More stories

  • in

    Chelsea boss Hayes reckons Champions League heat is on Blues ahead of Atletico Madrid game and Lindahl reunion

    EMMA HAYES reckons Chelsea’s rivals in Europe are revelling in the pressure being placed on her team to win the Champions League.
    And the Blues boss hopes to see the competition become as big a draw as the men’s version with its expansion next season. 

    Emma Hayes says Chelsea are looking forward to taking on Atletico MadridCredit: PA:Press Association

    The WSL leaders take on Atletico Madrid – who have won three of their last six games in Spain’s top-flight. 
    It will be the first time the Blues have ever gone up against the LaLiga Women’s team, who sit third in their division.
    They knocked Manchester City out of the competition in the last 16 in the 2019-20 season and the term before. 
    Hayes, 44, said: “Everyone around Europe is loving the kind of pressure being put on Chelsea, the conversation being out around this year, our team and what’s expected of them, while Man City are not being spoken about. 

    “The realities are, the more you ask me the same question, the more I’ll say the same thing. Because it’s just another game. 
    “To approach it any differently is to give it more weight than necessary. 
    “I’ve learnt by years of mistakes that to do it any different means you’re probably thinking about the next game rather than one coming up. 
    “We have to make sure the only thing I’m thinking about is Atletico. I think every game is difficult

    “It’s certainly the tie that we wanted to play, it was the opponent we wanted.

    Chelsea will face an Atletico Madrid side that includes Brazil striker LudmilaCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    “We have full respect for the work they’ve done especially knocking out Man City in the last two years, but we don’t underestimate them. 
    “To be honest with you I’d rather have a real tough test and see where we are at this stage of the season than not, so we’re just really looking forward to it.”
    The clash with Atletico will see Chelsea come up against a familiar face in ex-Blues stopper Hedvig Lindahl. 
    And the former Wolfsburg ace will be aiming to halt her old side’s progress in the competition. 
    The Sweden goalkeeper made 45 Blues appearances between 2015 and 2019 winning a league title and two FA Cups.
    And the former Chelsea star – who Hayes describes as a “legend” – helped the club qualify for the Champions League in 2018. 
    Hayes added: “She came to this football club at the top of her game, and I think transformed our results on the pitch.
    “She will go down as a legend of the football club for the contribution she’s made to the trophies we’ve won. 
    “I never underestimate Hedvig Lindahl. I know her qualities inside and out. But my job is to make sure she’s on the wrong end tomorrow evening.”
    FREE BETS: GET OVER £2,000 IN SIGN UP OFFERS HERE

    Ex-Blues keeper Hedvig Lindahl is looking forward to playing her old team-matesCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    Millie Bright reckons Chelsea are confident of getting a good result against Atletico and her old team-mate Lindahl. 
    And the Blues centre-back, who recovered from an injury that saw her withdraw from England’s international camp, says the champs will be ruthless with their opponents.
    Bright added: “I do feel like we’re ready now. I think we’ve shown that in the league.
    “We’ve shown how ruthless we can be, how strong defensively we can be, but you have to prepare for the game that’s in front of you.
    “We’ve prepared very well for this, as we do for every game, but it’s the one we wanted, so we’re just excited to get out there and get going.”
    Next season’s competition will see the introduction of a 16-team group stage that will replace the current knockout round of 16.

    Millie Bright is confident Chelsea can beat Atletico MadridCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    And the top six-ranked nations in the contest, which include England, now have three qualifying spots from their best leagues rather than two. 
    Hayes added: “I’m happy to think that three teams will qualify from England, I think that will add even more kudos to our league.
    “Women’s football is here to stay and it’s about time we continue to put even more into it on a European level to make it as marketable a product as we do the men’s competition.”
    ⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds

    Chelsea aces Bright, Cuthbert and Telford reveal their favourite karaoke songs and netflix shows to binge More

  • in

    Top 5 Champions League goal scorers revealed as Lewandowski leapfrogs Raul into third behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi

    SOME of the greatest marksmen in history have lit up the Champions League with their goalscoring exploits.
    The most sought-after and prestigious prize in European club football has been graced by the biggest names in the game.

