03/03/2017 Issue 8

To begin, we would like to express our sadness in light of the passing of Celtic legend Tommy Gemmell. The news of his passing came on Thursday morning, after a long illness. Considering the 50-year anniversary celebrations set to take place this summer, in celebration of Celtic triumphant European Cup victory in 1967 it makes Gemmell’s passing that bit more sorrowful. Gemmell was integral to Celtic’s progression to the final in 67’, and his equalizer in the final will always be considered as one of, if not the most important goal in Celtic’s history. Celtic played four qualifying rounds before reaching the final in Lisbon. In their first game against Zurich the Scots won 2-0 at home, with Joe McBride and Tommy Gemmell scoring the goals. In the second leg in Switzerland Celtic won 3-0, Gemmell was on the score sheet once again, this time with a brace. The most important goal that Gemmell scored in his entire career was his equalizing goal in the 63rd minute, which cancelled out Sandro Mazolla’s first-half penalty. Stevie Chalmers scored the winner, as Celtic became the first British team to win the European Cup – not bad for a 15-man squad who were born within 10 miles of Celtic Park (bar one, Bobby Lennox born in Saltcoats). The left-back had a knack for scoring in European finals; Gemmell also scored in the 1970 European Cup final when Celtic lost 2-1 to Feyenoord. Gemmell was inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame in 2006. He was awarded 18 caps for his country, scored one goal from the penalty spot in a 8-0 win over Cyprus in 1970 and played in the famous 3-2 victory over England at Wembley in 1967. To the man who made my dreams come true long before I was born. God bless you Tommy Gemmell, may you rest in peace.  

Tommy’s captain, and friend Billy McNeil revealed his on-going battle with dementia this week. His story has been a catalyst for debate and has asked questions of football’s leading authorities who must look to investigate, prevent, and treat the disease. Many of football’s leading commentators have taken a dig at football associations around Britain for “neglecting” the problem and have accused leading football associations of avoiding the discussion surrounding the link between football, specifically heading the football, and the degenerative disease. McNeil’s personal account is part of a campaign to gain funding to be used for research into the cause and effect in regards to football and dementia. Football is falling behind the times in this regard, as research into head injuries in other sports such as Rugby and American Football have already been done.

German International Mario Gotze has been withdrawn from training with Borussia Dortmund after it was discovered that the World Cup winner has a metabolic disorder. Gotze has struggled with muscular injuries on and off over the past 6 months, and when club doctors did some digging they discovered that the underlying cause lies with the player’s metabolism. Gotze has made one appearance in 2017 and has only made 16 in total since returning to the club from Bayern Munich.

Manchester United were crowned EFL Cup winners on Sunday evening. The red devils ran out as 3-2 winners against a spirited Southampton at Wembley. The game was scuppered by some rather poor officiating on the linesman’s part. Southampton, the better side for most of the game, had a goal disallowed early in the first half and fell behind, undeservedly, by two goals scored by on form Ibrahimovic and Jesse Lingard. The Saints grabbed a goal just before the half through Manolo Gabbiadini as they looked to overturn their misfortunes. Gabbiadini was on target again, when he scored just 7’ minutes into the second half. Manchester United were woeful, Mourinho looked subdued and haunted throughout the 90 minutes as he watched his team sluggishly cross the finishing line. It maybe not fair to say United crossed the finish line, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Zlatan hauled his team over the finish line, yet again. The self-proclaimed ‘God of Manchester’ worked his magic with his Midas touch which turns the most mediocre of performance into pure gold (well a silver trophy). His 26th goal of the season made the difference and robbed Southampton of picking up some silverware.

Despite Mourinho’s glum face, someone in the board room must have been in a good old mood as Manchester United announced they will pay for their travelling fans visa’s when the club fly to Russia to play against FC Rostov in the Europa League. The club will splash out £118.20 a head to cover the cost of the processing fee tied to the visa. This will help around 500 travelling supporters who will be making the 2000-mile trip across Europe. A very nice touch if you ask me!

Mark McGhee has been sacked from Motherwell FC after a poor run of results that has placed Well second from bottom fighting a relegation battle. Motherwell have won just two out of their last 13 league games. The final straw for the board and fan group ‘Well Society’, who had a say in the decision, was Motherwell’s 5-1 defeat at home to Dundee last Saturday.

