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UCL: Ronaldo’s Juventus thrash Messi’s Barcelona 3-0 as Man United crash out



Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice from the penalty spot as Juventus thrashed Barcelona 3-0 at the Camp Nou in their final match of the UEFA Champions League (UCL) group stage.

This was the first meeting between Ronaldo and Lionel Messi since the former left Real Madrid in 2018. The 35-year-old Portuguese forward came top in the “battle of the greatest” with two penalty kicks converted while Messi’s efforts were frustrated by a combination of saves and blocked shots.

Barcelona had won the reverse fixture 2-0 at Turin but fell behind in the 13th minute when Ronaldo was fouled in the box and the forward dusted himself up to convert the spot-kick.

It was 2-0 after 20 minutes when Weston McKennie brilliantly converted Juan Caudrado’s cross, and Juventus held firm to deny Messi any joy in front of goal despite three shots on target and two blocked shots.

Ronaldo made it 3-0 in the 52nd minute with his second spot-kick awarded by the video assistant referee (VAR) for a handball by Christian Lenglet, a Barcelona defender.

The Portuguese placed his shot into the bottom left corner for his 14th goal in 13 games at the Camp Nou, while he also became the first player in the UCL to score two penalties against Barcelona in the same match.

Juventus’ victory ensured they snatched top spot ahead of Barcelona due to a superior head-to-head record after both teams finished on 15 points.

RB Leipzig eliminates Manchester United

RB Leipzig held firm to win 3-2 against a sleepy Manchester United that only woke up in the second half, eliminating the Red Devils from the continent’s premier football competition and into the Europa League.

Man United failed to advance to the knockout phase of the UCL for the first time since a similar debacle in 2015.

The German Bundesliga side went 3-0 up before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men rallied to score two late goals but could not complete the task in a match they needed not to lose in order to ensure qualification into the UCL knockout phase.

Julian Nagelsmann’s side scored twice in the first 13 minutes for a 2-0 lead, and they extended that lead in the 68th minute after Justin Kluivert pounced on a defensive miscommunication between Harry Maguire and David de Gea.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Man United staged a comeback with 10 minutes left. Bruno Fernandes converted a penalty in the 80th minute while Paul Pogba added a headed goal two minutes later for 3-2.

The 2008 UCL winners tried to snatch a late draw but crashed out at the group stage.


Lazio 2-2 Club Bruges

Zenit St Petersburg 1-2 Borussia Dortmund

Chelsea   1-1 FK Krasnodar

Rennes 1-3 Sevilla

Barcelona 0-3 Juventus

Dynamo Kyiv 1-0 Ferencvárosi TC

RB Leipzig 3-2 Man Utd


Patrice Evra: I’m sick of giving the Ballon D’or to Messi



Patrice Evra has admitted that he is tired of watching Lionel Messi win the Ballon d’Or, and the current Paris Saint-Germain star has done it six times in his career.

This year’s 2021 Ballon d’Or race looks more open than it used to be, with Evra even named Chelsea team N’Golo Kante and Jorginho as winners who should be better than Leo Messi.

“In my opinion, this Ballon d’Or belongs to Kante or Jorginho … I’m sick of giving it to Messi,” Evra said.

“What did you win last year? All right, Copa America and Argentina. What did you do with Barcelona?”

Competing with Leo Messi, Kante, and Jorginho in the Ballon d’Or race are the likes of Karim Benzema, Robert Lewandowski, and Cristiano Ronaldo.

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Man U need to change something’ after losing 4-2 at Leicester – Pogba



Leicester ended their opponents’ 29-game unbeaten run away from home to increase the pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Manchester United’s Paul Pogba suggested that his side lack maturity and experience as they were beaten 4-2 in the Premier League at Leicester.

Pogba has declared something needs to change at Manchester United following their 4-2 Premier League defeat to Leicester City. “We need to find something, we need to change something.”

The Frenchman played the entirety of United’s latest defeat that ended their 29-game unbeaten run away from home.