    The top five scorers in Champions League history

    Following its change from the European Cup to Champions League in 1992/93, the likes of Real Madrid legend Raul and AC Milan icon Andriy Shevchenko rose to worldwide stardom with their exploits in the competition.
    But then came the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi just into the new millennium. 
    The great rivals have taken scoring to the next with level and are head and shoulders above the rest in the all-time goal standings.
    It might be impossible for anyone ever to match their accomplishments – but one current player edged a little closer this week.

    Here SunSport takes a look at the top five goalscorers in Champions League history:

    Juventus star Ronaldi is head and shoulders above the rest in the scoring stakesCredit: Getty
    CRISTIANO RONALDO – 134 GOALS
    The age old debate over who is the better out of the Juventus star, 36, and Messi will probably rumble on for ever.
    However, the Portuguese forward seems unlikely to lose this record to the Argentine after racing clear of the Barcelona man in recent seasons.
    Ronaldo’s first goal in the competition came for Manchester United and he went on to win the competition with them before lifting the famous trophy a further four times with Real Madrid.

    His tally of 134 goals in 125 Champions League matches is incredible – and one he will be hoping to extend when Juve look to overturn a 2-1 deficit in their last-16 second-leg against Porto next month.

    Lionel Messi has lifted the famous trophy four times for Barcelona
    LIONEL MESSI – 119 GOALS
    Take away Ronaldo and the South American would undoubtedly be the greatest goal king in the competition’s history.
    His 119 goals have come in 148 matches – although the 33-year-old may lose further ground on the leader in the coming weeks.
    Barcelona were walloped 4-1 at home by Paris Saint-Germain last week, and they will need a miracle on March 10 in the second leg to progress.
    ONLINE CASINO OFFERS: CLAIM OVER £800 IN BONUS CASH

    ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI – 72 GOALS
    The Bayern Munich star’s opener against Lazio on Tuesday propelled him above the legendary Raul in the all-time standings.
    That was his 72nd in 95 games, which included appearances for Borussia Dortmund.
    And with one foot already in the next round, he will be looking to add more to his tally as Bayern chase a second-successive Champions League triumph.

    Robert Lewandowski has moved to third in the all-time goalscorer stakesCredit: Getty
    RAUL – 71 GOALS
    The striker became an icon at Real Madrid during the 90s and won the competition three times with his hometown club.
    The Spaniard bagged 71 times in 142 appearances in the competition.
    But after dropping down to fourth in the standings, he could soon be overtaken by another Madrid man.

    Raul was the standout star of the Champions League in the 90sCredit: Getty
    KARIM BENZEMA – 69 GOALS
    The Frenchman is closing in fast on Raul and only needs two more to move level with the great.
    Benzema, a four-time Champions League winner, has an impressive 69 goals in 125 matches and could extend it even further this campaign with Los Blancos still in the tournament.
    He also played a huge role in helping Ronaldo reach his incredible figure, teeing up his former team-mate for 12 of his strikes in the competition during their time together at the Bernabeu.

    Karim Benzema is fifth in the all-time rankingsCredit: Getty

    Just seven players have managed to score a hat-tricks of CL hat-tricks

    Cristiano Ronaldo sulks in Juventus dressing-room in unseen footage for Amazon Prime All or Nothing trailer More

  • in

    Pep Guardiola dons slick new coat with huge Man City emblem as his stylish side rack up 19th straight win

    MANCHESTER CITY left Germany with two crucial away goals against Borussia Monchengladbach – but Pep Guardiola’s coat stole the show.
    The Spaniard has been renowned for his knitwear on the touchlines for City.

