UEFA Champions League

Lionel Messi better than 'world-class' Eden Hazard - Thomas Vermaelen

Sat, 17 Feb 2018 05:01:00 PST

The ESPN FC panel explain why they doubt the Champions League tie between Chelsea and Barcelona will be another classic. The ESPN FC panel explain why they doubt the Champions League tie between Chelsea and Barcelona will be another classic. Thomas Vermaelen said Chelsea's Eden Hazard is "world-class" and that he shares similarities with Lionel Messi, but suggested his Barcelona teammate is on another level to the Belgian. Chelsea will look to Hazard to inspire them when they host Barca in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 on Tuesday, while the Catalans will hope Messi can end a run of eight games without a goal against the Premier League champions. Vermaelen, the Barca defender, plays with both Hazard and Messi -- one...

Alonso in, Bakayoko out against Barcelona, says Chelsea's Conte

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 03:10:00 PST

Antonio Conte says Willian's two-goal night in Chelsea's FA Cup win over Hull City adds to the difficulty of choosing the best lineup to face Barcelona. The ESPN FC panel explain why they doubt the Champions League tie between Chelsea and Barcelona will be another instant classic. A brace from Willian and Olivier Giroud's first goal for the club highlighted Chelsea's dominant victory over Hull City in the fifth round of the FA Cup. Olivier Giroud extended Chelsea's lead over Hull City in the FA Cup to 4-0 with his first goal for the club since his move from Arsenal. LONDON -- Antonio Conte revealed that Marcos Alonso will be fit for Chelsea's clash with Barcelona in the Champions League round of 16, but Tiemoue Bakayoko is out. Alonso has missed Chelsea's last two Premier League matches and was rested for Friday's 4-0 win over Hull City in the FA Cup fifth round, having sustained a minor hamstring injury followed by a kick to the ankle in training. Bakayoko, meanwhile, has not been seen since being sent off 30 minutes into a nightmare performance against Watford...

Rashford, Herrera 'have a chance' to face Sevilla - Mourinho

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 02:30:00 PST

The ESPN FC panel welcome in French correspondent Julien Laurens to sort out the latest report alleging Paul Pogba regrets his return to Manchester United. MANCHESTER -- Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera are in with a chance of being fit for Manchester United's Champions League clash with Sevilla next week, according to Jose Mourinho. The pair will miss Saturday's FA Cup fifth-round tie with Huddersfield but could feature in the last-16 first-leg tie in Spain on Wednesday if they recover from their respective muscle injuries. Rashford missed the defeat to Newcastle with a hip problem while Herrera has missed the past two games with a thigh injury. Meanwhile,...

UEFA investigators on Skenderbeu case received death threats

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 10:39:00 PST

UEFA investigators looking into match-fixing by an Albanian club have received anonymous death threats. The European governing body said UEFA disciplinary inspectors working on the case against KF Skenderbeu had received threats "presumably intended to intimidate them and stop them from carrying out their work." "These threats will not succeed and the police have also been informed," UEFA said in a statement. UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: "We will never allow UEFA staff working on these...

PSG boss Unai Emery: Referee favoured Real Madrid at Bernabeu

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 08:08:00 PST

PSG head coach Unai Emery cited several decisions that went against his team as reasons why they lost 3-1 at Real Madrid. Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to score 100 Champions League goals with one team as Real Madrid came from behind to defeat PSG at the Santiago Bernabeu. The ESPN FC crew blast PSG, in particular Neymar, for their 'flicks and tricks' that were pretty on the eye but in the end did nothing to help them against Real Madrid. PARIS -- Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery says he believes his team were the victims of biased refereeing in their 3-1 Champions League defeat at Real Madrid on Wednesday. Emery was unhappy with referee Gianluca Rocchi and his assistants, saying they should have disallowed Madrid's second goal, scored by Cristiano Ronaldo from a Marcelo assist. But he added that he felt his side would still go through, with the second leg at Parc des Princes to come next month. Speaking at a news conference...

