2018 UEFA Champions League | Sportzwiki

2018 UEFA Champions League

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Sane leads Man City to win over Hoffenheim

Manchester, Dec 13: Manchester City squandered numerous scoring chances in their final Champions League group stage match but managed to notch a 2-1 win over Bundesliga club 1899 Hoffenheim thanks to a brace by Leroy Sane.

City got off to an inauspicious start at Etihad Stadium here on Wednesday night when Aymeric Laporte fouled Benjamin Hubner in the area and Andrej Kramaric converted from the penalty spot to put the visitors ahead 1-0 in the 16th minute, reports Efe.

The English Premier League side, who only needed a tie to ensure themselves of first place in Group F, still had loads of time to get the equalizer but made their home fans restless with a series of missed chances.

Among the bullets dodged by Hoffenheim, Gabriel Jesus hit the woodwork with a header off a corner kick, John Stones headed a ball from the goal area directly at net minder Oliver Baumann and yet another header by Nicolas Otamendi clanked off the crossbar.

But frustration turned to joy in Manchester when Sane sent a curving free kick over a wall of defenders and past a diving Baumann in first-half injury time.

Hoffenheim, who needed a win and a Shakhtar Donetsk loss on Wednesday night to finish third in the group and earn a Europa League berth, tried to go on the attack at the start of the second half.

But that only left holes in their defence that City and their speedy attackers tried to exploit.

Although Sane botched a three-on-one opportunity against Baumann with an extra pass to Bernardo Silva, exasperating Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola in the process, he made up for that error in the 61st minute when he received a pass from Raheem Sterling, maneuvered around Baumann and slotted the ball home from just outside the goal area.

With the win, Manchester City finished group-stage play with a record of four wins, one draw and one loss (13 points) and will next play in the Champions League when the round-of-16 action kicks off in February.

Hoffenheim’s European campaign is over for this season after they finished last in the group with a record of 0-3-3 (three points).

Filipe Luis rejoins Atletico training ahead of Brugge clash
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Filipe Luis rejoins Atletico training ahead of Brugge clash

Madrid, Dec 9: Atletico Madrid’s Brazilian left-back Filipe Luis on Sunday resumed training with the team to ease his squad’s defensive woes ahead of the upcoming UEFA Champions League encounter against Brugge KV.

Filipe Luis rejoined the group workout after being out of action for three matches due to a muscle edema he sustained during Atleti’s 2-0 win over Monaco in the Champions League, while Uruguayan central defender Diego Godín strengthened his presence in the training after recovering from a muscle injury, reports Efe.

With Godin and Luis back, Atletico coach Diego Simeone has four first-team defenders available ahead of Tuesday’s game, in which the Spanish team will seek a win to wrap up the group stage as Group A winner.

The other fit first team defenders are Colombian right-back Santiago Arias and Uruguayan central defender Jose Maria Gimenez, who played in Atleti’s 3-0 win over Alaves on Saturday after replacing Lucas Hernandez, who sprained his right knee.

That was Gimenez’s first appearance after recovering from a muscle injury that sidelined him for five matches.

Spanish right-back Juanfran Torres continues to recover from an injury and is expected to resume training on Wednesday, while Montenegrin central defender Stefan Savic will be serving a one-match suspension after being sent off against Monaco.

In addition, Atletico is set to miss forward Diego Costa for at least two months after he underwent a surgery on the fifth metatarsal bone of his left foot in Brazil.

Shakhtar beat Hoffenheim 3-2 in UEFA Champions League
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Shakhtar beat Hoffenheim 3-2 in UEFA Champions League

Berlin, Nov 28: A last-gasp goal from Taison helped Shakhtar Donetsk defeat resilient 10-men Hoffenheim 3-2 in Champions League Group F, keeping alive the Ukrainian side’s hopes of reaching the tournament’s knockout stages.

Hosts Hoffenheim on Tuesday got off to the worst possible start as Ismaily broke the deadlock in the 14th minute following a one-two with Taison, reports Xinhua news agency.

