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11-02-2017, 09:37 AM

Tottenham 3 Real Madrid 1: Alli double seals sensational Spurs' last-16 spot



Tottenham qualified for the Champions League knockout phase with a stunning 3-1 victory over Real Madrid on Wednesday.Two goals from Dele Alli and one from Christian Eriksen gave Mauricio Pochettino's side a fully deserved triumph at Wembley over the holders, who were well short of their best and looked vulnerable to every Spurs counter-attack.

These two teams played out a 1-1 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu two weeks ago and there was little to separate them in a lively first half, until Alli steered in a Kieran Trippier cross.

England international Alli, who made his MK Dons debut in the FA Cup first round almost five years ago to the day, doubled his side's lead just after the break with a deflected strike to leave the visitors stunned.

It got worse for Madrid less than 10 minutes later when Eriksen finished after a pass from the returning Harry Kane, and although Cristiano Ronaldo struck a consolation goal, there was little else to smile about for the Spanish and European champions.The win guarantees a last-16 spot for Spurs and leaves Zinedine Zidane facing a mini-crisis at Madrid, who have now lost two games in a row and are eight points adrift of Barcelona in LaLiga.


There was a clear respect between the teams as neither seemed prepared to commit men to the attack early on, with Spurs coming closest through two ambitious chipped efforts from Kane and Harry Winks that Kiko Casilla caught easily.The home side's high pressing looked to have unsettled Madrid, although Pochettino was dealt a blow in the 24th minute when Toby Alderweireld had to go off with what looked to be a thigh muscle problem.

However, just three minutes later, they had Wembley on its feet. Tripper sent in a first-time cross from the right and Alli stole in front of Nacho to prod the ball into the net from six yards.

Trippier looked to be fractionally offside when found smartly by Winks and any Madrid frustrations grew when Hugo Lloris made three good saves to deny Casemiro and Ronaldo twice.

The half finished in end-to-end fashion, Sergio Ramos blocking a Kane effort, Lloris stopping a Karim Benzema half-volley and Alli seeing penalty appeals waved away after a tussle with Casemiro.But Alli had better luck 11 minutes into the second half. Having skipped past the challenge of Casemiro, his shot from 18 yards took a big deflection off Ramos and nestled into the net past the wrong-footed Casilla.

Nine minutes later, Spurs had their third. A blistering counter-attack started by Alli saw Kane send Eriksen clean through on goal and he made no mistake with a low left-foot finish past Casilla.

Madrid had not failed to score in a group game since October 2015 and they did find a consolation, with Ronaldo firing home from close range after a scramble in the Spurs box, but it did little to take the gloss off one of the London club's most famous wins in their modern history.
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11-02-2017, 09:39 AM

Liverpool 3 Maribor 0: Second-half treble breaks stubborn Slovenian resistance



Liverpool took a step towards the Champions League knockout stages with a hard-fought 3-0 win at home to Maribor on Wednesday that sent them top of Group E with two games to play.

The Reds had beaten Maribor 7-0 in the reverse game a fortnight ago but Jurgen Klopp's men found the Slovenian champions much harder to open up at Anfield.
Liverpool had taken just four minutes to break the deadlock in Slovenia but they were made to wait until the second half after a frustrating first 45 minutes that saw no clear-cut chances at either end.

Mohamed Salah's delightful flick from a whipped right-wing Trent Alexander-Arnold cross eased the tension, although Jasmin Handanovic soon stopped James Milner from extending the lead by saving the midfielder's penalty after Roberto Firmino was brought down.

Milner somewhat made amends with a lovely assist for the second goal after 64 minutes, though, Emre Can bending in a fantastic first-time strike that gave Handanovic no chance.

Sevilla's victory over Spartak Moscow leaves Liverpool - who wrapped up the win through Daniel Sturridge - top with eight points ahead of their matchday five meeting against the LaLiga side, while bottom side Maribor can mathematically still qualify, but are four points adrift.


Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was handed a rare start in the absence of injured Philippe Coutinho and the England man had the first opening, seeing a shot blocked by Jean-Claude Billong.

Jurgen Klopp used the chance to rest Jordan Henderson but the club captain had to come on after just 15 minutes when Georginio Wijnaldum succumbed to injury.Liverpool finally forced a save from Handanovic after 29 minutes, the goalkeeper at full stretch to tip over a deflected Firmino header that was looping into the top-left corner.

Can and Salah wasted decent chances as Maribor held firm throughout the first half despite Liverpool's dominance of the ball, their share of the possession topping 80 per cent.Maribor's gritty resistance was broken a mere three minutes after the restart, however.

