Daily Archives: February 24, 2017

Tottenham exits Europa League as Alli sees red

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Tottenham Hotspur failed to chase their aggregate deficit against Gent, and will exit the Europa League second round after falling to a 2-2 draw (losing 3-2 on aggregate) as midfielder Dele Alli saw red.

Spurs were trailing 1-0 after the first leg of the last-32 tie, but looked prepared to right their failings as Christian Eriksen slipped an angled shot under Gent keeper Lovre Kalinic.

The visitors equalised through Harry Kane’s own goal, which left Spurs needing to score at least twice as the match approached half-time. However, few would have written off Spurs — but they would do so when the London was club reduced to 10 men after Alli was sent off for a recklessly high tackle.

Victor Wanyama curled one into the top-left corner to revive Spurs hopes briefly, only for substitute Jeremy Perbet to poke Gent into the last 16 with less than 10 minutes left.

The result meant Spurs’ elimination — and also that they have only reached the Europa League quarter-finals once in the past six seasons.

The only England team left in the tournament is Manchester United, who defeated French side Saint-Etienne 4-0 on aggregate, and will be in the last-16 draw.

As for Tottenham, who remain without a trophy since 2008, they will host Stoke City in the Premier League and focus their attention on trying to catch leaders Chelsea, even as their London rivals holds an insurmountable gap of ten league points against them.

Leicester City dismisses manager Claudio Ranieri

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Premier League champions Leicester City has dismissed club manager Claudio Ranieri.

Ranieri was informed of the decision on his return from the club’s Champions League last-16 tie against Sevilla.

This came after nine months of the Italian’s leadership success, where he led a team of 5,000-1 outsiders to the Premier League title.

It also came barely two weeks after Leicester offered him their “unwavering support” in a statement insisting there was no way his job could be in danger and pointing out that the club’s success had been “based firmly on stability, togetherness and determination to overcome even the greatest of challenges”.

“This has been the most difficult decision we have had to make in nearly seven years,” a statement from the club’s vice-chairman, Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, said. “But we are duty-bound to put the club’s long-term interests above all sense of personal sentiment, no matter how strong that might be.”

“We will forever be grateful to him for what he has helped us to achieve. It was never our expectation that the extraordinary feats of last season should be replicated this season. Indeed, survival in the Premier League was our first and only target. But we are now faced with a fight to reach that objective and feel a change is necessary to maximise the opportunity presented by the final 13 games.”

Leicester won their first ever title by 10 points last season but have won just five top-flight games this season. The midlands club also lost their past five league matches and are the only side in the top four English divisions without a goal in the Premier League since the turn of the year.

Sitting a place and a point above the relegation zone, the Foxes will next host Liverpool, where defeat could see them fall into the ranks of the Premier League last three, and possibly become the first Premier League champion to suffer relegation since 1938.

Prediction:

Leicester City 0 — 2 Liverpool

Gladbach mounts second-half fightback to oust Fiorentina

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Borussia Monchengladbach triumphed against Serie A strongmen Fiorentina in one goal-laden second-half, scoring 3 goals in 13 second-half minutes to oust the Italian club by 4-2 (4-3 on aggregate).

But it was the Bundesliga team who started meekly, with sloppy defending allowing easy chances to the hosts, as they began with a charging run through the middle, and Federico Bernadeshchi finished a wonderful pass into his path perfectly.

Borussia looked all but out when Valero pounced on a comical mistake by Jannick Vestergaard to give the Serie A side a 3-0 advantage.

The mood was telling for Borussia; there was little enthusiasm amongst the visitors when Max Olivera pulled down his opponent in the box for team captain Lars Stindl to score from the spot.

However, they began to realise that they were onto something as just moments into the second half, Moenchengladbach quickly got a second when Stindl stabbed home at the back post from a corner.

By the 53rd minute, Stindl made his career’s first hat-trick and his side’s third by firing home Jonas Hoffman’s clever free-kick.

Fiorentina, attempting to find a way back into the game, found themselves in an unbelievable situation as Andreas Christensen headed in from close range to put Gladbach clearly in the lead, summing up a night to remember for the Bundesliga team.