Boca Juniors claimed an important result in their first-leg tie against Corinthians in the last 16 of the Copa Libertadores, holding on for a 0-0 draw in Sao Paulo on Tuesday.

Corinthians dominated proceedings at home but were not able to capitalise, with Roger Guedes also failing to convert from the penalty spot with the interval approaching.

It would have been a deserved lead for the Timao after a positive opening 45 minutes, but Guedes was brilliantly denied in the 43rd minute by Agustin Rossi, who guessed correctly and quickly reacted to save.

The home side's best chance in open play fell to Giuliano after a mazy dribble into the penalty area from Willian in the 46th minute, but Marcos Rojo scrambled to quell the danger.

With Exequiel Zeballos and Dario Benedetto struggling to have a tangible impact, coming back to Buenos Aires for the second leg with parity intact is a positive for Boca, after also failing to defeat Corinthians in their two Group E games.

Ortiz denies CAM smash and grab

Emelec will have to progress past Atletico Mineiro in Belo Horizonte after only managing a 1-1 draw at home in the first leg.

As expected under Antonio Mohamed, CAM primarily looked to absorb pressure, and they scored against the run of play in the 16th minute. A spectacular first touch from Hulk to bring Everson's hoof under control put Ademir through, and he calmly converted past Pedro Ortiz.

Emelec captain Sebastian Rodriguez deservedly got his side back on level terms in the 58th minute, but CAM had a penalty of their own with two minutes of regular time remaining. Ortiz stood up this time, though, denying Hulk what would have been the winner.

Athletico-PR take first leg

Two first-half goals from Athletico Paranaense allowed them to secure a 2-1 win at home to Libertad in Curitiba.

After confirming Fernandinho's signing from Manchester City, Luiz Felipe Scolari's side were characteristically solid defensively, but only after they hit the lead a second time.

Vitor Roque put the hosts ahead in only the sixth minute but the Paraguayan champions equalised through Hector Villalba in the 20th minute. Athletico PR restored the lead 12 minutes later, with Nicolas Hernandez scoring the eventual winner.

A 10-man Corinthians moved a step closer to securing their place in the Copa Libertadores knockout stage, playing out a 1-1 draw with Boca Juniors on Tuesday.

The draw at the Bombonera means the Timao maintained their one-point lead over Boca in Group E on eight points. Deportivo Cali and Always Ready sit on five and four points respectively, with their game on Thursday awaiting.

Corinthians were looking to absorb from the opening minute and scored with their only shot for the match, with Du Queiroz's attempt following a corner trickling past Agustin Rossi in the 16th minute.

Dario Benedetto scored the equaliser on his birthday three minutes from the interval, but Boca largely could not break Corinthians down, even after the latter went down to ten men.

A lengthy melee and stoppage following Victor Cantillo's straight red also saw Corinthians coach Vitor Pereira given his marching orders, but his side emerged with an important point.

Flamengo coast through to last 16

Flamengo booked their spot in the knockout stage, securing a comfortable 3-0 win at home to Universidad Catolica.

The Rubro-Negro hit the lead in only the seventh minute, with Willian Arao heading home Giorgian de Arrascaeta's corner. Everton Ribeiro doubled the margin six minutes from the interval.

Pedro rounded out the scoring with a fine solo finish in the final minute of regular time, securing the fourth win from five games and a five-point margin atop Group H.

Estudiantes also secure progress

Estudiantes also confirmed passage to the last 16 earlier on Tuesday, claiming a 1-0 win away to second-placed RB Bragantino.

Gustavo del Prete's wonderfully improvised finish in the 77th minute ultimately proved the difference between the two sides in what was otherwise a tightly contested game of little clear chances.

While Estudiantes moved to 13 points from five games, Bragantino's second spot remains within touching distance of Nacional and Velez Sarsfield, who play on Wednesday.

Corinthians momentarily moved to top spot of Group E in the Copa Libertadores, defeating Boca Juniors 2-0 on Tuesday.

Maycon scored a double for Corinthians, who moved to six points from three games following their opening group game defeat away to Always Ready.

On loan from Shakhtar Donetsk, the 24-year-old opened the scoring in only the fifth minute, getting on the end of Fagner's cross to head home past Javier Garcia.

