Important people are talking. How important are the things they’re saying? We’ll let you judge.
Here’s the reaction after today’s match in Munich, Bayern Munich getting a late goal to take a 2-1 edge on Real Madrid:
- “It’s a pity that we conceded at the end as until then we had defended well but it’s over now.. We also managed to score which is obviously very important. We both had chances. We have to score at home in the second leg, simple as that.” – Iker Casillas, goalkeeper, Real Madrid (via UEFA)
- “It’s the first defeat in this Champions League for us but it’s not one that leaves me with negative feelings. We lost away from home in what was a good game. It was a typical Champions League semi-final.” – José Morounho, head coach, Real Madrid (via UEFA)
- “We have the second leg to come and it’s not like we have to make a historical comeback – what we have to do is very achievable. If we win at home 1-0, 2-0, 3-1 we are there. I am optimistic we can return here to play the final.” – Mourinho (via UEFA)
- “I think it was a good game – to play and to watch. We knew Real are capable of scoring lots of goals and it’s a pity we conceded. We’ll have some chances in the return leg and we have to make the most of them.” – Franck Ribéry, left wing, Bayern Munich (via UEFA)
- “We delivered the things I asked of my team. We showed passion, desire and were hungry for success, which is exactly what you need in the semi-finals of the Champions League.” – Jupp Heynckes, head coach, Bayern Munich (via UEFA)
- “First goal is a clear offside but it’s a mistake I don’t critic, I accept it. No negative feeling for this.” – Mourinho (via @filippomricci)
- “The winning goal is what Mario Gomez is all about. He needs crosses; he anticipates them very well. He ran a lot, tried to win every ball, and was very strong. But the best player on the pitch was Franck Ribéry.” – Heynckes (via UEFA)
The managers are meeting the media ahead of this week’s Premier League matches, and many eyes are trained on one specific match-up.
Chelsea and Manchester United meet on Sunday, the first time Jose Mourinho will manage against his old side since his unceremonious exit last winger.
[ USWNT: Holiday has tumor removed ]
Mourinho, of course, led Chelsea to the 2014-15 title only to see a miserable start to the following campaign. He was hired at Manchester United this summer, but Conte thinks Mourinho’s Chelsea laurels have earned him some love from Stamford Bridge.
“I have great respect for Mourinho. He deserves a good reception. He was an important man for Chelsea and wrote part of the club’s story.”
Conte also touched on Paul Pogba‘s decision to head back to Old Trafford. The manager guided the French midfielder during their time at Juventus.
“It was Paul Pogba’s dream was to return to Manchester United. I wish him well, but only after this game.”
Conte said John Terry is available to return for Chelsea, and that could be invaluable against a big, strong forward like United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic. With the Red Devils having played Thursday, Conte will like his chances a bit more than usual.
The bracket is set for the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, and ensures that at least one MLS vs. Liga MX semifinal will happen next Spring.
No. 1 seed New York Red Bulls will cross the continent to meet No. 8 Vancouver Whitecaps, with the winner moving on to face the victor of Mexico’s Tigres UANL vs. Pumas UNAM.
[ VIDEO: Previewing all 10 PL matches ]
The possibility of an all-Liga MX or all-MLS final still exists, with Pachuca and FC Dallas on opposite sides of the bracket. Arabe Unido gives Panama hope for its first CCL semifinalist, while Saprissa can be Costa Rica’s first semifinalist since 2011.
Of the remaining teams, only Pachuca has won a title in the CCL era (2008-present). Tigres lost in the 2016 final, the only other team to make it that far.
New York Red Bulls (1) vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (8)
Tigres UANL (4) vs. Pumas UNAM (5)
Arabe Unido (2) vs. FC Dallas (7)
Pachuca (3) vs. Saprissa (4)
The first legs will be played in late February, and the bright side to the intra-league quarters will be one MLS side waiting a round before facing a more in-form club playing a traditional season schedule (though that’s an overblown excuse at this point).
Some fans don’t care much for the tournament, while others — myself included — are extremely keen to see an MLS team win the CCL and represent North America in the Club World Cup, where it can get a high profile litmus test in a serious competition (Real Madrid beat Cruz Azul 4-0 in a 2014 semifinal).
World Cup champion Lauren Holiday has had a brain tumor removed, one month after giving birth.
Holiday’s husband, Jrue Holiday of the New Orleans Pelicans, announced that his pregnant wife was diagnosed with an operable tumor in September, and Lauren Holiday has publicly thanked fans for support while requesting prayers.
[ MORE: UCL Final in United States? ]
The Holidays welcomed their first child earlier this month, and Jrue left the Pelicans preseason to help his wife.
The BBC added this tidbit:
Unbelievably as a three-year-old, she had open-heart surgery to repair a defect and went on to become one of the world’s most respected football players.
Get well soon, Lauren.
Carlos Lizarazo’s ridiculous rocket shook rain off the net in an aesthetically pleasing CONCACAF Champions League goal on Thursday.
The Cruz Azul loanee struck a vicious shot for FC Dallas’ fifth goal, which boosted out of the No. 8 seed for the quarterfinals after a 5-2 win at Suchitepéquez in Guatemala.
[ MORE: PST talks with FCD’s Hedges, Zimmerman ]
Lizarazo, 25, had two goals in 10 appearances for FCD heading into the game, with both coming in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.