Czech Republic Soccer Super Cup

Bayern Munich 2-2 (5-4, PKs) Chelsea: Late Javi Martínez goal, penalty kicks give Germans UEFA Super Cup

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In a match reminiscent of the last time Chelsea faced Pep Guardiola, Chelsea came within seconds of claiming the club’s third piece of European trophy in 15 months. But with a last gasp goal from Javi Martínez and a win in Friday’s penalty shootout, Bayern Munich dramatically claimed the first trophy of their Guardiola era, scoring on the last kick of the game to take a 2-2 (5-4) and their first UEFA Super Cup.

Bayern controlled play throughout the night, maintaining 73 percent possession while outshooting the Blues 31-14 in Prague. But employing a blueprint that’s found success in Guardiola’s clubs, Chelsea ceded possession in favor of defensive organization, their counter attack giving them the advantage by the end of regulation time. Eventually, however, Bayern took advantage of Chelsea’s bend-don’t-break approach, getting a goal with the last kick of the match ahead of their shootout triumph.

Chelsea opened the scoring early, with Fernando Torres converting on the match’s first major chance in the eighth minute. A Franck Ribéry goal two minutes after half time seemed to put Bayern on the road to victory, their possession plus the eventual dismissal of Ramires leaving everything in the European champions’ favor. But with their counterattack come alive, Chelsea generated a goal two minutes into extra time through Eden Hazard.

That goal looked set to give Chelsea their second Super Cup, but in the 122nd minute, a ball fell to an unmarked Martínez eight yards from goal. Petr Cech couldn’t get across in time to prevent an easy finish inside his right post, improbably sending the match to penalty kicks.

The first nine kicks of the shootout were converted, with Bayern making it through the entire run of takers without a miss. But with the last shot before the clubs were forced to find more kickers, Romelu Lukaku rolled a shot just to the right of Manuel Neuer, the Bayern keeper having no trouble securing Germany’s first UEFA Super Cup.

CHELSEA CONVERT EARLY; BAYERN TAKE CONTROL

Today’s match had been anticipated less as a meeting of last year’s Champions and Europa League winners than as a battle between former coaching rivals. For two years, Bayern Munich head coach Pep Guardiola and Chelsea manager José Mourinho were on opposite sides of the Barcelona-Real Madrid divide, the two bosses splitting Spanish titles during Mourinho’s two years in the Santiago Bernabeu. The pre-match attention to the rivals, who had a contentious relationship in Spain, overshadowed the issues on the field, like three Bayern’s best midfielders being unable to start (Bastian Schweinsteiger, Javi Martínez, and Thiago Alcantera).

The absences forced Guardiola into a strange XI. Captain Philipp Lahm was forced from his typical right back position into midfield, starting with Thomas Müller above Toni Kroos as Rafinha started at right back.

source: APThat midfield proved lacking in the eighth minute, with Bayern unable to ride Eden Hazard off the ball as the Chelsea attack carved his way through the European champions. Carrying the ball just inside the attacking third, Hazard put André Schurrle behind the defense on the right flank, the German international quickly playing a ball for Fernando Torres near the spot. A classy one-time finish half-volleyed the bouncing ball into the right of net, giving Manuel Neuer little chance to stop the opener.

Bayern went on to monopolize possession throughout the remainder of the half, eventually figuring out tenacious high pressing from Chelsea that troubled them through the match’s opening minutes. At intermission, they’d held 72 percent of the ball, though that dominance of possession only translated to three shots on goal. While Bayern created some moments of danger playing balls from wide into the six-yard box, Petr Cech’s half ended an unblemished one. The Blues, outshot 10-4 over 45 minutes, were up 1-0 at Jonas Eriksson’s whistle.

Two minutes into the second half, Franck Ribéry provided Chelsea’s first blemish, with Cech failing at a try he’d normally stop. Cutting in from the right, Ribéry let go of a shot from near 22 yards out. Neither struck especially hard nor brilliantly placed, the ball still found its way past Cech, whose slightly delayed response meant the Chelsea keeper could only get a fingertip on the early second half equalizer.