Shakhtar then gained momentum and raced into a 2-0 lead moments later as Junior Moraes’ pass allowed Taison to beat onrushing Hoffenheim goalkeeper Oliver Baumann with a strike into the far corner.

However, Hoffenheim hit back almost immediately, as Andrej Kramaric capitalized on a through ball from Ishak Belfodil to chip Shakhtar keeper Andriy Pyatov in the 17th minute.

Buoyed by their goal, the German side equalized before the break as Shakhtar failed to clear the ball following a corner, allowing Steven Zuber to head home from inside the box.

Into the second half, and Hoffenheim suffered a setback as Adam Szalai received his marching orders after committing his second bookable offence in the 59th minute.

Even though the German side had a numerical disadvantage they still created chances, as Steven Zuber rattled the crossbar on 70 minutes before Nico Schulz missed an open goal from inside the box nine minutes later.

The visitors nevertheless remained dangerous and hit the woodwork in the 83rd minute when Taison unleashed an effort from 12 meters.

The Brazilian remained in the thick of things and scored the winner from close range following good build-up work from Ismaily in the dying seconds.

The result sees Hoffenheim crash out of the Champions League group stage after slumping to fourth place with three points from five games.

Shakhtar’s win sees them move up to third place with five points, meaning the Ukrainian side still has a chance to progress to the knockout stage if they can win their final group match at home to Lyon.

Manchester United beat Young Boys
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Manchester United beat Young Boys

London, Nov 28: A magic intervention by David de Gea and a shot by Marouane Fellaini in injury time was enough for Manchester United to win over Young Boys 1-0 at Old Trafford and advance to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

The ‘Red Devils’ needed to win and needed Juventus to do them a favour by defeating Valencia. Both their wishes were fulfilled, reports Efe news.

Only Rashford and De Gea were highlights of a team on Tuesday that showed how far from ‘Champions’ they are each day.

But even on such a horrible night, Fellaini’s shone bright and during extra time. He lowered a ball on his back, striking it and sealing a three-point victory for the English, giving them a pass to the knockout phase.

With almost no time to tie their boots, the Swiss players faced the first dangerous counter commanded by Rashford. The English striker appeared in front of the Young Boys goalkeeper but his shot went over the crossbar, causing Mourinho to shake his head from the bench in disbelief.

In the 25th minute, a shot by Rashford from outside the area went astray, just grazing the right post of Von Ballmoos. His plays continued to create chances to score yet they lacked accuracy.

Mourinho decided to leave Lukaku on the bench until well into the second half. Even with Pogba and Lukaku in the game, nothing much changed. In the 72nd minute De Gea made an athletic save of a shot from Garcia that slipped on the goal line.

The time kept running while the Red Devils did not. The sad image of the Old Trafford crowd leaving the stadium with three minutes left in the game did justice to a team losing in the field.

But Manchester United still had luck. The Belgian Fellaini dropped the ball on his back, made room, shot and finally made the only goal of the game, which was enough for Manchester United to advance to the next round.

Bayern wins 5-1 against Benfica, moves to knockout stage of Champions League
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Bayern wins 5-1 against Benfica, moves to knockout stage of Champions League

Berlin, Nov 28: Bayern Munich overcame their recent crisis, winning 5-1 over Benfica, and advancing to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

A brace from Arjen Robben, another brace from Robert Lewandowski and another goal from Frank Ribery brought back the happiness to the Bayern team on Tuesday night, who had lost their last two matches and are 9 points behind Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga.

After these latest results, Bayern needed to gain confidence and won it in the 13th minute when Arjen Robben opened the scoring with a, somewhat augmented version of his classic move, making a cut from the right to the center for a left-footed score, reports Efe news.

This time Robben started the play on the line, went into the area, reached the end line and then returned to make his last dribble before scoring a strong shot. On the way he got around four opponents.

In the 30th minute Robben scored again, this time with a more traditional version of his signature move after a pass from Thomas Mueller.

