Barcelona Draw Manchester United In Europa League

This photograph taken on August 26, 2022, shows the trophy during the draw for the UEFA Europa League football tournament group stage 2022-2023 in Istanbul. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP)


Barcelona and Manchester United will face each other in the Europa League knockout round play-offs following Monday’s draw.

Barca were eliminated from the Champions League group stage to drop into the Europa League for the second season running, while United came second in their Europa League group.

The last meeting of the clubs came in the quarter-finals of the Champions League in 2018/19, with Barca winning 4-0 on aggregate.

They have met in two Champions League finals and in the 1991 Cup Winners’ Cup final, but this will be the first ever encounter of the sides in the Europa League.

The winners of the eight knockout round play-off ties will advance to the last 16, for which the eight Europa League group winners all qualified automatically.

Having also dropped out of Europe’s elite club competition, Juventus were drawn to play French club Nantes in what will be a repeat of the 1996 Champions League semi-final tie won by the Italians.

Sevilla, who have won the Europa League or its predecessor the UEFA Cup a record six times, will play PSV Eindhoven.

Ajax were drawn against Bundesliga high-fliers Union Berlin, while Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine will play French side Rennes.

Bayer Leverkusen will play Monaco and Jose Mourinho’s Roma will take on Red Bull Salzburg.

Premier League leaders Arsenal have already qualified for the last 16 along with Fenerbahce, Real Betis, Union Saint-Gilloise of Belgium, Real Sociedad, Feyenoord, Freiburg and Ferencvaros.

This season’s Europa League final will be played in Budapest on May 31 next year.


Rashford Brace Gives Man Utd Come From Behind Win In Cyprus

Manchester United's English striker Marcus Rashford shoots to score during the UEFA Europa League group E football match between Cyprus' Omonia Nicosia and England's Manchester United at GSP stadium in the capital Nicosia on October 6, 2022. (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)
Manchester United’s English striker Marcus Rashford shoots to score during the UEFA Europa League group E football match between Cyprus’ Omonia Nicosia and England’s Manchester United at GSP stadium in the capital Nicosia on October 6, 2022. (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)


Manchester United came from behind to snatch a crucial 3-2 away win against Cypriot outfit Omonia in the Europa League on Thursday thanks to a second-half brace by Marcus Rashford.

Anthony Martial also scored while Karim Ansarifard and Nikolas Panagiotou netted for the home side as United claimed a narrow win on their first ever trip to play a Cypriot team.

On a balmy night at Nicosia’s 23,000 capacity GSP Stadium, United went a goal down in the first half but fought back for a morale-boosting victory after being demolished 6-3 by cross-town rivals Manchester City at the weekend.

Erik ten Hag named a strong line-up with Cristiano Ronaldo, starting just his fourth match of the season, leading the attack and Brazilian Casemiro anchoring the midfield, but it was the substitutes who saved the day.

“All the subs had a really good impact”, with (Luke) Shaw and Rashford strengthening the left side,” Dutch coach ten Hag told reporters afterwards.

“We played well, the only thing is we didn’t score a goal. After half-time I think we dealt with the setback.

“It was a bad 10 minutes after we conceded the goal (but) if you then are able to come back… that’s positive.”

United got off to a dominant start, largely controlling the opening period against a side managed by former Celtic boss Neil Lennon.

Antony nearly got the breakthrough in the 28th minute, cutting inside and unleashing a long-range shot that was parried away by Omonia goalkeeper Fabiano.

It looked like United were beginning to turn the screw when they were awarded a free-kick outside Omonia’s area in the 34th minute.

Christian Eriksen fired it in but Omonia managed to scramble it away. The ball fell to Tyrell Malacia who was then robbed by Omonia’s Brazilian forward Bruno.

Three Omonia players broke clear before Bruno tapped it across the face of goal for Iranian striker Ansarifard to tuck it away.

‘Right direction’

United came out stronger in the second half with Rashford coming on for the anonymous Jadon Sancho and Shaw replacing Malacia.

And it paid immediate dividends, with Bruno Fernandes getting a shot on goal before setting up Rashford to level the scores in the 53rd minute.

Ronaldo, who was left on the bench during the weekend rout by City, cut a frustrated figure up front, but United continued to drive forward, creating more chances as the second half progressed.

Ten minutes after levelling, United went ahead when the newly-introduced Martial tapped in with his second touch of the game, seizing on an assist from Rashford.

The home supporters jeered loudly when referee Joao Pinheiro of Portugal waved away an Omonia claim for handball, a decision confirmed by VAR.

Ronaldo’s woes continued, however, with the Portuguese star hitting the post from within the six-yard box with an open goal, one of a hatful of missed chances by the 37-year-old.

Minutes later Rashford latched onto a pass from Ronaldo to double his tally.

Omonia were not finished, though, Panagiotou getting a goal back in the 87th minute.

United created more chances, with Brazilian midfielder Fred forcing a save from Fabiano in the dying minutes.

Lennon praised his players for putting up a fight but said he saw signs that United were on the up.

“This is a team definitely building… I think they’re going in the right direction,” he said.

