Daily Archives: October 19, 2016

Stellar Hugo Lloris secures point for Tottenham

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Fine saves from Belgian goalkeeper Hugo Lloris secured a point for Tottenham against Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen.

Tottenham also saw chances and possession squandered as they could have walked away with a win following a dominant first half. However, Dele Alli was unusually off target with a six-yard header while Vincent Janssen sent another one against the crossbar.

After half-time, Lloris had to make 3 saves which ultimately proved crucial for his team:

  1. 48 minutes: Stefan Kiessling played the ball across for Javier Hernandez in front a gaping goal. Lloris leapt across to keep Hernandez’s effort out even when half of the ball had crossed the line.
  2. 56 minutes: Aranguiz shot a low free-kick from 25 yards out, but Lloris dived full stretch to his right to push the ball away.
  3. 61 minutes: As Leverkusen begin to grow into the game and became confident in attack, Switzerland international Mehmedi found space on the edge of the area, but Lloris got down low to his right again to palm the ball out.

“You need a bit of luck in that kind of action and this time I saved (from Javier Hernandez),” Lloris said after the game.

“It was a key moment but it was not the only one. We should have scored in the first half and then the game would have been much different.”

Indeed, Spurs had six attempts in the first half and none in the second, and worked goalkeeper Leno only once. In contrast, Leverkusen had 13 shots in the second 45 minutes.

But with the result, Mauricio Pochettino side is able to remain at second place in Group E with 4 points, while Monaco remains leaders of the group despite a 1-1 draw against CSKA Moscow. The Russian team has yet to won a single game.

Against City, Luis Enrique ‘can’t imagine a better game’

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Barcelona coach Luis Enrique believed that there isn’t a more attractive match than welcoming Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City to Nou Camp.

Enrique, 46, said ahead of Barca’s Champions League match against City: “I can’t think of anything better for football fans. And if you’re a Barcelona or Manchester City fan, then what more can I say?”

“They will want the ball, like us. When they lose it, they will press to get it back, like us. There are two coaches with an attacking mindset. We will need a lot of imagination.”

“Pep’s Barcelona was spectacular. They had a collective style based on players of talent, which sought control and sought to dominate all over the pitch. [My Barcelona] have that too but I have also tried to look for things based on my players’ individual talents to help us. I like both Barcelonas. We both wore the same shirt and I think fans are intelligent enough to enjoy them both.”

And he added “We want people to enjoy it – something that is too often forgotten.”

But both teams looked a shade of their full brilliance going into the game. Manchester City – after a perfect run earlier in the season, fell winless in three games since drawing 3-3 against Celtic.

Barca’s form also looked far from encouraging. They dropped eight points in their last six league matches and needed a second-half comeback to overcome Borussia Monchengladbach in their last Champions League outing.

Still, the Catalans remain unbeaten after 17 Champions League matches, and had Lionel Messi returning from a groin injury in the weekend. They will also receive a boost in defenders, with Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto both recovering from their respective injuries.

Prediction:

Barcelona (2) – (0) Manchester City

Leicester on brink of last 16 after Copenhagen win

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Leicester City is on the brink of advancing into the last 16 of the Champions League after their 1-0 win over Copenhagen at the King Power Stadium.

Riyad Mahrez’s flicking volley five minutes before half time was sufficient for the Foxes to maintain the 100% record of their Champions League campaign.

Copenhagen, who went into the game with a 24-match unbeaten streak could have kept the record intact, but was unlucky that they were unable to convert their chances against the Foxes.

Striker Andreas Cornelius’s header was just inches wide from his target just moments after the Foxes had taken the lead, while a brilliant one-handed save from Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel in the closing minutes thwarted Cornelius again to maintain Leicester’s clean sheet in the tournament.

The result meant that Leicester can now secure a place in the last 16 with just one more win, having already guaranteed at least a place in the Europa League with nine points on the summit of group G.

However, Foxes manager Claudio Ranieri says he is “very, very angry” his team cannot replicate their Champions League form in the Premier League. Remarkably, Leicester has accumulated more points in Europe than domestically despite playing five games fewer, and are at 13th place in the Premier League table with 8 points.

“Very proud of the side from one side but from another, when I think of the Premier League, I am very, very angry,” Ranieri said.

“In my career this has happened. When you are in the big competition for the first time you grow and then you lose something when you go back into your own competition.”

“When you play in the Champions League you are switched on, very, very smart and focused on every situation. You use up a lot of mental energy in the Champions League.”

“We want to change this though because the Premier League is our priority.”