12/11/20 MLS Cup Columbus vs Seattle Sat 8 pm Fox, Manchester & Madrid Derby’s Sat, US Men Dominate, UCL Final 16 Set

MLS Finals Set Seattle vs Columbus Sat 8 pm on Fox

Seattle came back from 2 goals down to Minn United at home with 3 goals in the last 15 minutes to snatch away the victory. The 2nd goal in the 89th minute and the final goal off a corner header in the 93rd minute to secure the victory as MLS’ new dynasty the Seattle Sounders will look to complete a Back to Back at Columbus on Saturday night. The defending MLS Champs were taken to the woodshed in the first 30 minutes by upstart Minn United. The 4th year team – just 2 years removed from having the worst record in the league has made steady progress under coach Adrian Heath and looks to be set to compete moving forward in the West. Meanwhile, Seattle has set the standard in MLS this decade as this is their 4th MLS Cup in 5 years with Championships last year and in 2016. Columbus Crew SC are the home team and they’re 12W-1L-0D at MAPFRE Stadium this season, including Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs wins over the New York Red BullsNashville SC and the New England Revolution. The Seattle Sounders, meanwhile, are the defending champions and are looking to join D.C. United, the Houston Dynamo and the LA Galaxy as the only teams in league history to win back-to-back titles. This is honestly a toss-up and the way this MLS Playoff season has gone – is much watch TV Sat Night at 8 pm on Fox.  Also CONCACAF Champions League kicks off next week Tues/Wed/Sat between MLS and Mexican teams on Fox Sports 2 – see schedule below as Atlanta United, NYCFC, LAFC and Montreal will all be in action with the Semi’s on Sat eve.    

What to Watch in Europe This Week

Its Derby weekend in England and Spain this weekend as the Manchester Derby between Man United and Man City is Sat 12:30 pm on NBC (finally as good game on NBC!!) and the Madrid Derby with Real Madrid and Athletico is Saturday at 3pm on beIN Sport.  A lot of good games on Sartuday as American Christian Pulisic should be available vs a sliding Everton at 3:30 pm on Peacock.  In Germany Tyler Adams and RB Leipzig host Werder Bremen and forward Stewart at 9:30 am on ESPN+, while Dortmund and Gio Reyna host Stuttgart at the same time on ESPN+.  Sunday gives us Fulham and American’s Ream and Robinson trying to hold down high scoring Liverpool at 11:30 am on NBCSN.  Juve and American Weston McKinney (fresh off his wondergoal in Champions League Wed) will travel to Genoa in Italy at 12 pm on ESPN+, and finally Sergio Dest will travel with Barcelona to face Levante at 3 pm on beIN Sport.  There are bunch of midweek games headed by Liverpool vs Tottenham on NBCSN at 3 pm Wed. 

US Men Wallop El Salvador 6-0. 

Wow want goals – how’s 6-0.  So this is how we are supposed to handle 3rd tier CONCACAF teams when our 3rd team plays their first team.  Quite impressive of the the young American squad and of course veteran’s Llegget and Paul Arrieola.  Overall I thought the entire squad was impressive on the night.  It certainly sets up some interesting choices for coach Gregg.  Hopefully they can pull together another – MLS camp in January – as we prepare for the busy summer of the Olympics, Gold Cup and Nations League this summer. 

GAMES ON TV

(American’s in parenthesis)

Sat, Dec 12 

7:30 am Peacock                  Wolverhampton vs Aston Villa

9:30 am ESPN+                    Dortmund (Ryna)  vs Stuttgart

9:30 am ESPN+                    RB Leipzig (Adams)  vs Werder Bremen (Stewart)

10 am beIN Sport                 Getafe vs Sevilla  

12:30 pm NBC                       Manchester United  vs Man City

12:30 ESPN+                        Bayern (Richards) vs Union Berlin

3 pm beiN Sport         Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid  

3:30 pm Peacock              Chelsea (Pulisic) vs Everton

8:30 pm FOX              Columbus Crew vs Seattle Sounders MLS CUP

Sun, Dec 13  

9:15 am  NBCSN                  Crystal Palace vs Tottenham

11:30 am NBCSN                 Fulham vs Liverpool

12 pm ESPN+                       Geonoa vs Juve (McKinney)