    Pep Guardiola’s coat stole the show in Man City’s win

    “Can you sugar coat that?” 😏Pep Guardiola’s jacket choice this evening certainly raised eyebrows in the studio 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/Tv1tX0N21B
    — Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) February 24, 2021

    But Guardiola stepped up his game as he debuted a jacket which sported a massive City badge across the back.
    Naturally, fans were in hysterics online with the slick coat as his stylish side won yet again.
    And even Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand and Gary Lineker joined in the criticism of Guardiola’s coat.
    One said: “Didn’t think Guardiola’s coat would be the most interesting thing about Manchester City-Gladbach but here we are…”

    Another said: “Gave Guardiola’s coat high praise – then he turned around and showed the horrendous Man City badge on the back.”
    Goals from Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus mean the Premier League leaders go into the return leg at Etihad in a month with a healthy lead.
    City also secured their 19th straight win, last dropping points in December against relegations strugglers West Brom.
    They host Champions League chasers West Ham on Sunday.

    Pep Guardiola is getting pretty angry on the touchline. He’s probably just seen what’s on the back of his coat.
    — Paddy Power (@paddypower) February 24, 2021

    Gave Guardiola’s coat high praise – then he turned around and showed the horrendous Man City badge on the back 😂
    — Marc Harvey (@marcharvey_) February 24, 2021

    And Guardiola has admitted European kings Bayern Munich are favourites to retain their title.
    He said: “When I see Bayern Munich I don’t think we are favourites. My target is West Ham in three days.
    “If people say we are favourites we have to accept it, but a team who in their whole history has been a semi-final once OK, they say it, we have to accept it.
    “We have a lot of money to buy incredible players. All the time it’s for the money – but without this quality of players you cannot do it.”

    Lionel Messi stuns Elche goalkeeper Edgar Badia by asking for his shirt after Barcelona’s 3-0 LaLiga win More

  • in

    Monchengladbach 0 Man City 2 LIVE REACTION: Bernando Silva and Jesus net as Guardiola’s men record 19th consecutive win

    MANCHESTER CITY continued their remarkable winning streak with a comfortable Champions League win over Borussia Monchengladbach.
    Final score: Monchengladbach 0-2 Man City
    Follow ALL the latest reaction with our live blog below…

    Get risk free £20 bet plus 22/1 bet builder tip on Man City tonight

    THAT’S ALL FROM BUDAPEST
    A comfortable evening for Man City and they should see the job through to reach the quarter-finals.
    But as Pep said, it’s all about the next game for them – a lunchtime Saturday game with West Ham.
    That will give them the opportunity to make it 20 wins in a row – astonishing stuff really.
    Oh, and Sergio Aguero made his return tonight.
    Goodnight, thanks for tuning in.

    PEP’S THOUGHTS
    Pep Guardiola still wants more from his side and blasted their wastefulness in front of goal.
    He thinks there was enough there tonight to wrap the tie up tonight – and he’s probably right.

    In general our performance was good. We controlled the game, conceded one action right at the end but unfortunately we weren’t clinical enough up front. That’s something we need to improve in this competition.
    He has to improve (Cancelo) sometimes in his decision-making and being caught out. But he brings us something special to our process. His physicality is so strong and I’m so pleased for his assists tonight.
    The situations tonight are clear. 1v1’s or up against the keeper we just weren’t clinical. We need to be better up front.
    When I watched Bayern Munich yesterday, I wouldn’t say we were favourites. But my next target is just West Ham. It’s three weeks until we are going to play in this competition again. If people say we are favourites that is fine and we will accept it.
    Pep GuardiolaBT Sport

    MATCH REPORT
    While we wait for Pep Guardiola, why not have a read through tonight’s match report?
    It’s on the Sun Football site now, head over to check it out.
    Or, click here 👉 GLADBACH 0 MAN CITY 2

    CANCELO CLASS
    He was involved in both goals, inswinging balls from the left to find Bernardo Silva.
    Joleon Lescott said he’s the only player that couldn’t be replaced in the City line-up.
    A stunning display from Joao Cancelo.