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde laments Chelsea's extra day's rest

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 07:58:00 PST

The ESPN FC panel explain why they doubt the Champions League tie between Chelsea and Barcelona will be another instant classic. ESPN FC's Layla Anna-Lee takes to the pitch with Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen where he reveals some of his penalty-saving secrets. Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde would have liked more time to prepare for Tuesday's Champions League game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea host Championship side Hull City in the FA Cup fifth round on Friday, which gives them the following three days to prepare for Barca's round-of-16 visit next week. Barca, meanwhile, play away at Eibar in La Liga on Saturday, leaving them with two days to plan for the game, with one of them taken up travelling to London. It's a difference of less than...

Liverpool stars Mane, Salah, Firmino should unity beats individuals

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 12:52:00 PST

Shaka Hislop and Mark Donaldson discuss what makes the Mane-Salah-Firmino partnership so effective and how they compare to other attacking trios around Europe. Liverpool's pace and passing were on full display during this counterattack that led to their third goal against Porto. Following their sound victory over Porto, the ESPN FC panel praise Liverpool and also discuss the state of Portuguese football. Liverpool left no doubt that they are a force to be reckoned with in Europe by putting five past Porto in the Estádio do Dragão. Wednesday night's Champions League action was a wonderful demonstration of the fact that football remains a team sport rather than an individual one, and that assembling the world's most talented footballers is no guarantee of making the world's most formidable side. Contrast the two matches. In Madrid, Real ran out 3-1 winners over Paris Saint-Germain, but realistically neither side played impressive football, especially in the final third. There was too much speed and rather too little thought,...

Chelsea-Barcelona won't be a classic

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 02:50:44 PST

The ESPN FC panel explain why they doubt the Champions League tie between Chelsea and Barcelona will be another instant classic.

Liverpool happy to be underdogs in Champions League - Dejan Lovren

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 02:30:00 PST

Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp hailed hat-trick hero Sadio Mane after Liverpool thrashed Porto 5-0 in the Champions League and said the winger is finally back to his best. There were plenty of goals as Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid pulled off a come-from-behind win over PSG and five-star Liverpool defeated Porto. PORTO, Portugal -- Dejan Lovren has said Liverpool are capable of winning the Champions League this season and is relishing their status as underdogs. Liverpool are all but in the quarterfinals after their 5-0 win at Porto in the round-of-16 first leg on Wednesday. With Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and Manchester City all considered more likely winners than Liverpool, Lovren feels Jurgen Klopp's side can benefit from going under the radar. Asked whether they could win the competition,...

Real Madrid's win over PSG can be a turning point in a so-far disappointing season

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 12:28:00 PST

Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to score 100 Champions League goals with one team as Real Madrid came from behind to defeat PSG at the Santiago Bernabeu. Cristiano Ronaldo tested the PSG defense all night with 10 shots (4 on target) and found his way to the record books yet again with his 100th UCL goal for Real Madrid. How did Real Madrid beat one of the hottest sides in Europe? The FC panel dissect all the ins and outs of their emphatic win. Real Madrid's Zinedine Zidane feels his side can replicate their 3-1 first leg win in Paris and that it will give them confidence to correct their form in La Liga. Real Madrid fans at the Bernabeu on Wednesday fell just short of singing "can we play you every week?" during the raucous celebrations that greeted their team's second and third goals. But there was a similar sentiment bubbling under the surface of the unbridled joy in the stands: can we play in the Champions League every week? Ever since Zinedine Zidane took over as Madrid manager in January 2016 his side have risen to the occasion in Europe. One of his earliest assignments was to overturn a...

Spurs deserve praise for comeback, but Juve are no strangers to adversity

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 11:30:00 PST

The FC crew pinpoint how Tottenham were able to turn around an early 2-0 deficit at Juventus and gain the advantage in their Champions League tie ahead of the second leg. Massimiliano Allegri got angry at his team's critics after the 2-2 draw with Tottenham in the Champions League. Daniele celebrated Juventus' goals in a bar on Tuesday night. They're his team after all. But before the game he felt conflicted. "My heart is divided in two," he told the Corriere Torino. Daniele believes it is "very probable" he is related to Mauricio Pochettino. They share the same surname and on Monday he drove into town to pay the Tottenham manager a visit at Turin's Golden Palace hotel. The family tree isn't complete and the paperwork needs verifying. "It's a long job," Daniele admitted....

