15/09/2017 European Football Special

15/09/2017 European Football Special

Tuesday 12th September 2017 – Group A,B,C and D opening games

Celtic were absolutely hammered by classy PSG. We can’t be mad; the French side will likely win the tournament. I was amongst many a Celtic supporter last night who commented on the fact that no one in Europe, as it stands, is better than this side. They have world class players from back to the front. The newly formed MCN ripped the Hoops apart. Neymar scored the opener, Mbappe doubled the lead and Edinson Cavani scored two. Mikel Lustig’s own goal added the fifth.

This was to be Celtic’s worst European defeat at home. Neymar, the most hated man in the East End of Glasgow, has now scored five Champions League goals in five games at Parkhead, while also conjuring up seven assists.

This was the best bit of football I have ever seen at Celtic Park. I was mesmerized watching PSG pass the ball around the field so strategically, with a touch of elegance to every kick of the ball. I stood to applaud when the final whistle blew; they were majestic.

Celtic will have to battle it out with Belgian side Anderlecht, who also fell to an opening game defeat to Bayern Munich. Goals from Lewandowski, Alcantara and Kimmich gave Bayern a 3-0 victory at home against 10-man Anderlecht. Sven Kums, unfortunate name, was sent off 11 minutes into the game after conceding a penalty which Lewandowski consequently scored from. As they battle it out with PSG for the top-seed.

Lionel Messi continues to prove he’s the best in the world scoring a brace as his side breezed past Juventus with a 3-0 victory at Camp Nou. Sporting Lisbon saw off a late comeback after taking an early two goal lead in Greece. Bruno Fernandes added a third in the second half, which proved crucial towards the end of the game, following Felipe Pardo’s brace which wasn’t quite enough to salvage a point for the Greeks.

Chelsea battered FK Qarabag in their Group C opening game. Goals from Pedro, Zappacosta, Azpilicueta, Bakayoko and Batshuayi, including a Medvedev own goal, gave the Londoners a 6-0 home victory. Zappacosta’s finish to make it 2-0 is sublime! Check that out below. Roma and Atletico Madrid came away with a share of the spoils as they played out a goalless draw in the Italian capital. Both keepers were kept busy, saving shot after shot after shot.

Manchester United got a 3-0 victory at home to Basel. Goals from Fellaini, Lukaku and Rashford got the Red Devils off the mark in Group A. Fellaini was brought on to replace Paul Pogba who pulled up with a hamstring injury just 19 minutes into the game. This could be a concern for Mourinho going forward. The injury proved to be a blessing in disguise when the Belgian opened the scoring in the 34th minute. Group A opposition CSKA Moscow beat Benfica 2-1 in Portugal; a huge statement from the Russian side to take all three points away from home. Benfica will feel hard done by when a penalty was rewarded for a hand ball in the box. Almeida was the man who received a yellow card for the hand ball but he will feel aggrieved as his hands were clearly by his side as Berezutski’s shot was fired at him.

 

Wednesday 13th September 2017 – Group E, F, G and H opening games

Tottenham Hotspurs and Borussia Dortmund played out an exciing European encounter at Wembley Stadium. Son Heung-min opened the scoring then Yarmolenko equalized for Dortmund and then who else but ‘Arry Kane stepped up to put Spurs ahead four minutes after the score had been tied. Kane scored his second of the night an hour into the game but the talking point of the night was Jan Vertonghen’s sending off in stoppage time. It should be noted that Yarmolenko’s goal is a thing of beauty, get it watched! Don’t let the result fool you, this was a very close encounter. Pulisic was on fire! Definitely the one to watch this season. Should he continue to have such a huge impact on such a big game he’ll have big name clubs calling on him very soon. Dortmund will feel aggrieved after an Aubameyang goal was ruled to be offside. Should the goal have stood it would have been 2-2 with over half an hour to play. Things would have got very interesting indeed. But it wasn’t to be and Kane’s smart finish sealed all 3 points, and the Spurs go marching on on on.

No surprises that Real Madrid made light work of Apoel Nicosia with a 3-0 victory at the Bernabeu. No surprises again the Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brace. No surprises again that Real Madrid were awarded a penalty. However, It was a surprise that centre-back Sergio Ramos scored a over-head kick. CR7 may well have had a hat-trick if it were’t for goal line technology. Modern football eh?

Liverpool’s first Champions League game since 2014 ended in a 2-2 draw with their Europa League final opponents Sevilla. As he did in the 2017 final, Joaquin Correa cut through the Liverpool defence with ease to curl the ball past Karius to level the scoring at 2-2. Wissam Ben Yedder made a fool of the Liverpool back-line for the opening goal; scoring a tap in right in front of the mighty Kop End. Firminho equalized from a Moreno pass. Salah’s hard work paid off for the second goal, which was guided in as the ball struck the foot of Kjaer deflecting it past the goalkeeper Rico. Liverpool may well have taken all three points had Robert Firminho finished from the spot. The Reds were rewarded a penalty when Sadio mane was brought down in the box. But it wasn’t to be and Correa eventually scored the equaliser after many Liverpool chances went begging. The sour point of the evening was when Sevilla boss Eduardo Berizzo was dismissed for throwing the ball away when it went out of play. Ludicrous! Joe Gomez was also sent for an early shower, dismissed following a second yellow. Spartak Moscow drew 1-1 with Maribor in their Champions League opener. UEFA will have to take action following an incident in which a flare was fired at German referee Deniz Aytekin.

Manchester City won their opening game 4-0 in Turkey against Fenerbache. The goals come from John Stone (x2), Sergio Aguero and Jesus. Pretty standard victory, not much to say really. So many shots on target, not enough goals. Napoli fell to an opening game defeat, as Shaktar Donetsk seen the game out to win 2-1.

Besiktas sealed an away victory beating Porto 3-1 in Portugal. Tosun’s second is sublime! RB Leipzig played out a 1-1 draw with last years semi-finalists Monaco.

 

Thursday 14th September 2017 – Europa League opening games

AC Milan showed that their big summer spending wasn’t done in vain following their 5-1 win in their opening game against Austria Vienna. Their £34 million signing Andre Silva scored a hat-trick, Calhanoglu opened the scoring (£22 million) and Fernández Saez (Suso) scored the fifth. The Rossoneri are not here to mess about. 

It would appear that non of the Italian teams are there to take part, but there to take over. Atalanta absolutely hammered Ronald Koeman’s Everton with a 3-0 victory for the Seria A side. Lazio also got in on the act coming from behind twice to beat Vitesse 3-2 in Holland.

French side Lyon drew with Apollon Limassol from Cyprus. Dynamo Kiev defeated Skenderbeu 3-1. Braga came away with the bragging rights (see what I did there) with their 2-1 win over Hoffenheim in Germany.

Why always me? Mario Balottelli was on the score sheet for Nice as they bowled over Belgian side Zulte Waregem with a 5-1 victory.

Osterunds beat Zorya Luhansk 2-0 in Ukraine. Taking the Swede’s top of the table above Athletic Bilbao who managed a draw with Hertha Berlin.