Six minutes later Robert Lewandowski, with a header, scored another goal, giving even more comfort to Bayern.

The scoreboard reflected what was happening on the field. Benfica had barely attempted a counterattack, which Manuel Neuer controlled with a good exit from the area, while Bayern managed good attacks from the feet of Franck Ribery and Lewandowski as well as with a header by Mueller.

However, the second half started with Benfica showing signs of life. Gedson Fernandes, who had just entered the field, scored with a shot from inside the area.

Bayern’s defense did not make a good impression on this play and for a few minutes, although still having an advantage, the ghosts of their problems came back.

To get away from these ghosts, Bayern needed to score again and they did so in the 51st minute with a header from Lewandowski after a corner kick by Kimmich.

In the 76th minute, Ribery managed the fifth goal past Benfica goalkeeper Vlachodimos.

2018 UEFA Champions League
2018 UEFA Champions League
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Pressure on Valverde as Barca prepare to face Tottenham

Madrid, Oct 2: The pressure is on FC Barcelona and coach Ernesto Valverde when they play Tottenham in the 2018 UEFA Champions League at Wembley on Wednesday.

Although Wembley has a place in Barca’s folklore after they claimed their first European Cup there in 1992 and defeated Manchester United in the rebuilt stadium to win 2011 final, the trip comes at a bad time with players out of form and Valverde seriously questioned after a poor run of performances and results, reports Xinhua news agency.

Saturday’s 1-1 draw at home to Athletic Club Bilbao was Barca’s third consecutive Liga Santander without a win and followed a defeat away to bottom of the table Leganes and a 2-2 draw against Girona in the Camp Nou.

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2018 UEFA Champions League

Valverde rotated his squad in all three of those games to deal with the busy fixture list with new signings and fringe players so far failing to convince, but it was his decision to leave Leo Messi and Sergio Busquets on the bench at the start of the game against Athletic which really angered fans.

Anyone who saw Messi’s performances in last summer’s World Cup should know that it is simply impossible for the Argentinean to play every game, but the fact is what he is so important to Barca’s cause, leaving him out is a risk for the coach and by doing so Valverde left himself open to criticism.

Messi will be back in the side in London as Barca look for a result which would give them six points from their opening two group games.

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Busquets will also start alongside Ivan Rakitic and Philippe Coutinho in midfield, while Valverde may have to decide whether or not he continues with Ousmane Dembele in attack or decides to play an extra midfielder, such as Arturo Vidal.

Samuel Umtiti and Sergi Roberto are both out injured, so Clement Lenglet and Nelson Semedo will partner Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba in defense.

2018 UEFA Champions League

Tottenham cannot afford to lose after conceding late goals away to Inter Milan in their first group game and will be without England midfielder Dele Ali.

However, Harry Kane looks to be returning to top form and he and Cristian Erikson often cited as a possible Barca target, will be two of the players Barca need to beware of on what promised to be an epic night in a legendary stadium.

Manchester City suffer shock home defeat to Lyon in Champions League opener
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Manchester City suffer shock home defeat to Lyon in Champions League opener

Manchester, Sep 20:  French Ligue 1 side Olympique Lyon stunned English champions Manchester City 2-1 in their UEFA Champions League group F match at the Etihad stadium in Manchester.

France’s World Cup winner Nabil Fekir scored from a brilliant long-distance strike just before half-time to double Lyon’s lead after Maxwell Cornet had opened the scoring, capitalizing on Fabian Delph’s failure to clear a cross at the back post on Wednesday night.

Those goals came after the visitors had weathered an early storm, during which City hit the post and forced Lyon goalkeeper into a couple of smart saves, reports Efe news.

Bernardo Silva pulled a goal back for the hosts in the 67th minute, burying Leroy Sane’s pull back, to set up an anxious finish.

City pressed for an equalizer but was only able to test Lopes from a distance.

