Football | The Guardian
Real Madrid v Manchester City: Champions League last 16, first leg – live!
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 19:55:12 GMT

Real Madrid’s players do some pre-match high-fiving. Luka Modric, in the foreground, appears to be high-fiving the club’s new invisible midfielder. This photo can also serve as a clue to the identity of the mystery player, who nobody has correctly guessed yet.

“Man City have only failed to score twice in their last 32 Champions League matches, and one of those was against Spurs when they missed a penalty,” notes Phil Grey. “So good chance of an away goal then, although I do wonder who’d take the penalty if they got one. Who’s left who hasn’t missed one? Ederson?”

Ederson is apparently the best penalty-taker at the club in training, but then I suppose he’s the only one who never has to face Ederson. Guardiola isn’t keen on having his goalkeeper stranded upfield should he ever fail, so he remains untried in matches.

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Lyon v Juventus: Champions League last 16, first leg – live!
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 19:33:44 GMT

Lyon: Lopes, Marcelo, Denayer, Marcal, Dubois, Bruno Guimaraes, Tousart, Cornet, Toko Ekambi, Aouar, Dembele.

Subs: Andersen, Terrier, Traore, Thiago Mendes, Tete, Caqueret, Tatarusanu.

Jesus Gil Manzano, whose hand Leo Messi once refused to shake following a 2018 draw between Barcelona and Girona, is tasked with maintaining order during tonight’s game. Here’s hoping nobody leaves him hanging at the final whistle tonight.

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Tottenham's Dele Alli charged by FA over coronavirus video on social media
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 18:23:47 GMT
  • England midfielder has until next week to answer charges
  • Alli posted video on Snapchat mocking Asian man

Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli has been charged with misconduct over his social media post regarding the coronavirus outbreak, the Football Association has announced.

Alli posted a video on Snapchat in relation to the deadly virus while also singling out an Asian man in an airport. The FA wrote to him seeking his observations and has now decided to charge him with misconduct.

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Ryan Kent strikes against Braga to send Rangers into Europa League last 16
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 19:28:49 GMT

Ryan Kent rocked Braga as his winner under the Estadio Municpal’s cliff-face enabled Rangers to climb into the Europa League’s last 16. Steven Gerrard’s team have stumbled out of the title race back home but in Europe they continue to scale new heights after claiming a 1-0 win in Portugal.

Rangers endured a relapse of their penalty curse as Ianis Hagi became their fourth player this season to miss from the spot just before half-time. They had already wasted two other golden chances to stretch their 3-2 first-leg lead from but Kent settled any nerves as he rifled home 16 minutes after the break.

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Sven-Göran Eriksson: 'Blackburn let me join Lazio. I thank them every day'
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 14:40:09 GMT

Lazio are in a title race for the first time in years. When they last won Serie A 20 years ago, Sven-Göran Eriksson was in charge

By The Coaches’ Voice for the Guardian Sport Network

Serie A was the best league in the world when Roma offered me the job of manager in 1984. All of the best players went there. I was managing Benfica when they knocked out Roma in the Uefa Cup quarter-finals the year before, which is the reason that offer was made. When it came, I took it – it was time to move.

I joined a good team, but an old team. Roma had been successful with Nils Liedholm, another Swedish coach. They had won the league in 1983 and gone on to play in the European Cup final, which they lost on penalties to Liverpool, a few months before I arrived. It was a team full of success, full of great players and names. They felt like they were the kings of Rome.

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The Fiver | A long way to go before challenging the elite
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 17:07:07 GMT

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It’s been a very disappointing week for English clubs in Big Cup. Frank Lampard’s Chelsea’s dismantling at the hands of Bayern Munich on their own patch means that Johnny Foreigner has won three out of three against representatives of The Best League In The World™ in first-leg games in the knockout stages, with our brave boys failing to score a goal between them across 270 minutes of football. After Tuesday night’s humiliation, Chelsea medical staff prepared for a busy day spent untwisting the blood of Cesar Azpilicueta, Marcos Alonso and Reece James, while Frank Lampard’s Chelsea manager Frank Lampard admitted his side have a long way to go before challenging the elite.

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Bayern's Robert Lewandowski out for four weeks with fractured tibia
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 16:43:44 GMT
  • Striker finished game at Chelsea but tests revealed injury
  • Lewandowski in same class as Messi and Ronaldo, says Alaba

Robert Lewandowski will be out for around four weeks after fracturing his left tibia against Chelsea, Bayern Munich have said. The forward played the whole game at Stamford Bridge but tests on Wednesday revealed the injury.

Lewandowski is due to miss the second leg against Chelsea and likely four Bundesliga matches but should be back for any Champions League quarter-final. He scored Bayern’s final goal in the 3-0 victory over Frank Lampard’s team.

