Villarreal Beat Manchester United To Win Europa League

 

Villarreal stunned Manchester United after a marathon penalty shoot-out, with goalkeeper David de Gea missing the last spot-kick, in the Europa League final to lift their first-ever major trophy on Wednesday in Gdansk.

It finished 1-1 after 120 minutes as Gerard Moreno put the unfancied Spaniards ahead in the 29th minute before Edinson Cavani levelled early in the second half.

But Villarreal won a remarkable shoot-out 11-10, leaving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer still waiting for his first trophy as United manager.

Villarreal players celebrate their victory at the end of the 2021 UEFA Europa League football final between Spain’s Villarreal and England’s Manchester United at the Gdansk Stadium in the Polish city of Gdansk on May 26, 2021. (Photo by ALEKSANDRA SZMIGIEL / POOL / AFP)
Villarreal players celebrate their victory at the end of the 2021 UEFA Europa League football final between Spain’s Villarreal and England’s Manchester United at the Gdansk Stadium in the Polish city of Gdansk on May 26, 2021. (Photo by ALEKSANDRA SZMIGIEL / POOL / AFP)
Villarreal’s Spanish midfielder Moises (C) and teammates celebrate after winning the UEFA Europa League final football match between Villarreal CF and Manchester United at the Gdansk Stadium in Gdansk on May 26, 2021. (Photo by Michael Sohn / POOL / AFP)
Villarreal’s Spanish midfielder Moises (C) and teammates celebrate after winning the UEFA Europa League final football match between Villarreal CF and Manchester United at the Gdansk Stadium in Gdansk on May 26, 2021. (Photo by Michael Sohn / POOL / AFP)
Villarreal’s Spanish midfielder Moises (C) and teammates celebrate after winning the UEFA Europa League final football match between Villarreal CF and Manchester United at the Gdansk Stadium in Gdansk on May 26, 2021. (Photo by Michael Sohn / POOL / AFP)
Villarreal’s Spanish forward Paco Alcacer (C) celebrates after winning the UEFA Europa League final football match between Villarreal CF and Manchester United at the Gdansk Stadium in Gdansk on May 26, 2021. (Photo by MAJA HITIJ / POOL / AFP)

Lyon Down Juventus In Champions League Last 16, First Leg

 

Cristiano Ronaldo drew a blank as a Lucas Tousart goal handed Lyon a surprise 1-0 win over Juventus in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie in France on Wednesday.

Midfielder Tousart netted in the 31st minute to give Lyon a lead to defend when they head to Turin for the return on March 17.

The goal came with Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt off receiving treatment, but it was just reward for an excellent first half by a Lyon side enduring a mediocre campaign.

They then survived late Juventus pressure to claim their finest European result since defeating Manchester City in last season’s group stage.

“It was a top-class first-half performance from us. It was much harder in the second half, but I was happy with how we hung in there,” said Lyon coach Rudi Garcia.

“I said to the boys that when you’re at home in the first leg it’s very important not to concede, and now we need to go and score there. We must remain humble, it’s only half-time.”

Maurizio Sarri’s side have genuine ambitions of winning a trophy that has evaded Juventus for almost a quarter of a century now, but they could not claim a precious away goal here, with Paulo Dybala seeing a late effort disallowed.

“In the first half it was not the Juve that we know. We didn’t get going in attack. I am struggling to understand certain things,” said Sarri, who thought his team could have had two penalties.

“We didn’t do enough given this was a Champions League match but fortunately we still have 90 minutes to turn it around.”

The match went ahead before a full house at the Groupama Stadium, including around 3,000 Juventus supporters allowed to attend despite calls from some French politicians to block their access amid fears about the spread of the coronavirus.

Those fans, and the Juve squad, would have crossed the Alps with confidence. The Serie A leaders came as overwhelming favourites against a Lyon team looking like possibly the weakest left in the competition.

The visitors’ attack was led by a Ronaldo in fine shape, with the 35-year-old having scored in all nine appearances in 2020 and netted 19 times since the beginning of December.

Juve saved by woodwork

He and his club — beaten in five Champions League finals since last lifting the trophy in 1996 — are in a hurry to succeed in this competition, but they did not play like contenders to go all the way.

Bidding to win a Champions League knockout tie for the first time in a decade, it was Lyon who quickly gained the upper hand, with new signing Bruno Guimaraes outstanding anchoring the midfield.

Karl Toko-Ekambi, another January signing, headed off the bar from Houssem Aouar’s corner midway through the first half. It was a warning to Juve of what was to come.

De Ligt left bloodied

Sarri’s team went temporarily down to 10 men after De Ligt was left stricken, blood streaming from a head wound, following a collision in Lyon’s area.

