Haaland’s Dortmund Winner Reminds Guardiola Of Cruyff

Manchester City’s Norwegian striker Erling Haaland (2nd-L) celebrates his goal with teammates during the UEFA Champions League group G football match between England’s Manchester City and Germany’s Borussia Dortmund at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester on September 14, 2022. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP)

 

Erling Haaland’s stunning acrobatic finish to beat his old club Borussia Dortmund 2-1 sparked comparisons from Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola with his mentor Johan Cruyff.

The Norwegian had been kept remarkably quiet, but only needed the slightest glimpse of goal to extend his scoring streak to six games as his telescopic left leg prodded home the winner six minutes from time.

Haaland has now scored 13 goals in nine games for City since they met his bargain 60 million euro ($60m, £52m) buyout clause from the German giants.

“Everyone knows how important a person Johan Cruyff was in my life. As a person, educator, mentor, everything,” said Guardiola. “He scored in Camp Nou an incredible goal against Atletico Madrid (in 1973) that was quite similar. The moment he (Haaland) scored, I thought of Cruyff.”

Haaland’s incredible flexibility despite his giant frame also drew comparisons from Guardiola to another former Barcelona striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Ibrahimovic endured one unhappy season under Guardiola at the Camp Nou, but has used an upbringing in martial arts to devastating effect during his long and storied career.

“I remember my dear friend Ibrahimovic had this ability to put his leg on the roof,” added Guardiola.

“Erling is quite similar. He’s elastic, flexible and after has the ability to put it in the net. He’s so big, but has this natural flexibility.”

Jude Bellingham had given Dortmund the lead 11 minutes into the second half.

But a triple substitution awoke City from their slumber and two goals in four minutes turned the game around.

John Stones’ piledriver from outside the box levelled with the aid of some poor goalkeeping from Alexander Meyer.

Haaland then took centre stage by somehow stretching to meet Joao Cancelo’s cross and beat Meyer at his near post.

“In the end, we showed what we are. This is how we have to play. I’m proud of the last 20, 25 minutes,” said Haaland.

“Two wonderful goals today –- mine was a bit better, honestly! It was a nice cross from Cancelo and in the end a really important win.”

The victory sees City open up a three-point lead at the top of Group G, with Dortmund still in second after FC Copenhagen and Sevilla played out a 0-0 draw in the Danish capital.

READ ALSOHaaland Haunts Dortmund As Man City Come From Behind

Bellingham shines 

Manchester City’s Norwegian striker Erling Haaland (2nd-L) celebrates his goal with teammates during the UEFA Champions League group G football match between England’s Manchester City and Germany’s Borussia Dortmund at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester on September 14, 2022. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP)

 

Bellingham admitted on the eve of the game he had no idea how Haaland can be stopped.

But the Germans did a good job of suffocating the service to their former star striker as the first 45 minutes passed with barely any goalmouth action to note.

“I think we were brilliant for the majority of the game,” said Bellingham. “We gave them little to work with.

“Great teams, you give them a yard and they can deliver like that, they can hurt you and that’s what they did tonight.”

Bellingham has been strongly linked with a move back to the Premier League with City, Manchester United, and Liverpool reportedly interested.

The England international was quick to shut down speculation over his future on Tuesday and may have added a few more millions to his price tag as he timed his run perfectly to head in Reus’ cross.

Guardiola responded immediately with a triple substitution as Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and Julian Alvarez were called upon to add more guile in the final third.

When City’s equaliser did arrive, it came from an unlikely source as Stones blasted home his first Champions League goal since 2017 from outside the box.

Haaland was not to be denied the headlines, though, as Cancelo’s inventive cross with the outside of his right foot was pounced on by City’s giant number nine who raised his foot to head height to flick the ball home.

AFP

Real Madrid Narrowly Beat Leipzig In Champions League Clash

Real Madrid’s players celebrate at the end of the UEFA Champions League, Group F, first leg football match between Real Madrid and RB Leipzig at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on September 14, 2022. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP)

 

Late strikes from Fede Valverde and Marco Asensio’s allowed Real Madrid to maintain their 100 per cent start to the Champions League campaign with a 2-0 win over RB Leipzig.

It threatened to be a frustrating night for the record 14-time winners and reigning champions until Valverde finally provided the breakthrough, continuing his fine recent form and celebrating emphatically in front of a relieved Santiago Bernabeu after netting in the 80th minute.

