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    Champions League and Europa League away goals rule SCRAPPED by Uefa in radical law change ahead of new season

    UEFA have confirmed a major change for next season’s Champions League and Europa League – by scrapping the away goals rule.The law previously gave a significant advantage to sides who hit the back of the net on the road, but drew criticism from many fans.
    ⚽ The away goals rule will be removed from all UEFA club competitions from the 2021/22 season.Ties in which the two teams score the same number of goals over the two legs will now have two 15-minute periods of extra time, and, if required, penalty kicks.#UCL #UWCL #UEL #UYL— UEFA (@UEFA) June 24, 2021

    On Thursday, Uefa announced the rule had been ditched after long negotiations over its role in the modern game.
    SunSport revealed in April that plans were initially afoot to only count away goals scored inside 90 minutes, not extra-time.
    But European football’s governing body will now go ahead with plans to completely scrap the rule.
    It means all knockout ties level after two legs will go to extra-time and then, if necessary, penalties.

    Uefa data outlined how the disadvantage of playing away from home has decreased in recent decades.
    Matches were won by the home team at a rate of 61 per cent in the mid-1970s, a figure which has dropped to 47 per cent nowadays.

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    Andrea Iniesta’s away goal took Barcelona to the 2009 Champions League finalCredit: PA:Press Association
    Lucas Moura’s comeback hat-trick took Tottenham to the final on away goals in 2019Credit: Getty – Contributor
    And away wins have almost doubled in regularity – from 19 per cent to 30 per cent.
    Modern times have seen advances in player fitness, recovery and travel welfare to lessen the impact of trips across the continent.
    Fans have also voiced concerns over the impact the rule had on entertainment value, something Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin was keen to stress at Thursday’s announcement.
    He said: “The impact of the rule now runs counter to its original purpose.
    “In fact, it now dissuades home teams – especially in first legs – from attacking, because they fear conceding a goal that would give their opponents a crucial advantage.
    “It is fair to say that home advantage is nowadays no longer as significant as it once was.
    “Taking into consideration the consistency across Europe in terms of styles of play, and many different factors which have led to a decline in home advantage, the UEFA Executive Committee has taken the correct decision in adopting the view that it is no longer appropriate for an away goal to carry more weight than one scored at home.”
    The away goals rule has contributed to a number of huge results over the years, although it is difficult to say that games would have played out exactly the same had it not been present at the time.

    Andres Iniesta hit a late equaliser against Chelsea to take Barcelona to the 2009 final in a match better remembered for refereeing controversy.
    Ten years later and it was Tottenham sneaking through after Lucas Moura’s hat-trick in Amsterdam overturned Ajax’s semi-final lead.
    Spurs had also relied on away goals to edge Manchester City in the previous round, going through 4-4 on aggregate thanks to a Fernando Llorente strike in a mad 4-3 defeat at the Etihad.
    Roma bounced back from a 4-1 first-leg quarter-final defeat to Barcelona in 2018, progressing thanks to Kostas Manolas’ late header that sealed a 3-0 Stadio Olimpico triumph.
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    Daniel James out to banish Man Utd Europa League final heartbreak and take Euro 2020 by storm with Wales pal Gareth Bale

