Mourinho, as only he can, ran over half the pitch to celebrate Ba's late winner vs. PSG.

Jose Mourinho recreates corner flag run, as Chelsea boss hails his Champions League heroes

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LONDON, England — As Demba Ba prodded home three minutes from full time to send Chelsea through to the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League, Blues boss Jose Mourinho sprinted 55-yards down the touchline to celebrate with his players near the corner flag.

Stamford Bridge erupted at the final whistle, as Ba’s goal sealed Chelsea’s passage into the final four in the most dramatic fashion with a stunning turnaround from their 3-1 first leg defeat in Paris. It brought back memories of when Chelsea lifted the famous trophy back in 2012, as during that succession run they overturned a two-goal deficit against Napoli.

Mourinho has now reached eight Champions League semifinals in his managerial career — more than any other manager and his fifth-straight final four appearance — but this latest charge towards Europe’s elite trophy was perhaps the most dramatic.

Asked afterwards by ITV why he charged down the touchline — which he did back in 2004 when his FC Porto team famously beat Manchester United at Old Trafford — Mourinho gave an answer nobody was expecting.

“I didn’t go to the corner flag to celebrate. I went to tell them the changes we had to make,” Mourinho said. “There were three minutes plus extra-time left and the way we were playing was too risky. I wanted Demba Ba to play in front of the defenders and Fernando Torres to defend Maxwell. I tried to use them in different jobs.”

(MORE: Chelsea stun PSG, late goal sends Blues into Champions League semifinals)

After the game when asked about his turn of pace down the line, Mourinho joked: “You could see that I can still run, no?”

Whether or not you believe the 51-year-old’s explanation, Mourinho’s side stuck to their task right until the end of the match as PSG hung off for dear life and Laurent Blanc’s men surely felt they’d done enough to reach the UCL semis. Mourinho believes Chelsea deserved to go through, as PSG defended solidly but offered little going forward.

“I think we did enough at beginning of the second-half to score before we did. In the second-half it was pure ball possession. But it was difficult for us to penetrate,” Mourinho said. “We did it in training yesterday, with three different systems, all of which we used. The players knew what they had to do. Demba Ba made a crucial finish for us. It was very much deserved that the team that tried to defend was punished. The team that played with their heart deserved to go through.”

Chelsea certainly played with heart and determination, as the Blues now wait to see who they get in the Champions League semifinal draw on Friday. Chelsea captain John Terry, who helped thwart PSG’s expensively assembled attack for the first-time in 17 UCL matches, was over the moon with the victory.

“We gave ourselves a chance by not conceding. We had to hit the big man [Ba] and he scores,” Terry said. “This competition means a lot to us. The experiences we have had keeps you fighting and believing. Winning it was the best feeling ever. These big performances are what we live for. Everyone doubted us tonight but we showed great character and fight to come back. It all paid off.”

VIDEO: Alex Morgan scores goal against Costa Rica in 12 seconds

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The United States got off to a historically roaring start in Olympic qualifying. Taking on Costa Rica in Frisco, Texas to begin Group A play, Alex Morgan opened the scoring in just 12 seconds, taking just six passes to complete the masterpiece.

According to the USWNT twitter account, the goal is the fastest in U.S. Soccer history.

According to CONCACAF, the goal is also the quickest in CONCACAF Olympic qualifying, breaking Abby Wambach’s of 35 seconds in a 14-0 domination of the Dominican Republic in 2012.

[ WATCH LIVE: USWNT vs Costa Rica live online on NBC Sports Live Extra ]

The United States scored three goals in the first 15 minutes against Costa Rica tonight. They will take on Mexico and Puerto Rico across the next five days.

Watch Live: USWNT vs Costa Rica in Olympic qualifying

SAN DIEGO, CA - JANUARY 23:  (L-R) Carli Lloyd #10 of the United States is congratulated by teammate Alex Morgan #13 after a goal against Ireland at Qualcomm Stadium on January 23, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
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The United States women are set to begin Group A play in Olympic qualification, taking on 36th ranked Costa Rica at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas at 8:30 a.m. ET.

The game takes place after a 17-day camp at the national training camp in Carson, California.

[ WATCH LIVE: USWNT vs Costa Rica live online on NBC Sports Live Extra ]

Other teams in the group include Mexico and Puerto Rico. The Mexicans dominated Puerto Rico 6-0 in the first game.

LINEUP

United States: Solo; Krieger, Johnston, Sauerbrunn, Klingenberg; Brian, Horan, Dunn, Lloyd, Heath; Morgan.

Columbus, NYCFC release new kits to mixed results

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Two Major League Soccer clubs have put their kits out there for the 2016 season. They’ve received a mediocre welcome at best.

Columbus was the first, and their kit makes a bold statement moving away from the traditional yellow and black that so often adorns their regular shirts. Instead, the kit incorporates the Columbus flag onto it. The release has seen quite a negative reaction on social media.

The kit was unveiled at the Columbus City Hall on Wednesday, featuring the traditional adidas stripes, although instead of the usual placement on the shoulders, the stripes come down the side of the torso. Recently, adidas has the tendency to copy general jersey patterns across its multiple properties, so look for this design with other clubs in the near future.

The negative reaction to the Columbus release isn’t terribly surprising considering fans often enjoy sticking to tradition, and backlash is common when clubs deviate from the norm. As an additional hurdle, the color contrast between red and yellow is somewhat stark, lending to the difficult reception. Add in the bright pastel blue shorts and…yikes.

While the club didn’t describe how they will utilize this kit during the season, it’s likely to be the primary (at least for now) as the club release says the kit portfolio also includes last year’s black kit, which is traditionally the away kit.

NYCFC’s release of their secondary kit was more positive, receiving a mixed response on social media.

As you can see, adidas again copied their general outline with the stripes down the side of the torso. However, the German clothing manufacturer did much better with the general design of these kits than the Columbus ones. I will give a bit of personal opinion here: I absolutely love these kits. The ripple effect accentuates the crest with a near-3D effect, and the colors mesh perfectly which serves to assuage the eye from being overwhelmed by a busy design. If there’s any criticism, it’s that without an outline, the Etihad logo tends to get in the way a bit, but that’s nitpicking. Well done NYCFC. Columbus…I’ll leave that one to you all.

Men In Blazers podcast: Romelu Lukaku Pod Special

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Rog and Davo break down Leicester City’s 3 – 1 win at Manchester City, marvel at Spurs going second in the table, and talk about the headlines surrounding the mid-table clash between Chelsea and United.

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

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