Arsenal came from behind to beat FC Koln 3-1 at the Emirates. Alexis Sanchez scored a fantastic solo effort, not to be missed. While you’re at it check out Cordoba’s long range finish. Peach! The talking point of the night has surely got to be Arsene Wengers pink jacket. Crvena Zvezda drew 1-1 with BATE Borisov.

Slavia Prague beat Maccabi Tel Aviv 1-0. Astana lost 3-1 to Villareal in Spain.

Real Sociedad made light work of Rosenborg with a 4-0 home victory. Zenit won 5-0 in Macedonia against FK Vardar. The Spaniards and the Russians look set to battle it out for the top spot.

There are too many games to comment on, so you can see the results by clicking here.

 

ONES TO WATCH

Celtic 0 – 5 PSG: https://youtu.be/wnbN8yS24gA

Bayern 3 – 0 Anderlecht: https://youtu.be/vB1O3oj0Y60

Barca 3 – 0 Juve: https://youtu.be/ErL9WRKNJSY

Sporting Lisbon 3 – 2 Olympiacos: https://youtu.be/XqH-QnXs8-0

Chelsea 6 – 0 Qarabag: https://youtu.be/m4A4dAnM9mc

Roma 0 – 0 Atletico: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGlGi-OO6w0

Man U 3 – 0 Basel: https://youtu.be/Lj8RjXAt2XE

Benfica 1 – 2 CSKA Moscow: https://youtu.be/ifTSrMo8umE

Tottenham 3 – 1 Dortmund: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iiQMT5UR9nU

Real Madrid 3 – 0 Nicosia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAWf5DXYtqo (fast forward to 2:42) OR https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZiGetEoa3g

Liverpool 2 – 2 Sevilla: https://youtu.be/JGwZErMgUZc

CAN’T FIND HIGHLIGHTS FOR NK MARIBOR V SPARTAK MOSCOW

Fenerbache 0 v 4 Manchester City: https://youtu.be/T24uu3ZOllQ

Shaktar Donetsk 2 – 1 Napoli: https://youtu.be/H_Zv45Q8q5M

Porto 1 – 3 Besiktas: https://youtu.be/6JOBPE9upVI

RB Leipzig 1 – 1 Monaco: https://youtu.be/-T4KuwxvQi8

 

EUROPA LEAGUE

Atalanta 3 – 0 Everton: https://youtu.be/igtBOnIuSLE

Arsenal v FC Koln: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uUEFiZ5ArM

09/06/2017 Issue 21

Neymar Jr was roped into one of the most awkward PR stunts in American soccer history. The Brazilian appeared as a guest on American talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live, where he was asked to score a goal over Hollywood Boulevard. Placed on a roof Neymar junior was given the license to kick some soccer balls into the goal on the corresponding rooftop which was being guarded by some crazed, unfit, Mexican, height-fearing Neymar fan in a bright yellow kit. (I believe he’s called Guillermo) As awkward as the segment is, it’s worth a watch for the delightful Guillermo alone.

Former Newcastle United and Ivory Coast midfielder Cheick Tiote has passed away afer collapsing in training on Monday. Tiote was only 30-years of age and collapsed while training with Chinese side Beijing Enterprises, whom he joined back in February. Tiote is best remembered for his 87th – minute volley against Arsenal back in 2001 which brought his side Newcastle back from being 4-0 down to finishing the game with a 4-4 draw. Rest in Peace, Tiote.

The news swept social media on Thursday afternoon that the Saudi Arbian national team did not take part in the pre-match minute’s silence for the victims of the London Bridge attack. Question: When was the last time you, your football team or your national team took part in a minute’s silence for those injured or killed in a terrorist attack in the Middle East? Never; that’s my answer. I understand that two Australians were taken in the attack but this does not mean that the Saudi team have to take part in the silence. They had agreed for it to go ahead, and as far as I am aware the silence was respected, despite the team not standing in line. Many of the Saudi players were seen standing still with their hands behind their back – in what way is this disrespectful? I have no problem with this, and nor should anyone.

The real news from the game was that Tom Rogic scored an absolute peach from outside the box. His goal gave the Socceroos a 3-2 victory, as they look to reach the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

David Moyes was fined £30,000 over ‘slap’ comment.

Liverpool were made to apologise and ended their interest in Virgil van Dijk. Southampton said they would report Liverpool to the Premier League over an alleged illegal approach for the centre-back. The club released a full statement of apology, and appear to have withdrew their interest.

CRAIG WHYTE….NOT GUILTY!!

ONES TO WATCH

Champions League Final: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOCJdR8yJdw

Ramos embarrassing play acting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2OaitCiMv8

Mandzukic goal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFSulXDTrVo

Neymar Jr on Jimmy Kimmell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9ngSyiAEeU

Tiote v Arsenal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpauxRuI_B0

Australia v Saudi Arabia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVSnx71BK3U

19/05/2017 Issue 18

Chelsea officially won the English Premier League last Friday night with a 1-0 win over West Brom. Michy Batshuayi was the man who scored the goal late in the game to take the title back to London. This made it a sad weekend all round for Spurs fans who lost the league to their local rivals and then said goodbye to their beloved home, White Hart Lane. The Lily Whites said goodbye in style with a 2-1 win over Manchester United. Goals from Victor Wanyama and Harry Kane earned Spurs the victory and crowned a fitting end to White Hart Lane.

The Dons recorded their first win at Ibrox in 26 years. Derek McInnes men truly battered the Blues, although the score line only showed a 2-1 victory. Aberdeen ran rings around an undisciplined Rangers back-line. Prior to the match Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha and Aberdeen boss McInnes had a wee tiff (an exchange of words if you will). It caused a ruckus to say the least, and post-match Caixinha refused to let McInnes into the manager’s office; a customary invitation at the end of most games. Hand bags at dawn if you ask me. But Aberdeen won the game and in doing so finish 2nd, one spot above Rangers, 9 points clear (still 30 points behind the Champions).

Scottish Champions Celtic are 90-minutes away from an unbeaten Premiership season after a dominant 5-0 victory over Partick Thistle. Patrick Roberts was the star of the show as Celtic chase down an undefeated title winning season, and the record of most goals scored in a season. Two goals against Hearts on Saturday and Celtic will have recorded 106 goals, beating the record of 105 goals in a season.

At their Annual General meeting yesterday, the English FA voted to bring in a retroactive bans for players who are found guilty of diving with the intent to win a penalty or get an opposition player carded/sent off. Any incidents from the weekend/mid-week games will be reviewed by a panel each Monday and bans will be given to players as appropriate. It’s certainly new, I’ll give them that! Will it work? We’ll have to wait and see. Is it a cop out to not use video technology? Potentially.

Monaco won Ligue 1 for the first time in 17-years (around the same time Kylian Mbappe was born). Back in the year 2000, David Trezeguet was their top scorer and ex-Manchester United star Fabien Barthez was their man between the sticks! Now it’s Subasic and Kylian Mbappe who run the show. Fine finishes from Mbappe and Germain sealed the 2-0 victory against St-Etienne, and the league title was theirs. To celebrate, the Monaco players gate-crashed the managers post-match press conference (see link below).

