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Perseverance Takes Its First Drive on Mars

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NASA’s Perseverance rover arrived on Mars last month, the culmination of years of design and development at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). NASA began downloading images from the robot almost immediately after the landing, but the team completed a full system check before taking the machine for a spin. Perseverance finally took its first drive on Mars late last week, covering a total of 21.3 feet (6.5 meters). 

Perseverance is about the size of a sub-compact car, weighing more than 2,000 pounds on Earth. Even on Mars, that’s a big robot. Like Curiosity, this rover used a rocket-powered sky crane to execute a soft landing on Mars. NASA wanted to make sure Perseverance was in full working order before driving it anywhere. It also needed a software update, which NASA completed in late February. 

With the housekeeping done, NASA pumped the gas on March 4th. It took about 33 minutes for Perseverance to complete the maneuvers — accuracy is much more important than speed at a distance of 142 million miles (about 230 million kilometers). First, the rover drove forward 13 feet. Then, it turned in place 150 degrees before backing up another eight feet. This dance got Perseverance away from the landing zone, allowing the team to use its Navigation and Hazard Avoidance Cameras to take a peek at the spot where it was dropped off by the descent stage. This could help engineers better understand the specifics of retrorocket landings on Mars. 

An orbital view of the landing zone from the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO).

NASA has already deployed the rover’s robotic arm and run tests on several of its most important instruments like the Radar Imager for Mars’ Subsurface Experiment (RIMFAX) and Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE). The team has several more tests to complete before the rover’s science mission begins in earnest. There are more instruments to calibrate, and there are still protective covers to remove from the sample caching system and Ingenuity helicopter. 

This first drive is only the beginning — Curiosity set a record for covering more distance than any other rover, and Perseverance has redesigned wheels to keep it rolling even longer. There’s a lot to see in Jezero Crater, too. The crater was a lake fed by a river billions of years ago, and the delta is still visible. Scientists believe this region is ideal for detecting signs of ancient life, and Perseverance has the tools to do that.

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Planet Nine Hypothesis Takes a Major Hit in New Study

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It used to be easy to know how many planets there were: nine. It had been nine planets for an entire generation before scientists started rethinking what counts as a planet. Pluto is out, but some astronomers believe there’s a real ninth planet lurking out there. Others aren’t convinced, and the debate is starting to shift in favor of the planet nine skeptics

To be clear, there have been crackpots who, at various times, have claimed that a tenth (or ninth) planet was going to collide with Earth. The scientific debate over Planet Nine focuses on a 2016 study penned by astronomers Michael Brown and Konstantin Batygin. In it, the pair shows how the unusual orbits of numerous extreme trans-Neptunian objects (ETNO) could be the result of a massive, undiscovered object in the outer solar system. 

Other scientists were understandably skeptical of these claims, but the evidence presented by Brown and Batygin wasn’t as easy to dismiss as conspiracy theories about Planet X. The orbits cited in the study are odd, and they do support the idea there’s a massive something out there. We don’t know it’s a planet, though, and the math suggests it should be substantially larger than Earth. So where is it?! Some scientists have speculated that Planet Nine may actually be a small black hole — after all, the only evidence we have for Planet Nine is gravity. 

A new pre-print study led by the University of Michigan’s Kevin Napier posits an alternative explanation. Perhaps, the team says, the supposed clustering of ETNO orbits in the outer solar system is an illusion caused by biased data. According to Napier, it’s very hard to spot the tiny ETNOs at such great distances. So, astronomers have to adjust their telescopes to focus on specific parts of the sky, taking note of both the time of day and year. The result is allegedly an incomplete view of ETNOs. So, the clustering isn’t really clustering — those are just the objects Brown and Batygin happened to catalog. 

Planet Nine may be the cause of the clustering of ETNO orbits.

The team went a step further by checking in on 14 ETNOs that were not included in the initial Planet Nine paper. They found no indication these objects were being affected by the supposed Planet Nine. 

