Daily Archives: May 3, 2017

Ronaldo thrashes Atletico Madrid with another hat-trick

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Cristiano Ronaldo single-handedly demolished Atletico Madrid with a hat-trick as Real Madrid closes in on their third Champions League final in four-years.

Los Blancos were clearly in command throughout the semi-final game against their city rivals at the Bernabeu, taking the lead just after 10 minutes when Ronaldo headed Casemiro’s cross past Jan Oblak.

There were glimmers of hope for Atletico as Real did not capitalise heavily on their control of the game. Although Oblak did his best to keep his team in the game with several superb saves, they looked visibly rattled by the single goal — and clearly lacked any sort of intent and belief.

It was only inevitable then that with 73 minutes gone, Karim Benzema held off Diego Godin in front of the box and nudged it on for Ronaldo, who then had the time to open up his body before thumping in a superb shot to the top corner.

Then, with a few minutes left in normal time, Lucas Vazquez broke up the right and pulled the ball back for Ronaldo to side-foot home comfortably and complete his hat-trick.

This match would easily go down as one of the occasions that Ronaldo, 32, proved that age is just a number. His third goal, also his 103rd in the Champions League, was more than Atletico have ever scored (100). He has now scored one more goal — 52 — in the knockout stages than he has in the group stages.

The Portuguese captain has also scored eight goals in his past three games in the competition, and is up to 13 Champions League semi-final goals.

Pescara midfielder Sulley Muntari banned for racism protest

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Pescara midfielder Sulley Muntari had been banned for a game after he protested against racist abuse.

Muntari, 32, was booked for dissent after asking the referee to stop Sunday’s Serie A match against Cagliari as he claimed that he was being racially abused.

The former Ghana international then walked off the pitch in protest — for which he received a second yellow card as officials have now confirmed.

They claimed that “not enough fans” took part in the abuse to trigger action.

The Serie A disciplinary committee agreed that their actions on the matter were “deplorable”, but insisted that their guidelines meant that it could not impose sanctions as only “approximately 10” supporters were involved — fewer than 1% of the Cagliari supporters in the ground,

Earlier, FIFPRO had called for Muntari’s punishment to be rescinded — though it was then unaware that the player had been given a second yellow card and sent off.

“Muntari was well within his rights to approach the referee,” FIFPRO voiced in an official statement. “Players should feel comfortable bringing any issue to the attention of the referee, especially one as significant as allegations of racism in the workplace.”

“We urge Italian authorities to hear Muntari’s version of events, investigate why the situation was mismanaged, and take firm action to ensure this never happens again.”

Muntari was playing for AC Milan when then team-mate Kevin-Prince Boateng walked off the pitch because of similar racist chants during a friendly with lower-league side Pro Patria in January 2013. Boateng also show his support for Muntari by tweeting that he is “so proud” of his former team-mate.

Buffon: young Monaco stars will “feel indestructible”

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Juventus keeper Gianluigi Buffon said that Monaco’s young stars will “feel indestructible” when both teams meet in the Champions League semi-final.

However, Buffon, 39, reserved that experience would be they key that will bring Juventus victory.

On the way to the semi-finals, Monaco stunned both Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund to reach the last four with some vibrant attacking play.

“They have youth and the insouciance that comes with it,” Buffon said, “But I think over the two matches, 180 minutes, experience will play into our hands.”

“I remember when I was young having that feeling of being indestructible. Monaco are a daring team — they like to attack and they do it very well. Their coach has an attacking philosophy and their players have scored an avalanche of goals this season.”

Kylian Mbappe, 18, has a run of five goals for Monaco in four knockout matches against City and Dortmund, and the team have scored 95 goals in 34 league games so far. The Ligue 1 club are also on course for the French title, and will match their achievement of reaching the 2004 Champions League final if victorious over two legs against Juve.

On the other hand, Juventus themselves are nine points clear at the top of Serie A — a title they won for the past five years — and are hoping for a second Champions League final appearance in three years. They are also the only unbeaten team in this season’s Champions League (W7 D3) and have not conceded a goal for 531 minutes, the longest streak in the competition.

Team news:

Monaco might play midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko— possibly in a protective mask — despite breaking his nose.

Juventus are at full strength, although suspended midfielder Sami Khedira will be a definite absentee.

Prediction:

Monaco 2 — 2 Juventus