Man City thrashes Sporting Lisbon in Champions League

<SUNBIGHT>~Football~Afor~16th February,2022 @03:29 WAT

Report by Ifeanyichukwu Okwuchi [Lisbon]

MANCHESTER City may have qualified for the quarter finals of the Champions League after a rout of 5-0 against Portuguese Sporting Lisbon at home on Tuesday.

The English Premier League side scored four goals in the first half through Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden and a brace from Bernardo Silva.

The second half saw Raheem Sterling on the scoresheet as the champions of England cruised to a shocking away win.

The second leg of the fixture is set to be played on March 9 at the Etihad stadium as they aim to be crowned Champions of Europe for the first time in the club’s history.

It is the first time an English side has scored four goals in the first half of a Champions League knockout game since Manchester United’s 7-1 thrashing of Roma in 2007.

“It’s a very good performance,” Silva said. “I honestly think in the first half we weren’t good enough to be 4-0 up.

“I’m Portuguese, I’m from the other side of the city. My mum is Sporting, my dad is Benfica. It was special to score here in my hometown.We still have a job to do in Manchester.”

Sterling’s goal makes it his 150th goal of his club career. Manchester City has become the 14th team to score 200 goals in the Champions League.

“I don’t think the team were nervous, it is just Manchester City are the best in the world, and they killed us every time they came into our box,” Sporting coach Ruben Amorim said.

“The quality of the players and the manager was the difference.”■

Messi misses penalty as Mbappe wins it for PSG at last minute

<SUNBIGHT>~Football~Afor~16th February,2022 @00:05 WAT

Report by Nwanokpo Anayochi [Paris]

STARLET Kylian Mbappe scored a powerful stoppage-time winner to avoid embarrassment for Lionel Messi as Paris Saint-Germain beat Real Madrid 1-0 in the Champions League round-of-16 first leg on Tuesday.

Messi had missed scoring the penalty awarded as it was comfortably saved by Thibaut Courtois after Mbappe was fouled by Carvajal in the 61st minute.

“I’d studied Messi’s penalties a lot and I tried to play with him when I was on the line,” Courtois said. “You’ve also got to have that little bit of luck.”

PSG dominated the match against the 13-time Champions Real Madrid.

Madrid finished the game with zero shots on target while PSG had eight, with almost 60% of possession.

PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino substituted Di Maria for Neymar in the final 20 minutes and the introduction was impactful as it was a backheel from the Brazil international that opened up the Spanish side and allowed Mbappe to dribble between two defenders and without disturbance slided the ball under the legs of Courtois into the far corner to seal the victory for PSG.

“It was a great game for us and I’m always ready to help my team, there are no distractions,” said Mbappe, who has now scored 13 goals in his past 13 Champions League matches.

“We have to be humble and the second leg is still open. It will be a hard game but we will have the advantage and are very confident.”

Madrid will be without Casemiro and Ferland Mendy for the second leg at home on March 9. They were both shown yellow cards and will be suspended for collecting three yellows in the competition.

“Mbappe is the best player in European football,” Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti said. “We didn’t play well, but we are not dead yet.”■

UEFA Offer Free Tickets To Fans For Their Loyalty During COVID-19

<SUNBIGHT>~Football~Orie~15th February,2022 @ 23:46 WAT

UEFA are to offer 10,000 free tickets to supporters attending this season’s men’s Champions League final to “reward” them for their “support during the Covid-19 crisis”.

Another 20,000 free tickets are to be distributed for other European club finals including 6,000 for the women’s Champions League final in Turin, Italy on May 22.

The two clubs that reach the men’s Champions League final — to be played in the Krestovski Stadium in St-Petersburg on May 28 — will be each given 5,000 tickets “to reward their most loyal supporters,” said UEFA.

The finalists for the Europa League final (May 18) in Sevilla, Spain, will receive 4,000 freebies each, the clubs in the inaugural Europa Conference final, in Tirana (May 25), will have 3,000 apiece to hand out.

UEFA also said the price of the two lowest levels of tickets for the next three Champions League finals will be frozen — the cheapest being 70 euros ($79).■

[Courtesy:AFP]

I DREAM OF ANOTHER CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WITH PSG – Lionel Messi

Messi signs for PSG

I DREAM OF ANOTHER CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WITH PSG – Messi

■ Lionel Messi said he dreams of winning his fifth Champions League as he signed his two-year contract with Paris Saint Germaine (PSG) on Wednesday. The ex-Barcelona player said he is in the ideal place to have another chance of a Champions League glory.

The 34-year-old won his last Champions League Cup with Barcelona in 2015, while the French club are yet to clinch the European elite club competition. Though the New PSG signing has said it would be strange to face his former club, Barcelona, in the Champions League.

“It would be very strange to play at home there but it could happen and we’ll see.” said Messi at the press brief held to officially unveil him by the club.

Chairman and CEO of PSG, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, said the signing of Messi was a strategic decision for the club to enable them win trophies and improve the quality of the squad. Nasser expressed delight on the signing as he described Messi as “a legend of the game and a true inspiration for those of all ages inside and outside football’.

Meanwhile, barely 30 minutes after the Qatari-owned Parisian club displayed Messi’s jersey on their website, it got sold out, leaving only the jersey’s limited version for women and kid and available for sale at over 100 euros. The men’s shirt had sold for 107.99 euros.

Lionel Messi landed at Le Bourget airport to the north of Paris on Tuesday  afternoon, wearing a Paris t-shirt and waving to the hundreds of PSG supporters who had gathered to catch a glimpse of their new signing. He was then taken for a medical at a hospital just outside the city.

The Argentina captain links up with former teammate Neymar to create a formidable trio with Frenchman Kylian Mbappe. Also joining his new club are Gianluigi Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos, Georginio Wijnaldum and Achraf Hakimi.