Guardiola, Torres, Terry and more reaction from Barcelona

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After the game, there wasn’t much rehashing of Tuesday night’s match. Few were talking red cards, style, or missed chances. Instead, the main actors hit on the overarching stories: Chelsea’s improbably win, Barcelona having to accept defeat, and what the future holds for each club.

Here is a sampling of the reactions from Barcelona after Chelsea ousted UEFA Champions League’s holders:

  • “When you lose both centre-halves it’s going to be hard. We all believed, not that many people did believe but we as a group of players did. It was hard to defend in those circumstances but we defended as a team, and got a little lucky maybe. ” – Ashley Cole, via UEFA
  • “First feeling? An immense sadness. Congrats to Chelsea for the great job they did.” – Pep Guardiola, via @Barcastuff
  • “It is one of the finest moments I’ve felt in the Chelsea shirt. What a performance. I know people want to see beautiful football and great play but it can’t always be that way. What spirit we showed out there. ” – Frank Lampard, via UEFA
  • “I’m 24 years old, and I’ve never seen the Camp Nou reacted like this after a defeat. This is a great team, we’ll be back next year.” – Cesc Fabregas, via @BarcaStuff
  • “Three months ago no one thought we had a chance. We would always believe and we knew we were good enough to be here. You can’t beat the fight and desire that we showed out there today. ” – Cole, via UEFA
  • “We’re all ecstatic. We’ve achieved our goal. We had to sacrifice a lot but we were confident before the game. We are on a decent run right now and we’re looking forward to the final. Personally I would prefer to face Real Madrid in the final but we’ll have to see what happens tomorrow. ” – Juan Mata, via UEFA
  • “The second half wasn’t much about tactics, it was about passion, pride, desire to get to the final. We were 45 minutes away and that was what it was about. It is an incredible achievement by this group of players.” – Roberto Di Matteo, via UEFA
  • “All seemed lost with the red card, but we got that goal back from Ramires. It was not beautiful, and we were playing the best team in the world, but Barcelona did not take their chances and, in the end, it worked for us.” – Fernando Torres, via UEFA
  • “I’m delighted for the lads, to play the way they did and get that result. I want to apologise to the lads and the fans [for the sending off]. I feel like I’ve let the lads down. It is a great football club and to get to the final it is what this football club deserves.” – John Terry, via UEFA
  • “It does look bad on the replay. But hopefully teh people out there who know me, know me I am not that type of player.” – Terry, via BBC
  • “That’s football; the best team or the favourites don’t always win. We have so much respect for Barcelona as they are the best team in the world. We didn’t try to take them on at their own game as we knew that wouldn’t work. ” – Torres, via UEFA
  • “We’ve shown that we can win, and now it’s the time to show that we can lose too.” – Barcelona president Sandro Rosell, via @Barcastuff
  • “I continue to think this Barça is the best team in the world. We worked hard and had the luck we needed.” – Di Matteo, via @Barcastuff
  • “It has been a hard blow, but you can only congratulate Chelsea. You should be able to accept defeat.” – Rosell, via @BarcaStuff
  • “A lot of people have written us off but we showed the character these players have. We didn’t expect to play with ten men so it was even more difficult than expected.” – Di Matteo, via UEFA
  • “My future? I’ll make a decision in the coming days.” – Guardiola, via @BarcaStuff

Spanish police dismantle match-fixing scheme in 3rd, 4th tiers

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MADRID (AP) Spanish police have dismantled a match-fixing scheme involving players and clubs in the country’s lower divisions.

Authorities said more than 20 people have been detained as part of the police operation launched on Monday, including players, although no names were immediately disclosed.

The matches under suspicion were in the third and fourth divisions this season and last season.

The match-fixing scheme reportedly involved Chinese betting sites.

The Spanish league said the operation was based on information collected by its analysts about suspicious activities.

UCL preview: Chelsea host Barcelona; Bayern vs. Besiktas

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  • Chelsea vs. Barcelona, at Stamford Bridge
  • Bayern Munich vs. Besiktas, at Allianz Arena
  • Champions League round of 16 resumes on Tuesday

[ UCL: Spurs fight back to draw Juventus | Liverpool thrash Porto in leg 1 ]

Chelsea, mired in some of their worst form since the disastrous 2015-16 season, welcome a Barcelona side enjoying one of the best six-month runs of results in the famed club’s entire history. The Blues have won just four of their last 12 games across all competitions, while the Blaugrana have lost once in 38 games.

