rss

Category: Champions League

0

Fortune favours the brave as Harry Kane drags Spurs to a hard-fought victory

The striker’s masterclass of craft and malevolent energy picked off a dominant Borussia Dortmund side and finally ended Tottenham’s Wembley woes

It is a theme of Harry Kane’s insurgent, late-breaking career. Never mind the evidence of the last three years, the goals scored, the matches won. For Kane there just always seems to be something to prove, a need even now to show that this isn’t all a fluke, an unsustainable plateau, an act of Premier League smoke and mirrors.

Kane himself has no doubts about his qualities. Quite the opposite: he keeps saying he wants to win the Ballon D’Or. Some have scoffed at this. But then the alternative is to believe what the stats and the goal charts suggest, that a serial Football League loanee, a striker without any obvious, flashy gifts really has managed to gatecrash the elite, and to transform himself under Mauricio Pochettino into a genuine top-level centre-forward.

Continue reading…

0

Trouble flares at Maribor as Spartak Moscow fans fire projectile at referee

• Flare apparently aimed at referee Deniz Aytekin on Maribor pitch
• Uefa could take action against Russian club

Spartak Moscow face Uefa censure after a flare was fired on to the pitch during their 1-1 draw at Maribor in Slovenia. The crowd trouble comes as concerns grow about hooliganism at next year’s World Cup finals in Russia.

During a goalless first half, filled with missed opportunities, a flare was fired from the Spartak supporters massed at one end of the ground onto the centre of the pitch, landing close to the referee Deniz Aytekin, who was standing in the centre circle.

Continue reading…

0

Sevilla’s Joaquín Correa levels it and spoils return for Klopp’s Liverpool

Pablo Fernandez, the Sevilla fitness coach, was hauled down the Anfield tunnel on the final whistle while falsely accusing Jürgen Klopp of getting his opposite number, Eduardo Berizzo, sent to the stands. The majority left Anfield in more civil fashion while accusing the Liverpool defence of undermining the club’s return to the Champions League. The majority spoke the truth.

Liverpool dominated for long periods on their return to Europe’s grandest stage, recovered impressively from conceding an early goal to a wily Sevilla side and embraced Philippe Coutinho back into the fold on his first appearance since his thwarted attempt to join Barcelona. But, and it is a recurring theme, individual and collective defensive lapses showed the Champions League what the Premier League has long suspected – that Klopp has constructed an exhilarating attacking force on weak foundations.

Continue reading…

0

Harry Kane, fortune and fortitude help Tottenham dispatch Dortmund

The Wembley hoodoo struck again. Borussia Dortmund simply cannot get things to go their way at the home of English football. For long spells during this Champions League thriller, they weaved their patterns and stretched Tottenham Hotspur to breaking point.

Mauricio Pochettino’s team did not crack. Harry Kane did not crack. And Spurs rode their luck, with Dortmund complaining that Kane’s goal for 2-1 should not have stood because of a foul on Nuri Sahin and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang seeing what would have been an equaliser for 2-2 wrongly ruled out for offside.

Continue reading…

0

John Stones double helps Manchester City to easy victory at Feyenoord

This was a handsome victory for a Manchester City side facing scant resistance from Feyenoord. Pep Guardiola’s team will encounter greater challenges in the Champions League but for now they deserve to enjoy a job done very impressively.

City failed to win away from home in last season’s competition and Guardiola said: “Of course this was a perfect start. It’s important to play good.”

Continue reading…

0

Tottenham Hotspur v Borussia Dortmund: Champions League – live!

8.33pm BST

That was breathless. Spurs lead thanks to goals from Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min, Andrey Yarmolenko replying for the visitors, who will wonder how they aren’t level at least. The Germans have been dominant, but they’ve lacked ruthlessness up front and organisation at the back.

8.32pm BST

45 min: Pulisic slides the ball into the Tottenham net, but the flag’s up for offside! He wasn’t off, far from it, but Aubameyang was and he needlessly tried to go for the ball! If he’d just stayed out of the way, Dortmund would be level. Oh dear. It all came after Dortmund sliced Tottenham open again, though. It’s doubtful that will be the last time they threaten. But Spurs still, somehow, lead.

Continue reading…

0

Liverpool v Sevilla: Champions League – live!

