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【soccer betting usa legal】Anand beats Bacrot to finish second

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2022-07-02 16:31:49

Consider our legacy and act accordingly, East Bengal tells AIFF******Football

Consider our legacy and act accordingly, East Bengal tells AIFF

PTINEW DELHIApril 29, 2019 22:09 ISTUpdated:April 29, 2019 22:10 ISTPTINEW DELHIApril 29, 2019 22:09 ISTUpdated:April 29, 2019 22:10 IST

‘In the interest of Indian football, the AIFF must end the issue at this point’

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‘In the interest of Indian football, the AIFF must end the issue at this point’

Nearing a century of existence, East Bengal has pleaded with the All-India Football Federation (AIFF) to consider its legacy and contribution before acting for pulling out of the Super Cup.

Having skipped the Super Cup last month owing to “unfair treatment” by the federation, the I-Lsoccer betting usa legaleague clubs have denied being at fault during the two-day AIFF disciplinary committee hearing that concluded here on Sunday.

Mohun Bagan (established in 1889) and East Bengal (1920) are the two oldest football clubs in India.

‘Solidarity’

“We pulled out of the Super Cup after our club’s Executive Committee decided to do so as East Bengal wanted to stand in solidarity with other clubs,” East Bengal’s Executive Committee member Debabrata ‘Nitu’ Sarkar said.

“Nonetheless, we committed a mistake and other clubs too. AIFF is like our parent and just like parents treat their children, AIFF should not take action against the clubs in this case.

“We are a legacy club of 100 years existence and we have made our contribution to Indian football. So in the interest of Indian football, the AIFF must end the issue here at this point,” he added.

Seven I-League clubs withdrew from the Super Cup demanding a meeting with AIFF President Praful Patel regarding the future roadmap of Indian football.

Minerva Punjab FC argued that the AIFF chief responded to its request late.

“I-League clubs were ready to play Super Cup had Mr. Praful Patel granted us a meeting before the commencement of the competition as requested in the letter dated 12th March by the clubs,” Minerva Punjab said in a statement.

“It was only after withdrawal of Gokulam Kerala, Minerva Punjab and Aizawl FC in the qualification round that Mr. Patel responded to our request for a meeting. Still no date was given.

“After Mr. Patel agreed to meet the clubs with tentative dates on 21st March, all clubs were willing to participate in the Super Cup. Our only request was to reschedule the qualifiers and allow even the three teams who had not played in the qualifiers (because of which the meeting was granted) to participate.

Rescheduling denied

“Unfortunately the federation denied the request for rescheduling of the qualifiers. Clubs who have pre qualified for the Super Cup could not ignore the sacrifice of clubs drafted in qualifiers (because of whom the meeting was granted). Hence could not participate in the Super Cup.”

At loggerheads

Minerva Punjab is at loggerheads with the AIFF for long now over various issues.

“Clubs are not maligning the federation, but are seeking our basic rights to be heard and treated fairly as important stakeholders of Indian football.

“The federation is irked every time we stand up for our rights.

“They expect us to wait patiently in the dark for our doom. Unfortunately, we cannot stay silent as future of hundreds of players and staff linked with each club hangs in the balance,” MInerva Punjab added.

Spurs stumble at home to West Ham******Football

Spurs stumble at home to West Ham

AFPLondonApril 27, 2019 22:11 ISTUpdated:April 27, 2019 22:13 ISTAFPLondonApril 27, 2019 22:11 ISTUpdated:April 27, 2019 22:13 IST

Liverpool powers back to the top of the heap

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Sweet finish:  West Ham’s Michail Antonio scores the first ever away side goal at Spurs’s new home.

Sweet finish: West Ham’s Michail Antonio scores the first ever away side goal at Spurs’s new home.

Liverpool powers back to the top of the heap

Tottenham was beaten for the first time at its new stadium as Michail Antonio fired West Ham to a surprise 1-0 victory over its London rival on Saturday.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side had won all four matches at its new £1 billion Tottenham Hotspur stadium.

But Antonio’s clinical second half strike ended that run as the West Ham winger became the first visiting player to score in the plush arena.

Third placed Tottenham’s second defeat in its last three Premier League games put a dent in its bid to finish in the top four.

It holds a three-point lead over fourth placed Chelsea and is four points ahead of fifth placed Arsenal, with both teams in action on Sunday.

It was a frustrating warm-up for Tottenham’s Champions League semifinal first leg against Ajax in north London on Tuesday.

Gone in 15 seconds

Liverpool powered back to the top of the Premier League as Naby Keita’s goal after just 15 seconds inspired a 5-0 rout of Huddersfield on Friday.

Jurgen Klopp’s side struck three times in the first half at Anfield, with Keita bagging Liverpool’s fastest ever Premier League goal before Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah also got on the scoresheet.

Mane and Salah netted again in the second half to move the Reds two points clear of second placed Manchester City, which will regain pole position if it wins at Burnley on Sunday.

The lead at the top of the table has now changed hands for a record 29th time as this memorable season heads for a thrilling conclusion.

The results: Premier League:Tottenham 0 lost to West Ham 1 (Antonio 67); Crystal Palace 0 drew with Everton 0; Fulham 1 (Babel 79) bt Cardiff City 0; Southampton 3 (Long 12, Ward-Prowse 55, Targett 67) drew with Bournemouth 3 (Gosling 20, Wilson 32, 86); Watford 1 (Gray 49) lost to Wolves 2 (Jiminez 41, Jota 77).

La Liga:Athletic Bilbao 1 (Benat 41) drew with Alaves 1 (Borja 45).

Serie A:Bologna 3 (Soriano 52, Orsolini 83, Sansone 90+5) bt Empoli 1 (Pajac 17).

Bundesliga:Borussia Dortmund 2 (Goetze 14, Witsel 84) lost to Schalke 4 (Caligiuri 18-pen, 62, Sane 28, Embolo 86); RB Leipzig 2 (Werner 19, Forsberg 78-pen) bt Freiburg 1 (Grifo 67); Eintracht Frankfurt 0 drew with Hertha Berlin 0; Hanover 1 (Weydandt 66) bt Mainz 0; Fortuna Dusseldorf 4 (Raman 1, Karaman 23, Hennings 56, Suttner 73) bt Werder Bremen 1 (Kruse 28-pen).

On Friday:Premier League:Liverpool 5 (Keita 1, Mane 23, 66, Salah 45+1, 83) bt Huddersfield 0.

Bundesliga:Augsburg 1 (Danso 12) lost to Bayer Leverkusen 4 (Volland 15, Havertz 49, Tah 60, Brandt 88).

bet tips today soccerSuper Cup fiasco: AIFF committee to determine punishment******Football

Super Cup fiasco: AIFF committee to determine punishment

Special Correspondent KOLKATAApril 26, 2019 21:46 ISTUpdated:April 26, 2019 21:46 ISTSpecial Correspondent KOLKATAApril 26, 2019 21:46 ISTUpdated:April 26, 2019 21:46 IST
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The fate of the seven I-League clubs which unilaterally withdrew from the season-ending Super Cup, protesting against the All India Football Federation, will be decided in the disciplinary committee meeting of the national federation, which convenes on Saturday.

The disciplinary committee, chaired by senior advocate Ushanath Banerjee, will be hearing the depositions of the representatives of the seven clubs — Minerva Punjab FC, East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Churchill Brothers, NEROCA FC, Gokulam Kerala FC and Aizawl FC — which have been served show-cause notices on the recommendations of the AIFF League committee, which first took up the issue.

‘Strict measures’

The AIFF general secretary Kushal Das has, in a recent statement, said that the clubs cannot malign the national federation and should face “strict measures” for their action.

The AIFF disciplinary committee, formed primarily with advocates as its members, will have the responsibility of determining the quantum of punishment based on the articles and clauses contained in the participation agreement of the tournaments signed by the teams at the start of the season.

The meeting will be held on two days to allow the seven clubs to depose following which the committee will announce its decision. The clubs next have the option of approaching to the appeals committee.

Meanwhile, the All India Football Federation has formally decided to appoint Romanian Doru Isac as the new technical director of Indian football, replacing Savio Medeira.

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【soccer betting usa legal】Anand beats Bacrot to finish second

A field of her own: bringing football to girls from marginalised communities******Football

A field of her own: bringing football to girls from marginalised communities

Sameera KhanApril 26, 2019 08:25 ISTUpdated:April 26, 2019 11:39 ISTSameera KhanApril 26, 2019 08:25 ISTUpdated:April 26, 2019 11:39 IST

Non-profit collectives like Parcham have worked with authorities to create an exclusive sports ground for girls from marginalised communities in the city

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Non-profit collectives like Parcham have worked with authorities to create an exclusive sports ground for girls from marginalised communities in the city

Imagine an Indian city with open spaces full of girls playing, running, laughing... Imagine playgrounds spilling over with girls playing football, cricket and hockey. Imagine girls and their mothers insalwars, saris, tights, shorts andhijabsrunning across open fields chasing a ball, scoring goals, and loudly cheering. If you can imagine all this, you’re imagining a radically different Indian city! It’s different because girls don’t play. They certainly don’t play as much as boys. They definitely don’t dominate the playgrounds andmaidansof our cities. Mostly they wait on the sidelines if they make it to the playground at all.

First of its kind

It’s a reality non-profit collectives such as Parcham, which uses football to engage with girls from marginalised communities in the Mumbai Metropolitan region, are working hard to create.

Their most recent initiative is the takeover of an empty plot of land adjacent to Mumbra’s Maulana Azad Stadium to create an exclusive sports ground for girls, the first of its kind in Maharashtra. “Parcham has been in dialogue with the Thane Municipal Corporation for a few years to create a safe space for women and girls to exercise their right to play,” says Sabah Khan, co-founder of Parcham. “Now that dream has been realised.”

Though the plot is yet to be levelled and cleared of construction debris, more than 100 girls and women recently staked claim to it by participating in the Third Fatima Bi Savitri Bai Football Tournament held at the new ground in Mumbra.

“Reserving a plot for girls to play is a big achievement for women who are minimally able to access public spaces,” says Salma Ansari, who trained in football with Parcham and now helps manage its football programme. “It’s also a major change in the image of Mumbra.” Like many Mumbra residents, Salma moved here with her family from Byculla after the 1992-93 Bombay riots. Since then, Mumbra has largely been perceived as a haphazardly-planned Muslim ghetto. “That Mumbra will now set the benchmark in working towards gender equality in public is revolutionary,” says Sabah.

This was part of Parcham’s goal when it initiated a football programme for 20 girls in Mumbra in 2012. “We wanted to make women visible in ways that were rarely seen, moving beyond narratives of victimhood reserved for Muslim girls,” explains Sabah. “We wanted women to visibly stake claim to public spaces; for girls to access playgrounds and have fun.”

The football programme now extends to 99 girls and includes the areas of Mankhurd, Bandra and Nerul.

The question that arises now is whether segregation of women from men is the only way to further women’s access to the public. In the current scenario, where any space in a building compound or open ground gets quickly overtaken by boys, it might be a viable short-term strategy.

“In our experience, when girls take the field, it’s like amela— men hang around leering, staring, commenting, taking videos (that we ask them to delete),” says Salma. How do girls then develop the confidence to run freely, hold their bodies less rigidly and focus on developing game skills?

‘Making, saving goals’

“While we maintain our claim to mainstream public spaces, till they accept a girl’s presence in the open field, till girls feel more confident, and their families more assured of their safety, a girls-only field may be a solution,” says Sabah. “Once the girls are hooked, it does not matter where they play; it’s only about making or saving a goal.” And in the end, that’s all that should matter.

As I wind up this Streetwise column, what better thought can I leave you with than that?

Sameera Khan is a Mumbai-based journalist, researcher and co-author, Why Loiter? Women & Risk on Mumbai Streets

Premier League football: Man City takes derby honours******Football

Premier League football: Man City takes derby honours

ReutersManchesterApril 25, 2019 22:00 ISTUpdated:April 25, 2019 22:00 ISTReutersManchesterApril 25, 2019 22:00 ISTUpdated:April 25, 2019 22:00 IST

Wolves stun Arsenal

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What a feeling! Leroy Sane, right, celebrates scoring Manchester City’s second goal with Bernardo Silva, lwft, and Raheem Sterling.

What a feeling! Leroy Sane, right, celebrates scoring Manchester City’s second goal with Bernardo Silva, lwft, and Raheem Sterling.

Wolves stun Arsenal

Manchester City took a big step towards retaining the Premier League title with a 2-0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford on Wednesday sending it back to the top of the table.

City has 89 points, one more than rival Liverpool, with both teams having three games to play — and none of them against top six opponents.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side remains in sixth place with 64 points, outside the Champions League qualification slots as the early promise of the Norwegian’s reign dissipates.

United is surely keen to get this season over with and begin the rebuilding it needs —it has now lost seven games out of its last nine in all competitions and was outclassed after the break by City’s composed, intelligent passing and movement.

Second-half goals from Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane ensured a comfortable win for City, which has now won 11 straight league games.

The form book suggests City should win the title, much to the frustration of Liverpool which has lost just once this season.

However, City captain Vincent Kompany was not getting carried away.

“Nothing is played out yet. Burnley is a difficult away game next and there is plenty to play for, both for us and Liverpool. We will deal with the other games in the next days,” said the Belgian.

“We need three wins. We cannot expect the opponent to drop points.”

United, smarting from its 4-0 hammering at Everton on Sunday, at least played with aggression and energy in the scoreless first half but created little beyond an optimistic long-range effort from Marcus Rashford.

City was slow to find top gear although the irrepressible Silva tested David de Gea with a thundering drive and Raheem Sterling shot straight at the Spanish keeper after dribbling his way to space inside the box.

Guardiola was forced to adjust his line up six minutes after the interval when Brazilian holding midfielder Fernandinho went off injured and Sane was introduced.

But it was no surprise that Portuguese winger Bernardo Silva was the man who broke through.

He picked the ball up on the right flank and cut inside on to his left foot, surprising de Gea with a low drive that sneaked in the bottom corner in the 54th minute.

United’s night was summed up when some rare shaky defending from City saw the ball loop towards the back post but Jesse Lingard mis-kicked completely and the opportunity had gone.

City then doubled its lead —Fred giving the ball away in midfield, Sterling breaking forward before feeding Sane on the left with the German’s powerful drive flying in off the outstretched leg of de Gea, who probably should have done better.

“There is a difference in quality. That is why they are top and we are where we are,” said Solskjaer.

“They have set the standard. Living in Manchester we cannot be happy with that. It is up to us to close that gap and overtake them,” he said.

Arsenal’s fragility on the road returned as a 3-1 defeat at Wolverhampton Wanderers put a huge dent in its hopes of a top-four finish in the Premier League.

Unai Emery’s side needed only a point to reclaim fourth spot from Chelsea but conceded three times before the break against a clinical Wolves side which moved up to seventh.

Ruben Neves opened the scoring with a superb 28th minute free kick before Matt Doherty’s glancing header made it 2-0 nine minutes later.

Dreadful Arsenal defending allowed Diogo Jota to surge through and fire a shot past Bernd Leno on the stroke of halftime.

A late Sokratis Papastathopoulos header from Granit Xhaka’s cross was scant consolation for the Gunners. fans who watched their side lose a seventh away league game this season.

With three games left Arsenal remains in fifth place with 66 points, a point behind Chelsea and four behind third-placed Tottenham Hotspur. Manchester United is sixth with 64.

Wolves rose to seventh spot with 51 points —a position that could offer a route into European football next season —and is set to become the first promoted club to finish in the top eight since Reading in 2006-07.

Arsenal has now lost two matches in a row following Sunday’s home defeat by Crystal Palace and it may need the backup option of winning the Europa League to claim a place in next season’s Champions League.

Emery remained confident it can finish in the top four.

“We can be frustrated but the Premier League is about being consistent over 38 matches,” the Spaniard said.

“Today we’re disappointed but we need to remember how we were three months ago.

“We can be optimistic and recover for the top four.”

Arsenal dominated possession in the first 20 minutes but Joao Moutinho served notice of Wolves’ threat as he curled wide after a flowing counter-attack.

Nacho Monreal was then penalised for a foul on Jota and Neves sent his curling free kick past Leno.

Arsenal switched off at a corner in the 37th minute, allowing Moutinho and Jonny to exchange passes before the latter’s cross was glanced by Doherty past a flailing Leno.

In first-half stoppage time Arsenal carelessly conceded possession and Jota’s angled shot beat Leno.

Arsenal did tighten up after the break but the damage had already been done.

Incredibly Wolves have now picked up 16 points in their matches against the current top six this season with wins over Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester United and now Arsenal.The results:

Premier League: Manchester United 0 lost to Manchester City 2 (Bernardo Silva 54, Sane 66); Wolves 3 (Neves 28, Doherty 37, Jota 45+2) bt Arsenal 1 (Sokratis 80).

La Liga: Atletico Madrid 3 (Morata 9, Griezmann 49, Correa 81) bt Valencia 2 (Gameiro 36, Parejo 77-pen); Espanyol 1 (Wu 33) drew with Celta Vigo 1 (Gomez 72).

Leganes 0 drew with Athletic Bilbao 1 (En-Nesyri 43-o.g.); Levante 4 (Campana 9, Moron 32-og, Morales 56-pen, Coke 81) bt Real Betis 0 .

Barca on the cusp of winning La Liga title******Football

Barca on the cusp of winning La Liga title

ReutersBarcelonaApril 24, 2019 22:17 ISTUpdated:April 24, 2019 22:17 ISTReutersBarcelonaApril 24, 2019 22:17 ISTUpdated:April 24, 2019 22:17 IST

Spurs remain in the hunt for a top-four spot

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Strike one:  Carles Alena, right, scored the opener  for Barcelona.

Strike one: Carles Alena, right, scored the opener for Barcelona.

Spurs remain in the hunt for a top-four spot

Barcelona has one hand firmly on the La Liga title after winning 2-0 at Alaves on Tuesday, leaving it 12 points clear at the top of the table with four games to play.

With one eye on next week’s Champions League semifinal against Liverpool, Ernesto Valverde picked a side with Lionel Messi, Jordi Alba and Arthur among other regular starters, on the bench.

After a turgid first half, Barcelona stepped up a gear in the second and midfielder Carles Alena sent the Catalans ahead at Mendizorroza after 54 minutes.

Arturo Vidal and Sergio Roberto combined well, the latter threading a pass through to Alena which Luis Suarez cleverly stepped over, allowing the 21-year-old to coolly slot home.

Suarez added the second from the penalty spot after Tomas Pina’s handball was spotted by VAR, putting Barcelona in touching distance of its 26th league title.

Eriksen rescues Spurs

Christian Eriksen consolidated Tottenham’s place in the Premier League’s top four as his superb late strike sealed a hard-fought 1-0 win over struggling Brighton.

Mauricio Pochettino’s third-placed side dominated from start to finish at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but a combination of brave Brighton defending and poor finishing kept the match in the balance until the 88th minute.

Eriksen finally ended Brighton’s stubborn resistance with a sensational long-range drive that lifted Tottenham three points clear of fourth-placed Chelsea and four ahead of Arsenal in fifth.

The results:

Premier League: Tottenham 1 (Eriksen 88) bt Brighton 0; Watford 1 (Gray 90) drew with Southampton 1 (Long 1).

La Liga: Huesca 2 (Gallego 54, Avila 57) bt Eibar 0; Real Valladolid 1 (Herrero 67) bt Girona 0; Alaves 0 lost to Barcelona 2 (Alena 54, Suarez 60-pen) .

Valencia closes in on CL contention******Football

Valencia closes in on CL contention

ReutersMadridApril 22, 2019 22:15 ISTUpdated:April 22, 2019 22:15 ISTReutersMadridApril 22, 2019 22:15 ISTUpdated:April 22, 2019 22:15 IST
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A brilliant double from Goncalo Guedes saw Valencia move into fifth place in La Liga as it recorded an impressive 2-1 victory at Real Betis on Sunday to move into closer contention for the fourth and final Champions League place.

Guedes struck almost identical efforts from outside the box either side of halftime to move Marcelino’s side on to 52 points, leapfrogging Betis’s local rival Sevilla in the process.

Valencia, which has lost just one of its last 22 games in all competitions and has reached the semifinals of the Europa League and Copa del Rey, was good value for the victory even though it ended with 10 men after the dismissal of Rodrigo.

It caused its host numerous problems throughout an entertaining first half that saw both teams share the chances until Guedes produced a brilliant breakthrough moment with stoppage time almost complete.