Huddersfield progressed to the Championship play-off final after a penalty shoot-out victory over Sheffield Wednesday. Their fans went just a little bit mental! (See link below)

Benfica won their fourth consecutive Potuguese Liga title with a 5-0 victory over Vitoria Guimaraes. But the best part was the team celebration which featured Eliseu riding a moped all around the Estadio da Luz; inside the dressing room, on the pitch and off into the night, we guess.

Looking ahead to this weekend’s fixtures, Inverness Caley or Hamilton will face automatic relegation with one game remaining in the Scottish Premiership. Inverness are currently one point behind Hamilton and face Motherwell on Saturday, a game that they must win to stay up – a draw will not do. Should Hamilton beat Dundee, they will guarantee a second-bottom finish meaning they will play a relegation play-off against either Falkirk or Dundee United. That play-off tie will be decided tonight following their 2-2 draw from the first-leg.

Should Celtic win against Hearts on Sunday they will have completed a Championship winning, undefeated season.  C’mon the Bhoys!

 

ONES TO WATCH

Aberdeen end the Ibrox hoodoo: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/scotland/39957735

Derek McInnes doesn’t hold back: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/scotland/39939991

Celtic show real star quality: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/scotland/39970997

Monaco win the French League match highlights: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=monaco+fc&oq=monaco+fc&aqs=chrome.0.0l6.2280j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#sh=0

Monaco gate-crash: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/39964715

Huddersfield Town goes nuts: https://twitter.com/WYSdaily/status/864956086570414082

Benfica celebrate in style: https://twitter.com/mbcrodrigues/status/863557235980554244

https://twitter.com/EliseuTheMan/status/863486064413036545

 

Apology

Hi folks,

I must apologize for not posting a new issue last week. Due to personal issues I was unable to write my blog post.

I have brought you two issues this week, including another European Special which examines the two big European semi-finals.

Keep fighting the good fight.

Lindsay.

21/04/2017 Issue 15

So it’s that time of year again, teams are locking horns for promotion places and tears are shed as the reality of league relegation hits home.

SCOTTISH FOOTBALL LEAGUE

In the Scottish Championship Hibernian have sealed promotion to the Scottish Premiership with their 3-0 win over Queen of the South at Easter Road. There was Sunshine on Leith as Hibernian wrapped up their Championship title, 11 points clear of closest rivals Falkirk. There was delight for Livingstone who has gained promotion to the Championship. Livi have been crowned Champions of Scottish League One with a 2-1 victory over Alloa; they return to the Championship at the first time of asking. It wasn’t all doom and gloom for Alloa thought. A week later they secured themselves a place in the play-off after hammering Brechin City 6-1.

ENGLISH FOOTBALL LEAGUE

It was good news for Brighton who has been promoted to the promised lands of the English Premier League. They defeated Wigan 2-1 to seal their destiny.  At the opposite end poor Rotherham have been relegated having picked up only 18 points all season

Plymouth Argyle was promoted to League One after their 6-1 demolition of, struggling Welsh outfit, Newport. The defeat adds to Newport’s relegation woes. Portsmouth joined Plymouth in jubilation as they too sealed promotion to League One after 4 years of successive relegation. Pompey’s 3-1 victory over Notts County see’s them over the finish line. Doncaster Rovers were the first team to gain promotion to League One at the beginning of April. Rovers secured their promotion with a 1-0 home win against Mansfield; the breakthrough came on the 74th minute as Tommy Rowe scored from a James Coppinger corner. Leyton Orient look set to drop but delayed relegation with their 2-1 victory over Hartlepool on Monday.

Sheffield United return to the Championship after six long seasons in League One. They gained promotion with a 2-1 win over Northampton. At the other end Coventry City were relegated to League Two and will enter the fourth tier for the first time in almost 60 years. Their 1-1 draw with Charlton sealed their fate.  Chesterfield joined Coventry City in League Two after their 3-1 defeat at the hands of Scunthorpe.

Moving on.

Rats have become the topic of conversation this week following an incident in the Danish Superliga. Dead rats were thrown by Brondby supporters at Copenhagen defender Augustinsson as he took a corner kick. No one quite knows why this happened, but I think we can all agree it’s pretty unacceptable.  Brondby currently trail leaders Copenhagen, who won the match 1-0, by 13 points. Perhaps there was some grievance there, but I still don’t think it’s okay to chuck a dead rodent at someone.

Moving on.

Manchester City Women, who play their UEFA Champions League semi-final on Saturday, progressed to the Final of the FA Cup after beating Liverpool 1-0 at home. The victory has kept Man City’s hopes of winning five trophies in nine months alive. Melissa Lawley scored the match winner from 20 yards to book their first appearance at Wembley Stadium. The opposition will be provided by Birmingham City who booked their place in the final by knocking Chelsea out after winning 4-2 on penalties. The game was tied after the 90-minutes at 1-1, and the game was forced to extra time and penalties. So, it’ll be a “Battle of the Blues” at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 13th May.

Moving on.

Jack Wilshere’s injured again. *Yawn*

John Terry has announced he will leave his beloved Chelsea at the end of the season. In 22 years at the club, he has made 713 appearance, scored 66 goals and captained his side no less than 578 times. Terry has won four English Premier League titles, five FA Cups and three League Cups, as well as the Champions League and Europa League (finals in which he never played). A man who split opinions following a successful career laced in great controversy. All the best John!

Sad news today that former England international Ugo Ehiogu has died. The 44 year old suffered a cardiac arrest while coaching his Tottenham Hotspurs under-23 side, and passed away in the early hours of Friday. Ehiogu played for Aston Villa, Leeds United, Middlesbrough, Rangers FC, West Brom and  Sheffield United. He famously scored a delightful overhead kick in his first ever Old Firm game at Celtic Park. His acrobatic finish was the match winning goal in a game Rangers won 1-0. If you haven’t seen it, it’s in the link below – cracker! Many tributes have poured in for the former defender, which are a testimony to his kind nature off the field and leadership on it. RIP Ugo Ehiogu.

 

ONES TO WATCH

Rats at Danish Superliga derby: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n44SVX6bZg0

Ugo Ehiogu Rangers Old Firm goal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mOq_KmgVos

 

 

 

 

 

 

21/04/2017 European Football Special (Semi-Finals)

Real Madrid have progressed to the Champions league semi-final with a 4-2 victory over Bundesliga big wigs Bayern Munich. Cristiano Ronaldo scored a controversial hat-trick, Arturo Vidal was wrongly dismissed and as per usual some dodgy officiating has helped a big Spanish side through to the next round (Barcelona v PSG being the other prominent example from the previous round). Bayern were well and truly robbed of victory by some genuinely awful refereeing courtesy of Hungarian official Viktor Kassai and his linesmen, who failed to call two of the most blatant offside goals I have ever witnessed. Vidal’s red card was the pivotal moment in the tie, with five minutes from time Bayern were all over their Spanish counterparts. Vidal was sent for an early bath after receiving a second yellow card for what was one of the cleanest tackles from behind you will see on a football pitch. Scandalous!!  Despite the dodgy refereeing the tie was one of the most intense and enthralling fixtures of the tournament. From the moment the whistle blew the game was played at 100mph, and only after Bayern went to 10-men did it come to a steady stop. No one eased of the gas from the first whistle to the 84th (when Vidal was wrongly sent off). Shots were sailing over the crossbar, tackles were flying and some of the passing was sublime. Frank Ribery was like a man possessed spreading the play left, right and centre. There was drama everywhere you looked; a Ramos own-goal, a penalty decision, two offside goals in extra-time and a sending off. Everyone in my local was foaming at the mouth; bets were being placed among punters and people’s pockets were being emptied as the game closed. A controversial evening, a terrific spectacle: one for the fans.

