Connect with us

Sports

West Harm, Leicester reach Europa semi-final

Published

on

West Ham United will face Eintracht Frankfurt for a place in the Europa League final after the Hammers secured their first European semi-final in 46 years with a stunning second-leg victory in Lyon.

Leicester City also produced a superb comeback to beat PSV Eindhoven in the Europa Conference League and reach the club’s first European semi-final.

In the match between West Ham United and Eintracht Frankfurt, having held on for a 1-1 first-leg draw in London after playing the entire second half with 10 men, David Moyes’ players withstood periods of intense early pressure before sweeping their Ligue 1 opposition aside.

The visitors struck twice in seven minutes at the end of the first half, as Craig Dawson met Pablo Fornals’ corner with a superb near-post header before a deflected Declan Rice strike put the Premier League club in total charge.

Jarrod Bowen extended the advantage within three minutes of the restart, slotting in at the end of a sweeping counter-attack, and a deflated Lyon could offer no response as West Ham comfortably saw out a memorable win.

The statement victory set up the biggest match in the club’s recent history, against Bundesliga side Frankfurt, who upset Spanish giants Barcelona 3-2 at the Nou Camp to win 4-3 on aggregate.

Meanwhile, James Maddison says Leicester City are creating history after the Foxes produced a superb comeback to beat PSV Eindhoven in the Europa Conference League and reach the club’s first European semi-final.

Ricardo Pereira scored a dramatic late winner to set up a last-four meeting with Jose Mourinho’s Roma, who knocked out Bodo/Glimt.

Following a goalless first leg at King Power Stadium, Eran Zahavi pounced on a mistake by Youri Tielemans to open the scoring before Maddison dragged Leicester level with 13 minutes remaining.

The Foxes midfielder slotted into the top corner from Ayoze Perez’s clever cutback and Pereira then fired the winner in the 88th minute to seal a memorable win at the Philips Stadion.

“We are creating history,” said Maddison. “It’s a brilliant feeling and a brilliant night. We showed that resilience. A great feeling.

“The togetherness of the boys is unbelievable. [Wesley] Fofana is fasting and hasn’t eaten or drank all day and he puts in a performance like that. It epitomises what we are made of. Two brilliant goals to win the game.

“Another big night ahead – these are the nights you want to be involved in. It is one we look forward to. That is what we do it for.”

Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers had urged his side to make history and reach the club’s first European semi-final, but for 77 minutes it looked like they would pass up the opportunity against a PSV outfit who were more adventurous than in the first leg.

It has been an underwhelming season for Rodgers but his changes at Philips Stadion inspired a stirring comeback.

Half-time replacement Patson Daka had already slotted a glorious chance wide before fellow substitute Perez picked out Maddison and the midfielder lashed home.

 

Then, with two minutes to go, substitute Ademola Lookman found Daka and the forward’s effort was palmed into the path of right-back Pereira, who made no mistake.

It has been a decade of firsts for the Foxes, who won their maiden FA Cup last season and claimed a first top-flight title in 2015-16, and hopes of adding to that with a European trophy remain alive, albeit in the third-tier competition.

Winning this competition might also be Leicester’s best chance of qualifying for Europe next term, sitting ninth in the Premier League and 11 points adrift of a Europa Conference League spot, but for a long time it looked like it would be the home side heading through.

Leicester were served a warning when Kasper Schmeichel tipped Mario Gotze’s well-taken volley over the crossbar but had golden chances of their own, with Harvey Barnes breaking free and slotting wide despite having Maddison in support.

They were eventually punished when Tielemans gave the ball away outside his own box and Mario Gotze slipped a pass into Zahavi, who finished from a narrow angle in the 27th minute.

That turned the tie into a huge task for Leicester, with PSV arriving on a 15-match unbeaten run and having kept five clean sheets in their past six games under highly-rated boss Roger Schmidt, who will leave at the end of the season.

But it was a challenge Rodgers’ side were up to and those late goals showed that the Foxes just might have fight to go all the way in Europe.

“These fans have seen Leicester win the title and now they are daring to dream again,” former Leicester and England striker Emile Heskey told BT Sport.

“Going off this performance, Leicester will be very confident for the rest of the tournament now. The owners have dared to dream. It is fantastic.”

BBC Sport

Sports

Ronaldo denies Saudi Arabia transfer deal, rejects new offer from Australia

Published

on

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo has denied reports linking him with a potential move to Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Nassr on a lucrative offer worth £173million-a-year.

The Portuguese star, who came off the bench in Portugal’s 6-1 thumping of Switzerland, said after the match that the report is untrue.

Ronaldo is a free agent after reaching a mutual agreement with Manchester United to terminate his contract following his explosive interview with journalist, Piers Morgan.