As he picked up the ball just outside the box, there appeared little danger but the Portugal forward skipped past the challenge of Marc Bartra and arrowed a low shot into the bottom right-hand corner past Pau Lopez.

Three minutes after the restart, Guedes produced a carbon copy of the finish after Betis failed to clear a corner.

Giovani Lo Celso halved the deficit from the penalty spot with 13 minutes remaining to set up a grandstand finish for Betis during which Rodrigo was sent off for a second yellow card offence and Kevin Gameiro forced a smart save from Lopez on the break.

Ultimately Betis, whose fans voiced their displeasure with coach Quique Setien throughout the second half, was unable to find an equaliserThe Andalusian side remains in ninth place on 43 points.

The results:On Sunday:La Liga: Villarreal 2 (Bacca 64, Toko Ekambi 80) bt Leganes 1 (Nabil El Zhar 87-pen); Real Betis 1 (Lo Celso 78-pen) lost to Valencia 2 (Guedes 45, 49).

Bundesliga: Hertha Berlin 0 drew with Hanover 96 0 .

Everton deflates United’s CL hopes******Football

Everton deflates United’s CL hopes

AFPLiverpoolApril 21, 2019 21:55 ISTUpdated:April 21, 2019 21:55 ISTAFPLiverpoolApril 21, 2019 21:55 ISTUpdated:April 21, 2019 21:55 IST

Barcelona on the cusp of La Liga glory after win over Sociedad

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Acrobatic effort: Richarlison’s overhead goal set Everton on its way to a romp over Manchester United.

Acrobatic effort: Richarlison’s overhead goal set Everton on its way to a romp over Manchester United.

Barcelona on the cusp of La Liga glory after win over Sociedad

Manchester United’s hopes of Champions League football next season suffered another huge blow as Everton romped to a 4-0 win at Goodison Park on Sunday.

A sixth defeat in eight games in all competitions for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men means they remain two points adrift of the top four in sixth.

Everton, chasing seventh, which could provide a route into next season’s Europa League, made a flying start as Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson struck inside the first 28 minutes.

Lucas Digne’s sweet strike and Theo Walcott’s goal completed Everton’s biggest win over United since 1984.

Solskjaer’s task in turning United’s fortunes around does not get any easier as title-chasing Manchester City visits Old Trafford on Wednesday.

The opener

Brazilian Richarlison fired Everton ahead in the 13th minute with an acrobatic high volley after Dominic Calvert-Lewin flicked on a long throw.

Gylfi Sigurdsson made it 2-0 with a low drive from over 25 yards out that United keeper David De Gea was slow to react to. Digne then blasted in the third in the 56th minute after De Gea punched out a corner to the French full-back.

Icelandic playmaker Sigurdsson then put substitute Theo Walcott through with a clever pass through the legs of Victor Lindelof which the former Arsenal striker confidently converted.

Barcelona is closing in on its eighthLa Ligatitle in 11 years after Clement Lenglet and Jordi Alba both scored in a 2-1 win over Real Sociedad on Saturday.

Victory means Barca only have to beat Alaves on Tuesday and then Levante next Saturday to be crowned champion at Camp Nou, while three points against Alaves will be enough on its own if Atletico Madrid then lose to Valencia on Wednesday.

Whether in three days or seven, it is now surely only a matter of when rather than if Ernesto Valverde’s side successfully defend its trophy, despite Atletico keeping the gap to nine points after it edged past Eibar earlier on Saturday.

Easy for Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund eased past Freiburg 4-0 on Sunday, with goals from Jadon Sancho, Marco Reus, Mario Goetze and Paco Alcacer, to stay a point behind leader Bayern Munich with four games left in the Bundesliga season.

England international Sancho tapped in from close range for the visitors in the 12th minute and Reus completed another fine move in the 54th to score his 16th goal of the season.

The pair then combined to set up Goetze for the third in the 79th and Dortmund’s top scorer Alcacer made it 4-0 with an 87th minute penalty, his 17th league goal.

The result kept Dortmund, on 69 points, within striking distance of Bayern, which is top on 70.

The results: Premier League:Everton 4 (Richarlison 13, Sigurdsson 28, Digne 56, Walcott 64) bt Manchester United 0.

La Liga:Levante 2 (Vezo 62, Rochina 72) drew with Espanyol 2 (Iglesias 16, Roca 65); Getafe 3 (Mata 35-pen, Jorge Molina 45+5-pen, 53) bt Sevilla 0.

Bundesliga:Borussia Dortmund 4 (Sancho 12, Reus 54, Goetze 79, Alcacer 97-pen) bt Freiburg 0.

Saturday: La Liga:Eibar 0 lost to Atletico Madrid 1 (Lemar 85); Rayo Vallecano 0 drew with Huesca 0; Barcelona 2 (Lenglet 45, Alba 64) bt Real Sociedad 1 (Juanmi 62).

Premier League:Newcastle 3 (Perez 27, 31, 86) bt Southampton 1 (Lemina 59).

Serie A:Juventus 2 (Sandro 37, Pezzella 53-og) bt Fiorentina 1 (Milenkovic 6); Inter Milan 1 (Perisic 61) drew with Roma 1 (El Shaarawy 14).

Bundesliga:Borussia Monchengladbach 1 (Plea 61) lost to RB Leipzig 2 (Halstenberg 17-pen, 53); Schalke 2 (Caligiuri 60-pen, Burgstaller 90) lost to Hoffenheim 5 (Belfodil 25, 80 Kramaric 45, Szalai 65, Amiri 73).

Sixth Santosh title for Services******Football

Sixth Santosh title for Services

PTILudhianaApril 21, 2019 21:08 ISTUpdated:April 21, 2019 21:08 ISTPTILudhianaApril 21, 2019 21:08 ISTUpdated:April 21, 2019 21:08 IST

Bikash Thapa nets the winner

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A smiles: A delighted Services team with the coveted trophy

A smiles: A delighted Services team with the coveted trophy

Bikash Thapa nets the winner

Services won its sixth Santosh Trophy title with a 1-0 victory over home side Punjab, thanks to a second-half strike by Bikash Thapa at the Guru Nanak Stadium here Sunday.

With this victory, the side has ended the campaign without losing a single match.

Incidentally, the last time Services played in the Santosh Trophy final was in 2015, at the same venue and against the same opposition, a match that it won 5-4 on penalties after it ended 0-0 post extra time.

It was a somewhat slow start to the game as both the sides looked to measure each other up before committing themselves.

Punjab had more initiative during the opening exchanges, managing to get a few shots on goal.

However, as the match wore on, Services started to gain more composure and built its attacks down the flanks. This wing-play almost resulted in a goal right at the end of the first half.

Bikash Thapa was played through on the right as he entered the box, sold a dummy to a Punjab defender and crossed to Harikrishna AU who scuffed his shot.

After the changeover, Services came out with a clear intent to go ahead in the game.

Again, it was its wing-play that helped it. Lallawmkima found himself on the edge of the Punjab area with the ball.

He squared it to Thapa, who slotted it into the bottom corner. A shirtless celebration meant that Thapa had to go into the referee’s books.

That goal forced Punjab to look for the equaliser, and striker Vikrant Singh came close with around 15 minutes of regulation time to go. Turning in the centre-circle, he spotted that the Services keeper Vishnu was off his line, and chipped the ball towards goal.

The ball eventually hit the cross-bar and went out of play.

‘Things will be easier for Indian fans at 2022 WC’******Football

‘Things will be easier for Indian fans at 2022 WC’

PTIMumbaiApril 21, 2019 20:55 ISTUpdated:April 21, 2019 20:55 ISTPTIMumbaiApril 21, 2019 20:55 ISTUpdated:April 21, 2019 20:55 IST
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Nasser Al Khater

Nasser Al Khater

Unfazed by the economic boycott by the Saudi Arabia-led bloc of countries, 2022 FIFA World Cup host Qatar is extremely confident of delivering a top-notch event and also expect a big contingent from India to attend football’s showpiece in the Arabian Desert.

“For us, sports and politics are separate, and so we are confident that our vision and meticulous planning that has gone in over the last eight years to accomplish it, will bear fruits in 2022 irrespective of the blockade imposed on Qatar,” World Cup CEO Nasser Al Khater toldPTIin an e-mail interview.

Noting that in the last World Cup in Russia the Indians constituted the third biggest group of ticket purchasers from countries that had not qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the Qatar CEO insisted that things would be easier for the Indian fans “because of Qatar’s geographical proximity to India and the visa on arrival facility is extended to the Indian nationals”.

Al Khater cited India’s example of hosting ICC Cricket World Cup games in a dry state like Gujarat in 2011 when asked about restrictions on consumption of alcohol with Qatar being an Islamic nation.

“Alcohol is currently available in Qatar in designated areas, including hotels for example, and this will not change in 2022. We are a conservative society but a hospitable one, and are aware that we are hosting one of the world’s biggest events, sporting or otherwise, and that people from many other cultures will be visiting during the FIFA World Cup,” said Al Khater.

City back on top after nervy win******Football

City back on top after nervy win

ReutersManchesterApril 20, 2019 21:13 ISTUpdated:April 20, 2019 21:13 ISTReutersManchesterApril 20, 2019 21:13 ISTUpdated:April 20, 2019 21:13 IST

Foden first PL goal exacts measure of revenge over Spurs

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Nodding home: Phil Foden heads in Manchester City’s winning goal against Tottenham Hotspurs.

Nodding home: Phil Foden heads in Manchester City’s winning goal against Tottenham Hotspurs.

Foden first PL goal exacts measure of revenge over Spurs

Manchester City returned to the top of the Premier League with a fifth-minute Phil Foden goal giving it a nervy 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad stadium on Saturday.

The victory, coming three days after Spurs eliminated City from the Champions League, puts the pressure back on title rival Liverpool, which is at Cardiff City on Sunday and trails by a point with each side having played 34 games.

But City’s win came at a price with key midfielder Kevin De Bruyne forced off with what looked like another knee injury in the 38th minute.

It remains to be seen how serious that injury is but it will surely put him in doubt for Wednesday’s crucial Manchester derby at Old Trafford — the last game City faces against a top-six opponent.

Bernardo Silva created the goal, coasting past two Tottenham defenders before floating a delightful cross to Sergio Aguero, who headed back across the face of the goal to Foden to nod in from close range.

It was the first goal in the Premier League for the 18-year-old midfielder, making his second start in the competition.

“We knew what they were about because we have played them twice (recently) already,” said Foden.

“It’s hard and we looked a bit leggy but we got the job done.”

Son Heung-min twice threatened the City goal but both times City keeper Ederson was out quickly to nullify the danger.

Spurs felt it should have had a penalty in the 59th minute when the ball appeared to hit Kyle Walker’s arm inside the box but referee Michael Oliver waved away the appeal.

Bruno Alves grabbed a point for Parma to pile the pressure on AC Milan’s Champions League ambitions with a 1-1 draw in Emilia-Romagna in the Serie A on Saturday.

Samu Castillejo nodded Milan ahead after 69 minutes but Alves pulled the sides level with a curling free-kick three minutes from time.

AC Milan remains fourth on 56 points.

The results: Premier League:Manchester City 1 (Foden 5) bt Tottenham Hotspur 0.

La Liga:Celta Vigo 2 (Aspas 34, Boufal 69) bt Girona 1 (Portu 48).

Serie A:Parma 1 (Bruno Alves 87) drew with AC Milan 1 (Castillejo 69).

Friday: La Liga:Alaves 2 (Guidetti 4, Jony 24) drew with Valladolid 2 (Plano 38, Unal 76-pen).

Services to meet Punjab in final******Football

Services to meet Punjab in final

Sports BureauLUDHIANAApril 19, 2019 21:35 ISTUpdated:April 19, 2019 21:35 ISTSports BureauLUDHIANAApril 19, 2019 21:35 ISTUpdated:April 19, 2019 21:35 IST
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Services will face host Punjab in the Santosh Trophy final at the Guru Nanak Stadium here on Sunday.

In Friday’s semifinals, Services overcame a spirited Karnataka 4-3 on penalties after the match was locked at 1-1 by the end of regulation time, while Punjab edged Goa 2-1 with Harjinder Singh scoring an injury-time winner.

Lallawmkima’s seventh-minute opener for Services looked set to prove the difference until substitute Nikhil Raj equalised with just six minutes left. By then, Karnataka was even a man down following defender A.S. Ashik’s straight red in the 70th minute.

With no goal in extra-time, the match stretched to a penalty shootout. Karnataka skipper G. Vignesh fluffed the opening shot, ramming it straight against the post. Services scored all four of its spot-kicks before Karnataka substitute Manoj Kannan’s miss off the final penalty sent his side packing.

Semifinal results: Punjab 2 (Jaspreet Singh 13, Harjinder Singh 90+1) bt Goa 1 (Ronaldo Oliveira 89); Services 1 (P.C. Lallawmkima 7) bt Karnataka 1 (M. Nikhil Raj 84) 4-3 on penalties .

Arsenal and Chelsea in semifinals******Football

Arsenal and Chelsea in semifinals

ReutersNAPLESApril 19, 2019 21:33 ISTUpdated:April 19, 2019 21:59 ISTReutersNAPLESApril 19, 2019 21:33 ISTUpdated:April 19, 2019 21:59 IST

The English sides will take on Valencia and Eintracht respectively

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On target: Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette fires in the lone goal against Napoli on Thursday

On target: Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette fires in the lone goal against Napoli on Thursday

The English sides will take on Valencia and Eintracht respectively

A magnificent Alexandre Lacazette free-kick sent Arsenal into the Europa League semifinals with a comfortable 1-0 win away to a toothless Napoli on Thursday, ending Serie A’s interest in European competition this season.

The Frenchman struck in the 36th minute to earn Arsenal a tie against Valencia, just as Napoli, trailing 2-0 from the first leg, was threatening to take control of the game.

Carlo Ancelotti's team lost its way after that and the London side was able to sit out the second half to reach the semifinals for the second season in a row with a 3-0 aggregate win.

Valencia eased into the last four for the first time in five years with a comfortable 2-0 win to fellow Spanish side Villarreal for a resounding 5-1 aggregate scoreline. Toni Lato and Dani Parejo were the scorers.

Chelsea made it two Premier League teams in the last four, beating Slavia Prague 4-3 helped by a Pedro double in a first-half onslaught before withstanding the Czech’s comeback bid after the break in a pulsating game.

Chelsea was cruising 4-1 at half-time but Slavia added two goals early in the second period with powerful strikes by Petr Sevcik, which narrowed the aggregate score to 5-3.

In the other quarterfinal, Eintracht Frankfurt beat Benfica Lisbon 2-0 on Thursday to overturn a 4-2 first leg deficit and advance to the last four on the away goal rule for its first European semifinal appearance in 39 years.

Goals from Filip Kostic and Sebastian Rode was enough to put it through and will next face Chelsea in the first leg of the semifinals on May 3.

Spurs through after seven******Football

Spurs through after seven-goal thriller

ReutersMANCHESTERApril 18, 2019 21:03 ISTUpdated:April 18, 2019 21:03 ISTReutersMANCHESTERApril 18, 2019 21:03 ISTUpdated:April 18, 2019 21:03 IST

VAR review puts paid to dominant City’s chances; Liverpool makes it after routing Porto

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Crucial strike: This strike by Fernando Llorente helped Tottenham Hotspur restore the team’s advantage through away goals against Manchester City.

Crucial strike: This strike by Fernando Llorente helped Tottenham Hotspur restore the team’s advantage through away goals against Manchester City.

VAR review puts paid to dominant City’s chances; Liverpool makes it after routing Porto

Tottenham Hotspur reached the semifinals of the Champions League on away goals after a 4-3 (aggregate 4-4) defeat to Manchester City in a breathtaking quarterfinal second leg game on Wednesday.

Spurs, which won the first leg 1-0, will play Ajax Amsterdam for a place in the final against Liverpool or Barcelona.

In the other quarterfinal second leg game of the day, a resurgent Mohamed Salah scored one and set up another to inspire a clinical Liverpool to a 4-1 victory at Porto and a 6-1 win on aggregate.

Ruled offside

There were four goals in the opening 11 minutes of the game at City of Manchester Stadium and non-stop action right up until the dramatic finale to an astonishing contest, when City had a stoppage time goal from Raheem Sterling ruled out for offside after a VAR review.

City fans had celebrated what looked like the goal that sent it into the last four before the replay confirmed that Sergio Aguero was offside in the build-up.

It was a perfect example of the benefits of using technology but it was also cruel on Pep Guardiola’s side which had been the stronger over the 90 minutes.

“It is cruel but it is what it is and we have to accept it,” said city manager Pep Guardiola, whose dream of winning four titles this season is now over.

City took a fourth minute lead through a beautiful curling shot from Sterling but Spurs struck back with two quick goals from Son Heung-min — the second of them a magnificent finish.

The manic opening period continued when Bernardo Silva brought the home side level in the 11th minute with a deflected shot and then Sterling struck again to make it 3-2 in the 21st minute.

A thundering strike from Aguero in the 59th minute put City in the driving seat again but it was stunned in the 73rd minute when Spurs substitute Fernando Llorente bundled in a Kieran Trippier corner to restore the London club’s advantage through away goals.

Salah impresses

Meanwhile in Porto, the Reds held off the host in the early stages before Salah and Sadio Mane combined for the Senegalese to put them ahead with their first shot on target following a VAR review.

Egyptian striker Salah doubled the tally after the break and goals from Roberto Firmino and Virgil van Dijk wrapped it up late on.

Porto had briefly reduced the arrears through Eder Militao, but having lost the first leg 2-0 at Anfield, it never seemed in a position to overturn the deficit.

Liverpool beats Porto again, returns to Champions League semifinals******Football

Liverpool beats Porto again, returns to Champions League semifinals

APPORTO, PortugalApril 18, 2019 10:06 ISTUpdated:April 18, 2019 10:09 ISTAPPORTO, PortugalApril 18, 2019 10:06 ISTUpdated:April 18, 2019 10:09 IST

Liverpool, which lost in the final last season, will now face Barcelona in Champions League semifinal

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 Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk celebrates scoring their fourth goal

Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk celebrates scoring their fourth goal

Liverpool, which lost in the final last season, will now face Barcelona in Champions League semifinal

For the second year in a row, Porto had no answer to Liverpool’s attacking trio of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.

A year after the forwards scored all goals in a 5-0 rout of the Portuguese champions in the round of 16 of the Champions League, the trio combined again to lead Liverpool back to the semifinals of the European tournament.

They netted a goal each in a comfortable 4-1 win over Porto on Wednesday, with Virgil van Dijk also scoring as Liverpool advanced 6-1 on aggregate after winning the first leg 2-0 at home.

Liverpool, which lost in the final last season, will now face Barcelona, which eliminated Manchester United 4-0 on aggregate on Tuesday. Tottenham advanced on away goals despite a 4-3 loss at Manchester City in the other quarterfinal on Wednesday.

Mane had a hat trick at the Estadio do Dragao last season, with Salah and Firmino adding a goal each. The Senegalese player led the way again this time, opening the scoring with a 26th-minute goal that was confirmed by video review after being initially disallowed for offside.

Porto had started well and showed signs it might be able to reverse the first-leg deficit, but Liverpool took control after Mane’s goal and cruised to victory.

“We knew they wouldn’t be able to keep up the pressure of the first 30 minutes,” Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp said. “In the second half Porto’s energy levels dropped, so it was easier for us to control the game.”

Liverpool had barely gotten close to Iker Casillas’s goal when Salah picked up a pass inside the area and sent a low pass to Mane, who came sliding in behind the defenders near the far post to score his 14th goal in 21 Champions League appearances.

Mane looked offside at first, and few Liverpool players complained when the flag went up, but video review showed he was in legal position before making his run to the ball.

“I was thinking it was offside, to be honest,” Mane said. “I was surprised.”

The goal hurt Porto’s morale and the team struggled to keep pushing forward. The pace slowed significantly and Liverpool took advantage, with Salah finding the net from inside the area after a pass by Trent Alexander-Arnold on a quick counterattack in the 65th.

Firmino, who came off the bench after halftime, and Van Dijk added to the lead with late headers in the 77th and 84th minutes, respectively. Porto’s lone goal came through a 69th-minute header by Militao, the defender who is joining Real Madrid at the end of the season.

Mane could have scored his second goal of the game in the 73rd but he missed an open net after dribbling past Casillas on a breakaway.

Porto, which eliminated Roma in the round of 16, had won all of its four home games in the Champions League this season, outscoring opponents 11-3.

It was playing in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2014-15, and was trying to reach the semifinals for the first time since it won the tournament in 2004 under Jose Mourinho for its biggest triumph.

