Category Archives: UEFA Champions League

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Salah: Champions League final is not me against Ronaldo

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Mohamed Salah claims that the Champions League final against Real Madrid will be a showcase of Liverpool’s collective power and not a personal duel with Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Egypt international will finish his stunning debut season with the Reds with a first Champions League final appearance in Kiev on 26 May, when Jurgen Klopp’s side will seek to end Real’s recent dominance of the competition.

Liverpool reached the Champions League final for the first time since 2007, advancing 7-6 on aggregate despite losing a dramatic second leg to Roma.

On the other hand, Ukraine would be hosts to Ronaldo’s sixth Champions League final, with the tournament’s all-time leading scorer having won the trophy three times with Madrid and once with Manchester United.

Salah, with 43 goals this season, is seen as the biggest threat not only to Real in Kiev but to the dominance of Ronaldo and Lionel Messi over the Ballon d’Or.

The Liverpool forward insists that he has his eyes on a bigger prize, however: the club’s sixth European Cup.

“I know all of the Arab people wish the best for me, and they are happy every time I win, but now at the moment I am only thinking about the final and to bring the trophy to Anfield,” Salah said after Liverpool’s semi-final over Roma.

“It is not going to be a final between Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo. I am playing for a great club and we have great players, so qualifying to the final came with great teamwork. I cannot do it alone — it is collective work. When we score a goal it’s because we are all doing good, when we concede it means we all need to work harder.”

Real Madrid progresses to Champions League final with Benzema brace

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Defending European champions Real Madrid progressed into their third successive Champions League final as they edged out Bayern Munich in a thrilling semi-final second leg.

Trailing 2-1 after the first leg in Germany, Bayern needed a win at the Bernabeu to reach the final but it finished 2-2 as Real clinched a 4-3 aggregate victory.

Joshua Kimmich scored early on for the German champions from six yards out, before Karim Benzema headed in for Real from Marcelo’s fine left-wing cross eight minutes later.

A second for Benzema, after a horrendous mistake from Bayern goalkeeper Sven Ulreich, put Real in control, although Bayern’s on-loan James Rodriguez then scored against his parent club to set up a dramatic finale.

Bayern had chances to win it, but Corentin Tolisso and Thomas Muller’s efforts were saved by Keylor Navas and Mats Hummels headed wide as the Spanish side held on.

Muller also mishit a cross on the last second as Real Madrid weathered through the Bundesliga champions’ onslaught.

Real will face either Liverpool or Roma in the final in Kiev, Ukraine, on 26 May with Jurgen Klopp’s side leading 5-2 before Wednesday’s second leg in Rome.

Bayern Munich: Jupp Heynckes confident despite home defeat

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Despite losing 2-1 at the Allianz Arena, Jupp Heynckes insisted that Bayern Munich manager can still reach the Champions League final.

Joshua Kimmich had initially put Bayern in front when he slotted past Keylor Navas at the near post.

However, although Real Madrid were struggling defensively they were clinical in attack — and Marcelo and Marco Asensio scored either side of half-time.

The Brazilian smashed home a half-volley from the edge of the penalty area to level matters before Asensio capitalised on an error by Rafinha to score a breakaway goal.

“Tonight’s match showed that Real Madrid are vulnerable, that they can be harmed,” Heynckes said. “We showed that we can hurt them, so we take hope from this. You should never surrender, never give up. You should play the second leg and try to win, and that is what we will do.”

“It was a gift, just like the 2-1 was a gift. You don’t often see a game like this in the Champions League, where you have so many chances and you don’t take them. It doesn’t happen often at all. It’s also not usual for Madrid to allow so many chances, but we weren’t able to take them. We didn’t take our chances and they were more effective. Those two things came together. We handed out presents.”

“Anyone who knows me knows what I think and my players think the same way,” he added. “We will give our all in the second leg to make up for the result in the first leg.”

“We saw tonight that we can create opportunities against them and it is our duty to do that next week. There are two matches, and the result comes from both. Real have an advantage, but we didn’t deserve to lose this match, we should have won it, so I’m optimistic about next week.”

Bayern must now score at least twice at the Bernabeu next Tuesday to prevent Real reaching a fourth final in five years.

Mohamed Salah shines with two goals and two assists against Roma

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A Mohamed Salah masterclass helped Liverpool take control of their Champions League semi-final — but two late Roma away goals gave the Italian giants a glimmer of hope for the second leg.

Liverpool repeatedly breached the visitors’ high defensive line and scored five times in the opening 68 minutes at a raucous Anfield.

Salah, 25, scored twice and assisted two other goals. He curled his first into the top corner from the edge of the box — and then clipped the ball over Alisson for a second.

The Egyptian International then ran down the right and squared for Sadio Mane to make it 3-0 — before doing the same to set up Roberto Firmino.

Liverpool then became only the second team to score five goals in a Champions League semi-final match when Firmino headed in James Milner’s corner.

With his side leading 5-0, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp took off Salah — and Roma gave themselves a chance for next week’s return leg at the Stadio Olimpico.

Edin Dzeko lashed home from Radja Nainggolan’s pass, before Diego Perotti put a penalty into the top right corner after Milner handled Nainggolan’s shot.

Roma need only look to the last round for inspiration — they lost the first leg in Barcelona 4-1 before winning 3-0 in Italy to progress on away goals.

A repeat of the latter scoreline this time would take them into the final against Bayern Munich or Real Madrid.