12 pm ESPN+                       Leverkusen vs Hoffenheim

2:15 pm NBCSN                   Arsenal vs Burnley

3 pm beIN Sport                   Barcelona (Dest) vs Levante

Tues, Dec 15  

1 pm NBCSN??                    Wolverhampton vs Chelsea (Pulisic)

3 pm NBCSN??                    Man City vs West Brom

8 pm FS2                                           Atlanta United vs America  CCL

10 pm  FS2                                       LAFC vs Cruz Azul  CCL

Wed, Dec 16 

1 pm NBCSN??                    Arsenal vs Southhampton

3 pm NBCSN               Liverpool vs Tottenham

8 pm FS2                                           Olimpia vs Montreal Impact  CCL  

10:30 pm  FS2                                 NYCFC vs Tigres    CCL

Thur, Dec 17 

1 pm NBCSN??                    Aston  Villa vs Burnley

3 pm NBCSN??                    Sheffield vs Man United  

Fri , Dec 18 

2:30 pm ESPN+                     Dortmund (Ryna)  vs Union Berlin

MLS – Champ Game Sat 8:30 pm FOX

Jones: Your neutral’s guide to who to support in MLS Cup
Columbus Crew midfielders Darlington Nagbe, Pedro Santos out for MLS Cup vs. Seattle Sounders

MLS Cup storylines: Are Seattle Sounders a dynasty in the making? Can Columbus Crew be defeated at home?
Wiebe: Do Sounders need to win MLS Cup to cement dynasty status?
Zakuani: An insider’s guide to the two MLS Cup coaches
An MLS title is in view for Columbus Crew, a club saved by fan power

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538: Who will win MLS Cup 2020?
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Minnesota: We were “running on empty” at the end vs. Seattle.
USA
USMNT Abroad weekend preview

Pulisic, Reyna, Mewis, Dahlkemper headline U.S. Soccer award nominees

USMNT youngster Ledezma tears ACL in 6th appearance for PSV

USMNT – El Salvador player ratings from a six-star show

Three things we learned from USMNT – El Salvador

Chris Mueller leads six-goal barrage as U.S. men’s national soccer team defeats El Salvador in friendly

Dominant U.S. soccer still making progress, routs El Salvador in friendly
EPL
Lampard says Pulisic fit for Everton – Chelsea despite ‘tiny’ hamstring fright

Premier League odds, Prince-Wright’s picks: Week 12

Manchester derby ‘best game’ to lift United, says Solskjaer

Solskjaer in the spotlight for Manchester derby

Managers are paid to handle the pressure, says Guardiola

Fulham – Liverpool: How to watch, start time, stream link, odds, prediction
 WORLD & Champs League
Atletico favourites to win Spanish title says Zidane

Lewandowski facing Messi, Ronaldo for FIFA best player award
 Crazy final day: Champions League group stage winners and losers
UEFA Champions League wrap: Gladbach, Madrid sides take final spots

Who can Premier League clubs draw in Champions League knockouts?

Real Madrid, Atletico into Champions League last 16 as PSG win suspended game

Atletico brush Salzburg aside to reach last 16

Inter Milan crash out of Europe after Champions League stalemate

Europa League: Tottenham, Leicester win groups; USMNT’s Weah scores

STEFFEN’S SHUTOUT CAPS RECORD SHATTERING UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP STAGE FOR AMERICANS IN EUROPE

SBI SoccerJust Now

Zack Steffen’s UEFA Champions League debut may have felt like a bit of a formality for a Manchester City side that had already clinched its group before Wednesday’s match against Marseille, but the goalkeeper’s shutout performance still carried significance as a worthy cap to a record-setting group stage for Americans.

Steffen became the ninth different American to play in this season’s Champions League group stage, further shattering the previous record of six. He became just the third American goalkeeper to start in Champions League (joining Tim Howard and Ethan Horvath), posting the first shutout since Horvath posted three shutouts in a row with Standard Liege in 2018.The end of the group stage offers a moment to reflect on a collection of matches Americans aren’t going to forget any time soon, a period highlighted by Weston McKennie’s stunning goal and man of the match performance for Juventus against Barcelona on Tuesday.

