London, Sep 17 (AP/UNB) — Barcelona helps to usher in a new-look to the Champions League on Tuesday as fans adjust to new staggered kickoff times.
Most matches in the group stage will now begin simultaneously at 2100 GMT, 15 minutes later than in previous seasons. That is to accommodate a couple of games being played in a new earlier slot of 1855 CET to maximize television audiences.
So when the group stage begins on Tuesday it won't be such a late finish at the Camp Nou for Barcelona's game against PSV Eindhoven or at the San Siro where Inter Milan plays Tottenham.
Inter benefited from the fourth-place teams in England, Germany, Spain and Italy now securing a direct route into the group stage, rather than having to contest a playoff.
What has not changed is four groups are in action on Tuesday, and the other four on Wednesday. Here is a look the groups playing on Tuesday:
GROUP A (MONACO, BORUSSIA DORTMUND, ATLETICO MADRID, CLUB BRUGGE)
None of the quartet reached the knockout phase last season.
It was considered a debacle for Atletico, which had made at least the quarterfinals for four successive seasons, including two finals. Diego Simeone's team still made the best of a bad situation, though, dropping into the Europa League and winning the second-tier competition.
But Atletico has labored at the start of its domestic campaign, winning only one of four La Liga matches. There is a greater incentive for Atletico to reach the final because it is hosting the game in June.
The journey begins with a trip to Monaco, which is also struggling in the domestic league, with just one win from five in France.
Like Monaco, Borussia Dortmund only collected two points in the group stage last season. But Lucien Favre's team is unbeaten so far in the Bundesliga with two wins from three as it prepares to travel to Belgium to face Club Brugge.
Back in the Champions League group stage after a 13-year absence, Brugge has had the best preparation at home by winning six and drawing once so far in the league.
GROUP B (BARCELONA, TOTTENHAM, PSV EINDHOVEN, INTER MILAN)
Lionel Messi's Barcelona has had to endure seeing archrival Real Madrid win three Champions League finals in a row. Beating Madrid to the La Liga title did little to banish the humiliation of Barcelona's quarterfinal exit in Europe last year. There is unfinished business for the five-time European champions after throwing away a 4-1 lead over Roma by losing 3-0 in the second leg.
Barcelona must return to Italy to play Inter Milan, which is back in the continent's premier competition after a seven-season absence. The three-time European champions have experienced a fall from grace since winning the treble under Jose Mourinho in 2010, including the Champions League title.
PSV Eindhoven coach Mark van Bommel has an early return to Barcelona where he won the Champions as a player in 2006. PSV is in the group stage for the 16th time but the Dutch club's only success in the continental competition came before the inception of the Champions League when it lifted the European Cup in 1988.
Tottenham is the only team in the group yet to collect the trophy but has been the most consistent side over three seasons in the Premier League, without actually winning the title, ensuring a hat trick of Champions League appearances for the first time.
GROUP C (PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN, NAPOLI, LIVERPOOL, RED STAR BELGRADE)
After helping Paris Saint-Germain re-establish domestic dominance last year, Neymar has little to prove with the club apart from achieving the big mission: Delivering a European title to the Qatari ownership. With Kylian Mbappe coming off the back of a starring role for winners France at the World Cup, new coach Thomas Tuchel has a wealth of attacking options.
PSG will meet one of the few teams in the competition which can rival its talent: Liverpool, which lost to Madrid in last season's final. Flush with more than $200 million in off-season signings, Liverpool has an early test of its credentials when it hosts PSG at Anfield.
Serbian champion Red Star Belgrade is making its first appearance in the Champions League proper after last contesting the European Cup group stage in 1991 as holders.
Napoli, which won the 1989 UEFA Cup for its only European title, has a Champions League winner in the dugout. The Serie A club is still adapting to the command of Carlo Ancelotti, who replaced Maurizio Sarri and has introduced a 4-4-2 formation.
GROUP D (LOKOMOTIV MOSCOW, PORTO, SCHALKE, GALATASARAY)
Porto, the last team to win the Champions League from outside Europe's top four leagues, is the favorite to progress from arguably the weakest of the eight groups.
Porto's opponents are returning to the Champions League group stage after some time away: Galatasaray is back after three seasons, four for Schalke and 15 for Lokomotiv Moscow.
Winning the Russian title meant the Railwaymen were seeded first for the group, but they should not be considered favorites to top the group. Despite starting their domestic season poorly, the Russians have players with big-game experience — particularly recent World Cup finalist Vedran Corluka of Croatia.
Bridgeview, Sep 17 (AP/UNB) — Nemanja Nikolic scored twice, reaching eight goals in nine games, and the Chicago Fire beat last-place Orlando City 4-0 on Sunday.
Chicago (7-15-6) won for the second time in its last 14 matches. Orlando (7-18-3) has only eight points since May 1.
In the opening minutes, Dax McCarty stole a back-heel pass and played it ahead to Michael de Leeuw, who rolled it across goal for Nikolic's redirection. In the 70th minute, Raheem Edwards intercepted a pass near midfield, dribbled it to the 18-yard box and found a trailing Nikolic for his 14th goal of the season.