PS. My pockets were well and truly emptied, I never seen the corruption coming. When will I ever learn?

Madrid’s pals, Atletico also made it through to the semi-final after playing out a 1-1 draw at the King Power Stadium. Atletico qualify with a 2-1 aggregate score-line, what are the odds they get Real in the semi? I’m no placing any bets, I’ve learned my lesson. Leicester should be proud of their achievements. The story is one that will etch on the memory of every supporter for years to come. Atletico’s early goal destroyed the tie for Leicester and it was difficult to come back from there. Vardy gave the Foxes hope with 30-minutes to be played, but it was perhaps too little too late and they couldn’t muster another goal. It wasn’t from a lack of trying though, Leicester threw everything at it with 52% possession, 11 shots on target and 9 off; they tried there level best. The European dream is over but the fans stood and applauded their heroes and celebrated what had been achieved. As they should. They defied the odds progressing beyond the group stage, and we’re a long way past now. To reach the quarter-final of the Champions League following their Premier League win last season is an incredible achievement. They were the last English team standing, and for that they should be eternally proud. Alas, Atletico march on to the semi and Leicester return to Premier League action with their heads held high.

Juventus progress to the semi-final of the Champions League after a terrific attacking performance in the first leg and a effective defensive performance in the second. The Italians scored 3 goals in the first leg and never looked likely to blow the lead. Barcelona failed to score over two legs, and were well beaten by Juve. Veteran keeper Gianluigi Buffon continues to thwart Lionel Messi, who still awaits his first goal against the Italian shot stopper. This game offered Juve some revenge following their 3-1 defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League final back in 2015. Juventus have as good a chance as any to reach the final once again. They have excellence all over the pitch, they have real star quality and have a unique balance with a strong defence and an equally deadly attack in Dybala, Mandzukic and Higuain. In ten Champions League games they’ve kept eight clean sheets and scored 17 goals. Over the campaign they’ve played 10, won 7, drawn 3 and lost 0. Not bad at all.

Monaco have qualified for the semi-final of the Champions League for the first time since 2004 following their 6-3 aggregate drubbing of Borussia Dortmund. The Ligue 1 leaders won 3-2 in Germany in the first leg and appeared comfortable to take the lead back to the Stade Louis II. Their confidence at home shone through and the game was over in the early stages. Mbappe scored 3-minutes into the game and Radamel Falcao doubled their lead when he headed in ten or so minutes later. The tie was well beyond Borussia. Marco Reus pulled a goal back just after half-time finishing a cross from Ousmane Dembele who went on an  inspired run to set up the goal. Monaco’s emphatic, fearless football style should see them score against any team that crosses their path, but the number of goals they have conceded is a worrying statistic. Hopefully it won’t deter them from displaying their attacking brand of football which has excited every fan in this years tournament. It’s what we want to see!! GIVE US MORE!! We must bare in mind that Monaco have played four games more than every other semi-finalist, having played against Fenerbahce in the Third Qualifying round (3-4 aggregate) and Villareal in the Play-off round (1-3 aggregate). They’ve kept up steam, let’s see if they can steer a way to the Champions League Final.

  1. Please give us the Madrid semi and a Juventus/Monaco goal extravaganza! That’s all I ask. (This was written before the draw was made, prayers were answered – YEEHAA!!)

STATS

Team  Played Won Drawn Lost Goals Scored Goals conceded
Atletico Madrid 10 7 2 1 13 5
AS Monaco (Qualifying rounds) 10 (4) 6 (3) 2 (0) 2 (1) 21 (7) 16 (4)
Juventus 10 7 3 0 17 2
Real Madrid 10 7 3 0 28 15
  • Atletico, Monaco and Juventus all topped their groups, while Real Madrid finished second to Borussia Dortmund
  • Monaco have played four more games than every other semi-finalist (having played in two qualifying rounds)
  • Of the remaining teams, Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) tops the goal scoring list with 7 goals. Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid) follows behind with 5 goals, Ronaldo’s pal Benzema (Real Madrid) has also scored 5, alongside teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe (Monaco) and his captain Radamel Falcao (Monaco). Juve’s top scorer Paulo Dybala has scored 4.
  • Juventus are the only semi-finalists to have a man sent off. Mario Lemina saw red against Lyon back in October. It made a hero of Gianluigi Buffon who saved the penalty as 10-man Juventus carved out a 1-0 win. Legend!
  • Monaco have racked up the most yellow cards, with 25 in total. Real Madrid, no surprises, have the least number of bookings with a mere 12. Sigh.
  • Let’s talk clean sheets. Naturally, Juventus have the most with 8 clean sheets in total, veteran keeper Buffon racked up 16 saves. Atletico have managed 6 clean sheets with 31 saves in total, while Monaco have managed only 1 with 27 saves made. Fact of the day: Real Madrid don’t have a single clean sheet. The route to the final may not be as obvious as one might think.

The French sides are showing their class in Europe this year. Two teams in two European semi-finals. Joining Monaco in the European hierarchy is Lyon. The Ligue 1 side knocked out Besiktas winning 7-6 on penalties after the game was tied 3-3 on aggregate after extra time. Besiktas won 2-1 on the night but Lyon remained level following their 2-1 win in the first leg at home. A spritied Schalke were knocked out by Ajax in similar circumstances. Skuppered by the away goal, the German’s were forced out of the competition. Schalke won 3-2 on the evening, but were eliminated with an aggregate score of 3-4, as 10-man Ajax marched onto the semi finals. Genk and Celta Vigo played out another close match, the game ended in a 1-1 draw, but results in the first leg meant that the Spanish side progress to the semi. Had Genk scored another goal they would have taken the tie to extra time, alas they never did and Celta progressed with a 3-4 aggregate score line. Manchester United left it late against Anderlecht. The Belgians proved again to be a tough old cookie to crack. All was going well when Mkhitaryan scored in the 10th minute, but Hanni grabbed an equaliser before the half and sent Old Trafford into a nervy state. United missed chance after chance, and many feared they would live to rue the day. No matter, the young Marcus Rashford was there to save the day scoring the match winner in extra-time. The young man salvaged United’s season and saved his bosses bacon.

THE DRAW

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 

Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid

AS Monaco v Juventus

EUROPA LEAGUE 

Ajax v Lyon

Celta Vigo v Manchester United

 

 

07/04/2017 Issue 13

This week David Moyes made some deeply disturbing and rather regretful comments to BBC reporter Vicki Sparks. When asked “does it put any extra pressure on you as a manager when you know the owner is in the stands watching on?” the Sunderland manager simply replied “No, none at all” and then proceeded to tell the reporter that she might “get a slap”. Sparks was also told to “just watch yourself”. The incident hardly encourages women to break into the male dominated world of British football. Moyes quickly apologised speaking at a news conference on Monday, and it has been confirmed that he has apologised to Vicki Sparks directly and that the reporter has accepted the apology. The FA’s response must be severe and drastic  if we are to eradicate this outdated, unnecessary and unprovoked behaviour.