    João Cancelo’s game by numbers vs. Gladbach:100% long ball accuracy93% pass accuracy118 touches8 penalty area entries7 duels won4 take-ons3 crosses2 interceptions1 shot1 tackle1 big chance created1 assist1 clean sheetSuperb. #UCL pic.twitter.com/4fY3lmlEg8
    — Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 24, 2021

    MANCHESTER DOMINANCE
    The Sky Blues joining their rivals in a shut-out dominance in this competition.

    4 – Manchester City are the first team to keep a clean sheet in their first four away Champions League matches in a campaign since Manchester United did so in 2010-11. Fierce. pic.twitter.com/mVvbELlh9B
    — OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 24, 2021

    BERNARDO’S THOUGHTS
    Bernardo Silva gave his thoughts after another goal and assist tonight.

    It was a good game for us, a good win. You make one mistake and you’re out so we tried to keep it simple and keep possession like we usually do.I try to practice a lot with my head! I think I was lucky tonight that Joao gave me a good ball.It’s very good playing here just now. It’s a great squad, great staff and it’s a pleasure playing with these guys.We have a map, a way of playing. Players get injured or whatever and whoever comes into the side can keep playing.
    Bernardo SilvaBT Sport

    RECORD-BREAKERS
    Man City set a new English top-flight record of 12 away wins in a row.
    It won’t be the last record if this form continues.
    It’s 26 games unbeaten now – their own record if 28.
    They have only conceded SIX goals in their 19-match winning run….

    WOLF HAS NO BARK
    What a chance at the end for the hosts. So nearly making a game of it in a few weeks’ time…

    FT: GLADBACH 0-2 MAN CITY
    The full-time numbers and stats behind a comprehensive away performance in the Champions League for Manchester City.

    GLADBACH 0-2 MAN CITY
    Very nearly a blotch on the game at the end, given how easy the other 92 minutes was!
    Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus with the goals that have City on easy street and with a foot-and-a-half in the quarter finals.
    Reaction to come.

    PEEEEEEEEEEP!!
    LAST CHANCE OF THE GAME TOO, IT’S OVER!
    GLADBACH 0-2 MAN CITY

    GLADBACH 0-2 MAN CITY
    90+3′ Rodri with a blind pass and plays in Wolf inadvertently.
    He is clean through before eventually being put under pressure. His shot low is blocked away by Ederson.

    GLADBACH 0-2 MAN CITY
    GLADBACH SHOULD SCORE!

    GLADBACH 0-2 MAN CITY
    90+2′ He’s back to his feet and we play out the remaining minute and a half.

    GLADBACH 0-2 MAN CITY
    90+1′ Gladbach try to get a goal to take into the second-leg and work a move well across the park.
    It ends with Bensebaini trying to get round Walker to no avail.
    Walker breaks clear and runs 70 yards before finding Torres – his shot from 25 yards flattens Kramer who stays down.

    GLADBACH 0-2 MAN CITY
    THREE MINUTES ADDED ON

    GLADBACH 0-2 MAN CITY
    89′ Mahrez floats it towards the back post and Sommer comes out to punch it clear.

    GLADBACH 0-2 MAN CITY
    88′ They have a free-kick this time, wide on the right hand side.

    GLADBACH 0-2 MAN CITY
    87′ Bensebaini is late to a tackle this time as he floors Kyle Walker.
    The referee evens it up by waving play on.

    GLADBACH 0-2 MAN CITY
    85′ Hofmann is finished tonight,
    OFF – Jonas Hofmann
    ON – Hannes Wolf

    GLADBACH 0-2 MAN CITY
    Another impressive Phil Foden display.

    GLADBACH 0-2 MAN CITY
    83′ Hofmann is down in some pain as the physios rush on to see him.
    The VAR check is over though and it’s no penalty.

    GLADBACH 0-2 MAN CITY
    83′ Ooooh a challenge on Hofmann inside the box by Cancelo and he has stayed down.
    The referee has waved play on but VAR will check it.