After eliminating the Portuguese champions last season, Liverpool eventually made it to the final and lost to Real Madrid.

Porto was boosted by the return of two key players who missed the first leg because of yellow-card suspensions- captain Hector Herrera and defender Pepe, a three-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid.

“The result is unfair, but these things happen in football,” Pepe said. “We had a fantastic Champions League campaign.”

Klopp made a series of changes to the lineup from the first leg, revamping the midfield and using Firmino as a second-half substitute.

Tottenham stuns Man City to reach Champions League semis******Football

Tottenham stuns Man City to reach Champions League semis

APMANCHESTER, EnglandApril 18, 2019 08:38 ISTUpdated:April 18, 2019 09:16 ISTAPMANCHESTER, EnglandApril 18, 2019 08:38 ISTUpdated:April 18, 2019 09:16 IST

Tottenham advanced on away goals following Wednesday’s 4-3 loss that left the teams tied 4-4 on aggregate.

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Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, Tottenham's Fernando Llorente and Son Heung-min celebrate after the match

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, Tottenham's Fernando Llorente and Son Heung-min celebrate after the match

Tottenham advanced on away goals following Wednesday’s 4-3 loss that left the teams tied 4-4 on aggregate.

More than two minutes into stoppage time, Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling slid across the field and puffed his chest to the crowd, roaring in elation. Tottenham players collapsed to the turf, some flat on their backs, forlorn and heartbroken.

From the brink of Champions League elimination, Manchester City was celebrating its passage to the semifinals.

Not for long.

As City manager Pep Guardiola was leaping on the touchline, Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir was receiving updates in his ear from the video assistant referee checking replays.

The stadium soon became hushed until the big screen flashed: “No goal. VAR. Offside.”

Guardiola threw his head in his hands, but there was nothing to argue about.

When Christian Eriksen’s misplaced back-pass deflected off Bernardo Silva into the path of Sergio Aguero, the City striker was offside before setting up Sterling in the penalty area.

“It’s cruel,” Guardiola said.

There would be no eighth goal on this breathtaking night of epic drama. Tottenham advanced on away goals following Wednesday’s 4-3 loss that left the teams tied 4-4 on aggregate.

City’s quadruple dreams were extinguished. Guardiola, a Champions League-winning coach with Lionel Messi’s Barcelona in 2009 and 2011, failed to reach the semifinals for the sixth straight time, his third with City after three misses with Bayern Munich.

Tottenham’s first in 57 years

Instead, Tottenham reached to its first European Cup semifinal in 57 years and will play Ajax. Liverpool meets Barcelona following a 6-1 aggregate win over Porto, giving England multiple clubs in the semifinals for the first time since Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea in 2009.

Tottenham advanced thanks to Fernando Llorente’s hip, which nudged the ball into the net in the 73rd minute for a goal that survived a VAR review for possible handball. It was the last goal of a night that will be long remembered by clubs that lived in the shadows of larger rivals in their own cities.

Tottenham's Fernando Llorente scores their third goal

Tottenham's Fernando Llorente scores their third goal

“That is why we love football, we feel the passion,” Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said. “We enjoy watching football, anything can happen. Today we showed our great character, great personality. To score three goals against Manchester City is not easy.”

Not when top-scorer Harry Kane was out through injury. Not when the midfield options were so depleted that an injury to Moussa Sissoko before halftime before Pochettino to bring on out-of-favor center forward Llorente.

And Tottenham will play the first leg against Ajax without Son Heung-min, Kane’s understudy who scored the valuable first-leg goal last week. Son scored Tottenham’s first two goals at Etihad Stadium, then picked up a booking for a foul on Kevin De Bruyne that earned him a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation.

The South Korean showed just how influential he is for Tottenham in a start unlike anything seen before in the Champions League.

Four goals in the opening 11 minutes. The fifth in the 21st minute, after five shots on target.

“The first 10 minutes of this game and the last five was fairytale stuff,” Eriksen said.

Sterling put City ahead in just the fourth minute. Son then netted twice to put City in a position where it had to score three more goals to advance.

City did just that to take a 4-2 lead, only for Llorente and the VAR to have the last say.

“It was a very tough game, a very crazy game,” Son said. “Sometimes you are annoyed with VAR but today it is a case of, ‘Thank you and good decision.’”

Sterling got the action started when he received the ball from De Bruyne and evaded Kieran Trippier before bending the ball into the corner past Hugo Lloris.

Within three minutes, Tottenham regained its aggregate advantage after Aymeric Laporte’s clearance from Lucas Moura’s through ball set up Son to level on the night.

Laporte was again at fault when he gave the ball away in the 10th on the halfway line, setting Moura free to set up Son to put Tottenham 2-1 up.

Not for long. Barely a minute.

Silva was left in space on the right flank to collect the ball and poke it through Danny Rose’s legs and into the net in the 21st.

“I looked at Pep,” Pochettino recalled, “and we said, ‘Unbelievable!’”

After that dizzying spell, there was a full 10 minutes before the ball ended up in the net again.

A back-heel from Silva set up De Bruyne, who crossed for Sterling to slide in at the back post.

City 3, Tottenham 2. Five goals in 21 minutes, but with Tottenham still going through thanks to Son’s first-leg goal.

The second half began with a City onslaught but Lloris’s diving save kept out Sterling’s low shot and one-handed save palmed an effort from De Bruyne around a post.

The first flickers of a Spurs threat in the second half came when Llorente dived in with a header but it lacked power and was blocked by goalkeeper Ederson.

And the momentum swung again when City scored its fourth in the 59th.

Ilkay Gundogan’s crossfield pass landed at the feet of De Bruyne, who drove forward before slipping the ball through to Aguero who beat Lloris at his near post with a powerful shot.

For the first time on the night, City was in front on aggregate and on course for its second Champions League semifinal.

But the hosts couldn’t close the game out.

When Trippier whipped in a corner, Llorente rose and turned the ball into the net with his hip.

The celebrations were put on hold when the referee went to the touchline to check if the ball came off Llorente’s arm, but the goal stood.

As the Premier League champions chased the goal that would sent them through, Aguero had a header saved by Lloris and an effort from Gundogan was scooped over.

When Sterling did find the net again, VAR intervened to leave the home fans crushed. That is a rare feeling at the Etihad Stadium.

Guardiola’s side was knocked out of a competition for the first time this season after a title in the League Cup and advancement to the FA Cup final while challenging Liverpool for the league title.

In the Premier League, Tottenham is far from competing what would be its first English title since 1961. Coping without any new signings this season, the team is fighting for a top four finish and a Champions League places.

The north London club will qualify anyway if it wins European football’s top prize for the first time.

Before then, City and Tottenham have to do it all again with an instant domestic reunion on Saturday.

Ajax stuns Juve to continue its dream run******Football

Ajax stuns Juve to continue its dream run

AFPTurinApril 17, 2019 22:27 ISTUpdated:April 17, 2019 22:35 ISTAFPTurinApril 17, 2019 22:27 ISTUpdated:April 17, 2019 22:35 IST

Reaches the semifinals after 22 years; Messi stars again as Barca routs United

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Home run: Matthijs de Ligt towered above Juventus’ Alex Sandro and Daniele Rugani to head home Lasse Schone’s corner and seal it for Ajax.

Home run: Matthijs de Ligt towered above Juventus’ Alex Sandro and Daniele Rugani to head home Lasse Schone’s corner and seal it for Ajax.

Reaches the semifinals after 22 years; Messi stars again as Barca routs United

Ajax stunned Juventus to reach the Champions League semifinals for the first time since 1997 as Matthijs de Ligt’s thumping second-half header secured a 2-1 second-leg victory in the last eight here on Tuesday.

Cristiano Ronaldo, bidding for his sixth Champions League title, scored a 28th-minute header to put Juve ahead after a 1-1 first-leg draw, but Donny van de Beek levelled for Ajax before half-time.

Teenage centre-back de Ligt struck midway through the second period, though, to seal a 3-2 aggregate win.

Meanwhile at Camp Nou, Lionel Messi produced another masterful Champions League performance to knock out Manchester United and fire Barcelona into the semifinals for the first time in four years, scoring twice in a 3-0 home win.

Barca, which toyed with United for the majority of the encounter, sealed a 4-0 aggregate victory.

Ajax had already eliminated three-time defending champions Real Madrid en route the quarters, overturning a 2-1 home defeat against the Spanish side with a memorable 4-1 victory at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Juventus had been looking to reach the Champions League semifinals for the third time in the past five seasons.

Only weapon

But Ronaldo was Juve’s only weapon against the impressive young Dutch side.

Massimiliano Allegri had been forced to reshuffle his side because of injuries, with Paulo Dybala returning in place of the injured Mario Mandzukic, while captain Giorgio Chiellini was also sidelined.

Ajax’s defence took a hit when Noussair Mazraoui, who had replaced the suspended Nicolas Tagliafico, limped off on 11 minutes with an ankle injury, with Daley Sinkgraven coming on.

Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana dived to keep out a scorching Dybala half-volley in the 20th minute.

But Ronaldo latched onto a Miralem Pjanic corner with a downward header that left Onana without no chance.

Equaliser

van de Beek controlled a wayward Hakim Ziyech shot six minutes later, rolling the ball past Szczesny to cancel out Juventus’ away goal and make it 2-2 on aggregate.

Teenage striker Moise Kean replaced Dybala after the break, but it was the Dutch who turned on the style, with only Szczesny’s reflexes keeping Juventus in the tie.

The Juventus back-line struggled with the pace of the Dutch team with Pjanic doing well to deny Ziyech a tap-in. But Erik ten Hag’s side’s incessant pressure paid off with 19-year-old skipper de Ligt towering above Alex Sandro and Daniele Rugani to head home Lasse Schone’s corner on 67 minutes.

Messi masterclass

Messi had failed to score in his last 12 quarterfinal appearances, but he settled his side’s nerves after a bright start from United, collecting a misplaced pass from Ashley Young and curling into the bottom corner in the 16th minute.

The Argentine then pounced on another lapse from United’s defence four minutes later to win back possession high up the pitch and fire a shot from outside the box, which squirmed under visiting keeper David de Gea.

Philippe Coutinho finished off a therapeutic win for the Catalans, after three quarterfinal failures in a row, by curling into the top corner in the second half.

【soccer betting usa legal】Anand beats Bacrot to finish second

Karnataka, Punjab through to semifinals amid drama******Football

Karnataka, Punjab through to semifinals amid drama

Sports BureauLudhianaApril 17, 2019 22:16 ISTUpdated:April 17, 2019 22:16 ISTSports BureauLudhianaApril 17, 2019 22:16 ISTUpdated:April 17, 2019 22:16 IST
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Karnataka and Punjab advanced to the semifinals of the Santosh Trophy amid much drama at the Guru Nanak Stadium here on Wednesday.

Punjab progressed as the winner of Group B while Karnataka sneaked through as runner-up by virtue of having scored one goal more than Maharashtra.

The battle for the two semifinal spots from the group was poised on a knife edge after Maharashtra routed Sikkim 5-0 in the morning.

But Maharashtra was probably disadvantaged by the fact that Karnataka and Punjab were meeting later in the evening, aware of the qualification scenarios.

Punjab edged Karnataka 4-3, with Vikrant Singh netting a brace for the host.

The outcome helped Punjab top the group (9 points).

In second place, though, Karnataka and Maharashtra were now level on points (7). The earlier fixture between them had ended in a draw and their goal difference was also the same (5).

It then boiled down to the number of goals scored where Karnataka (12) edged out Maharashtra (11).

In the semifinals, to be played on Friday, Karnataka will face Services while Punjab meets Goa.

The results: Group B:Karnataka 3 (Magesh Selva 13, John Peter 33, M. Nikhil Raj 60) lost to Punjab 4 (Sukhpreet Singh 16, Vikrant Singh 31, 43, Amandeep Singh 73); Maharashtra 5 (Aman Gaikwad 15, Vinodkumar Pandey 26, Leander Dharmai 45, Arif Shaikh 52, 54) bt Sikkim 0 .

Minerva held by Abahani Dhaka******Football

Minerva held by Abahani Dhaka

PTIDhakaApril 17, 2019 22:15 ISTUpdated:April 17, 2019 22:15 ISTPTIDhakaApril 17, 2019 22:15 ISTUpdated:April 17, 2019 22:15 IST
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Former I-League champion Minerva Punjab FC was held to a 2-2 draw by Abahani Dhaka of Bangladesh in its AFC Cup match here on Wednesday.

Mahmoud Al Amnah (16th) and Sreyas Gopalan (42nd) scored for Minerva while Nabib Newas Jibon (20th) and Sunday Chizoba (48th) were on target for the home side in the Group E match here.

Minerva Punjab made two changes to the playing eleven which played out a goal-less stalemate against Chennaiyin FC in its opening match with goalkeeper Bhaskar Roy and midfielder Harminder Singh being handed the starts.

The result:Abahani Dhaka 2 (Nabib Newas Jibon, 20, Sunday Chizoba, 48) drew with Minerva FC (Mahmoud Al Amnah, 16, Sreyas Gopalan, 42) .

AFC Cup: Chennaiyin cruises to a win******Football

AFC Cup: Chennaiyin cruises to a win

Shyam VasudevanAhmedabadApril 17, 2019 22:15 ISTUpdated:April 17, 2019 22:15 ISTShyam VasudevanAhmedabadApril 17, 2019 22:15 ISTUpdated:April 17, 2019 22:15 IST

Herd and Alves score against Manang Marshyangdi

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Fine Assist: Mohammed Rafi set up Herd for the team’s first goal.

Fine Assist: Mohammed Rafi set up Herd for the team’s first goal.

Herd and Alves score against Manang Marshyangdi

Two goals in as many minutes did the trick for Chennaiyin FC as it cruised to a comfortable 2-0 win over Manang Marshyangdi in its AFC Cup group stage clash here at The Arena by TransStadia on Wednesday.

Chris Herd’s first goal for the side and a towering Mailson Alves header earned Chennaiyin the win and propelled the side to the top of Group E with four points from two games. Abahani Dhaka — also on four points — sits in the second spot after it drew 2-2 with Minerva Punjab earlier in the day.

The home side was firmly in control of the opening half and it was one-way traffic as Chennaiyin pressed hard and high, offering Manang Marshyangdi little to no room.

With over 70 percent of possession, John Gregory’s men found the cracks in the opposition defence, floated the crosses into the box, but failed to convert.

The opposition was forced to merely clear the ball and managed to enter the Chennaiyin box only twice, failing to trouble the goalkeeper on either occasion.

Mohammed Rafi had a couple of fine chances to open the scoring, but his haste first-time attempts let him down. After an agonising opening 45, Rafi — making his first start of the season — would make amends in the second half as he set up Herd for the first goal.

He played a lovely one-two with Herd and the Australian’s powerful drive took a heavy deflection and sailed into the goal in the 51st minute. The home team would find the back of the net soon after as Mailson Alves soared high to nod in Anirudh Thapa’s corner less than two minutes later.

The result:Chennaiyin 2 (Chris Herd 51, Mailson Alves, 53) bt Manang Marshyangdi 0 .

Messi urges Barcelona to show more early focus after climbing quarterfinal barrier******Football

Messi urges Barcelona to show more early focus after climbing quarterfinal barrier

ReutersBARCELONAApril 17, 2019 17:16 ISTUpdated:April 17, 2019 17:16 ISTReutersBARCELONAApril 17, 2019 17:16 ISTUpdated:April 17, 2019 17:16 IST

Barcelona had suffered a humiliating quarterfinal exit at AS Roma last year after conceding early goals.

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Barcelona’s Lionel Messi celebrates his team’s second goal during the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal match against Manchester United at Camp Nou in Barcelona on April 16, 2019.

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi celebrates his team’s second goal during the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal match against Manchester United at Camp Nou in Barcelona on April 16, 2019.

Barcelona had suffered a humiliating quarterfinal exit at AS Roma last year after conceding early goals.

There was a huge sense of relief in Barcelona after brushing aside their recent Champions League quarterfinal failures by beating Manchester United, but Lionel Messi still criticised his side's shaky start to the game.

Barca conceded two early chances in Tuesday's second leg before Messi set them on their way to a comfortable 3-0 victory with two quick-fire strikes before Philippe Coutinho scored to make it 4-0 on aggregate.

United forward Marcus Rashford rattled the bar in the second minute and then hit a tame shot at goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, while Scott McTominay burst into the area but lost control of the ball before he could shoot.

Barcelona had suffered a humiliating quarterfinal exit at AS Roma last year after conceding early goals and Messi urged his team mates to show more concentration in their next European outing, warning that other sides might not be so forgiving.

That message is even more pertinent as Barca's semi-final opponents are likely to be Liverpool, who hold a 2-0 lead in their quarter-final tie with Porto and have a reputation for overwhelming teams early on.

“We cannot start like this in any Champions League game,” Messi told reporters.

“We said that from the start, we had the experience of Roma, you can't afford to make life hard for yourself because one mistake can knock you out of this competition. We have to be aware of that.”

After surviving the early scares, Barcelona exhibited their new-found defensive steel and earned a third clean sheet in four Champions League knockout games.

“We have become much more solid, over the season we struggled a little bit at the back but the whole team is making a huge effort and that makes it far harder for opponents to attack us,” Messi added.

“We had been three years without making the semi-finals but we didn't have any negative feelings. We knew we had a good scoreline, we're happy to be in the semis but we must continue.”

Barcelona have not won Europe's biggest prize since 2015 despite dominating the domestic scene in Spain and have had to look on enviously as arch-rivals Real Madrid romped to three consecutive Champions League triumphs.

But there is now a sense in the Spanish media that everything is falling into place for Barcelona to reach the final at Atletico Madrid's Wanda Metropolitano stadium in the Spanish capital on June 1.

“This is the year,” proclaimed Barcelona-based newspaper Sport, while Marca said “Messi flies towards the Wanda”.

Sanju, Anju do it for Gokulam******Football

Sanju, Anju do it for Gokulam

Sports BureauLUDHIANAMay 11, 2019 21:37 ISTUpdated:May 11, 2019 21:37 ISTSports BureauLUDHIANAMay 11, 2019 21:37 ISTUpdated:May 11, 2019 21:37 IST

The Kerala side registers its fourth straight win, moves closer to semifinals

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Joy unbridled: Gokulam Kerala’s merry run continued as it beat Panjim Footballers.

Joy unbridled: Gokulam Kerala’s merry run continued as it beat Panjim Footballers.

The Kerala side registers its fourth straight win, moves closer to semifinals

Gokulam Kerala FC’s remarkable run continued in the Hero Indian Women’s League (IWL), as it registered its fourth successive win defeating Panjim Footballers 2-0 on Saturday.

India internationals Sanju and Anju Tamang were on target for Gokulam, but it was teenage sensation Manisha who controlled the midfield and stole the show.

The Kerala side was without its charismatic captain Dalima Chhibber who had suffered a knock in the previous game. However, Sanju, who had the captain’s armband, responded well. After receiving a pass from the right, she unleashed a drive into the bottom corner.

In the second half, Manisha played a delicate through ball to Anju, who had just the ’keeper to beat.

The win took Gokulam a step closer to the semifinal spot. It now has 12 points from four matches.

In the other contest, Hans Women FC shocked defending champion Rising Student Club 2-1. Hans’ Nigerian midfielder Rita Casia was the star, orchestrating the moves and scoring with a scorcher from long range.

Rising Student started well, launching quite a few attacks. Krishna Barick had an opportunity to put the team in front. However, her shot was saved by Hans ’keeper Vanshika Rana.

Hans picked up pace in the second half, and Rita found the target from around 25 yards out, placing the ball perfectly in the top corner and giving Rising Student goalkeeper Rani Bhowmick no chance.

Hans doubled the lead soon when Anushka Samuel broke free and slipped the ball past Bhowmick.

Sradhanjali Panda scored in injury time for Rising Student, but it was too little, too late.

The results: Gokulam Kerala FC 2 (Sanju 20, Anju 79) bt Panjim Footballers 0.

Hans Women FC 2 (Rita Casia 48, Anushka Samuel 67) bt Rising Student Club 1 (Sradhanjali 90+1).

Bagan ropes in Vicuna as head coach******Football

Bagan ropes in Vicuna as head coach

PTIMay 10, 2019 22:52 ISTUpdated:May 10, 2019 22:52 ISTPTIMay 10, 2019 22:52 ISTUpdated:May 10, 2019 22:52 IST
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Mohun Bagan on Friday announced the appointment of 47-year-old Spaniard Kibu Vicuna as its head coach for the 2019-20 season.

