Ronaldo Hits 100 Champions League Wins

Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo. MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri hailed the impact Cristiano Ronaldo was having on the Italian champions as the Portuguese star became the first player to achieve 100 Champions League wins in on Tuesday’s 1-0 success over Valencia that clinched their passage to the knockout rounds.

“Ronaldo gives us a sense of security and confidence,” said Allegri of the beaten finalists in two of the last four editions of the elite European competition.

“The team is essentially the same as last season. We’ve grown, become faster in playing the ball, but then, of course, there is Cristiano Ronaldo.

“This team is constantly improving – they’re passing and putting the play together more quickly.”

Ronaldo — who joined Juventus last summer from Real Madrid — is targeting a sixth Champions League title to add to his four with the Spanish team and one with Manchester United.

The Italian team are looking for their third European title and first since 1995.

Last season they exited in the quarter-finals to Ronaldo’s Real Madrid.

The 33-year-old played a key role against Valencia providing the assist on 59 minutes which Croatian Mario Mandzukic tapped in for his third goal in as many matches.

Juventus had needed just a point to ensure qualification.

Their win combined with Manchester United’s late 1-0 win over Young Boys at Old Trafford means Valencia crash out of the competition.

Allegri’s side will now have to wait to see whether they top Group H when they play their final group game mid-December in Bern against Young Boys.

‘Great spirit’ 

Ronaldo came out firing on all cylinders after his controversial red card during his first Champions League game for Juventus in Valencia back in September, which Allegri’s side still won 2-0.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner had two chances within the first three minutes to add to his record tally of 121 Champions League goals.

Valencia had their best chance before the break when Mouctar Diakhaby’s header off a corner was punched out with one hand by Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

Just before the hour mark, Ronaldo broke free of Valencia defender Gabriel and with some fancy footwork fired low across the face of the goal leaving Mandzukic to finish off.

Valencia thought they had scored the equalizer two minutes later but Diakhaby’s header was ruled to have come off his hand.

Valencia goalkeeper Neto kept out a late goal-bound header from Ronaldo, who rose to meet Paulo Dybala’s out-swinging corner.

“You can see how united we are including the forwards,” said Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini.

“All three of them – Ronaldo, Mandzukic, and Dybala, really put themselves about today. If we scrap like that, with the skill we have in the side, it makes everything much easier.

“We have to turn the page now – we’ll start thinking about the Champions League again in February. We must focus on Serie A because we have a tough month ahead,” added the defender as the league leaders target an eighth consecutive domestic title.

“The match was decided by the great play by Cristiano,” said Valencia coach Marcelino Garcia, “but our team gave everything, showing great spirit against one of the best teams in Europe.”


Champions League: Walcott Steals Show As Arsenal Beat Basel 2-0

ArsenalTheo Walcott stole the show on Wednesday, as Arsenal got their first Champions League win of the season, beating Basel 2-0.

Picking up where he left off against Chelsea, Walcott put Basel to the sword with two first-half goals amid one of his finest Arsenal displays.

The 27-year-old raced into the box to head home Alexis’ cross, and he added a second with a low drive after a slick one-two with Alexis.

Basel keeper, Tomas Vaclik, kept the score down with fine saves from Hector Bellerin, Alexis and Nacho Monreal, while Mesut Ozil could have had a couple himself.

The score could have been anything at half-time and, although the tempo dropped after the break, this was still an emphatic Arsenal victory.

The Gunners go joint-top of Group A with Paris Saint-Germain with four points from two games.

In other Champion League games Ludogorets Razgrad lost 1 – 3 to Paris Saint Germain. Both teams are in Group A with Arsenal and Basel.

In Group B, Basiktas and Dynamo Kyiv game ended 1-1 while SSC Napoli and Benfica game ended 4-2 in favour of SSC Napoli.

Borussia Moenchengladbach and Barcelona game in Group C ended 1-2 in favour of the Spanish club while Celtic and Man City game ended 3-3.

In Group D, Atletico Madrid defeated Bayern Munich 1 – 0 in a Champion’s league cracker while the game between FC Rostov and PSV Eindhoven ended 2 – 2.

In Group E CSKA Moscow was beaten at home by Tottenham Hotspur 0 – 1 while Monaco drew 1-1 with Bayer Leverkusen.