Aleksandar Katai made it 2-0 in the 28th. Goalkeeper Joe Bendik had a poor first touch on a back pass and Djordje Mihailovic rolled it across an empty net for Katai's easy finish. De Leeuw, who recently returned from an ACL injury last season, tapped home a redirected corner kick in the 56th.
Chicago goalkeeper Richard Sanchez denied Dominic Dwyer's breakaway shot in the 64th.
Milan, Sep 16 (AP/UNB) — When the first goal finally came, it couldn't have been any easier for Cristiano Ronaldo.
It took the former Real Madrid forward nearly 320 minutes to score his first league goal for Juventus and he did it with the simplest of tap-ins. Ronaldo doubled his tally shortly after as the Bianconeri beat Sassuolo 2-1 in Serie A on Sunday.
It was Ronaldo's fourth league match for Juventus since his Serie A record 112 million euro (then $131.5 million) move from Madrid and the relief on his face was obvious as he tore away in celebration after breaking his duck in the 50th minute. Ronaldo ran to the corner flag with his arms outstretched and displaying a huge grin. He then jumped in the air as he turned back to the field and waited to be embraced by almost all his teammates, who ran over to celebrate with him.
"I wanted to score, I'm really happy," said Ronaldo, who had missed several good chances in previous games. "That's football. What's most important is to win and to do well. Certainly there was a bit of pressure in general after my move from Real, there was a lot of expectation. That's life, I'm working well. My teammates are helping me hugely to adapt to this new league."
His first goal came after Sassuolo defender Gian Marco Ferrari could only head a Juventus corner onto the left post and Ronaldo was waiting to volley in a rebound from less than two yards out.
The Portugal forward had scored his first league goal in his fourth match last season for Real Madrid.
Ronaldo added a second 15 minutes later when he finished off a swift counterattack with a precise finish into the bottom right corner.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner was denied a hat trick by a fine save from Sassuolo goalkeeper Andrea Consigli, while he also mishit a clear opportunity late on.
Substitute Khouma Babacar pulled one back for Sassuolo in the final minute.
Douglas Costa had seemingly elbowed Sassuolo's Federico Di Francesco in the buildup to that goal and, as the pair continued to argue, the Juventus midfielder appeared to head butt his opponent.
Costa was lucky to only be shown a yellow card at first but he received a straight red moments later after video review showed he had also spat at Di Francesco. The Brazil international risks a lengthy ban.
Juventus, which is seeking a record-extending eighth successive Serie A title, is the only team still with a perfect record. It was Sassuolo's first defeat of the season.
Roma was made to pay for its complacency as it fumbled a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 against Chievo Verona.
Stephan El Shaarawy volleyed Roma in front in the 10th minute and Bryan Cristante doubled his team's advantage with his first goal for the club in the 29th.
Roma appeared to be coasting to a much-needed victory after defeat to AC Milan and a draw with Atalanta.
But Valter Birsa reduced the deficit shortly after the break with a magnificent curled strike and Chievo equalized seven minutes from time when Mariusz Stepinski fired in a rebound.
Chievo is last on minus 1 after being deducted three points last week for false accounting.
Poland international Krzysztof Piatek scored his fourth goal in three matches to give Genoa a 1-0 win over Bologna, which had midfielder Erick Pulgar sent off in stoppage time for a harsh tackle on Romulo.
Lazio won 1-0 at newly promoted Empoli, while Torino drew 1-1 at Udinese.
Milan visits Cagliari later.
Islamic University, Sep 16 (UNB) - An inter-department football competition began at Islamic University (IU) in Kushtia on Sunday amid festive mood and much enthusiasm.
IU Pro-VC Professor M Shahinoor Rahman, also the acting Vice-Chancellor, inaugurated the competition as the chief guest at the central football playground of the university around 10:30am.
A total of 32 departments out of 33 will take part in the contest, Muhammad Sohel, director of IU Physical Education department, told UNB.
IU Treasurer Professor M Selim Toha, Proctor Professor M Mahbubar Rahman, Student Advisor Professor M Rezwanul Islam, Tourism and Hospitality Management department chairman Professor M Mahbubul Arefin and its lecturer Shariful Islam Jewel, among others, were present.
Dhaka, Sept 16 (UNB) – Hosts Bangladesh will start their Group F campaign of the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship taking on gulf nation Bahrain on Monday at the Bir Shreshta Shaheed Sepoy Mohammad Mostafa Kamal Stadium in Kamalapur here.
The match will kick-off at 3:30 pm (Bangladesh time).
Lebanon will face United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Monday’s other match at 11:30 am at the same venue.
Bangladesh, which was placed in Group F of the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship along with the UAE, Vietnam, Bahrain and Lebanon, will play Lebanon on September 19 at 11:30 am, the UAE on September 21 at 3:30 pm and face Vietnam in the last group match on September 23 at 3:30 pm.
Both the Bangladesh and Bahrain teams made their practices at the game venue on Sunday ahead of their Monday’s battle.
Earlier on Saturday, Lebanon made a flying start in the meet outplaying Bahrain by 8-0 goals in opening Group F qualifier while favorite Vietnam got off a 4-0 win against United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the other opening day’s fixture at the same venue