Five decisions that cost PSG at Real Madrid in the Champions League

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 10:11:00 PST

Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to score 100 Champions League goals with one team as Real Madrid came from behind to defeat PSG at the Santiago Bernabeu. The ESPN FC crew blast PSG, in particular Neymar, for their 'flicks and tricks' that were pretty on the eye but in the end did nothing to help them against Real Madrid. PSG head coach Unai Emery cited several decisions that went against his team as reasons why they lost 3-1 at Real Madrid. PARIS -- Paris Saint-Germain are back in the French capital after losing the first leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie against Real Madrid 3-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday. The hard work for Unai Emery and his players starts now, with three weeks to prepare for a mammoth showdown at Parc des Princes that will require a similarly epic performance to last season's home leg against Barcelona in order to advance. Emery made some big calls on Wednesday and although his plan appeared...

Liverpool counter-attack perfectly suited for Champions League football

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 07:21:00 PST

Following their sound victory over Porto, the ESPN FC panel praise Liverpool and also discuss the state of Portuguese football. Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp hailed hat-trick hero Sadio Mane after Liverpool thrashed Porto 5-0 in the Champions League and said the winger is finally back to his best. Champions League football clearly agrees with Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp's side completely dismantled FC Porto on Wednesday night and, although the Reds' boss is far too professional to declare the tie over, not even the most wildly optimistic Porto fan would give their side any hope of overcoming a 5-0 deficit at Anfield in three weeks' time. Liverpool are now the top scorers in the competition, having overtaken PSG: in seven games they have plundered 28 goals. They score plenty domestically too,...

Real Madrid can always be counted upon in Champions League - Kroos

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 04:38:00 PST

How did Real Madrid beat one of the hottest sides in Europe? The FC panel dissect all the ins and outs of their emphatic win. Real Madrid's Zinedine Zidane feels his side can replicate their 3-1 first leg win in Paris and that it will give them confidence to correct their form in La Liga. Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to score 100 Champions League goals with one team as Real Madrid came from behind to defeat PSG at the Santiago Bernabeu. Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to score 100 Champions League goals with one team as Real Madrid came from behind to defeat PSG at the Santiago Bernabeu. Toni Kroos said "you should always count on Real Madrid" after they came back to beat Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 at the Bernabeu, but warned that their Champions League round-of-16 tie was "far from over." Late goals by Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcelo sealed victory, with Ronaldo having levelled from the penalty spot seconds before the half-time whistle. And speaking to German broadcaster ZDF, Kroos said: "The match could have gone either way in the second half. We are obviously delighted it went our...

Should the Champions League, Europa League cup-tied rule be abolished?

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 04:07:00 PST

Several massive clubs are competing in the Europa League round of 32. Find out who our pundits think will go through. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says the European cup-tied rule doesn't make sense after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was barred from playing in the Europa League for the Gunners this season. That's because the striker played for Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, and BVB are now competing in the same competition as Arsenal. The cup-tied rule is enforced in virtually every cup competition in the world. It was designed to prevent wealthy teams signing up good players from eliminated clubs to boost...

Liverpool should have Europe on alert after defeat of Porto - Henderson

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 04:00:00 PST

Following their sound victory over Porto, the ESPN FC panel praise Liverpool and also discuss the state of Portuguese football. Sadio Mane completed a brilliant hat-trick as Liverpool showed no signs of slowing down in their Champions League campaign and ran riot over hosts, Porto with a 5-0 away win. Watch Sadio Manes hat-trick compilation in this round of 16 first leg clash between Porto vs Liverpool Liverpool ran riot over Porto thanks to a brilliant performance by visitors front three- Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Mo Salah. Sadio Mane scored a hat-trick to mark Liverpools dominance in the UEFA Champions League as they will now be comfortable to face Porto at Anfield with a 5-away goal cushion. Watch the full match highlights from this round of 16 first leg clash of Porto vs Liverpool here. PORTO, Portugal -- Jordan Henderson feels teams all around Europe will be wary about facing Liverpool and believes that was the case even before Wednesday's 5-0 demolition of Porto. Liverpool are well on course to reach the quarterfinals of the Champions League for the first time since 2009 after a dominant display in the first leg of their round-of-16 tie at the Estadio do Dragao. "I think before this game, I am not sure how many teams would have wanted to play us anyway because when we are on...


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