CHELSEA’S PLAN COMES TO FRUITION

As the second half went on, Bayern’s dominance increased, the nature of the game reminiscent of the last time Chelsea faced Guardiola: The semifinals of the 2011-12 Champions League. Then, Barcelona dominated play over two legs only to be eliminated by Roberto Di Matteo’s Blues, whose counterattack eventually saw the Blues past the reigning European champions. Chelsea went on to claim the European title, beating Bayern in the Munich final.

As Javi Martínez came on for Rafinha (pushed Lahm to right back) and Mario Götze replaced Thomas Muller, Bayern’s dominance persisted. Though Chelsea were able to cause the Germans a couple of moments’ pause — including a David Luiz header off the crossbar in the 79th minute — the game maintained it’s Barça versus Chelsea feel. The Blues’ defense continued to bend, willing to collapse deep into their own box, with Bayern’s passing around the edges pushing eight or nine players within 22 yards of goal. Still, as Chelsea found it easier to pass through Bayern’s midfield coming out of their own end, the Blues looked just as likely to find a winner as Bayern.

source: APThen in the 85th minute, shortly after Luiz forced a sprawling stop from Neuer, Chelsea lost a man, with a clumsy foul on Mario Götze that could have warranted a straight red earning Ramires a second yellow. Though the Blues were proving increasingly dangerous in transition, with a number of mistakes by Dante giving Chelsea hope of snatching victory, Chelsea would go into extra time with only 10, the match ending regulation time tied, 1-1.

But that disadvantage wasn’t enough to stop Chelsea’s building momentum, the Blues’ finally seeing their counterattacking pay off two minutes into extra time. A beautiful ball out of the back from David Luiz found  Hazard wide left, the Belgian international able to cut inside past Lahm and Jerome Boateng to get a right-footed shot off from 16 yards out. The day’s second goalkeeping mistake saw the try get through Manuel Neuer, giving Chelsea a 92nd minute lead.

After the extra time’s break, Bayern’s desperation started to show through, producing two standout saves from Cech in the 109th minute. In the 113th minute, a ball headed down for Xherdan Shaqiri looked set to produce an equalizer before a sprawling block from Gary Cahill kept Chelsea in front. In the 118th minute, Cech produced his finest save of the match, denying Ribéry’s free kick equalizer on a diving stop at his right post.

But in extra time’s extra time, Chelsea’s bend finally broke, with a ball falling to Martinez in the 122nd minute sending the match to penalty kicks. To the left of a crowd of people just outside Cech’s six-yard box, Martínez, having been pushed to a striker’s position,, slotted an easy left-footed finish inside Cech’s right post. With one of the last touches of the match, Bayern made it 2-2.

PENALTY KICKS

David Alaba opened the penalty kick shootout by sending Cech the wrong way before finishing into the left of goal. Luiz, Chelsea’s first kicker, slammed an unstoppable shot inside the right post, making it 1-1.

Kroos put Bayern’s second try into the lower right hand corner as Cech drove the opposite direction, while Oscar restored the tie with the next kick, finishing high into the left of Neuer’s goal.

Lahm went the same direction, sneaking his shot past Cech into the lower left corner to make it 3-2. Then, Frank Lampard, who had a penalty kick saved in Premier League action in the Blues’ opener against Hull City, converted his shot, finishing high into the right of goal.

source: Getty ImagesRibéry’s choppy run-up on Bayern’s fourth try finished with a conversion inside the right post, while Ashley Cole’s follow-up brought gasps from the crowd as it went off the right post and into the left side-netting.

Xherdan Shaqiri barely pushed Bayern’s fifth attempt past a diving Cech, who’d guessed correctly on the try to his left.  That conversation paved the way for the night’s decisive moment, with Lukaku’s try just to the right of Neuer saved, giving Bayern their first Super Cup.

Lineups

Bayern Munich: Manuel Neuer; Rafinha (Javi Martínez 56′), Jerome Boateng, Dante, David Alaba; Toni Kroos; Arjen Robben (Xherdan Shaqiri 95′), Philipp Lahm, Thomas Müller (Mario Götze 71′), Franck Ribéry; Mario Mandzukic.

Chelsea: Petr Cech; Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, David Luiz, Ashley Cole; Frank Lampard, Ramires; Andre Schurrle (John Obi Mikel 87′), Oscar, Eden Hazard (John Terry 113′); Fernando Torres (Romelu Lukaku 98′).