    GLADBACH 0-2 MAN CITY
    82′ 15 second later they’re in on goal.
    Gundogan, Aguero and Torres all involved before Mahrez has it inside the box on the right. He opts to go down the outside but his ball across is caught by Sommer.

    GLADBACH 0-2 MAN CITY
    81′ Free-kick City just inside their half before they play it back to retain possession yet again.

    Load more entries… More

  • in

    Atalanta 0 Real Madrid 1 LIVE REACTION: Ten-man hosts shattered by late Mendy winner to leave Spaniards in control

    FERLAND MENDY netted in the final minutes to give Real Madrid a huge win over ten-man Atalanta.
    Final score: Atalanta 0-1 Real Madrid
    Follow all of the latest reaction with our live blog below…

    Get risk free £20 bet and 37/1 bet builder tip on Real Madrid clash

    THAT’S ALL FOR TONIGHT
    It wasn’t quite the goal-fest we were all hoping to see, but at least we saw a goal and what a goal it was!
    Still plenty of European action to come, with Arsenal, Manchester United, Rangers and Leicester all playing in the Europa League to follow.
    And we’ll have you covered here at SunSport!
    Goodnight.

    BEND IT LIKE MENDY
    FERLAND MENDY scored a stunning goal to finally down brave Atalanta in their Champions League last-16 first-leg tie.
    The Serie A side were up against it just 17 minutes in when Remo Freuler was controversially shown red.
    The Italians held firm until the 86th-minute, when a curling 20-yard strike from Mendy finally broke the deadlock.
    Real Madrid will now go into the second-leg with an all-important lead and away goal.
    Read More: Atalanta 0-1 Real Madrid Match Report

    MIDFIELD MAESTRO
    Toni Kroos dictated play from the midfield.

    LATE DRAMA
    Only Man Utd (4) have scored more Champions League goals in the final 5 minutes this season than Real Madrid (3).

    WONDER-STRIKE
    Mendy scored a spectacular goal from the edge of the penalty area with his weaker right foot!

    FULL-TIME STATS
    Real Madrid dominated the game, largely thanks to the early red card – and they finally found a breakthrough with four minutes to go.
    Los Blancos more than doubled Atalanta’s possession stat and the amount of passes completed.
    Atalanta did make it difficult for Zidane’s men, limiting the amount of chances the away side had inside the penalty area.
    Madrid registered 15 shots off target.

    FT: ATALANTA 0-1 REAL MADRID
    Well, Real Madrid found a way in the end and it took something really special from Ferland Mendy.
    The left-back curled the ball into the corner of the net with his weaker right foot to win the tie.
    Atalanta lasted 70, yes 70, minutes playing with ten men and unfortunately fell at the final hurdle.
    Overall, it was a rather boring game, but that’s what happens when you have a team down to ten men, and another team who lack attacking options up front.
    The only positive for Atalanta is that they’re still very much in this tie – they just have to go to Madrid and score goals.
    Madrid look rather toothless up front, and had to rely on a wonder-strike from their left back.
    All to play for!

    PEEEEEEP!
    THE REFEREE BLOWS THE FULL-TIME WHISTLE!

    ATALANTA 0-1 REAL MADRID
    90+3. Courtois punches a late Atalanta free-kick clear.

    ATALANTA 0-1 REAL MADRID
    90. Three minutes to be added on at the end of the second half.

    ATALANTA 0-1 REAL MADRID
    88. Atalanta are going to have to score in Madrid, that’s the bottom line.
    The red card completely changed the dynamic of the game and handed Madrid a massive, massive advantage.

    ATALANTA 0-1 REAL MADRID
    86. The corner-kick finds its way to Mendy on the edge of the Atalanta penalty area.
    And the Frenchman opens up his body and curls the ball into the far corner, handing Madrid a valuable away goal!
    Super finish from the left-back on his weaker right foot!

    GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLL!!!!
    SUPER STRIKE BY MENDY!!!!
    HAMMER BLOW FOR ATALANTA!!!!

