Substitute Asensio strikes late, Real Madrid beats Ajax 2-1
AMSTERDAM (AP) — With a little help from the video assistant referee, defending champion Real Madrid overcame a spirited Ajax to win the first leg of its Champions League round-of-16 match 2-1 on Wednesday and take a big step toward the quarterfinals.
Substitute Marco Asensio scored a late winner to put Madrid in a strong position going into the second leg on March 5.
Barcelona signs young Dutch midfielder De Jong for 75M euros
Barcelona signed promising 21-year-old Netherlands midfielder Frenkie de Jong from Ajax for 75 million euros ($85.5 million) on Wednesday, although he won't start playing for the Spanish champions until next season.
The deal could reach 86 million euros ($98 million) including possible add-ons depending on the youngster's and the team's performances during the five-year contract, which starts in July.
The transfer was finalized by Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu in Amsterdam.
1962 World Cup final striker Jozef Adamec dies, aged 76
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — Former Czechoslovakia striker Jozef Adamec, the youngest member of the team beaten 3-1 by Brazil in the final of the 1962 World Cup in Chile, has died. He was 76.
The Slovak football association says Adamec died on Monday in hospital in Trnava. The cause of death was not disclosed.
He scored 14 goals in 44 international matches, including a hat trick against Brazil in a friendly in 1968.
Bayern and Ajax thrill with 3-3 draw; Bayern tops Group E
AMSTERDAM (AP) — Nicolas Tagliafico scored a stoppage-time equalizer as Ajax salvaged a thrilling 3-3 draw against Bayern Munich that saw the German side top Champions League Group E.
Former Barcelona president Nunez dies at age 87
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Josep Lluis Nunez, the Barcelona president who oversaw the club's transformation into a soccer powerhouse, has died. He was 87.
Barcelona says Nunez died on Monday. The club did not mention the cause of death.
Nunez was in charge when Barcelona signed greats including Diego Maradona and founded the renowned "La Masia" youth academy to produce more stars.
His tenure from 1978-2000 remains the longest and most successful presidency in the history of the club founded in 1899.
Inspired by Cruyff, Betis coach gets big win at Barcelona
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Real Betis coach Quique Setien likes to say that he would give his little finger to have had the honor of playing for Johan Cruyff.
That didn't stop him for masterminding a 4-3 victory Sunday at Barcelona, a team that claims Cruyff as the creator of its playing style.
Mazraoui’s late strike gives Ajax 1-0 win over Benfica
AMSTERDAM (AP) — Right back Noussair Mazraoui scored an injury-time winner Tuesday as Ajax beat Benfica 1-0 to remain unbeaten in Champions League Group E.
Goalkeepers Andre Onana and Odisseas Vlachodimos both made key saves as the game appeared headed for a goalless stalemate.
But Vlachodimos stood no chance as Mazraoui's shot in the 92nd minute was deflected into the net by Alex Grimaldo from Ajax's final attack of the match.
Dutch defeat of Germany shows that the future is bright
AMSTERDAM (AP) — Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman knows that however good a 3-0 victory over 2014 world champion Germany feels, it doesn't mean his young team is where he wants it to be.
But with a crop of promising young players establishing themselves in the team, Saturday's defeat of long-time rival Germany underscored that the future of Dutch football is looking bright after four years in the doldrums.
Netherlands thrashes Germany 3-0 to pile pressure on Loew
AMSTERDAM (AP) — Coach Joachim Loew made history twice on Saturday night — he led Germany for a record 168th time before his team lost to the Netherlands by a three-goal margin for the first-ever time.
The historic 3-0 defeat — even if the score slightly flattered the Dutch — will pile more pressure on Loew, who opted to stay in the job after the 2014 world champion crashed out of the summer's World Cup in Russia at the group stage.
Dutch humiliate Germany in Nations League, Gibraltar wins
Germany's UEFA Nations League campaign took a humiliating blow after a 3-0 loss at old rival Netherlands on Saturday.
Germany remains without a win in the top-tier League A and has yet to score a goal.
In the second-tier League B, the Czech Republic got its first win in the new competition — beating host Slovakia 2-1 — and Ireland and Denmark drew 0-0.
In League D, Gibraltar won its first competitive game on a memorable night for the tiny territory.
Tagliafico scores twice as Ajax beats AEK Athens 3-0
AMSTERDAM (AP) — Defender Nicolas Tagliafico scored twice Wednesday as Ajax celebrated its return to Champions League football with an emphatic 3-0 victory over AEK Athens at the recently renamed Johan Cruyff Arena.
