Mourinho, Casillas, Heynckes and more reaction from Madrid

Leave a comment

Bayern were the big winners today, advancing to UEFA’s Champions League final after besting Real Madrid on penalty kicks; however, you can understand why most of the post-match focus was on José Mourinho and his team bowing out of Champions League on home soil.

Here is how the main actors are reacting after Bayern Munich huge Wednesday result:

  • “It was incredible, absolutely crazy. I have never witnessed a match with so many chances. We knew if we could win, we would be favorites in the final.” – Uli Hoeness, via UEFA
  • “It was a magic night. We had big problems in the first 15 minutes, but afterwards my team took over and dominated the match. We were sensational – it is a special victory for Bayern.” – Jupp Heynckes, via UEFA
  • “When you start a game and you’re 2-0 down after 14 minutes you have to be mentally strong to recover. The rest of the game we played some really good football and in the end I think it’s deserved.” – Arjen Robben, via UEFA
  • “The boys were fantastic against a great team. It was a very tactical game. At 2-1, both teams were afraid to make an important mistake. Football is like that – that’s life.” – Jose Mourinho, via UEFA
  • “It’s a big blow for us. It was a very exciting game, but penalties are always a lottery. We played well, but Bayern are a great team. We now have to concentrate on the league.” – Iker Casillas, via UEFA
  • “I am more sad for the players than for me – we must be strong. Last year we won the cup and if we win the league this season, it is another step in the right direction.” – Mourinho, via UEFA
  • “Of course we are quite disappointed, but we are coping – it’s part of football. Today we are feeling the other side of football but we knew that could happen.” – Xabi Alonso, via UEFA
  • “These players have worked like animals for two hours and under a lot of pressure. They went to their limits.” – Mourinho, via @RealMadrid
  • “Bayern are a very good team, now it’s time to start thing about the Liga. Penalties are a lottery and we can’t do anything about it. ” – Mourinho, via @FutbolBoricua
  • “Bayern were luckier than us.” – Mourinho, via @Enhorabuena
  • “I think I can add more, if the players think so too, and I feel they do, as our fellow-feeling is growing, then I will continue.” – Mourinho, via @DermotMCorrigan
  • “Jose Mourinho came into our dressing room and congratulated everybody. He is a good man, a classy man.” – Heynckes, via @IHeartRonaldo

Pep sticking with Bravo for final: “Locker room more important”

Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Petr Cech and Ederson will watch from the bench as their clubs start the League Cup Final on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola announced that Manchester City will turn to Claudio Bravo between the sticks against Arsenal, which has already appointed David Ospina as its backstop for the final.

[ MORE: Europa League draw ]

And if you think Pep, having seen his side lose to Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup, should go back to Ederson for the final, he gets it.

“You can have an opinion, I am the manager. We are here for Claudio. He saved two lots of penalties. He deserves to play in the final. The locker room is more important than the final.”

The points aren’t completely independent, of course, but at this point the final is pretty darn important as Man City could see its trophy potential drop from 4-2 in little more than a week’s time.

Bravo has played just 45 minutes in the Premier League, against Liverpool in relief of Ederson, but has been the man for each of eight League and FA Cup matches.

City has just one clean sheet in that group, but won the seven matches apart from the 1-0 Wigan defeat. Two of those, against Wolves and Leicester, came in penalty kicks.

Arsenal gets AC Milan in Europa League Round of 16

Claudio Villa / Getty Images
Leave a comment

Arsenal’s path to the UEFA Champions League just got a whole lot tougher.

[ MORE: Arsenal loses 2nd leg, advances ]

Already eight points back of the Premier League’s Top Four, the Gunners have drawn Gennaro Gattuso’s AC Milan in the UEFA Europa League’s Round of 16.

The first leg is March 8 at the San Siro before moving to the Emirates a week later.

Milan is currently 7th in Serie A despite its big-spending summer, and faces a similar problem to the Gunners; Gattuso’s men need to make up eight points on Lazio and seven on fifth-place Inter Milan.

Elsewhere, Moscovian sides CSKA and Lokomotiv got no favors with trips to Lyon and Atletico Madrid, respectively.

Christian Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund will be pleased to see Red Bull Salzburg, while the latter’s sister club, RB Leipzig, was held apart from it by a draw with Zenit Saint-Petersbug.

Here’s the draw in full.

UEFA Europa League Round of 16
Lazio vs. Dynamo Kiev
RB Leipzig vs. Zenit St Petersburg
Atletico Madrid vs. Lokomotiv Moscow
CSKA Moscow vs. Lyon
Marseille vs. Athletic Bilbao
Sporting Lisbon vs. Viktoria Plzen
Borussia Dortmund vs. Red Bull Salzburg
AC Milan vs. Arsenal

CCL: Lodeiro from 45; Royer’s diving header — SEA, RBNY lead (video)

AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter
Leave a comment

After 45 minutes of their respective CONCACAF Champions League knockout-round quests, things are going unnervingly well for the Seattle Sounders and New York Red Bulls.

[ MORE: FC Dallas disappoint in CCL; Club America flying ]

If you’ve watched Major League Soccer teams try, try and try again — only to eventually fail in spectacular fashion — in CCL over the years, you might say things are going a little too well.

There’s still another 45 minutes to be played on Thursday — plus the return legs next week — but both the Sounders and Red Bulls hold 1-0 halftime leads, and the vitally important away goals which come with it. Nicolas Lodeiro’s 45-yard, first-time lob of the Santa Tecla (El Salvador) goalkeeper in the 15th minute has already been eternally etched into the memories of Sounders fans.

Just 15 minutes later, Daniel Royer perfectly executed the diving header and got on the end of Bradley Wright-Phillips’ curling ball into the box to Jesse Marsch’s side ahead of Honduran side CD Olimpia.

Villarreal DF Semedo charged with attempted murder

AP Photo/Alberto Saiz
1 Comment

MADRID (AP) A Spanish judge has charged Villarreal defender Ruben Semedo with attempted murder and ordered him to be temporarily detained without bail.

Court officials in Lliria say on Thursday the Portuguese player is also charged with assault, robbery, illegal detention, and illegal possession of firearms.

Semedo testified before a judge on Thursday, and left the court in handcuffs.

The 23-year-old Semedo was detained early Tuesday, accused of tying up, assaulting and threatening another man last week. Authorities say he and two other men allegedly held the victim captive while they robbed his apartment.

Semedo’s agents told Spanish media the player denies any wrongdoing.

Villarreal on Tuesday said it was investigating Semedo and would take appropriate disciplinary action.

Villarreal signed Semedo from Sporting Lisbon last summer for a reported fee of $17 million.