Monaco hurts Man City

Manchester City’s defensive frailties cost them as they crashed out of the Champions League with a 3-1 defeat at Monaco.

Manager Pep Guardiola named an attacking line-up for the second leg of the last-16 tie but that backfired as Monaco overturned a 5-3 deficit to win on away goals after a 6-6 aggregate draw.

First-half goals from Kylian Mbappe and Fabinho put the Ligue 1 leaders ahead and although Leroy Sane hit back for City, Tiemoue Bakayoko sealed victory with a header 13 minutes from time.

City were lacklustre on the night and Monaco made light of the absence of Radamel Falcao, scorer of two goals in the pulsating first leg, with a hip injury.

Guardiola perhaps got his selection wrong by naming the in-form Yaya Toure on the bench. With Fernandinho the only specialist central midfielder on the field, City were unable to make any impression in that area and Monaco came at them in waves.

That early pressure was quickly rewarded as Mbappe, who had already forced Willy Caballero to make one save, opened the scoring in the eighth minute. City’s defence were cut open as Benjamin Mendy drove in a ball from the left and Mbappe turned in with ruthless efficiency.

Mbappe thought he had claimed a second soon after but his powerful low strike was ruled out for offside.

City struggled to gain possession, made little use of the ball they did get and failed to repel Monaco’s continual raids.

It came as no surprise when they struck again to level the tie just before the half-hour mark. Mbappe again cut the defence open on the left before Mendy crossed and Fabinho made no mistake with a first-time finish.

City’s attacks were few and far between and those they did piece together fizzled out before they reached the box.

It was not until the second half that they started to assert themselves in any way and finally get the previously isolated Sergio Aguero into the game.

Seemingly out of nowhere, a hat-trick of chances came the Argentinian’s way in quick succession but he was unable to take any of them.

He could not be blamed the for the first as Andrea Raggi produced a superb challenge to pinch the ball from his toes as he lined up a shot from Raheem Sterling’s pull-back.

But the striker blazed over moments later following a lightning break by Sane and he was denied by a fine save from Danijel Subasic after smart turn by David Silva.

It did seem, however, that the tide had turned and Monaco were maybe starting to feel the pace after such a high-energy start.

Sane took advantage to put City back ahead on aggregate when he pounced from close range after Subasic palmed out a shot from Sterling with 71 minutes gone.

Yet that good work was quickly undone when poor set-piece marking allowed Bakayoko to thump home a header from a Thomas Lemar free-kick.

City’s hopes drained away and the Stade Louis II, a venue not renowned for its atmosphere, was rocking as the final whistle sounded.

Source – Football365

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Reborn Leicester City defeat Sevilla

Up went the ball, into the night sky, and there it seemed to hang: spinning, swirling, planning, plotting. Down below, Pablo Sarabia swirled underneath it, gauging its trajectory, unsure whether he wanted it to land or not. Out of the corner of his eye, he would have seen Marc Albrighton and Wilfried Ndidi chasing him down like hungry hounds. Sarabia leapt, and so did they.

A dull thud of shoulders. The ball bounced out for a throw. Leicester v Sevilla was eight seconds old.

There is a sort of dark magic to the long ball, football’s oldest tactic yet perhaps one of its least understood. You might even call it beauty: the fanciful optimism of relinquishing the ball at your feet and casting it to the skies, to the winds, to gravity, to randomness, to chaos. You play the long ball when you want to entrust yourself to fate. You play it if you are feeling lucky.

Most football teams see chance as their enemy: the enemy of certainty, the enemy of control, the enemy of all those thousands of hours spent pausing and rewinding scouting videos, scrawling on chalkboards, training and drilling.

Not Leicester. They do all that stuff, too, of course, but crucially they also know what you cannot control. This is hardly surprising. When your 5000-1 title shot has come in, then you are probably inclined to believe chance is your friend. When the opposition are palpably better than you – with all due respect to your Danny Simpsons and Robert Huths – then chance is the leveller. When allied with a greasy pitch, a partisan crowd and an unshakeable belief, then chance is your best chance.

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Also France knows who Memphis Depay is after score astonishing goal!

Former Manchester United winger Memphis Depay scored an incredible goal from the halfway line during Lyon’s 4-0 win against Toulouse on Sunday.