“Thankfully Cristiano didn’t have his shooting boots on tonight.”


Shaky Man United Slump To Real Sociedad, End Winning Streak

Cristiano Ronaldo Centre-Forward of Manchester United and Portugal dejected after losing during the UEFA Europa League group E match between Manchester United and Real Sociedad at Old Trafford on September 8, 2022 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto)


Manchester United lost to Real Real Sociedad in their opening Europa League clash at Old Trafford on Thursday. 

A Brais Mendez 59th-minute penalty condemned Erik ten Hag’s side to a home defeat, days after United ended Arsenal’s winning start to the Premier League campaign.

United led English football’s tributes to Queen Elizabeth II before their defeat against Real Sociedad while Roma boss Jose Mourinho was in mourning after the monarch’s death on Thursday.

United, West Ham, and Arsenal players — the Premier League teams in action in Europe’s second and third-tier tournaments — all wore black armbands after the Queen died aged 96 earlier in the day. There were sombre atmospheres at Old Trafford and the London Stadium, with United and West Ham both holding a minute’s silence prior to kick-off.

READ ALSO: Queen Elizabeth II Dies At 96

West Ham fans sang ‘God save the Queen’ during their 3-1 win against Romanian side FCSB in the Europa Conference League.

The death of the nation’s longest-reigning monarch was announced after Arsenal had already kicked off at FC Zurich, so the Gunners had a minute’s silence before the start of the second half of their 2-1 Europa League win.

Former United, Chelsea, and Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho paid a sombre tribute to the Queen after Roma’s 2-1 Europa League loss at Bulgarian side Ludogorets.

“I’m so sorry. I have lived in England for many years, my family is there,” Mourinho told Sky Sport Italy.

“I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t appreciate this great woman, I’m sorry.”

During an immaculately observed minute’s silence in Manchester, United’s players linked arms while Sociedad did the same on the other side of the centre-circle.

Several United fans were seen crying in the stands, while Sociedad’s fans held their blue and white scarves aloft in tribute during the minute’s silence.

There had been no pre-match music and the digital advertising hoardings were switched off, while flags at Old Trafford were at half-mast as a sign of the club’s “utmost respect” for the Queen.

“Manchester United shares the sorrow of the entire nation following the announcement from Buckingham Palace on the passing of Her Majesty, the Queen,” a club statement said.

“The club recognises her immense contribution to public life, including sport, both here in the United Kingdom, across the Commonwealth, and around the world.”

 ‘Truly Saddened’

UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin added: “UEFA and European football are truly saddened by the passing away of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, one of the world’s most-respected figures.

“Our thoughts are with her family and the President of the English Football Association Prince William, as well as with the citizens of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth realms.”

The usual chants in support of United and against the club’s owners the Glazer family were heard once the game started, but the atmosphere felt more subdued than usual.

Erik Ten Hag described Brazil forward Antony as United’s “missing link” after the Brazil forward scored on his debut against Arsenal on Sunday following his £82 million move from Ajax.

But the 22-year-old struggled to make any impact during a disjointed United performance.

Cristiano Ronaldo was making only his second United start this season, while Brazil midfielder Casemiro was given his first start since arriving from Real Madrid.

Neither player could spark United, who saw a 35th minute header from Ronaldo correctly disallowed for offside.

Sociedad clinched their victory in the 59th minute when United defender Lisandro Martinez was controversially penalised for handball.

The ball only hit Martinez’s arm after bouncing off his knee but following a VAR check the decision was confirmed and Brais Mendez stroked the spot-kick past David De Gea.

After winning four successive Premier League games, United were beaten for the third time in boss ten Hag’s reign.

Brazilian teenager Marquinhos scored on his Arsenal debut as the Premier League leaders recovered from their first defeat of the season at United last weekend.

Marquinhos, signed from Sao Paulo in June, finished first-time from a low Eddie Nketiah cross in the 16th minute to put Arsenal ahead.

Zurich equalised just before half-time when Mirlind Kryeziu converted a penalty after a foul in the box by Nketiah.

Nketiah made amends by scoring the winning goal just after the hour mark, heading in from Marquinhos’s cross.

Elsewhere in the Europa League, PSV Eindhoven and Bodo/Glimt drew 1-1, with Cody Gakpo after Albert Gronbaek had given the Norwegian champions the lead.

Lazio beat Feyenoord 4-2 thanks to Matias Vecino’s double.


Arsenal Off To Winning Start In Europa League But Roma Beaten

Arsenal’s Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka (C-R) embraces Zurich’s Swiss midfielder Antonio Marchesano after winning the UEFA Europa League Group A first leg football match between FC Zurich and Arsenal FC at Kybun Park stadium in St Gallen on September 8, 2022. (Photo by URS BUCHER / AFP)


Brazilian teenager Marquinhos scored on his Arsenal debut as the Gunners started their Europa League campaign with a 2-1 win over FC Zurich in Switzerland on Thursday, while Jose Mourinho’s Roma slumped to a surprise defeat.

Nineteen-year-old Marquinhos, signed from Sao Paulo in June, finished first time from a low Eddie Nketiah cross in the 16th minute to put Arsenal ahead in the city of St Gallen.

