Daily Archives: February 26, 2018

Manchester City strikes thrice for League Cup final victory

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Manchester City won their first trophy under Pep Guardiola after a dominating win against Arsenal to win the League Cup final by 3-0.

City, who saw a shock FA Cup fifth-round defeat by League One Wigan Athletic recovered in style as they swept the Gunners aside at Wembley.

The Manchester club led after 18 minutes when Sergio Aguero took full advantage of Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi’s feeble challenge to latch on to keeper Claudio Bravo’s goal-kick and loft a cool finish over David Ospina.

Despite lagging behind, Arsenal hardly registered any chances of moment in the game except the moment when Kyle Walker stopped Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the six-yard area.

However, the contest was effectively over when man-of-the-match Vincent Kompany swept in Ilkay Gundogan’s cross-shot just before the hour, while David Silva’s powerful shot past Ospina before City closed out the most routine of victories.

However, Pep Guardiola remained critical of what he saw as flaws his team had made in the first-half, although he praised the manner in which City bounced back from their disappointing FA Cup campaign while insisting that the trophy was for City.

“The first half was not good — too many mistakes with simple passes,” he said after the game. “But the second half we played with more courage, more personality. That is why we were outstanding after the break.”

“It was so important we won this after going out of the FA Cup. Now we have to focus absolutely on the Premier League and trying to win the games we need to win the title and try and progress to the Champions League quarter-final.”

“This win is not for me, it’s for Manchester City.”

With their first trophy under Guardiola secured, the Blues could now turn their attention to clinching the Premier League and continuing their Champions League campaign.

Lingard header seals victory for United over Chelsea at Old Trafford

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Manchester United sealed a vital 2-1 victory to move back into second place in the Premier League after substitute Jesse Lingard headed in his team’s winner against top-four rivals Chelsea at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils had fell behind after Willian started and finished a flowing move to give the visitors the lead in the first half, but United pulled level before the break, with striker Romelu Lukaku getting in front of Marcos Alonso to score against his former club for the first time.

Lukaku, facing the club he played for between 2011 and 2014, also had a flying volley superbly saved by Thibaut Courtois, but he registered himself in the game once more as he sets up Lingard to head home with 15 minutes left, after which Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata had a goal incorrectly disallowed for offside.

The Blues had also went close to taking the lead at Old Trafford after just four minutes, when Morata ran on to Alonso’s brilliant volleyed cross, but his shot hit the bar.

The defeat left the Blues in fifth place after Tottenham beat Crystal Palace 1-0 earlier on Sunday. Their run of just one win in their past four league matches, coupled with Spurs’ 10-game unbeaten streak, means they are out of the Champions League places with 10 games remaining.

Another match focus had been the coaches of both sides: Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte. Both entered the match after having fallen out because of a war of words earlier in the season, but they were seen shaking hands before and after and shared a smile during the game.

However, Conte, the Chelsea manager admitted that the defending Premier League champions might again finish outside the top four following defeat at Manchester United on Sunday.

“This could be our position, for sure,” he said. “In this league to find a place in Champions League is not simple. This is the risk – we must be ready to fight and be ready to understand this, to be concentrated and to understand that this target is an important target for us but it won’t be easy.”

On the other hand, Mourinho celebrated what he described as a crucial victory for his side.

“We start the game with three points difference with Chelsea and we could finish with the same points or six points difference and it was important for us to open that gap a little bit,” he said.

“I’m really happy, we had a great attitude too. We have four fantastic matches at home, Chelsea, Liverpool, Sevilla and Brighton knockout, and it’s a good way to start this run with a crucial victory, it gives us a little more confidence.”

La Liga: Cristiano Ronaldo gives up penalty in “wonderful” gesture

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Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane praised Cristiano Ronaldo’s “wonderful gesture” after the star gave up the chance of a hat-trick in the win over Alaves.

Ronaldo could have scored his third of the game for a landmark 300th goal for Real Madrid when Los Blancos won a late penalty through Gareth Bale, instead offering the chance Karim Benzema take it for a morale-boosting goal.

Although he only scored three league goals prior to the clash at the Santiago Bernabeu, Benzema, made no mistake on the spot as he stepped up to score his fourth of the La Liga campaign.

The Frenchman had been a delight through most of the game, having set up two of his side’s goals earlier.

“I’m very happy with Ronaldo’s gesture,” Zidane said. “This shows he is a team player. Karim deserved this, to score a goal, as he had played a very good game.”

“This is a team game and it was a wonderful gesture.”

In the first half, Benzema’s backheel had set up his Portuguese team-mate’s first and then played in Gareth Bale after the break, with Lucas Vazquez setting up Ronaldo’s second.

Real goalkeeper Keylor Navas added: “None of us was surprised by Cristiano’s gesture because we know what type of person he is. We’re all pulling in the same direction and we have to show our unity more than ever.

“We’re thrilled with Karim’s goal, as team-mates, we have to stick together. We’re always going to fight for each other and while there is a lot of talk about Karim at the moment, we have to support one another.”

Third-placed Real are 14 points behind leaders Barcelona, who beat Girona 6-1 on Saturday.