Joel Matip fed Alexander-Arnold and the young full-back provided a fine whipped cross that Salah turned in with a neat improvised first-time finish for his fourth Champions League goal of the season.

Firmino drew a penalty by being fouled by Aleksandar Rajcevic after beating the Maribor defender with a fine piece of skill, but Handanovic brilliantly denied the usually reliable Milner from 12 yards by diving low to his left to push the shot on to the post.Salah should have buried a header from a fine Alberto Moreno cross after 55 minutes as Liverpool threatened to run riot, before Billing headed a corner wide from a rare Maribor attack.

But the second goal duly arrived thanks to Liverpool's most incisive move, Can swapping passes with Milner and placing a terrific 20-yard shot into Handanovic's bottom-left corner.

Liverpool added to their lead in the last minute of normal time, substitute Sturridge lashing in a left-footed strike after Maribor failed to clear a Moreno centre, but a November 21 trip to Seville will remain decisive for Klopp's side.
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11-02-2017, 09:42 AM

Napoli 2 Manchester City 4: Aguero breaks record as City storm into last 16



Sergio Aguero became Manchester City's all-time record goalscorer and fired Pep Guardiola's side into the knockout stages of the Champions League as they claimed a thrilling 4-2 win at Napoli.The Premier League leaders progress with two games to spare in Group F after making it four victories out of four at Stadio San Paolo.

As in their 2-1 victory in Manchester two weeks ago, Pep Guardiola's men were made to work hard for the points and Napoli drew first blood on this occasion thanks to Lorenzo Insigne's wonderfully crafted opener after 21 minutes.

Seemingly relieved by the Serie A table-toppers halting an assault that lasted for most of the first half hour, City centre-backs Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones converted set-piece routines either side of half-time to turn the game around.

Jorginho made it two apiece from the penalty spot in the 62nd minute but Leroy Sane, culpable for his foul on Raul Albiol, drove a counter-attack that allowed Aguero to score his 178th City goal and end Eric Brook's 79-year stay at the top of the club's scoring charts.Napoli flagged from that point and, after substitute Bernardo Silva wasted a pair of good openings, Raheem Sterling gleefully added a fourth.

Maurizio Sarri can feel aggrieved to have taken nothing from two pulsating encounters with City and his Napoli now face a must-win clash with Shakhtar Donetsk next time out to preserve their interest in the competition.


As in the initial meeting in Manchester, events unfolded at a brisk pace from the opening whistle but it was City – smothered by the Napoli press – who found themselves on the back foot on this occasion. The opening goal had been on the cards for some time when it arrived, with Mertens' delightful flicked return pass finding a finish to match from Insigne.

City crafted their first clear opening after the half hour when Aguero's clever lay-off to Kevin De Bruyne launched a break that ended with the Argentina striker's low effort deflecting narrowly wide.It was another, less-likely Argentinian, who brought the Premier League leaders level in the 34th minute.

De Bruyne took a quick short corner to Ilkay Gundogan and the Germany midfielder flighted an excellent left-footed cross for Otamendi to rise and nod home.

Otamendi made a nuisance of himself at the far post once more five minutes later, with the ball looping up for Stones to head against the bar. City were firmly in the ascendancy by the time half-time arrived and a minute into the second half Sterling continued a menacing display by bursting through a trio of challenges before Albiol made a desperate block.

Napoli cleared the resulting corner behind but conceded from City's second attempt as Stones powered in Sane's outswinger via the underside of the crossbar.The hosts almost spectacularly levelled in the 55th minute – Marek Hamsik denied his own moment of history when a thundering drive that would have levelled Diego Maradona's all-time Napoli scoring record cannoned back off the bar.

Referee Felix Brych pointed to the spot when City failed to clear a corner after the hour and Albiol went down under a challenge from Sane, despite contact appearing minimal.Ederson saved a spot-kick from Mertens in Manchester but Jorginho stepped up to calmly send him the wrong way.

The City goalkeeper had no greater right to save from Jose Callejon when the defensive line in front of him disintegrated in the 68th minute but he spread himself to tip behind.Again, a corner proved pivotal, but this time because City sprung forward via the electric Sane on the break.

Aguero collected the loose ball when the Germany winger was tackled, spied Sterling to his right but elected to go it alone and thump beyond Pepe Reina to bring up his landmark.