Zurich, who were Swiss champions last season for the first time since 2009, equalised just before half-time when Mirlind Kryeziu converted a penalty after a foul in the box by Nketiah.

However, Nketiah made up for that by scoring the winning goal just after the hour mark, heading in a hanging cross from Marquinhos.

The game took place as news of the death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II came through, and the two sets of players held a minute’s silence before the start of the second half.

READ ALSO: UK Sporting Events Suspended After Queen Elizabeth II’s Death

The win made it the perfect start in Group A for Arsenal, after coach Mikel Arteta made eight changes to his line-up following the 3-1 weekend defeat at Manchester United in the Premier League.

Gabriel Jesus, Martin Odegaard and Aaron Ramsdale were among the players rested while Marquinhos made his first appearance, as did American goalkeeper Matt Turner, signed in the close season from New England Revolution.

Fabio Vieira also made a first start since joining from Porto.

Group rivals PSV Eindhoven and Bodo/Glimt drew 1-1 in the Netherlands, with Cody Gakpo equalising for Ruud van Nistelrooy’s side after Albert Gronbaek had given the Norwegian champions the lead.

Arsenal welcome PSV to the Emirates Stadium next Thursday.

Roma are looking to claim a second succesive European trophy after winning the inaugural Europa Conference League last season, but they went down to a surprise 2-1 loss away to Luodogorets Razgrad in Bulgaria in Group C.

Uzbek forward Eldor Shomurodov looked to have secured a draw for Roma when he equalised with four minutes to go, cancelling out Brazilian midfielder Cauly’s opener.

But the Bulgarian champions grabbed all three points in the 88th minute through Nonato, another member of their sizeable Brazilian contingent.

Meanwhile Fenerbahce beat Dynamo Kyiv 2-1 in Istanbul in Group B with Michy Batshuayi coming off the bench to score an injury-time winner on his debut following his recent move from Chelsea.

The result is a measure of revenge for the Turkish side, who lost to the Ukrainians in the Champions League qualifying rounds.

Dynamo were then beaten by Benfica in the Champions League play-offs, and so the clubs were reunited in the same Europa League group.

Manchester United were among the clubs in action later as they hosted Real Sociedad at Old Trafford in Group E.


(FULL LIST) Europa League: Man Utd To Face Real Sociedad As Arsenal Draw PSV

A photograph taken on August 26, 2022 shows the group draw for the UEFA Europa League football tournament group stage 2022-2023 in Istanbul. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP)



2021 Europa league finalists, Manchester United, have been seeded to face Real Sociedad, Moldovan club outfit FC Sheriff and Cypriot team Omononia in the group stage of the 2022/23 tournament.

On the other hand, Arsenal face a tricky test in Group A of the tournament, when they lock horns with, Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s PSV Eindhoven and they also have Zurich and then a 3061kn trip to Norway to face  Bodo/Glimt.

Meanwhile, Mourinho’s AS Roma are drawn in Group C and will face Ludogorets, Spanish side Real Betis, HJK Helsinki

Monaco will take on Red Star Belgrade, Ferencvaros and Turkish champions Trabzonspor in Group H.

Dynamo Kyiv, who lost to Benfica in the Champions League play-offs, will face Rennes, Fenerbahce and AEK Larnaca of Cyprus in Group B.

Lazio and Feyenoord were drawn together in Group F, while French Cup holders Nantes — in their first European campaign in two decades — will play Olympiakos, Freiburg and Qarabag of Azerbaijan.

The group stage will begin on September 8 and concludes on November 3, earlier than usual due to the World Cup in Qatar.

This season’s Europa League final will be played at the Puskas Arena in Budapest on May 31, next year.

Europa League Group Stage in full


Group A: Arsenal, PSV, FK Bodo/Glimt, Zurich

Group B: Dynamo Kyiv, Rennes, Fenerbahce, AEK Larnaca

Group C: AS Roma, Ludogorets, Real Betis, HJK Helsinki

Group D: SC Braga, Malmo, Union Berlin, Union Saint-Gilloise

Group E: Manchester United, Real Sociedad, FC Sheriff, Omonia

Group F: Lazio, Feyenoord, Midtjylland, Sturm Graz

Group G: Olympiacos, Qarabag, SC Freiburg, Nantes

Group H: Red Star Belgrade, Monaco, Ferencvaros, Trabzonspor

Rangnick Relieved To Secure Europa League Spot For Man Utd

File photo: ex-Manchester United German Interim head coach Ralf Rangnick leaves the field of play after the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Crystal Palace at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on December 5, 2021. Paul ELLIS / AFP


Ralf Rangnick admitted he was relieved Manchester United qualified for next season’s Europa League despite their 1-0 defeat against Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Rangnick finished his troubled spell as United’s interim manager by securing sixth place in the Premier League.

United did little to help themselves, losing to a goal from their former forward Wilfried Zaha while incoming boss Erik ten Hag watched from the stands at Selhurst Park.

Brighton’s 3-1 win against West Ham proved crucial for United as it kept the Hammers below them in seventh place.

