Champions League

Moussa Sissoko major doubt for Spurs’ clash with Ajax

Tottenham’s Champions League hopes have been hit with a huge blow with the news that Moussa Sissoko looks likely to miss the semi-final first leg against Ajax. The midfielder, who is a candidate for the club’s player of the season, suffered a groin injury in the quarter-final second-leg match at Manchester City and has been ruled out by boss Mauricio Pochettino for two weeks. That would mean he misses the home leg of their last-four tie on April 30, a game which another star Son Heung-min, who has stepped up in Harry Kane’s absence, is also suspended for. The Frenchman has been one of Tottenham’s key players this season (Mike Egerton/PA) Sissoko joins Kane in the treatment room ahead of Tuesday’s Premier League clash with Brighton while Hugo Lloris and Harry W...

Wilfried Zaha confirms he wants to leave Crystal Palace for Champions League club

Wilfried Zaha has admitted he wants to leave Crystal Palace in search of Champions League football. The 26-year-old only signed a new five-year contract last summer, becoming Palace’s highest-paid player. But now the Ivory Coast forward has put a host of interested clubs on notice by targeting top-level European football as one of his chief career aims. Wilfried Zaha signed a five-year contract at Selhurst Park last year (Nigel French/PA) “I have to experience the Champions League. I just need the opportunity, that’s it, and I’ll do the rest,” Zaha told the Daily Mail. “It gives me goosebumps seeing the crowds, amazing stadiums. “When I’m seeing players I think, ‘What would I do in that predicament?’ “I feel I can get to that stage, with the confidence I have and belief in my ability. I sh...

Jose Mourinho criticises Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for approach to Barcelona game

Jose Mourinho questions Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tactics in Tuesday’s 3-0 loss to Barcelona. Former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has criticised Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for the way he approached Tuesday’s Champions League showdown with Barcelona. The Red Devils headed into the quarter-final second leg trailing 1-0 from the cagey opening 90 minutes at Old Trafford that saw them fail to register a single shot on target. United initially started well at Camp Nou but they were unable to take their early chances and Barca were two goals ahead inside 20 minutes, before adding a third of the night – and fourth of the tie – on the hour. Mourinho, who was replaced by Solskjaer in mid-December, believes that his former club could have done...

Rafael Benitez hints at Newcastle exit with desire to return to Champions League

Rafael Benitez plans to work until he is 70 and is desperate for another tilt at the Champions League. As the 59-year-old waits for answers from the Newcastle hierarchy over a contract extension both are keen to agree, but which seems no closer to being signed, he is keen to compete for the game’s biggest prizes once again. Whether that comes at St James’ Park, where his stay of more than three years is set to end on June 30, remains to be seen with managing director Lee Charnley insisting – as the club’s latest accounts were published on Thursday – that it would continue to live within its means. Asked how long he planned to carry on, Benitez said: “Yesterday I was talking with a friend – 11 years. Eleven years as a manager, that’s fine. You can see Roy Hodgs...

Champions League Team of the Week – Lionel Messi, Son Heung-min, Raheem Sterling

Sports Mole selects its star-studded Champions League team of the week from the quarter-final second legs, including Lionel Messi, Son Heung-min and Raheem Sterling. The Champions League knockout stages rarely disappoint, and the quarter-finals of the 2018-19 campaign were no different with shocks, drama and goals galore. Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur played out an all-Premier League classic at the Etihad Stadium which saw Spurs eventually progress on away goals, despite losing 4-3 on a night where VAR had a decisive role in an incredibly topsy-turvy affair. Ajax also upset the odds to continue their dream Champions League run, beating Juventus 2-1 in Turin to set up a semi-final showdown with Spurs. Barcelona are the new favourites to lift the trophy having eased to a 3-0 second-l...

A look back at England’s previous sides to read the Champions League last four

Tottenham’s thrilling away-goals win over Manchester City made England the first nation to provide seven different Champions League semi-finalists. Spurs had previously achieved the feat in the European Cup in 1961-62 and including the competition’s traditional identity, the total of English semi-finalists stands in double figures. Here, Press Association Sport looks at the 10 English clubs to reach Europe’s elite four. Sir Alex Ferguson won the Champions League twice with United (Owen Humphreys/PA) First semi-final: 1956-57Total semi-finals: 12 The first English club to enter the competition, in its second season, United began with back-to-back semi-final exits – the second of which, in 1958, was overshadowed by the Munich air disaster. They cathartically won the competition 10 years late...