The Dutchman left Old Trafford for Ligue 1 in January in a deal worth around £15million and he’s impressed during his short time in France.

The 23-year-old arrived at the Theatre of Dreams with a big reputation from PSV Eindhoven but he left after a frustrating 18 months at the club.

United installed a buy-back option into Depay’s contract when he moved to Lyon and they might be looking at activating it after the Netherlands international’s stunning goal against Toulouse.

The winger swiveled in the centre circle before launching an amazing effort over the Toulouse goalkeeper, who he spotted off his line.

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Controversial late penalty helps Juventus beat Milan 2-1

Fino alla fine (Until the end) is the Juventus motto and it lived up to it again as Paulo Dybala converted a penalty with the last kick of the match to beat AC Milan 2-1 and go 11 points clear in Serie A on Friday.

Teen goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma appeared to have earned Milan a precious point with some fine saves but Juventus was awarded a disputed penalty deep in stoppage time after Mattia De Sciglio was judged to have handled Stephan Lichtsteiner’s cross.

Milan players surrounded the officials and goal-scorer Carlos Bacca had to be pulled away from the referee by coach Vincenzo Montella after the final whistle.

“We exaggerated at the end of the match and I apologize for the final uproar, but I hope … they can understand why there was a lot of tension,” Montella said. “Regardless of the interpretation of the incident, we should transmit more positive and calmer messages.

“I say we should let the officials make mistakes in peace. I don’t like to hear too many complaints: We all need to be cautious and calm and accept the verdict on the pitch.”

Juventus, which plays Porto in the second leg of its Champions League last-16 matchup on Tuesday, extended its Serie A record to 31 consecutive home wins.

It moved 11 points clear of second-placed Roma and 13 ahead of Napoli. Roma visits Palermo on Sunday, shortly after Napoli hosts Crotone.

“When decisions go against us no one says anything. When they’re in our favor bedlam happens,” coach Massimiliano Allegri said. “Ours is a deserved victory.

Milan remained seventh, a point behind Inter Milan, which hosts fifth-placed Atalanta on Sunday.

Juventus took the lead on the half hour through an unlikely goal-scorer. Medhi Benatia beat the offside trap to control Dani Alves’ chipped pass and smash it past Donnarumma from close range for his first goal for the club.

Milan leveled two minutes from halftime following great work from Gerard Deulofeu, who sprinted down the left from inside his own half, cut inside, and threaded the ball through for Bacca to fire into the bottom right corner.

Juventus and Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was merely a spectator for most of the match and had plenty of time to admire his heir apparent.

Donnarumma turned 18 only last month but he has already played more than 60 times in Serie A and made two Italy appearances.

He notably kept out a Miralem Pjanic free kick then denied Sami Khedira with the help of De Sciglio’s goal-line clearance. He also managed to deflect Pjanic’s shot onto the crossbar.

Milan midfielder Jose Sosa was sent off following a second booking in the third minute of stoppage time and Juventus upped the pressure.

Gonzalo Higuain’s acrobatic effort was parried by Donnarumma but the ball was crossed back into the area and struck De Sciglio’s arm from point-blank range.

Donnarumma guessed the right way but was unable to keep out Dybala’s spot kick, unlike in the Italian Super Cup where he kept out the Argentine’s effort in the penalty shootout, won by Milan.

Source – TheJakartaPost

Borussia Dortmund 4-0 Benfica

Borussia Dortmund are into the Champions League quarter-finals, after beating Benfica 4-0 in their second round second leg to overturn a first leg deficit.

The German side took just four minutes to wipe out their first leg loss, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang heading home from close range after Christian Pulisic had flicked on Ousmane Dembele’s corner kick.

 Benfica came back into the game, but two quick-fire goals early in the second half, first from Pulisic, the American teenager, then Aubameyang, put the tie beyond doubt.

That pair combined again for the fourth, Aubameyang turning home from close range for the third time after Pulisic’s low cross.

But who really impressed? And who flopped? Player Ratings from the Westfalenstadion…

Barcelona creates football miracle

Football may witness the most entertaining game ever as Barcelona welcome Paris Saint-German (PSG) to the Nou Camp on Wednesday for the second leg of the UEFA Champions League round-of-16 showdown. 