Back to perhaps more bizarre news: a beagle halted an Evo-Stik Premier League game at the Grove. The match between Halesowen Town and Skelmersdale United was suspended for six minutes during the first 45. The dog’s owner, Halesowen defender Asa Charlton, eventually managed to get a hold of the pooch and play resumed. Halesown won 1-0 in the end. A lucky omen perhaps!

My apologies this week’s issue has just got even more peculiar. Toulouse has sacked two grown men and professional footballers who have allegedly attacked an innocent bystander with a pellet gun. Odsonne Edouard, 19, and Mathieu Cafaro, 20, have both been sacked by the club.  Edouard will be sent back to his parent-club Paris-St Germain while Cafaro will simply be made redundant. The alleged victim has stated that he was shot in the ear with a pellet fired from a car. The car registration identified by CCTV matched that of Edouard’s, which has lead to questioning. He will be brought to court in June. Nutcases!

Moving on to the best news of the week! Celtic has been crowned Scottish Champions for the sixth successive season. Celtic began their title party in style with a 5-0 thrashing of Hearts at Tynecastle. Despite playing with no recognised striker there were goals a plenty. Scott Sinclair walked away with the match ball after his thundering hat-trick performance, Stuart Armstrong provided the third of the day with his effort from the edge of the box and Paddy Roberts scored an absolute beauty with a curling left foot effort. The Champions gave hearts a lesson in clinical finishing, as the Jambo’s continued to squander chances in the opening stages which may have delayed Celtic’s inevitable crowning. The Hoops have clinched the Scottish Premier League by a margin of 25 points having been unbeaten in 31 domestic games; winning 28 and drawing 3 (following their 1-1 draw with “The only team in Glasgow”). They have scored 82 goals this campaign and conceded 19.

There were some bizarre going on in the Scottish Premier League last weekend. A fight kicked off at New Douglas Park, when the whistle blew to signal the break team mates Danny Swanson and Richard Foster of St Johnstone squared off which sparked an almighty ruckus on the park. Both players were rightly shown red and sent for an early bath, leaving St Johnstone with 9 men for the remainder of the game. Hamilton took advantage and scored a late goal in the 89th minute which may well prove crucial to their SPFL survival.

Celtic weren’t the only Scottish side in the goal scoring mood. Last Friday evening Aberdeen blew Dundee away with a 7-0 victory at Dens Park. In what was one of the craziest scorelines of the season it was only fitting that three of the seven goals were scored by defender Andrew Considine. The dandy Dons were 4-0 up at half-time and there was no let up in the second as Derek McInnes men continued to assault the Dundee goal. Aberdeen are now 11 points clear of third placed Rangers after the Gers only managed a 1-1 draw with tenth placed Motherwell at Ibrox. Pedro Caixinha had commentators stumbling and stuttering over his decision to remove three defensive players from his line-up at half-time and replace them with three attacking players, while his side trailed by a goal. I suppose the plan worked and points weren’t completely lost but those crucial three points were frittered away by both sides in dire need of victories; Motherwell from the point of survival in the SPFL and Rangers from the perspective of European competition.

Shelley Kerr has been selected to replace Anna Signeul as the new Head Coach of the Scottish Women’s National Squad. Kerr has been capped for Scotland 59 times and began her coaching career at Kilmarnock. Working with national squad’s is something she is used to having had previous roles at the Scotland Under-19s , a side which she lead to the European Championship Finals. Kerr was manager of Arsenal Ladies during the 2013-14 seasons where she won the FA Women’s Cup twice. Kerr made history in 2014 by becoming the first female manager in British men’s senior football when she was appointed as the Head Coach of the Stirling University FC, who play in the Lowland League. An excellent appointment and one which has brought much delight to those of us who have followed the women’s game in Scotland for many years. Good Luck Shelley Kerr!

Bastian Schweinsteiger, remember him? Moved to the MLS all of two weeks ago. Yeah well he scored on his debut 17 minutes into the match and destroyed the Montreal defence with his big German knee! The match finished 2-2, not the best start to Fire’s World Cup campaign.

Centurions! What do Partick Thistle’s Chris Doolan and Barcelona’s Neymar Jr have in common? They’ve both reached a century milestone this week!! Barcelona won 4-1 against Granada last Sunday while Doolan secured all three points for the Jag by scoring his 100th and 101st goal at Firhill Stadium as Thistle swept aside struggling Ross County to remain in the top six.

Bayern Munich’s 20 game unbeaten run was ended on Tuesday night by third placed Hoffenheim. Andrej Kramaric scored the match winner as Hoffenheim ended the game as 1-0 winners.

Lazio have reached the Coppa Italia final winning 4-3 on aggregate against rivals Roma. This is Lazio’s third final in five years. Lazio will face Juventus in the final as Higuain scored a brace to knock his former club Napoli out of the competition with a 5-4 aggregate score line. Napoli won 3-2 on the night but were beaten 3-1 in the first leg in Turin.

Glasgow City has made a huge statement with the launch of their new away kit. The new kit displays the slogan “You can’t be what you can’t see” in protest over the lack of media coverage of women’s sport and women’s football in particular. Club manager Laura Montgomery is hoping the kit will highlight the need for more visibility which in turn would create more visible role models for the next generation of female footballers. Absolutely brilliant!!

Lastly, 10 minutes ago Northern Irishman Brendan Rodgers committed himself to Celtic Football Club for the next 4 years. He’s all strapped in for 10 in a row. Exciting times!

 

 

ONES TO WATCH

Shocking and unnecessary: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/39478438

Beagle halts game at the Grove: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-39482506

Best news of the week: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/39478438

FIGHT!!!: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/scotland/39468339

Aberdeen’s assault on Dens Park: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/scotland/39462556

Points squandered: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/scotland/39462556

PREMIER LEAGUE TITLE RACE?: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/39473738

Centurian Chris Doolan: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/scotland/39468341

17/03/2017 European Football Special

Juventus eases by Porto to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Two away goals from the first-leg and another in the second-leg from a Paulo Dybala penalty in the first half finished Porto’s Champions League run and sent the Old Lady waltzing into the last-8. Maxi Pereira was sent off for a handball 5-minutes before the break. That reduced Porto to 10 men and gave Dybala the chance to score from the spot, which of course he did to put Juve 1-0 up on the night as they progressed with a 3-0 aggregate. Porto came close to nicking a goal in the second half when Tiquinho Soares drove past Benatia and went 1 on 1 with Buffon but the Brazilian forward squandered his opportunity to give his team a breath of hope. Juventus looked threatening all evening, and will be a tough cookie to crack come the quarter-finals. Cuadrado, Mandzukic, Dybala, and Higuain proved to be a real handful all evening. This performance showed that Juve aren’t here to make up the numbers.