It was also a goal to finally crumble Napoli's resolve and they looked a beaten side before Sterling made sure on the end of a typically impeccable De Bruyne pass.
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11-02-2017, 09:43 AM

Borussia Dortmund 1 APOEL 1: Wasteful hosts close to elimination



Borussia Dortmund's chances of qualifying for the Champions League knockout stages hang by a thread after a costly 1-1 Group H draw against APOEL at Signal Iduna Park.

A disappointing draw by the same scoreline in Cyprus last time out left Dortmund with just one point from three matches and knowing that realistically a win was needed to keep alive their hopes of reaching the last 16.

Raphael Guerreiro, making his first start of the season after a broken foot, deservedly put Dortmund ahead in a first half that they completely dominated, with Shinji Kagawa and Omer Toprak missing great chances.

But their failure to make the most of those opportunities was punished when Mickael Pote scored with one of APOEL's few sights of goal early in the second half.

The hosts pushed forward desperately for the win after the break with Toprak seeing an effort headed off the line and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hitting the crossbar, but Peter Bosz's men fell short.Dortmund consequently sit five points adrift of second-place Real Madrid, who were beaten by Tottenham on Wednesday, with only two games to go.

Even wins over Spurs and Los Blancos may not be enough to see them through, with Dortmund now staring down the barrel of elimination ahead of their crucial Klassiker against domestic rivals Bayern Munich on Saturday.

APOEL also only have two points and face a similarly daunting task if they are to seal an unlikely place in the last 16, but consecutive draws against the Bundesliga side mean they have already exceeded expectations and remain right in the hunt for a Europa League spot.


Dortmund had APOEL penned in straight from kick-off and Aubameyang's well-hit shot on the turn from 20 yards was impressively parried by Nauzet Perez, who only signed on a free transfer last month.

Shinji Kagawa, making his 50th appearance in UEFA competition, wastefully headed over Guerreiro's pinpoint left-wing cross, before Perez was again on hand to keep out an acrobatic effort from the dangerous Christian Pulisic.

The busy visiting goalkeeper then brilliantly kept out Toprak's header from Kagawa's corner, with APOEL somehow hacking the follow-up away from danger.

But the breakthrough finally arrived in the 29th minute. Kagawa's ingenious flick exploited a gaping hole in the visiting defence and Guerreiro coolly slotted past Perez from 10 yards.

It was a surprise Dortmund failed to double the lead before half time, Carlao making a stunning headed clearance on the goalline from Maximilian Philipp's cross with Aubameyang ready to pounce.

Incredibly, Dortmund were made to pay for their profligacy just six minutes after the break. Efstathios Aloneftis played in Carlao on the left of the area and his cutback found Pote, who turned Toprak in the area and fired into the bottom right corner.

With the tension and desperation levels quickly rising, Kagawa dragged a 20-yard shot wide before Toprak had a header brilliantly cleared off the line by Ghayas Zahid.Shortly after, Perez was almost caught out by Philipp's volleyed cross-shot from Kagawa's pass but the goalkeeper managed to palm the ball over the crossbar.

Still Dortmund came and Kagawa saw claims for handball against Giorgos Merkis waved away by referee Matej Jug, before Aubameyang thumped a free header against the crossbar from six yards when brilliantly picked out by Pulisic.



Aubameyang missed another gilt-edged chance in injury time as a late barrage failed to produce a winner, and Dortmund will be eliminated if Madrid beat APOEL in matchweek five regardless of their result against Spurs.
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Up UEFA Europa League Group Stage Fixtures 2017.11.02 - 11-02-2017, 10:28 AM

UEFA Europa League Group Stage Fixtures 2017.11.02


Maccabi Tel Aviv Vs Astana
Slavia Praha Vs Villarreal
Partizan Vs Skenderbeu Korce
Young Boys Vs Dynamo Kyiv
AEK Athens Vs AC Milan
Rijeka Vs Austria Wien
Olympique Lyonnais Vs Everton
Apollon Vs Atalanta
Ludogorets Vs Sporting Braga
Istanbul Basak Vs Hoffenheim
Lokomotiv Moskva Vs Sheriff
Kobenhavn Vs Zlin
Viktoria Plzen Vs Lugano
FCSB Vs Hapoel
Athletic Club Vs Ostersunds
Hertha Vs Zorya
Koln Vs BATE
Arsenal Vs Crvena Zvezda
Salzburg Vs Konyaspor
Vitoria Guimaraes Vs Olympique Mars
Lazio Vs Nice
Vitesse Vs Zulte-Waregem
Rosenborg Vs Zenit
Real Sociedad Vs Vardar
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11-02-2017, 10:47 AM

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11-02-2017, 09:33 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolverine GTR View Post
UEFA Europa League Group Stage Fixtures 2017.11.02


