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UCL: Mbappe inspires PSG to beat Bayern as Chelsea thrash Porto

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Kylian Mbappe scored two goals to help Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) to an emphatic 3-2 win over Bayern Munich in their UEFA Champions League (UCL) quarter-final first-leg tie at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old French striker scored in the first half and second to punish Bayern’s shaky defence and end the defending European and world club champions’ 19-match unbeaten run in the UCL.

The French champions also became the first team to win a European away match against both Bayern and Barcelona in a single season.

PSG scored with their first attack, thanks to a howler from Manuel Neuer, Bayern Munich goalkeeper. The Bavarians’ captain let a Mbappe shot slip through his hands into the net following a PSG fast break in the third minute.

The hosts recovered from their nightmarish start and fashioned several chances of theirs but Keylor Navas, PSG goalkeeper, denied Thomas Muller, Leon Goretzka, and Benjamin Pavard. They were however dealt another sucker punch by PSG in the 18th minute.

A routine corner kick was half cleared and Neymar — with his second assist of the night — picked out an unmarked Marquinhos to control and slot home for a 2-0 lead.

Eric Choupo-Moting was drafted in to fill in for injured Lewandowski, Bayern’s dependable goalscorer, and the Cameroonian finally made one count after previously hitting the bar. The 32-year-old was picked out by Pavard’s cross and his header found the bottom corner in the 37th minute for a 2-1 score line.

Muller had another opportunity before the interval but Navas held the German international’s header to preserve the visitors’ lead at halftime.

A frantic second half began with both sides exchanging chances — Neymar Jr. was denied by Neuer while Navas also saved from both Jerome Boateng and Pavard.

Another header would eventually beat PSG’s Costa Rican shot-stopper, this time Muller meeting Joshua Kimmich’s in-swinger in the six-yard box to equalise 2-2 on the hour.

An undeterred PSG were continually invited by Bayern’s defence and the deadly duo of Neymar and Mbappe combined again to retake the lead in the 68th minute. The Brazilian superstar released the French forward who was afforded time by Boateng in the penalty area to beat Neuer at the near post.

Hansi Flick’s side continued to pour forward with Choupo-Moting, David Alaba and Kingsley Coman all going close but PSG held on to take a 3-2 lead to the second leg set for Parc des Prices stadium next week Tuesday.

Chelsea-Porto match

Chelsea defeated Porto 2-0 in the other match of the night at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjan stadium in Spain.

The tie, which was moved to Sevilla’s stadium due to COVID-19 restrictions, was livened up by Mason Mount’s first UCL goal to hand the Blues a 1-0 lead.

Porto, despite missing suspended duo Sergio Oliveira and Medhi Taremi, started the better side and Super Eagles of Nigeria’s Zaidu Sanusi should have put the hosts in front but the full-back blazed high and wide with the goal at his mercy.

Chelsea had several opportunities to double the lead in the second period before Ben Chilwell pounced on an error to round the goalkeeper and tap into an empty net to seal the 2-0 win.

The win sees Thomas Tuchel become just the second Chelsea manager to win his first three UCL knockout stage games.

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UEFA: We’ll ban players in Super League from World Cup, others

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UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin says all players that play in the Super League will be banned from the World Cup, European competitions and other global football events.

The threat followed the decision by 12 top European football clubs to found a Super League, which was announced in a joint statement late on Sunday.

The founding clubs of the mid-week league were listed as English Premier League clubs Manchester United and Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea. The others are Italy’s Juventus and Milan clubs AC and Inter, and the Spanish trio of FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

“It is anticipated that a further three clubs will join ahead of the inaugural season, which is intended to commence as soon as practicable,” the 12 clubs said in the statement.

Reported to be financially very lucrative, the project does not have the support of football’s governing bodies.

UEFA and football leagues and federations from England, Italy and Spain described it as “a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever.”

Fifteen of the 20 participating clubs are to be permanent members, and the remaining five will “qualify annually based on achievements in the prior season,” the statement said the 12 clubs involved in the Super League had “spat in the face of football.

“The players that play in the Super League will be banned from playing in the World Cup and Euros.”

He also said, “We will take all the sanctions that we can. I cannot stress more strongly how everyone is united against this disgraceful, self-serving proposals, fuelled by greed above all else.

“We urge everyone to stand tall with us as we do everything in our power to ensure this never ends up in fruition.”

According to the New York Times the new league would “generate hundreds of millions of dollars in additional revenue for the participating teams.”

The club’s are already the richest clubs in the sport.

It was however reported that 2019/2020 UEFA Champions League winners Bayern Munich and finalists Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) were not among the clubs that had signed up or expressed interest.

In a statement UEFA and football leagues and federations from England, Italy and Spain said, “As previously announced by FIFA and the six federations, the clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level.

“Their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams.

“We thank those clubs in other countries, especially the French and German clubs, who have refused to sign up to this.”

Before the announcement the Premier League in England said it “condemns any proposal that attacks the principles of open competition and sporting merit. These are at the heart of the domestic and European football pyramid.”

German Football League chief Christian Seifert spoke of his body’s opposition, saying, “We reject any kind of European Super League concept” which would “irreparably damage the national leagues as the basis of European professional football.”

The latest development comes on the eve of a UEFA executive committee meeting.

The meeting, apart from finalising the host cities for the summer’s Euro tournament, is also to approve a Champions League reform from 2024 onwards.

The powerful European Club Association (ECA) and UEFA’s club competitions committee were reportedly in agreement Friday about the reform.

Under this, the elite event is to be increased from 32 to 36 teams and each team plays 10 instead of six group games in what is known as “the Swiss model.”

Two of the additional four clubs are to controversially come via historic results not through qualification via domestic action.

The large number of additional matches is a threat to domestic competitions.

Fan groups have also voiced their dissent, with an even bigger outcry expected if a Super League becomes reality.

The reports said that European officials were discussing counter measures which could include banning Super League clubs from next season’s Champions League.

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Tottenham sack Jose Mourinho

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Tottenham Hotspur management has sacked coach Jose Mourinho.

The announcement comes after Tottenham Hotspur drew 2-2 with Everton on Friday evening, leaving them down in seventh place in the table.

Mourinho was appointed as Tottenham manager in November 2019, a day after the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino.

He guided them to sixth place in the table by the end of the campaign, but his style of football often didn’t win him much acclaim from fans.

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Kelechi Iheanacho fires Leicester City into FA Cup final

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Leicester City have booked their place in the FA Cup final against Chelsea as Kelechi Iheanacho’s second-half strike seals the win over Southampton.

It is Leicester City’s first FA Cup final since 1969.

The striker converted from close range in the 55th minute after good work from Jamie Vardy set him up during a counter attack.

It is the fifth time the Foxes have reached the FA Cup final and they will now face Chelsea next month after the Blues defeated Manchester City in the other semi-final on Saturday.

Iheanacho’s strike was the 14th he has scored in this competition since 2015 and no player – not Sergio Aguero or Harry Kane – has scored more FA Cup goals during that time. The cup has become his playground.

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