With United avoiding the ignominy of playing in the Europa Conference League next season, Rangnick will step down to work as a consultant at Old Trafford while also coaching Austria.

Ten Hag will start work at United shortly, having led Ajax to the Dutch title.

“Yes, I think Brighton did us the favour to turn the game around because they were losing at half-time,” said Rangnick.

“They scored three times in the second half and that was the good thing about the weekend and about this fixture.

“We would have loved to take care of ourselves but in a way the game was indicative of the last couple of weeks.”

READ ALSOArsenal Miss Out On Champions League For Fifth Season In A Row

Rangnick said it had been a strange experience for him since being appointed as a stop gap manager in late November when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was fired.

“It was a new experience for me, not necessarily coming in the middle of the season but knowing that it would be an interim role.

“Unfortunately we didn’t have any pre-season and unfortunately we couldn’t strengthen the squad.

“We collected enough points with an average of 2.1 until the game against Atletico but I think that defeat in the Champions League was in a way like somebody popped the balloon.”

Rangnick did not hold back in his assessment of a United squad that lost focus after they exited the Champions League against Atletico Madrid in March.

“I think the big goal of some of our top players was the Champions League and after this defeat to Atletico you could literally feel it in training that we did not have the same level of energy, focus and concentration,” he said.

While Ten Hag was at Palace, he did not go into the United dressing room.

Rangnick will warn his successor he must improve United’s team-spirit when they speak in the coming days.

“Team spirit, yes this is also an issue. I think this team could do with more cohesion, there could be more togetherness on the pitch,” he said.


Eintracht Frankfurt Beat Rangers To Win Europa League

Frankfurt’s Colombian striker Rafael Borre (2nd L) celebrates with teammates after Eintracht Frankfurt won the UEFA Europa League final football match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Glasgow Rangers at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Seville on May 18, 2022. Pierre-Philippe MARCOU / AFP


Eintracht Frankfurt defeated Rangers 5-4 on penalties to win the Europa League on Wednesday after the final in Seville finished 1-1 at the end of extra time.

Aaron Ramsey missed for Rangers in the shoot-out after coming on as a substitute with only three minutes left of extra time, before Rafael Borre struck the winning shot to complete Frankfurt’s remarkable triumph.

“We will celebrate for the next few days now,” said Frankfurt coach Oliver Glasner.

Borre was the hero of the night, after already cancelling out Joe Aribo’s opener for Rangers as Frankfurt won their first European trophy since 1980 and booked their place in next season’s Champions League group stage.

READ ALSO[WAFU B Tournament] Nigeria Reaches Final, Qualify For 2023 U20 AFCON

“I dreamed of tonight, of a historic night for the club, a historic night for me,” said Borre, the Colombian. “It’s my first European title. I will keep this memory forever.”

“We are all heroes. Without the fans we wouldn’t have made it,” said Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp.

Both clubs were looking to win a second European title in their history, Rangers after clinching the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1972 and Frankfurt after they lifted the UEFA Cup 42 years ago.

But Rangers came up just short at the end of an incredible run to the final. Only 10 years ago this week, Rangers fell into administration before being liquidated and relegated to Scotland’s bottom tier.

Frankfurt had already beaten Real Betis, Barcelona and West Ham United en route to the final and they were probably deserving winners, shading a compelling contest that always seemed to lack real technical quality.

With a capacity of just under 43,000, Sevilla’s Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan ground was never going to be big enough to house all the travelling fans, with Rangers bringing over an estimated 100,000 while around 60,000 followed Frankfurt to Spain.

The vast majority enjoyed the day in good spirits but security concerns were not unfounded, with skirmishes breaking out in the city centre during the day on Wednesday while five German fans were arrested late Tuesday after police said 200 Frankfurt fans launched an attack on Rangers supporters.

It was a scruffy opening 15 minutes as Joe Aribo almost got away after a neat pirouette by Scott Wright before John Lundstram scraped his studs down the dipping head of Sebastian Rode, leaving the Frankfurt captain with a bloody shirt that had to be changed and a head that had to be strapped.

The Germans gradually took control, suffocating Rangers, who were reduced to speculative punts forward to try to escape the press.

Pressure mounting

Frankfurt’s Ansgar Knauff went close, the penalty box opening up for the winger at the end of a winding run forward, only for Allan McGregor to tip wide.

Rangers had their moments and improved before the break as Lundstram’s header had to be pushed over and Ryan Jack drove too high.

Frankfurt seemed rejuvenated for the start of the second half but it was Rangers who took the lead just before the hour, capitalising on two dreadful Frankfurt errors, each compounding the other.

First, Djibril Sow misjudged a header in midfield, sending it back behind his own defence for the lively Aribo to latch onto, and then as Frankfurt’s Tutu chased, he slipped, gifting a free run to the striker, who slotted home.

However, Eintracht drew level in the 69th minute as Filip Kostic was given too much space out wide to cross and then in the middle, Connor Goldson and Calvin Bassey both hesitated to clear. Borre nipped between them and prodded in.