Substitute Asensio then slammed home the second in stoppage time after Toni Kroos pulled a short free-kick back to the edge of the box. That wrapped up the win and kept Madrid top of Group F on six points, ahead of Shakhtar Donestsk on four.

Leipzig had tested Thibaut Courtois early on when Christopher Nkunku broke down the right flank and squeezed off a shot from a tight angle. At the other end Rodrygo dragged a strike wide of the near post.

The Brazilian forward, playing as a false nine in the absence of injured talisman Karim Benzema, was chosen over Eden Hazard and Asensio for the role after impressing against Real Mallorca last weekend in La Liga.

There were half-chances at both ends for Timo Werner and Eduardo Camavinga, before the best opportunity of the first half fell to Madrid defender Antonio Rudiger, who steered a header well wide of goal from a dangerous position in the box.

Luka Modric tumbled under heavy pressure in the area shortly before the break but his appeals were waved away, to the chagrin of Madrid’s increasingly frustrated fans.

After netting 16 goals in their last five games, home supporters expected more creativity and coach Carlo Ancelotti took action by sending on Asensio for midfielder Eduardo Camavinga.

The forward was whistled by some sectors of the Bernabeu after he had shown his frustration at not being given more game time this season on the side of the pitch during the win over Mallorca.

The hosts’ angst grew when Vinicius, the scorer of last season’s Champions League final winning goal against Liverpool, was denied by Peter Gulasci from close range after Valverde had barrelled into the area in typically intense fashion.

Madrid broke the deadlock when Uruguayan midfielder Valverde, deployed on the right of the attack to great effect, cut inside and curled home with his weaker left foot.

It was his third goal in six games, following strikes against Celta Vigo and Mallorca, with the 24-year-old continuing to show why he is preferred in the position.

Asensio also staked his claim with his late contribution to offer Ancelotti and his detractors in the stands food for thought.

Messi, Mbappe, Neymar Score As PSG Fight Back To Beat Haifa

Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar (R) celebrates with his teammates after scoring the third goal during the UEFA Champions League group H football match between Israel’s Maccabi Haifa and France’s Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at the Sammy Ofer stadium in the city of Haifa on September 14, 2022. (Photo by RONALDO SCHEMIDT / AFP)

 

Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar all scored as Paris Saint-Germain came from a goal down to win 3-1 at Maccabi Haifa on Wednesday and make it two wins from two in the Champions League group stage.

Tjaronn Chery gave Haifa a surprise lead but Messi equalised before the break by scoring for an 18th consecutive season in the Champions League.

PSG finished off their impressive hosts with an improved performance in the last half-hour as Mbappe and Neymar found the net.

“We have to improve. We have to work,” Mbappe told uefa.com.

“We are working, but we need the results to show in our play, because things are going to come around quickly with the (international) break and the World Cup.”

The Qatari-backed club are now top of Group H on goals scored above Benfica, who won 2-1 at Juventus.

Haifa threatened a shaky PSG defence throughout the game, but the Ligue 1 giants passed the test thanks to their front three.

“The fact that the three of us can make the difference in a game is an advantage for us,” Mbappe added.

“I hope that all three of us keep scoring as it means that we’ll win matches.”

Paris, still searching for a maiden Champions League title, go into home and away matches against Benfica knowing that two wins would secure a place in the knock-out stage.

PSG could have taken the lead inside 70 seconds as Mbappe burst into the box, only to see his effort denied by a sprawling save from home goalkeeper Josh Cohen.

Mbappe spurned another excellent chance as he got in behind the Haifa defence again but took a heavy touch.

Haifa Take Shock Lead

The Israelis grew into the game and took a shock 24th-minute lead as Dolev Haziza was given time and space to whip in a cross that was volleyed home by Suriname international Chery.

Haifa briefly thought they had scored again when Frantzdy Pierrot put the ball in the net, but the flag was raised for offside.

PSG dragged themselves level eight minutes before the break, as Mbappe’s low cross was deflected perfectly to Messi who slotted the ball past Cohen from close range.

Haifa kept pushing for a deserved half-time advantage, but Omer Atzili dragged a shot wide and visiting ‘keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma made a flying save to tip away Chery’s long-range strike.

PSG continued to struggle at the start of the second period, but gradually improved and Messi forced Cohen into an excellent low stop in the 65th minute.

The French champions forged ahead for the first time four minutes later, as Messi slipped a pass-through for Mbappe to slide a shot into the far corner.

