Monday Kickoff: Pumas, Tigres reach Liga MX final; FBI probes Blatter; and more

Monday Kickoff: Pumas, Tigres reach Liga MX final; FBI probes Blatter; and more

European Soccer

Monday Kickoff: Pumas, Tigres reach Liga MX final; FBI probes Blatter; and more

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The Liga MX Liguilla finals will pit arguably the best attacking unit against the best defensive unit during the Apertura season.

With its 3-0 victory in the first leg, Pumas UNAM all but clinched a spot in the finals, but Club America was able to make things interesting at Estadio Olímpico Universitario on Sunday.

America, which will participate in the Club World Cup next Sunday, came close to its mark of scoring four goals, but fell just short in a 3-1 victory (4-3 aggregate loss). Controversy, mainly red cards, surrounded the second leg as well. For the second consecutive game, America finished the match with just nine men as Paolo Goltz and Rubens Sambueza were shown red cards in the second half.

Darwin Quintero scored twice for Las Aguilas before Javier Cortes’ goal for Pumas in the 84th minute all but sealed the aggregate win. Andres Aldrete scored for America three minutes later, but the team couldn’t find another goal.

In the second semifinal, Tigres UANL had a much simpler time qualifying for the final against Toluca.

Javier Aquino and Damian Alvarez sealed the win for Tigres in a 2-0 win after the two teams tied, 0-0, in the first leg.

Tigres and Pumas will play the first leg of the finals at Estadio Universitario on Thursday before playing the pivotal second leg at Estadio Universitario Olimpico on Sunday.

FBI INVESTIGATING  BLATTER’S ROLE IN $100 MILLION BRIBERY

The outgoing FIFA president is being investigated for yet another bribery scandal.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating Sepp Blatter’s role in a $100 million payment made from sports marketing company ISL to FIFA officials. On Sunday, BBC Sport said that a letter it had obtained from the FBI shows how Blatter had “full knowledge of all activities.”

Former FIFA president Joao Havelange and ex-FIFA executive Ricardo Teixeira were reportedly two that received payments from ISL. In return for payment, ISL was given TV, marketing rights during the 1990s.

MOURINHO: CHELSEA NOT IN RELEGATION BATTLE

In spite of yet another disappointing home defeat, Chelsea head coach Jose Mourinho says the club is not in a relegation battle.

The Blues lost, 1-0, to struggling AFC Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. With the club’s eighth loss of the season, the team sits just two points above the relegation zone in 14th on the English Premier League table.

“Chelsea will never be fighting for relegation — no chance,” he told reporters. “Chelsea will win matches and come out of that area. That’s not the problem. The problem is that our objective is to finish in the top four — maybe now we have to think about top six.”

On Monday, Chelsea netminder Thibaut Courtois expressed his concern, saying that this upcoming week is extremely important.

“Of course we are upset, but we have to regroup again and show strength against Porto in the (UEFA) Champions League and next Monday at Leicester,” Courtois said. “It’s an important week for us. On Wednesday we have to win to make sure we are first and qualified. That will be a big boost for the team as well.

“Then Leicester away is a difficult game. We knew last year it was not easy there and now they have the confidence and are playing really well. It will be a very tough game but we are confident we can push on there.”

QUICK KICKS:

FC Porto is attempting to hold onto Ruben Neves during the January transfer window, as Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea are interested. (REPORT)

David Moyes is not interested in joining Swansea City. (REPORT)

Sergio Ramos re-joins Real Madrid ahead of its UEFA Champions League clash with Malmo on Tuesday. (REPORT)

Karim Benzema is not afraid that he might miss Euro 2016 with France. (REPORT)

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