7.50pm BST

4 min: Salah has a dribble down the right, and the ball’s worked inside for Henderson, who shoots from 25 yards. The shot is weak and blocked. Sevilla go up the other end, Jesus Navas crossing from the right. Matip half clears. Then…

7.49pm BST

3 min: Sevilla get their first touch of the ball, and stroke it around the back awhile. A successful attempt to put a stop to Liverpool’s early gallop.

Continue reading…

0

Feyenoord v Manchester City: Champions League – live!

7.13pm BST

Other MBMs are available:

Related: Liverpool v Sevilla: Champions League – live!

Related: Tottenham Hotspur v Borussia Dortmund: Champions League – live!

7.07pm BST

Do email tonight, by the way. We can chat. Are City contenders? Should they see themselves as contenders? How good are 1970 European Cup winner Feyenoord?

Continue reading…

0

It’s raining penalties in the Champions League – but what’s behind the increase?

There were only 17 awarded in 2006-07 but that number trebled to 53 for the 2016-17 season and it is too simplistic to say that the two extra match officials are responsibleThe number of penalties awarded in the Champions League has more than trebled i…

0

Philippe Coutinho is fit, healthy and here, says Jürgen Klopp – video

Philippe Coutinho is in the Liverpool squad for the first time this season, with his manager Jürgen Klopp reassuring fans that he’s fit and healthy before their Champions League match with Sevilla. Klopp also talks about Sevilla’s recent history and warns of their strength

Continue reading…

0

We are in the second tier, says José Mourinho – video

After seeing his Manchester United side win 3-0 at home in their Champions League match against Basel, José Mourinho claimed that his side are in the second tier of European football, and that the goal for them is just to qualify for the knockout phase. Mourinho also subtly bemoaned the lack of a winter break in the Premier League, saying that the “big guys” are more fresh, and that the group stages are just a warm-up exercise for them

Continue reading…

0

Borussia Dortmund are a club whose plan is working almost too well

The German side have worked hard to establish themselves as the best place in Europe for young, talented players but they had not planned to lose Ousmane Dembélé to Barcelona after only a year

The news was good yet the atmosphere seemed somewhat subdued. The Borussia Dortmund CEO, Hans-Joachim Watzke, was delivering an update on the club’s financial situation – record turnover of €400m (£364m)for 2016-17 and an astonishing profit of €134m since 2011 – but no one appeared to be that interested. There was only one story in town and that whether Ousmane Dembélé was going to join Barcelona.

In the end the 20-year-old Frenchman joined the Catalan club for £96.7m and while that will make Dortmund’s figures even prettier next year it has severely diminished the club’s chances of challenging at home and in Europe, where they kick off their Champions League campaign against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley on Wednesday. In fact, the whole saga has completely overshadowed an already turbulent summer and it is only now that the new manager, Peter Bosz, knows what kind of a squad he has at his disposal.

Continue reading…

0

Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic charges powerless to mute the PSG show

French club, with most expensive signings Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, want to write new page of history and were not even in full flow in Champions League

One of the first rebranding wheezes introduced at Paris Saint-Germain after the club’s takeover by Qatari rulers in 2011 was to remove the club’s date of foundation from its crest. Apparently, when trying not to come across as a nouveau riche interloper among Europe’s aristocracy, it does not do to advertise that one was not created until 1970. That was three years after the Lisbon Lions made sure Celtic will always have a place in the continent’s hall of fame. Although PSG’s wealth now makes minnows of the Scottish champions, the French team’s jerseys still do not feature a gold star like the one worn by their hosts in Glasgow on Tuesday night.

The pursuit of such a star has become an obsession for PSG. Since making Neymar and Kylian Mbappé the most expensive signings in history, the club is fixated on a future that cannot come fast enough. The mishaps that the French club have endured in the tournament in recent years have given their quest if not kudos, then at least intrigue. Their last Champions League match before the trip to Glasgow ended in that humiliation at Barcelona.

Continue reading…

0

Celtic fear Uefa sanction after pitch invader confronts Kylian Mbappé

• Supporter attempted to kick the Paris Saint-Germain striker
• ‘Bitterly disappointing’ incident condemned by Brendan Rodgers

Celtic face an anxious wait to discover the scale of an inevitable Uefa sanction after a supporter invaded the pitch and attempted to kick Kylian Mbappé during the 5-0 home loss to Paris Saint-Germain.