So close yet so far.
That pretty much explains the World Cup experience for the Netherlands, a three-time losing finalist.
The first time they made it to the final was in 1974 in West Germany, the team's first involvement in the World Cup since World War II.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — While steering Barcelona to its 25th Spanish league crown, Ernesto Valverde led a quiet revolution at the Catalan powerhouse.
Ever since Johan Cruyff stamped his style on Barcelona as a player and coach, the club has shown disdain for sacrificing beautiful displays of attacking football for something as pragmatic and mundane as the final score.
That changed slightly in Valverde's first season in charge at Barcelona.
Russia wants St. Petersburg to host Euro 2020 opening game
NYON, Switzerland (AP) — The Russian Football Union has asked UEFA to pick St. Petersburg as host for the opening match of the 2020 European Championship.
UEFA said on Tuesday its executive committee will choose a host on Dec. 7 for the showpiece opener of a tournament being co-hosted by 13 countries.
UEFA's decision will come two days after the International Olympic Committee will weigh banning Russia from the Pyeongchang Games because of state-backed doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Dembele gets 1st chance to prove his worth at Barcelona
MADRID (AP) — Ousmane Dembele is about to step into the spotlight.
The 20-year-old France striker signed by Barcelona to replace Neymar is expected to make his debut in the Catalan derby against Espanyol this weekend, getting the first chance to prove his worth after being involved in the second biggest transfer in soccer history behind the Brazilian's move to Paris Saint-Germain.
Neymar’s move joins landmark deals in soccer history
A look at some landmark football transfers following Neymar's move to Paris Saint-Germain:
DORTMUND, Germany (AP) — Borussia Dortmund hired Peter Bosz as coach from Ajax on Tuesday, a week after firing Thomas Tuchel.
"I'm sure it's the right step," said Bosz, who said he had been convinced of the Dortmund project after speaking to chief executive Hans Joachim Watzke and sporting director Michael Zorc. "We had a long talk together, over three hours, and we spoke about everything."
MADRID (AP) — Barcelona picked one of its own to improve its winning ways.
Former player Ernesto Valverde was hired as the new coach, the club confirmed on Monday.
The longtime Athletic Bilbao manager will replace Luis Enrique, who ended his three-year stint after winning the Copa del Rey on Saturday.
Valverde received a two-year contract, with an option for a third.
The expected announcement was made by Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu after a club board meeting.
STOCKHOLM (AP) — The Europa League final proved to be a game too far for Ajax.
Talked up as potentially the best team produced by the once-great Dutch club in more than a decade, Ajax's youthful class of 2017 came up well short in a 2-0 loss to Manchester United in Stockholm on Wednesday.
"Not good enough," was Ajax coach Peter Bosz's damning assessment.
AMSTERDAM (AP) — Bertrand Traore scored two goals and created another as a rampant Ajax beat Lyon 4-1 in the first leg of their Europa League semifinal on Wednesday.
Burkina Faso forward Traore, who is on loan to Ajax from Chelsea, had been in doubt before kickoff with a groin injury. But the 21-year-old showed no ill effects as the four-time European Cup winner made the most of its first European semifinal since 1997.
Ajax winger Piet Keizer, star of 1970s team, dies at age 73
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Ajax winger Piet Keizer, part of the front line that took the Amsterdam team to the summit of world club football in the early 1970s, has died at age 73, the club announced Saturday.
Together with his late teammate Johan Cruyff, Keizer's attacking flair led Ajax to three straight titles in the European Cup, the predecessor of the Champions League, from 1971-73.
Messi, Neymar, Robson-Kanu go for FIFA award
ZURICH (AP) — Lionel Messi, Neymar and a Johan Cruyff-style turn from Hal Robson-Kanu are among 10 candidates to win the FIFA Puskas Award for goal of the year.
Messi has been nominated for a curling, left-footed free kick for Argentina against the United States in a Copa America Centenario semifinal match in June.
Tiny Scottish club’s earning notoriety with long winning run
They've received congratulatory emails from a U.S. reality TV star, praise and support from a Hollywood actor, and 27 cases of beer from one of the most storied soccer teams in Europe.
Players from tiny Glasgow soccer side East Kilbride are currently the talk of the Scottish game — and beyond — thanks to a 27-match winning run that the club says is "creating history."