Vicuna has a wealth of experience in coaching in Spain and Poland and won the Polish League and the Polish Cup in 2012-13 as part of Legia Warsaw coaching staff.

Sethu FC proves too hot for SAI******Football

Sethu FC proves too hot for SAI-STC

Sports BureauLUDHIANAMay 10, 2019 22:33 ISTUpdated:May 10, 2019 22:33 ISTSports BureauLUDHIANAMay 10, 2019 22:33 ISTUpdated:May 10, 2019 22:33 IST

Ratanbala performs hat-trick; Bala stars for Manipur Police

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Bala Devi, centre, netted three goals for Manipur Police.

Bala Devi, centre, netted three goals for Manipur Police.

Ratanbala performs hat-trick; Bala stars for Manipur Police

Sethu FC hammered SAI-STC (Cuttack) 9-0 in the Indian Women’s League (IWL) on Friday.

Sethu got off to a good start with Ratanbala Devi scoring in the fourth minute. Five minutes later, Sandhiya doubled the score before Ratanbala struck again.

Indumathi added a fourth just at the stroke of half-time to put Sethu in a commanding position.

In the second half, Dangmei Grace added to the tally before a Ratanbala cross was diverted into her own net by SAI ’keeper Subha Patra.

Sabitra Bhandari, who came in as a substitute in the second half, netted the seventh goal before Sandhiya scored her second in the 87th minute. Ratanbala completed her hat-trick seconds before the final whistle.

In top form

Manipur Police continued its top form, demolishing Baroda Football Academy 6-1. Bala Devi was on song again, netting four goals this time.

In the day’s other match, Bangalore United FC held FC Kolhapur City to a 1-1 draw.

The results: Sethu FC 9 (Ratanbala Devi 4, 29 & 88, Sandhiya 9 & 87, Indumathi 45+2, Dangmei Grace 66, Subha Patra 73-og, Sabitra Bhandari 81) bt SAI-STC (Cuttack) 0.

Manipur Police 6 (Daya Devi 7, Bala Devi 13, 37 & 45+3, Prameshwori Devi 90) bt Baroda Football Academy 1 (Mona 33).

Bangalore United FC 1 (Paromita 47) drew with FC Kolhapur City 1 (Pratiksha Mithari 80).

Gunners cruise, Blues take the longer route******Football

Gunners cruise, Blues take the longer route

ReutersValenciaMay 10, 2019 22:32 ISTUpdated:May 10, 2019 22:32 ISTReutersValenciaMay 10, 2019 22:32 ISTUpdated:May 10, 2019 22:32 IST

It will be an all-England Europa League final on May 29

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Hero:  Kepa Arrizabalaga sent Chelsea to the Europa League final with two penalty saves in a dramatic 4-3 shoot-out win against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Hero: Kepa Arrizabalaga sent Chelsea to the Europa League final with two penalty saves in a dramatic 4-3 shoot-out win against Eintracht Frankfurt.

It will be an all-England Europa League final on May 29

A hat-trick from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and an Alexandre Lacazette strike booked Arsenal’s place in the Europa League final with a 4-2 win at Valencia on Thursday to seal an emphatic 7-3 aggregate victory. Unai Emery’s side will face Chelsea in Baku on May 29 after it beat Eintracht Frankfurt on penalties to ensure both European club competitions will feature all-English finals.

Arsenal’s first win on Spanish soil since beating Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in 2006 kept its hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Hefty deficit

Valencia, trailing 3-1 from the first-leg, was seeking to become the latest side to overturn a hefty deficit and made the perfect start as Kevin Gameiro slid in to convert Rodrigo’s centre with 11 minutes played.

Rodrigo sent an effort wide but Arsenal was soon level when Aubameyang notched his first out of nothing, producing a fine finish from outside the box from Lacazette’s flick on following goalkeeper Petr Cech’s long clearance.

Caught napping

Marcelino’s side was caught napping by Lacazette’s curling effort just after the break to put the visitor ahead on the night.

Gameiro converted Rodrigo’s mis-hit shot just before the hour to set up a possible grandstand finish, but Aubameyang soon restored Arsenal’s lead before completing his treble two minutes from time.

Kepa Arrizabalaga was Chelsea’s hero as the Spanish goalkeeper sent his side to the Europa League final with two penalty saves in a dramatic 4-3 shoot-out win against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Maurizio Sarri’s side took the lead in the semifinal second-leg thanks to Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s first half strike at Stamford Bridge.

But Luka Jovic equalised soon after the interval as a tense clash finished 1-1 after extra time and 2-2 on aggregate.

Cesar Azpilicueta’s penalty was saved by Kevin Trapp in the shoot-out, but Kepa kept out Martin Hinteregger’s effort and then turned away Goncalo Paciencia before Eden Hazard slotted home the decisive kick to spark wild celebrations.

The results:Europa League(semifinals, second-leg):Chelsea 1 (Loftus-Cheek 28) drew with Eintracht Frankfurt 1 (Jovic 49) (2-2 on aggregate;Chelsea wins 4-3 on penalties); Valencia 2 (Gameiro 11, 58) lost to Arsenal 4 (Aubameyang 17, 69, 88, Lacazette 50)(Arsenal wins 7-3 on aggregate).

Europa League: Pierre******Football

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang treble sends Arsenal into Europa League final

ReutersVALENCIA, SpainMay 10, 2019 09:57 ISTUpdated:May 10, 2019 09:57 ISTReutersVALENCIA, SpainMay 10, 2019 09:57 ISTUpdated:May 10, 2019 09:57 IST

Unai Emery's side will face Chelsea in Baku on May 29 in an all-English finals.

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Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates at the end of the match

Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates at the end of the match

Unai Emery's side will face Chelsea in Baku on May 29 in an all-English finals.

A hat-trick from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and an Alexandre Lacazette strike booked Arsenal's place in the Europa League final with a 4-2 win at Valencia on Thursday to seal an emphatic 7-3 aggregate victory.

Unai Emery's side will face Chelsea in Baku on May 29 after their London rivals beat Eintracht Frankfurt on penalties to ensure both European club competitions will feature all-English finals.

Arsenal's first win on Spanish soil since beating Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in 2006 kept their hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League through Europe's secondary competition alive.

“We reacted well to going behind and we knew we had to score a minimum of one goal tonight,” Lacazette told BT Sport.

“Auba (Aubameyang) was unbelievable tonight with an incredible hat-trick, so thanks to him.

“We have played badly in the Premier League during the last month and now we have to use this opportunity. We want to play in the Champions League next season and we want the trophy.”

In a week ofimprobable European comebacks , Valencia, trailing 3-1 from the first leg, were seeking to become the latest side to overturn a hefty deficit and made the perfect start as Kevin Gameiro slid in to convert Rodrigo's centre with 11 minutes played.

Rodrigo sent an effort wide as the home crowd sensed an upset, but Arsenal were soon level when Aubameyang notched his first out of nothing, producing a fine finish from outside the box from Lacazette's flick on following goalkeeper Petr Cech's long clearance.

Valencia continued to push forward, with Dani Parejo sending a free kick narrowly wide before Jose Luis Gaya was booked for diving on the cusp of halftime as they desperately sought a second.

Marcelino's side were caught napping by Lacazette's curling effort just after the break to put the visitors ahead on the night.

Gameiro converted Rodrigo's mis-hit shot just before the hour to set up a possible grandstand finish, but Aubameyang soon restored Arsenal's lead before completing his treble two minutes from time to book their first European final since they lost the 2006 Champions League final to Barcelona.

Tempers flared as players from both sides clashed on the final whistle, but it was Emery's side celebrating as they booked their final place.

Liverpool will play Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League final in Madrid on June 1.

Champions League: Moura treble shatters Ajax’s dream******Football

Champions League: Moura treble shatters Ajax’s dream

ReutersAMSTERDAMMay 09, 2019 21:57 ISTUpdated:May 09, 2019 21:57 ISTReutersAMSTERDAMMay 09, 2019 21:57 ISTUpdated:May 09, 2019 21:57 IST

Sends Tottenham to its first ever Champions League final on the away goal rule

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The heartbreaker: Tottenham’s Lucas Moura finds a way between a mass of Ajax legs to complete his hat-trick and deny the hosts.

The heartbreaker: Tottenham’s Lucas Moura finds a way between a mass of Ajax legs to complete his hat-trick and deny the hosts.

Sends Tottenham to its first ever Champions League final on the away goal rule

Lucas Moura conjured up the second Champions League miracle in 24 hours with a last-gasp winner to complete his hat-trick and send Tottenham Hotspur past a shattered Ajax Amsterdam on away goals on Wednesday.

A day after Liverpool beat Barcelona 4-0 to overturn a 3-0 first-leg deficit, Tottenham came back from the dead after Ajax had looked certain to reach its first final for 23 years.

Ajax skipper Matthijs de Ligt’s fifth-minute header and a superb 35th minute effort by Hakim Ziyech put Ajax 3-0 ahead on aggregate by halftime at a raucous Johan Cruyff Arena.

Transformed

But Tottenham was transformed after the break. With veteran Spanish striker Fernando Llorente on as a second-half substitute, Tottenham refused to lay down and when Moura scored in the 55th minute the impossible began to seem possible for the north London club.

Four minutes later he fired through a crowd to equalise on the night and after both sides hit the woodwork in the heart-pumping finale, Moura drilled into the corner in the sixth minute of stoppage time to leave Ajax crestfallen.

Tottenham’s only other European Cup semifinal came 57 years ago when it lost to Benfica.

Poor marking

Ajax got off to a dream start as captain De Ligt took advantage of poor marking to head past Hugo Lloris.

Tottenham responded in spirited fashion with Son Heung-min deceiving keeper Onana with a cross that hit the post.

But Ajax was cool, calm and collected and bided its time before striking again in devastating fashion.

Tadic, who moments earlier had dragged a shot just wide, was released down the left and he cut the ball back perfectly for Ziyech to whip a left-footed shot inside the far post.

But with Llorente on for Victor Wanyama, Tottenham went for the direct approach after the break and Ajax was rattled.

Moura converted in the 55th minute, sliding home after running on to Dele Alli’s pass and four minutes later, after Onana had made a remarkable save to dent Llorente, the Brazilian showed great footwork to thread a shot through a crowd.

It set up a rip-roaring finale with Tottenham pressing for the winning goal and Ajax looking to counter-attack.

Ziyech shot against the post, then Tottenham’s former Ajax defender Jan Vertonghen headed against the crossbar with the goal gaping before Lloris’s save kept Spurs alive.

Lloris went up for a corner in stoppage time but it was Moura who proved Tottenham’s hero, producing a clinical finish from Alli’s flick.

The result (semifinal, second-leg):Ajax 2 (de Ligt 5, Ziyech 35) lost to Tottenham 3 (Moura 55, 59, 90+6).3-3 on aggregate;Tottenham wins on away goals.

【soccer betting usa legal】Anand beats Bacrot to finish second

Indian Women’s League: Third win for Gokulam******Football

Indian Women’s League: Third win for Gokulam

Sports BureauLUDHIANAMay 09, 2019 21:54 ISTUpdated:May 09, 2019 21:54 ISTSports BureauLUDHIANAMay 09, 2019 21:54 ISTUpdated:May 09, 2019 21:54 IST

Anju plays a big role for the Kerala side

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The architect: Gokulam’s Anju Tamang scored two goals and also troubled the SSB defence time and again.

The architect: Gokulam’s Anju Tamang scored two goals and also troubled the SSB defence time and again.

Anju plays a big role for the Kerala side

Gokulam Kerala registered its third win in as many games, demolishing SSB Women FC 5-0 in the Hero Indian Women’s League on Thursday.

Anju Tamang netted a brace and played a crucial role in the Kerala side’s build-ups.

Gokulam is on top of Group II with nine points, followed by FC Alakhpura, SSB, Hans Women FC and Panjim Footballers, all with three.

In the other match, Panjim Footballers posted its first win, pipping FC Alakhpura 2-1 in a close encounter.

Karishma Shirvoikar broke through the Alakhpura defence twice while Scindia Saudatikar stayed solid in defence for Panjim.

India under-18 player Samiksha scored a consolation goal for Alakhpura.

The results:

Gokulam Kerala FC 5 (Anju Tamang 1 & 89, Anita Rawat 39, Ranjana Chanu 46, Bawitlung 74) bt SSB Women FC 0.

Panjim Footballers 2 (Karishma Shirvoikar 9 & 56) bt FC Alakhpura 1 (Samiksha 71).

Former Indian footballer Nataraj passes away******Football

Former Indian footballer Nataraj passes away

Staff ReporterBENGALURUMay 09, 2019 21:51 ISTUpdated:May 09, 2019 21:51 ISTStaff ReporterBENGALURUMay 09, 2019 21:51 ISTUpdated:May 09, 2019 21:51 IST
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D. Nataraj

D. Nataraj

Former Indian football player D. Nataraj passed way in Kolar on Thursday. He was 78. Nataraj was part of the National side which won the bronze medal at the 1970 Asian Games in Bangkok. He played for India for nearly a decade and was also a vice-captain.

Representing the erstwhile Mysore state, Nataraj was a key member of the Santosh Trophy-winning side in 1968 and scored the winner in the final against West Bengal. In 1970, he was the captain when Mysore finished runner-up to Punjab. He also captained HAL and was a league champion with the side. The KSFA and BDFA condoled his death.

Igor Stimac set for Indian football coach job******Football

Croatian World Cupper Igor Stimac set to be appointed Indian football team coach

Shyam VasudevanChennaiMay 09, 2019 18:38 ISTUpdated:May 09, 2019 21:59 ISTShyam VasudevanChennaiMay 09, 2019 18:38 ISTUpdated:May 09, 2019 21:59 IST

AIFF impressed by Croat’s presentation

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AIFF impressed by Croat’s presentation

Former Croatia international and manager Igor Stimac will be appointed as the Indian men’s team coach after the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) technical committee recommended him for the post. The committee, headed by Shyam Thapa, interviewed the four candidates for the post — Stimac, Albert Roca, Hakan Ericson and Lee — on Thursday and zeroed in on Stimac. The Croat was the only candidate who flew to New Delhi to give the interview in person.

“The technical committee has chosen Igor Stimac as the Indian football coach. He gave a splendid presentation and his experience speaks volumes. Stimac has an impressive knowledge of Indian football and we found him as the perfect choice,” Thapa toldSportstar.

In his 14-year managerial career, Stimac coached the Croatian national team between 2012 and 2013, and has also worked with clubs like Hajduk Split, Cibalia, NK Zagreb and Zadar, Iranian club Sepahan and Qatari club Al-Shahania.

Champions League semifinal******Football

Tottenham stuns Ajax 3-2 to reach Champions League final

APAMSTERDAMMay 09, 2019 08:37 ISTUpdated:May 09, 2019 08:37 ISTAPAMSTERDAMMay 09, 2019 08:37 ISTUpdated:May 09, 2019 08:37 IST

Lucas Moura completes a hat trick in the sixth minute of injury time

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Tottenham's Lucas Moura celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the Champions League semifinal second leg soccer match between Ajax and Tottenham Hotspur at the Johan Cruyff ArenA in Amsterdam, Netherlands on Wednesday, May 8, 2019.

Tottenham's Lucas Moura celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the Champions League semifinal second leg soccer match between Ajax and Tottenham Hotspur at the Johan Cruyff ArenA in Amsterdam, Netherlands on Wednesday, May 8, 2019.

Lucas Moura completes a hat trick in the sixth minute of injury time

Facing a three-goal deficit at halftime in their Champions League semifinal, Tottenham’s players only had to think back 24 hours or so to find a source of inspiration.

“We saw Liverpool last night it goes to show it’s not over until it is over,” Tottenham fullback Danny Rose said.

In this year’s Champions League, that certainly seems to be the case. Just a day afterLiverpool’s stunning win over Barcelona , Tottenham pulled off another epic comeback on Wednesday.

Lucas Moura completed a hat trick in the sixth minute of injury time as Tottenham rallied to beat Ajax 3-2 and reach its first Champions League final, ending a remarkable run by the young Dutch team that had knocked off some of Europe’s biggest clubs along the way.

It was a rally that was eerily similar to the one the previous night at Anfield, where Liverpool erased a 3-0 deficit from the first leg by beating Barcelona 4-0 at home.

In Amsterdam, Moura nearly single-handedly helped Tottenham pull off a similar feat.

Ajax seemed to have the two-legged semifinal wrapped up by halftime after teenage captain Matthijs de Ligt and Hakim Ziyech netted to put it 2-0 up at the break and 3-0 on aggregate.

But Moura scored twice in a four-minute span to put the visitors one goal from going through 3-3 on aggregate thanks to the away goals rule.

After Jan Vertonghen’s header hit the crossbar in the 87th minute, that goal finally arrived when Moura struck again deep into injury time. Dele Alli laid the ball off for the Brazilian as he streaked into the area and his low shot crept inside the right post to complete another improbable victory.

“It’s impossible to explain what I’m feeling in this moment,” Moura said. “We always believed it was possible, and we gave everything on the pitch. I think we deserved this moment.”

Moura’s winner led to a pile-up of Spurs players near the corner flag celebrating one of the biggest wins in club history, as the disbelieving Ajax players lay on the ground.

It means Tottenham will face Liverpool in Madrid on June 1 in the first all-English final since Manchester United beat Chelsea in 2008. That’s a scenario few had imagined last week when Barcelona and Ajax both won the first legs.

For Ajax, it ended a run that saw a team built around young homegrown talents knock out Real Madrid and Juventus before putting themselves on the brink of the club’s first Champions League final since 1996.

The hosts dominated the first half and De Ligt, the 19-year-old captain, headed home a corner in the fifth minute after goalkeeper Hugo Lloris had been forced into making a good one-handed save from Dusan Tadic.

Son Heung-Min countered by hitting the post at the other end minutes later but Ziyech doubled the lead in the 35th. Donny van de Beek streaked forward and laid the ball off to Tadic, who cut the ball back to Ziyech for a one-time finish beyond the reach of Lloris.

That should have been it, especially given the fact that Ajax had never lost a Champions League game after scoring the first goal.

But even without injured star striker Harry Kane, Tottenham found a way back.

In a second half filled with chances at both ends, Moura started the comeback after a quick counterattack as Alli again laid the ball off for the streaking Brazilian to slot a low shot past goalkeeper Andre Onana.

The second came after Onana made a stunning close-range save to deny Fernando Llorente but couldn’t control the ball, and it fell to Moura in the following scramble. With his back to goal, the Brazilian swiveled and fired into the left corner of the net.

Suddenly the semifinal was hanging in the balance again, and both teams missed chances to score a third. Ziyech had the best opportunities for Ajax but he shot just wide when he was picked out by Tadic in the middle of the box in the 63rd and then hit the post with a similar effort in the 79th.

That proved costly as Spurs launched one desperate counter just as the five minutes of added time were nearly up. A long ball up the pitch fell to Alli, who created a chance for Moura to complete another dramatic semifinal comeback.

“We were so close, we had so deserved it, but that last second,” Ajax coach Erik ten Hag lamented. “When that ball hits the post from Hakim Ziyech, it’s over and out for Spurs. But I can’t blame anyone. We have had an incredible Champions League season and have grown a lot as a team. It is difficult to process.”

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, who is still aiming for his first title with the club, was in tears as he celebrated on the field and broke down again in a TV interview.

“It’s still difficult to talk. Thank you football, thank you these guys, my players. This type of emotion, without football I think is impossible to,” experience, Pochettino said. “They are all heroes but (Moura) is a superhero.”

Indian Women’s League: Sethu races past Bangalore United******Football

Indian Women’s League: Sethu races past Bangalore United

Sports BureauLUDHIANAMay 08, 2019 22:50 ISTUpdated:May 08, 2019 22:50 ISTSports BureauLUDHIANAMay 08, 2019 22:50 ISTUpdated:May 08, 2019 22:50 IST

Bala nets seven for Manipur Police

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In the thick of it: Sandhiya troubled the Bengaluru United defence no end and also scored a goal.

In the thick of it: Sandhiya troubled the Bengaluru United defence no end and also scored a goal.

Bala nets seven for Manipur Police

Sethu FC defeated Bangalore United FC 3-0 in the Indian Women’s League on Wednesday.

Strikers Sabitra Bhandari and Anita Basnet scored the first and third goals.

India international Sandhiya came up with a brilliant display on the wings, and also found the target once.

Sethu was dominant from the start, and Sabitra put the team ahead in the 11th minute. The strike took her tally to five from two games.