Kasper Schmeicel as Leicester City’s hero once more as the Foxes progressed to the quarter-finals of the Champions League. I’ll repeat that. Leicester City are in the CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUARTER FINAL!! The Foxes had to overturn a first-leg deficit to defeat opponents Sevilla and they did just that with goals from captain Morgan and Mark Albrighton and throw in a couple of vital saves from the man of the hour, Kasper Schmeicel. Craig Shakespeare was in charge of this one, after he accepted his full-time management position with the club earlier in the week and what a start it’s been for him! Sevilla were down to 10 men after Samir Nasri was shown a red card in the 74th minute for butting heads with Jamie Vardy, but the Spanish side still looked strong despite the disadvantage. Before being sent for an early shower Nasri was making a real nuisance of himself, as was Sevilla forward Ben Yedder. Left-back Escudero came closest to pulling a goal back with his wonderful, flying effort from 35 yards. The ball bounced off the cross bar, and fortunately for Leicester Ben Yedder couldn’t take advantage of the ricochet. Leicester managed to concede chances and even gave away a penalty kick. Steven N’Zonzi stepped up to take the penalty that wuld have sent the tie to extra time alas Schmeicel made the save. Once again. In the space of three weeks, Leicester have gone from utter despair to unbelievable dream as Sevilla, who currently it 3rd in La Liga, were beaten 2-0 on the night.

Atletico Madrid became the third Spanish side to progress to the Champions League quarter finals. This is their fourth consecutive year of making it to the last-8 and to do so they put in a rather professional second-leg performance to defende thei 4-2 lead from the first-leg. Jan Oblak between the sticks for Madrid was forced to make not one, not two but three super saves in a matter of seconds to deny Julian Brandt and Kevin Bolland but apart from that Madrid looked rather unflustered. Correa and Koke both had efforts on target but Bayer goalie Leno was there to stop the shots.Bayern Leverkusen’s 17 year old Karl Havertz was ruled out of the last-16 tie against Atletico because he had exams….let’s hope he passed!

Monaco go through on away goals! No surprise there as all they seem to do is score goals. They conceded a few as well but they won’t be bothering about that now they’ve progressed to the last-8 of the Champions League. Monaco were exceptional in the first half. Bernardo Silva was running a mock in the midfield while Kylian Mbappe showed that he’s made of something real special. Mbappe opened the scoring in the 8th minute and Monaco doubled their lead when Tavares slotted the ball away after a beautifully executed move from the French side. They were relentless. And suddenly they lost the pace in the second half and City came on to a game. Aguero skied the ball over the net, Subasic made a cracking save, Sane scored then five minutes later Lemar floated in the most beautiful of crosses and an unmarked Bakayoko got the decisive goal to send his side through to the next round.

The QF draw

Borussia Dortmund v Monaco

Juventus v Barcelona

Atletico Madrid v Leicester

Bayern Munich v Real Madrid

Juan Mata scored the goal to send Manchester United to the quarter finals of the Europa League. It was a rather nervy encounter against FC Rostov, but the Red Devils progressed with a 2-1 aggregate victory. Substitute Acheampong scored with his first touch to seal a 1-0 second-leg win for Anderlecht as they beat APOEL 2-0 on aggregate to progress to the QF. Bertrand Traore and Kasper Dolberg were on target as Ajax beat Danish side Copenhagen 2-0 to overturn a 2-1 first leg deficit. The last remaining Spanish side Celta Vigo eased past Krasnodar with goals from captian Hugo Mallo and top scorer Iago Aspas. Celta won 2-0 on the night and progressed with a 4-1 aggregate score. Schalke came back from being two goals down to draw 2-2 to knock fellow German opposition Monchengladbach out of the competition on away goals. Andreas Christensen Borussia ahead before Mahmoud Dahoud thumped in a second to double their lead. But the Schalke were having none of it and produced a sensational second half comeback. Leon Goretzka scored in the 54th minute and the second goal came from a penalty awarded for a Dahoud handball in the area. Nabil Bentaleb stepped up and converted the resulting penalty that sends his side through to the QF. Genk secured their place in the QF as a 1-1 draw with fellow Belgian side Gent sealed a 6-3 aggregate victory. Nae bad! Lyon knocked Roma out of the competiton as the Italians fell short of a comeback. Roma trailed by a 5-2 aggreagte on the night after Mouctar Diakhaby headed Lyon in front. Strootman replied instantly with the equalizer and Tousart’s own goal narrowed the gap but that gap was pretty big in the first place. A late goal would have sent the Italians through but it wasn’t to be. Ryan Babel (remember that name) scored a brace as Besiktas beat Olympiakos 4-1 in Istanbul.

The QF draw

Ajax v Schalke

Celta Vigo v Genk

Lyon v Besiktas

Anderlecht v Manchester United

 

RESULTS

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE – Round of 16  (First-leg)

 

Juventus                              1              v              0              Porto                     (Agg 3-0)

Dybala (42 pen)

 

Leicester                             2              v              0              Sevilla                                   (Agg 3-2)

Morgan (27)

Albrighton (54)

 

Atletico Madrid                 0              v              0              Bayer Leverkusen                            (Agg 4-2)

 

 

Monaco                               3              v              1              Manchester City               (Agg 6-6)

 Monaco win on away goals

 

 

 

EUROPA LEAGUE – Round of 32 (Second-leg)

Apoel                                    0              v              1              Anderlecht

Anderlecht         1              v              0              Apoel    (Agg 2-0)

 

FC Copenhagen                2              v              1              Ajax

Ajax                       2              v              0              Copenhagen      (Agg 3-2)

 

FC Rotov                              1              v              1              Manchester United

Man Utd              1              v              0              Rostov  (Agg 2-1)

 

Celta Vigo                            2              v              1              FK Krasnodar

FK Krasnodar     0              v              2              Celta Vigo           (Agg 1-4)

 

Schalke                                 1              v              1              Borussia Monchengladbach

Gladbach             2              v              2              Schalke (Agg 4-4)

Schalke win on away goals

KAA Gent                            2              v              5              KRC Genk

Genk                     1              v              1              Gent      (Agg 6-3)

 

Lyon                                      4              v              2              Roma

Roma                    2              v              1              Lyon      (Agg 4-5)

 

Olympiakos                        1              v              1              Besiktas

Besiktas               4              v              1              Olympiakos        (Agg 5-1)

 

 

 

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Juventus 1 v 0 Porto: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQ4V7wSGJCw

Leicester 2 v 0 Sevilla: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmfvjfGczHg

Atletico Madrid v Bayern Leverkusen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdUSSBf5LPQ

Monaco v Manchester City: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7n6B1JjsJOs

 

EUROPA LEAGUE

Man Utd 1 – 0 FC Rostov: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFkyX1CkPBM

 

17/03/2017 Issue 10

Middlesbrough have parted ways with manager Aitor Karanka after three and a half years at the club. Boro currently sit in the relegation zone, three points from safety after 10 consecutive losses in the Premier League. They have 11 games remaining to turn their season around, else it’s a drop to the Championship after securing automatic promotion at the beginning of the season. Assistant Head Coach Steve Agnew will take charge as interim boss.

Motherwell have appointed interim boss Stephen Robinson as their new manager. The Northern Irishman will take charge following Mark McGhee’s sacking last month. Robinson’s first game as manager is against St Johnstone at home on Saturday.