Haifa kept pushing for an equaliser, but just seconds after Chery blazed a free-kick over, PSG countered and Neymar fired the ball into the bottom corner to complete the scoring.

Graham Potter Frustrated As Salzburg Hold Chelsea

Chelsea’s Albanian forward Armando Broja reacts at the end of the match in the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between England’s Chelsea and Austria’s Red Bull Salzburg at Stamford Bridge in London on September 14, 2022. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP)

 

Graham Potter admitted Chelsea have to “improve the little details” after Red Bull Salzburg spoiled his first match in charge with a late equaliser in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw in the Champions League.

Potter was on course for a winning debut when Raheem Sterling put Chelsea ahead early in the second half at Stamford Bridge.

But the former Brighton boss, who replaced Thomas Tuchel last week, had to settle for a point as Noah Okafor punished sloppy defending to equalise in the closing stages.

It was a largely underwhelming performance from Chelsea, underlining the work Potter must do to repair the flaws in the expensively assembled squad left behind by Tuchel.

“It’s always irritating when you concede a goal. Overall the defensive performance was quite good, it’s just the little details we will have to improve,” Potter said.

“We’re disappointed with the result. We scored a good goal, but lost a bit in the second half.”

Tuchel was dismissed last Wednesday in the aftermath of Chelsea’s embarrassing 1-0 loss at Dinamo Zagreb in their Champions League opener.

Having taken just one point from their first two Group E matches, Chelsea now face a fight to qualify for the knockout stages with two matches against AC Milan looming.

“It is what it is, we have to dust ourselves down. Personality and application was good, we will get better,” Potter said.

“It has not been easy for the boys. They have responded to us really well over the last few days. The attitude has been fantastic. No complaints apart from the fact we have not taken three points.”

With Sunday’s Premier League game against Liverpool postponed due to the forthcoming funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, Potter will have to wait until October 1 for his second game when Chelsea travel to Crystal Palace after the international break.

At least that will give Potter time to find his feet after he was appointed just 24 hours after Tuchel’s shock exit — sparking what the 47-year-old described as a “whirlwind” week as he starts the biggest challenge of his career.

Potter earned widespread admiration for his impressive work with Brighton, who enjoyed their highest Premier League finish last season when the Englishman led them to ninth place.

But thriving on a limited budget at Brighton provides only scant preparation for the unique demands of handling a club of Chelsea’s ambition.

Potter had never even been to a Champions League game before walking into Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

Defensive Mishaps

Surprisingly used at left wing-back in Potter’s 3-4-3 formation, Sterling spent much of his time more concerned with attack than defence.

The England forward had a close-range volley blocked and Marc Cucurella’s cutback reached Mason Mount, whose shot fizzed wide from the edge of the area.

In the first game since Tuchel was sacked, Chelsea supporters, many shocked by his ruthless dismissal, paid tribute to the German in the 21st minute.

If that display of affection might have made Potter feel uncomfortable, he was shifting awkwardly again when Salzburg nearly snatched the lead late in the first half.

Benjamin Sesko was the dangerman with a 25-yard drive that forced a scrambling save from Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Potter’s men failed to muster a single shot on target in the opening 45 minutes of his reign.

But the cutting edge they missed in the first half was provided by Sterling in the 48th minute.

Reece James’ raking pass sent Mount away down the right flank and his low cross reached Sterling, who curled a fine finish into the far corner from just inside the area.

Yet Sterling’s fourth goal since his close-season move from Manchester City didn’t serve as a springboard for victory.

Bedevilled by defensive mishaps in the final weeks of Tuchel’s reign, Chelsea folded far too easy in the 75th minute.

With Sterling out of position, they squandered possession in midfield before Thiago Silva failed to clear Junior Adamu’s cross as Okafor converted with a low finish that deflected off Cesar Azpilicueta.

Ruthless Napoli Blow Away Troubled Liverpool In Champions League

Napoli’s players celebrate after their third goal during the UEFA Champions League Group A first leg football match between SSC Napoli and Liverpool FC at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in Naples on September 7, 2022. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

 

 

Napoli returned to the Champions League in style with Wednesday’s stunning 4-1 win over Liverpool which continued the Reds’ troubled start to the season.

Liverpool were swept away by a whirlwind first-half performance at the Stadio Maradona from Napoli, who were deservedly three goals to the good at the break.