Maccabi Tel Aviv Vs Astana
Slavia Praha Vs Villarreal
Partizan Vs Skenderbeu Korce
Young Boys Vs Dynamo Kyiv
AEK Athens Vs AC Milan
Rijeka Vs Austria Wien
Olympique Lyonnais Vs Everton
Apollon Vs Atalanta
Ludogorets Vs Sporting Braga
Istanbul Basak Vs Hoffenheim
Lokomotiv Moskva Vs Sheriff
Kobenhavn Vs Zlin
Viktoria Plzen Vs Lugano
FCSB Vs Hapoel
Athletic Club Vs Ostersunds
Hertha Vs Zorya
Koln Vs BATE
Arsenal Vs Crvena Zvezda
Salzburg Vs Konyaspor
Vitoria Guimaraes Vs Olympique Mars
Lazio Vs Nice
Vitesse Vs Zulte-Waregem
Rosenborg Vs Zenit
Real Sociedad Vs Vardar
සුපිරි.
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11-03-2017, 09:39 AM

Arsenal 0 Red Star Belgrade 0: Gunners reach Europa League knockouts despite dour draw



Arsenal qualified for the Europa League knockout stages despite failing to impress in a dour 0-0 draw against Red Star Belgrade at Emirates Stadium on Thursday.

A point proved enough to send Arsene Wenger's side through as BATE Borisov were beaten 5-2 away to Cologne, who remain bottom of Group H but still have a chance of advancing following their victory.

There were 11 changes to the Gunners side that beat Swansea City 2-1 in the Premier League on Saturday, goalkeeper Matt Macey making his European debut in an inexperienced line-up.Macey did his part to secure the point, tipping a header from Vujadin Savic against the crossbar as Red Star threatened to take a surprise lead into half-time.

With impressive form in this competition not enough to earn Jack Wilshere an England call-up, his frustrations were deepened when Damien Le Tallec's goal-line clearance denied him a first club goal since May 2015.

Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud combined in spectacular fashion to settle the teams' meeting a fortnight prior, but could not put their experience to use and find the breakthrough here, although Wenger's side can secure top spot by winning at Cologne on November 23.


France international Giroud appeared to strain his hamstring after leaping to challenge Mitchell Donald in the air, but it did not stop him getting into a great position in the 10th minute.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles surged towards the byline on the left side of the box before squaring for Giroud, whose first-time effort was blocked by Milan Borjan at the near post.

Arsenal controlled possession but found further chances hard to come by until Giroud was slipped in by Joe Willock, who did well to dispossess Donald, but was unable to lift his shot over the onrushing Borjan.

Wenger's side could have gone into half-time behind, though, had Macey not tipped a header from Savic against the bar after the Red Star centre-back followed up Nemanja Radonjic's blocked shot.

Richmond Boakye contrived to waste another chance before the break, failing to hit the target after racing in behind Rob Holding on a swift counter-attack. Red Star sat back after the restart and Arsenal had two claims for a penalty go unawarded, the first after slight contact between Savic and Wilshere and the second when the defender inadvertently handled the ball.

Arsenal continued to apply the pressure and a great combination between Maitland-Niles and Wilshere down the left ended with the latter seeing his goal-bound poke cleared in last-ditch fashion by Le Tallec.Wenger sent Eddie Nketiah on for Willock in the 68th minute, but their two-goal EFL Cup hero failed to have the same impact as he did against Norwich City.

Boakye had an opportunity to snatch all three points with nine minutes remaining but he sliced wide of the near post, though the Serbian side celebrated keenly at the full-time whistle, having secured a point that moves them a point clear in second place.
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11-03-2017, 09:40 AM

AEK Athens 0 AC Milan 0: Montella's men fail to progress after uninspiring stalemate



AC Milan failed to secure passage to the knockout phase of the Europa League as they were held to an uninspiring 0-0 draw at AEK Athens, doing little to relieve pressure on coach Vincenzo Montella.

The Serie A side would have clinched progression had they emerged victorious at the Olympic Stadium on Thursday but, although they threatened occasionally in the second period, their generally lacklustre display was hardly deserving of all three points.

AEK shaded a dour first half, creating a couple of half-chances to worry a Milan side who themselves looked utterly toothless in the final third.Montella managed to get a little more out of his team after the break, though, with Riccardo Montolivo going close twice in quick succession – his second chance striking the post.

Milan improved considerably in the second half, moving the ball quicker and putting AEK's defence under pressure, yet they failed to enjoy a sustained period of dominance.