This has intensified interest from clubs with reports rife in the media recently of a deal reached with Al-Nassr that would see the 37-year-old forward ply his trade in the Middle East.

READ ALSO:

“No, that is not true – not true,” Ronaldo said.

The five-time Ballon d’Or has also rejected a move to join a club in Australia (A-League).

A-League chief Danny Townsend disclosed the plans to lure Ronaldo to Australia shortly after the 37-year-old’s Manchester United exit but has now confirmed that the Portugal captain has knocked back their offer.

“We had interesting discussions, and there was genuine interest, but it’s clear he has other priorities at this stage,” Townsend told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Continue Reading

Sports

Ramos bags hat-trick as Portugal reach W’Cup quarter-finals

Published

on

Goncalo Ramos justified the shock decision to drop Cristiano Ronaldo by scoring a hat-trick on his full debut as Portugal demolished Switzerland 6-1 on Tuesday to power into the World Cup quarter-finals.

The 21-year-old Ramos, who started instead of Ronaldo, became the youngest player to strike three times in a World Cup knockout match since Pele in 1958.

Pepe, Raphael Guerreiro and Rafael Leao were also on target for a rampant Portugal, who booked a showdown with Morocco on Saturday for a place in the last four in Qatar.

Ronaldo, 37 and now without a club after his departure from Manchester United, has hogged the headlines during the tournament while looking a shadow of his former self.

The only man to score at five World Cups, Ronaldo was left out by coach Fernando Santos against the Swiss following his angry response to being substituted in the last group game.

READ ALSO:

It was a bold call to omit a player with a record 118 international goals in favour of giving a full debut to Ramos, the Benfica striker who had played just 33 minutes across three previous appearances.

But it took just 17 minutes for Ramos to reward Santos’ faith, and to achieve something Ronaldo has never done — score in a World Cup knockout game.

Joao Felix clipped delicately into the feet of Ramos, who quickly swivelled past Fabian Schaer and rifled into the roof of the net past a stunned Yann Sommer.

Otavio, who returned to the Portugal midfield after injury in their opening match, shot straight at Sommer before Ramos did likewise moments later.

Xherdan Shaqiri drew a fingertip stop from Diogo Costa with a dipping free-kick from distance, but Portugal soon had their second.

Bruno Fernandes whipped in a corner and the 39-year-old Pepe towered above the Swiss defence to powerfully head home.

Diogo Dalot hacked Remo Freuler’s header off the line after Diogo Costa failed to properly deal with a cross, but the Swiss simply had no answers against an irresistible Portugal.

Ramos turned in his second from close range six minutes into the second half from Dalot’s cross down the right.

He then turned provider by playing in Guerreiro to lash in another just four minutes later as the Swiss defence was ruthlessly ripped apart.

It was also Ramos who inadvertently glanced a corner towards Manuel Akanji at the far post as the Manchester City centre-back pulled one back for Switzerland.

Ramos completed his treble after more outstanding work from Felix, nonchalantly dinking over Sommer with one of his final touches before making way for Ronaldo.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s introduction elicited the biggest roar of the night. Ronaldo did have the ball in the back of the net but it was ruled out for a clear offside.

Leao capped off a sensational Portugal performance with a terrific curling strike in stoppage time.

AFP

Continue Reading

Sports

Spain’s World Cup exit to Morocco ‘cruel’ – Busquets

Published

on

Sergio Busquets said Spain’s 3-0 defeat on penalties by Morocco was a “cruel” way to decide the World Cup last-16 clash on Tuesday after the teams drew 0-0.

The midfielder’s spot-kick was saved by goalkeeper Yassine Bounou as the 2010 World Cup winners failed to score any of their penalties.

“It was a pity. It was decided on penalties in the most cruel way,” said Busquets.

“It was tough, very hard for us. We tried to wear them down, give them the run-around, find spaces. We lacked that little luck for the final ball.”

pain were also knocked out of Euro 2020 on penalties in the semi-finals by Italy.

READ ALSO:

Busquets, 34, would not be immediately drawn on whether he would continue playing international football.

“Now the most important thing is the national team and not me,” said the Barcelona player.

“It’s a tough night and we have to pick ourselves up and use this as experience for our game. There are some very young players who this will help a lot.”

Spain goalkeeper Unai Simon was the hero in Euro 2020 against Switzerland in a quarter-final shoot-out but on this occasion he could only stop one of Morocco’s efforts.

“I think in the 120 minutes of the game, we were superior to our opponents, but what I say counts for little now if we can’t find the net,” added Simon, who saved Badr Benoun’s penalty.

“In the shoot-out they were superior and that is what took them to the quarter-finals.

“We are seeing that there are surprises throughout the World Cup. We were not capable of overcoming them and we did not expect to be eliminated against Morocco, but it’s the reality and now we have to go home.”

AFP

Continue Reading

Trending