Piotr Zielinski got the ball rolling from the penalty spot in the fifth minute and two more beautifully worked strikes from Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Giovanni Simeone on his Champions League debut left Jurgen Klopp’s side staring at a humiliating defeat.

Poland midfielder Zielinski then added the fourth almost immediately after the restart to ensure Napoli got off to a dream start to Group A.

Luciano Spalletti’s team, who are back in Europe’s top competition after a two-season absence, are second but level with Ajax who performed a demolition job of their own against Rangers.

Napoli built on a strong start to their domestic season which has them second after five games in Serie A and will be encouraged by strong performances from new arrivals, in particular firecracker winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.

Georgian Kvaratskhelia has already won over Napoli supporters with his exciting wing play and eye for goal, and although he was only on the field for less than an hour he did considerable damage.

Liverpool meanwhile are kept off the bottom by the Scots and now turn their attentions to trying to improve on seventh place in the Premier League.

READ ALSO: RB Leipzig Sack Coach Tedesco After Shakhtar Thrashing

Napoli Blow Away Reds

Backed by a typically raucous crowd, Napoli came haring out of the traps and could easily have been ahead with less than a minute on the clock.

The lively Victor Osimhen broke onto a long ball from Giovanni Di Lorenzo and nudged it past the onrushing Alisson Becker, but took the ball too wide and instead of trying to lay up his arriving teammates shot off the near post.

They were deservedly ahead shortly afterward when James Milner handled Zielinski’s low shot and allowed the Pole to rifle home the opener.

Napoli would have been further ahead had Osimhen taken a leaf out of Zielinski’s book in the 18th minute, but instead, he wasted his chance from the spot with a fancy run-up after an on-field review of Virgil van Dijk’s clumsy challenge on the Nigerian by referee Carlos del Cerro Grande resulted in another penalty.

However Liverpool were a shambles at the back, constantly caught napping on passes over the top and bewildered by Kvaratskhelia, whose 28th-minute shot was kicked off the line after Osimhen nicked the ball away from Joe Gomez.

And three minutes later Anguissa gave the hosts a lead which more reflected the run of play.

The Cameroon international played a simple one-two with Zielinski to find himself all alone with Alisson before rolling in the second, and from there Liverpool collapsed.

A dream opening half ended with Simeone in tears after making it three just seconds after replacing injured Osimhen, tapping in a simple finish after the irrepressible Kvaratskhelia caused more havoc on the left flank.

Simeone then turned provider for Zielinski to ensure it was a memorable night for the hosts a minute after the break, a first effort denied by Alisson before a follow-up finish was dinked over the Brazilian.

Luis Diaz pulled one back two minutes later but it was all the Reds could conjure up as Napoli shut up shop and saw out a memorable win.

AFP

Haaland Alone Won’t Win Champions League For Man City – Guardiola

Haaland is one of the new signings expected to bring fireworks to the EPL. [email protected]

 

Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola said Monday the team cannot rely on Erling Haaland to single-handedly win them the Champions League this season following his remarkable start to life in England.

The Norway striker has scored 10 goals in his first six Premier League games since his £51 million ($58 million) move from Borussia Dortmund this summer.

“All the players who come here were brought here by the club to make us better, that makes sense,” said Guardiola ahead of Tuesday’s opening group game away to Sevilla.

“If we rely on Erling’s shoulders, we will not win the Champions League.”

City reached the semi-finals of last season’s competition before an astonishing comeback from Real Madrid cost them a shot at winning a first European title.

READ ALSOMan Utd Beat Arsenal At Old Trafford

The Premier League champions have brought in England midfielder Kalvin Phillips, Argentine striker Julian Alvarez and defenders Manuel Akanji and Sergio Gomez to strengthen the squad.

However the capture of Haaland was the headline deal, and one that Guardiola hopes can inspire City to the trophy in Istanbul next June.

“Hopefully, we can do it,” said Guardiola.

“He came here because we convinced him. We didn’t have strikers and he felt he could play with us.

“He has settled well, like with Julian and the other new players.

“I understand completely why everyone is talking about Erling but I have six new players and I want them to settle as quickly as possible.

“We won’t win just because of Erling but he has a special talent, and he can help us solve problems, definitely. But if we don’t play well, we will not win.”

City will be without defensive pair Kyle Walker and John Stones against Sevilla.

Walker limped off towards the end of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa, while Stones also picked up a minor knock.