Despite playing at home, the Timao were more than comfortable absorbing Boca possession, with only 33.8 per cent of the ball for the second half.

They eventually doubled the margin on the counter in the 78th minute, with Willian breaking clear and playing in Roger Guedes, whose attempt on goal was parried into Maycon's path for the rebound and finish.

Boselli brilliance puts Estudiantes in box seat

Estudiantes took a commanding lead in Group C on Tuesday, claiming a 2-0 win at home to RB Bragantino.

Augustin Rogel broke the deadlock for Estudiantes in the 54th minute, heading in from close range before Mauro Boselli's spectacular lob over Cleiton in the Bragantino goal only three minutes later.

Los Pincharratas moved to seven points after three games, ahead of Bragantino, who are joined on four points by Nacional following their 2-1 win away to a 10-man Velez Sarsfield.

Shares spoiled in Group D

Independiente del Valle and Atletico Mineiro played out a 1-1 draw in Quito, to share top spot in Group D after three games.

Hulk opened the scoring in only the seventh minute with recent Selecao callup Guilherme Arana providing the assist.

The Negriazules kept applying pressure and eventually got a deserved equaliser via Junior Sornoza five minutes after the restart.

Luis Suarez's future at Atletico Madrid is unclear with his contract to expire at the end of the season.

Suarez helped Atleti win LaLiga last term with 21 goals.

The Uruguayan joined Atletico from top-flight rivals Barcelona in 2020 on a two-year deal.

TOP STORY – SUAREZ WANTS GERRARD REUNION AT VILLA

Suarez wants a reunion with former Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa, reports Gerard Romero.

The Atletico Madrid forward's contract expires at the end of this season and has been sounded out by numerous Brazilian clubs.

Suarez has had offers from Palmeiras, Corinthians and Atletico Mineiro but wants to link up with Gerrard who took over at Villa in January.

 

ROUND-UP

- ESPN claims Paris Saint-Germain have opened talks with Manchester United's Paul Pogba and Milan's Franck Kessie, as part of their effort to convince Kylian Mbappe to stay in the French capital amid interest from Real Madrid.

- Juventus have made an enquiry for Borussia Monchengladbach's Denis Zakaria according to 90min as they prepare for Arthur Melo to join Arsenal .

- Arsenal's bid to sign Fiorentina's Dusan Vlahovic looks to have hit a roadblock with the Serbian only interested in joining Juventus, reports the Mail.

- Milan want to bolster their backline and are interested in a loan deal for Tottenham's Japhet Tanganga, claims Fabrizio Romano.

- Leicester City and Newcastle United may rival Brentford to sign Inter's Christian Eriksen, reports the Times.

Manchester United's search for a permanent new manager continues to roll on.

Ralf Rangnick has taken over on an interim basis following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's axing.

Several big names have been linked with the vacant post.

 

TOP STORY – TEN HAG TOP OF MAN UTD'S LIST

Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag has moved to the head of the queue to be Manchester United's new manager, claims The Mirror.

Ten Hag guided Ajax through a record-breaking Champions League group campaign where they won all six games.

United have now made appointing him their priority as he ticks all the boxes for the 20-time English champions.

 

ROUND-UP

- Newcastle United have reached out to Manchester United about the prospect of a January move for Jesse Lingard, claims The Sun.

- Tottenham are tracking Chelsea's Andreas Christensen, joining Manchester City and Manchester United in pursuit of him, reports the Daily Star.

- Liverpool have set a £10million asking price for West Ham target Nat Phillips, according to The Sun.

- The Reds are also interested in signing Real Madrid winger Rodrygo and are willing to pay £68m (€80m), reports El Nacional.

- La Gazzetta dello Sport claims that Inter have not held any talks with Stefan dr Vrij amid links with Tottenham and Newcastle United.

- Brazilian powerhouse Corinthians have enquired about Manchester United's veteran Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani, claims Globo Esporte.

Willian has returned to boyhood club Corinthians after terminating his contract with embattled Premier League side Arsenal.

After just one season at Arsenal, Willian agreed to tear up his contract despite it having two years remaining in London, having signed from rivals Chelsea on a three-year deal in 2020.

