CSKA Dumped Out Of Europe Despite Stunning Win At Real Madrid

Real Madrid’s German midfielder Toni Kroos reacts to CSKA players celebrating their third goal during their UEFA Champions League group G football match at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on December 12, 2018. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

 

CSKA Moscow stunned a much-changed Real Madrid with a 3-0 victory at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday, but still finished bottom of Champions League Group G as Viktoria Plzen beat Roma.

The Russian side, who also downed Real 1-0 in the reverse fixture, had to better Plzen’s result to finish third and qualify for the Europa League.

But Plzen edged out Roma 2-1 in the Czech Republic to render CSKA’s famous victory ultimately meaningless, despite inflicting the heaviest ever European home loss on the record 13-time champions.

“It’s sad to say the least to beat Real Madrid, earn seven points, but finish bottom and get eliminated from Europe,” said CSKA coach Viktor Goncharenko.

“But we only have ourselves to blame. In any case, we’ve made sure we’ll spend the holidays in a great mood after tonight’s win.”

Holders Real had already progressed to the last 16 as group winners, with Roma through in second place.

Home coach Santiago Solari boosted CSKA’s hopes before kick-off by making seven changes to the starting XI which beat Huesca 1-0 in La Liga at the weekend, leaving Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Raphael Varane and Toni Kroos on the bench.

Real’s youngsters started brightly, with Vinicius Junior forcing visiting goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev into a fine-one handed save, and Marco Asensio then curling the ball against the crossbar.

But Goncharenko’s CSKA claimed a shock lead in the 37th minute, as Fedor Chalov danced through the makeshift Madrid defence and bent a left-footed shot into the corner.

Georgiy Schennikov volleyed home shortly before the interval after an excellent team move to leave Real facing an embarrassing loss.

At half-time, Solari sent on Bale, the two-goal hero of last season’s final triumph over Liverpool, with Kroos following soon after.

But it was CSKA who extended their advantage, as Arnor Sigurdsson fired low past Thibaut Courtois in the Real goal with 17 minutes to play.

It mattered little though, as Plzen secured a place in the Europa League last 32 thanks to Tomas Chory’s 72nd-minute winner against Roma.

Midfielder Jan Kovarik tapped in to break the deadlock in the 62nd minute, only for Turkish youngster Cengiz Under to level for Roma midway through the second half.

But Plzen extended their European campaign when Chory headed in after Kovarik’s volley was pushed out by Antonio Mirante.

Teenage midfielder Luca Pellegrini was sent off in injury time after picking up two bookings in quick succession, as Roma’s winless run in all competitions stretched to five games.

AFP

Roma Close In On Last 16 With Win Over CSKA Moscow

AS Roma Italian midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini and CSKA Moscow’s Slovenian midfielder Jaka Bijol vie for the ball during the UEFA Champions League group G football match between PFC CSKA Moscow and AS Roma at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow on November 7, 2018.
Yuri KADOBNOV / AFP

 

Roma inched closer to a place in the knockout stages of the Champions League on Wednesday thanks to a hard-fought 2-1 win over 10-man CSKA Moscow in the Luzhniki Stadium.

An early Kostas Manolas header and Lorenzo Pellegrini’s neat finish just before the hour mark gave Roma a win that puts them three points clear of second-placed Real Madrid at the top of Group G ahead of the European champions’ clash with Viktoria Plzen later on Wednesday.

Iceland midfielder Arnor Sigurdsson had levelled for CSKA, but Hordur Magnusson’s 56th-minute sending off following a rash challenge on lively Roma winger Justin Kluivert allowed the wasteful away side to regroup and eventually take all three points.

“Of course Magnusson’s sending off helped us a lot but it was the result of the pressure that we put on CSKA,” said Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco.

“I want my men to play more confidently as today we should have scored the third goal to avoid a nervous ending.”

Manolas got Roma off to a flying start when he glanced Pellegrini’s fourth-minute corner past CSKA goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.

CSKA poured forward trying to pull level but the visitors’ defence stifled the home team and left them trying fruitless long-range shots.

The hosts had a rare chance to score in the 26th minute when Slovenian midfielder Jaka Bijol met Nikola Vlasic’s corner but could only direct his header straight at Roma ‘keeper Robin Olsen.

Five minutes later Roma replied with a powerful free-kick by Aleksandar Kolarov, which forced Akinfeev to push the ball to Edin Dzeko, whose attempt on the rebound flashed over the crossbar.

However CSKA came out all guns blazing in the second half and Sigurdsson levelled five minutes after the break, expertly taking a fizzing Ilzat Akhmetov pass under pressure in the area and stroking the ball past Olsen’s outstretched hands.

The hosts had their tails up but were soon on the back foot again when Magnusson chopped down Kluivert as the Dutch youngster scampered down the field, leaving his team a man down with just 11 minutes of the second period played.