Two goal keepers were at fault for two of the cheekiest goals scored in the SPFL this week. Moussa Dembelle scored his 30th goal of the season off the back of a Owan Fon Williams mistake on Wednesday night. The Hoops ran out as 4-0 winners against Inverness CT and Dembelle caused quite a stir. The Frenchman took advantage of the keeper’s shocking clearance merely 12 seconds into the second half. Dembelle collected the ball, flicked it over Williams head and tapped the ball into an empty net in front of his travelling support. Rory MacKenzie provided the other cheeky finish in this week’s round-up. His came off the back of a poor clearance from St Johnstone goal keeper, Zander Clark. A poor pass back from Steven Anderson put Clark under-pressure and when his clearance fell to Rory MacKenzie there was only one place that was going – the back of the net! 35-yeards out, 12 minutes into the game and Killie were in the lead. Conor Sammon scored the second and Killie won the game 2-0, they now sit in 8th place.

Mezut Ozil released his autobiography this week. Die Magie de Spiels, or the Magic of the Game, revealed tales of his former manager, Jose Mourinho. In his booked he has claimed that the Special One called him a “coward”. Th encounter between the two is written rather poetically, perhaps ever so slightly over emphasized and has most definitely been drawn up by a ghost writer.

Fernando Torres was stretchered of the pitch on Thursday evening against Deportivo la Coruna after a heavy fall chellenging in the air with Alex Bergantinos. The Atletico Madrid player was taken to hospital and has now been discharged after having tests on the head injury. The club have released an official statement saying that the scans have showed “no traumatic alterations or injuries”. El Nino shared his gratitude via his official Twitter account, and stated that the fall was just a scare. Great t see the medical teams in Spain act so swiftly.

The aid of others saved another life this week. Slovacko striker, Francis Kone saved the unconscious Berkovek who had collided with his team mate. Kone acted quickly reached into the goal keepers mouth to retrieve his tongue.  Both players were taken to hospital, including Berkovek team mate Daniel Krch. The announcer at the game shared the news that both players were well which prompted a round of applause from the stands.

The Bleacher Report has provided us with an idiots’ guide to choosing a Chinese Super League team, based on your English Premier League counterpart. Today marks the beginning of the 14th CSL season, and with all that money spent in January it may be worth a watch. Now I have a soft spot for Liverpool Football Club – you know me, love my history – so according to the Bleacher Report I shall be supporting, Liaoning Whowin, nicknamed the North-East Tigers. Mon the Tigers! Good to know that my team picked up a point today against Guizhou Hengfeng Zhicheng, who don’t appear to have an English Premier League equivalent – oh well! I’ll take a 1-1 draw away, especially when your down to 10-men. it’s going to be a good old season!

 

LISBON LIONS

Tommy Gemmell 1967 goal: https://twitter.com/PMFA_UTLR/status/837220745231142914

Tommy Gemmell 1970 goal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFz0hXtzQj4

Tommy Gemmell kicks Helmut Haller: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lnja51VticQ

Billy McNeil tribute: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuVhndjP5bE

Chris Sutton on Dementia: https://twitter.com/btsportfootball/status/836841139609174016

 

EFL CUP

Manchester Utd 3 – 2 Southampton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omjkm17xXQ4

Gabbiadini offside decision, Le Tissier thoughts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hnUDpSpza4         

 

SPFL GOAL CRAZY

Inverness 0 – 4 Celtic: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/39048195

Saint Johnstone 0 – 2 Kilmarnock: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9RQoOLPqzs

 

FERNANDO TORRRES

Official Twitter statement: https://twitter.com/Torres/status/837448156929482752

 

LIFE SAVER

Francis Kone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tBg4fmoUU0

 

CHINSE SUPER LEAGUE

Liverpool 1 – 0 Southampton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfzV7gT9fAc

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

17/02/2017 European Football Special Issue

Well I don’t know about you lot, but I left my local pub on Tuesday evening high as a kite after Paris Saint-Germain’s demolition of the all singing – all dancing – super power that is FC Barcelona. Messi and co. had absolutely no answer to the relentless PSG. Di Maria, Verratti and Cavani blew Barcelona away with four unanswered goals at the Parc de Princes; a phenomenal game from start to finish. PSG offered wave after wave of attacking football, whilst Barcelona capitulated all over the park. MSN was nowhere to be seen, their individual performances had commentator, Steve McManaman, in utter shock. The former Real Madrid player spoke in disbelief at the lack of energy and desire in Barcelona’s performance. It took PSG only 18-minutes to break the deadlock, through a beautifully crafted Angel di Maria free-kick. It may have been a different story had Andre Gomez slotted home in the 27th minute, after team-mate Neymar Jr had carved out an opening in the PSG defense to create a 1 on 1 situation for the young midfielder, but it wasn’t to be and Gomez had to watch as the oncoming Kevin Trapp saved his effort. Lionel Messi was picked apart all night and, before Julian Draxler had scored the second, the Argentinian looked as though he had surrendered all hope. Di Maria turned on the magic again for PSG’s third; he curled the ball well past the reach of Andre ter Stegen and the tie was all but over. There was to be more heartache for the travelling fans as Edison Cavani put the cherry on top of a rather unforgettable performance in Paris. Tout simplement magique!