David de Gea ‘apologised to Manchester United teammates’

David de Gea apologised to his Manchester United teammates after making a huge mistake in Tuesday night’s clash with Barcelona, according to a report. Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea reportedly apologised to his teammates after making a huge mistake in Tuesday night’s 3-0 loss at Barcelona in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final. De Gea allowed a Lionel Messi shot to squirm under his body in the 20th minute of the clash, which put Barca two goals ahead on the night and 3-0 on aggregate. According to The Sun, the Spain international said sorry to his teammates in the dressing room at full-time, with the stopper ‘inconsolable’ following the high-profile mistake. Philippe Coutinho went on to score a third for Barca, with the Spanish champion...

Virgil Van Dijk: “Very hard” to stop Lionel Messi

Virgil Van Dijk says Liverpool need a collective effort to stop Lionel Messi in their Champions League showdown with Barcelona. Liverpool set up a semi-final date with Messi and company next month by winning 4-1 in Porto on Wednesday for a comfortable 6-1 aggregate success. Barcelona booked their semi-final spot by beating Manchester United 4-0 on aggregate, Messi scoring twice in Tuesday’s 3-0 home win to extend his incredible goals tally to 45 in 42 games this season. Lionel Messi is the biggest threat to Liverpool reaching the Champions League final for the second successive season (Nick Potts/PA) “It’s going to be very hard (to stop Messi),” Van Dijk told the club’s official website. “I think he’s the best player in the world but we’ll se...

Jess Fishlock: ‘English teams still some way behind European rivals’

Lyon‘s Jess Fishlock believes English clubs remain some distance behind their European rivals as Chelsea Women attempt to upset the odds and make the Champions League final. Chelsea’s brilliant quarter-final win over Paris St Germain last month reflected the feel-good mood of the women’s game in England. Phil Neville’s national team head to the World Cup this summer among the favourites to win the tournament in France, while the Women’s Super League has just attracted a title sponsor and record investment. Lyon have won the last three women’s Champions League titles (Nick Potts/PA) But Wales’ most capped international Fishlock, whose globe-trotting career has included spells in Australia, Germany, the United States and now France, says the women...

Bernardo Silva shifts focus to title race after Champions League exit

Bernardo Silva put on a brave face and tried to switch focus back to the title race following Manchester City‘s Champions League heartache. City saw their hopes of conquering Europe and winning an unprecedented quadruple this season end in a dramatic quarter-final clash against Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday. City thought they had snatched a 5-3 victory, which would have taken them through 5-4 on aggregate, through Raheem Sterling in injury time but his strike was ruled out by VAR. Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola reacts after Raheem Sterling’s late goal is ruled out (Martin Rickett/PA) Instead Spurs went through to a last-four clash with Ajax, despite a 4-3 loss on the night, courtesy of the away goals rule in a 4-4 aggregate draw. “We are very disappo...

Three key fixtures as Manchester City shift focus to treble

Defeat to Tottenham saw Pep Guardiola’s side exit at the quarter-final stage. Manchester City‘s quest for the quadruple came to an end as they lost their Champions League quarter-final on away goals to Tottenham. With the possibility of a first Champions League trophy no longer on the table, Pep Guardiola’s side have shifted their focus onto the domestic competitions. Having won the League Cup already this season, City are also through to the final of the FA Cup and can still secure a third Premier League title if they win all their remaining matches. Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at three key fixtures as the bid for the treble. Tottenham: April 20 Tottenham’s Fernando Llorente and Victor Wanyama celebrate after the final whistle of the Champions League...

Arsenal ‘scout David Neres against Juventus’

Arsenal scouted David Neres during Ajax’s 2-1 win over Juventus in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final, according to a report. Arsenal reportedly sent scouts to watch David Neres in action during Ajax‘s 2-1 win over Juventus in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday night. Neres has been in impressive form for Ajax this season, contributing 12 goals and 15 assists in 46 appearances in all competitions. Manchester United and Everton have been linked with the attacker, but according to the Daily Mail, Arsenal made a close check on the Brazilian against Juve. Neres joined Ajax from Sao Paolo in 2017 and scored 14 times in the Eredivisie last season. The Dutch giants have already agreed to sell Frenkie de Jong to Barcelona this summer, ...

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