    DAN JAMES is out to banish the painful memory of Manchester United’s Europa League final heartache at the Euros.The Wales winger, 23, scored a penalty in the Red Devils’ 11-10 shoot-out defeat to Villarreal last month.
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    Daniel James (right) is hoping to bounce back from Europa League heartbreakCredit: AFP
    But James admitted he and his potless United team-mates were left ‘gutted’ after returning from Poland empty-handed.
    Now the prospect of a first Euro finals appearance in Saturday’s Group A opener with Switzerland in Baku is driving him on again.
    James said: “It was gutting for all of us really. For me and a lot of the other players it’s not the end of our season. In football you just have to get back up and get on with it.
    “Thankfully we don’t have to wait until next season to do that and we can go into the Euros and a different environment and look forward to getting back out on the pitch which is what we all want as players.”
    The 20-cap wideman is an integral part of Wales’ attack alongside captain Gareth Bale.
    James has started all of Wales’ 16 competitive fixtures since he made his international debut in a friendly with Albania in November 2018.
    But James was picked in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s starting eleven just 18 times out of United’s 61 games last season.
    Yet the ex-Swansea attacker, who moved to Old Trafford for £15million in the summer of 2019, dismissed the notion his performances have been better for Wales than United.
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    James added: “I wouldn’t say so. I think I’ve had great games for United as well.
    “Maybe the Wales ones stick out a little bit more. I may have got a few more assists for Wales. It’s been a little bit more consistent than it has been at United.
    “For every player, you want a consistency of games.”
    James’ spot-kick in the Gdansk final could prove handy if Rob Page’s Wales can reach the knock-out stages.
    He said: “It went fine but I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say I was a little bit nervous. I was confident to go and step up.
    “For me you have to put yourself in those moments because it’s going to happen in your career and you have to put yourself forward. Thankfully it went in the back of the net. It could be [useful] at the Euros.”
    ⚽Get ALL of the latest Wales news and updates from Euro 2020
    Wales’ mix of youth an experience has generated optimism within the campCredit: PA
    Speedy James hopes to tear up the Euros with his lightning pace. And he believes Wales’ opponents will be fearful of their attacking weapons including Bale and the fit-again duo of Aaron Ramsey and David Brooks.
    James said: “Whoever is put on the pitch attacking-wise, we’ve got a great group and will definitely be feared.
    “It’s one of the first times everyone has been in the squad. David and Aaron have had injuries over the past two years but when they have come into the squad they have been unbelievable.
    “I’ve only played for Wales with Aaron once or twice and he scored two goals against Hungary.
    “For us it’s just brilliant that everyone is involved. I know the Euros was supposed to be last summer and everyone was gutted but it’s great for the players who are now all fit and we have a full squad this time and we’re all raring to go.
    “Any team with pace is feared. In tournament football there are going to be times where we will have to sit back, especially with the hot weather, and then go on the break. It’s a great attribute to have throughout the team.
    If we want to hit teams on the break we have to win the ball back in the right areas to get those chances.Daniel James

    “I have freedom but the way we defend is from the front and it’s so important. If we want to hit teams on the break we have to win the ball back in the right areas to get those chances.
    “I’ve definitely matured as a player but I still have to do my defensive duties.
    “Me and Gaz have played both wide positions before and if we play on either side we’re ready and we know our job and roles. Just being on the pitch is great for me. I’d play anywhere.”
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    Bale and Wales stars fly out to Baku ahead of Switzerland clash More

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    Bruno Fernandes ‘on his knees’ after long season, says Arsene Wenger after Man Utd star struggled in Europa League final

    BRUNO FERNANDES finished the season ‘on his knees’, according to Arsene Wenger.The Portuguese midfielder struggled in the Europa League final, as Manchester United fell to Villarreal in Gdansk.
    Bruno Fernandes was devastated after losing the Europa League finalCredit: Getty
    Arsene Wenger has given his view on the Portuguese starCredit: beIN Sports
    Fernandes, 26, was an absolutely pivotal figure for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side last season, scoring 28 goals and assisting 17 during the 2020-21 season.
    But Wenger reckons that his 58 appearances in all competitions across the campaign may have caught up with him.
    The Frenchman told beINSports: “I personally feel that he finished the season on his knees, and he missed the spark.
    “Sometimes you can see as well, I found him much more nervous in the game.
    “So that, as well, is a sign of fatigue. Your top level is calm, concentration, control.
    “And in the last four or five games, I found him a bit weak on that front.”
    Arsenal legend Wenger, 71, hopes that Fernandes can find his best form during the European Championships.
    He added: “I hope that he can recover to be efficient for Portugal.
    Fernandes, 26, will play at the Euros with PortugalCredit: EPA
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    “I know Bruno wants to play but sometimes you make decisions for the benefit of both the team and him.”
    Wenger believes that Portugal can be a big threat at the tournament.
    He concluded: “Portugal at the moment to me looks to be the best equipped to be dangerous because they won the European Championship in France.
    “They have since had good results in the Nations League, and overall, I would say they have great offensive potential as well. They’re spoiled for choice as well. Portugal produces players.”
    ⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds
    Arsene Wenger turns on Stan Kroenke as old boss vows to help £1.8bn Arsenal takeover bid More

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    Bruno Fernandes caught moaning about referee for VAR delay in secret tunnel footage leaked from Man Utd’s final loss