    ATALANTA 0-0 REAL MADRID
    85. Kroos receives the ball on the edge of the Atalanta penalty area, gets his head up and floats the ball towards the far post.
    But Toloi heads the ball behind for a Madrid corner.
    Before the corner-kick is taken, Atalanta make a double change with Ilicic and Maehle making way for Palomino and Malinovskiy.

    ATALANTA 0-0 REAL MADRID
    83. Pasalic gives Lucas what he wanted, a free-kick.

    ATALANTA 0-0 REAL MADRID
    81. Casemiro goes down in the penalty area trying to win a penalty, but the referee isn’t having any of it.
    The Brazilian is already on a booking and he pleads his innocence with the referee.
    Luckily for Real Madrid and Casemiro, the referee doesn’t book the midfielder for simulation – which would have resulted in a red card.

    ATALANTA 0-0 REAL MADRID
    80. We’re over the 80 minute mark……. just ten minutes left in the game and neither side has managed to find a breakthrough.

    ATALANTA 0-0 REAL MADRID
    79. The ball falls to Kroos 35 yards from goal, and the German takes the shot on.
    But his effort goes comfortably wide of the far post….. you can sense a little bit of frustration in that effort.

    ATALANTA 0-0 REAL MADRID
    77. A long ball forward almost falls into the path of Mariano, but Romero sticks with him and mops up the danger.

    ATALANTA 0-0 REAL MADRID
    75. Zidane is making a double change, and interestingly, he is summoning two Madrid youngsters.
    Arribas is on for Asensio and Duro is on for Isco.

    STALEMATE
    We’re heading into the final 15 minutes of this Champions League knockout stage tie, and there has been NO GOALS!

    Credit: Getty Images

    ATALANTA 0-0 REAL MADRID
    73. Madrid clear the free-kick.

    ATALANTA 0-0 REAL MADRID
    72. Lucas is penalised inside his own half as the ball strikes his arm.
    Atalanta have a chance to get men forward and fashion a chance! Will we see a goal? I hope so.

    ATALANTA 0-0 REAL MADRID
    71. Asensio manages to get his effort up and over the wall, but comfortably into the arms of Gollini.

    ATALANTA 0-0 REAL MADRID
    70. Gosens arrives late with a challenge on Lucas on the edge of the Atalanta penalty area.
    The German goes into the book as a result.

    Load more entries… More

  • in

    Gladbach 0 Man City 2: Silva and Jesus put Guardiola’s men in command of Champions League tie with win in Budapest

    MANCHESTER CITY’S players must feel like they are 10 feet tall after 19 consecutive wins.
    As even the shortest of Pep Guardiola’s stars are scoring and setting up goals with their head these days.

    Gabriel Jesus sent out a message to Man City’s Champions League rivals when he doubled their lead in BudapestCredit: Reuters

    Bernardo Silva heads Man City in front after 29 minutes of a one-sided first legCredit: AFP or licensors

    On Sunday at Arsenal it was the diminutive Raheem Sterling who got up highest to nod in the only goal of the game.
    Last night it was the turn of Bernardo Silva – who stands at just 5ft 7in like the England ace.
    The Portuguese nodded City in front on the half hour – then used his napper to tee up Gabriel Jesus and surely put the tie beyond doubt.
    City really were head and shoulders above their German opponents in Budapest – the only surprise was that they didn’t win by more.

    And all the signs are there that they are finally ready to become European giants this time.  
    Nobody at the Etihad will be getting too carried away by this – as Borussia Monchengladbach are currently out of sorts.
    They came through a group that contained both Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Shakhtar Donetsk.
    But in the last three weeks they have lost to both Cologne and Mainz and slumped to eighth in the table.