There were precious few opportunities in the final minutes but the contest became stretched in extra time.

Rangers might have won it in the 118th minute as the sprinting Ryan Kent arrived at the back post only for Trapp to make a sensational save.

To penalties, and the Rangers fans roared when the coin toss put the shoot-out at their end. James Tavernier, Steven Davis and Scott Arfield all scored for Rangers as did Frankfurt’s Christopher Lenz, Ajdin Hrustic and Daichi Kamada, whose shot squeezed in off the post.

But Ramsey fired too straight, hitting Trapp’s left foot and after Kostic and Kemar Roofe converted, it was up to Borre to finish it. He made no mistake.



Three Nigerians Eye Historic Europa League Glory With Rangers

A photo collage of Aribo, Calvin Bassey, and Leon Balogun of Rangers.


Joe Aribo, Leon Balogun, and Calvin Bassey will be aiming for history when Glasgow Rangers take on Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League final on Wednesday.

The match could even be more historic if  Rangers’ manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst lists the Nigerians in the squad for the tie in Seville.

Wednesday’s match is another landmark game. It will be the first time three Nigerians will feature for a club that got to the European final. Finidi George and Nwankwo Kanu played for Ajax in the 1995 Champions League final against AC Milan while Mikel Obi and Victor Moses were part of the Chelsea team that won the Europa League in 2013.

READ ALSO: [WAFU B Tournament] Nigeria Reaches Final, Qualify For 2023 U20 AFCON

‘The Boys Are Buzzing’

Rangers’ Nigerian midfielder Joseph Ayodele-Aribo attends a team training session at the Rangers Training Centre in Glasgow on May 12, 2022, ahead of their Europa League final football match against Eintracht Frankfurt on May 18th. ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP


Rangers face the Germans in Seville aiming to add to their 1971/72 Cup Winners’ Cup success.

Victory for Rangers will be a huge compensation for the trio who featured as Nigeria failed to make the 2022 World Cup.

But Aribo is determined to banish the memories of the World Cup miss and Nigeria’s Round of 16 crash at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

“All the boys are buzzing. We know what an opportunity we have and we are ready to go, to be honest,” Aribo said.

‘It’s Just Crazy’

Leon Balogun scored in the team’s run to the final. [email protected] Balogun.


For Calvin Bassey, 22, playing in the Europa League final is a dream come true.

“When I look at it four years ago, I was just like an U18s footballer. I’m in the youth team and now four years on I can potentially play in the Europa League final,” he told Rangers’ TV.

“It is just crazy just looking at how far I have come and how happy I am every day for being here and just being a part of it.”

Balogun’s Role

Bassey’s compatriot, Balogun will be playing in his first European Cup final. The 33-year-old should be in the matchday squad if fit. Already, he has a goal to his name in the competition. He was on the scoresheet for Rangers against Crvena Zvezda.

Overall, he has played 10 games for Van Bronckhorst’s men in the Europa League this season.

‘Chance… To Be In History Books’

Giovanni Van Bronckhorst (R) during his time at Feyenoord Rotterdam. Credit: Van Bronckhorst/Twitter
File photo: Giovanni Van Bronckhorst (R) during his time at Feyenoord Rotterdam. Credit: Van Bronckhorst/Twitter


The game is also hugely significant for the club. When administration, liquidation, and relegation all blighted a broken Rangers in 2012, none thought they would be so swift in recovering.

But if the Rangers’ recovery was complete when they won the Scottish Premiership again last season, a final in Seville now offers them a shot at European glory too.

“We’re one game away from making history,” Rangers midfielder Aaron Ramsey said on Monday as the squad departed for Spain, the final leg of a journey that began eight months ago in defeat and disappointment.

With the chance to play in the Champions League on the back of winning the Scottish title, Rangers instead lost to Malmo in the third qualifying round, a result that set up a play-off to reach the Europa League with Alashkert from Armenia.

There were more prestigious opponents to come as Rangers, under Giovanni van Bronckhorst from November after Steven Gerrard left for Aston Villa, defeated Borussia Dortmund, Red Star Belgrade, Braga, and Leipzig in the knock-out rounds to reach their first European final in 14 years.

A victory would earn the club its first cup on the continent since Rangers beat Dynamo Moscow 3-2 in Barcelona to lift the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1972.

“This is a chance for them to be in the history books of this club and really get a historic win,” said Van Bronckhorst.

“Then the stories they will tell in years to come will be the same stories that the players from 1972 tell to my players.

“I’ve said it before you have to dream of something to really achieve it. You can work hard and really give everything to achieve your goal and that is beautiful.”

West Ham See Red As Frankfurt Reach Europa League Final

Frankfurt’s Colombian forward Rafael Borre celebrates scoring the opening goal with his teammates during the UEFA Europa League semi-final second leg football match Eintracht Frankfurt v West Ham United in Frankfurt, western Germany on May 5, 2022. Christof STACHE / AFP


Eintracht Frankfurt reached their first European final for 42 years after a 1-0 home win on Thursday over 10-man West Ham sealed a 3-1 aggregate victory in their Europa League semi-final.