This study still needs to be peer-reviewed, but the team seems confident. Some of them are even out there talking smack on Twitter. Time will tell who’s right about this, but the Planet Nine supporters are going to need some new evidence to keep up the fight.

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Tam takes aim at COVID-19 ‘infodemic,’ urges vigilance over misleading online content

Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, on Sunday warned Canadians to maintain vigilance about the pandemic information they consume online as misleading content widens its reach.

“Throughout the pandemic we have relied on technology and information-sharing platforms to keep us safe, informed and connected,” Tam wrote in her Sunday COVID-19 update.

“At the same time, these platforms have contributed to an overabundance of information — an infodemic — that worsens the current pandemic by allowing false information to circulate more easily, hampering public health responses, creating confusion and distrust, and ultimately making it more difficult for people to make vital decisions about their health and safety.”

Sunday’s statement — which normally dives into a topic related to COVID-19 — was largely focused on battling misinformation and disinformation that has arisen over the course of the pandemic.

The public health crisis has sparked a torrent of misleading information and conspiracy theories about the origins of the virus, how it is transmitted and the efficacy of vaccines.


Tam said false information has attempted to erode social cohesion and trust during the COVID-19 crisis and makes ‘it more difficult for Canadians to determine fact from fiction and make informed decisions.’ (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

In early February, Statistics Canada published a report that found that almost all Canadians who used online resources to research the novel coronavirus believed they spotted misinformation online.

One-fifth of Canadians always checked the accuracy of COVID-19 information found on online platforms, while half of Canadians shared information they were unsure was accurate.

False information used to erode trust

“I am increasingly concerned about the number of false and misleading claims related to COVID-19 that make it more difficult for Canadians to determine fact from fiction and make informed decisions,” Tam warned.

Canada’s top doctor acknowledged the frustrations of Canadians struggling to keep up with constantly evolving public health advice and noted that pandemic restrictions mean people are spending more time on social media than usual.

“It is also important that we distinguish between misinformation — false information that is not created with the intention of hurting others — and disinformation, an extreme type of misinformation created with the intention of causing harm,” Tam said. 

“During this pandemic, disinformation has been used to try to erode social cohesion, our trust in each other, our communities and even our public health institutions.”

Tackling misinformation

Canada’s threatened information landscape has led some people to take matters into their own hands.

Timothy Caulfield, Canada research chair in health law and policy at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, is one of the founders of an online campaign launched last month aimed at combating misinformation about COVID-19.

“It’s not going to fix everything, and we’re talking about moving the needle. But when you’re talking about something as problematic and as important as the spread of misinformation, moving the needle matters,” Caulfield told CBC’s Radio Active.

Radio Active7:35#Science Up First

Misinformation and conspiracy theories continue to be an issue that dogs online discussions about the COVID-19 pandemic. We speak to Timothy Caulfield one of the cofounders of a new digital media campaign that wants to combat that misinformation. 7:35

Others, including First Nation leaders and regional public health officials, have moved to tackle vaccine hesitancy and misleading information in their own communities.

In her statement, Tam advised Canadians to check where information comes from, even if it appears to come from a legitimate source. 

“Try checking to see if the information can be validated by other legitimate sources, like the Government of Canada’s or the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 websites, from provincial and territorial health ministry sites, or from local public health units or other trusted institutions like universities or health organizations. Finally, consider what the majority of experts are saying over what one or two individuals may have to say.”

She also recommended fully reading articles rather than only headlines, reporting false information on social media platforms and speaking with friends and family when something untrue is shared.

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Myanmar army takes control of country after leader Aung San Suu Kyi reportedly detained

Myanmar military television said Monday that the military was taking control of the country for one year, while reports said many of the country’s senior politicians including Aung San Suu Kyi had been detained.

A presenter on military-owned Myawaddy TV made the announcement and cited a section of the military-drafted constitution that allows the military to take control in times of national emergency.

He said the reason for takeover was in part due to the government’s failure to act on the military’s claims of voter fraud in last November’s election and its failure to postpone the election because of the coronavirus crisis.

The move comes after days of escalating tension between the civilian government and the powerful military that stirred fears of a coup in the aftermath of an election that the army says was fraudulent.

A military spokesman did not answer phone calls seeking further comment.

Phone lines to Naypyitaw, the capital, were not reachable in the early hours of Monday. Parliament had been due to start sitting there on Monday after a November election the NLD had won in a landslide.

Soldiers took up positions at city hall in Yangon and mobile internet data and phone services in the NLD stronghold were disrupted, residents said. Internet connectivity also had fallen dramatically, monitoring service NetBlocks said.

NLD spokesperson Myo Nyunt told Reuters by phone that Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and other leaders had been “taken” in the early hours of the morning.

“I want to tell our people not to respond rashly and I want them to act according to the law,” he said, adding he also expected to be detained.


Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi is seen in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, in January 2020. (Aung Shine Oo/The Associated Press)

Nobel Peace Prize winner Suu Kyi, 75, came to power after a 2015 landslide election win that followed decades of house arrest in a struggle for democracy that turned her into an international icon.

Her international standing was damaged after hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims fled army operations into refuge from Myanmar’s western Rakhine state in 2017, but she remains hugely popular at home.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States expressed “grave concern and alarm” over reports of the detention of government officials and civil society leaders. In a statement, Blinken called on Myanmar’s military leaders to release the detained leaders and respect the will of the people “as expressed in democratic elections on November 8.”

Earlier, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement that President Joe Biden has been briefed on the situation and that the U.S. “will take action against those responsible if these steps are not reversed.”


Supporters of Myanmar’s military take part in a protest against election results in Yangon on Saturday. (Shwe Paw Mya Tin/Reuters)

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also condemned the detentions and said the developments “represent a serious blow to democratic reforms,” according to a UN spokesperson.

“All leaders must act in the greater interest of Myanmar’s democratic reform, engaging in meaningful dialogue, refraining from violence and fully respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms,” UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.

Myanmar’s military had said on Saturday it would protect and abide by the constitution and act according to law after comments earlier in the week had raised fears of a coup.

Myanmar’s election commission has rejected the military’s allegations of vote fraud, saying there were no errors big enough to affect the credibility of the vote.

The constitution reserves 25 per cent of seats in parliament for the military and control of three key ministries in Suu Kyi’s administration.

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Near-total abortion ban takes effect in Poland amid protests

A near-total ban on abortion has taken effect in Poland and triggered a new round of nationwide protests three months after a top court ruled that the abortion of congenitally damaged fetuses is unconstitutional.

Led by a women’s rights group, Women’s Strike, people poured onto the streets of Warsaw and other cities late Wednesday. More anti-government demonstrations are planned for Thursday evening.

Poland’s top human rights official denounced the further restriction of what was already one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe, calling it a tragedy for women.

“The state wants to further limit their rights, risk their lives and condemn them to torture,” said Adam Bodnar, the human rights commissioner, or ombudsman, whose role is independent from the Polish government. “This offensive is opposed by civil society.”

The only remaining legal justifications for abortion under Polish law are if the woman’s life or health is at risk, or if a pregnancy results from a crime like rape or incest.

Poland’s constitutional court on Wednesday issued a justification of a controversial October ruling that bans abortions in cases of fetuses with congenital defects, even ones so severe that there is no chance of survival upon birth.

The government then published the court’s ruling in a government journal. Those steps were the formal prerequisites required for the new law to enter into force.

Reproductive rights activists say many hospitals had already started cancelling procedures that until Wednesday were theoretically still legal, fearing possible repercussions.

Members of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party, which is aligned with the Roman Catholic Church, had often sought the new restriction. They argued that it was a way to prevent the abortion of fetuses with Down syndrome, which have made up a significant share of the legal abortions in Poland.

Women’s rights activists consider the new law to be draconian.

‘A terrible day for women and girls in Poland’

The protesters are demanding a full liberalization of the abortion law and the resignation of the government. Some on Wednesday covered their faces with green handkerchiefs, which are the symbol of the abortion rights movement in Argentina. The South American country recently legalized abortion, a historic change in deeply Catholic Latin America.


A constitutional court ruling in Poland in October determined that abortions are only legal in cases of rape and incest, and when the mother’s life is in danger. But the decision had not yet been officially published until now, three months after the ruling sparked widespread protests. (Omar Marques/Getty Images)

Amnesty International, which called Poland’s law taking effect “a terrible day for women and girls in Poland,” said bans never prevent abortions.

“Instead, they serve only to damage women’s health by pushing abortions underground or forcing women to travel to foreign countries to access abortion care they need and to which they have a right,” said Amnesty senior research adviser Esther Major.

Poland’s ruling conservatives have long sought to further restrict abortion rights. Past attempts by parliament to do so triggered mass street protests, pressure that led lawmakers to shelve those plans.

In a more than 200-page ruling, the constitutional court argued that allowing abortion when there are congenital defects is unconstitutional, because the Polish constitution protects human life. The constitutional court is made up mostly of Law and Justice appointees who ruled on a motion brought by lawmakers from the party.

The government appears to have calculated that it could change the law with less of a backlash by getting a court under its political control to do the job during the pandemic. Instead, massive numbers of people have in past months defied pandemic restrictions in order to demonstrate.

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Goals galore for Neymar, Ronaldo, Giroud as Champions League picture takes shape

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 750th career goal. Olivier Giroud put on a four-goal masterclass. Neymar got the goals that mattered most to leave Manchester United facing a possible Champions League exit.

Neymar scored early and late at Old Trafford as Paris Saint-Germain won 3-1 in the latest bout of a fierce Champions League rivalry to take control of its destiny in Group H.

United was left to regret not substituting midfielder Fred who seemed lucky not to be sent off in the first half when head-butting PSG’s Leandro Paredes.

Fred finally saw a red card in the 70th minute just as United tried to come back from PSG taking a 2-1 lead through another Brazilian, Marquinhos.

PSG and United are joined on nine points by Leipzig, which got a stoppage-time winning goal to beat Istanbul Basaksehir 4-3 in a thrilling game.

United has perhaps the toughest task in the final games next Tuesday, traveling to Leipzig while PSG hosts Basaksehir.

Borussia Dortmund was the only team to advance Wednesday, drawing 1-1 at home against Lazio to become the ninth team in the round of 16.

Juventus was already safely into the next round before Ronaldo marked his 750th goal for his clubs and Portugal. It was a simple tap-in at the far post in a 3-0 win over Dynamo Kyiv.

Chelsea and Sevilla had also advanced before Giroud tore apart the Spanish side on its home turf. The France forward’s perfectly balanced quadruple came from shots with his right and left feet, a header, and then from the penalty spot.

Three-way battle

Like Real Madrid on Tuesday, Man United lost to leave itself a tense last-round challenge just to qualify for the knockout stage in February.

United recovered well from Neymar’s sixth-minute opener and leveled before halftime from Marcus Rashfiord’s deflected shot before coming out strong in the second half.

But a chipped shot by Edinson Cavani, PSG’s record goalscorer who joined United this season, came back off the crossbar and Anthony Martial skied a clear chance minutes later.

PSG then deservedly retook the lead and after Fred’s dismissal, a third goal looked likely even before Neymar rolled the ball into an unguarded goal in stoppage time.

Leipzig’s late goal in Istanbul changed the calculations. Substitute Alexander Sorloth struck just minutes after the ball had rebounded off his face to hit the crossbar of Basaksehir’s goal.

It was tough on Basaksehir’s I?rfan Can Kahveci who completed an impressive hat trick in the 85th minute to cancel Leipzig’s lead for a second time.

Barca, Juve cruise

In the most lopsided group, Barcelona was able to rest Lionel Messi against Ferencvaros and still score all its goals in the first half hour in a 3-0 win.

The most significant detail of Juve’s routine 3-0 win over Dynamo Kviv was the history made by the referee.

Stephanie Frappart of France became the first woman to referee a men’s Champions League match.

Barcelona has five straight wins and leads Juve by three points before they meet in Spain next Tuesday to decide who tops the group. Group winners are seeded in the last-16 draw and play the second leg at home.

If Messi and Ronaldo both play, it will be the veterans’ first meeting in the group stage.

Russian victory

Krasnodar’s 1-0 win at home to Rennes was the Russian club’s first in its debut Champions League campaign. It assured Krasnodar of third place in the group behind Chelsea and Sevilla, and means it will enter the Europa League’s last 32.

It was also a first victory this season for any of the six Russian clubs that entered the two European competitions.

Later, Russian champion Zenit St. Petersburg lost 3-0 at Club Brugge to stay rooted to the bottom of Group F despite being the top-seeded team. Zenit cannot qualify for the Europa League.

Brugge can join Dortmund in advancing from Group F, if it beats Lazio in Rome next Tuesday.

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Orlando City survives bizarre shootout as defender takes gloves to seal wild finish

Benji Michel’s goal in a second penalty shootout and a late save by a reserve defender summoned to play goalie helped send Orlando City into the MLS Eastern Conference semifinals with a wild 1-1 (6-5) victory over NYCFC on Saturday.

No. 4 seed Orlando next plays Nov. 29 against top-seeded Philadelphia or No. 8 New England.

Orlando thought it had won at the end of the first penalty shootout when goalkeeper Pedro Gallese turned away NYCFC’s fifth penalty kick. But during the team’s brief celebration, officials ruled Gallese left his line early, drawing his second yellow card. Gallese then drew a red card when he disputed the call.

Referees concluded Orlando backup goalie Brian Rowe was ineligible, which forced it to bring in reserve centre back Rodrigo Schlegel in net. Orlando briefly lost track of the penalty kick count and thought it had won after Schlegel turned away NYCFC and started celebrating. Michel then came on to end it.

VIDEO: Unlikely hero Rodrigo Schlegel secures Orlando’s 1st playoff win:

After Orlando goalkeeper Pedro Gallese was awarded a red card during a penalty shootout, reserve centre back Rodrigo Schlegel replaced him and stopped Gudmundur Thorarinsson, leading to Benji Michel’s game-winner. 3:50

Orlando scored in the fifth minute on a penalty kick from Nani, the result of a hand ball in the penalty area against NYCFC’s Anton Tinnerholm.

Three minutes later, Maxime Chanot tied it on a header off a corner kick from Jesus Medina.

Gallese helped keep it even in the first half with four saves. At the 43rd minute, Gallese stretched for saves to deny Valentin Castellanos and Keaton Parks seconds apart.

Crew set up possible clash with TFC

Pedros Santos, Darlington Nagbe and Gyasi Zardes scored and the Columbus Crew beat the New York Red Bulls 3-2 on Saturday to advance to the MLS Eastern Conference semifinals.

Third-seeded Columbus will play Nov. 29 against the winner of the Tuesday night match between second-seeded Toronto FC and No. 7 Nashville.

Seventeen-year-old Caden Clark gave the Red Bulls the lead in the 23rd minute. Santos tied it on a penalty kick in the 26th, Nagbe put the Crew ahead in the 46th and Zardes made it 3-1 in the 68th.

Brian White scored for New York in the 90th.


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Bev Priestman takes over Canada’s women’s soccer team ahead of Olympic medal pursuit

Bev Priestman, who spent five years developing Canada’s next generation of soccer stars, is returning to take charge of the senior women’s program as it chases a third consecutive Olympic medal next summer in Tokyo. 

Priestman succeeds Kenneth Heiner-Møller, who announced in July he was stepping down to rejoin the Danish Football Association as head of coach education.

With Priestman’s hire, Canada Soccer opted for a coach with strong ties to the national program. The women’s team is ranked No. 8 in the world.

“I’m extremely privileged, excited and honoured to lead a team who have a rich history in the women’s game. It definitely feels like I’m coming home,” Priestman said on virtual call with reporters on Wednesday.

The 34-year-old native of Consett, England, spent five years serving as director of Canada’s EXCEL developmental program as well as head coach of the women’s under-17 and under-20 teams. She also served as an assistant with John Herdman at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympics, where the team won its second straight Olympic bronze medal.

Since leaving Canada in August 2018, Priestman has been the head coach of England’s under-18 and under-17 national teams. She was an assistant on Phil Neville’s coaching staff at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, where the Lionesses finished fourth. 

She was thought to be in line to succeed Lionesses’ head coach Phil Neville in 2021, but England recently gave that job to Netherlands boss Sarina Wiegman.

Priestman, who won the job after a global search and a thorough three-round interview process, officially takes the Canadian reins Nov. 1. And though she only has nine months to prepare for the postponed Tokyo Olympics, she said the objective for the team is clear.

“We definitely need to change the colour of the medal. Two bronze is unbelievable, it’s a fantastic achievement and credit to John, the staff and the players that achieved that,” she said. “I think to keep moving forward, to get the group of players out of bed every day, is to aim higher than that.”

‘I understand the landscape’

Over the next four years, Priestman will lead the club through two Olympics and the FIFA World Cup in 2023 in Australia and New Zealand. Her familiarity with Canadian system and its players both current and in the pipeline will prove valuable, as well as her relationship with the team’s staff.

“I understand the landscape, I understand the country and in many ways, I understand the people in terms of who I’ll be working with,” she said, adding that for the short-term keeping things simple and playing up the team’s strengths will be critical.

As for who her assistants might be, she said she has a great relationship with the current staff and hopes to add to it in order to get the best out of herself and the team.

Priestman has a UEFA A Diploma and she’s currently working toward a UEFA Pro License, the highest coaching certification in European football. She may be relatively young for a head coach of top 10 football nation – younger than captain Christine Sinclair, as Canadian Press journalist Neil Davidson astutely pointed out – but Priestman’s resume reads as a pathway of how to get to a No. 1 job.

A bachelor’s degree in science and football from Liverpool John Moores University, an apprenticeship at Everton, four and half years working in development with New Zealand Football, the move to Canada and finally to football-mad England.

The Canadian team hasn’t been together since March 2019 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but most of the players are staying sharp by playing in professional environments whether it be in the recent National Women’s Soccer League’s Fall Series, the FA Women’s Super League, France’s Division 1 Feminine or with NCAA schools.

Earlier this month, Canada Soccer heeded the advice of federal public health officials and medical experts and scrapped a national team camp planned for late October in England.

Priestman said with the reality of the pandemic, they don’t know when the team can get together again, but you have to find ways to adapt.

“It’s always difficult, you don’t get a connection over a computer,” she said. “There’s definitely going to be strategies around that remote connection, around seeing their games in their domestic environments and giving feedback. That’s going to be crucial.”

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Manchester United takes down PSG in Champions League group stage

Marcus Rashford sprinted toward the corner flag inside an empty Parc des Princes and slid on his knees in celebration, just like two seasons ago.

Another trip to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League. Another late winner for the Manchester United striker.

In a heavyweight contest on the opening night of the group stage, United reproduced its stunning exploits from the 2018-19 competition by beating PSG away thanks to Rashford’s 87th-minute strike in a 2-1 win on Tuesday.

It was an eerily similar scenario to 18 months ago, when United arrived in the French capital heavily depleted and 2-0 down from the first leg of the teams’ last-16 match. It was Rashford who clinched an unlikely 3-1 win — and progress to the quarterfinals — with a stoppage-time penalty.

PSG, last season’s beaten finalist, already has work to do if the Qatar-owned team is to realize its long-held ambition of being European champion for the first time.

Lionel Messi’s Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus are up and running already, though.

Messi scored a penalty to set Barca on its way to a 5-1 win over Hungarian outsider Ferencvaros as the Spanish team began the rebuild of its reputation in Europe’s elite competition, two months after an embarrassing 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals last season.

Ronaldo was missing for Juventus after testing positive for the coronavirus last week, but the Italian champion had a worthy replacement in Alvaro Morata as the striker scored twice in a 2-0 win at Dynamo Kyiv.

There were wins for Lazio, Leipzig and Club Brugge, while Chelsea and Sevilla drew 0-0 and two group-stage newcomers — Rennes and Krasnodar — drew 1-1.

Shortage of fans

There were no fans at the Parc des Princes, one of three stadiums — along with Barcelona’s Camp Nou and Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge — to be without spectators for the return of the Champions League because of the coronavirus.

Other games were sparsely attended, with nearly 16,700 spectators watching Zenit St. Petersburg lose 2-1 to Brugge, 14,850 seeing Juventus win in Kyiv, and 5,000 attending the Rennes-Krasnodar game.

A sluggish PSG certainly could have done with some backing from its supporters, with United proving more than a match for the home team despite having a makeshift centre-back pairing of Axel Tuanzebe and Victor Lindelof while Paul Pogba started on the bench.

United went ahead through midfielder Bruno Fernandes’ twice-taken penalty midway through the first half but conceded when Anthony Martial rose to clear Neymar’s corner from the left, only to glance a header past his own goalkeeper, David de Gea, in the 55th.

Rashford had already been denied by PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas when he collected a pass from Pogba and smashed a low, angled shot inside the far post from the edge of the penalty area.

In the other game in Group H, Leipzig — a surprise semifinalist last season — beat Istanbul Basaksehir 2-0 in front of just under 1,000 fans thanks to two first-half goals by Spanish defender Angelino.

Barcelona youngsters shine, Juventus rolls

Messi now has 116 goals in the Champions League, and extended his run of scoring at least one goal in the competition in 16 consecutive seasons.

It was also a special night for two players nearly half his age, with 17-year-olds Ansu Fati and Pedri also scoring for Barcelona against Ferencvaros — a club making its first appearance in the group stage in 25 years.

Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele were the other scorers for Barcelona, which lost defender Gerard Pique to a straight red card with about 20 minutes left. Ihor Kharatin scored Ferencvaros’ lone goal from the resulting penalty.

Messi and Ronaldo — two players who have been at the top of the world game for more than a decade — are in the same Champions League group for the first time and are set to meet next week when Juventus hosts Barca.

Juventus coped well without Ronaldo in Kyiv, with Morata — a recent arrival from Atletico Madrid on loan — scoring twice in the second half.

Brugge, Lazio grab wins

U.S. national team goalkeeper Ethan Horvath is one of a record 10 Americans eligible for the group stage with various clubs. He didn’t get off to the best of starts.

Horvath, who plays for Brugge, was credited with an own-goal against Zenit after a shot by Dejan Lovren hit the post and bounced in off the back of the diving goalkeeper.

Brugge grabbed a stoppage-time winner from Charles De Ketelaere, though, and joins Lazio on three points in Group F.

The Italian team, which is playing in the Champions League group stage for the first time in 13 years, beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1 through goals by Ciro Immobile and Jean-Daniel Akpa-Akpro as well as an own-goal by Dortmund goalkeeper Marwin Hitz.

Erling Haaland scored for Dortmund.

In Group E, all four teams are on one point. Chelsea finally got its six major summer signings on the field together but couldn’t find a way past stubborn Sevilla.

Rennes took the lead against Krasnodar through striker Serhou Guirassy’s penalty in the 56th, but conceded three minutes later when left back Cristian Ramirez’s long-distance strike beat goalkeeper Alfred Gomis at the near post.

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