Barcelona, Dec 18 (AP/UNB) — Barcelona says defender Thomas Vermaelen has injured a muscle in his right leg and will be sidelined for a month.
Vermaelen injured his leg during Barcelona's 5-0 win at Levante on Sunday.
That leaves Barcelona with Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet as its only center backs, with Samuel Umtiti also sidelined while recovering from a left-knee injury.
Barcelona hosts Celta Vigo on Saturday in the Spanish league before a two-week winter break.
Vermaelen should be fit by the time Barcelona plays its Champions League round-of-16 tie against Lyon in February.
The 33-year old Belgian's career has been plagued by injuries. He has made six appearances for Barcelona this season.
Rome, Dec 18 (AP/UNB) — The VAR disallowed a stoppage-time equalizer by Lazio in a 1-0 loss at Atalanta in Serie A on Monday, leaving the Roman club just outside the Champions League places and letting Atalanta into contention for the elite European competition.
Lazio remained one point behind fourth-placed AC Milan while Atalanta moved into sixth, one point further back.
The top four clubs qualify for the Champions League.
Francesco Acerbi met a cross from Luis Alberto with a leaping header that appeared to have drawn Lazio level but video reviews appeared to show Acerbi was slightly offside.
Duvan Zapata put Atalanta ahead one minute into the match from close range.
Dhaka, Dec 17 (UNB) – Bangladesh will play Pakistan in one of the two opening day matches of the SAFF Women’s Championship beginning on March 12 next at the Sahid Rangashala in Biratnagar, Nepal.
The match will kick off at 3:30pm.
Bangladesh have been placed in Group A of the seven-nation SAFF Women’s soccer meet with Nepal, Bhutan and Pakistan while Group B consists of India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
In the remaining Group A matches, Bangladesh will play Bhutan on March 14 at 3:30pm and face Nepal on March 16, also at 3:30pm, at the Sahid Rangashala.
Top two teams of each group will play in the semifinals on March 20 while the final match will be held at 3pm on December 22.
Dhaka, Dec 17 (AP/UNB)- Jose Mourinho chose his words carefully, and they proved to be as candid as they were concerning for Manchester United as its worst start to a Premier League season hit a new low.
"Liverpool," Mourinho said, "is a better team than us."
Liverpool's 3-1 win over its great rival on Sunday was confirmation of that — although it still needed two strokes of luck to underline the gulf that has quickly grown between English soccer's two grandest clubs.
Xherdan Shaqiri came off the bench and scored goals from deflected shots in the 73rd and 80th minutes to finally give Liverpool daylight in a match it dominated from the start at Anfield. In total, Liverpool had 36 shots to United's six.
The gap between Liverpool in first place and United in sixth place extended to 19 points after just 17 games.
"We cannot compare with their intensity," Mourinho said, "we cannot compare with their physicality."
The sight of former United manager Alex Ferguson looking glum in the stands and United's record signing, Paul Pogba, burying his head in his thick training top to shield himself from the driving rain summed up the state of United at the moment.
"We can still finish fourth," Mourinho added. "For sure, we are going to finish top six."
United is one point above seventh-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers and 11 behind fourth-placed Chelsea.
Shaqiri's intervention spared Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker from some of his embarrassment after the Brazil international gifted United its equalizer by fumbling a fairly tame cross from Romelu Lukaku into the path of Jesse Lingard in the 33rd minute.
That goal canceled out the 24th-minute opener from Sadio Mane, which came amid a breathless start from Liverpool as United's defense was opened up constantly.
"The mix-up of big fight and really playing football against an unbelievably strong team," Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said of his team's performance, which he described as "one of the best we've had" in his three-year tenure.
Liverpool reclaimed its one-point lead over Manchester City with nearly half the season gone. United, meanwhile, is on 26 points — its lowest haul after 17 games since the 1990-91 season — and has a goal difference of zero.
HAZARD'S NEW ROLE
Eden Hazard is settling just fine into his new attacking role at Chelsea.
Playing as a "false nine" for the second straight game, Hazard set up Pedro Rodriguez's early goal and then scored himself for the first time since October to lead Chelsea to a 2-1 win at Brighton.
The Belgium forward usually plays on the left wing but is being deployed by Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri in the center of a mobile front three, between Pedro and Willian. It was an approach Sarri used to great effect when in charge of Italian team Napoli in his previous job.
Hazard set up two goals in Chelsea's 2-0 win over Manchester City last weekend, leading Sarri to keeping him as the team's deep-lying central striker at Brighton.
Outplayed in the first half, Brighton improved after the break and reduced the deficit when Solly March turned in a shot from close range in the 66th.
Chelsea stayed eight points behind Liverpool.