Pellegrini made them pay just three minutes later when he slipped an offside trap and poked past Akinfeev to help Roma to record three consecutive Champions League wins for the first time since the 2008-09 campaign.

Roma are now five points ahead of third-placed CSKA — who are staring elimination in the face with two games remaining — and can seal qualification against Real Madrid at the Stadio Olimpico later this month.

“Many factors were against us today, Roma’s early goal, Mario Fernandes’ injury and Magnusson’s sending off,” said CSKA coach Viktor Gancharenko.

“I enjoyed Roma’s performance as they showed that they knew exactly what they needed to do to get the needed result. Hopefully, my men will learn the lesson.”

AFP

Champions League: Zidane Ready For Sportin Lisbon

Champions League: Zidane Ready For Sportin LisbonReal Madrid Coach, Zinedine Zidane says the team will not take anything for granted as the defending champions target their third win in Tuesday night’s UEFA Champions League clash against Sporting Lisbon.

Real Madrid trail Borussia Dortmund with two points in Group F after four games while sporting are third in the group with just one victory.

Real beat Atletico Madrid 3-0 last Saturday in the La Liga but Zidane anticipates a very difficult match against Sporting.

Sporting Coach, Jorge Jesus acknowledged Real Madrid’s quality, but says if his team perform the way they did in Madrid, losing just 2-1, the dream stays alive.

Leicester City can make sure of their place in the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday if they beat Club Brugge at the King Power Stadium.

Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur travel to AS Monaco knowing anything less than a win will see them fail to progress if Bayer Leverkusen beat CSKA Moscow.

Elsewhere, Sevilla and Juventus clash at the top of Group H, while Borussia Dortmund take on Legia Warsaw.

 

Pochetinno Says Harry Kane To Miss Bayer Leverkusen Clash

Harry Kane, Tottenham, Mauricio Pochetinno, Bayer LevekusenTottenham Hotspur Manager, Mauricio Pochetinno, has confirmed that Harry Kane is back in training but will not feature in Wednesday night’s Champions League match against Bayer Levekusen.

Although Pochetinno admits it would be a tough clash, he insists he wants all three points against the Germans.

Tottenham have won only once in six matches since Wembley was redeveloped with their most recent disappointment coming in September’s 2-1 defeat to Monaco.

They are using the stadium for Champions League ties this season because of a reduced capacity at the White Hart Lane as work continues in a new 60,000-seater ground.

On the other hand, Bayer Leverkusen are happy to play Tottenham at the Wembley stadium in London.

Leverkusen forward Javier Hernandez says he cannot wait to play against the English side.

Both sides know a win tonight could move them top of Group E.

French side, Monaco, who are currently ahead of Spurs by a single point, have a tricky fixture against CSKA Moscow in the group’s other match.

Iheanacho, Mikel, Musa Make CAF Award 30-Man List

Iheanacho, Musa, Mikel, CAFNigerian stars, Kelechi Iheanacho, Mikel Obi and Ahmed Musa are among 30 players nominated by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for the 2016 African Footballer of the Year.

This is Iheanacho’s first-ever nomination for the continent’s top individual honour after a successful season with Manchester City in the English Premier League.

The 20-year-old striker has also established himself at full international level after he has represented Nigeria at U-17 and U-20 levels.

Chelsea midfielder, Mikel inspired Nigeria to win bronze at the Rio Olympics, while Ahmed Musa has shone at Russian champions, CSKA Moscow before his big-money move to Leicester City.

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.

Toure Criticises FIFA’s Disbandment Of Anti-racism Taskforce

Yaya-Toure-FIFA-Anti-racismThe decision by the world’s football governing body, FIFA to scrap its anti-racism taskforce has triggered reactions from various stakeholders in the world of sports.

One of those who believed the development was an unacceptable one was four-time African Best Player, Yaya Toure.

The former Ivorian international noted that players and fans might be the ones to suffer the decision.

“Are FIFA being complacent ahead of a World Cup in Russia? It will be the fans and players that suffer if FIFA do not get this right.

“When I received the letter telling me the FIFA taskforce was to be discontinued, I was very disappointed.

“The letter listed the good work that had been carried out as a result of the taskforce’s advice and recommendations.

“So my question is, after failing to deal with racism sufficiently for decades, why stop when something is beginning to work?” BBC quoted disappointed Toure as saying.

The Manchester City star has been racially abused in Russia by CSKA Moscow fans in October 2013.

FIFA Defends Decision

The football body defended its decision to scrap an anti-racism taskforce, saying it had completed the work it set out to do.

FIFA Taskforce Against Racism and Discrimination was set up in 2013 to develop recommendations for tackling the issue.

Some other critics have also questioned the dismantling of the group, saying ‘racism is ongoing’.

However, FIFA General Secretary, Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura, insisted that the body had a specific mandate, which it had fully fulfilled.

Leicester City Sign Nigerian Attacker, Ahmed Musa

Super Eagles, Ahmed MusaPremier League club, Leicester City have announced that they have agreed a deal for the transfer of Ahmed Musa from CSKA Moscow for an undisclosed fee, subject to Premier League and FA approval.

