Daily Archives: April 6, 2018

Pep Guardiola “doesn’t understand” attack on City team bus by Reds fans

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Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola said that he “doesn’t understand” the attack on the City team bus by Liverpool fans after their Champions League quarter-final first-leg match.

After the match ended in a 3-0 away defeat for City, Guardiola said that preventative action should have been taken as police ‘knew it was going to happen”.

Liverpool apologised and called the behaviour “completely unacceptable”; although no Blues players or staff were injured two police officers were hurt and the coach was left unsafe to be driven.

Liverpool said in their statement: “We apologise unreservedly to Pep Guardiola, his players, staff and officials. The priority now is to establish the facts and offer Manchester City whatever support is necessary.”

Before the game, Liverpool disseminated information regarding the routes of the team buses and asked their supporters “to gather to show their passion and support for the team… in a friendly, respectful and considerate manner”, but by the time the City team bus went past the stadium, a large crowd had gathered outside and cans, bottles and flares were thrown.

Guardiola said he “did not expect” for such an incident to happen and referenced the attack on the Borussia Dortmund’s team bus last April, which left defender Marc Bartra injured.

“Normally when the police know it is going to happen, they tried to avoid it from happening,” said the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach. “One year ago something happened in Dortmund. We come here to play football and I don’t understand this kind of situation.”

“The bus is destroyed but I did not expect a prestigious club like Liverpool doing this kind of thing. It is not Liverpool, it is the people, maybe one, two or three, but hopefully it does not happen again.”

Champions League organizers and governing body UEFA are waiting to receive reports before deciding whether to open a disciplinary case.

Europa League round up: Arsenal favourites to reach next round

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An inspired first-half performance saw Arsenal take control of their Europa League quarter-final encounter against CSKA Moscow with a 4-1 home win in the first leg, shaping them as favourites to reach the semi-finals.

Alexandre Lacazette and Aaron Ramsey scored two goals each as the Gunners scored four goals in 26 minutes before half-time, with the latter opening the scoreboard with a side-footed finish.

Although Aleksandr Golovin equalized with a sublime free-kick, French striker Lacazette, who has recovered from a knee injury, made it 2-1 with a penalty after Mesut Ozil was fouled by Georgi Schennikov.

Welsh international Ramsey then produced a brilliant third with an instinctive volleyed flick, with Lacazette added a fourth after being picked out by the outstanding Ozil.

Over at Spain, Koke’s goal after 23 seconds set Europa League favourites Atletico Madrid on their way to a quarter-final win over Sporting Lisbon.

Diego Costa took advantage of a defensive mistake seconds into the game to set Koke up, while Antoine Griezmann added a second after taking advantage of another Sporting error five minutes before half-time.

Atletico, the 2010 and 2012 Europa League winners, have now won their past nine matches at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Serie A giants Lazio also took a big step towards the semi-finals with a dramatic 4-2 win over Red Bull Salzburg, whose 19-game unbeaten run in Europe — and 36-match streak without losing in all competitions — came to an end.

The hosts led after eight minutes through captain Senad Lulic, and although Valon Berisha equalised with a penalty, Marco Parolo backheeled the Serie A side back into the lead just before Takumi Minamino levelled again seconds after coming off the bench.

But Felipe Anderson and Ciro Immobile, who has now scored 37 goals this season, put Lazio in control of the tie with two goals.

Over in Germany, Timo Werner scored the only goal as RB Leipzig beat Marseille 1-0 in a close first leg — leaving them in a precarious position as they travel to France for the second leg next week.

Barca treble dream on course after gift-wrapped win over Roma

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FC Barcelona are on course for a treble victory after two-own goals saw the Spanish giants cruise to an easy 4-1 win over Roma in the first-game of their Champions League quarter final match.

Roma captain Daniele De Rossi began his own team’s rout when he accidentally slid Andres Iniesta’s cross into his own net from about 16 yards out,

The Italian giants did have chances and could have had a penalty when Samuel Umtiti fouled Lorenzo Pellegrini right on the edge of the box, and twenty seconds after the restart, they went close when an unmarked Diego Perotti’s header from Alessandro Florenzi went wide.

However, they trailed by two when Umtiti hit the post and Roma defender Manolas put the rebound in.

Gerard Pique then after Luis Suarez’s parried shot, and although Edin Dzeko got what looked an important away goal when he converted Perotti’s low cross, the quarter-final tie seemed set when Suarez smashed home from Denis Suarez’s cross for his first Champions League goal in 11 games — a statistical anomaly for a striker who has scored 22 goals in 26 La Liga games this season.

Ernesto Valverde’s team — who are nine points clear at the top of La Liga and in the Copa del Rey final — did not even need to play well to brush Roma aside and could have even scored more.

Asked if the result was hard on Roma, team coach Eusebio Di Francesco replied: “Yes. It was unfair. (But) why not be optimistic?”

Indeed, while the own-goals were unexpected Barca’s performance did not convince — with hints of fatigue lingering amongst the players ahead of the second leg next week.