Efe Ambrose, Kris Commons and Kristoffer Ajer have been left out of Celtic’s Champions League squad. Defender Jozo Simunovic and winger Gary Mackay-Steven, who are working their way back from injuries, are included by manager Brendan Rodgers. Squads for Europe’s elite club tournament can accommodate 25 players but Rodgers has listed just 24. Celtic will meet Barcelona, Manchester City and Borussia Monchengladbach in Group C. Nigeria defender Ambrose turned down a deadline day move to Belgian top-flight club Standard Liege, while a move for Simunovic to Torino in Italy also fell through. Croatia Under-21 international Simunovic has not played since suffering a knee injury in January. Mackay-Steven is recovering from summer ankle surgery, while Commons has not featured this season, having had an operation for a back problem at the tail end of last term. Ajer, 18, arrived from Norway over the summer but is yet to make a start for the Scottish champions.
Lionel Messi will miss Argentina’s 2018 World Cup qualifier in Venezuela on Tuesday after injuring his groin in Thursday’s 1-0 victory over Uruguay. The Barcelona forward scored on his return from international retirement to send Argentina top of the South America qualifying group. Messi said after the game that his groin had been “hurting a lot”. Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza said: “He won’t be able to play. We can’t take any risks. We must take care of him.” After seven of the 18 qualifying games Argentina lead Uruguay, Colombia and Ecuador by one point with Brazil a point further back in fifth. A top-four finish will secure automatic qualification for Russia 2018, with the fifth-placed side facing a two-legged play-off against a team from Oceania – New Zealand, New Caledonia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands or Tahiti.
Sunderland have signed free agent Victor Anichebe on a deal until the end of the season. The 28-year-old Nigerian striker has been without a club following his release by West Brom in May. Anichebe played under Black Cats boss David Moyes for seven years at Everton. “I have a lot of good friends here and everyone knows that I know the manager really well. He brought me through as a young player and was a big factor in me coming here,” he said. Prior to his arrival, Jermain Defoe was Sunderland’s only fit senior forward. “I had a few options in England and Europe but the manager was a huge pull for me. He knows me inside out and I feel like he can get the best out of me,” added Anichebe. The Nigerian, who moved from Lagos to Liverpool at the age of one, scored 35 goals for Everton and the Baggies in 228 appearances. Anichebe won a silver medal with Nigeria at the Beijing 2008 Olympics.
Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero will miss the Premier League derby against Manchester United on 10 September after being banned for three games. A Football Association panel found the striker, 28, guilty of violent conduct after he elbowed West Ham’s Winston Reid in City’s 3-1 Premier League win on Sunday. Argentina international Aguero is also suspended for miss City’s home league game with Bournemouth on 17 September and the EFL Cup third-round match at Swansea on 21 September. Aguero has scored three goals in three league games this season for City, who are top of the table with a 100% record. He also scored a hat-trick in the first leg of their 5-0 Champions League qualifier against Steaua Bucharest. City contested the violent conduct charge and argued that “the standard punishment would be clearly excessive”.