Unfortunately, my local only showed the Barcelona game but looking at the results I think it’s safe to say I got a front row seat to one of the most shocking European results in history – so I’m not too disappointed. And neither will Benfica be, after their home win over Borussia Dortmund. The black and yellows created all the early chances but failed to take one. 10-minutes into the game BVB opened up the Benfica defense slotting in Aubameyang who squandered a ridiculous chance to put his team ahead in the early stages – his effort went well over the crossbar from about 14-yeards out. Shortly after it was Dembele’s chance to burst the net, and he would have done so if it hadn’t been for Benfica centre-back, Lindelof, who bravely got his body in the way to block the shot. Benfica survived the first half, but it was the ‘The Eagles’ who would draw first blood 3-minutes into the restart. A Pizzi corner lead to a knock down by Luisao, the ball broke to Mitroglou who practically bundled the ball over the line and Benfica found some breathing space. This was Benfica’s only shot that hit the target all evening. Further chances came for Dortmund to grab that vital away goal, but none were taken. A missed penalty summed up Dortmund’s luck; Aubameyang struck an awful penalty straight down the centre of the goal making it an easy save for Ederson. This should be a great game to watch come the second leg at the Westfalenstadion as Dortmund look to overturn the defeat.

It was Arsenal’s turn to be royally rolled over on Wednesday evening. The Gunners always faced a difficult task against strong German opposition, but not many would have predicted Bayern’s 5-1 victory. Terrible defending, allowing Arjen Robben onto his favoured left side was Arsenal’s first mistake of the evening. It took just over the 10-minute mark for the Dutch midfielder to burst the net, after cutting inside and whipping the ball into the top left corner from 25-yards. Sanchez restored some hope on the 30th-minute, sending the teams to the dressing room with a draw at half-time. Half time marked the end of Arsenal’s challenge, as Bayern ran riot in the second 45. Lewandowski headed home in the 53rd minute; three minutes later Thiago Alcantara scored his first of the night; on the 63rd minute Alcantara scored again and Thomas Muller provided the finishing blow to end Arsenal’s embarrassing night in Europe. There are now calls for Arsene Wenger’s head, after a toothless battle in Munich. If you want a laugh head to YouTube, search for “Arsenal Fan TV” and bring a hanky, there will be tears!

Real Madrid had to come from behind at the Bernabeu to defeat Italian opposition, Napoli. Italian striker, Insigne, put the light blues ahead before the 10-minute mark. However, Napoli’s bright start was cancelled out by the head of Karim Benzema, who leaped above the Italian defence to score the equalizer. Benzema is now the highest scoring French man in Champions League history, surpassing the great Thierry Henry. Toni Kroos scored to take the lead for Los Blancos shortly after the break. Ronaldo provided the assist, and was praised for his uncharacteristically, unselfish performance throughout the match. Casemiro provided the third, and Real were flying into the next round. There were some complaints at the beginning of the match due to grounds crew tactics. The Bernabeu grounds crew were seen to only water one half of the pitch prior to kick off and at half time as well. Poor Napoli had to contend with flooding in their attacking half of the field for the entire 90-minutes. Many fans were quick to point out that Napoli’s home ground, San Paolo, floods naturally every time it rains – advantage Napoli! Or maybe not seen as they got scooshed 3-1.

