese coach’s first game in charge a month ago. Conceicao replaced former Netherlands international Clarence Seedorf, who was fired after Cameroon’s title defense at this year’s African Cup in Egypt ended with a round of 16 defeat by Nigeria.
The top two in each group will qualify for the 24-team finals except in Cameroon’s group, where just one other team will make it through. The qualifiers run until November next year.
African champion Algeria starts its campaign on Thursday against Zambia. Egypt plays Kenya the same day and the Pharaohs will be without Mohamed Salah for that game and Monday’s meeting with Comoros, the Egyptian Football Association said, because of an ankle injury. Salah has been wearing a protective boot on his left foot while sitting out training with Egypt.
New coach Hossam el-Badry, a former Egypt player, will take charge of his country in a competitive game for the first time against Kenya as the team moves on from the bitter disappointment of not even making the quarterfinals at their home tournament this year. That failure led to the departure of coach Javier Aguirre and the resignation of the entire EFA board.
There were also wins in Wednesday’s qualifiers for Namibia, Malawi, Sudan, Gambia, Central African Republic and Guinea-Bissau. Sudan provided the most resounding result with a 4-0 rout of 10-man Sao Tome and Principe.
Sierra Leone and Lesotho drew 1-1 in an eventful game in an empty stadium in Freetown. Sierra Leone was ordered by FIFA to play the game behind closed doors as punishment for fans misbehaving in a game against Liberia in September, when they threw objects and invaded the field.
Kwame Quee gave Sierra Leone the lead with 20 minutes to go. Thabantso Jane equalized in injury time and after both teams had a man sent off. Lesotho captain Marepe Basia was given a second yellow for his foul on George Davies in the final 10 minutes. Davies was sent off for retaliating.
Sterling, 24, has been left out of England’s EURO 2020 qualifier against Montenegro at Wembley on Thursday after he confronted Liverpool defender Joe Gomez in the players’ canteen, and they had to be separated after Sterling tried to grab Gomez around the neck.
Southgate decided to keep Sterling in the squad and let him train with the rest of the England team, but has punished the Man City winger by making him unavailable for the game on Thursday.
“I wouldn’t imagine that he’s hugely enthusiastic. But I can understand that and in the end he’s with the group,” Southgate said. “He’s a massive part of what we do. He’s with us for the game tomorrow, he’s back with the team on the training pitch enjoying his football. He trained superbly well, as he always does. The thing is finished.”
Southgate added that Sterling will play in England’s final EURO 2020 qualifier at Kosovo on Sunday, with the Three Lions needing just a point from their final two qualifiers to qualify for the tournament.
The punishment for Sterling has divided opinion, with some believing Southgate’s strong stance was warranted as he continues to unify the Three Lions squad but others believe the incident should have been kept in-house.
A bust-up between Sterling and Gomez following the heated battle between Liverpool and Man City 24 hours previous was always going to be leaked out somehow. Southgate seized control of the situation and Sterling was made an example of.
England’s players now know that any squabbling about games they play against one another for their respective clubs is not allowed.
Sterling’s name has been in the news for the wrong reasons once again, but after he attacked a teammate in the England players’ canteen and has since apologized and accepted he was wrong, he can have no complaints.
A diversity report shows improved racial hiring practices for Major League Soccer but also highlighted a continuing decline in gender hiring efforts.
The annual report card from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at Central Florida on Wednesday gave MLS an A with 93.9 points for racial hiring in 2019 for its highest score in 15 years.
[ MORE: Top 25 players in USMNT pool ]
But the gender score of 72 points for a C grade fell for the third straight time, down from 76.8 points in 2018 and 81 points as recently as 2016.
The overall grade for MLS was a B at 82.9 points, falling from a B-plus and 85 points in 2018.
TIDES director Richard Lapchick, the lead report author, called lower gender hiring numbers across men’s professional sports a “systemic problem.”
Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap