Just as the Champions League moves towards its business end, Paris Saint-Germain’s key marksman Neymar Jr has been virtually ruled out for the season due to an ankle surgery he will need to undergo.

Ahead of their own uphill battle in Europe’s elite continental competition, Chelsea boss remains upbeat about his side’s chances of overcoming a 1-0 deficit against Borussia Dortmund, when the sides meet in the quarterfinal clash at Stamford Bridge late on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Brentford was helped home to a win in the Premier League thanks to the in-form Ivan Toney.

Here’s a look at the key stories from international sporting events through the day for 7 March, 2023:

Neymar to undergo ankle surgery

Neymar promised to “come back stronger” after Paris Saint-Germain said on Monday the forward requires ankle surgery and will be out of action for three to four months.

The Brazilian, who injured his ankle on February 19 against Lille in Ligue 1, “has had several episodes of instability in his right ankle in recent years,” said the club, adding that its medical staff “recommended a ligament repair operation to avoid a major risk of recurrence”.

Neymar tweeted he would not be discouraged by his latest injury.

“I’ll come back stronger,” he wrote with a praying hands emoji.

Qatar-owned PSG said Neymar would go under the knife in Doha “in the next few days” and said it would take “three to four months before he can return to training with the team”.

That would appear to end any prospect of Neymar playing again this season, with the Ligue 1 season due to end on June 3 and the Champions League final, if PSG were to get there, a week later in Istanbul.

PSG, still waiting for a first Champions League title, will bid to overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit in the last 16 against Bayern Munich in Germany on Wednesday.

Neymar, who has scored 18 goals in all competitions for his club this season, was in fine form for the French champions before the World Cup break.

But the 31-year-old has netted only three times in nine appearances since returning from Qatar, where he injured the same ankle playing for Brazil.

Ivan Toney continues streak to help Brentford

Ivan Toney extended his hot-streak as the Brentford striker’s 15th Premier League goal this season helped clinch a 3-2 win over west London rivals Fulham on Monday.

Toney has shown no signs of being distracted since he was charged with 262 breaches, dating back to 2017, of the Football Association’s gambling laws.

The 26-year-old recently criticised the FA in an Instagram post over what he alleges are lapses of confidentiality as he prepares to argue his case.

But Toney has kept his focus on the pitch and his penalty at the Community Stadium made it eight goals in his last 10 games.

Only Manchester City’s Erling Haaland and Tottenham’s Harry Kane have scored more than Toney’s tally in the league this term.

Toney’s 15th goal put Brentford back in front after Fulham’s Manor Solomon had cancelled out Ethan Pinnock’s opener.

Mathias Jensen netted late on and Carlos Vinicius’s stoppage-time strike was no consolation for Fulham as Brentford extended their unbeaten league run to 12 matches.

Brentford, undefeated in the league in 2023, sit ninth, just one point behind seventh placed Fulham in the race to qualify for European competition.

Toney has scored 27 of his 28 career spot-kicks, with his only miss coming while playing for Peterborough in 2018.

Graham Potter hopes Chelsea can bounce back against Dortmund

Graham Potter said on Monday he is confident goal-shy Chelsea can find their cutting edge to beat Borussia Dortmund and reach the Champions League quarterfinals.

Potter’s side ended a miserable run with a 1-0 win over Leeds in the Premier League on Saturday, giving them a boost ahead of Tuesday’s last 16 second leg against Dortmund at Stamford Bridge.

But Chelsea – who have only scored twice in their past seven matches – will likely need two goals to progress against the Bundesliga title-chasers, who are 1-0 up after the first leg.

Potter, under intense pressure amid a difficult first season in charge, is optimistic his expensively assembled team can find the goals necessary.

“We’ve had some games where we could have scored more than one, for sure, and we need that performance tomorrow night. It’s a simple as that,” Potter told reporters.

“We’re playing against a top team, a team that’s in a good place, the amount of wins they have. It’s not going to be easy.

“But the boys are in a good place, they are confident, they are motivated. We want to take the challenge on and give it our best.”

Potter, whose side are a lowly 10th in the Premier League, said the mood in the Chelsea camp had remained positive despite their poor form.

“Not happy and joking and smiling when losing, of course not, but at the same time there’s been a support for each other and a good spirit and a good atmosphere,” he said.

“At the same time you have to take responsibility to know that we’re not in a good place from a results perspective. But if we win a game the smiles come back.”

Uefa to reimburse Liverpool fans who attended Paris Champions League final

Uefa said Tuesday it will reimburse all Liverpool supporters who attended last year’s chaos-hit Champions League final between the English club and Real Madrid at the Stade de France in Paris.

Heavily criticised in an independent report published last month for organisational failures which “almost led to disaster”, European football’s governing body said its refund scheme would cover the entire Liverpool allocation of nearly 20,000, as well as supporters of Real and other spectators affected by the trouble outside the stadium.

“Refunds will be available to all fans... where the most difficult circumstances were reported,” UEFA said, adding that all ticket-holders who did not enter the stadium by the originally scheduled kick-off time, or could not get in at all, would also receive a refund.

“Given these criteria, the special refund scheme covers all of the Liverpool FC ticket allocation for the final, i.e. 19,618 tickets.”

Real’s 1-0 win at France’s national stadium on May 28 was overshadowed by events outside, with the kick-off delayed by 37 minutes as fans struggled to access the stadium after police funnelled them into overcrowded bottlenecks as they approached.

Police then fired tear gas towards thousands of supporters locked behind metal fences on the perimeter to the stadium.

Uefa tried to pin the blame on Liverpool fans arriving late despite thousands having been held for hours outside the stadium before kick-off.

A leading Liverpool fans’ group, Spirit of Shankly, later said fans were left “fearing for their life” in a “maelstrom of chaos and alarm”.

The Spirit of Shankly and the Liverpool Disabled Supporters Association hailed the decision but underscored that it did not go far enough.

A joint statement said the announcement “does not excuse Uefa, exempt them from criticism or lessen the need for them to implement all of the recommendations made by the Independent Inquiry”.

The French authorities claimed an “industrial scale fraud” of fake tickets was the problem.

A French Senate enquiry in July found that poorly-executed security arrangements were the cause of the mayhem.

The independent report said that “Uefa, as event owner, bears primary responsibility for failures which almost led to disaster”.

“We have taken into account a huge number of views expressed both publicly and privately and we believe we have devised a scheme that is comprehensive and fair,” said Uefa general secretary Theodore Theodoridis.

“We recognise the negative experiences of those supporters on the day and with this scheme we will refund fans who had bought tickets and who were the most affected by the difficulties in accessing the stadium.”

In a brief statement, the English club said: “This is a Uefa refund policy, not a Liverpool FC policy.

“The club’s role, as a ticket agent for this match, will be to administer the refunds to qualifying supporters that bought match tickets via LFC, as directed by Uefa”

Images of the final tarnished France’s reputation for holding major sports events ahead of the Rugby World Cup this year and the 2024 Olympic Games, both of which will host events at the Stade de France.

This year’s Champions League final is due to be played in Istanbul, Turkey, on June 10.

With text inputs from AFP

Updated through the day