De Jong Equalizer Leaves Tottenham’s Champions League Hopes Hanging

De Jong Equalizer Leaves Tottenham's Hopes Hanging By A Thread
Tottenham Hotspur’s French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (L) reacts as he receives a red card during the UEFA Champions League Group B football match against PSV Eindhoven at Philips Stadium in Eindhoven on October 24, 2018. JOHN THYS / AFP

 

Luuk De Jong scored a dramatic late leveller as PSV Eindhoven scraped a 2-2 Champions League draw with 10-man Tottenham Hotspur to leave the English giants’ campaign hanging by a thread on Wednesday.

With no points from their opening two Group B fixtures, this was make-or-break for both Spurs and PSV at the Philips Stadion.

A dominant Spurs looked to have the points wrapped up after Kane nodded past Jeroen Zoet for a 55th-minute lead after Lucas Moura had equalised after Hirving Lozano’s 30th-minute opener for PSV.

But when Lozano threatened to catch a through ball in the 78th minute, goalkeeper Hugo Lloris came rushing out of his goal and caught the Mexican winger with his knee.

The French World Cup winner was immediately shown a red card, with Spurs manager Mauricio Pocchettino taking off Heung-Min Son for second-choice ‘keeper Michel Vorm.

Vorm’s first task was to push away a superb free-kick at the base of the post, only to be caught ball-watching when De Jong poked a loose ball past him with three minutes left on the clock.

It saw Spurs locked with PSV on one point in Group B, five points behind Barcelona and Inter Milan, who play later Wednesday.

A fast start saw Tottenham quickly take control and in the 18th minute, Kane saw a great header come off post and crossbar following a corner from the right.

PSV midfielder Gaston Pereiro fired just a yard wide of Lloris’s upright with a 25-yard free-kick and at the other end, Zoet was down quickly to smother when Son skipped past the Spurs defence to fire a low shot on target.

Yet the Londoners were stunned on the half hour when Toby Alderweireld panicked on a backpass from Davinson Sanchez as Lozano applied the pressure.

Despite Alderweireld running back to block, Lozano’s effort deflected off the Belgian’s boot to send the ball over a rooted Lloris.

Tottenham looked to be back on level terms minutes later when, from a corner, Sanchez fired a rebound from Alderweireld’s header past Zoet from inside a packed area.

But somehow the goal was ruled offside. Although Kane was in an offside position, the England striker made no attempt to play the ball.

Spurs made amends almost immediately, Christian Eriksen splitting the PSV defence to set up Kieran Trippier for a crisp cross that Lucas fired first-time past Zoet via a deflection.

Tottenham were thankful moments later when Pereiro dribbled past Alderweireld to prod an effort off Lloris’s bar.

But Spurs continued to be the better team.

Zoet came to the rescue to deny Eriksen after he was set up by Trippier and the Dane made amends soon after with a superb delivery that saw Kane nod past Zoet at the back post.

Despite Spurs’ dominance, the depleted Londoners were made to pay in the final minutes when De Jong pounced in a packed area to poke past Vorm.

AFP

Messi Scores Hat-Trick As Barcelona Thrash PSV

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring during the UEFA Champions’ League group B football match FC Barcelona against PSV Eindhoven at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 18, 2018. Josep LAGO / AFP

 

Lionel Messi pictures the Champions League ending with him hoisting the trophy and it began with him scoring a hat-trick on Tuesday as Barcelona put four goals past PSV Eindhoven.

An early kick-off at Camp Nou meant that before most of the tournament’s teams had even named their line-ups, Messi was up and running, his sumptuous free-kick from the edge of the area nestling in the top corner, exactly where it was intended.

Messi would have his second and third before the end, and a record eighth Champions League treble, but the game was up by then thanks to a superb strike from the excellent Ousmane Dembele.

Only when Barca were three ahead was Samuel Umtiti sent off for a second yellow card, meaning he will miss the trip to Wembley to face Tottenham next month. Even with 10 men, Messi completed his set for a 4-0 win.

Dembele’s goal was worthy of deciding any match but this was Messi’s night. After a miserable World Cup trying to retrieve the irretrievable Argentina, Barcelona’s now-captain proved his quality again to any doubters that are left.