West Ham had left-back Aaron Cresswell sent off early on and Hammers manager David Moyes was also dismissed from the sidelines with 12 minutes left for arguing with the referee.

Colombia striker Rafael Borre netted the first-half winner on the night to book Frankfurt a place in the Europa League final on May 18 in Seville against Scottish giants Rangers.

Borre scored just after Cresswell was sent off, leaving the visitors a man down for more than an hour and needing to score twice just to force extra time.

Frankfurt had been dealt an early blow when key defender Martin Hinteregger limped off with a leg injury.

READ ALSO: Rangers Roar Into Europa League Final

When a long ball put Frankfurt’s Jens Hauge into space, Cresswell pulled back the Norwegian, who went down just outside the area.

Cresswell, who was also sent off in the quarter-final first leg against Lyon, was initially only booked, but referee Jesus Gil Manzano brandished the red card after a VAR review.

Moyes responded by swapping Ben Johnson for forward Manuel Lanzini.

Yet Frankfurt went ahead in the 26th minute.

When the hosts attacked down the right flank, Ansgar Knauff’s cross found Borre, who fired home unmarked in the area.

Dogged defending in the second half restricted Frankfurt to just a handful of chances for Knauff and Filip Kostic, who caused havoc on the left.

West Ham had chances of their own and as the visitors pushed for an equaliser, Manzano banished Moyes to the stands after the Scot lost his temper.

Frankfurt, who lost to Chelsea on penalties in the 2019 Europa League semi-finals, are into their first European final since winning the UEFA Cup in 1979/80.


Aribo, Balogun, Bassey Lead Rangers Into Europa League Final

Rangers’ English midfielder John Lundstram (C) is congratulated by teammates as they celebrate after the UEFA Europa League Semi-final, second leg football match between Rangers and RB Leipzig at the Ibrox Stadium, in Glasgow, on May 5, 2022. ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP


Rangers produced one of their greatest European performances to beat RB Leipzig 3-1 on Thursday to reach the Europa League final 3-2 on aggregate.

James Tavernier and Glen Kamara turned the tie around inside the first 24 minutes at an emotionally charged Ibrox as players and fans united to pay tribute to long-serving kitman Jimmy Bell, who died on Tuesday.

Christopher Nkunku hit back for Leipzig in the second half, but John Lundstram scored the winner nine minutes from time.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men will face Eintracht Frankfurt in the final in Seville on May 18 in just their second European final in 50 years.

The Scottish champions lost to Zenit St Petersburg in the UEFA Cup final of 2008, but have had to start again from the fourth tier following a financial collapse in 2012.

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Last season they ended Celtic’s run of nine league titles in a row and will return to the Champions League for the first time since 2010 with victory over Frankfurt at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in 13 days’ time.

Leipzig’s 1-0 advantage from the first leg was blown away early on in front of a cacophonous noise.

Right-back Tavernier moved outright as the top scorer in the competition with seven goals, all of which have come in the knockout phase, when he timed his run to perfection to turn in Ryan Kent’s cross.

Kamara then guided a wonderful finish low into the far corner from outside the box and kissed his black armband in tribute to Bell.

Joe Aribo should have made it three within half an hour when he missed his kick from point-blank range.

Leipzig lost just once in 19 games between January and April, but have now been beaten in three of their last four to put their chances of Champions League football next season hanging in the balance.

The Germans enjoyed the majority of the ball in the second half and were back on level terms in the tie when Nkunku steered home his 32nd goal of the season from Angelino’s cross.

Rangers then had to dig deep just to keep Leipzig at bay, but they found the winner late on.

Kent’s cross to the back post caused panic in the Leipzig defence and the loose ball broke to Lundstram to stroke into an unguarded net and spark wild scenes of celebration.


Barcelona Stunned By Frankfurt, West Ham And Rangers Reach Europa League Semis

Barcelona's Spanish defender Jordi Alba and teammates react at the end of the Europa League quarter final second leg football match between FC Barcelona and Eintracht Frankfurt at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on April 14, 2022. LLUIS GENE / AFP
Barcelona’s Spanish defender Jordi Alba and teammates react at the end of the Europa League quarter final second leg football match between FC Barcelona and Eintracht Frankfurt at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on April 14, 2022. LLUIS GENE / AFP


Favourites Barcelona were dumped out of the Europa League by Eintracht Frankfurt in the quarter-finals on Thursday, while West Ham United and Rangers joined RB Leipzig in qualifying for the last four.

Serbian international Filip Kostic scored twice either side of a Rafael Santos Borre strike at the Camp Nou for Frankfurt, who survived a late fightback to win 3-2 on the night and 4-3 on aggregate.

Sergio Busquets scored a late consolation before Memphis Depay’s even later penalty for Barcelona but Eintracht held on, to the delight of the estimated 30,000 German supporters who travelled for the game.

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They go through to their second Europa League semi-final in four seasons, having lost on penalties to Chelsea at the same stage in 2019.

“I am speechless. Nobody expected this, if you are honest. Everyone expected us to suffer,” said Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp.