“(They are) injured. John is not much. Kyle is not much too, but I don’t know if he will be ready for Saturday, or Dortmund or Wolves before the international break,” said Guardiola.

AFP

FULL LIST: Bayern To Play Barcelona In Champions League, Liverpool Face Ajax

In this file photo, the UEFA Champions League trophy is displayed prior to the start of the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on May 28, 2022. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Bayern Munich were placed in the same section as Robert Lewandowski’s Barcelona in Thursday’s draw for the UEFA Champions League group stage in Istanbul, while Erling Haaland will face his former club as Manchester City were paired with Borussia Dortmund.

Bayern and Barcelona will also come up against Inter Milan in Group C, which is completed by the Czech champions Viktoria Plzen.

Bayern beat Barcelona 8-2 in a one-off quarter-final in Lisbon in 2020, while the Catalans also lost 3-0 twice to the Germans last season as they were eliminated in the group stage.

Lewandowski, 34, signed for Barcelona during the close season for a fee that could reach 50 million euros ($49.9m) after scoring 344 goals in eight years at Bayern.

“Only football writes such stories,” said Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic.

“Barcelona have got stronger. ‘Lewy’ is there. They’ve done a thing or two in the transfer market. There will be some exciting games.”

Haaland left Dortmund for Premier League champions City in the close season. Those sides will also face Sevilla and Danish champions FC Copenhagen in Group G.

City and Dortmund last met in the Champions League quarter-finals in 2021, with Pep Guardiola’s side advancing 4-2 on aggregate. City also beat Sevilla twice in the group stage in 2015/16.

 Liverpool Face Rangers

Last season’s beaten finalists Liverpool will play Ajax, Napoli and Rangers in Group A, while reigning champions Real Madrid will face Celtic as well as RB Leipzig and Shakhtar Donetsk in Group F.

It is the third season running in which Real and Shakhtar have been placed in the same group.

With war continuing to rage in Ukraine, Shakhtar will play their home games in the Polish capital Warsaw.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side faced Ajax in the group stage just two years ago, while the Anfield outfit came up against Napoli in 2019.

Meanwhile, Rangers are back in the group phase of Europe’s elite club competition for the first time in 12 years — in the 2010/11 season they held Manchester United to a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford but in 2012 they were demoted to the Scottish fourth tier when mounting debts forced them into liquidation.

After reaching last season’s Europa League final, Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side knocked out PSV Eindhoven in the play-offs on Wednesday to reach the group stage.

“The first thing to say is this is a proper, proper challenge,” Klopp told Liverpool’s official website.

“We did not ask for any favours and we have not been given any but this is not a competition where you can look for easy ways through because the standard is always unbelievably high.”

PSG Among Favourites, Again

Meanwhile, Paris Saint-Germain — who again start among the favourites to win a trophy that has continued to escape them since the Qatari takeover of more than a decade ago — will meet Juventus as well as Benfica and Israeli champions Maccabi Haifa in Group H.

Chelsea, winners in 2021, will take on Serie A champions AC Milan as well as Red Bull Salzburg and Dinamo Zagreb in Group E, while Tottenham Hotspur will face last season’s Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt along with Sporting Lisbon and Marseille in Group D.

Porto and Atletico Madrid meet for the second season running in Group B, which also features Bayer Leverkusen and Belgian champions Club Brugge.

This season’s group stage will begin with the first round of games on September 6 and 7.

The match calendar is expected to be released following the draws on Friday for the group stages of the Europa League and Europa Conference League.

All six matchdays will be played in the space of nine weeks, finishing much earlier than usual on November 1 and 2, with UEFA needing to complete the group stage before the World Cup begins on November 20.

The final will be played on June 10 next year at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, which was supposed to host the final in 2020 and again in 2021 — on each occasion, UEFA moved the game to Portugal due to pandemic-related restrictions.