Sandhiya finished off a smart move to make it 2-0 for Sethu.

Anita, who replaced Sabitra in the second half, latched on to a rebound, sold a dummy and rounded Bangalore ’keeper Crystal Ann to score.

In the other contest, Manipur Police scored 10 goals past a hapless SAI-STC (Cuttack). Bala Devi was on a goal-scoring spree, netting seven. Rinaroy Devi netted a brace while Daya Devi was the other scorer.

The results: Sethu FC 3 (Sabitra, Anita, Sandhiya) bt Bangalore United FC 0.

Manipur Police 10 (Bala Devi 7, Rinaroy Devi 2, Daya Devi) bt SAI-STC (Cuttack) 0.

Champions League: These boys are giants, says Jurgen Klopp******Football

Champions League: These boys are giants, says Jurgen Klopp

AFPLiverpoolMay 08, 2019 22:30 ISTUpdated:May 08, 2019 22:32 ISTAFPLiverpoolMay 08, 2019 22:30 ISTUpdated:May 08, 2019 22:32 IST

Lets his emotions run wild after stunning win

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Jurgen Klopp. File

Jurgen Klopp. File

Lets his emotions run wild after stunning win

Jurgen Klopp turned the air blue as the Liverpool manager celebrated with a profanity-laced victory speech.

Speaking to BT Sport, Klopp said: “It’s 10 past 10, most of your children are probably in bed but these boys are f*****g talented giants. It’s unbelievable.

“Fine me if you want. I’m not native so I don’t have better words for it.

“The whole game. The whole performance was too much. It was overwhelming. I watched in my life so many football games but I can’t remember many like this.

“Winning is already difficult but winning with a clean sheet?

“We played against maybe the best team in world. I don’t know how the boys did it.”

Champions League: Liverpool leaves Barcelona red******Football

Champions League: Liverpool leaves Barcelona red-faced

ReutersLiverpoolMay 08, 2019 22:27 ISTUpdated:May 08, 2019 22:29 ISTReutersLiverpoolMay 08, 2019 22:27 ISTUpdated:May 08, 2019 22:29 IST

Overturns a three-goal first-leg deficit to knock out the Spanish giant, enters final

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Super sub: Wijnaldum rises high past a static Barca defence for Liverpool’s tie-equalling third goal.

Super sub: Wijnaldum rises high past a static Barca defence for Liverpool’s tie-equalling third goal.

Overturns a three-goal first-leg deficit to knock out the Spanish giant, enters final

Liverpool produced one of the greatest comebacks in Champions League history to beat Barcelona 4-0 on Tuesday, overturning a three-goal first-leg deficit and advancing to its second successive final with a 4-3 aggregate victory.

Two goals each from stand-in forward Divock Origi and halftime substitute Georginio Wijnaldum left Lionel Messi and Barcelona utterly shell-shocked.

Liverpool became only the third team in the history of the European Cup or Champions League to come from three goals down after the first-leg of a semifinal and progress after Panathinaikos in 1970-71 and Barcelona itself in 1985-86.

Messi, whose two goals in the first-leg had given his team a seemingly comfortable advantage, was unable to influence the game with an away goal that would have been decisive.

Extraordinary

The scoreline was remarkable enough in itself, but the fact that Liverpool overcame five-time European champion Barcelona without two thirds of its usual strike force made it extraordinary.

With inspirational Egyptian Mohamed Salah and key Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino injured, Jurgen Klopp had to play Belgian reserve Origi alongside Sadio Mane, with Swiss attacking midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri also given a rare start.

Poor clearance

Liverpool grabbed a seventh-minute lead when a poor headed clearance from Jordi Alba fell to Mane, who laid it off for Jordan Henderson, who burst goalwards.

His low shot was parried out by keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen but straight to Origi who slotted home.

Barca had openings in the first half but when Messi twice got space around the box he fired wide of the target.

Yet the game took a remarkable turn following the introduction at the break of Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum for injured left back Andy Robertson.

The Dutchman drove home a low cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold, which keeper Ter Stegen should have saved, to make it 2-0 .

Two minutes later Wijnaldum rose to meet a Shaqiri cross with a powerful header to make it 3-3 on aggregate.

Liverpool grabbed an extraordinary fourth goal with a quickly-taken corner from Alexander-Arnold, catching the Barca defence asleep with a low ball that was turned in by Origi.

The result:

Semifinal, second-leg:Liverpool 4 (Origi 7, 79, Wijnaldum 54, 56) bt Barcelona 0(Liverpool wins 4-3 on aggregate).

Champions League: Liverpool sinks Barcelona in a historic comeback******Football

Liverpool sinks Barcelona in historic Champions League comeback

ReutersLIVERPOOL, EnglandMay 08, 2019 07:40 ISTUpdated:May 08, 2019 07:40 ISTReutersLIVERPOOL, EnglandMay 08, 2019 07:40 ISTUpdated:May 08, 2019 07:40 IST

Juergen Klopp's Liverpool team faced a near impossible task of not only beating Barcelona by four goals, but trying not to concede at home to Barcelona

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Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum celebrates scoring their third goal with Trent Alexander-Arnold

Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum celebrates scoring their third goal with Trent Alexander-Arnold

Juergen Klopp's Liverpool team faced a near impossible task of not only beating Barcelona by four goals, but trying not to concede at home to Barcelona

Juergen Klopp's Liverpool wrote one of the most amazing chapters in the history of the club's European triumphs with a 4-0 victory over Lionel Messi's Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals on Tuesday that stunned the world of football.

After a 3-0 defeat in the away leg, Liverpool's season was heading for glorious failure on Sunday, with their 10 months of exhilarating football set to produce only a pat on the back with a runners-up spot behind Manchester City in the Premier League.

Instead, the 4-3 aggregate win means Liverpool's season will not finish until June 1 when they compete in a second straight Champions League final against Ajax Amsterdam or Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid, aiming for their sixth European Cup triumph.

City will clinch the Premier League title with a victory at Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday, no matter what Liverpool do at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers in their final match.

But if that happens to the Anfield club, the pain of missing out on a first domestic league crown for 29 years will be eased by the knowledge that European glory could be on the horizon.

Juergen Klopp's Liverpool team faced a near impossible task of not only beating Barcelona by four goals, but trying not to concede at home to a team led by arguably the greatest forward the modern game has known — Messi.

With the Argentine's two goals in the 3-0 win in the first leg at the Nou Camp last week, Messi took his tally for Barcelona to a barely computable 600 goals in 683 matches.

And because Liverpool failed to score an 'away goal', used to separate teams when aggregate scores are level, even a 4-1 or 5-2 win would not have been enough for the Reds to go through.

They simply had to deliver a devastating attacking display — all the more difficult with injuries to key forwards Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino — and produce a clean sheet.

But that is what they did — to even their own astonishment.

Huge task

Such was the scale of the task that Klopp revealed the prospect did not even feature in their pre-match thoughts.

“Winning against Barcelona is one of the most difficult things in the world of football,” he said.

“Winning against Barcelona when you are 3-0 down.... we had to score four goals and were not allowed to concede, even more difficult, so we did not really think about it to be honest.”

Before Tuesday night, Liverpool's greatest comeback in Europe came in the 2005 Champions League final when they trailed 3-0 to AC Milan but emerged as the winners from a penalty shootout after fighting back for a 3-3 draw.

The latest great escape was something similar to that night in Istanbul when Steven Gerrard had led their unbelievable second-half comeback against a Milan side then viewed as by far the best team in Europe.

It was the sense of destiny, a phrase Klopp had used only last week to describe how this season was to evolve, which perhaps, given City's advantage on the domestic front, was closer in his mind to fatalism.

Just like 14 years ago, when Milan froze like deer in headlights, Barcelona began to surrender, to lose their normal composure and shape, to do inexplicable things.

Elementary error

Nothing was stranger then when, with the aggregate score at 3-3, the entire Barcelona defence, made up of decorated experienced internationals like Gerard Pique, switched off and allowed Trent Alexander-Arnold to take a quick corner.

The 20-year-old full-back passed to the unmarked Divock Origi who, despite his undoubted surprise, kept his composure to slot in the winner while the Spaniards stared on in disbelief, unable to comprehend such an elementary error.

But how do you explain the two-goal performance from Origi, a lanky 24-year-old Belgian back-up player who was only in the starting lineup because of the two attacking injuries?

And how can you understand the two goals early in the second half from Georginio Wijnaldum, a Dutch midfielder who rarely scores and was only brought on at the interval because of an injury to left-back Andy Robertson?

Did Klopp really not believe such an upset was possible?

Perhaps he had an inkling.

“'How can you be sure before a game?' I said to the boys. I think it's impossible but because its you we have a chance.' And we believed in this chance,” said the German.

“We said from the beginning, we want to create our own history - not because we are not happy about having the history of the club, no, but because we need new chapters.”

History surrounds visitors to Anfield, the home of a club with deep pride in their past and a belief that they represent to their community something more than just a football team.

“If I have to describe this club then its a big heart and tonight it was obviously pounding like crazy,” said Klopp.

“You could hear it and probably feel it all over the world.”

Indian Women’s League: Manisha does it for Gokulam again******Football

Indian Women’s League: Manisha does it for Gokulam again

Sports BureauLUDHIANAMay 07, 2019 22:29 ISTUpdated:May 07, 2019 22:29 ISTSports BureauLUDHIANAMay 07, 2019 22:29 ISTUpdated:May 07, 2019 22:29 IST
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Gokulam Kerala FC overcame a resilient FC Alakhpura side 1-0 in the Indian Women’s League on Tuesday.

Teenager Manisha nodded home a powerful header into the Alakhpura net in the 71st minute off a cross from the right flank. With four goals, she is on top of the scorers’ charts, tied with Sethu FC’s Nepali striker Sabitra Bhandari.

Hans Women FC pulled off an exciting 3-2 win over Panjim Footballers, courtesy a brace from striker Anushka Samuel.

Anushka put the Delhi side in front after the half-hour mark, but Panjim forward Karishma Shirvoikar soon equalised off a brilliant pass from Jeromina Colaco. Anushka scored yet another goal in the second half, but that too was equalised as Karishma put away a penalty. Jyoti Ann Burrett scored the winner in the 80th minute for Hans Women FC.

A stunning long-ranger by Sangita Basfore was the difference between the teams as the SSB Women Football team opened its account with a hard-fought 1-0 win against Rising Student Club.

Just minutes before the break, Basfore unleashed a fierce shot from around 35 yards out, giving RAC goalkeeper Rani Bhowmick, who otherwise had an excellent game, no chance.

SSB had the chance to double the score towards the end, when Sumila Chanu broke free and unleashed a shot in a one-on-one position, but it was saved again by Bhowmick, who was given the Player of the Match award.

Euro Leagues: Manchester City one win away from title******Football

Euro Leagues: Manchester City one win away from title

ReutersManchesterMay 07, 2019 22:21 ISTUpdated:May 07, 2019 22:21 ISTReutersManchesterMay 07, 2019 22:21 ISTUpdated:May 07, 2019 22:21 IST

Captain Kompany leads from the front by scoring an emphatic winner

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Well done: Vincent Kompany is greeted by manager Josep Guardiola after securing victory against Leicester.

Well done: Vincent Kompany is greeted by manager Josep Guardiola after securing victory against Leicester.

Captain Kompany leads from the front by scoring an emphatic winner

Just as nerves and an enterprising Leicester City threatened to wreck Manchester City’s title hopes, its long-serving captain Vincent Kompany stepped up and fired home in the most emphatic fashion.

The 1-0 win over Brendan Rodgers’ side now means City can secure the Premier League title with a victory at Brighton on Sunday.

City is on top of the table with a one point advantage over Liverpool, which hosts Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday and know that its only chance of winning the title is if City stumble on the south coast.

It had been a nervy and frustrating night for the home crowd until Kompany’s 25-metre drive sent the Etihad Stadium wild in a mixture of relief and joy after its longest wait this Premier League season for an opening goal at home.

The 33-year-old Belgian defender picked up the ball just over the half-way line with the Leicester defence camped deep, and he unleashed a stunning drive that flew into the top corner of Kasper Schmeichel’s goal.

It was the first time that Kompany has scored a goal for City from outside the box and there could not have been a better moment for such unlikely inspiration.

Unless Brighton can produce the upset that has so far failed to materialise in the run-in of this epic duel, Liverpool, beaten just once this league campaign, will have to settle for the runner-up spot.

AC Milan back in CL race

Three players were sent off and AC Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso was involved in a touchline row with one of his own players as it beat Bologna 2-1 in Serie A on Monday to revive its Champions League hopes.

Suso and Fabio Borini put Milan in control before Mattia Destro replied, but the home side’s recent frustration boiled over in the first half with the argument between Gattuso and substitute Tiemoue Bakayoko.

Gattuso told Bakayoko to warm up after Lucas Biglia was injured but the coach sent on Jose Mauri instead, saying afterwards that the Frenchman had taken too long to get ready. There was a heated discussion between the pair which was caught by television cameras.

Milan had to survive the last 15 minutes with 10 men after Lucas Paqueta was sent off when he appeared to slap the referee’s hand after being booked for retaliation while Bologna finished with nine after Nicola Sansone and Mitchell Dijks were dismissed.

The results:

Premier League: Manchester City 1 (Kompany 70) bt Leicester 0.

Serie A: AC Milan 2 (Suso 37, Borini 67) bt Bologna 1 (Destro 72) .

Napoli boss’ recipe to spice up ‘boring’ European football******Football

Napoli boss’ recipe to spice up ‘boring’ European football

AFPMay 06, 2019 23:40 ISTUpdated:May 07, 2019 22:52 ISTAFPMay 06, 2019 23:40 ISTUpdated:May 07, 2019 22:52 IST

De Laurentiis proposes new 80-team competition to replace Champions and Europa Leagues

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De Laurentiis proposes new 80-team competition to replace Champions and Europa Leagues

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis on Monday called for the Champions League and Europa League to be abolished and replaced with a new 80-team competition in order to revive “boring” European football.

Napoli sealed second place in Serie A for the second consecutive season on Sunday, after a last-gasp 2-1 win over Cagliari.

Film-producer De Laurentiis, who bankrolls Napoli, believes UEFA’s two European club competitions are outdated, proposing a new format that would see 80 teams compete in a single competition.

“The Champions League and the Europa League should be abolished,” De Laurentiis told Italian dailyCorriere della Sera.

“The Champions League is now for a select few, while the Europa League has become a sort of consolation prize. It’s all very outdated.

“Our football is becoming boring. We are often confronted with the same sparring partners.”

Top seven teams

De Laurentiis proposes a single tournament with “the top seven teams from the Italian, French, English, German and Spanish leagues and the first four of the Portuguese, Dutch, Belgian, Swedish and all the other leagues”.

The teams would be divided into four groups of 20 teams, with a draw to decide the calendar and who plays at home.

“I would call it the European Cup and the games would be played on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, thus respecting the placement of the national championships over the weekend,” the 69-year-old said

The Napoli boss opposes plans by the European Club Association (ECA) and its president Andrea Agnelli, who is also the boss of Serie A rival Juventus, to play the group stage with four groups of eight teams.

This new Champions League would be closer to a closed league, the first six of each pool being directly qualified for the next edition, regardless of their championship standings.

“Agnelli is an intelligent man, I cannot believe he has a tournament like this in mind that would be harmful for the rest of European football,” said De Laurentiis.

“It’s a formula that could work initially but in the end would drive away a good portion of the public and fans from the world of football.”

Juventus once again dominated the Italian league this season, winning an eighth consecutive Serie A title with weeks to spare.

But the Napoli president backed former Real Madrid, AC Milan and Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti, who took over as coach this season, despite his failure to even challenge for a first Serie A title since 1990.

“I am satisfied with the work of Ancelotti,” he said. “With (Cristiano) Ronaldo, Juventus has raised the points bar, but we are competing with one of the best European teams.”

We’re not throwing flowers into the air: Zidane******Football

We’re not throwing flowers into the air: Zidane

AFPMADRIDMay 06, 2019 23:09 ISTUpdated:May 06, 2019 23:18 ISTAFPMADRIDMay 06, 2019 23:09 ISTUpdated:May 06, 2019 23:18 IST

Diaz scores twice in Real Madrid’s victory over Villarreal

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Double treat: Mariano Diaz, who has barely been used since joining from Lyon last summer, scored in either half for Real Madrid.

Double treat: Mariano Diaz, who has barely been used since joining from Lyon last summer, scored in either half for Real Madrid.

Diaz scores twice in Real Madrid’s victory over Villarreal

Real Madrid delivered a winning response to Zinedine Zidane’s stinging criticism as Mariano Diaz scored twice in a 3-2 victory over Villarreal on Sunday.

An angry Zidane questioned the attitude of his players after last week’s 1-0 loss to Rayo Vallecano and reacted by making more changes, with Luka Modric and Gareth Bale not even included in the squad.

Chance to impress

Instead, youngsters like Jesus Vallejo, Brahim Diaz and Federico Valverde were given chances to impress, along with Mariano, who has barely been used since joining from Lyon last summer.

His two goals, either side of Vallejo scoring his first for the club, were enough, despite Jaume Costa pulling a late goal back for Villarreal to set up an unexpectedly nervy finish.

The result left third-placed Madrid six points behind Atletico Madrid in La Liga with two games left.

Real will need to win both of its remaining matches and Atletico lose both of its to prevent Diego Simeone’s side finishing as the top team in the capital for the second year running.

But more of a concern for Zidane will be the 15-point gap behind Barcelona.

Zidane warned expectant fans on Saturday that much of his current squad will still be at the club next season but this felt like another exercise in experimentation.

Mariano’s display begs the question whether he could have been more useful during a campaign where his team has struggled for goals.

Welcome boost

In that regard, the sight of Vinicius Junior coming off the bench here and making his first appearance in two months after recovering from injury will also have been a welcome boost.

Mariano had scored inside two minutes, prodding in after Santi Cazorla had been robbed in midfield by the energetic Brahim.

The advantage lasted only nine minutes as this time Casemiro was caught napping in his own half, allowing Gerard Moreno the chance to fire past Thibaut Courtois at the near post.

Real settled as Dani Carvajal hit the post from distance before Vallejo put it back in front shortly before half-time. Marcelo weaved in from the left and his blocked shot fell at Vallejo’s feet, the 22-year-old finishing from four yards.

Real made it three early in the second-half, Mariano tapping in Carvajal’s cross before Vinicius came on to a warm reception with 16 minutes left.

Important results:

La Liga: Real Madrid 3 (Mariano 2, 49, Vallejo 40) bt Villarreal 2 (Gerard 11, Jaume 90+4); Valladolid 1 (Rubio 21) bt Athletic Bilbao 0; Huesca 2 (Melero 66, Gallar 90+2-pen) lost to Valencia 6 (Wass 2, Rodrigo 16, 51, Santi Mina 20, 33, Xabier Etxeita 41-og).

Serie A:Empoli 1 (Farias 54) bt Fiorentina 0; Sassuolo 2 (Ferrari 66, Boga 78) drew with Frosinone 2 (Sammarco 8, Paganini 36); Napoli 2 (Mertens 85, Insigne 90+8-pen) bt Cagliari 1 (Pavoletti 63).

Bundesliga:Freiburg 1 (Grifo 9-pen) drew with Fortuna Duesseldorf 1 (Kownacki 31).

Mertens goes past Maradona******Football

Mertens goes past Maradona

AFPMilanMay 06, 2019 23:09 ISTUpdated:May 06, 2019 23:18 ISTAFPMilanMay 06, 2019 23:09 ISTUpdated:May 06, 2019 23:18 IST

The Belgian striker headed in the equaliser after 85 minutes in Naples to surpass former Argentinian ace Maradona, who hit 81 league goals between 1984 and 1991.

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Dries Mertens.

Dries Mertens.

The Belgian striker headed in the equaliser after 85 minutes in Naples to surpass former Argentinian ace Maradona, who hit 81 league goals between 1984 and 1991.

Dries Mertens on Sunday overtook club legend Diego Maradona in Napoli’s all-time Serie A scorers list after bagging his 82st goal in a 2-1 win over Cagliari which sealed second place in this season.

The Belgian striker headed in the equaliser after 85 minutes in Naples to surpass former Argentinian ace Maradona, who hit 81 league goals between 1984 and 1991.

Mertens is now the third best Serie A scorer in the club’s history, behind Antonio Vojak, who hit a record 102 league goals between 1929 and 1935 and Slovakian Marek Hamsik, who achieved 100 before leaving to play in China this season.