Rostov and Lyon have all but booked their place in the next-round of the Europa League. Rostov blew Sparta Prague away in Russia with 4 unanswered goals. Tiemoko Konate will miss the second-leg for Sparta after his sending off in the first half. The game was over before the break, with Rostov 3-goals ahead in the first 45. Lyon’s 4-1 away win should be enough to take them to the next round. They went into the break with a comfortable 2-0 lead, they scored their third on the 57th minute before Alkmaar picked up a consolation goal when Iraninan winger, Jahanbakhsh, scored from the spot. A goal in extra time from Jordan Ferri gave Lyon a very comfortable lead going into the second-leg. Roma breezed past Villareal, with a 0-4 win away from home. A hat-trick from Dzeko, and a first half finish from Brazilian, Emerson Palmieri secured progression to the next round.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored more goals against St-Etienne more than any other team, and this rang true on Thursday night. A hat-trick for the self-proclaimed ‘God of Manchester’ put Manchester United through to the next round (surely they can’t screw it up from this point). He dived for the third goal – it was shocking (have a look in the link below). Tottenham Hotspurs fell to a surprise defeat in Belgium. Toothless Tottenham looked lackluster and tedious during Thursday evening’s match. Jeremey Perbet’s 59th-minute goal has given his side the edge going into the second-leg at Wembley. Deli Alli’s skimmed effort and Kane’s shot of the post was as good as it got for Spurs. Wembley has not been a happy hunting ground for Tottenham, who lost to both Monaco and Bayern Leverkusen at their temporary European home. They entered the game against Gent as second favourites to win the competition, behind Manchester United, and now it’s anyone’s game.

There was a tasty battle between Athletic Bilbao and Apoel Nicosia. It was a positive start for the Cypriot champions when George Efrem stunned the Estadio de San Mames on the 36th minute however their delight was quickly shuddered when Georgios Merkis put the ball into his own net. Bilbao began to turn up the heat and scored two more after the break with goals from Aritz Aduriz, competitions top-goal scorer with 7 goals, and Inaki Williams who added a third with a header on the 72nd minute. Greek International, Giannios Gianniotas, kept the tie alive for APOEL with his goal one minute from time. This tie will be played out in Nicosia’s GSP Stadium, which will be filled to capacity come next Thursday (22,859). This is definitely the tie to watch next week. Fiorentina picked up a vital away goal in Germany. This was a close encounter, and it’s a wonder how Gladbach never managed to burst the net after creating all the best chances. However, it is advantage Fiorentina after the first-leg due to some sharp shooting on Federico Bernardeschi’s part; the Italian scored from the dead ball just before the break.

 

 

RESULTS

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE – Round of 16  (First-leg)

 

Benfica                                 1              v              0              Borussia Dortmund

Mitroglou (48)

 

Paris Saint Germain         4              v              0              Barcelona

Di Maria (18, 55)

Draxler (40)

Cavani (71)

 

Bayern Munich                  5              v              1              Arsenal

Robben (11)                                                                        Sanchez (30)

Lewandowski (53)

Thiago Alcantara (56, 63)

Muller (88)

 

Real Madrid                        3              v              1              Napoli

Benzema (18)                                                                     Insigne (8)

Kroos (49)

Casemiro (54)

 

 

EUROPA LEAGUE – Round of 32 (First-leg)

FK Krasnodar                     1              v              0              Fenerbache

Astra Giurgiu                      2              v              2              KRC Genk

AZ Alkmaar                         1              v              4              Lyon

Borussia M’gladback       0              v              1              Fiorentina

Celta Vigo                            0              v              1              Shaktar Donetsk

FC Rostov                            4              v              0              Sparta Prague

KAA Gent                            1              v              0              Tottenham Hotspur

Ludogrets                            1              v              2              FC Copenhagen

Olympiakos                        0              v              0              Osmanlispor

Athletic Bilbao                   3              v              2              Apoel Nicosia

Hapeol Be’er Sheva         1              v              3              Besiktas

Legia Warsaw                    0              v              0              Ajax

Manchester United         3              v              0              Saint-Etienne

PAOK Salonika                   0              v              3              FC Schalke 04

Anderlecht                         2              v              0              Zenit St Petersburg

Villareal                                0              v              4              Roma

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Benfica v Borrussia Dortmund: https://youtu.be/FvPl3I6eu5Q

PSG v Barcelona: https://youtu.be/XMRZILYKUbU

Bayern Munich v Arsenal: https://youtu.be/gltOnX9jAgY

Real Madrid v Napoli: https://youtu.be/4MI2lT9ALJs

 

 

ONES TO WATCH

Arsenal fan tells it how it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcbykRVcn7Y

Napoli drowned in Champions League defeat: https://twitter.com/sasoarts/status/831967574334267402

Zlatan 3 – 0 St Etienne: https://youtu.be/IfgnehhHAoM

Advantage Gent: https://youtu.be/ZdXQUavJR8E

Best tie of the Europa League: https://youtu.be/E76DlRGveDQ