Celtic played out a 1-1 draw with Rangers in Sunday’s local derby match. Gary Armstrong put the Hoops ahead in the first, but it was Clint Hill’s late equaliser that denied a home win for the Hoops. Although some Celtic supporters will argue that it was the referee who denied Celtic the home win. Nevertheless, you could also argue that Craig Gordon saved Celtic from breaking their undefeated record so hey ho! Caretaker manager Graeme Murty was in charge for the last time as new Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha looks set to take up the new role. Celtic maintained their unbeaten run, while Rangers stay in 3rd place eight points behind 2nd place Aberdeen.

Captain America is at it again! Christian Pulisic scored the opening goal in the DFB Polka cup against 3rd division side Lotte. It took a while for Dortmund to get going but they eventually got the break through thanks to promising talent Pulisik. The Us international finished nicely, but owes a huge thanks to teammate Ousmane Dembele. Dembele danced in and around the Lotte defence before teeing up teammate Pulisic who had made a clever run on the counter. Andre Schurrle scored the second from close range before captain Schmelzer added a third with a free-kick late in the second half. Dortmund will now play holder Bayern Munich in the next round.

Kazuyoshi Miura (or King Kazu), scored the only goal in Yokohama FC’s win over Thespa Kasatsu. The reason this is news worthy is that King Kazu is 50 years and 14 days old! He has now become the oldest scorer in Japanese professional football. The former Japan striker, who made his professional debut in 1986 for Brazilian side Santos, scored in the 40th minute for his first goal of the season. In his international career Miura scored 55 goals in 89 appearances for Japan between 1990 and 2000. Wait til you see the celebration!

The MLS set a couple of records last weekend. With an official tempertature of 19 degrees Farenheit, Minnesota United’s home opener against Atlanta United became the coldest game on record in MLS history. Atlanta won the game 6-1 for their first MLS win!

ONES TO WATCH

GLASGOW DERBY

Celtic 1 v 1 Rangers: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/scotland/39251234

THE AMERICAN DREAM

Goal v Lotte: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6w8MeZB0qtU

Christian Pulisic highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuNHvmVpiNE

KAZUYOSHI MIURA

Goal at 50 years and 14 days: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHhxJQ7ffHY

SNOW DAY

Minnesota United 1 v 6 Atlanta United: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6bdRzZUB90

24/02/2017 European Football Special Issue

If you thought Tuesday night offered some fantastic Champions League moments, Wednesday was just as tenacious and Thursday – well that was a wee beauty as well. There was a bit of everything this week; crazy goals, red cards, and record breakers. What more could we hope for!??

It was a cracking tie between Bayern Leverkusen and Atletico Madrid at the Bay Arena. Madrid took charge of the game with two away goals in the first half. Niguez opened the scoring with a stunning strike in the 17-minute; his curling effort sailed past keeper Bernd Leno and Antoine Griezmann doubled Atletico’s lead after finding himself unmarked in the Leverkusen box. Think it’s fair to say that was rather silly of the German defence – tut tut lads! Griezmann’s goal makes him Atletico’s all-time top scorer in European competition, surpassing Luis Aragones who held the previous record with 12 goals. There looked to be some hope for Leverkusen when Bellarabi scored an early goal after the restart however this promising start was ended when Gemiero scored from the spot in the 58th-minute and despite Savic scoring Leverkusen’s second goal of the evening, the tie was put out of reach when Torres scored Atletico’s fourth away goal in the 86th-minute with his cheeky, dinking header. Despite having 62% of the possession it is Atletico who look set for yet another Champions League quarter-final.

Manchester City v Monaco broke a very special goal scoring record; this game recorded the highest scoring first-leg in Champions League history – nae bad! And Radamel Falcao broke his own personal record, scoring more goals in Manchester on Tuesday night than he did in his entire career at Manchester United. LOL. It was the first-time Monaco had ever conceded 5 goals in European competition but not the first-time City had scored five, having beaten Russian opposition CSKA Moscow 5-2 in November 2013. It was an impressive start for City, when Raheem Sterling drew first blood in the 26th minute however the ever-present Falcao cancelled out Sterling’s early spark with a superb header. The Blues were denied a penalty before the break when Aguero was taken out by Monaco keeper, Subasic. French teenager Mbappe put the Ligue 1 side ahead before the half with a powerful driven effort. Monaco could have increased their lead after the break when a penalty was awarded against Otamendi but Falcao’s effort was saved by City shot stopper Caballero. City came out all guns blazing in the second half. Aguero scored an early goal to pull City level; he was gifted a goal from Subasic who made a shocking error. The equaliser did not go unanswered, and Radamel Falcao chipped a delightful ball over the head of, a defenseless, Caballero. Definitely one of the goals of the tournament, so far. The ongoing battle between Falcao and Aguero continued as the Argentine showed his own class with his second equaliser of the night with a superb volley in the Monaco box. Stones leaped higher than everyone to score from a De Bruyne cross to make it 4 – 3 City in the 77th minute. And Sane scored the fifth, to give City some breathing space going into the second-leg. He was set-up very unselfishly by Aguero, who was in for his hat-trick, to place the ball into an empty net. So it’s game on in Monaco in a few weeks’ time! Vive la Fitbaw!!

Leicester City salvaged some hope of progression. Jamie Vardy scored a crucial away goal to secure a narrow defeat at the hands of strong European opponents, Sevilla. It was a special moment for Jamie Vardy who marked his journey to become a Premier League Champions with another career highlight; namely, there have only been four years and 315 days between Vardy’s last non-league goal and his first Champions League one. However, despite Vardy’s fairytale finish it was Sevilla who brought some bite. Los Blanquirrojos had 73% possession, 22 shots on goal and banged one of the post, as well as scoring two goals of their own. Kasper Schmeichel was man of the match for Leicester, not only did he save a penalty given against Wes Morgan on the 13th minute but he showed excellent reflexes against the likes of Sergio Escudero and Correa who looked dangerous throughout the match. Despite the Danes valiant of efforts, he was unable to keep Pablo Sarabia and Joaquin Correa at bay as the Spaniards sinked their teeth into the foxes defence. Vardy’s goal only keeps Leicester’s Champions League dreams alive, which sets us up for a rather compelling second-leg tie at the King Power Stadium on 14th March.

Two legends met on Wednesday evening at the Estadio do Dragao in Portugal. Iker Casillas and Gianluigi Buffon swapped jerseys at the end of a rather feisty affair between FC Porto and Juventus. The tie looked all but gone for Porto when left-back Alex Telles seen red on the 27th-minute, after he committed two shocking tackles in the space of 3-minutes on Juan Cuadrado and Lichtsteiner. Calm doon pal! (Both shockers, have a look in the link below) German referee, Felix Brych had no choice but to send him off for reckless play. Following the defender’s sending off, it was Iker Cassilas who was put through his paces as he saved shot after shot as Juventus turned up the heat. The Spanish shot stopper made his 174th appearance in the competition on Wednesday night, equaling the record held by Paolo Maldini. Despite Juventus dominance, it took them until the 72nd-minute to break the deadlock through Pjaca, who scored his first goal in a Juve shirt. Super sub Alves may have sealed the tie for the Old Lady when he made it 2-0 on 74-minutes. It was unfortunate for Porto who looked like they may have held onto the draw despite Telles stupidity, alas it wasn’t to be and now they have a difficult away tie to look forward to in Turin.