The Catalan have a four-goal deficit to overturn from the first leg, a feat that has never been achieved by any team in the history of the competition.

However, if there is a team that can achieve the impossible its Barcelona, especially, with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Neymar in their fold.

The MSN can create football’s biggest miracle on a night the attention of the global football audience will be glued to the 22 players on the pitch inside a supercharged atmosphere.

Valentine Blues

Barcelona defeated Alaves 6-0 away from home in La Liga before the Champions League game against Paris Saint-German where they were tagged favourites.

But they were shocked by a smooth PSG side on Valentine’s Day and Luis Enrique’s men were handed one of their biggest defeats in the first leg of a two-legged tie.

Angel di Maria grabbed a brace while Edinson Cavani and Julian Draxler added the other in a comprehensive 4-0 drubbing. The win came with relative ease as the French champions outplayed Barcelona and the scoreline could’ve been worst.

MSN on a mission

On normal circumstances, it is game over after a 4-0 first leg win but with Messi, Suarez, and Neymar in their monstrous best, football fans across the globe can expect a miracle performed by these three wise men.

“There is a dispute to settle. We will do everything to show another image and show people the real Barcelona,” Suarez told France Football.

“It will be difficult to reverse the situation, but not impossible. If a team can overcome such a score, it is Barca. We have the qualities and the character to get out of this complicated situation.”

Barcelona have won all four fixtures after that grueling defeat against PSG, scoring 15 goals and conceding just four in the process with the MSN responsible for nine of the goals.

The huge plus for out-going Enrique going into this fixture is the return to form of the trio but more importantly Messi and he showed just why he has picked up five Ballon D’Or titles with a brilliant solo goal in the 5-0 win against Celta Vigo at the weekend.

Match verdict

Paris Saint-German are a fantastic side and Cavani seems to have rediscovered his best form since Zlatan Ibrahimovic left for Manchester United.

The addition of Julian Draxler has helped bring out the best in Di Maria while Marco Verratti is an absolute gem in the holding midfield role.

Nevertheless, it won’t be an easy game for the French champions as Barcelona will come at them with everything in their arsenal and getting an early goal could open the game to a wonderful spectacle. But a PSG goal will kill off Barcelona’s drive. The game is for Paris SaSaint-Germano lose now but with the MSN on their game, never rule the Spanish champions out.

Bayern beats Arsenal again

With a second 5-1 rout in three weeks, Bayern Munich completed Arsenal’s humiliation on a night of protests against manager Arsene Wenger.

Whether Wenger gets a chance to return to the Champions League next season remains unclear, as his latest contract will expire at the end of this season after 21 years at the club.

His team’s heaviest-ever loss at the Emirates Stadium, completing a 10-2 aggregate loss on Tuesday as the German champions reached the quarterfinals, will only heighten demands by pockets of supporters for Wenger to go.

Asked if he will manage Arsenal again in the Champions League, Wenger replied: “I don’t know … I am here to talk about football not my future.”

It is Wenger’s failure to deliver Arsenal’s first European Cup that has diminished his standing among fans who once lauded him as a coaching revolutionary.

For the seventh consecutive season, Arsenal has exited the Champions League in the Round of 16 and it has still only reached the final once, back in 2006.

Wenger deflected questions about his own future by reprimanding Tuesday’s referee for what the Frenchman called “unexplainable and scandalous” decisions.

And there was no sympathy from Bayern, with the five-time European champions joining in the derision by tweeting: “What time is it? Yep, it’s ten to!”

Real Madrid reached quarter finals

Two quick-fire goals saw Real Madrid survive an early scare to win 3-1 at Napoli on Tuesday and reach the Champions League quarterfinals for a seventh successive time.

Trailing 3-1 from the first leg, Dries Mertens gave Napoli hope with a 24th-minute strike to send a packed San Paolo stadium into raptures. But Madrid captain Sergio Ramos headed in a Toni Kroos corner early in the second half and had another header deflected in by Mertens six minutes later to effectively end the contest.

Alvaro Morata wrapped up the 6-2 victory on aggregate for the holders by tapping in a rebound in stoppage time after Pepe Reina had denied Cristiano Ronaldo.

“We really suffered a lot in the first half, we couldn’t do what we wanted to do, they were pressing us very high,” Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said. “Then we made changes in the second half and we were much better. It was completely different. We are happy.