HASENHUETTL'S FIRST WIN
The drinks were on Ralph Hasenhuettl at St. Mary's Stadium.
In a bid to raise spirits at the struggling south-coast club, its new Austrian coach sent drinks vouchers to all season-ticket holders ahead of the game against Arsenal. It wasn't the only thing the Southampton fans were celebrating on Sunday.
Charlie Austin's 85th-minute goal sealed a 3-2 win that lifted Southampton out of the relegation zone with 17 of 38 matches gone. It was the first victory for Hasenhuettl since taking over from the fired Mark Hughes two weeks ago, and he greeted the final whistle by running onto the field and leaping into the air in delight.
Arsenal twice came from behind through goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and looked like preserving a 22-game undefeated streak in all competitions and an unbeaten run in the league stretching back to Aug. 18 — a stretch of 14 games. Danny Ings put Southampton ahead both times.
Arsenal stayed in fifth place, but is now three points behind Chelsea.
Liverpool, Dec 17 (AP/UNB)— Substitute Xherdan Shaqiri scored two goals from deflected shots to help Liverpool beat fierce rival Manchester United 3-1 and lift his team back atop the Premier League on Sunday.
Days after keeping Liverpool in the Champions League with a stunning late save against Napoli, Brazil goalkeeper Alisson Becker made a dreadful mistake that gifted United an equalizer through Jesse Lingard in the 33rd minute at Anfield.
But Shaqiri spared Alisson from some of his embarrassment by putting Liverpool back in front in the 73rd — within three minutes of coming on as a substitute — with a low strike that deflected off United defender Ashley Young and went in off the crossbar.
Shaqiri's second goal clinched Liverpool victory in what is traditionally the biggest game in English soccer and again it came via a ricochet, this time off Eric Bailly, to deceive United goalkeeper David De Gea in the 80th.
It was indicative of the approach of the two managers that United's Jose Mourinho sent on defensive midfielder Marouane Fellaini at halftime with the score at 1-1, while Liverpool's Juergen Klopp turned to Shaqiri when that score had not changed midway through the second half.
"He is a wonderful player," Klopp said of Shaqiri, who joined from Stoke in the offseason to supplement Liverpool's options up front. "His left foot is made for decisive things."
Sadio Mane had given Liverpool the lead in the 24th minute amid the team's breathless start to the game that overwhelmed United and its patched-up defense.
United has been beaten 3-1 by both of its biggest rivals in recent weeks — it also lost by that score at Manchester City last month — and was outplayed on both occasions.
It is 19 points behind Liverpool and its 26-point total is United's lowest after 17 games since the 1990-91 season.
"It's hard for everyone who likes Manchester United," United midfielder Nemanja Matic said. "For the players, it's most difficult. We have to turn the situation around and play better. When you don't have results, it's hard to believe."
Mourinho said Liverpool "is a better team than us."
"There was a difference of intensity and physicality, pressing and transitions," Mourinho said. "They were fast and aggressive, we had difficulties to cope."
Liverpool reclaimed its one-point lead over second-placed City, which beat Everton 3-1 on Saturday.
The hosts could easily have been three or four goals ahead by halftime, which they finished having managed 15 shots but scoring only once. Liverpool ended the game having had 36 shots.
Roberto Firmino was at the center of Liverpool's maelstrom, hustling and harrying opposition players while delivering cutting interventions going forward. The Brazil international started and finished a move in the second minute that saw Victor Lindelof scrambling to deflect a shot behind.
United thought it had stunned Anfield into silence when Young's inswinging freekick from the left went straight in at the far post but Romelu Lukaku was offside when he tried to play the ball on its way through and he was rightly flagged.
Two more chances fell to Firmino as the red tide continued to crash against a dark blue wall. Young cleared Dejan Lovren's effort off the line and Firmino shot over — the ninth attempt inside 20 minutes — before the breakthrough was made.
No one closed down midfielder Fabinho, who was excellent both defensively and going forward in central midfield, and his measured pass forward was chested down by Mane, who volleyed it between De Gea's legs.
Lovren should have made it 2-0 but fired over from six yards, before Alisson gifted the visitors an equalizer when he spilled Lukaku's cross into the path of Lingard, who gratefully accepted six yards out.
Mourinho had seen enough and sent on Fellaini in central midfield for wing back Diogo Dalot at halftime as he reverted to a back four. It did little to change the momentum as Firmino's toe-poke was parried by De Gea with the goalkeeper and Young blocking Naby Keita's follow-up, while Lovren had a header deflected wide.
Less than three minutes after coming on, Shaqiri struck as his shot hit the outstretched heel of Young and deflected in off the crossbar. He was not finished there, seizing on Firmino backheel's that was meant for Salah to fire past De Gea, this time with the aid of a deflection off Bailly.