The fan raced from behind a goal to accost the Frenchman as Celtic prepared to kick-off following the third goal. Key to Celtic’s worry will be a series of Uefa penalties, totalling more than £160,000 for 12 offences over the past six years. The last came at the start of this season, after a paramilitary-style flag was flown when Linfield visited Celtic Park for a Champions League qualifier. There is now a serious fear at Celtic of partial stadium closure for a European fixture, a feeling intensified by the high-profile nature of Tuesday night’s incident.

Continue reading…

0

Leo Messi’s two goals gives Barcelona perfect start against Juventus

Pessimism was pushed aside on the night that Barcelona returned to the Champions League and took revenge on the team that dumped them out of the competition last year. It is five months since Juventus beat them 3-0 in Turin; four weeks since Gerard Piqué admitted that, for the first time, he felt inferior to Real Madrid; and two weeks since the transfer window closed, with Neymar in Paris and Philippe Coutinho still on Merseyside. The talk was of crisis and outside the stadium on Tuesday night they were collecting signatures to force a vote of no confidence in the president, Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Related: Celtic no match for PSG as Neymar, Mbappé and Cavani score in 5-0 rout

Continue reading…

0

Manchester United run through the options for a comfortable win over Basel

It was a victory that came at a cost for Manchester United bearing in mind the implications for Paul Pogba and the sight of the club’s most expensive player prematurely making his way along the touchline with a glum look on his face that confirmed he knew it might be the last time the fans see him for a while. Pogba had not even lasted 20 minutes and maybe this is now the time for Marouane Fellaini to show why José Mourinho, like Louis van Gaal and David Moyes previously, has kept faith in him during the intermittent periods when the crowd at Old Trafford has not been so sure.

On that front, Fellaini has made a promising start, scoring within a quarter of an hour of replacing his injured colleague. Romelu Lukaku added the second goal of a freewheeling win, meaning he now has six in as many appearances for his new club, and Marcus Rashford tucked in the third from Fellaini’s cross in the 84th minute. Basel were moderate opponents and the only real disappointment for United came in the form of the hamstring strain that meant Pogba making an early departure.

Continue reading…

0

Pedro sets Chelsea on their way to 6-0 stroll against Qarabag

Antonio Conte had entered September wary of a treacherous and cluttered schedule, Chelsea’s head coach braced to chop and change his lineup in the hope of negotiating successful passage through seven games in 21 days. That work-load, he feared, would stretch his squad to the limit. As it transpired, his team’s return to European competition will not have sapped energy levels in the slightest. Their reunion with the Champions League was a stroll.

Qarabag were dismissed here, the home side easing back into life at this level with six goals to savour. Atletico Madrid and AS Roma will offer far sterner tests than this, but Conte must have rejoiced in the ability to rest Alvaro Morata and David Luiz, and haul off Cesar Azpilicueta, Pedro and N’Golo Kanté, while his team ran riot. Life will be tougher from now on in.

Continue reading…

0

Celtic no match for PSG as Neymar, Mbappé and Cavani score in 5-0 rout

Brendan Rodgers may bemoan the luck of the draw. On the evidence of a harrowing evening for Celtic, facing a Paris Saint-Germain side determined to send a statement of intent to open the Champions League would always have been an insurmountable challen…

0

Manchester United v Basel: Champions League – live!

8.51pm BST

46 min: And we’re back. And the rain continues to fall.

8.35pm BST

Solid, unspectacular stuff from United. Which is exactly what Mourinho would want as they play themselves back into the Champions League after their time away. A nice, safe three points will do them nicely. The only major negative has been Pogba’s injury.

Continue reading…

0

Pep Guardiola calms talk of Champions League success for Manchester City

• Manager says his developing side ‘are not dreaming’ before Feyenoord test
• Ederson takes place in squad despite face injury sustained against Liverpool

Pep Guardiola admits he does not know if Manchester City can win the Champions League as his side are still in the “process of growing”. They face Feyenoord in their Group F opener at Rotterdam’s De Kuip on Wednesday night.

The manager’s view may cause some surprise as he has just overseen £226m being spent in the transfer window and City’s squad cost £775m to assemble in total, the most expensive ever.

Continue reading…