Griezmann Brace Knocks Barcelona Out Of Champions League

Atletico-Madrid beat Barcelona Barcelona has been sent out of the Champion League by Atletico Madrid after they lost 2-0 at Vicente Calderón.

Two goals from Antoine Griezmann were enough for the Madrid side to go through to the Semi-finals with a 3-2 goal aggregate.

The Madrid side opened scoring at the 36th minute when Saul Niguez, on the right-hand corner of the Barca box, flicks a gorgeous cross towards Griezmann with the outside of his boot.

The ball falls perfectly for Griezmann, and he powered an unstoppable header into the top right, leaving Ter Stegen with no chance.

Barcelona fought hard to pull one back but the Madrid defence took in all pressure mounted.

The first half ended with the with a 2-2 aggregate, with Atletico Madrid looking good to go through on away goals.

In the second half, pressure on the Madrid defence increased as Barcelona made several attempts to level and secure a chance of going through.

At the 87th minute a break by Filipe Luis, who powered down the inside-left channel and enters the box resulted in a penalty.

He looked to slip the ball right towards Griezmann, but Iniesta dived on the penalty spot to stop the pass reaching the man with his hand and the referee pointed to the white spot. The Madrid side clamoured for a red card but no card was given.

Grizemann came up to take the spot kick and threaded the ball into the bottom right, to put Atletico ahead on aggregate.

With the 2-0 cushion and a 3-2 aggregate against the defending champions, Atletico sailed through to the Semi-final of the game joining city rivals, Real Madrid and Manchester City.

Debate: Who Wins Champions League Final Borussia Dortmund Or Bayern Munich?

As the footballing world gears up for the biggest and last game of the season – the Champions League finals at Wembley, there are many things we can look forward to which will make the match as interesting and pulsating as it is billed to be.

The might of Bundesliga will be on full display and the stadium could be mistaken for one in Germany. Legions of German fans are expected to make the atmosphere quite electric and lively.

This week’s episode of Sport Palava takes a look at a few aspects of the match that will be in spotlight on the big day.

Ferguson promises to redeem champions’ league glory

Sir Alex Ferguson has promised Manchester United fans and ardent followers that last season’s champions’ league campaign of the Red Devils which he qualified to be disastrous will never replay itself again.

Going back a few months ago before Chelsea was crowned the new European champion, Manchester United got eliminated from the competition at the group stage after losing to Swiss side Basel, and that capped off a poor performance in their group, meanwhile the then-defending English Premier League champions were tagged favourites to lead the group, with Benfica and Romanian newcomers Otelul Galati the other teams in their pool.

The Red Devils had previously reached the final in three of the previous four editions of the tournament.

Sir Ferguson has however sent a warning message to Europe that United will not make the same mistakes again in 2012/13, that the club is ready to take back its place because the few year the club has not move far in the champions’ league competition was used an opportunity to groom the young ones coming in the line-up of the club even though last season was the worst of it because changes that were made to the team was just too much and lessons has been learnt from that mistake. He said.

Where we realised our mistake was the game against Basel at home as we could only get a draw due to our careless as we could have gone ahead to seal the game .

Ferguson is confident he has a squad capable of emulating the united teams of 1999 and 2008 by delivering another Champions League crown to Old Trafford next season.

Liverpool mum over Dalglish exit rumour

The management of Liverpool FC is yet to respond to reports that Anfield legend and coach, Kenny Dalglish will be leaving the club due to the poor performance in the just concluded season of the English Premier league.

The Merseyside club management has refused to respond to the report stating that Kenny Dalglish has relinquished his position as the manager of the Reds.

His departure is attributed to a dismal performance on the league table, despite winning the Carling Cup in February and reaching the FA Cup final.

The club finished on the eight-place of the Premier League which has been their lowest in 18 years with a total overall points of 52, also the lowest since 1954.

The priority of the American owners of the club has been to compete in major competitions in the football world and clinching the Premier league title to take the club back to the glory days.

However reports suggest that a ready replacement for the Anfield legend is already in place as the board of the club is looking at bringing in Wigan’s Roberto Martinez.

Recently, an internal re-structuring at Anfield saw the exit of director of football, Damien Comolli along with other senior staff.

Dalglish and his assistant manager; Steve Clarke flew to the United States to talk about the future plans of the club with the owners and after discussion, reports revealed that the Scot had decided to quit after a season-and-a-half back in charge.