Very happy

“I'm very happy to have overtaken Maradona and to be a part of Napoli's history,” said Mertens, 31, who arrived in southern Italy in 2013 from PSV Eindhoven.

“We must be proud of our second place.”

“The future? If I want to score goals in Italian I have to stay. I have always said that I feel good here, I want to continue doing important things with this shirt.”

Mertens said he was enjoying playing under Carlo Ancelotti who took over from Maurizio Sarri this season.

“With Ancelotti my role has changed. I have more freedom and it shows.”

Mertens has scored 14 goals this season including the last three games.

Salah and Firmino ruled out of Barcelona game******Football

Salah and Firmino ruled out of Barcelona game

AFPLIVERPOOLMay 06, 2019 23:08 ISTUpdated:May 06, 2019 23:20 ISTAFPLIVERPOOLMay 06, 2019 23:08 ISTUpdated:May 06, 2019 23:20 IST

Klopp says the ‘wonderful’ Reds will try their best to overcome the big deficit

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Job on hand: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will have to make do without two of his best strikers against Barcelona.

Job on hand: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will have to make do without two of his best strikers against Barcelona.

Klopp says the ‘wonderful’ Reds will try their best to overcome the big deficit

Liverpool will be without top scorer Mohamed Salah for Tuesday’s Champions League semifinal, second leg against Barcelona after manager Jurgen Klopp revealed he was concussed in a 3-2 win at Newcastle.

The Egyptian was stretchered off at St. James’ Park on Saturday due to a head knock sustained as he challenged Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka for a high ball.

“It’s a concussion so that means he would not even be allowed to play. So that’s it,” said Klopp at his pre-match press conference on Monday.”

Klopp will also be without Brazilian striker Roberto Firmino due to a groin injury as his side face the huge challenge of trying to overturn a 3-0 first leg deficit to make the Champions League final for a second consecutive season.

“Two of the world’s best strikers are not available tomorrow night and we have to score four goals against Barcelona to go through after 90 minutes,” added Klopp. “It doesn’t make life easier, but as long as we have 11 players on the pitch, we will try it.”

 

Liverpool has a rich history of stunning comebacks in European football, most famously lifting the Champions League in 2005 after trailing the final 3-0 to AC Milan at half-time.

In Klopp’s first season in charge in the quarterfinals of the Europa League in 2016, the Reds also came from 3-1 down in the final 25 minutes to beat his old side Borussia Dortmund 4-3.

However, the German coach is aware of the extra difficulty of not just scoring at least three against the Spanish champion, but also not conceding a vital away goal to the likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez that would leave Liverpool needing to score five to progress.

“It doesn’t happen too often that Barcelona don’t score at all. We know how big the challenge is. This team is so wonderful we will try 100%, but that doesn’t mean it will all work out.”

And Klopp admitted he could have one eye on Sunday’s final league game of the season at home to Wolves with his team selection.

Sethu FC wins a thriller******Football

Sethu FC wins a thriller

PTILudhianaMay 06, 2019 21:51 ISTUpdated:May 06, 2019 21:51 ISTPTILudhianaMay 06, 2019 21:51 ISTUpdated:May 06, 2019 21:51 IST
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Sethu FC defeated Manipur Police in a thrilling encounter that saw two hat-tricks and 10 goals. The team from Madurai eventually fashioned a massive 6-4 victory over its Manipuri opponent here on Monday.

Sabitra Bhandari was the star of the show as she netted four first-half goals to power Sethu FC to the win. Her counterpart Bala Devi was also on song, scoring two goals, but her efforts went in vain.

In the other match, Kamala Devi struck a last-gasp goal as Kolhapur City came back from two goals down to beat Baroda Football Academy 4-3.

The results:Manipur Police SC 4 (Sowmiya og-22, Bala Devi 41, 90+1, Pramodini Chanu 64) lost to Sethu FC 6 (Sabitra Bhandari 1, 16, 34, 45+3, Dangmei Grace 67, 75); Kolhapur City 4 (Kashmina 45, 62, Pratiksha Mithari 88, Kamalai 90+3) bt Baroda FA 3 (Ayomide Awawu og-28, Mona 35, Heta Shukla 89) .

Jeers turn to cheers for Chelsea******Football

Jeers turn to cheers for Chelsea

AFPLondonMay 05, 2019 21:43 ISTUpdated:May 05, 2019 21:44 ISTAFPLondonMay 05, 2019 21:43 ISTUpdated:May 05, 2019 21:44 IST

United’s top-four dreams come to an end; Liverpool goes to the top yet again

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Saviour:  Divock Origi came to Liverpool’s rescue yet again this season, this time heading the winner against Newcastle.

Saviour: Divock Origi came to Liverpool’s rescue yet again this season, this time heading the winner against Newcastle.

United’s top-four dreams come to an end; Liverpool goes to the top yet again

Chelsea moved into third place in the Premier League as a quick-fire blitz from Ruben Loftus-Cheek and David Luiz inspired a vital 3-0 win over Watford on Sunday.

Maurizio Sarri’s side was booed off after a sloppy first half, but two goals in three minutes from Loftus-Cheek and Luiz lifted the mood at Stamford Bridge.

Gonzalo Higuain added the third and Chelsea is now one point clear of fourth placed Tottenham after its first win in four games in all competitions.

Embarrassing draw

Meanwhile, Manchester United’s hopes of Champions League football next season were ended after an embarrassing 1-1 draw at already relegated Huddersfield on Sunday.

United has now won just two of its last 11 games in all competitions as Huddersfield ended a run of eight straight defeats.

In Saturday’s late night game, Divock Origi headed Liverpool back to the top despite losing Mohamed Salah to a head injury in a thrilling 3-2 win at Newcastle.

At the other end of the table, Cardiff was relegated after its 3-2 defeat against Crystal Palace.

The results:

Premier League:Chelsea 3 (Loftus-Cheek 48, Luiz 51, Higuain 75) bt Watford 0; Huddersfield 1 (Mbenza 60) drew with Manchester United 1 (McTominay 8).

La Liga:Getafe 2 (Jorge Molina 16, Rodriguez Diaz 77) bt Girona 0; Eibar 1 (Angel 45+1) bt Real Betis 0.

Serie A:Empoli 1 (Farias 54) bt Fiorentina 0; Parma 3 (Gazzola 2, Kucka 67-pen, Bastoni 71) drew with Sampdoria 3 (Quagliarella 28-pen, 61, Defrel 38); Lazio 1 (Parolo 3) lost to Atalanta 3 (Zapata 22, Castagne 58, Wallace 76-og); Sassuolo 2 (Ferrari 66, Boga 78) drew with Frosinone 2 (Sammarco 8, Paganini 36).

Bundesliga:Schalke 0 lost to Augsburg 0.

On Saturday: Premier League:Cardiff 2 (Kelly 31-og, Reid 90) lost to Crystal Palace 3 (Zaha 28, Batshuayi 40, Townsend 70); Newcastle 2 (Atsu 20, Rondon 54) lost to Liverpool 3 (Van Dijk 13, Salah 28, Origi 86).

La Liga:Espanyol 3 (Godin 45+1-o.g., Iglesias 52, 89-pen) bt Atletico Madrid 0; Alaves 0 lost to Real Sociedad 1 (Willian Jose 24); Celta Vigo 2 (Gūmez 67, Aspas 88-pen) bt Barcelona 0.

Serie A:Chievo 0 lost to SPAL 4 (Felipe 8, 55, Floccari 47, Kurtic 81); Udinese 0 drew with Inter Milan 0.

Bundesliga:Werder Bremen 2 (Mohwald 70, Pizarro 75) drew with Borussia Dortmund 2 (Pulisic 6, Alcacer 41).

La Liga: Under******Cricket

La Liga: Under-strength Barcelona beaten by Celta

ReutersVIGOMay 05, 2019 15:42 ISTUpdated:May 05, 2019 16:09 ISTReutersVIGOMay 05, 2019 15:42 ISTUpdated:May 05, 2019 16:09 IST

Ousmane Dembele suffered an injury setback ahead of Tuesday's Champions League game at Liverpool.

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RC Celta’s Iago Aspas scores his team’s second goal during a La Liga soccer match against Barcelona in Vigo on May 4, 2019.

RC Celta’s Iago Aspas scores his team’s second goal during a La Liga soccer match against Barcelona in Vigo on May 4, 2019.

Ousmane Dembele suffered an injury setback ahead of Tuesday's Champions League game at Liverpool.

Barcelona fell to their first La Liga defeat since November as the champions were beaten 2-0 at struggling Celta Vigo after making 11 changes but forward Ousmane Dembele suffered an injury setback ahead of Tuesday's Champions League game at Liverpool.

The win took Celta on to 40 points and a step closer towards guaranteeing survival but it meant 19th-placed Rayo Vallecano became the first team to be relegated, after a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Levante left them on 31 points from 36 games.

Uruguay forward Maxi Gomez gave Celta a deserved lead in the 67th minute, sliding to the floor to divert a low pass beyond Barca's reserve goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen, after the home side saw a goal ruled out for a marginal offside after a VAR review.

Celta's captain and talisman Iago Aspas then sealed the win by converting from the penalty spot after another VAR review ruled that Barca's Samuel Umtiti had handled the ball.

Barca's players were given a guard of honour by Celta when they came out of the tunnel before kick off after lifting an eighth title in 11 seasons last Saturday by beating Levante 1-0 at the Nou Camp.

Many of the players who received the tribute, however, had done little to contribute to the title win.

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez were among a number of high profile players to be rested ahead of the trip to Anfield, where the Catalans are aiming to book their place in the Champions League final for the first time since 2015.

Dembele was one of few regular starters to face Celta but he had to be taken off in the sixth minute after hurting a muscle when attempting a sprint.

Barca said in a statement that Dembele had injured his right hamstring and that he would undergo further tests on Sunday, although the France forward is doubtful for the remainder of the campaign.

Barca, who lost for the first time since a 4-3 defeat to Real Betis nearly six months ago, have 83 points while second-placed Atletico have 74 after losing 3-0 at Espanyol earlier on Saturday.

Valverde put his side's defeat down to the many changes he made.

“We dominated the game in spells but once they scored and they sensed they could win the game we had no response,” he said.

“We were playing with a lot of new players and it was difficult for us to create chances. We created barely anything in the second half and didn't do nearly enough to score.”

Lee and Roca in shortlist******Football

Lee and Roca in shortlist

PTInew DelhiMay 04, 2019 21:15 ISTUpdated:May 04, 2019 21:15 ISTPTInew DelhiMay 04, 2019 21:15 ISTUpdated:May 04, 2019 21:15 IST

AIFF looking to hire chief coach for men’s national team

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Albert Roca.

Albert Roca.

AIFF looking to hire chief coach for men’s national team

The All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) technical committee has short-listed four candidates, including two-time South Korean World Cupper Lee Min-sung and the familiar Albert Roca, for the job of the chief coach of the men’s national team.

Besides Lee Min-sung and Roca, who tasted immense success at Bengaluru FC, the other two in the fray are ex-Croatia national team manager Igor Stimac and former Sweden coach Hakan Ericson. The technical committee, headed by former India international Shyam Thapa, will hold another round of discussion with the short-listed candidates next week, tentatively on May 8 or 9.

Online interviews

“It will again be in the form of interviews via Skype and then the most suitable name will be forwarded to the federation’s executive committee with recommendations. The executive committee will take then take the final call,” Thapa said.

The Indian team is scheduled to play matches in the Kings Cup on June 5 and June 8, and a preparatory national camp will be held under the new coach in the third week of May. The Kings Cup will be the new coach’s first assignment.

Owing to the Indian team’s spirited showing in the AFC Asian Cup and a run of 13-match unbeaten streak prior to that, more than 250 candidates, including some top names from Europe, have applied for the job since Stephen Constantine resigned.

The list included the likes of France’s World Cup winning coach Raymond Domenech, former England managers Sven-Goran Eriksson and Sam Allardyce.

These are pro-licence holders with national team experience in major global events like the World Cup, and their salary was a major issue of deliberation in the first meeting of the technical committee, when it scrutinised around 40 candidates for the vacant post.

The 58-year-old Ericson, who briefly managed Sweden’s national team in 2016 besides being at the helm of its U-21 set-up for more than six years, likes his teams to be configured in a 4-3-1-2 formation.

Ericson, during his playing career, turned out for Swedish sides Aby IF, FK Kick and IK Sleipner.

Good record

Spain’s Roca took Bengaluru FC to the AFC Cup final in 2016 in his first few months in charge, before helping the club win the Federation Cup and Super Cup, in addition to finishing runner-up in the club’s first ISL season in 2018.

The 56-year-old Roca has previous experience as an assistant to Frank Rijkaard at Barcelona, and also worked in the support staff of both Galatasaray and the Saudi Arabian national team.

IWL from tomorrow******Football

IWL from tomorrow

Sports BureauNEW DELHIMay 03, 2019 21:26 ISTUpdated:May 03, 2019 21:26 ISTSports BureauNEW DELHIMay 03, 2019 21:26 ISTUpdated:May 03, 2019 21:26 IST
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The Hero Indian Women’s Football League (IWL), beginning at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana on May 5, will witness some of the top female players of the country and from abroad.

Defending champion Rising Student’s Club will take on Gokulam Kerala FC on Sunday in the inaugural match. As many as 12 teams, divided into two groups of six each, will participate.

“Women’s football in our country is going through an exciting phase. We have seen the Indian women’s team produce some great results on the international front,” said All India Football Federation secretary Kushal Das.

He further said the league will unearth many more young talent. “We are sure to see the rise of more talented players in the third season of the Hero IWL.”

The teams:

Group I:Rising Student’s Club, Gokulam Kerala FC, FC Alakhpura, Hans Women’s FC, Central SSB, Panjim Footballers.

Group II:Manipur Police, Sethu FC, Bangalore United, SAI-STC (Cuttack), FC Kolhapur City, Baroda FA.

lionel messi scored his 600th goal for fc barcelona against liverpool in the champions league******Football

Magnificent Messi – his goals by the numbers

May 03, 2019 16:05 ISTUpdated:May 03, 2019 16:55 ISTMay 03, 2019 16:05 ISTUpdated:May 03, 2019 16:55 IST
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Barcelona’s Lionel Messi celebrates his team’s second goal during the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal match against Manchester United at Camp Nou in Barcelona on April 16, 2019.

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi celebrates his team’s second goal during the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal match against Manchester United at Camp Nou in Barcelona on April 16, 2019.

The Camp Nou held its collective breath as Lionel Messi steadied himself for the free-kick. Barcelona was already leading 2-0 in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final against Liverpool. As the referee blew his whistle, Messi took a short run up and curled his free kick strike 29 meters from the Liverpool net. The ball curved to the right, narrowly avoiding the defenders at the wall and sailed over Alisson Becker’s outstretched arm before lodging itself in the back of the net just inches below the crossbar. The stadium erupted. Messi had scored his 600th goal for Barcelona.

Messi’s 600 goals for Barcelona have come in 683 games, at a staggering record of 0.9 goals per game. He already holds the record of Barcelona’s top-scorer after he surpassed Cesar Rodriguez’s 232 goals in March 2012. Rodriguez last-played for Barcelona in 1954.

Over the years, Messi has shown no signs of stopping. On an average he has scored over 30 goals in every season since 2010. His best performance was in the year 2012 when he scored 59 goals in La Liga and netted 13 times in the Champions League. He has scored 12 goals in the Champions League already this year as FC Barcelona chases its fifth title.

Yearly goals scored by Lionel Messi

Source: Messi Stats

In La Liga, Messi has enjoyed playing against Sevilla with 36 goals in 35 games, the most against any side in the competition. His rate of scoring has been the highest against Rayo Vallecano with 1.7 goals per game. He has found the back of the net 26 times in 39 matches against Real Madrid, Barcelona’s long-standing rivals.

Lionel Messi's goals against other teams in European football

Source: Transfer Market

His 600th goal came via a direct free-kick making it his 42nd goal overall through this form of set pieces. Since the 2014/15 season, Messi has scored 17 goals in 179 attempts via free-kicks at a conversion rate of 9.5. While he features among the top-15 players with the best conversion rates, he has scored the maximum number of goals among his rivals. He clearly prefers his left foot as 82% of his goals have been scored off it while his right-foot accounts for 14%. Only 4% of his goals have come from headers.

The way Messi scores

Source: Messi Stats

How he's done it

Source: Messi Stats

What sets Messi apart isn’t just raw numbers but how he achieves them. Data from understat.com that tabulates Expected Goals (xG) for each season show that Messi has consistently scored more goals than what is normally expected in the circumstances where he had taken shots at goal. xG measures the quality of a chance and predicts the likelihood of a shot resulting in a goal. An xG of 0.5 would mean, of 10 shots in various circumstances (location, angle, number of players to beat, etc), only five of them are likely to result in a goal. For example, a tap-in from near the goal-line would have a xG of 1.0, while a shot taken directly at goal from a corner would have a xG of near zero.

Data on xG is available on understat.com from the 2013-14 season and except the 2015/16 season, Messi has surpassed the expectations by an average of six goals per season. This season alone, he has exceeded his xG by 9.63 goals.

Lionel Messi: Expected goals v actual goals scored

 

In sum, Messi doesn’t just score plenty of goals because he plays in a world class team that provides him the chances to thrive in frontl, but he exceeds expectations by creating chances for himself and his team.

Europa League: Arsenal has the edge over Valencia******Football

Europa League: Arsenal has the edge over Valencia

ReutersFRANKFURTMay 03, 2019 07:40 ISTUpdated:May 03, 2019 21:09 ISTReutersFRANKFURTMay 03, 2019 07:40 ISTUpdated:May 03, 2019 21:09 IST

Chelsea sets record at Frankfurt.

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Chelsea's Pedro Rodriguez, right, and Frankfurt's Nelson Mandela Mbouhom, left, challenge for the ball during a Uefa Europa League, first leg semifinal soccer match between Eintracht Frankfurt and FC Chelsea in the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt, Germany on Thursday, May 2, 2019.

Chelsea's Pedro Rodriguez, right, and Frankfurt's Nelson Mandela Mbouhom, left, challenge for the ball during a Uefa Europa League, first leg semifinal soccer match between Eintracht Frankfurt and FC Chelsea in the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt, Germany on Thursday, May 2, 2019.

Chelsea sets record at Frankfurt.

Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck a vital late goal to seal a 3-1 win over Valencia on Thursday and give his side breathing space for the second leg of its Europa League semifinal in Spain next week.

Alexandre Lacazette scored twice in the first half after Mouctar Diakhaby had stunned the Emirates crowd with an early header to give Valencia the lead.

The tie was still balanced on a knife edge, however, before Gabon striker Aubameyang’s 90th-minute volley put his side in control.

Unai Emery’s team will need to show more steel than it has done away from home for much of the season, though, if it is to reach the final in Baku and a possible meeting with London rival Chelsea.

Arsenal had conceded nine goals in its last three Premier League games and it was easy to see why in a dreadful opening.

Valencia struggling to secure a top-four spot in La Liga, sliced through the home defence at will and had gone close to scoring before Frenchman Diakhaby put them ahead.

When a corner was swung over in the 11th minute, an unmarked Rodrigo headed it back across goal where Diakhaby rose above three stationary Arsenal defenders to nod past Petr Cech.

For a while there was panic in the Arsenal ranks and both Daniel Parejo and Goncalo Guedes threatened a second.

But Lacazette stopped Valencia in its track seven minutes after the host went behind.

He released Aubameyang with a superb pass before arriving in the box to steer a shot past Neto after his fellow striker cleverly held up the ball before squaring it.

Seven minutes passed before Granit Xhaka’s cross found Lacazette and his downward header had just enough power to cross the line despite Neto’s desperate attempt to keep it out.

Suddenly Arsenal was rampant and another Xhaka cross found Aubameyang but he bounced his volley over.

Valencia burst back into life in the second half and it needed a brave header by Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny to stop a cross reaching the dangerous Goncalo Guedes.

Lacazette wasted two gilt-edged chances to put the host in control, miscuing a header from Aubameyang’s cross with the goal gaping and weakly shooting straight at Neto.

Valencia, losing semifinalist in 2012 and 2014, would have been reasonably content heading back to Spain with a one-goal deficit but it switched off in the dying minutes.

Moments after Neto had made a superb save, Arsenal kept the ball alive and Sead Kolasinac’s cross found Aubameyang at the far post to drive his volley home. 

Unbeaten streak

Chelsea set a Europa League record of 16 successive matches unbeaten with a 1-1 semifinal first-leg draw at Eintracht Frankfurt thanks to a Pedro equaliser on the stroke of half time.