Following the confirmation of Willian's Arsenal departure by mutual consent in anticipation of a Sao Paulo homecoming, Corinthians announced the 33-year-old's arrival.

"I want to thank the fans for their affection, too," Willian – a two-time Premier League champion – said. "I'm getting a lot of messages. I'll do everything to bring joy to Corinthians fans!" 

Willian played for Corinthians' youth teams between 1998 and 2006 before stepping up to the senior side in 2006-07 prior to his switch to Ukrainian powerhouse Shakhtar Donetsk 14 years ago.

Before leaving for Europe in 2007, Willian scored two goals in 41 appearances across all competitions for Corinthians.

At Arsenal, Willian made 37 appearances in all competitions during the 2020-21 season, scoring just the one goal from 27 shots.

He did set up seven goals for team-mates, easily outperforming his expected assists total of 3.14, with two of them coming from dead-ball situations.

However, Willian only made four Premier League starts after the turn of the year as Mikel Arteta went with alternative options in his team.

"I want to thank you for the effort, board, technical committee," Willian said. "I respect this crowd a lot, the affection they have for me. I am back!"

Willian leaves an Arsenal side struggling amid mounting pressure on manager Arteta.

Arsenal are winless and goalless after three Premier League games for the first time ever, Manchester City crushing the Gunners 5-0 on Saturday.

That loss extended the Gunners' top-flight losing run to nine against City, their outright longest-ever run of consecutive defeats against an opponent in their league history.

Indeed, Arsenal are just the second team after Wolves in 2003-04 to lose their first three games and have a goal difference of minus-nine – a season in which Wolves finished bottom of the table.

Arsenal have confirmed Willian has left the club by mutual consent, with the Brazilian set to return home to join Corinthians.

Willian joined the Gunners on a free after leaving London rivals Chelsea, signing a three-year deal to make the move to Emirates Stadium.

The 33-year-old made 37 appearances in all competitions during the 2020-21 season, scoring just the one goal from 27 shots.

He did set up seven goals for team-mates, easily outperforming his expected assists total of 3.14, with two of them coming from dead-ball situations.

However, Willian only made four Premier League starts after the turn of the year as Mikel Arteta went with alternative options in his team.

After what the club described as "positive and constructive" discussions between all parties, Willian agreed to terminate a contract that was due to run until 2023.

"Everyone at Arsenal wishes Willian and his family well for the future," Arsenal said in a statement, adding he was heading for a "new opportunity" with Corinthians, the club where he started his professional career.

A two-time Premier League winner during his time at Chelsea, the player has reportedly opted to tear up his deal, rather than negotiate a pay-off.

Willian appeared to confirm as much in a statement on social media, during which he took the opportunity to take aim at his critics, as well as reflect on the many years he has spent in England.

"Unfortunately things on the pitch didn't go the way we had all planned and hoped, I received a lot of criticism, especially from some members of the press, that I had come here for financial reasons… I hope with my actions today explain [sic] to those people and they now understand that was not the case," he wrote.

"I hope it teached [sic] some people that they not be so quick to pass judgement and create bad environments to make themselves important, even though I accept that's part of the game.

"All my career I have done everything to be the best I can be. I always want to win and I find it hard to accept not doing so. Unfortunately it didn't happen for me at Arsenal and I am sorry about that.

"I came to England in 2013 and I have enjoyed every minute of my time here. I want to thank everyone who has helped me along the way to play in this wonderful league that is full of heart and spirit."

Arsenal could well see further departures before the transfer window closes, too.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles has made clear his desire to leave to get regular first-team action elsewhere amid rumours of interest from Everton, while Hector Bellerin has been linked with Barcelona.

Arteta's side have lost their opening three league games in the new campaign, leaving them bottom of the table heading into the international break.

Kylian Mbappe is dominating headlines amid Real Madrid's pursuit.

Madrid are keen to prise Mbappe to the LaLiga club, though Paris Saint-Germain are in no hurry to part with the soon-to-be free agent.

Due to PSG's tough stance, Madrid could back out of negotiations.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID GIVE PSG ULTIMATUM

Real Madrid could walk away from their pursuit of Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, according to Le Parisien.