Ronaldo shows no sign of injury while hanging with Conor McGregor

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Cristiano Ronaldo may not be ready for the UEFA Super Cup, but he’s no longer limping around.

To explore the Real Madrid superstar’s Instagram is to see Ronaldo, sometimes clothed, hanging out with celebrities.

In the last couple weeks we’ve seen him with Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lopez, and now his “bro” Conor McGregor.

[ MORE: Who wins the League of Hate? ]

Wait, what?

Yeah, Ronaldo is friends with the MMA star, and showed no ill form (and no brace of any kind) in several posed photos with McGregor.

Although admittedly, McGregor’s IG game is a bit better: The Irish fighter posted a photo of himself sunning in his briefs with the caption, “I’m gonna get him on the Forbes list by next year. But I’m gonna get him on the tan by next week.”

Good luck with both, bro.

Great to see you bro!!💪🏽🔝

A photo posted by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) on Jul 24, 2016 at 3:48pm PD

Bruce pens letter to Hull fans: “Desperately wanted to make it work”

YORK, ENGLAND - JULY 23: Steve Bruce manager of  Hull City ahead of the pre-season friendly match between York City and Hull City at Bootham Cresent on July 23, 2014  in York, England. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)
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Many Hull City fans didn’t want Steve Bruce to leave the club, and this open letter shows why.

After leaving the club by “mutual consent” on Friday — it was first widely reported that he quit — fans protested at Hull’s game on Monday.

[ MORE: Who wins the League of Hate? ]

Bruce may’ve had his problems with Hull’s ownership, but he certainly got his supporters’ feelings right down to the core.

From the Hull Daily Mail:

My biggest regret is having to walk away but it was a decision I had to make for the sake of the club. The last 12 months have been very tough and it felt like the right step for the club to move forward in a different direction and with someone else in charge.

I desperately wanted to make it work this summer and be a Premier League manager again but, sadly, it wasn’t to be. Nevertheless, I’ve left Hull City with some fantastic memories that I’ll always cherish, including just eight weeks ago in the Championship play-off final at Wembley.

Class from the longtime boss, and we imagine he’ll have a job very soon if he wants it.

Report: Everton to activate release clause of Stoke’s Arnautovic

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 28: Marko Arnautovic (1st L) of Stoke City competes for the ball against Seamus Coleman (2nd L) and Gareth Barry (1st Rof Everton during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Stoke City at Goodison Park on December 28, 2015 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)
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Everton is going to activate Marko Arnautovic‘s $16 million release clause to bring the Stoke City striker to Goodison Park, according to a report out of Austria.

Stoke had been trying to sign Arnautovic to a contract extension, but the player was reportedly prepared to play out the final year of his deal.

[ MORE: Who wins the League of Hate? ]

The huge 27-year-old Austrian has been with Stoke since 2013, and broke through with 11 Premier League goals last season.

Arnautovic would give Everton support behind Romelu Lukaku, and insurance in case the Toffees do wind up selling their Belgian striker. Everton also has Arouna Kone as a potential target forward, but Oumar Niasse is expecting to leave after less than a year at Goodison Park.

Chelsea wins the League… of Hate; Bournemouth, Leicester not hated

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27:  Diego Costa of Chelsea celebrates his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Chelsea at St Mary's Stadium on February 27, 2016 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
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A family of English newspapers conducted its annual survey of which teams are the most hated in the Premier League, and there’s a new champion.

Manchester United has dropped to second in the table to Chelsea in what the Manchester Evening News called the “League of Hate”.

[ MORE: Rooney’s England position not set ]

According to the MEN, 10,000 fans were quizzed on their love and hate:

A national survey asked fans of each top flight club which sides they hate, and which they love, and the west London club came out as the most disliked club overall.

United, who won the dubious accolade last year, have been revealed to be the next most reviled side.

It’s no surprise that the league’s more successful sides sit atop the table while newer PL clubs like Bournemouth and Burnley are not reviled. That said, Leicester’s dream story has them 19th. How much more success do they need to have before shooting up the hate table?

Here’s the Top Five, and all results:

1) Chelsea
2) Manchester United
3) Liverpool
4) Manchester City
5) Arsenal