The American contingent in Champions League set new records for matches played (30) and goal scorers (three), with several playing key roles on top teams. Sergino Dest has become a regular starter for FC Barcelona while Gio Reyna has continued to develop into a top threat for Borussia Dortmund.

The knockout rounds could produce even more magic, with eight Americans set to take part, and five of the eight being part of group-winning squads, including Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic

Monday’s Round of 16 draw could help setup the first knockout-round match to feature American players on both sides. Potential clashes between Gio Reyna and Sergino Dest, or Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams, could put a finishing tough on a special Champions League season.

The ultimate goal for all eight remaining Americans in Champions League will be to try to become the second American to win a Champions League winner’s medal, joining Jovan Kirovski, who won one as part of the 1996-1997 Borussia Dortmund title squad.

BREAKDOWN IN EUROPE THIS WEEKEND

Gregory Caltabanis

Just Now

Derbies have often served as turning points in seasons, something Real Madrid and Manchester United will be hoping for this weekend.

Manchester United is coming off a disappointing Champions League exit ahead of its clash against Manchester City, while Real Madrid will be eager to get its title defense back on track against Atletico Madrid.

The Galacticos just punched their ticket into the Round of 16 in midweek and will now shift their attention on cutting into Atletico’s six-point lead atop La Liga. Elsewhere, Barcelona’s struggles continued under Ronald Koeman, losing out on first place in their group following their defeat against Juventus. The Blaugrana takes on Levante, while Real Sociedad hosts Eibar.

Chelsea’s affair with Everton presents an intriguing clash of styles, with the Blues looking to maintain the pace atop the table with Spurs and Liverpool. Jose Mourinho’s men return to action against a fellow London side, Crystal Palace, while the reigning champions take on the newly-promoted Fulham. All eyes in England will be on the Manchester Derby, as the fierce rivals lock horns on Saturday at Old Trafford.

In Germany, Bayern Munich engages in an intriguing affair with Union Berlin, hoping to extend its lead atop the Bundesliga. Bayer Leverkusen faces off against Hoffenheim, while Borussia Dortmund will be hoping to claim its first Bundesliga win in three games against Stuttgart. RB Leipzig hosts Werder Bremen, in what promises to be an enthralling matchup.

In Italy, Juventus travels to take on Genoa, in search of its sixth win of the season, while Inter Milan take on Cagliari on Sunday. League-leading AC Milan takes the field on Sunday against a tricky Parma side.

Here is a closer look at this weekend’s action in Europe’s top leagues and competitions:

Premier League

The latest iteration of the Manchester Derby headlines the action in England this weekend, as the Red Devils welcome Manchester City into Old Trafford. Manchester United will be eager to put its Champions League disappointment behind them on Saturday and continue its recent surge up the table. Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s men have won their last four in league action, sitting just five points behind first with a game in hand. Manchester City enters the derby in fine form as well, having yet to concede a goal on its latest five-game unbeaten run. As just one point separates them in the table, the English giants will be raring to go.

Chelsea’s title credentials will be put to the test when they travel to Goodison Park to take on Everton. Frank Lampard’s men most recently punched their ticket into the Champions League Round of 16 in convincing fashion and are currently riding a 14-game unbeaten streak. Chelsea’s recent resurgence has them within two points of the league leaders ahead of the crucial holiday stretch. Everton has slowed down since its hot start, picking up just one win in its last seven encounters. Dominic Calvert-Lewin continues to find the back of the net despite the Toffees’ struggles and leads the league with 11 goals. The Blues will be hoping to confirm their contender status and return to winning ways following their draw in mid-week.

Tottenham has taken the Premier League by storm this season, marching to first place in recent weeks. Jose Mourinho’s men will now shift their attention to the in-form Crystal Palace. Roy Hodgson’s side is coming off a 5-1 win over West Brom, with Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke each netting braces. Spurs will be hoping to keep its momentum going, most recently emerging victorious over Arsenal in last weekend’s North London Derby. Harry Kane and Heung-min Son were once again on target and will be hoping to continue their productive start on Sunday. Spurs currently sit in first place, level on points with Liverpool, and are yet to lose since their surprise defeat against Southampton back in September.

