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Madrid tries to avoid Liverpool comeback in Champions League

Real Madrid got used to pulling off dramatic comebacks in the Champions League last season. Now it needs to avoid one to keep its title defense going.

It will be Liverpool needing to do something magical at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium on Wednesday to reverse a 5-2 loss from the first leg in the round of 16.

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Infantino holds FIFA power as voters share World Cup wealth

FIFA president Gianni Infantino will be re-elected this week to lead a richer-than-ever soccer body with an ambition to add new and bigger competitions despite growing wariness of him in Europe.

FIFA's wealth after the World Cup in Qatar — $4 billion in reserves to be shared among the 211 member federations and lots more to come from the expanded 104-game edition in 2026 in North America — is a big reason why Infantino has no opponent on Thursday in Rwanda for four more years in office.

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Russia invited to participate in Central Asian soccer event

Russia has been invited to participate in the inaugural Central Asian Football Association Championships in June along with seven other national teams.

Russian teams have been barred from European and FIFA competitions since the invasion of Ukraine in February of last year. But the Tajikistan Football Association announced Monday that a Russian team could join the new regional tournament along with former Soviet republics Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan.

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Morocco coach backs Achraf Hakimi amid French investigation

Although implicated in a rape allegation in France, Achraf Hakimi was called into the Morocco squad Monday for friendly games against Brazil and Peru.

Morocco coach Walid Regragui said the country supports the Paris Saint-Germain defender.

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Napoli returns to Champions League set for historic season

Napoli returns to Champions League action this week well on track to have the standout season in European soccer and in the club's entire history.

The quarterfinals of Europe's marquee club competition finally beckon for Napoli, which has a 2-0 lead from the first leg before hosting Eintracht Frankfurt in the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Wednesday.

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Arsenal cuts through Fulham; Casemiro sent off again in EPL

Chants of "We're gonna win the league" boomed out of Arsenal's gleeful away contingent of fans at one end of Craven Cottage as their team piled up the goals against Fulham.

It's getting increasingly hard to argue against it.

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Real Madrid to take action against Barcelona over payments

Real Madrid will side against Barcelona in the legal proceedings that the rival is facing over its payments of millions of euros over several years to a company that belonged to the vice president of Spain's soccer refereeing committee, Madrid said Sunday after an urgent board meeting.

The decision came two days after prosecutors formally accused Barcelona of alleged corruption in sports, fraudulent management and falsification of mercantile documentation. An investigating judge will decide whether the accusations should lead to charges.

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Without Mourinho, 10-man Roma loses 4-3 to Sassuolo

Without coach José Mourinho on the bench, Roma lost 4-3 at home to Sassuolo on Sunday in a miserable weekend for teams chasing the Champions League qualifying spots from Serie A.

Armand Laurienté scored twice for Sassuolo before Nicola Zalewski pulled one back. But Roma defender Marash Kumbulla was sent off for violent conduct at the end of the first half and Domenico Berardi converted the resulting penalty.

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Barcelona beats Bilbao amid more refereeing controversy

Still mired in controversy over its payments to the company of a former refereeing committee official, Barcelona restored its lead over Real Madrid to nine points in the Spanish league on Sunday after a late VAR decision went its way.

Barcelona beat Athletic Bilbao 1-0 after video review disallowed an 87th-minute goal by Bilbao forward Iñaki Williams for a handball in the buildup. VAR also was used to confirm Barcelona's winning goal by Raphinha after it was initially disallowed for offside.

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Report: Qatar spied on Swiss prosecutor, FIFA boss meeting

A spying operation on behalf of World Cup host Qatar bugged a 2017 hotel meeting between FIFA president Gianni Infantino and Switzerland's then-attorney general during an investigation of soccer officials, Swiss daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung said.

The report said intelligence operatives linked to a former CIA officer wiretapped a meeting involving Infantino and Swiss federal prosecutor Michael Lauber at a Qatari-owned hotel in Bern, which also then housed the emirate's embassy.

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