“We knew the beginning of the match would be very hard … but a match is 90 minutes and I think we did very well in the second half.”

Napoli was left to rue its first-half profligacy which saw Mertens hit the post. Ronaldo, who is two goals short of becoming the first player to score 100 times in European competition, was also denied by the woodwork.

“We weren’t only equal to Real Madrid for the first 55 minutes, we were better than them,” Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri said. “We put them in a lot of difficulty and that’s something to be proud of. We’re very disappointed above all for the fans, because these fans deserved something more.”

Ramos acknowledged that Madrid has a lot of work to do if it is to become the first side to successfully defend its Champions League title.

“I’m happy that I scored in a critical moment of the match, when we were suffering. But above all it was as a team that we got through,” Ramos said. “We need to reflect now on things, they dominated for nearly the entire first half. We really suffered. We’ll take time now to think about things calmly.”

Tuesday’s other return fixture in the Round of 16 also ended with the same scoreline as the first leg as Bayern Munich inflicted another 5-1 rout on Arsenal, which collapsed to its heaviest loss at the Emirates Stadium after having captain Laurent Koscielny sent off.

Needing to win by at least two clear goals, Napoli applied the pressure right from the start, with Mertens having a shot deflected over the bar in the opening minute.

Marek Hamsik also fired inches wide, while Lorenzo Insigne had a 30-yard (meter) snapshot turned around the post by Keylor Navas.

Madrid appeared to have weathered the early storm and Gareth Bale threatened but the Spanish side was undone by a moment of brilliance from Napoli. Insigne and Hamsik combined, with the latter threading a delightful pass for Mertens to rush into the area and slot into the bottom right corner.

It was Mertens’ 17th goal in his past 16 matches and his fifth in the Champions League this season.

Madrid almost leveled five minutes later when Ronaldo rounded Reina but his attempt came off the near post from a difficult angle.

Napoli also hit the post in the 38th minute as Mertens’ diagonal effort crashed off the base of the left upright.

Madrid had scored in its past 46 matches and it leveled six minutes after the break.

Hamsik gave the ball away in the middle of his own half and Elseid Hysaj was forced to head out the danger at the far post, with Ramos nodding in the resulting corner.

“The match changed after their goal. Continuing with that rhythm, that intensity, that drive was impossible because our whole mentality changed,” Sarri said. “It removed all hope of qualifying.”

Madrid doubled its lead from another corner to all but extinguish Napoli’s hopes, before Morata rounded off the scoring.

Source: TheJakartaPost

Sam Querrey beats Rafael Nadal in Mexican Open final

American Sam Querrey used a strong serve to beat Rafael Nadal 6-3, 7-6 (3) on Saturday night in the Mexican Open final.

Querrey had 19 aces to win his ninth career title. He’s the first American champion in the history of the event.

The American had a great week beating favored players on the road to the championship. He ousted fifth-seeded David Goffin, fourth-seeded Dominic Thiem, sixth-seeded Nick Kyrgios and the second-seeded Nadal.

It was Querrey’s first title since Delray Beach in 2016.

Nadal, the tournament winner in 2005 and 2013, had won 14 straight matches in Mexico.

On the women’s side, the Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko won her third career title, beating second-seed Kristina Mladenovic of France 6-1, 7-5.

Tsurenko, the world’s 50th player, won her first title since Guangzhou in September 2016.

Source: TheJakartaPost

Luis Enrique leaving Barcelona

Luis Enrique departs at the end of this season as coach of FC Barcelona. That made the coach tonight itself known.

Luis Enrique to leave Barcelona in the summer

Luis Enrique has said that he will not be renewing his contract when it finishes at the end of June this year, saying he will “need a rest”. 

The Barça coach made the announcement at the end of the press conference after Barcelona’s 6-1 win over Sporting Gijón tonight at the Camp Nou.

Luis Enrique statement: 

“It’s a very difficult decision for me, one I’ve thought about a lot, but I think I need to be true to myself and fair to my way of thinking. In the pre-season I had a meeting with Albert Soler and Robert Fernández where I mooted the possibility that I might not renew my contract. They told me there was no rush to take the decision. That moment has arrived. I’m announcing it. The reason is I live my work looking for solutions and it gives me little time to rest.

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