    BRUNO FERNANDES was caught on tunnel cam footage blasting officials at half-time in Manchester United’s Europa League final anguish.United’s stand-in skipper slated a “three-minute” VAR delay and suggested Villarreal’s Spurs’ loanee Juan Foyth wasted time after a nosebleed.
    Man Utd main man Bruno Fernandes queried the long hold-up for a VAR intervention, at half-time on the way to defeat against Villarreal
    Bruno Fernandes also had strong words about two lengthy stoppages following a nosebleed suffered by Villarreal midfielder Juan Foyth
    Sub Fred can also be heard rallying Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men as they trailed to Gerard Moreno’s soft early goal.
    And striker Marcus Rashford is also cajoled during the revealing clip.
    Fired-up United improved enough after the break to equalise through Edinson Cavani, only for Villarreal to win 11-10 on penalties.
    And Fernandes’ outburst at the interval epitomised their frustration.  
    He voiced anger at the actions of Foyth after the Argentina defender was accidentally kneed in the head by United midfielder Paul Pogba.
    Foyth had a headband put on his nose injury and needed more treatment soon after when his nose began bleeding again.
    The tunnel cam caught Fernandes saying: “The number eight goes twice. 
    “One time he stays down one minute. After again and then after the goal.
    Man Utd substitute Fred can be heard on the tunnel webcam trying to fire up his team during the final in Gdansk, Poland
    Fred also had specific half-time instructions for fellow midfielder Scott McTominay, who started ahead of him
    “You wait one time for VAR. Three minutes?”
    Brazilian Fred took a more positive note, though.
    He urged: “Let’s go guys, let’s go guys. Come on. Eh Scotty [McTominay], second ball, be careful.”
    And there is a shout seemingly towards one of United’s England aces: “Rashy, come on mate.”
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    Whatever Fernandes’ exasperation at half-time, he was one of the first United players to demand unity after defeat.
    He posted on social media: “We win together and we lose together.
    “When someone fails we all fail, when someone scores we all score, when someone does a save we all save… Always UNITED.”
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    Ederson fires penalty into top corner and shows David de Gea how it’s done as Man City gear up for Chelsea final

    MANCHESTER CITY goalkeeper Ederson showed David De Gea how to take a penalty as he practised ahead of the Champions League final.The Brazil international proved he is not only getting ready to defend his goal as City manager Pep Guardiola considers naming him as a penalty taker should it go to a shootout tonight.
    Manchester City star Ederson is gearing up for a penalty shootoutCredit: PA
    The 27-year-old gave it a go during the Citizens’ training in Porto and the results are very promising for the Manchester giants.
    One of the former Benfica star’s spot-kicks were filmed and he was shown sending the ball to the top right corner with ease.
    Several Champions League finals have been decided on penalties through the years.
    Tonight could be no different as Ederson, as well as Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, may have to fire a shot.
    This comes after Wednesday’s Europa League final between Manchester United and Villarreal, which was decided during a penalty thriller.
    Ederson’s United counterpart De Gea endured a poor display during the shootout as he couldn’t save any of the Yellow Submarine’s 11 spot-kicks.
    De Gea was also the only player to miss his penalty, which led to Villarreal’s first-ever European trophy.
    According to TNT Sports, Ederson took on 11 penalties in training and converted a whopping ten of them.

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    The City goalkeeper revealed earlier this week he wanted the crucial fifth penalty.
    He said: “I am [on the list to take a penalty].
    “I don’t need to train that much, but the fifth one, I’m taking it. The last one, the decisive, I’ll ask for it.”
    He added to the Manchester Evening News: “If the final goes to penalties, I’m going to ask to take it because I’m ready for it.
    “In training sessions sometimes I practise taking them like if it was a game.
    “It’s true that our scoring rate on penalties isn’t the best, we missed some during the season, but the team is ready for any outcome during the game.”
    ⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds
    The Brazilian may be called on to produce some big saves against ChelseaCredit: Getty

    Man City arrive in Porto for Saturday´s Champions League final More

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    Is the Champions League final being broadcast for free? How to stream Chelsea vs Man City LIVE on YouTube without paying

    NOTHING beats a free football match – and this year’s Champions League final is no exception.As they have done the last few seasons, BT Sport are broadcasting the final for free on YouTube and their website – but it can be a little tricky to find.
    Manchester City and Chelsea go head-to-head in the biggest game in club footballCredit: AFP
    Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City take on Thomas Tuchel’s resurgent Chelsea side in Porto in the third all-English final in recent memory.

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    Can I watch the Champions League final for free on BT Sport?
    Yes! BT Sport are airing Chelsea vs Manchester City live on YouTube and their website.
    You can also watch the match from Portugal on PlayStation or Xbox, while a whole range of smart TVs will also have the showpiece match free-to-air.
    Kick-off for the game in Porto is at 8pm and coverage will begin at 6pm.

