With the tie poised perfectly at 1-1 after the first leg in Istanbul two weeks ago, Chelsea face Galatasaray with everything to play for at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night.
In what should be a pulsating European night in West London, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has revealed that he believes this match will go down to the wire.
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Away against the Turkish giants in the first leg, Chelsea took an early lead but a second half rally from Galatasaray proved there’s plenty of life left in this tie. Speaking to reporters ahead of the match, Mourinho believes it will go down to the wire in London.
“I think it is easy. If you look at the result – 1-1 – and you look at the game – one team was better in the first half, another team was better in the second half,” Mourinho said. “I think everything is balanced. So normally it will be the same kind of match, with a result that I believe goes until the end. I don’t think one of the teams is going to make a result where people know already at half-time who is going to win.”
(MORE: Galatasaray tasked with bringing down Chelsea’s fortress)
With an emotional return for Didier Drogba to Stamford Bridge, a sign reading “Drogba – legend” hangs at one end of the stadium, plus a heated sideline battle between Mourinho and former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini brewing up nicely, on and off the pitch there are plenty of intriguing subplots bubbling up before kick off.
But it is the action on the pitch which will likely be the most entertaining as Chelsea look to hit back following their first defeat in 15 PL games on Saturday against Aston Villa, while Galatasaray aim to be the spoilers as they visit the Blues.
Remember, we will have recaps, analysis and reactions from all the UEFA Champions League action right here on ProSoccerTalk.
If you’re having a rough Monday morning, things could always be worse.
You could be PSV Eindhoven goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet.
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On Sunday PSV’s goalkeeper scored one of the most bizarre own goals ever as he stopped a shot on the line in the 82nd minute, then as he pulled the ball into his chest while on the floor he actually carried the ball over the line.
The Goal Decision System (GDS) awarded the game-winning goal and the reigning Dutch champs lost 2-1 to Feyenoord who are the current Eredivise leaders and stretched their lead over third-place PSV to 11 points.
Take a look at the video below to see the monumental error, as the video replay showed that all of the ball was about one blade of grass over the line.
Fine margins indeed…
Since arriving on the New York City scene two years ago it’s fair to summarize Mix Diskerud’s tenure with New York City FC as a disappointment.
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While the expectations of a quick transition from life in Europe to MLS were surely massive, the 26-year-old midfielder has failed to live up to the billing of not only being one of the NYCFC’s highest-paid players but also as a potential U.S. Men’s National Team candidate.
Diskerud saw his playing time dwindle down from 23 starts in 2015 to nine this past season under new manager Patrick Vieira, and it doesn’t appear that the Norwegian-American will see an influx of opportunities during the upcoming 2017 season.
Rumors have surfaced throughout the offseason about NYCFC potentially buying out Diskerud’s contract, however, the midfielder’s cryptic post to social media on Sunday afternoon suggests that he may not be in New York for much longer.
It has been suggested that Diskerud would possibly consider a return to Europe in the event that his contract was in fact bought out, however, the difference in salaries would likely be drastic.
According to figures released by the MLS Players’ Union, Diskerud made $761,250 in 2016, which was the fourth-highest salary on NYCFC books behind only David Villa, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo, each of whom were classified as Designated Players.
Gabriel Jesus was a revelation for Manchester City before suffering an injury, but even with a spot in the lineup for the time being Sergio Aguero may not be coming back to Manchester City next season.
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According to the Sun, Spanish giants Real Madrid are eyeing up a move for Aguero in the hopes that the Argentine striker will join the club at the conclusion of the Premier League season.
Prior to joining City back in 2011, Aguero played five seasons in La Liga with Atletico Madrid, where he scored 101 goals in all competitions for the Rojiblancos.
While Aguero is likely to hold his starting spot for some time due to Jesus’ injured metatarsal, manager Pep Guardiola had heavily favored the young forward over Aguero since officially joining the club in January.
Tab Ramos’ side completed their first task, but now the U.S. Under-20 national team has its next challenge lying in front of them.
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The U.S. U-20s finished second in Group B at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship after winning two of its three group stage matches.
Now, Mexico and El Salvador await the U-20s in the classification stage with a spot at May’s Under-20 World Cup in South Korea on the line.
During the classification round there will be two groups of three teams, with the top two teams advancing to the World Cup. Each group winner will meet in the CONCACAF Championship final.
Classification stage schedule
Feb. 27 — U.S. U-20s vs. Mexico
Mar. 1 — Mexico vs. El Salvador
Mar. 3 — U.S. U-20s vs. El Salvador
Feb. 27 — Panama vs. Honduras
Mar. 1 — Honduras vs. Costa Rica
Mar. 3 — Panama vs. Costa Rica