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Solskjær: Manchester United 'suffer' with Champions League absence
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 16:37:07 GMT
  • Club has confirmed net debt had risen to almost £400m

• ‘For footballing reasons and financially it will help’

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has admitted the longer Manchester United are not in the Champions League the more the club will suffer. United failed to qualify after finishing sixth last season under Solskjær, who took over as the manager in December 2018. They are in the Europa League at home to Club Brugge in the last-32 on Thursday after a 1-1 draw last week.

Related: Manchester City lodge appeal against two-year Uefa ban and fine

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England's Lucy Bronze out of SheBelieves Cup with calf injury
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 16:23:30 GMT
  • Right-back replaced in squad by Alessia Russo
  • Bronze says she will miss first England game in five years

England will have to defend the SheBelieves Cup without their talismanic European Player of the Year Lucy Bronze, after the right-back withdrew from the squad with a calf injury.

The Lionesses are due to fly to the US on Sunday for the friendly tournament at which they play the world champions the USA for the first time since losing to them in a World Cup semi-final, before facing Japan and Spain. Phil Neville’s side hope to turn a corner after a poor run since that defeat. They have won twice since, with less-than-convincing victories in Portugal and the Czech Republic not enough to cover a string of below-par performances.

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The forgotten story of ... Manchester City flouting finance rules in 1906
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 12:20:18 GMT

A punch thrown in 1905 culminated in 17 City players and four directors being banned over the club’s illegal overspending

In May 2019, with Manchester City facing several investigations including one by Uefa regarding the alleged breaching of financial fair play regulations, the Guardian reported remarks made by the club’s chairman, Khaldoon Mubarak. “With success there is a certain level of jealousy, envy, whatever you call it,” he said. Almost two weeks ago, when Uefa announced that its investigation had found City guilty, the club released a statement describing the process as “flawed”. “With the prejudicial process now over,” they said, “the club will pursue an impartial judgment as quickly as possible.”

In August 1905, after City’s Billy Meredith had been found guilty of bribery following a Football Association investigation, the Guardian reported remarks made by the forward. “League officials, he asserts, are jealous of the [club’s] growing success,” we wrote, “but he thought the whole country would demand such an unjust decision being reversed by the whole question being reopened at once.”

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Foreign stars, $325m fees and an eye on Mexico: MLS approaches Season 25
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 09:00:14 GMT

Many wondered if the league could survive in the crowded North American sports market. Instead it has grown, and closer ties with Mexico could be next

This is a story about MLS that begins not at the stadium where the Houston Dynamo will host the Los Angeles Galaxy as the league’s 25th season kicks off on Saturday, but in a converted warehouse across the street.

Here, in a low-slung brick building, former USA and Dynamo striker Brian Ching opened a bar in 2018 that features industrial-chic exposed ductwork, and, more surprisingly, an indoor football pitch.

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Manchester City lodge appeal against two-year Uefa ban and fine
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 11:37:27 GMT
  • Court of arbitration for sport says appeal registered
  • City hope process will be concluded by early summer

Manchester City have registered their appeal to the court of arbitration for sport (Cas) against the ruling by Uefa’s club financial control body (CFCB) that the club overstated its sponsorships from 2012-16, and the sanctions of a two-year ban from the Champions League and €30m (£25m) fine.

City had said on 14 February they would immediately appeal, in a very strongly worded statement rejecting the findings of the CFCB’s adjudicatory chamber (AC) that the club had committed “serious breaches” of Uefa’s financial fair play rules by overstating the sponsorships.

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Griezmann rescues Barcelona after Mertens levels Napoli scoring record
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 22:26:24 GMT

Antoine Griezmann’s equaliser cancelled out a fine opener from Napoli’s Dries Mertens to give Barcelona a 1-1 draw and the upper hand in their Champions League last-16 tie.

Mertens had made the most of the Italian club’s solid start to curl home an effort after 30 minutes. However, after the midfielder was forced off with injury following a heavy challenge from Sergio Busquets, Barcelona drew level when Griezmann lashed the ball in from close range.

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Bayern Munich and Gnabry drive Chelsea towards Champions League exit
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 22:02:53 GMT

This time Bayern Munich finished with the authority of a side with no interest in ever letting Chelsea off the hook again. The gulf in class was enormous from beginning to end and, while there will be no shortage of nostalgia before the second leg takes place at the Allianz Arena on 18 March, it is unlikely to feel like much more than a sightseeing exercise when Frank Lampard’s erratic side visit the scene of their greatest triumph.