Barcelona’s recent revival under Xavi Hernandez has been remarkable but this defeat means they have won just once at home all season in Europe, and their campaign is now set to end without silverware.

“It’s a hammer blow for us. They deserved to go through,” admitted Xavi.

After conceding three penalties in their weekend win over Levante, Barca fell behind to another spot-kick inside four minutes against Eintracht, as Kostic converted after a foul by Eric Garcia to the delight of the enormous away support.

The visitors scored again in the 36th minute as Colombian forward Borre fired high into the net from range, and Kostic’s low finish into the far corner made it 3-0 midway through the second half.

Busquets had a late goal disallowed for offside before he found the net with a fantastic strike from 20 metres in the first minute of injury time.

The game carried on into an 11th added minute when Depay netted a penalty after Evan Ndicka was sent off, receiving a second caution for a foul on Luuk de Jong.

West Ham outclass Lyon

Yet Eintracht maintained their record of not having lost to Spanish opposition since the 1960 European Cup final against Real Madrid, and they will face West Ham in the semi-finals.

The English side are through to their first European semi-final since losing the 1976 Cup Winners’ Cup final to Anderlecht after they outclassed Lyon in France, winning 3-0 on the night and 4-1 on aggregate.

The Hammers took the lead in the 38th minute of the return when Craig Dawson headed in a Pablo Fornals corner.

Captain Declan Rice slotted in their second just before the break, his sidefoot effort from the edge of the area beating Lyon goalkeeper Julian Pollersbeck with the aid of a deflection.

The outcome was put beyond doubt when West Ham scored again three minutes after the restart as Fornals sent Jarrod Bowen away to make it 3-0.

“The journey in two years, we were talking about relegation, and now we’re talking about getting to the semi-final of a European tournament. It’s fabulous, and we’re all going to look forward to it,” said West Ham manager David Moyes.

Rangers through in extra time

There was drama in Glasgow as Rangers were taken to extra time by Braga before winning 3-1 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate as the Portuguese side finished the game with nine men.

James Tavernier gave Rangers a second-minute lead to level the tie on aggregate, and they had another goal disallowed and then hit the woodwork before winning a penalty just before the interval.

Vitor Tormena was sent off for a foul on Kemar Roofe, and Tavernier netted from the spot.

David Carmo’s 83rd-minute header took the tie to extra time, but Roofe’s 101st-minute finish put Rangers back in front on aggregate and Braga then had Iuri Medeiros dismissed.

Rangers will now face Leipzig in their first European semi-final since reaching the 2008 UEFA Cup final.

French international Christopher Nkunku scored both goals as Leipzig beat Atalanta 2-0 in Italy to win their last-eight tie 3-1 on aggregate.

Nkunku opened the scoring in the 18th minute in Bergamo and then added a late penalty, his 30th goal of the season in all competitions.

First 11: Bid For Chelsea Continues + Other Top Sports Stories Last Week

top sports stories
First 11 captures some of the top sports stories for the week.


With just one week to the first leg of the 2022 World Cup playoff showdown with Ghana, there has been so much noise about the encounter. While Nigeria have unveiled their squad, Ghana are yet to do so.

The match venue has also been a major talking point. The draws for the Champions League quarter-finals and the Europa League were also held. Manchester United earlier lost to Atletico Madrid, piling more pressure on a struggling team.

These and other top sports stories this week are captured in First Eleven.

Injury Scare

(Top L-R) Nigeria’s goalkeeper Maduka Okoye, defender Kenneth Omeruo, midfielder Wilfred Ndidi, forward Taiwo Awoniyi, midfielder Joe Aribo, defender William Troost-Ekong, (bottom L-R) forward Kelechi Iheanacho, defender Ola Aina, defender Zaidu Sanusi, forward Samuel Chukwueze and forward Moses Simon pose prior to the Group D Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 football match between Nigeria and Sudan at Stade Roumde Adjia in Garoua on January 15, 2022. Daniel BELOUMOU OLOMO / AFP


Nigeria may have reasons to worry ahead of the tie with Ghana following injuries to midfielder Wilfred Ndidi and defender Kenneth Omeruo. Ndidi was taken off the pitch in his side’s loss to Rennes in a Europa Conference League tie on Thursday.

Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers in a post-game interview said the injury was disappointing but it is unclear when he would recover.

Omeruo Doubtful

Egypt's forward Mohamed Salah (R) fights for the ball with Nigeria's defender Kenneth Omeruo during the Group D Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 football match between Nigeria and Egypt at Stade Roumde Adjia in Garoua on January 11, 2022. Daniel BELOUMOU OLOMO / AFP
In this file photo, Egypt’s forward Mohamed Salah (R) fights for the ball with Nigeria’s defender Kenneth Omeruo during the Group D Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 football match between Nigeria and Egypt at Stade Roumde Adjia in Garoua on January 11, 2022. Daniel BELOUMOU OLOMO / AFP


His compatriot has not played for Leganes in the last four league games following a groin injury but is expected to make a return this Sunday. The 28-year-old was a mainstay in the heart of Nigeria’s defence at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations earlier in the year.

Nigeria will now play the waiting game to know if the duo will be fit for the double-legged tie.