“The key was our togetherness, we were together as a group, and worked hard for one another, and we managed to control the intensity”, Lyon captain Nabil Fekir told UEFA.com.

Manchester City assistant coach Mikel Arteta, speaking to BT Sport, rued his side’s missed opportunities as they became the first English team to lose four consecutive Champions League matches.

Arteta took charge in the absence of head coach Pep Guardiola, who was watching from the stands as he completed a touchline ban which carried over from last season.

“We saw two very different halves. We conceded many counter attacks and at this level, you get punished. In the second half we dominated and played in the opponent’s half and created many chances”, Arteta told BT Sport.

Ex-Liverpool defender Stephen Darby retires due to motor neuron disease
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Ex-Liverpool defender Stephen Darby retires due to motor neuron disease

London, Sep 18: Bolton Wanderers defender Stephen Darby, 29, announced his retirement from professional football on Tuesday after being diagnosed with motor neuron disease.

Darby started his career with Liverpool, and played six games with his hometown club after making his debut in the UEFA Champions League in 2008, reports Efe news.

“It is with great sadness that I announce my immediate retirement from professional football due to a recent diagnosis of motor neuron disease,” Darby said in a statement on the Bolton Wanderer’s website, which explained that a specialist had recently made the diagnosis.

“I would like to ask for privacy at this time so I can adjust to the battle I have ahead and so that I can spend time with those closest to me,” he added.

After his spell with Liverpool ended in 2012, Darby moved between teams before landing at Bradford City, where he made 239 appearances over six years.

He joined the Bolton Wanderers in the 2017 summer transfer season, but according to British media had not played since December.

The United Kingdom’s National Health Service describes motor neuron disease as an incurable, “uncommon condition that affects the brain and nerves. It causes weakness that gets worse over time. It is always fatal and can significantly shorten life expectancy, but some people live with it for many years.”

Juventus defender De Sciglio to miss Champions League opener due to injury
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Juventus defender De Sciglio to miss Champions League opener due to injury

Rome, Sep 18: Juventus defender Mattia De Sciglio has a right thigh muscle injury and will miss the upcoming UEFA Champions League group stage opener against La Liga side Valencia, the club announced in a statement on Tuesday.

De Sciglio, 25, picked up his injury on Sunday during pre-match preparations for his team’s 2-1 Serie A victory against Sassuolo.

“Having pulled up in the warm-up of Sunday’s win over Sassuolo, Mattia De Sciglio underwent tests, which revealed a tear to the flexor muscles in his right thigh,” the Italian club said in a statement.

“The defender has started to receive therapy and is undergoing a personalized recovery program, as his condition continues to be monitored on a daily basis,” the club added.

The Juventus squad – minus De Sciglio – exercised at the team’s training center in Turin before heading to Spain, where head coach Massimiliano Allegri has scheduled a press conference for Tuesday evening.

Napoli defender Chiriches suffers torn knee ligament, to undergo surgery
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Napoli defender Chiriches suffers torn knee ligament, to undergo surgery

Rome, Sep 10:  Napoli defender Vlad Chiriches sustained a severe torn knee ligament injury that requires surgery, the Serie A side announced on Monday.

The Romania defender, 28, was forced off the field in the 31st minute during his national team’s 0-0 draw against Montenegro in their UEFA Nations League clash on September 7, reports Efe news.

Tests showed the player tore the “anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee,” Napoli said in a statement.

Chiriches is set to undergo surgery Monday but the club did not give an estimate for how long his recovery was expected to take.

The former Tottenham Hotspur player will likely be sidelined for all of Napoli’s UEFA Champions League group stage clashes.

Napoli was drawn in Group C, alongside Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool, and Red Star Belgrade.

Chiriches’s injury leaves Napoli’s Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti with only three experienced central defenders available, including Spain international Raul Albiol, Senegal international Kalidou Koulibaly and Serbia international Nikola Maksimovic.

Ancelotti also has the option of tapping Italian 22-year-old Sebastiano Luperto, who made the first team after moving up through the youth ranks.