See the full features below: 

The draw for the 2022/23 UEFA Champions League group stage, made in Istanbul on Thursday:Group A: Ajax (NED), Liverpool (ENG), Napoli (ITA), Rangers (SCO)Group B: FC Porto (POR), Atletico Madrid (ESP), Bayer Leverkusen (GER), Club Brugge (BEL)

Group C: Bayern Munich (GER), Barcelona (ESP), Inter Milan (ITA), Viktoria Plzen (CZE)

Group D: Eintracht Frankfurt (GER), Tottenham Hotspur (ENG), Sporting (POR), Marseille (FRA)

Group E: AC Milan (ITA), Chelsea (ENG), Red Bull Salzburg (AUT), Dinamo Zagreb (CRO)

Group F: Real Madrid (ESP), RB Leipzig (GER), Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR), Celtic (SCO)

Group G: Manchester City (ENG), Sevilla (ESP), Borussia Dortmund (GER), FC Copenhagen (DEN)

Group H: Paris Saint-Germain (FRA), Juventus (ITA), Benfica (POR), Maccabi Haifa (ISR)

Dates:

Matchday 1: September 6-7

Matchday 2: September 13-14

Matchday 3: October 4-5

Matchday 4: October 11-12

Matchday 5: October 25-26

Matchday 6: November 1-2

AFP

 

Ronaldo Blasts ‘Lies’ Over Man Utd Future

Manchester United’s Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo (L) reacts after conceding their first goal during the English Premier League football match between Brentford and Manchester United at Brentford Community Stadium in London on August 13, 2022. (Photo by Ian Kington / AFP)

 

 

Cristiano Ronaldo has hit out at the “lies” surrounding reports about his future at Manchester United.

The Portugal forward missed United’s pre-season tour to Thailand and Australia due to personal reasons as speculation swirled over whether he would be leaving Old Trafford.

It has been reported Ronaldo wants to play Champions League football, but United maintains the 37-year-old is not for sale and remains an integral part of the plans of new boss Erik ten Hag.

The former Real Madrid star played the full 90 minutes of United’s 4-0 defeat at Brentford on Saturday, which left them bottom of the Premier League.

In a reply to a fan account on Instagram that referred to a report linking the United frontman to Atletico Madrid, Ronaldo said fans would “know the truth” in a couple of weeks, adding: “The media is telling lies.”

“I have a notebook and in the last few months of the 100 news I made, only five were right. Imagine how it is. Stick with that tip.”

Manchester United will seek to kickstart their Premier League campaign when they host fierce rivals, Liverpool, on Monday.

United’s owners, the Glazer family, have come under fire following the team’s terrible start.

Former United defender Gary Neville has warned the club could finish in the bottom half of the Premier League if they do not address their “horror story” recruitment strategy.

Manchester United supporters’ group ‘The 1958’ is planning a protest march outside Old Trafford against the club’s owners ahead of the Liverpool match.

In a statement, the group said the ownership was “systematically starving and killing the greatest football institution in world football, for greed”.

“We appreciate emotions are running high,” it added. “We must keep it legal, we must keep it peaceful…. Bring the heat, bring the noise, bring the passion. Let’s show the Glazer family that this time it will not blow over.”

Billionaire Elon Musk sparked a social media frenzy on Tuesday evening when he raised the prospect of buying United from the Glazer family.

The Tesla CEO made the comment in a tweet, then later clarified his position by saying he had no intention of buying a sports team and that it had been a “long-running joke”.

Benzema, Courtois And De Bruyne Nominated For UEFA Award

Manchester City's Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne celebrates after scoring his team fourth goal during the English Premier League football match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester City at the Molineux stadium in Wolverhampton, central England on May 11, 2022. Paul ELLIS / AFP
In this file photo, Manchester City’s Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne celebrates after scoring his team fourth goal during the English Premier League football match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester City at the Molineux stadium in Wolverhampton, central England on May 11, 2022. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Real Madrid pair Karim Benzema and Thibaut Courtois and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne were on Friday shortlisted for the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award.

The European body of European football said that a jury made up of journalists and representatives of clubs playing in European competitions voted for the trio from a list of 15.

Polish striker Robert Lewandowski was fourth on the ballot and just missed out.

The award will be presented on August 25 during the draw for the Champions League group stage.

Real won the Spanish Liga and the Champions League.

Benzema was named Champions League Player of the Season after scoring 15 goals in the competition, including three in Real’s semi-final victory over Manchester City.

When he scored Real’s second goal against Frankfurt on Wednesday in the European Supercup, Benzema became the club’s second-highest scorer in history with 324 goals, behind Cristiano Ronaldo.

Courtois was spectacular as Real edged Liverpool 1-0 in the final and was named player of the match.

De Bruyne made the shortlist for the third straight year after inspiring City to the Premier League title.

Jorginho won the title last year after winning the Champions League with Chelsea and the delayed Euro 2020 with Italy.