Amuneke Backs Okoye

maduka okoye
Maduka Okoye made his debut for Nigeria in 2019 in a friendly game against Brazil. Photo: Sparta Rotterdam


And ahead of the clash, Super Eagles chief coach Emmanuel Amuneke has backed Maduka Okoye to retain his place in the team. The youngster came under fire following his performance at the AFCON, especially in the game against Tunisia where the three-time African champions slumped to a shocking defeat.

Amuneke told Brila FM that the German-born goalkeeper may have made a mistake but believes it is not enough to sideline him.

Venue Changed, Ghana Squad Awaited

(Top L-R) Nigeria’s goalkeeper Maduka Okoye, midfielder Wilfred Ndidi, defender Kenneth Omeruo, forward Taiwo Awoniyi, midfielder Joe Aribo, defender William Troost-Ekong, (bottom L-R) forward Kelechi Iheanacho, defender Ola Aina, defender Zaidu Sanusi, forward Moses Simon and forward Samuel Chukwueze pose prior to the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 round of 16 football match between Nigeria and Tunisia at Stade Roumde Adjia in Garoua on January 23, 2022. Daniel BELOUMOU OLOMO / AFP


Nigeria’s foes Ghana are yet to announce their squad for the double-legged tie.  Earlier in the week, Ghanaian football authorities confirmed that the venue for the first leg of the encounter has been changed. A Ghana Football Association (GFA) statement said the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi will now host the playoff.  The approval came after a CAF inspection.

Draws for Champions League

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 28, 2020 shows the UEFA logo at the organization's headquarters in Nyon. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
This file photo taken on February 28, 2020, shows the UEFA logo at the organization’s headquarters in Nyon. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP


A day after Leicester City advanced to the next phase of the Europa Conference League, draws for the competition, the Europa League, and the Champions League were held. In one of the most mouth-watering ties in the Champions League, Spanish giants Real Madrid square off against holders Chelsea in the last eight. Manchester City battle Atletico Madrid.

Ndidi’s club will tackle Dutch power house PSV Eindhoven.

Europa League Fixtures

In the Europa League, Barcelona face Eintracht Frankfurt, and Scottish giants, Rangers take on Braga. Other fixtures are West Ham vs Lyon and RB Leipzig vs Atalanta.

Man United Crash Out

Manchester United's English defender Harry Maguire (C) looks to play a pass during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match between Manchester United and Atletico Madrid at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, north west England on March 15, 2022. Paul ELLIS / AFP
Manchester United’s English defender Harry Maguire (C) looks to play a pass during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match between Manchester United and Atletico Madrid at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, north west England on March 15, 2022.


Before the draws, Manchester United were one of the biggest casualties in the Champions League round of 16. They lost to Atletico 2-1 on aggregate to pile more pressure on a struggling squad.  On the home front, the former European champions are fourth on the league table, one point behind Arsenal who have two games at hand.

Bid For Chelsea Continues

In this file photo taken on August 15, 2016, Chelsea’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich takes his seat ahead of the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and West Ham United at Stamford Bridge in London.  Justin TALLIS / AFP


As top European teams know their foes in various continental competitions, Chelsea are facing issues off the pitch. On Wednesday, reports emerged that Chicago Cubs owners, the Ricketts family, have confirmed they are leading a consortium to bid to buy English club.

Already, New York merchant bank Raine Group has set a Friday deadline for bids, with Roman Abramovich’s 19-year tenure as owner of the Stamford Bridge club ending.

Clause Activated!

In this file photo, British heavyweight champion boxer Anthony Joshua leaves the arena after losing to Ukrainian boxer Oleksandr Usyk during their heavyweight boxing match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London on September 25, 2021. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)


Away from football, Joe Joyce’s manager says Anthony Joshua has been contacted but questioned the Nigerian-born boxer’s readiness to take the fight as he waits for a rematch with Oleksandr Usyk.

Joshua activated the clause for a rematch to vie for the WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titles after Usyk defeated him in September. It is, however, uncertain when Usyk will be ready to make a comeback to the ring as his country has been invaded by Russian forces.

Yusuf Eyes Mitchell 


Earlier in the week, Sodiq Yusuff defeated Alex Caceres at UFC Apex in Las Vegas, winning by a unanimous decision. Following the win, he expressed eagerness to face Bryce Mitchell in the next fight

“I really want to test myself against Arkansas’ finest,” the Nigerian said. “I’d really like to fight Bryce Mitchell.”

Brume Eyes History

Bronze medallist, Nigeria’s Ese Brume poses on the podium after the women’s long jump event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 3, 2021. (Photo by Ina FASSBENDER / AFP)


Going to athletics, Nigeria’s Ese Brume is eyeing a historic medal as the World Indoors Championship begins.

The Olympics long jump bronze medalist wants to become the only third Nigerian to win medals in all three global athletics championships including the Olympics.

She has clinched bronze at the World Outdoor Championships in 2019 and is hoping to join Glory Alozie and late Sunday Bada as athletes who have won medals at the World Athletics Championships indoors and out and the Olympics.