The reigning champions’ next stop takes them to Craven Cottage to take on Fulham on Sunday. Liverpool enters this clash off the back of a comprehensive victory over Wolves and will be looking to create some breathing room atop the table against the newly-promoted side. Scott Parker’s men are languishing dangerously right abovethe drop zone, sitting just one point ahead of Burnley. Fulham most recently lost to Manchester City in a fiery affair, indicating they can compete with England’s elite. Liverpool may still be without key men but has demonstrated its impressive depth in recent weeks, extending its unbeaten run to seven games.

La Liga

Real Madrid hosts its fierce rivals Atletico Madrid on Saturday, in hopes of reigniting its title hopes. The Galacticos sit six points behind Diego Simeone’s men, having played one more game than them and will be eager to make up some crucial ground. Both clubs are coming off successful weeks in Europe, booking their place into the knockout stages of the Champions League. Real Madrid put an end to its recent skid, recording back-to-back victories against Sevilla and Borussia Moenchengladbach to get its season back on track. Their crosstown rivals – Atletico Madrid – have since emerged as the favorites to dethrone them, kicking off the La Liga season on a 10-game unbeaten run. Joao Felix and Luis Suarez have provided the firepower, scoring five goals apiece.

Barcelona will be looking to bounce back following its disappointing defeat against Juventus, welcoming Levante into the Camp Nou. The Spanish giants have struggled under Ronald Koeman, opening their season with four defeats in their opening 10 games. Barcelona currently trails the league-leading Atletico by 12 points and will be hoping to put its recent woes behind them. Levante has stumbled out of the gates themselves and hovers dangerously above the drop zone. Despite this, Paco Lopez’s men are unbeaten in their last five games, albeit having drawn four of their clashes. As their title hopes slip away, Barcelona needs to start picking up results.

Real Sociedad relinquished the top spot for the first time this season last week and will be hoping to overtake Atletico Madrid when they square off against Eibar. The Basque outfit most recently played out to a stalemate against Alaves, dropping points for the second consecutive weekend. Real Sociedad has only lost one of its 12 La Liga encounters this season and has since propelled itself in the title race. Imanol Alguacil’s men have their sights set on first place, sitting just one point behind Atletico Madrid. Los Colchoneros, however, have played two games in hand on Real Sociedad. Eibar enters this clash in decent form, currently riding a four-game unbeaten run in league play. 

Bundesliga

Borussia Dortmund will be hoping to return to winning ways on Saturday, hosting a resurgent Stuttgart side. Lucien Favre’s men punched their ticket into the Champions League knockout stages as group winners but have dropped points in consecutive matchdays in the Bundesliga. Erling Haaland has missed his side’s last three games and is expected to be sidelined until January, forcing Dortmund to make do without its towering hitman. Stuttgart has proven incredibly hard to break down in the early goings of the season, losing just twice in 10 games. Pellegrino Matarazzo’s side will be looking to confirm its European credentials, hoping to put its name in the conversation for the Europa League. Bayern Munich heads into its clash with Union Berlin in top form and is yet to lose since its defeat on matchday two. The German giants may be leading the Bundesliga, but just two points separate them and third place. Union Berlin has impressed in its second season since returning to the top-flight, emerging as unlikely contenders for a place in Europe. Max Kruse has led the charge for the capital-based club, registering six goals and five assists in eight starts. Urs Fischer’s men will be eager to put its recent skid to an end, having failed to win their last two games. Bayern Munich’s high-powered attack has propelled them past the competition thus far, netting 34 goals in its opening 10 games. Robert Lewandowski leads the league with 12 strikes already and will be on the hunt for more on Saturday.RB Leipzig will be looking to carry the momentum from its midweek triumph over Manchester United into matchday 11. Julian Nagelsmann’s men host Werder Bremen, who is winless in its last eight games. Florian Kohfeldt’s men have struggled in recent weeks, dropping to 13th place. RB Leipzig will want to confirm its title credentials and maintain the pace atop the table with Bayern Munich. The German giants are coming off a taxing game against Manchester United but will need to be at their best on Saturday. Werder Bremen may be struggling, but they have proven they can compete with any side in the Bundesliga on their day, holding Bayern Munich to a draw.Bayer Leverkusen will put its unbeaten record on the line when they welcome Hoffenheim into the Bay Arena on Sunday. Peter Bosz’s men are currently riding a 10-game unbeaten streak and sit just one point behind Bayern Munich in first place. Leverkusen most recently overcame a winless Schalke side, emerging comfortable winners in a 3-0 victory. Hoffenheim has turned its fortunes around following an indifferent start to the season and will be hoping to extend its three-game unbeaten streak. The German side has already booked its place in the Europa League’s Round of 32 and will be eager to throw a wrench in Leverkusen’s title hopes. Hoffenheim remains the only side to have beaten Bayern Munich this season, putting four past the Bavarian giants.

