Man City come from behind to beat PSG; Test eligibility rule change to boost Pacific Islands

The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Will Mauricio Pochettino soon be back in Manchester? Photograph: Tim Goode/PA

Will Mauricio Pochettino soon be back in Manchester? Photograph: Tim Goode/PA

Manchester City are through to the knockout stages of the Champions League, after they came from behind to beat Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 at the Etihad last night. Mauricio Pochettino - heavily linked with the vacant manager’s role across Manchester at Old Trafford - saw his side take the lead in the 50th minute through Kylian Mbappe. However in the battle of the Gulf state-funded clubs the UAE trumped Qatar, with goals from Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus giving Pep Guardiola’s side all three points and top spot in Group A. With Red Bull Leipzig thrashing Club Brugge 5-0, PSG’s passage into the last-16 is also assured. Meanwhile Liverpool kept up their perfect record in the group stages as they beat FC Porto 2-0 at Anfield, with Thiago and Mohamed Salah on the scoresheet. Tonight there’s Europa League action, with Celtic facing a crunch trip away to Bayer Leverkusen (kick-off 5.45pm). West Ham can confirm their place in the knockout stages as they travel to Rapid Vienna (5.45pm), while Leicester host Legia Warsaw (8pm). In the Europa Conference League Spurs travel to Slovenia to take on NS Mura (5.45pm).

Rugby players will be allowed to swap the national side they represent as of January 2022 after World Rugby approved a change to Test match eligibility rules yesterday. A player will be able to switch to a nation they were born in, or their parents or grandparents were born in, providing they hadn’t played international rugby for three years or more. The move will favour Pacific Island nations, mainly Tonga, Samoa and Fiji, with players such as Charles Piutau - a former All Blacks player with Tongan heritage - now potentially able to feature at the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Other players who could benefit from the rule change are Steven Luatua, Julian Savea, Liam Sopoaga and the disgraced Israel Folau. Gerry Thornley writes: “There will be some, maybe plenty, who will claim this will permit wide-scale cases of players switching allegiances and devalue international rugby, and it remains to be seen if there may yet be unintended consequences. However, on the whole, the pluses far outweigh the negatives, not least in boosting the Pacific Islands countries who have been disadvantaged by socio-economic factors in losing players forever more to Tier 1 nations.”

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