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Sporting CP
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Dybala leads rejuvented Juve to win


Neymar and Suarez not affected by Messi return; Real made to work

The ESPN FC crew discuss how enjoyable it is to watch Barcelona football when they are playing at their best.

Dermot Corrigan recaps what you need to know from the weekend's La Liga action, with Barcelona cruising, Real Madrid forced to work hard and Saul starring for Atletico.

1. Lionel Messi return has not affected Neymar and Luis Suarez's form

There was a feeling that Neymar and Luis Suarez really enjoyed their time in the spotlight during Leo Messi's two months out injured, but there was also some concern among Blaugrana fans and pundits that the superstar's return might cramp their styles a little.


Liverpool to beat Southampton in the Capital One Cup; goals for City

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti believe that Liverpool and Spurs will be competing at the end of the season to finish top four.

Momentum is with Liverpool

We've reached the quarterfinal stage of the Capital One Cup and though Manchester City are obvious favourites, it really can be said all eight teams remaining have a genuine chance to make it to Wembley and claim the first silverware of the season.

City take on Hull, who are going well in the Championship, but for all the confidence in Steve Bruce's side, Manuel Pellegrini's men are deservedly big favourites and with David Silva back they should be far too strong.

The Capital...

 By Chris Wright

Fan earns belated plaudits for predicting Jamie Vardy's rise in 2012

Former England striker Paul Mariner salutes present England forward Jamie Vardy on breaking the Prem goalscoring record.
Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy has broken Ruud Van Nistelrooy's record, extending his goal streak to 11 matches.

Having come from the non-leagues to the top of the Premier League goal-scoring charts in the space of just a handful of seasons, the rise of Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy is one you can probably best describe as "meteoric."

However, back in January of 2012, at least one football fan felt compelled to earmark Vardy (then of Fleetwood Town) for great things.

In fact, the fan was so sure that Vardy would continue on his remarkable ascent up the English football pyramid that he went and openly instructing...

 By Tom Marshall

No surprises as strongest teams advance to Liga MX semifinals

Fernando Uribe netted late to hand Toluca a 1-0 victory against Puebla and secured the final place in the Apertura semis.
Fidel Martinez
Pumas have been the best team this Apertura.

You could make a good argument that the four teams still left to battle it out for the Liga MX Apertura are best in the league. The semifinals should provide a good advert for the Liga MX in a week in which it will be vying for attention with the MLS Cup final.

As games in the Liga MX come, there aren't many bigger than Pumas against Club America, while the double-header between the two Mexico City giants -- likely to be on Thursday in Estadio Azteca and then Sunday at Pumas -- is a series that...

 By Mina Rzouki

Paulo Dybala leads rejuvented Juventus to win over Palermo

Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri said his side's win over Palermo has moved them closer to where they 'should be' in Serie A.
Juventus stunned the home side with a quick succession of late goals, closing out the game 3-0 at Palermo.

After defeating Palermo 3-0 in the Stadio Renzo Barbera, a well-balanced Juventus demonstrated growth and improvement to send a signal to the rest of Serie A. Now four points off the third Champions League spot, and having won four games in a row, Monday's Gazzetta dello Sport headline "Juventus have returned" is not far from the truth.

Deployed in a 3-5-2 formation and having just endured a tough midweek Champions League fixture against Manchester City (a 1-0 win), few knew what to expect from...

Columbus Crew SC took MLS conference finals by scruff of the neck

Columbus will be facing Portland in the MLS Cup Final after surviving a scary last few minutes against the NY Red Bulls.

HARRISON, N.J. - Three quick thoughts after Columbus Crew SC outlasted the New York Red Bulls and advanced to next week's MLS Cup, losing 1-0 at Red Bull Arena on Sunday but surviving a furious last-gasp push from the hosts to win the two-leg Eastern Conference championship 2-1 on aggregate. Columbus will host the Portland Timbers next Sunday at Mapfre Stadium in the league's title game (4 p.m. ET, ESPN/WatchESPN).

New York Red BullsNew York Red Bulls
Columbus Crew SCColumbus Crew SC
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 2
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1. Columbus came out flying ...

All week, Crew SC coach Gregg Berhalter...