    Gabriel Jesus knocked in Man City’s deserved second goal on 65 minutesCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Joao Cancelo, centre, and Raheem Sterling hail Bernardo Silva for his Man City openerCredit: AFP or licensors
    In addition, coach Marco Rose confirmed on February 15 he will leave to take charge of Dortmund in the summer – an announcement that went down badly with their supporters.
    Guardiola rang the changes as he kept one eye on Saturday’s lunchtime date with West Ham and Kevin de Bruyne was one of those surprisingly left on the bench
    Phil Foden was back in the starting XI though and it was his shot through a crowd of players was well saved by Swiss international keeper Yann Sommer.
    But for all their possession, chances were hard to come by in the early exchanges.
    This is the eighth successive year that City have reached the last 16 – yet still they have reached the semi-finals only once.
    Guardiola’s men have gone out in the quarters for each of the last three seasons but they look well capable of  improving on that this time.
    They breezed through their group – conceding only one goal in six matches with five clean sheets coming in a row.
    And there was little sign of that miserly run coming to an end early on here.
    FREE BETS: GET OVER £2,000 IN SIGN UP OFFERS HERE

    ⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds
    Skipper for the night Sterling made his way into the box and was tackled by a sliding Ramy Bensebaini.
    VAR had a look and the Gladbach defender did get the slightest of touches on the ball before the man – and the Portuguese referee had got it spot on.
    Even so there was no time for the German side to enjoy the reprieve as City took the lead moments later.
    Left back Joao Cancelo – who spends much of his time in midfield these days – swung over a delightful inswinging cross from his flank.
    Silva ghosted in at the back post and sent his header back across Sommer into the far corner for his first European goal in almost two years.
    And what about the cross? City fans are seeing Cancelo culture more and more these days.
    City’s dominance was total yet to their credit Gladbach were proving tough to break down.
    Both Cancelo and Foden tried their luck from distance as City could not carve out the clear opening Guardiola would have wanted.
    Yet the German side had not had a meaningful shot or even touched the ball in the box of their opponents at all in the opening 45 minutes.

    Manchester City’s Germany midfielder Ilkay Gundogan fends off Moenchengladbach’s Swiss star Denis ZakariaCredit: AFP or licensors

    Man City boss Pep Guardiola saw his side on the front foot for almost all of their impressive 2-0 victoryCredit: AFP or licensors
    The second half began in similar style with Gladbach struggling with City’s press.
    Again Cancelo was involved – chipping a cross to the far post where this time Bernardo nodded back across goal.
    Bensebaini was panicked into rolling the ball into the path of Gabriel Jesus but Nico Elvedi got back to make a superb last ditch tackle.
    Rose was probably surprised his team were still in the game but they were – and almost fashioned an unlikely equaliser on the hour.
    Ilkay Gundogan and sub Riyad Mahrez both missed chances to end any doubts – but surely City will finish the job off comfortably in three weeks time.
    Denis Zakaria whipped over a cross that Alassane Plea acrobatically flicked just wide of the post – and for the first time in the evening Ederson was worried.
    But as if to remind everyone who was in charge, City went up the other end to score a second just a couple of minutes later.
    Jesus got ahead of his man to poke home from close range – and score at this stage of the competition for a fifth straight season.
    Guardiola’s relentless team are now just five games short of the world record for consecutive wins. 
    Who is going to stop them?

    John Stones looks ahead to Man City winning silverware this season More

  • in

    Champions League final could be held in New York as Uefa plan drastic changes including 36 teams

    THE Champions League final could be held in New York in Uefa’s dramatic revamp.
    European chiefs want to agree the new 36-team model for their biggest prize will run for at least nine seasons from 2024.

    The Champions League final could take place in New York in a major overhaul from Uefa

    And as part of the pitch to potential sponsors, Uefa is suggesting that the showpiece event could take ‘Old Big Ears’ to the Big Apple.
    President Aleksander Ceferin floated the prospect of the Champions League final being taken out of Europe shortly after his election in 2016.
    He said: “I think it might be an idea in the future but we have to speak about it.
    “To go from Portugal to Azerbaijan, for example, is almost the same as if you go to New York. For the fans it’s no problem.”