UEFA also announced the three nominees for coach of the year

They are Real Madrid’s Carlo Ancelotti, Man City’s Josep Guardiola, and the man they had to beat to win their biggest titles last season: Liverpool’s Juergen Klopp.

AFP

Rivers United Win First Nigerian League Title

Rivers United line up for a game. [email protected]__

 

Rivers United were crowned Nigerian league champions on Sunday after closest rivals Plateau United lost 2-1 at Akwa United to give the Port Harcourt side an unassailable lead with three rounds of matches still to play.

Rivers United, who play away at Nasarawa United later Sunday, have 71 points from 34 matches, 10 points clear of Plateau United, who have played 35 matches, while Remo Stars are a distant third on 53 points.

Winning the league earns United a place in next season’s CAF Champions League.

It is the first major honour for Rivers United since they were formed following a merger of Port Harcourt’s two top clubs – Dolphins and Sharks – in 2016

They are owned by the oil-rich Rivers State Government, who have made them one of the best-run clubs in Nigeria.

The club nicknamed “The Pride of Rivers” feature the league’s joint leading scorer Chijoke Akuneto, who has 16 goals, and winger Ishaq Kayode, who has netted 15 goals.

Last season, Rivers United were runners-up to another club financed by an oil-rich government, Akwa United.

AFP

UEFA To Investigate Champions League Final Chaos

Liverpool FC's supporters light flares near Place de la Nation in Paris on May 28, 2022, prior to the Champions League football match final between Liverpool FC and Real Madrid. Geoffroy Van der Hasselt / AFP
Liverpool FC’s supporters light flares near Place de la Nation in Paris on May 28, 2022, prior to the Champions League football match final between Liverpool FC and Real Madrid.
Geoffroy Van der Hasselt / AFP

 

UEFA announced on Monday it was opening an “independent report” into the security chaos before the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France in Paris.

European football’s governing body said the report would “examine decision making, responsibility and behaviours of all entities involved in the final”.

UEFA have appointed Portuguese politician Tiago Brandao Rodrigues to oversee the report on a pro bono basis on the completion of which they will decide upon a course of action.

READ ALSO: Kano Pillars Extend Unbeaten Run At Handball Premier League

“Evidence will be gathered from all relevant parties,” UEFA said.

“The findings of the independent report will be made public,” it promised.

Brandao Rodrigues has served as Portuguese Minister of Education, was a member of the World Anti-doping Agency and was Portugal’s Olympic attaché during the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

France on Monday blamed “massive” ticket fraud for the chaotic scenes that marred the Champions League final on Saturday which saw Real Madrid beat Liverpool 1-0.

But the French government has faced a barrage of criticism from press and politicians in Britain over the policing of the match.

Champions League: Liverpool Fans Confident Reds Will Bounce back

Egyptian fans of Liverpool react while watching the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at a cafe in the capital Cairo on May 28, 2022. Real Madrid won 1-0.
Ahmed HASAN / AFP

 

Disappointed Liverpool supporters drowned their sorrows in a pub near the club’s Anfield home after Real Madrid pipped them to the Champions League title on Saturday — but after winning two trophies this season, they were confident even more success lies ahead next season.

The reverse in Paris came a week after Liverpool missed out on the Premier League title, with Manchester City hanging on by just a single point.

Up until then, Liverpool had been eyeing an unprecedented quadruple of trophies in a single season but had to settle for lifting the FA Cup and English League Cup in a gruelling campaign where they played every possible match.

Fans watching the final on television at the Arkles pub next to Liverpool’s home ground were confident the team would bounce back under manager Jurgen Klopp.

“My Dad’s been watching the football for 80-odd years. We always keep on dreaming and we always keep on believing,” one supporter told AFP.

Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane reacts after losing the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on May 28, 2022.
FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

“We’re disappointed now but we’ll get over it, and we’ll go again next season, and with Jurgen Klopp in charge anything is possible and that’s all I’ve got to say.”

Liverpool lost 1-0 at the Stade de France with Vinicius Junior scoring the only goal for Real as the Spanish giants were crowned kings of Europe for a record-extending 14th time.

“Unlucky, you know. We did everything but put the ball in the back of the net. They scored one goal out of two shots. What can you do?,” said another crestfallen fan.

Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen, who also played for Real Madrid in his career, insisted the Reds were still the “best team in Europe” despite the defeat.

But Owen, now a BT Sport football analyst, said: “I still think (Liverpool) are the best team in Europe.”