The painful truth is that a 3-0 defeat flattered Chelsea and, barring one of the greatest comebacks in the history of this competition, this tie is surely over. Bayern, seemingly on a mission to erase the memories of their inexplicable defeat to Chelsea in the 2012 final, were just as devastating as they were when they smashed Tottenham 7-2 in October. The Bundesliga pacesetters made the side sitting fourth in the Premier League look second-rate and all but secured their place in the last eight of the Champions League during a brutal second half, sealing an emphatic win with two goals from Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski’s 39th goal of the season.

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Championship roundup: Robson-Kanu extends West Brom's lead at the top
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 22:01:05 GMT
  • Albion beat Preston 2-0 to move seven points clear
  • Brentford stutter but Forest hold on to beat Cardiff

West Brom moved seven points clear at the top of the Championship with a 2-0 win over in-form Preston at the Hawthorns. Hal Robson-Kanu was creator and scorer of Albion’s two first-half goals, controlling Callum Robinson’s fine left-wing cross with his chest and firing under the goalkeeper Declan Rudd.

Jake Livermore doubled the lead for Slaven Bilic’s side just before half-time when he latched on to Robson-Kanu’s knockdown to drive a left-foot shot into the corner. Preston also had Darnell Fisher sent off for serious foul play on 64 minutes as Alex Neil’s side stay six points behind second-placed Leeds.

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Manchester United's net debt rises £73.6m to £391.3m in three months
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 13:01:03 GMT
  • Financial results for quarter show revenues down 19.3%
  • Ole Gunnar Solskjær gets backing from Ed Woodward

Manchester United have announced the club’s net debt has risen £73.6m to £391.3m and have backed Ole Gunnar Solskjær to implement “our footballing vision”.

The net debt increase is published in United’s Q2 financial results that also document how broadcast revenue for the quarter showed a decrease of £39m – 37.6% – due primarily to not competing in the Champions League this season. Total revenues were also down, by 19.3% to £168.4m.

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Newport apologise to Bradford over fans' taunts mocking Valley Parade fire
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 11:50:19 GMT
  • Clubs say they are working closely to identify those involved
  • Newport will take ‘appropriate action against those identified’

Bradford have complained to the Football Association about taunts mocking the 1985 Valley Parade fire tragedy, during their League Two game at Newport last Saturday.

The Welsh club have apologised to Bradford and their manager, Stuart McCall, who was part of the West Yorkshire club’s squad when the fire claimed 56 lives in May 1985.

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Impatient Bayern find keys to unlock Chelsea as Hansi Flick restores old fire
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 23:43:25 GMT

The caretaker manager has restored the famous Bayern press, and they relentlessly hunted down Frank Lampard’s side

Bayern Munich may not have all the answers, but they know all the right questions. They can finish you in more ways than almost any other team on the planet. You play through the press and they smother you with possession. You lock the front gate and they find a way around the side. You sit deep and they weave their dainty triangles around you. You commit high and they make you turn and run. Thwart their slick passing game for one half, and they simply take you to pieces in the next.

This, essentially, is what happened to Chelsea here: after maintaining a stony silence for 50 minutes in the face of a relentless interrogation, they eventually squealed like piglets. If Serge Gnabry’s two goals in three minutes did not quite settle matters, Robert Lewandowski’s third goal probably did, even if Marcos Alonso’s late red card and consequent suspension offered Chelsea a glimmer of hope going into the second leg.

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Footballers celebrating in communal baths: a Knowledge special
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 11:12:30 GMT

Plus: home games at a rival’s ground (part II), playing for the most clubs beginning with the same letter and more

“Footballers in dressing-room communal baths celebrating FA Cup wins used to be a sports pages staple,” reminisces Roger Kirkby. “When was the last such photo taken?”

Related: Which football clubs have played home games at a rival's ground? | The Knowledge

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Rose Lavelle: 'Who do I want to thank for winning the World Cup? Everyone'
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 09:00:45 GMT

The USA midfielder scored a standout goal in last year’s final. Her belief that the game should be fun has helped her throughout her career

A YouTube video titled “14 different camera angles of Rose Lavelle goal in the 2019 women’s World Cup final” runs for over 12 minutes which seems like a lot of time to spend on just 10 seconds of action. Yet watch it once and be prepared to lose a chunk of time clicking “Watch Again” and again and again.

Lavelle’s 69th-minute goal in Lyon last July capped a World Cup in which the 24-year-old burst onto the global stage. To recap that moment: Lavelle, socks pulled up above her knees, received the ball from Sam Mewis just across the halfway line, saw an ocean of space, and ran at the Dutch defense. Orange shirts backed off and then backed off some more and then backed off again, until Lavelle shot from the edge of the penalty area. Boom - the US were 2-0 up and the deal was sealed.

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