    Ceferin subsequently rowed back from the idea in the short-term and the upcoming finals will be staged in Istanbul in June, followed by St Petersburg, Munich and then Wembley in 2024.
    But that will signal the end of the Champions League in its current format.
    Despite opposition from European top flight leagues, including the Premier League, Uefa is determined to plough ahead with its revamp concept.
    That will see the 36 teams – with two of the four extra places awarded to clubs based on ‘historical coefficients’, representing a potential backdoor route for the likes of Manchester United or Juventus – put in a single league.

    FREE BETS: GET OVER £2,000 IN SIGN UP OFFERS HERE

    All teams will play ten games against seeded opponents to create a final table through the the so-called ‘Swiss system’.
    The top eight clubs will pass to the last-16 knock-out stage by right, joined by the winners of play-off involving those sides ranked from ninth to 24th.
    But Uefa recognises the need to change its marketing strategy to get more high value sponsors on board.
    And appealing to the cash-laden US market could be the key to unlocking extra millions in revenue.
    American fans are desperate to see Europe’s biggest sides play competitive games on their soil and no match means more than the Champions League Final.
    A 3pm Saturday afternoon kick-off on the East Coast would still mean the match beginning in its normal 8pm slot in the UK, 9pm in most of Europe, so it would not impact negatively on the ‘home’ market.
    But turning the final into a truly global event, not every season but on an occasional basis, would be a significant move.
    It could also spark a bidding frenzy from US broadcasters for TV rights to the crown jewel of European club football.
    One US soccer insider told SunSport: “We’ve seen crowds of 100,000 or more for pre-season friendlies involving big European sides over here.
    “Commercially it makes all the sense in the world for Uefa to explore this.”

    PSG should keep Mbappe & Neymar as Messi ‘demands huge investment’, says Wenger More

  • in

    Atalanta vs Real Madrid FREE: Live stream, TV channel, team news and kick-off time for Champions League match TONIGHT

    ATALANTA take on 13-time Champions League winners Real Madrid as they look for another fruitful season in the competition.
    Gian Piero Gasperini’s men made it to the quarter-finals of the 2020/21 competition before being beaten by two last minute PSG goals.

    Injury-hit Real Madrid face a tough trip to AtalantaCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Zinedine Zidane’s visitors meanwhile will be looking to get back to stamping their authority on the competition after being outclassed by Man City in the season’s Round of 16.
    What time does Atalanta vs Real Madrid kick off?
    Atalanta take on Real Madrid on Wednesday, February 24.
    The match kicks off at 8pm UK time.
    It will be played at Atalanta’s Gewiss Stadium in Bergamo.
    What TV channel is Atalanta vs Real Madrid on and can I live stream it?
    Atalanta vs Real Madrid is live on BT Sport 3.
    Coverage commences at 7.30pm – half an hour before kick-off.
    To stream the game live, head to the BT Sport website or app.

    Can I watch Atalanta vs Real Madrid for free?
    EE customers can get BT Sport INCLUDED to their plan at no extra cost if they are on a plan with Smart Benefits – simply log in to EE and choose BT Sport app.
    And then get it on the big screen by texting SPORT to 150 to get a FREE three-month trial of Large Screen so you can cast all the action on your TV.
    At the end of the three months you will automatically roll onto the £5 per month BT Sport Large Screen subscription unless cancelled.
    Team news
    Hans Hateboer is Atalanta’s only injury absence for this game against Real Madrid, with deputy Joakim Maehle set to fill in.
    In contrast, Real Madrid’s squad are filling up the treatment room to capacity.
    Star man Karim Benzema is the latest Galactico to be announced as missing this game.

    He follows captain Sergio Ramos, Eden Hazard, Rodrygo, Marcelo, Eder Militao, Dani Carvajal and Federico Valverde in being ruled out.
    Latest odds
    Atalanta 5/4
    Draw 13/5
    Real Madrid 19/10

    *Odds from Ladbrokes correct as of Tuesday, February 23. More