    How much is a BT Sport subscription?
    You can get all the BT Sport channels and BT Sport Ultimate for £25 a month via their monthly pass.

    That means you can stream BT Sport via their website, mobile or tablet app, as well as various smart TVs.
    It’s also contract free, so you can cancel whenever you want and BT Sport have got the same number of Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League and Europa League games next season, so worth bearing in mind after the Euros have finished this summer. More

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    Is Champions League final being broadcast for free? How to stream Chelsea vs Man City LIVE on YouTube without paying

    NOTHING beats a free football match – and this year’s Champions League final is no exception.As they have done the last few seasons, BT Sport are broadcasting the final for free on YouTube and their website – but it can be a little tricky to find.
    Manchester City and Chelsea go head-to-head in the biggest game in club footballCredit: AFP
    Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City take on Thomas Tuchel’s resurgent Chelsea side in Porto in the third all-English final in recent memory.

    BETTING SPECIAL Get Man City at 30/1 and Chelsea at 40/1 to win Champions League final

    Can I watch the Champions League final for free on BT Sport?
    Yes! BT Sport are airing Chelsea vs Manchester City live on YouTube and their website.
    You can also watch the match from Portugal on PlayStation or Xbox, while a whole range of smart TVs will also have the showpiece match free-to-air.
    Kick-off for the game in Porto is at 8pm and coverage will begin at 6pm.

    How much is a BT Sport subscription?
    You can get all the BT Sport channels and BT Sport Ultimate for £25 a month via their monthly pass.

    That means you can stream BT Sport via their website, mobile or tablet app, as well as various smart TVs.
    It’s also contract free, so you can cancel whenever you want and BT Sport have got the same number of Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League and Europa League games next season, so worth bearing in mind after the Euros have finished this summer. More

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    Man Utd fans stranded in Poland after being refused boarding on flight home from Europa League final due to Covid mix-up

    A GROUP of Manchester United fans were forced to spend the night in Poland after being denied boarding to a flight home because of a Covid testing mixup. Around 25 fans arrived at Warsaw’s Modlin airport on Thursday to fly home after their team’’s penalty shoot out defeat against Villarreal in the Europa League final. 
    A group of Man United fans have been stranded in Poland
    The fans say they abided by all the necessary rules which required them to have PCR Covid tests.
    But some of the group were denied boarding for the 9.55pm Ryanair flight to London Stansted – while some of their friends were allowed back to the UK. 
    Builder Michael Cooney, 38, was among the supporters forced to spend another night in Poland because of the mixup, which is believed to have occurred when the Polish authorities ruled the fans should have quarantined upon arrival in the country.
    But Uefa rules stated that anyone with a match ticket would not need to quarantine.  
    Michael, of Salford, Gtr Manchester, said: “It’s been a bit of a joke. We have all followed the rules and regulations to the letter and had all the necessary tests. 
    “We turned up at the airport in plenty of time. United got beat, but we’ve had a good couple of days and just wanted to get home. 
    “Some of my mates who have done the exact same tests are me were allowed home and I was one of the ones who was denied boarding. 
    “It was like if you go to one check in desk you can go home and if you went to the other one you had a problem.
    Michael Cooney, 38, is among those stuck in Warsaw
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    “It wasn’t just football fans who were stopped from boarding. There was a couple of families and a few workers who were stopped as well.”
    Michael and the other fans were forced to spend an extra night in a hotel near the airport and were then escorted by police to the airport today. 
    The group now hope to board the 9.55pm flight to Stansted tonight. 
    He added: “We’ve done some more Covid tests to make sure they can’t turn us back. We need to get home. We have families and jobs to go back to and it’s causing us all a headache.”
    Fellow fan Chris Brookes posted about the situation on Facebook.
    He wrote: What a nightmare trying to sort 25 lads out including myself who were all denied access to the plane.
    “Five of us are fully vaccinated. All had a negative Antigen lateral flow Covid test. 2 had there’s here and the rest took 1 in the UK, all within 72 hours guidelines it allows you to go in and out of the UK/Poland for football.
    “We all turned up for the flight on time. All denied access and placed on the quarantine list wrongly. Now we must get off the list before we can fly home.”
    A Manchester United spokesman said the club was aware of the situation and had been liaising with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
    The Foreign Office said: “We are providing consular support to a number of British Nationals travelling home from Warsaw.”
    Man United slumped to defeat in GdanskCredit: EPA
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    ⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds
    Paul Scholes is gutted after Man Utd loss to Villareal More