While Mbappe is out of contract at the end of the season, Madrid have been attempting to prise the Frenchman from PSG before the transfer window shuts.

The report claims Madrid will walk away from negotiations if a deal is not completed by Sunday.

There has been talk that PSG could target Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland as a replacement for Mbappe.

 

ROUND-UP

Lautaro Martinez has agreed to sign a new contract with Inter, per Gianluca Di Marzio. Out of contract in 2023, the Argentina international – linked with the likes of Barcelona, Tottenham, Manchester City and Manchester United – will re-sign for four to five years at €6million per season.

Willian will join Corinthians on a free transfer after Arsenal granted his release, says Fabrizio Romano.

- Romano also claims Feyenoord are close to bringing United sensation Amad Diallo to the Eredivisie club on loan.

- Widespread reports say Moise Kean is set to undergo a medical at Juventus as he gears up to join from Everton. It comes as Cristiano Ronaldo prepares to return to United. Juve are also eyeing PSG forward Mauro Icardi.

Dortmund are working on a loan deal for Chelsea's Callum Hudson-Odoi, according to Sky Germany. Hudson-Odoi has long been coveted by Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich. Dortmund are also looking to bring in United full-back Diogo Dalot.

Chelsea are nearing a transfer that will see Jules Kounde arrive from Sevilla after Kurt Zouma departed for West Ham, reports Goal. Chelsea are also reportedly still targeting Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez, who is wanted by United.

Corinthians fined star forward Jo for wearing green boots, the colour of their arch Brazilian rivals Palmeiras.

Former Manchester City forward Jo sparked backlash after wearing light green boots in Sunday's goalless draw away to Bahia in the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A.

After Corinthians fans were left outraged, the club sanctioned and warned the former Brazil international, who is prohibited from wearing the boots again, even in training.

"Sport Club Corinthians Paulista's football board communicates that they spoke with striker Jo about the use of football boots in the match against Bahia, this Sunday," a statement read.

"The player was warned, fined and will not wear them again, neither in training or in games."

Jo, who emerged from Corinthians' youth team in 2003 before going on to play for the likes of CSKA Moscow, Everton and Galatasaray, issued an apology.

"I would never use green boots because of my history with Corinthians, a club I have loved since I was little," the 34-year-old said in a statement via Veja.

"I would never disrespect Corinthians, much less the fans. I have always honoured this shirt and I always will honour it."

Corinthians and Palmeiras share one of the fiercest and oldest rivalries in Brazilian football – the Paulista derby.

The Paulista derby is ranked among the 10 greatest derbies in world football.

Palmeiras are fourth in the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A through five games this season, five points better off than 11th-placed Corinthians.

Corinthians last won the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A in 2017, while Palmeiras – winners in 2018 – conquered the Copa Libertadores last year.

Erling Haaland and Romelu Lukaku appear to be the top forwards on English clubs' shopping lists this off-season.

But Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski may enter the frame amid rumours about his future.

Manchester City and Chelsea are known to be eager to bolster their attacking options and have the funds to finance a major move.

 

TOP STORY – ENGLAND ON LEWANDOWSKI'S RADAR

SportBild reports that Robert Lewandowski's likely next destination will be the English Premier League, if Bayern Munich opt to sell their Polish forward.

The report claims that Lewandowski's agent Pini Zahavi is trying to put pressure on Bayern for a lucrative contract extension or to sell him to one of England's financially powerful clubs.

Lewandowski still has two years to run on his Bayern contract and the Bavarians are believed to not be ready to negotiate.

 

ROUND-UP

- Fabrizio Romano claims that Romelu Lukaku is not planning to leave Inter amid interest from Manchester City, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Barcelona, pointing to comments he made following the club's Serie A title triumph on Sunday.

- Romano also claims that Watford, who have won promotion to the Premier League, have begun talks with Inter's Ashley Young who may be available as a free agent.

- Marca reports that PSG are increasingly concerned that Neymar will not sign a contract extension with the club amid talk of a Barcelona move.

- Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer is being tracked by Premier League club Newcastle United, claims the Daily Record.

- Tottenham are interested in Brazilian teenager Rodrigo Varanda who is currently with Corinthians, says The Sun.

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