Rostov, Lyon, Besiktas, Manchester United, Schalke and Roma all breezed past their opposition to book their place in the next-round of the Europa League. Rostov blew Sparta Prague away in the first-leg with a 4-nil win, and they finished the tie with an away goal in Prague where they progressed with a 1 – 5 aggregate. Lyon progressed with an impressive 11 – 2 aggregate score line. They bet Dutch opposition, Alkmaar 7 – 1 at their Parc Olympique Lyonaise stadium. Roma lost 0 – 1 at home to Villareal, however the Italians already leada the tie with four unanswered away goals from the first-leg. Mkhitaryan pilled more misery on St Etienne, he scored the only goal of the game which knocked the French side out of Europe after a four nothing trouncing!

Tottenham Hotspurs are out of the Europa League despite the fact they rid themselves of last week’s toothless performance. Spurs were lively and energetic and were rewarded with an early Erikson goal on 10 minutes, but they were sold by one of their own. The young Dele Alli stuck a career ending tackle on Genk midfielder Brecht Dejaegere; the England international was rightly sent for an early bath but left his team mates with a further uphill struggle. Before all this, Harry Kane put the ball in his own net putting Genk ahead on aggregate. Not good! However, Big Vic Wanyama gave Spurs some hope with his curler in the 61st minute but it wasn’t to be and Jeremy Perbet, who scored the winner in the first-leg, killed the dream with 10 minutes on the clock.

Bilbao won the battle but Apoel Nicosia won the war. They progressed as victors with a 2 – 0 win at the GSP stadium. The overturned a 3 – 2 Bilbao home win last Thursday to win their game on home soil. A terrific achievement for the Cypriot Champions – good luck to them in the next round. Game of the night goes to either: Fiorentina and Borussia Monchengladbach or Zenit St Petersberg v Anderlecht; both went down to the wire. After a 2-0 defeat in the first-leg, Zenit were forced to fight for their place in the competition and a first half goal from de Paula on 24 minutes gave them the hope they needed. Dzyuba scored in 72’ and de Paula scored his second in the 78th minute but in the dying seconds their hard work was cancelled out by Swedish striker, Issaac Kiese Thelin who scored a header in the final minute and Anderlecht progressed on away goals – cruel. After missing so many opportunities in front of goal last Thursday, Borussia Monchengladbach came out to create a storm! But not until the second half. Fiorentina took the lead early on, with a goal from Kalinic in the 15th minute. The Italians doubled their lead in the 28th with a goal from Spanish midfielder Valero Iglesias. However, Gladbach were not prepared to lie down and claimed a goal back with a spot kick goal from Stindl a minute before the half. Stindl scored his second of the night in the 55th minute and the tie was level. In the 60th minute a hero emerged in the form of Danish interntional, on loan from Chelsea, Andreas Christensen who scored the winning goal to take the Germans through to the last 16.

A vital away goal was scored by Krasnador in their away tie against Turkish opposition Fenerbache; they progressed with a 1 – 2 aggregate score line. Genk’s 1 – 0 home win gave them a narrow win to take them through to the last 16. Celta Vigo pulled off an impressive 0 – 2 away win to take them through to the next round; they overturned a 0 – 1 home defeat to Shaktar Donetsk last Thursday. Ajax scored the only goal over the two legs in their tie against Legia Warsaw to progress to the last 16.

 

RESULTS

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE – Round of 16  (First-leg)

 

Bayern Leverkusen         2              v              4              Atletico Madrid

Bellarabi (48)                                                                     Niguez (17)

Savic (67 og)                                                                      Griezmann (25)

                                                                                                Gameiro (58 pen)

                                                                                                Torres (86)

 

Man City                              5              v              3              Monaco

Sterling (26)                                                                        Falcao (32, 61)

Aguero (58, 71)                                                                 Mbappe (40)

Stones (77)

Sane (82)

 

FC Porto                               0              v              2              Juventus

Telles (red card 27)                                                          Pjaca (72)

Alves (74)

 

Sevilla                                   2              v              1              Leicester

Sarbia (25)                                                                           Vardy (73)

Correa (62)

 

 

EUROPA LEAGUE – Round of 32 (First-leg)

FK Krasnodar                     1              v              0              Fenerbache

2L: Fenerbache 1 v 1 Krasnador                 Agg (1 – 2)

 

Astra Giurgiu                      2              v              2              KRC Genk

2L: KRC Genk 1 v 0 Astra                Agg (3 – 2)

 

AZ Alkmaar                         1              v              4              Lyon

2L: Lyon 7 v 1 Alkmaar                   Agg (11 – 2)

 

Borussia M’gladback       0              v              1              Fiorentina

2L: Fiorentina 2 v 4 M’gladback                  Agg (3 – 4)

 

Celta Vigo                            0              v              1              Shaktar Donetsk

2L: Donetsk 0 v 2 Celta Vigo                         Agg (1 – 2)

 

FC Rostov                            4              v              0              Sparta Prague

2L: Sparta Prague 1 v 1 Rostov                    Agg (1 – 5)

 

KAA Gent                            1              v              0              Tottenham Hotspur

2L: Tottenham 2 – 2 KAA Gent                   Agg (2 – 3)

 

Ludogrets                            1              v              2              FC Copenhagen

2L: Copenhagen 0 v 0 Ludogrets                Agg (2 – 1)

 

Olympiakos                        0              v              0              Osmanlispor

2L: Osmanlispor                0 v 3 Olympiakos                                 Agg (0 – 3)

 

Athletic Bilbao                   3              v              2              Apoel Nicosia

2L: Apoel Nicosia 2 v 0 Athletic Bilbao      Agg (4 – 3)

 

Hapeol Be’er Sheva         1              v              3              Besiktas

2L: Besiktas 2 v  1 Hapeol Be’er Sheva     Agg (5 – 2)

 

Legia Warsaw                    0              v              0              Ajax

2L: Ajax 1 v 0 Legia Warsaw         Agg (1 – 0)

 

Manchester United         3              v              0              Saint-Etienne

St Etienne 1 v 1 Man Utd              Agg (0 – 4)

 

PAOK Salonika                   0              v              3              FC Schalke 04

2L: Schalke 1 v 1 PAOK                   Agg (4 – 1)

 

Anderlecht                         2              v              0              Zenit St Petersburg

2L: Zenit 3 v 1 Anderlecht             Agg (3 – 3, Anderlecht win on away goals)

 

Villareal                                0              v              4              Roma

2L: Roma 0 v 1 Villareal     Agg (4 – 1)

 

 

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Man City 5 – 3 Monaco: https://youtu.be/E_TtufK6joc

Bayern Leverkusen 2 – 4 Atletico Madrid: https://youtu.be/vFN4e8Bad50

Porto 0 – 2 Juventus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-YGIzqZyjI

Sevilla 2 – 1 Leicester: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1mtpCzLh7U

 

 

ONES TO WATCH

Falcao superb finish and other memorable Champions League chips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJDadmcX_oM

 

Telles loses the plot, shocking challenges: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85ZyhIDfPJU

 

From non-league to Champions League: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tP2FYYT4TnQ