The defeat leaves Ole Gunnar Solskjaer under further scrutiny as United’s own winless run extends to three games as they continue to look less than the sum of their expensive parts.

“To be honest, we’ve been having this kind of game for a long time and we haven’t found the problem,” Pogba said.

“We need to find what’s the problem, to concede easy goals, stupid goals, when we know those games where we play on this pitch, the fans are going to push, put pressure on us and everything. We need to be more mature, I think. We need to play with more experience, arrogance in a good way. We have to take the ball and play our football.


“But now we have to find what’s the key of these games that we lose. Because I think we deserved to lose today.


“We need to find something, we need to change something. I don’t know if the mindset of all of us, the players, when we start… we really don’t know. It’s frustrating because it’s something we don’t understand and we have to find that very fast because if you want to compete and you want to win the title, those games you have to win, even though they are very hard and we’re playing away.


“You need to fight their game, you need to find the right mentality, the right tactic to win those games. That’s my thought. We have time to think about it and then all together, we have to stick together and find the problem.”


Ole: I made bad decisions

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted that he “probably made a couple of bad decisions” with his team selection

Harry Maguire made a surprise return against his former club after recovering from injury, while Cristiano Ronaldo returned to the line-up after being rested against Everton. Yet it was the central midfield area where Manchester United struggled as Pogba and Nemanja Matic were badly overrun at times.


Solskjaer admitted he made errors with the way his team set up.


“The four goals we conceded were very poor,” he told Sky Sports.


“When you concede goals like that in the way we did, we don’t deserve to continue that run. Definitely the performance was very below-par and not good enough. We got a very good goal with Mason and we were knocking on the door to get another one; sloppy play and we concede a goal.


“In the second half, it was end-to-end but they created more chances and conceding at set-pieces was disappointing. Conceding seconds after the equaliser shouldn’t happen. I picked the team; Harry showed no reaction. I hold my hand up if it doesn’t work out and sometimes it doesn’t.

“When you concede four, I probably made a couple of bad decisions.”

Merse: Solskjaer in a spot of bother

Paul Merson speaking on Soccer Saturday, said, “I think Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is in a spot of bother.

“I said before the game if that he can get through November still in the job, then they would have every chance of winning the league because they have some shocking fixtures – and this was the start of it and they have been beaten. Leicester thoroughly deserved it too.

“Manchester United are struggling. I’ve said that Arsenal could finish above them in the top four and I haven’t changed my mind.


“They are individuals, they are not a team. They haven’t got legs all around the pitch and because Ronaldo can’t go in behind defences, the other teams are all pushing up on them and that means Pogba doesn’t get time on the ball. For me, Solskjaer is under severe pressure.”


Manchester United’s gruelling run

Manchester United face a formidable set of fixtures in October and November as they look to keep pace in the Premier League and ensure Champions League qualification, with Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and the Manchester derby looming domestically.

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Balogun to critics: You can’t criticise me for not trying



Leon Balogun

Super Eagles defender Leon Balogun has defended his commitment to the Nigeria national side after recent criticisms directed at him over his performances.

The Rangers Glasgow’s defender has come under scathing criticisms following the country’s defeat to Central African Republic during their 2022 World Cup qualifier at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos last Thursday.

The centre-back was held responsible for the late goal conceded against the minnows following a mix-up with his defensive partner William Troost-Ekong, allowing CAR forward Karl Namnganda through on goal before slotting past Francis Uzoho, in goal for the Eagles.

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However, the 33-year-old redeemed himself by scoring against CAR in the second game of the double-header clash in Douala, Cameroon – his first strike for Nigeria since he made his debut in 2014.

In an interview with ESPN, the centre-back said he had always given 100 per cent for Nigeria.

You’ve seen me play for a few years now. And you know that when I step onto the pitch I always give 100 per cent and I am always passionate,” Balogun said.

“Whether I am having a good performance or a bad performance, you can never actually criticise me for not trying. That is what I always give, that is the least I can do.”


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