On the plus side, Chelsea enter Tuesday’s colossal clash as winners of their last two games — back-to-back wins for the first time in 2018 — having outscored the likes of West Bromwich Albion and Hull City by a combined 7-0. Star striker Alvaro Morata returned to action against Hull after five weeks out with a back injury, thus Antonio Conte has something of a selection dilemma on his hands with the Spaniard perhaps only partially fit, and Olivier Giroud racking up a goal and three assists in the last two games, his first starts for the club.

Barcelona, meanwhile, have conceded just two goals in their last nine games (all competitions) and even managed to overturn their lone defeat, to Espanyol, and advance to the Copa del Rey semifinals (and eventually final). Despite losing Neymar in the summer, Barca mostly cruised through their Champions League group, only dropping points in draws away to Juventus and Olympiacos. Lionel Messi has, strangely, never scored a goal in his eight career appearances against Chelsea, a record which has been spoken about at length in the build-up to Tuesday — similarly to the goal-less record which plagued him against Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, whom he finally bested back in September.

[ MORE: Man City win big away to Basel | Real Madrid 3-1 PSG ]

In the other round-of-16 first-leg matchup on Tuesday, five-time (soon-to-be six) defending Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich host surprise winners of Group G, Besiktas, ahead of the likes of Monaco, RB Leipzig and Porto.

Since taking over on an interim basis (through the end of the season), Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes has won 21 of 22 games of which he’s been in charge, including four of six games during the group stage en route to finish second behind Paris Saint-Germain, while also racing out to a 19-point lead back home in Germany.

Aguero involved in clash with Wigan fan after FA Cupset

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MANCHESTER, England (AP) Sergio Aguero was involved in a confrontation with a Wigan fan as ugly scenes marred the end of the third-division side’s shock FA Cup win over Manchester City on Monday.

[ MORE: Wigan shock Man City, the world and themselves ]

Fans spilled on to the pitch at DW Stadium as the host celebrated its 1-0 fifth-round win against the runaway English Premier League leader.

Supporters from both clubs were involved in disturbances, while television pictures appeared to show a home supporter and striker Aguero involved in a physical exchange.

Aguero appeared to hit the supporter after the fan said something to the player, and Aguero had to be held back by his City teammates.

[ MORE: Money from Wembley replay “will support Rochdale for 2 or 3 years” ]

Advertising hoardings were also ripped out and thrown as a pitch invasion by Wigan fans got out of hand while the defeated City players were being escorted off the pitch.

Footage also appeared to show objects, including an advertising board, being thrown at police officers by fans in the City end.

Wigan shock themselves: “Not sure how it feels, hasn’t sunk in yet”

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Wigan Athletic didn’t just shock Manchester City with their FA Cup fifth-round slaying of the runaway Premier League leaders; nor did they merely shock the rest of the footballing world; they also shocked themselves into disbelief, according to defender Dan Burn.

[ MORE: Goodbye, quadruple! Wigan bounce 10-man City from FA Cup ]

Speaking following Monday’s triumph over Pep Guardiola‘s quadruple-chasing side at the DW Stadium, Burn admitted he himself didn’t know what to make of the night that would undoubtedly highlight and change his own professional career — quotes from the BBC:

“Not sure how it feels, hasn’t sunk in yet. It was a really tough game. The belief was always there. We’ve got Will Grigg, who does what he keeps doing.

“We pride ourselves on our clean sheets. We had a couple bad results before, so we wanted to prove ourselves, so a clean sheet against the best team in England is great.

“Once we scored, the fans really got behind us, just knew we needed to hang on. It was the longest 10 minutes of my life.”

[ MORE: Money from Wembley replay “will support Rochdale for 2 or 3 years” ]

Manager Paul Cook was able to articulate his happiness and pride only slightly better — “It feels great” — but offered the highest of praises to his players, whom “had to ride [their] luck at times” during the game, and gave everything they had to the cause, because that’s the only way you beat a team like Man City:

“It feels great. It’s such a severe test. They’re such a strong side and move the ball so well. We had to ride our luck at times and the sending off is always a big incident.

“Our lads deserve credit for their work and some of the blocks they made were outstanding, and to beat Man City you have to do that.”