With the Dutchman off, Lyon pounced. Aouar burst into the box from the left and teed up Tousart to score from six yards.

With the heavily bandaged De Ligt back on, Lyon continued to threaten, Toko-Ekambi twice firing off target.

Juventus sent on Gonzalo Higuain and Aaron Ramsey in the second half and started to push Lyon back.

Nevertheless, they struggled to create chances, with Ronaldo rarely looking like adding to his recent tally and having a late penalty appeal rejected.

Higuain squandered a good chance before Dybala was denied by the offside flag, and the Turin giants will have to turn the tie around in three weeks.

“We believe in ourselves. With our fans right behind us, we can progress through to the next stages,” insisted Ramsey.

They can look to what happened at the same stage a year ago for inspiration — then, they needed to overturn a 2-0 deficit against Atletico Madrid, and a Ronaldo hat-trick did the job in the return at home.

Neymar Scores Injury-Time Winner As PSG Beat Strasbourg

Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar celebrates after scoring a goal during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Racing Club de Strasbourg Alsace (RCS) on September 14, 2019 at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. Martin BUREAU / AFP

 

Neymar marked his return to action for Paris Saint-Germain for the first time in four months with a stunning overhead kick in injury time that gave his team a 1-0 win over Strasbourg on Saturday.

The world’s most expensive player, resigned to another season in France after failing to get the move back to Barcelona he so desired, had been given a hostile reception by angry PSG fans throughout the match at the Parc des Princes.

However, his acrobatic effort in the 92nd minute broke the deadlock and gave PSG a 1-0 win as they stay top of the Ligue 1 table.

Egan Bernal Wins 2019 Tour De France

 

Egan Bernal clinched victory in the Tour de France on Sunday after parading into Paris safely in the overall leader’s yellow jersey, becoming the first Colombian winner of cycling’s greatest prize and its youngest in more than a century.

With the sun setting behind the Arc de Triomphe, the 22-year-old Ineos rider completed the 21 stage, 3,409km (2,118 miles) marathon around France 1min 10sec ahead of 2018 champion and teammate Geraint Thomas.

READ ALSO: Neymar To Miss PSG’s Final Asian Matches Over Injury

Colombian spectators thronged the Champs Elysees to witness the traditional eight-lap finale, where Australia’s Caleb Ewan, also 22, won his third stage of the 2019 edition on the culminating mass bunch sprint.

AFP

AFCON 2015: We Will Win This For Ghana – Ayew

ayewAhead of the Africa Cup of Nations AFCON 2015 final match that is to hold at the Bata Stadium on Sunday, the Ghanaian team are optimistic of the outcome.

Andre Ayew, the Ghanaian forward has vowed that the Ghanaian team will fight to win Sunday’s AFCON final match against Cote d’Ivore for the whole of Ghana.

The Ghanaian forward has shone in this competition, scoring three goals but he insisted it was the result of the confidence he has enjoyed both from his teammates and the coach.

“I have tried to raise my game because I have been given responsibilities both on and off the pitch. It is due to the group and the confidence from the coach,” he said.

He also blamed inexperience for the Black Stars loss at the 2010 AFCON final to Egypt saying that 14 players had been brought from the U20 World Cup and the team was in the final after three months of the tournament where they were attacking, but couldn’t score.

Ayew said, “I remember the red coat my father wore (sitting on the sidelines in the 1992 final). My father is a Ghanaian and so I want to win this cup for all Ghanaians.”

Ghana last won this competition in 1982 with Andre’s father, the legendary Abedi ‘Pele’ Ayew, one of the top stars from that triumph in Libya.

Ten years later, Ayew senior could not play another Africa Cup final after he picked up a second yellow card against Nigeria in the semi-final and Cote d’Ivoire went ahead to beat the Black Stars 11-10 on penalties after a goalless 120 minutes of action. “When you get to the final, you need to do everything to win the trophy,” he said.

Ghanaian Black Stars Captain, Asamoah Gyan, returned to training in Bata on Saturday ahead of the AFCON 2015 final against Ivory Coast.

Gyan did not join his colleagues during the team work out, but trained separately with physical trainer Jamie Lawrence due to his health status.

Gyan must pass a late fitness test to make Avram Grant’s starting line-up for the final against Ivory Coast.

The 29-year-old missed Ghana’s AFCON 2015 semi-final against Equatorial Guinea due to a hip injury he suffered against Guinea last Sunday.

Avram Grant, the black star coach also said that reaching the final of the AFCON tournament is as important to him as reaching the UEFA Champions league final.

“For me, I do not rate any final as the best; it’s a good achievement we have reached with these guys and all Ghanaian should get behind the team,” he said.

The former Chelsea boss took charge of the West African giants three weeks to CAF’s flagship competition, but has managed to reach the final of the competition.