The Nigeria international frontman, 23, has signed a four-year deal with the Premier League champions and is set to become the Club’s fourth signing of the summer, following the arrivals of Nampalys Mendy, Ron-Robert Zieler and Luis Hernandez.

Speaking to Foxes Player HD, Musa said: “I feel very happy joining Leicester City, for me it’s one of the best clubs and I feel very happy. I joined because it’s one of the best clubs in the Premier League and they are like a family. That’s why I joined Leicester City and I’m very excited.

“I look forward to seeing the fans in the new season and I will do my best to make them happy.”

Yusuf Invites 26 Players For Super Eagles Friendlies

Super Eagles-Salisu Yusuf-Eagles FriendliesSuper Eagles Head Coach, Salisu Yusuf, has called up 26 players for the international friendlies against Mali and Luxembourg in Europe.

The three-time African champions would take on the Les Aiglons of Mali in France on May 27 before flying to Luxembourg to play the country’s national team on June 1.

Yusuf, who was installed as interim Head Coach by the Nigeria Football Federation last week, picked a relatively young squad that also includes former U-20 and former U-23 players.

All the invitees in the goalkeeper categories are: Carl Ikeme (Wolverhampton Wanderers, England), Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa), and Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Sunshine Stars).

The defenders invited are: Abdullahi Shehu (Uniao da Madeira, Portugal), Musa Muhammed (Istanbul Basaksehir, Turkey), Elderson Echiejile (AS Monaco, France), Kingsley Madu (AS Trencin, Slovakia), Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa SK, Turkey), Leon Balogun (Mainz 05, Germany), Gbenga Arokoyo (Gaziantepspor, Turkey), William Troost Ekong (Haugesund FC, Norway), and Chidozie Awaziem (FC Porto, Portugal).

For the midfielders, players called up are: Ogenyi Onazi (SS Lazio, Italy), John Mikel Obi (Chelsea FC, England), Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City, England), Wilfred Ndidi (KRC Genk, Belgium), Raheem Lawal (Osmanlispor FK, Turkey), and Etebo Oghenekaro (SC Farense, Portugal).

The players invited in the forward category are: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia), Moses Simon (KAA Gent, Belgium), Victor Moses (West Ham United, England), Odion Ighalo (Watford FC, England), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England), Aminu Umar (Osmanlispor FK, Turkey), Aaron Samuel (CSKA Moscow, Russia), and Brown Ideye (Olympiakos FC, Greece).

Leicester City Renew Bid For Ahmed Musa

Leicester English Premier League leaders, Leicester City, have renewed their interest in the race to sign Super Eagles captain, Ahmed Musa, from Russian club, CSKA Moscow in the summer.

After failed attempts to land the Nigerian attacking winger in the January transfer window, officials of the foxes are reported to be in Russia to tie up a deal with the Moscow side for their number one target.

Leicester are ready to put around £18 million on the table to for the 23-year-old former Kano Pillars striker.

There are indications that CSKA Moscow would likely hold out for the £23 million release clause in the contract of Musa when discussions resume with Leicester in the coming week.

The Nigerian had also attracted the attention of other leading English Premier League teams.

CSKA Moscow Reject Improved Offer For Musa

ahmed_musaCSKA Moscow has turned down a fourth bid from England’s Leicester City for Super Eagles striker, Ahmed Musa, as the January transfer window officially closed on Monday.

The offer of £18.7 million for the Nigerian forward was an improvement on the original offer of £15.1 million.

With the new bid turned down, Musa would stay put with the Russian club, who are currently top of the league.

Musa had also attracted the attention of other top English Premier League teams and has a £22.8 million buyout clause in his contract which runs until 2019.

United, City Bosses Praise Team’s Performance

Manchester United, City Bosses Praise Team's PerfomanceManagers of English Premier League giants, Manchester United and Manchester City, have expressed satisfaction with their team’ performance in Wednesday night’s UEFA Champions League.

Manchester United manager, Luis Van Gaal, said he is happy with the team performance despite a 1-1 draw in Russia against CSKA Moscow.

David De Gea saved Roman Eremenko’s penalty, but Seydou Doumbia scored the rebound to put the Russian side ahead after a handball from Anthony Martial.

Martial consequently redeemed himself with a second-half header to level the match.

The Red Devils are now on 4 points from three matches, but two points behind leaders Wolfsburg.

Meanwhile, Manchester City manager, Manuel Pellegrini, is brimming with confidence after Kevin De Bruyne secured a stoppage time 2-1 win over Sevilla.Manchester United, City Bosses Praise Team's Perfomance

Pellegrini praised the team’s character for fighting back after conceding an early goal and boost their chances of reaching the last 16 round of the competition.

Going into the match, City had won only five of their 15 home Champions League matches.

Sevilla will be hosting Manchester City on November 3 in Spain.