Serie A

With first place in its Champions League group secured, Juventus can now turn its attention on boosting its title defense against Genoa this weekend, with the Italian champions making the trip to the Luigi Ferraris on Sunday. Andrea Pirlo’s squad enter this clash off the back of a comprehensive victory against Barcelona and will be hoping for much of the same against Genoa. Juventus has struggled for consistency in the opening rounds of league play, drawing five of its opening 10 games. The Bianconeri currently trail AC Milan by six points and cannot afford to fall any further behind Stefano Pioli’s men. Genoa will be eager to turn its season around, having won just one of its first 10 games. Davide Nicola’s men are flirting dangerously with the drop zone and are winless in their last nine encounters.

AC Milan welcomes Parma into the San Siro on Sunday, looking to maintain its sizable lead atop the table. The Rossoneri sit five points above fierce rival Inter Milan. Pioli’s side is coming off a narrow victory against Sampdoria, extending its unbeaten run in Serie A to 22 games, dating back to last season. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Parma will be looking to continue its recent resurgence. Fabio Liverani’s men have only lost once in their last eight encounters in all competitions, indicating a hard-fought battle ahead. 

Inter Milan will not have much time to lick its wounds following its European elimination, traveling to Sardegna Arena to take on Cagliari on Sunday. The Nerazzurri are unbeaten in their last five league encounters, recording three consecutive wins. In fact, Inter Milan’s only defeat in league action came in the Derby Della Madonnina against their fierce rivals. Antonio Conte’s men will try to cut into AC Milan’s five-point lead atop the table but will not have it easy against Cagliari. The Sardinian outfit has proven to be a free-scoring side under Eusebio Di Francesco, with Joao Pedro and Giovanni Simeone combining for 11 goals already this season.

France/Portugal

Paris Saint-Germain hosts Olympique Lyonnais on Saturday, with just two points separating the sides. Rudi Garcia’s side has undergone a recent resurgence and is unbeaten since its loss against Montpellier back in September. PSG heads into this intriguing matchup off the back of a dominant performance against Istanbul Başakşehir, putting five past the Turkish side. Neymar and Kylian Mbappe combined for five goals between them and will look to translate their goalscoring exploits into this game. Lyon possesses a dynamic attack of its own, having scored six goals in their last two convincing victories. 

PSG’s encounter with Lyon may dominate the headlines, but Marseille’s upcoming clash against AS Monaco will be just as compelling. Andre Vilas Boas’s side is coming off an abysmal European campaign, but still sits just two points behind PSG with two games in hand. Monaco will be looking to return to winning ways after losing narrowly to Lille last weekend. Niko Kovac’s men were previously riding a four-game winning streak, including a come-from-behind win against PSG. Only five points stand between a fifth-place Monaco and first place, indicating an intense title race ahead.

Portuguese football is on pause this weekend, as the fourth round of the Taça de Portugal is set to resume. Sporting CP hosts Pacos Ferreira on Friday, while Porto welcomes Tondela into the Estádio do Dragão on Sunday. Elsewhere, Benfica takes on Vilafraquense while Braga makes the trip to CO Montijo.

Champions League group stage winners and losers: Manchester United headlines early exits

https://vplayer.nbcsports.com/p/BxmELC/nbcsports_embed/select/media/VqyKKbZPELJP

Yahoo Sports StaffWed, December 9, 2020, 5:54 PM EST·5 min read

The most condensed UEFA Champions League group stage in the history of Europe’s top club competition came to an end Wednesday as the final slate of Matchday 6 games concluded.