Serbian Luka Jovic had put the host ahead after 23 minutes.

The draw meant Chelsea, Europa League winner in 2013, surpassed Atletico Madrid’s 2011-12 unbeaten run.

It took time to find its stride, however, with Jovic stooping to head past the outstretched Kepa Arrizabalaga off a cross from compatriot Filip Kostic with a goal that raised the decibels in a stadium famed for its atmosphere.

Jovic, firmly on the radar of top clubs across Europe, has now scored nine goals in the competition and 26 in all this season.

Frankfurt failed to press home its advantage, however, running out of energy in a second half dominated by the visitor with Jorginho dictating play.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek led the fightback, blasting just wide in the 42nd minute and then nimbly beating defenders before feeding the ball through to Spanish winger Pedro who hammered in a low left-foot shot.

Chelsea was far livelier after the break, with the host having another close escape when David Luiz rattled the crossbar from a dipping free kick.

Frankfurt captain David Abraham headed over the bar while unmarked with six minutes remaining after an optimistic appeal for a penalty came to nothing.

“At 1-0 down we were a bit in trouble,” Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta said.

“I think the last 15 minutes of the first half we dominated with great chances. We scored the goal before halftime and in the second half I think we had more chances than them.”

Both sides are fourth in their domestic leagues, with the Europa League offering an alternative route to next season’s Champions League.

The second-leg is at Stamford Bridge next Thursday, when the positions in the Premier League will also come into clearer focus before the final weekend.

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri left Eden Hazard on the bench until the 62nd minute, preferring to rest the Belgian forward for those important remaining Premier League games against Watford and Leicester City.

When Hazard did come on, he had a shot tipped over the bar.

“I am very happy with the performance but not with the result,” said Sarri, who felt Chelsea should have scored more.

“After 25 minutes we started to play. We played very well in the last 20 minutes of the first half, very well for 35 minutes in the second half. And so I think that at the end we deserved to win. But 1-1 away is not so bad.”

The results: 

Semifinals (first-leg): Arsenal 3 (Lacazette 18, 25, Aubameyang 90) bt Valencia 1 (Diakhaby 11); Eintracht Frankfurt 1 (Jovic 23) drew with Chelsea 1 (Pedro 45).

Habas returns as ATK aims to regain prominence******Football

Habas returns as ATK aims to regain prominence

Special Correspondent KOLKATAMay 02, 2019 21:47 ISTUpdated:May 02, 2019 21:47 ISTSpecial Correspondent KOLKATAMay 02, 2019 21:47 ISTUpdated:May 02, 2019 21:47 IST

Change of guard became apparent after the team failed to qualify for the ISL playoffs this time under Coppell

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Antonio Lopez Habas.

Antonio Lopez Habas.

Change of guard became apparent after the team failed to qualify for the ISL playoffs this time under Coppell

The city’s Indian Super League (ISL) franchise ATK announced the return of its first coach Antonio Lopez Habas prior to the start of the sixth season, here on Thursday.

Significant

The appointment of Habas becomes significant as the two-time champion aims to regain the proficiency it enjoyed under Spanish coaches in the first three years.

The 61-year-old Habas, who helped ATK win the inaugural title before taking the side to the play-off stage in the second season, returns as ATK failed to make a mark under successive English coaches in the past two seasons.

A change of guard became apparent after the team failed to qualify to the ISL playoffs this time under Steve Coppell.

Spanish system

With the team management retaining the services of its two Spanish imports Manuel Lanzarote and Edu Garcia alongside Englishman John Johnson, the return of Habas appears to confirm the think-tank’s reliance on the Spanish system for success.

Habas, who has the experience of working with a La Liga side like Valencia CF, was with ISL side FC Pune City in his last assignment.

“I have always had the feeling that I will be back to train the team.

“I am sure that with the support of the fans, and us working together, we will get the recognition and the results that the club deserves.

Success will be achieved

“Success will be achieved when we aspire to compete hard and add to the professional growth of the club,” Habas said in statement released by ATK.

Champions League semi******Football

Messi torments Liverpool with 600th Barca goal in 3-0 win in Champions League semi-final

ReutersBARCELONAMay 02, 2019 07:58 ISTUpdated:May 02, 2019 10:52 ISTReutersBARCELONAMay 02, 2019 07:58 ISTUpdated:May 02, 2019 10:52 IST

While Barcelona took their chances with clinical precision, Liverpool wasted a string of opportunities that fell their way.

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Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring their second goal with Luis Suarez

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring their second goal with Luis Suarez

While Barcelona took their chances with clinical precision, Liverpool wasted a string of opportunities that fell their way.

Lionel Messi put Barcelona on the verge of the Champions League final with a devastating double in a 3-0 home win over Liverpool in the first leg of their last-four clash on Wednesday, taking his goal tally for the Catalans to 600.

The Argentine's milestone goal was a moment of brilliance as he curled a dazzling free kick into the top corner from distance to add gloss to a scoreline that did not reflect the balance of play.

Yet whereas Barcelona took their chances with clinical precision, Liverpool wasted a string of opportunities that fell their way.

Former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez reminded the visitors of his superb finishing by opening the scoring in the 26th minute of a tense and finely-balanced first half at the Nou Camp, darting between two Liverpool defenders to divert Jordi Alba's cross into the net.

Barca captain Messi scored the all-important second goal of the night in the 75th minute, chesting the ball down on the rebound and dribbling it over the line after Suarez had hammered the crossbar with a shot with his knee.

The Argentine then added to Barca's already huge advantage to take into next Tuesday's second leg at Anfield by smashing home his sizzling free kick in the 82nd minute.

“Four goals would have been better than three but this is a very good result,” Messi told reporters.

“We know that the tie isnt over, Anfield is a very difficult place to go but were happy with the super game we played tonight. They clearly wanted to score because an away goal means a lot but they didn’t and we have a great advantage.”

Little mercy

Liverpool, who were beaten 3-1 in last year's final by Real Madrid, played far better than the scoreline suggested, carving out a number of clear chances but spurning them all.

Barca's South American duo of Suarez and Messi showed little mercy whenever they sniffed out a chance and condemned Juergen Klopp's side to their first defeat in any competition since January with some ruthless finishing.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi, who scored two of the team's three goals, hugs Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp after the Champions League semifinal first leg soccer match between FC Barcelona and Liverpool at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain on Wednesday, May 1, 2019.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi, who scored two of the team's three goals, hugs Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp after the Champions League semifinal first leg soccer match between FC Barcelona and Liverpool at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain on Wednesday, May 1, 2019.

Klopp praised his side's performance but he was not optimistic about the likelihood of a miraculous turnaround.

“I was completely happy with how we played, we played between the lines, we had chances and caused them a lot of problems,” the German told a news conference.

“If you lose away it's not a massive problem as long as you scored a goal but we didn't score that goal and that makes things a lot harder. We have a chance because it's football but we had a much bigger chance before tonight.”

Suarez spared little thought for his former employers following his eventful three-and-a-half-year stay on Merseyside, as he celebrated his opening strike with relish, racing behind the goal and wagging his finger at the delighted Barca fans.

Glorious chance

Sadio Mane squandered a glorious chance to level for the Premier League side later in the first half but scooped the ball over the bar, while James Milner and Mohamed Salah were both denied by Barca's excellent Marc-Andre ter Stegen later on.

Klopp's side had done an impressive job of shackling Barca's all-time top scorer Messi, but there was little they could do when the Argentine pounced on the loose ball after Suarez had hit the crossbar.

Messi sparked further celebrations at a packed Nou Camp with another outstanding free kick, yet the drama in this blockbuster European encounter was far from over.

 Barcelona's Lionel Messi in action with Liverpool's Fabinho and Virgil van Dijk

Barcelona's Lionel Messi in action with Liverpool's Fabinho and Virgil van Dijk

Liverpool again went agonisingly close to snatching an away goal as Barca's Ivan Rakitic scrambled the ball off the goalline only to find the feet of Salah, who somehow smashed the rebound against the near post.

Barca could have seized an even bigger advantage in the tie with two golden chances that fell to substitute Ousmane Dembele, but the Frenchman missed the target the first time then shot straight into the hands of goalkeeper Alisson Becker.

Himachal clinches junior girls’ title******Football

Himachal clinches junior girls’ title

Shyam VasudevanKolhapurMay 01, 2019 22:01 ISTUpdated:May 01, 2019 22:01 ISTShyam VasudevanKolhapurMay 01, 2019 22:01 ISTUpdated:May 01, 2019 22:01 IST

Posts a 3-1 win over Jharkhand

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Posts a 3-1 win over Jharkhand

Himachal Pradesh produced a flawless display to outsmart Jharkhand 3-1 and win the junior girls’ National Football Championships at the Polo Ground here on Wednesday.

Jharkhand, which scored a staggering 38 goals on its way to the final, was the undoubted favourite to lift the title but struggled to find its way past a resolute Himachal defence.

Himachal skipper Anju gave her side the best of starts when she struck the opening goal as early as the fifth minute.

The goal was constructed off a string of neat, short passes, with the last one finding Anju in the box, who Anju coolly slotted home. This was the first time the Jharkhand defence had conceded a goal through the tournament, and it was a sign of what was to come.

Jharkhand managed to restore parity three minutes later when Kuwari Indwar nestled the ball into the top corner of the net, but Himachal bounced back within the next two minutes.

Himachal Pradesh forward, Nisha, won the ball at the edge of the box, got it onto her preferred right foot and struck a thunderous drive past a flummoxed Jharkhand ‘keeper to give her side the lead once again.

Jharkhand’s ace forward Sumati Kumari, who scored 17 goals in four matches, had a golden opportunity to put her side back on level terms in the 33rd minute.

She raced towards the goal and found herself in a one-on-one chance with just the goalkeeper to beat, but a last-ditch tackle from stopper-back Ritu Devi prevented her from taking the shot. Jharkhand would be left to rue its chances as Himachal made it 3-1 in off the very next play.

Himachal’s Manisha, operating on the left, won the ball in the attacking third, got past her marker and stormed into the box with relative ease. With the goal at her mercy, she placed it in the bottom right corner to put her team in the driver’s seat.

That proved to be enough as the second half was a goalless affair and the Himachal defence stood its ground to thwart away the few Jharkhand attacks and secure a convincing triumph.

Champions League: Van de Beek gives Ajax edge over Tottenham in semifinal******Football

Champions League: Van de Beek gives Ajax edge over Tottenham in semifinal

ReutersLONDONMay 01, 2019 18:52 ISTUpdated:May 01, 2019 18:52 ISTReutersLONDONMay 01, 2019 18:52 ISTUpdated:May 01, 2019 18:52 IST

Tottenham badly missed injured striker Harry Kane and the suspended Son Heung-min and managed only one shot on target.

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Ajax’s Donny van de Beek scores his side’s goal during the Champions League semifinal first leg match against Tottenham Hotspur in London on April 30, 2019.

Ajax’s Donny van de Beek scores his side’s goal during the Champions League semifinal first leg match against Tottenham Hotspur in London on April 30, 2019.

Tottenham badly missed injured striker Harry Kane and the suspended Son Heung-min and managed only one shot on target.

Ajax Amsterdam took a massive stride towards a first Champions League final for 23 years as Donny van de Beek's early goal earned a 1-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur in the first leg of their semifinal on Tuesday.

Erik ten Hag's youthful Ajax side, featuring several players polished in the Dutch club's famed academy, were too energetic for a laboured Spurs team who hardly got a kick in the opening 25 minutes of their first European Cup semi-final for 57 years.

Such was Ajax's domination in the early stages that they could already have virtually sealed a place in the final — but they had to be content with Van de Beek's 15th minute goal.

Tottenham badly missed injured striker Harry Kane and the suspended Son Heung-min and managed only one shot on target.

Had David Neres's shot not bounced back off the base of the post late on it would have been an even more calamitous night for Mauricio Pochettino's struggling side.

As it stands they will go to Amsterdam next week with a glimmer of hope, even if only one club have ever reached the final by overturning a first-leg home loss.

“The away goal was the most important. Unfortunately Neres hit the upright. If that had gone in, it would have been even better,” Ajax's 19-year-old skipper Matthijs de Ligt said.

“But we must be satisfied with the 1-0 score. It was a tough battle but we were fortunately very sharp tonight.”

Christian Eriksen, one of four former Ajax players in Tottenham's team, summed up the home mood.

“We were under-par, we didn't play our best at all. In the first 20 minutes, we were ball-watchers. We need to change it up a lot for the next game,” the Dane said.

“We're lucky they hit the post and hopefully we can turn things around in Amsterdam.”

Too good

Ajax have already proved too good for Real Madrid and Juventus in the competition this season and were streets ahead of Spurs in the first half on a perfect night for football.

Tottenham were chasing shadows and fell behind after a quarter of an hour when Ajax sliced through the home defence with their quick-passing game.

Hakim Ziyech threaded the ball through to Van de Beek and the midfielder calmly placed his shot past keeper Hugo Lloris.

There was a suspicion of offside but unlike in Tottenham's epic quarter-final win over Manchester City, when Raheem Sterling's stoppage-time goal was ruled out, VAR could not save the London side this time as the Ajax fans celebrated.

Van de Beek should have made it 2-0 from Dusan Tadic's pass as Ajax dominated and when Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen was replaced by Moussa Sissoko in the 39th minute after a clash of heads with team mate and fellow former Ajax player Toby Alderweireld, it seemed nothing was going right for the hosts.

Tottenham's 34-year-old striker Fernando Llorente did his best to lead a blunt attack with little service, but the Spaniard headed wide from Kieran Trippier's cross.

The introduction of midfield powerhouse Sissoko injected some much-needed energy into a flagging Tottenham side and he fizzed a shot wide from Llorente's knockdown before halftime.

Spurs enjoyed their best spell early in the second period as they switched to a more direct approach and Dele Alli had a couple of half chances.

But Ajax showed they can defend as well as attack and rarely looked stretched as the hosts huffed and puffed in search of an equaliser.

Tottenham were vulnerable to the counter, however, and Ajax came close to doubling the lead, and leaving Spurs with a near-impossible task in the second leg, after 78 minutes when Tadic linked up with Neres whose side-footed shot struck the post.

Liverpool aims to spoil Messi’s Champions League dream******Football

Liverpool aims to spoil Messi’s Champions League dream

AFPBarcelonaMay 01, 2019 18:15 ISTUpdated:May 01, 2019 18:15 ISTAFPBarcelonaMay 01, 2019 18:15 ISTUpdated:May 01, 2019 18:15 IST
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Liverpool’s players inspect the pitch at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on April 30, 2019.

Liverpool’s players inspect the pitch at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on April 30, 2019.

Jurgen Klopp has insisted Liverpool are ready to end Lionel Messi’s Champions League mission by beating Barcelona in the semi-finals.

Messi has been rested for Barca’s last two league games and appears more motivated than ever in Europe, after pledging to “bring that beautiful cup back to Camp Nou” at the start of the season.

But Klopp has warned his players not to focus only on the Argentinian.

“It's not only about Messi but of course it's about him as well,” Klopp said at a press conference on Tuesday.

“Can we concentrate on Messi? We should in a lot of moments but if we only concentrate on him there are 10 other world-class players who can decide the game as well.

“Messi said before the season, 'we want to bring back that cup'. That sounds like a threat to me. Now we did it, now we are here and all I can say is we want to go to the final as well.”

Barcelona play Liverpool four days after celebrating winning La Liga on Saturday, and with a Copa del Rey final to come next month against Valencia. It means a treble is in their sights.

“Leo has been a La Liga champion 10 times in 15 years and of course, after seeing him lift the cup (on Saturday) with such happiness, that motivates everyone,” said Ivan Rakitic.

“If Leo is happy to win every title, it makes us even more eager too. We know we're Barca, we have to give everything and following the best player in history gives us more confidence to do that.”

Liverpool hope to have their own striker back in time for the first leg, after Roberto Firmino trained after recovering from a muscle strain.

“If he is 100 per cent ready to play he will maybe play,” Klopp said. “He is here. Tomorrow we have another session.”

Messi is likely to be flanked by two former Liverpool players, with Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho expected to start in an attacking three.

But while Suarez has flourished in Spain, Coutinho has struggled to find his feet since joining Barca for 120 million euros in January last year.

“We miss Phil Coutinho a lot because he is a world-class player and I loved working with him,” Klopp said. "When I first heard he wanted to go to Barcelona I couldn't imagine it would be good. But we had to deal without him and we did well."

Barcelona have not lost at home in the Champions League since 2013 while the last English opponent to beat them on their own turf was Liverpool in 2007.

'Mean a lot to win'

“A draw would not be the worst result in the world, not that we would go for it but it would be okay,” Klopp said.

“It would mean a lot to win. It's difficult, so many teams came here with an idea to do this or that and they got a big knock.

“But we saw the game against Real Sociedad and they did well. Levante did well a couple of days ago. But the better the opposition is, the higher the stakes are, and the more they are engaged.

“Now they are champions, they can completely focus on the Champions League.”

Liverpool have lost only once in the Premier League this term and are still fighting with Manchester City to win the title.

Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino already boast 68 goals this season between them.

“We need to stop them running at our defence,” Rakitic said. “We are going there to score but we mustn't lose our heads.”

“We know in these ties one good game is not enough, you need to play two great games,” coach Ernesto Valverde said. “If you switch off for five minutes against Liverpool, they can finish you off.”

AFC Cup: Chennaiyin FC sneaks a winner******Football

AFC Cup: Chennaiyin FC sneaks a winner

Aashin PrasadAhmedabadApril 30, 2019 22:37 ISTUpdated:April 30, 2019 22:37 ISTAashin PrasadAhmedabadApril 30, 2019 22:37 ISTUpdated:April 30, 2019 22:37 IST

Strengthens position at the top of Group E standings

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Anirudh Thapa.

Anirudh Thapa.

Strengthens position at the top of Group E standings

Chennaiyin FC sneaked in a lucky winner to defeat Abahani Dhaka 1-0 and take a big stride towards qualification from Group E in the AFC Cup at the Arena Stadium in Ahmedabad on Tuesday.

Anirudh Thapa’s zipped-in cross was deflected into his own net by Abahani’s Wellington Priori in the 79th minute to give Chennaiyin the three points.

For the most part of the game, however, Chennaiyin didn’t seem to have the know-how to find that much-needed goal but its incessant pressure, in the end, paid off.

For the best part of the opening 30 minutes, Chennaiyin moved the ball without posing much trouble to the visitor. The rather risk-free passing was easy for Abahani’s defence to deal with.

Abahani coach Mario Lemos had identified Chennaiyin’s threat from set-pieces during pre-match and his side nearly fell behind to one in the 21st minute. A Mailson Alves header was goal bound from a Thapa free kick and it required Sahidul Alam to fist the ball away on the dive for a corner.

Abahani, too, provided a few scares from dead ball situations. A long throw-in was flicked into the path of Nabib Ziban to poke the ball into the net, but he was caught offside. Kervens Belfort was guilty of not hitting the target with his headers in each half.

Striker Sunday Chizoba’s shot from outside the box appeared to be sneaking into the far corner and it required Mailson to throw his body on the line to block the effort.

Chennaiyin upped its tempo upon the introduction of Germpanpret Singh in place of the injured Chris Herd in the 30th minute and dominated play until the end of the game. Its second-half substitutions, C.K. Vineeth and Isaac Vanmalsawma, too, had an impact when they came on late in the second period.

John Gregory’s men piled the pressure in the final 20 minutes and Isaac crafted a ball in between Abahani’s midfield and defence to find Thapa. The India international’s cross on the run after turning away from goal was deflected past Alam for the winning goal.

Chennaiyin has seven points in three matches in Group E.

The result:Chennaiyin 1 (Anirudh Thapa 79) bt Abahani Dhaka 0.

Consider our legacy and act accordingly, East Bengal tells AIFF******Football

Consider our legacy and act accordingly, East Bengal tells AIFF

PTINEW DELHIApril 29, 2019 22:09 ISTUpdated:April 29, 2019 22:10 ISTPTINEW DELHIApril 29, 2019 22:09 ISTUpdated:April 29, 2019 22:10 IST

‘In the interest of Indian football, the AIFF must end the issue at this point’

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File photo

File photo

‘In the interest of Indian football, the AIFF must end the issue at this point’

Nearing a century of existence, East Bengal has pleaded with the All-India Football Federation (AIFF) to consider its legacy and contribution before acting for pulling out of the Super Cup.