Four goals already in La Liga, seven overall, neither age nor Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit from Spain appear to have taken the edge off.

“Normally if you score a hat-trick you frame it,” said Barca coach Ernesto Valverde. “But he makes the extraordinary routine.”

Even if Messi remains as good as ever, his team will need others to step up. Philippe Coutinho was impressive here and, after a difficult debut campaign, Dembele is finding his rhythm and his place.

“Just as there is room for players that pass, there must be others that can make things happen,” Valverde said.

The 21-year-old’s driving run earned Messi his free-kick while a sizzling shot brought the goal his bustling display deserved.

Perhaps more importantly, this victory was a clean slate for Barcelona.

It was exactly 23 weeks ago that Roma pulled off one of the greatest comebacks ever seen in this competition and sent the club into a depth of disappointment that, in truth, not even winning the double could alleviate.

Instead, Madrid rubbed salt into the wound by making it look easy and winning their third in a row. “It is a thorn in our side,” Luis Suarez said. “It’s time to win the Champions League,” said Messi.

– Magical Messi –
PSV’s coach Mark van Bommel knows what it feels like to walk out at the Camp Nou – he had a successful, albeit short, spell playing for Barca – but few of his players did.

Nick Viergever was one of them, for Ajax in 2014, but it was his rash challenge on Dembele in the 31st minute that conceded the free-kick a yard outside the penalty area.

Messi sized it up and sent it spinning away from the hand of Jeroen Zoet and into the top corner. It was his eighth free-kick scored in 2018. He has never scored more in a year.

The contest bristled at the start of the second half. Suarez’s delightful chip beat Zoet but not the crossbar. PSV were still in it and could have equalised when Hirving Lozano’s finish was blocked, crucially, by Gerard Pique.

Then three goals arrived in 15 minutes. First Dembele, after leaving two PSV midfielders for dead with a dragback, unleashed into the bottom corner. Van Bommel’s destructive instincts kicked in. “We should have stopped him,” he said.

Messi then latched onto a lob from Ivan Rakitic to slot home before Umtiti was sent off for a cynical block on Lozano.

It made no difference. Suarez set up Messi’s third, a brilliant flick allowing his captain the last word, after he had also had the first.

AFP

Van Gaal Targets Victory In PSV Clash

van GaalManchester United Manager, Louis van Gaal, admits that his team are struggling with injuries as they prepare to face PSV Eindhoven in Wednesday’s Champions League at Old Trafford.

United could be without nine front-line players for the visit of Dutch Champions, PSV, in Group B after defender, Phil Jones, and midfielder, Ander Herrera, were injured in the Premier League win at Watford.

Wayne Rooney is also a doubt after missing Saturday’s match with an illness, while 19-year-old French forward, Anthony Martial, has a foot injury.

However, PSV Manager, Phillip Cocu, expressed beliefs that his team could advance to the knockout stages of the League, as they prepare to play Manchester United.

United midfielder, Daley Blind, said they would be on a revenge mission when they host PSV in the Group B clash.

Van Gaal’s side lost the first leg in Eindhoven by 2 goals to 1, but Blind suggests the score line was not a fair reflection of the game.

The match is scheduled for 8:45pm, Nigerian time.

Manchester Utd, City Prepare Ahead UCL Clashes

Manchester Utd, City Prepare Ahead UCL ClashesManchester United and their rival, Manchester City are concentrating on their Champions League games on Wednesday night despite the duo’s derby this Sunday.

The Red Devils manager, Louis Van Gaal, said he would be satisfy with a point from a tricky away fixture against CSKA Moscow, especially after the team decided to do their pre-match training session at home in Manchester.

United striker, Wayne Rooney says he is hoping for a good result and any goals to his name would just be a bonus.

PSV, Eindhoven and Wolfsburg complete Group B where all four teams have three points from two games.

In the meantime, Manchester City manager, Manuel Pellegrini, says he is wary of a tough Sevilla side, as they prepare without star duo David Silva and Sergio Aguero.

Pellegrini’s men host their Spanish opponents in the Champions League Group D clash and go into the game on the back of their comfortable 5-1 English Premier League victory over Bournemouth.

The manager, who had just 16 senior players in training, had also brought in youngster, Bersant Celina to the session, as he assesses his squad’s casualty list.