Despite the breakneck pace of the schedule — the 2020-21 campaign started a month later than normal because of fixture congestion caused by the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in games almost every single week — there was absolutely no drop-off in drama. Now that the first round is over, with the knockout phase set to begin February as usual, a look and the biggest winners and losers is in order.

Champions League group stage winners

Real Madrid: The most successful team in tournament history came into its sixth and final match sitting third in a tricky Group B, meaning Real Madrid needed to beat then-leader Borussia Monchengladbach to emerge from a foursome that also included Inter Milan and Shakhtar Donetsk.

But Zinedine Zidane’s team made no mistake, strolling to a comfortable 2-0 victory over the German side, with veteran striker Karim Benzema scoring both of the goals. Not only did the triumph vault Real into the next stage, it was enough to take the group, too.

Juventus: The Italian titan came into its final Group G contest knowing that following a 2-0 loss to Barcelona in Turin in October, only a three-goal margin in the rematch in Spain would be enough to leapfrog Barca and top the group, guaranteeing (in theory anyway) an easier Round of 16 foe. For a club looking for its first European title this century following a pair of fruitless appearances in the finals since 2015, every advantage matters.And in the first meeting between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in more than two years, Ronaldo got the better of his fellow living legend by scoring twice from the penalty spot — including the all-important group clincher — in a 3-0 rout at the Camp Nou.

Borussia Monchengladbach: After losing to Real, the only hope Gladbach had of advancing was if Inter and Shakhtar played to a stalemate in the other Group B contest. Yet that’s how it shook out, allowing the Germans to move on.

Chelsea: Frank Lampard’s Blues were the favorites to win Group E from the start. But after opening the tourney with a disappointing scoreless draw with Sevilla, Chelsea was lights-out in advancing, stringing together four consecutive wins — including a 4-0 drubbing of the Spaniards in Seville — en route to the top spot.

U.S. men’s national team: When Manchester City keeper Zack Steffen made his debut in the competition Wednesday in the already-qualified Sky Blues’ group finale, he became the record ninth American to play in the Champions League this year.

Steffen kept a clean sheet in 3-0 win over Marseille, and he’ll join seven of his other eight compatriots — Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig), Konrad de le Fuente, Sergino Dest (both Barcelona), Weston McKennie (Juventus) Giovanni Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Chris Richards (Bayern Munich) and Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) — in next year’s knockout round. The only USMNT regular who didn’t advance was Club Brugge’s backup backstop Ethan Horvath, who starred in a last-gasp win over Zenit St. Petersburg in his only appearance this campaign.

Champions League group stage losers

Manchester United: The Red Devils’ furious comeback was too little, too late in Tuesday’s 3-2 loss in Leipzig, relegating once-feared United to third place behind last season’s surprise semifinalists and Group H winners Paris Saint-Germain. (PSG trounced İstanbul Başakşehir 5-1 behind Neymar’s hat trick Wednesday, a day after the match was abandoned following a racist incident.)

Despite being drawn into arguably the most difficult of the eight groups, it was an embarrassing exit for the three-time European champs. And it heaped more pressure on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who now must balance trying to win the Europa League with climbing up the standings in the Prem, where United sits sixth.

Inter Milan and Shakhtar Donetsk: Both teams came into their final day meeting with the chance to move on from Group B. A win for either would’ve been enough; a draw would result in mutually assured destruction. Inter attacked like crazy, but put just four of 20 shots on frame, while defensive-minded Donetsk clearly was content to settle for the Europa League rather than risk finishing last.

Lionel Messi: Watching a visibly frustrated Messi in Tuesday’s thumping by Juventus, it was hard not to think back to the historic drubbing Bayern Munich put on Barcelona in the 2019-20 quarterfinal. This one wasn’t as bad, granted. But it also inspired zero confidence that this Barcelona squad, as currently constructed, has any realistic chance of competing for the Champions League title, either this year or in the near future.

However long Barcelona is able to survive in the knockout stage, those matches could well mark the last handful of Messi’s incomparable Blaugrana career. The 33-year-old, who tried to leave his only professional club last summer in a bid to win another European crown before he retires, has just six months remaining on his contract.

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