Julian Alvarez scored twice as Manchester City beat visiting Red Star Belgrade 3-1 on Tuesday to get its Champions League title defense off to a winning start.

Alvarez sparked a second-half comeback after Osman Bukari fired Red Star Belgrade into a shock lead.

Rodri, whose goal against Inter Milan in last season’s final saw City crowned European champion for the first time, added a third late on.

City is aiming to become only the second club to successfully retain the trophy in the Champions League era. Real Madrid is the only team to win back-to-back titles, completing a three-peat from 2016-18.

City is expected to go deep into the competition again this season after reaching two finals in the last three seasons.


Other first-day winners included Red Bull Leipzig, Barcelona, Feyenoord Rotterdam, Paris-St. Germain and Porto. Newcastle-AC Milan and Atletico Madrid-Lazio played to ties.

MLS: Tab Ramos, a former U.S. star midfielder, was hired as an assistant coach by the New England Revolution, whose staff has been in transition.

New England announced on Aug. 1 that Coach Bruce Arena had been put on leave after an investigation began into allegations of insensitive and inappropriate remarks. Richie Williams, a longtime Arena assistant, was appointed interim coach.

New England is third in the Eastern Conference with 13 wins, six losses and nine draws.

NWSL: The National Women’s Soccer League announced that the Boston Unity Soccer Partners ownership group was awarded franchise rights to the league’s 15th team. It is the third new team announced this season, joining Utah Royals FC and Bay Area FC, both slated to begin playing in 2024.



WNBA: Breanna Stewart scored 27 points and the New York Liberty beat the visiting Washington Mystics 90-85 in overtime to advance to the semifinals for the first time in eight years.

New York hadn’t won a playoff series since 2015. The Liberty will play No. 3 Connecticut or sixth-seeded Minnesota. Those teams will play the deciding game of their best-of-3 series Wednesday night. The semifinals begin Sunday.


IOWA: The school plans to build a $20 million training center for the women’s gymnastics team and spirit squads, pending approval by the state Board of Regents.

The facility will feature competition-style beams, vault runways, uneven bars and a floor-exercise space. In addition to practice space totaling about 21,000 square feet, there will be locker rooms, meeting and athletic training rooms, office space and a multi-purpose room.



NHL: The Florida Panthers have a new naming rights deal, one that comes with the team set to open the defense of its Eastern Conference championship and having finally established itself as a true Stanley Cup contender.

The Panthers announced that Amerant Bank will have its name on the team’s home arena. The team only disclosed that it is a multiyear deal and did not reveal financial specifics, though president and CEO Matthew Caldwell pointed to the move as another big off-ice win for a team enjoying its best on-ice stretch.

n The Chicago Blackhawks will not have a captain this season.General Manager Kyle Davidson said the team will have a group of alternate captains. That group will be announced later in training camp, which begins this week.


SPIETH BABY: Jordan Spieth posted on social media that his wife gave birth to a girl named Sophie.

He and his wife Annie have a son, Sammy, who was born in November 2021. Spieth brought Sammy to the Presidents Cup last September, holding him up to a massive cheer on the first tee as the toddler wore headphones.



WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: Three Olympic champions from Russia were cleared to compete this week because they were judged to have been pressured to appear at a pro-war rally that was held in Moscow last year.

All three won Olympic gold medals at the Tokyo Games in 2021 and were paraded on stage at a flag-waving rally at Luzhniki Stadium in March 2022. It was attended by President Vladimir Putin three weeks after he ordered the military invasion of Ukraine.

– News service report

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