The latter stages became somewhat more frantic, but neither side looked to play with any more conviction than before and it remained goalless, leaving Group D leaders Milan - who have just a single win in their last seven matches across all competitions - on eight points, two clear of second-placed AEK.


Milan showed little sign of putting their domestic woes behind them during the early exchanges, with AEK looking significantly more purposeful. Rodrigo Galo was the first to go close for the hosts 11 minutes in, seeing his dipping 25-yard volley go agonisingly wide of the bottom-left corner.

Gianluigi Donnarumma was then called into action a few moments later, denying the tricky Sergio Araujo at the near post after a Fabio Borini error invited pressure and the hosts finished the half on top as Galo went close again, his curling left-footed effort from the right flank flying just past the top-left corner.Milan went into the half-time break having failed to touch the ball in AEK's penalty area, highlighting their poor showing.

Montella introduced Suso for the disappointing Patrick Cutrone for the second half and Milan suddenly appeared more urgent and calculated in possession. The Spaniard almost set Montolivo up for the opener nine minutes after the break, with Giannis Anestis blocking the Italian's close-range effort following Suso's clever ball in from the right.Montolivo then went even closer a couple of minutes later, shooting against the left-hand post after being released into the area by Hakan Calhanoglu.

Milan enjoyed some late pressure, though the closest they went to a goal was Ognjen Vranjes' awkward clearance over his own goal from close range after a Suso cross, with the match ultimately petering out into the kind of drab encounter that will do little for Montella's job prospects.
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11-03-2017, 09:42 AM

Lyon 3 Everton 0: Traore, Aouar and Depay send Toffees out of Europa League



Everton crashed out of the Europa League after losing 3-0 to Lyon at Groupama Stadium on Thursday.

The Premier League side were undone by a strike from former Chelsea man Bertrand Traore, who netted the winner in the reverse fixture at Goodison Park two weeks ago, and further goals from substitute Houssem Aouar and one-time Toffees target Memphis Depay.

Caretaker boss David Unsworth admitted this week he would "probably" need to beat Lyon and Watford in Sunday's league game in order to have a chance of securing the job permanently, but his decision to field a makeshift line-up largely comprising youngsters and back-up players did not suggest confidence in his side's chances.

Lyon were the better team throughout and Everton would undoubtedly have been shaken towards the end of the first half when Cuco Martina was taken off on a stretcher after landing heavily on his back.

The visitors' resistance lasted until the 68th minute, when Traore capitalised on a loose ball in ruthless fashion, before Aouar's composed strike and Depay's header made the win safe for Lyon.

The Ligue 1 side need only two points from their remaining two matches to book their place in the knockout phase, but Everton, who had Morgan Schneiderlin sent off in the closing stages, cannot progress to the next round due to Atalanta's 1-1 draw at Apollon Limassol.


Lyon controlled the opening minutes but Everton fashioned the first half-chance, with Gylfi Sigurdsson, starting as a false nine, snatching at a shot inside the area.
Jordan Pickford made the first good saves of the match in the 24th minute, keeping out a header from Traore before getting up quickly to tip away Nabil Fekir's effort on the rebound.

Depay stung Pickford's palms with a dipping free-kick before there was a lengthy stoppage in play to allow Martina to be treated, the full-back eventually being carried off in a neck brace after having fallen heavily when challenging for a header with Maxwel Cornet.

Lyon resumed their attacking intent during seven minutes of first-half injury time, with Pickford keeping out a Depay drive from 20 yards after Marcelo had glanced a header wide, although Idrissa Gueye was denied by Anthony Lopes in the first minute of the second half when he should really have done better.

Sigurdsson flashed another effort wide but Lyon's breakthrough came at last midway through the second period. Schneiderlin challenged Tanguy NDombele and the ball broke through the static Everton defence and into the path of Traore, who took it around Pickford before slotting home.

A Sigurdsson free-kick had Lopes worried but Everton's hopes of a comeback were killed off with 14 minutes left. Mariano Diaz latched latched onto a long ball in the visitors' box and, after Pickford did well to save at his feet, Depay collected the rebound and cleverly teed up Aouar to curl a first-time finish into the bottom-right corner.

Schneiderlin earned a second yellow card for a needless lunge on Jordan Ferri before his former Manchester United team-mate Depay capped a fine outing for Lyon, the Netherlands international powering a header from Ferri's cross past Pickford, despite the keeper getting his hands to the ball.

It compounded another miserable European trip for Everton, who have won none of their four games and sit bottom of the group with two matches left to play.
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