Having skipped the Super Cup last month owing to “unfair treatment” by the federation, the I-League clubs have denied being at fault during the two-day AIFF disciplinary committee hearing that concluded here on Sunday.

Mohun Bagan (established in 1889) and East Bengal (1920) are the two oldest football clubs in India.

‘Solidarity’

“We pulled out of the Super Cup after our club’s Executive Committee decided to do so as East Bengal wanted to stand in solidarity with other clubs,” East Bengal’s Executive Committee member Debabrata ‘Nitu’ Sarkar said.

“Nonetheless, we committed a mistake and other clubs too. AIFF is like our parent and just like parents treat their children, AIFF should not take action against the clubs in this case.

“We are a legacy club of 100 years existence and we have made our contribution to Indian football. So in the interest of Indian football, the AIFF must end the issue here at this point,” he added.

Seven I-League clubs withdrew from the Super Cup demanding a meeting with AIFF President Praful Patel regarding the future roadmap of Indian football.

Minerva Punjab FC argued that the AIFF chief responded to its request late.

“I-League clubs were ready to play Super Cup had Mr. Praful Patel granted us a meeting before the commencement of the competition as requested in the letter dated 12th March by the clubs,” Minerva Punjab said in a statement.

“It was only after withdrawal of Gokulam Kerala, Minerva Punjab and Aizawl FC in the qualification round that Mr. Patel responded to our request for a meeting. Still no date was given.

“After Mr. Patel agreed to meet the clubs with tentative dates on 21st March, all clubs were willing to participate in the Super Cup. Our only request was to reschedule the qualifiers and allow even the three teams who had not played in the qualifiers (because of which the meeting was granted) to participate.

Rescheduling denied

“Unfortunately the federation denied the request for rescheduling of the qualifiers. Clubs who have pre qualified for the Super Cup could not ignore the sacrifice of clubs drafted in qualifiers (because of whom the meeting was granted). Hence could not participate in the Super Cup.”

At loggerheads

Minerva Punjab is at loggerheads with the AIFF for long now over various issues.

“Clubs are not maligning the federation, but are seeking our basic rights to be heard and treated fairly as important stakeholders of Indian football.

“The federation is irked every time we stand up for our rights.

“They expect us to wait patiently in the dark for our doom. Unfortunately, we cannot stay silent as future of hundreds of players and staff linked with each club hangs in the balance,” MInerva Punjab added.

AFC Cup: Confident Chennaiyin takes on Abhani******Football

AFC Cup: Confident Chennaiyin takes on Abhani

Aashin PrasadAhmedabadApril 29, 2019 21:52 ISTUpdated:April 29, 2019 21:52 ISTAashin PrasadAhmedabadApril 29, 2019 21:52 ISTUpdated:April 29, 2019 21:52 IST

Host’s defence will need to be on top form yet again against a free-scoring side

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Gearing up: Chennayin players go through the paces ahead of their AFC Cup match.

Gearing up: Chennayin players go through the paces ahead of their AFC Cup match.

Host’s defence will need to be on top form yet again against a free-scoring side

A confident Chennaiyin FC will be seeking to round off its ‘home’ leg of the AFC Cup group stages with a win over Bangladesh Premier League champion Abahani Dhaka at the Arena Stadium in Ahmedabad on Tuesday.

Both coaches John Gregory (Chennaiyin) and Mario Lemos (Abahani) underscored the importance of the three points on offer for qualification from Group E to the knockout stages of the competition. Chennaiyin is ahead of Abahani on goal difference with both teams having four points in two matches.

Chennaiyin was dealt a blow in the form of an injury to midfielder Raphael Augusto. Gregory revealed the Brazilian underwent a minor knee surgery on Sunday but he expects him to be back in time for the reverse fixture in Dhaka on May 15.

The Englishman praised his side’s ‘resolute defending’, particularly in the AFC Cup where it has kept four clean sheets in four matches so far.

Chennaiyin’s defence will need to be on top form yet again against a free-scoring Abahani side, which currently sits second in its domestic league. According to Abahani coach Mario Lemos, ‘Chennaiyin will be the biggest team’ his side will face this season but he remains confident of theSky Bluescausing an upset.

Abahani will be boosted by the arrival of its top-scorer Sunday Chizoba here on Tuesday morning after being granted a visa.

It will, however, be without key injured center-backs Topu Barman and Tutul Hossain Badsha.

“Chennaiyin are strong in set pieces and we will have to keep our discipline,” said the Portuguese coach.

Rayo’s turn to embarrass Real******Football

Rayo’s turn to embarrass Real

ReutersMADRIDApril 29, 2019 21:40 ISTUpdated:April 29, 2019 21:40 ISTReutersMADRIDApril 29, 2019 21:40 ISTUpdated:April 29, 2019 21:40 IST

Chelsea bolsteres top-four hopes with draw at United

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Match-winner:  Adrian Embarba Blazquez, left, challenged  by Real’s Toni Kroos, netted Rayo Vallecano .

Match-winner: Adrian Embarba Blazquez, left, challenged by Real’s Toni Kroos, netted Rayo Vallecano .

Chelsea bolsteres top-four hopes with draw at United

Real Madrid slumped to a humiliating 10th la Liga defeat of the season on Sunday as it lost 1-0 at Rayo Vallecano, which began the weekend bottom of the standings.

The only goal came when Rayo’s Adri Embarba sent goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois the wrong way with a penalty midway through the first-half.

VAR review

The spot kick, given for a foul by Jesus Vallejo on Javi Guerra, was awarded following a VAR review after the referee had waved play on and Gareth Bale had narrowly failed to score.

Real later had a goal from Mariano ruled out for a clear offside, one of the rare occasions in the game in which Zinedine Zidane’s side troubled the host, which looked far likelier to score again than concede a goal to Madrid’s toothless attack. Madrid is third on 65 points after 35 games, nine behind Atletico Madrid and 18 adrift of champion Barcelona.

de Gea’s gift

In the Premier League, Chelsea bolstered its top-four hopes with a 1-1 draw at Manchester United after the home side’s Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea gifted the Londoners an equaliser on Sunday.

United led through Juan Mata’s 11th minute strike but just before half-time the visitor was level when de Gea weakly parried an Antonio Rudiger shot into the path of Marcos Alonso.

With two games remaining in the season, the result put fourth-placed Chelsea on 68 points, two clear of Arsenal which is fifth and still three ahead of sixth-placed United in the race to earn a Champions League berth for next season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United has run out of steam, having won just two out of its last 10 games in all competitions.

The results:

Premier League: Manchester United 1 (Mata 11) drew with Chelsea 1 (Alonso 43).

La Liga: Villarreal 1 (Bacca 30) drew with SD Huesca 1 (Avila 78); Rayo Vallecano 1 (Blazquez 23-pen) bt Real Madrid 0.

Serie A: Sampdoria 1 (Quagliarella 57) lost to Lazio 2 (Caicedo 3, 19); Torino 2 (Belotti 58-pen, Berenguer 69) bt AC Milan 0.

Bundesliga:Nuremberg 1 (Pereira 48) drew with Bayern Munich 1 (Gnabry 75) .

English Premier League: Sergio Aguero inches Manchester City closer to title******Football

English Premier League: Sergio Aguero inches Manchester City closer to title

AFPBurnleyApril 29, 2019 10:34 ISTUpdated:April 29, 2019 10:34 ISTAFPBurnleyApril 29, 2019 10:34 ISTUpdated:April 29, 2019 10:34 IST

The win takes City on to 92 points, one ahead of Liverpool, with two games to play.

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Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero celebrates a goal during the English Premier League match against Burnley FC in Burnley on April 28, 2019.

Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero celebrates a goal during the English Premier League match against Burnley FC in Burnley on April 28, 2019.

The win takes City on to 92 points, one ahead of Liverpool, with two games to play.

Sergio Aguero's 20th Premier League goal of the season left Manchester City just two wins from the title after a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Burnley at Turf Moor on Sunday.

Aguero, who has now scored nine times in his past eight appearances against Burnley, struck in the 63rd minute, with a shot that only just crossed the line despite the best efforts of defender Matt Lowton to keep it out, although goal-line technology was needed to award the goal.

The win takes City on to 92 points, one ahead of Liverpool, with two games to play.

Victories at home to Leicester a week on Monday, and away at Brighton the following Sunday will see Pep Guardiola's side retain their English title.

For the first time in months, City's elimination from the Champions League means they will crucially have a free midweek to prepare for those key matches.

By contrast, Liverpool must travel to Newcastle next weekend, either side of the two legs of their Champions League semi-final against Barcelona, before hosting Wolves on May 12.

City have now won 12 consecutive Premier League games but they had to work to maintain their composure against the Clarets.

Heaton frustrates City

Guardiola's side enjoyed the bulk of possession, but found creating clear chances difficult. When they did, Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton was in excellent form.

Heaton, a former Manchester United reserve, made two excellent saves in the opening minutes of the second half. He was alert at his near post to beat away Aguero's shot, after Raheem Sterling's neat flick had created the opening, before beating out Bernardo Silva's snap shot at the end of a goalmouth scramble.

Sean Dyche's side knew before kick-off they were mathematically certain of Premier League survival, yet played as if they too were fighting for the title.

Burnley even caused City the occasional first-half problem.

Jack Cork chested down a ball on the edge of the penalty area and then hit a shot that struck visiting captain Vincent Kompany full in the face.

As the home fans appealed for handball and screamed for a penalty, referee Paul Tierney put his whistle to his lips as if considering awarding one. Television replays, though, showed he was right not to.

The Clarets' best opening fell to Chris Wood, who was left to rue a poor first touch that denied him his big moment.

Played through by Jeff Hendrick, the New Zealand forward allowed the ball to squirt away, and Ederson was bravely out at his feet to smother.

At times, City's frustration threatened to boil over.

In the closing moments of the first half, Aguero over-hit a pass down the left for Leroy Sane, resulting in the ball rolling out of play, and the German responded by turning to his team-mate and flinging his arms out in despair.

Eventually, though, City's patience was rewarded. Bernardo Silva's low ball into the middle found Aguero, who, with his back to goal and minimal space to work with, managed to fashion a shot that beat Heaton.

Lowton, on the line, looked to have blocked the shot with his chest, but the ball looped up and just crossed the line before he could recover to clear it.

If City were hoping that goal would provide the platform for a comfortable final half-hour, though, they were to be disappointed as Burnley continued to give everything.

Few players were more committed than Burnley's Ben Mee, the boyhood City fan who used to captain their youth team.

He produced an extraordinary goal-line clearance to deny the visitors a second goal, stretching to hook the ball clear after substitute Gabriel Jesus collected Kyle Walker’s crossfield pass, and had gone round Heaton to shoot towards what he thought was an empty net.

After that, City were content to run down the clock as they kept their cool to leave their northwest rivals with all three points.

Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa instructs team to allow opponent Aston Villa score uncontested goal******Football

Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa instructs team to let opponent Aston Villa score uncontested goal

APLEEDS, EnglandApril 29, 2019 08:41 ISTUpdated:April 29, 2019 20:27 ISTAPLEEDS, EnglandApril 29, 2019 08:41 ISTUpdated:April 29, 2019 20:27 IST

The match finished 1-1, ending Leeds’ hopes of automatic promotion and putting the team into the playoffs.

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Leeds United player Gaetano Berardi shuts down a Villa attack, as Anwar El Ghazi looks to push forward for the visitors. 0-0

Leeds United player Gaetano Berardi shuts down a Villa attack, as Anwar El Ghazi looks to push forward for the visitors. 0-0

The match finished 1-1, ending Leeds’ hopes of automatic promotion and putting the team into the playoffs.

Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa instructed his team to allow an opponent to score an uncontested goal amid extraordinary incidents in a key second-tier match in England on Sunday.

Leeds scored the opening goal against Aston Villa in its League Championship game while Villa had a man down injured. Leeds’ decision to not kick the ball out of play before the goal to allow treatment for the player sparked a series of on-field melees, during which Villa had Anwar El Ghazi sent off for violent conduct.

Bielsa, the Argentine coach, then told his players to let Villa equalize, leading to the bizarre sight of Albert Adomah running from halfway through the Leeds team and scoring into an empty net. Only defender Pontus Jansson tried to stop Adomah, attempting a swipe at the ball but missing it.

The most incredible scenes we have EVER seen! You need to see this to believe it

Marcelo Bielsa makes his team let Aston Villa score after Leeds United scored extremely controversially!
 pic.twitter.com/hzoiH4oRBR

— Soccer AM (@SoccerAM) April 28, 2019

 

Bielsa then argued with Villa assistant manager John Terry, the former Chelsea captain, on the touchline.

The match finished 1-1, ending Leeds’ hopes of automatic promotion and putting the team into the playoffs. Instead, Sheffield United joined Norwich in getting promoted.

“What happened, happened. And we behaved as we behaved,” Bielsa said. “That’s all I can say about something which is very clear.”

Asked if he had instructed his players to allow Villa’s equalizer in the interests of fair play or simply to help restore order, Bielsa said: “I don’t understand the difference. I don’t see any difference ... You make a difference between fair play and the circumstances of the game, but for me it’s the same.”

“English football is known around the world for its noble features of how we play.”

Messi seals another La Liga title for Barcelona******Football

Messi seals another La Liga title for Barcelona

ReutersBARCELONAApril 28, 2019 07:41 ISTUpdated:April 28, 2019 07:51 ISTReutersBARCELONAApril 28, 2019 07:41 ISTUpdated:April 28, 2019 07:51 IST

Valverde's side have now taken the first step in their bid to win a third treble in a decade.

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Barcelona forward Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Levante at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, April 27, 2019.

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Levante at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, April 27, 2019.

Valverde's side have now taken the first step in their bid to win a third treble in a decade.

Lionel Messi fittingly sealed Barcelona's 26th La Liga title on Saturday by coming off the bench to score the goal in a 1-0 win over Levante in front of a jubilant Nou Camp crowd, who celebrated a remarkable eighth league crown in 11 years.

Barca's captain decided the game and the title in the 61st minute as he received a header from Arturo Vidal, effortlessly freeing himself from two defenders with his right foot before using his left to plant the ball into the far bottom corner.

He had started on the bench along with Sergio Busquets as Ernesto Valverde had one eye on Wednesday's Champions League semi-final first leg at home to Liverpool.

But the coach inevitably turned to his talisman with the game goalless at halftime, despite the best efforts of Philippe Coutinho, who had numerous attempts on goal and clanged the crossbar before being withdrawn for Messi.

The Argentine needed just over a quarter of an hour to have the desired effect, lighting up the stadium with his 34th league goal of the season in 32 appearances.

With 13 assists to his name as well he has his footprints on more than half his side's 86 goals.

“Messi was always ready to come on and I always knew he was going to play but we also have a game on Wednesday. He has to stay active and he scores goals everywhere he goes and he has won us this title,” Valverde told reporters.

“It is very difficult to win this title, without the amount of teams we are competing with, especially with this margin.

“We have done it two years in a row and it's fantastic to see the fans celebrate the title like this at home. Now we want to go and celebrate it.”

Cries of “champions” rang out from the 91,000 supporters crammed into the Nou Camp but Barca's players dropped their concentration and Jose Luis Morales should have levelled for the visitors but blasted over the bar.

Narrow advantage

Levante also hit the post in the final stages as Barca were left clinging on to their narrow advantage deep into stoppage-time but relief came when they cleared a corner and the final whistle sounded.

“They turned us upside down and I think that was down to nerves. They had a few chances but it was incredible when they hit the post,” Valverde added.

“We couldn't kill the game off and they started to believe while we get more nervous but luckily we were able to see out the win.”

Messi, who became the first player to win 10 La Liga crowns with Barca and only the third player from any club to do so, hoisted the trophy into the sky before joining his team mates and their children on a lap of honour.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets celebrate winning La Liga with the trophy

Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets celebrate winning La Liga with the trophy

“Eight out of 11 titles will be very difficult to repeat because La Liga is so difficult, it has the best teams, the ones that are always fighting for European trophies so what we have done is historic,” said midfielder Busquets.

Barca lead the standings on 83 points after 35 games, an unassailable nine clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid with three matches left because they have a superior head-to-head record this season.

Valverde's side have now taken the first step in their bid to win a third treble in a decade.

After their Champions League semi-final against Liverpool when they will be bidding to reach the final of Europe's premier club competition for the first time since 2015, Barcelona play Valencia in the Copa del Rey final on May 25.

“The players and the fans should enjoy this night without going over the top,” added Ivan Rakitic.

“When we wake up tomorrow we have to prepare for what comes next, we have to think about Liverpool, who have an incredible team and a brilliant coach.”

What is the tussle over VAR?******

The Hindu Explains: The tussle over VAR, probing a Supreme Court judge, suspending trade along the LoC

What is the tussle over VAR?

N. SudarshanApril 28, 2019 00:02 ISTUpdated:April 27, 2019 22:50 ISTN. SudarshanApril 28, 2019 00:02 ISTUpdated:April 27, 2019 22:50 IST

Has introducing a Video Assistant Referee in football matches solved or increased on-field bickering?

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Has introducing a Video Assistant Referee in football matches solved or increased on-field bickering?

The story so far: The Video Assistant Referee (VAR), a system of using video replays to assist on-field decision-making in football, was formally approved by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the body which defines the rules of the game, back in 2016. Since then, it has been used in competitions in Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia and the U.S. It was seen for the first time in a FIFA competition at the 2017 Confederations Cup before being deployed at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. It made its much-awaited debut in the UEFA Champions League this year, and true to form, was not without controversy. In the marquee quarterfinal clash between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur, two game-changing decisions were made after intervention by VAR. Fernando Llorente’s winner for Tottenham was allowed to stand following a review but Raheem Sterling’s goal, in the dying moments of the tie, which could have sent City through, was cancelled.

How does it work?

The use of VAR is limited to four situations — whether a goal should stand or be ruled out because of potential violations, penalties, straight red cards and cases of mistaken identity. A VAR team will communicate with the on-field referee when it spots a “clear” error. Alternatively, the referee may ask for a review himself and receive input to make an objective decision (like an offside call) or choose to watch the footage of the incident on a screen by the side of the pitch before arriving at a subjective decision (like judging a foul).

Has it improved decision-making?

Thus far it has been a mixed bag for VAR, though recent evidence suggests that it is moving in the right direction. In the recent Champions League knock-out matches, the system did succeed in eliminating the apparent mistakes. Marcus Rashford’s dramatic stoppage-time penalty for Manchester United away at Paris Saint-Germain was awarded only after a VAR review. In Real Madrid’s match against Ajax in Amsterdam, the referee disallowed Nicolas Tagliafico’s goal for the hosts after determining that Dusan Tadic was offside.

Have the critics been won over?

Not entirely, though they seem to finally see the point in its introduction. Two of the biggest concerns when VAR was first adopted were that it would affect the flow of the game with its repeated interruptions and that it would eliminate the “human feeling” of the sport by undermining the referee’s authority. The criticism regarding the tempo of play did have some merit. In an FA Cup tie between Tottenham and Rochdale in London in early 2018, there were as many as 10 reviews, each lasting nearly a minute, while fans and players waited for the decisions. To address such a scenario, UEFA, in the Champions League, has ensured that the replays which the referee will see through the VAR monitor will also be broadcast, so that both fans and players can be part of the experience. UEFA’s Twitter account even explained why Ajax’s goal against Madrid was ruled out. In the trade-off between the number of disruptions and the correct decision being made, it is easy to see to which side the balance will tilt.

But the argument that with VAR, the human feeling is lost isn’t entirely tenable. VAR only serves as a recommendation tool for the referee, who must still always make the final decision. Unlike cricket, the technology isn’t in the hands of the players. So it cannot be used as a tactical tool to slow the game down. In fact, players who goad the referee to use VAR will receive a yellow card. A good experienced referee will mostly follow the ‘minimum interference-maximum benefit’ doctrine, thus resulting in fewer stoppages. Another upshot is that VAR works on the ‘justice for all’ principle as against ‘justice for some’ like in cricket and tennis where technology is pretty useless once players exhaust the fixed number of reviews.

What lies ahead?

It has to be accepted that VAR isn’t an exact science. A few decisions will remain debatable even after technological intervention. For example, in the Llorente goal discussed above, the ball appeared to brush his arm, but the referee made the subjective call that it was unintentional and did not hand undue advantage. There have also been instances where handballs have been decided with slow-motion replays, like in the last World Cup final between France and Croatia, which made the act of handling look worse than it actually was. All of this means the system needs constant refining. If it is also accompanied by a behavioural shift on the part of players, so that they do not dive for a penalty or appeal for a non-existent handball, it will be the best of both worlds.