So what if Jamie Vardy‘s 2016-17 season hasn’t come close to matching the dizzying heights that Leicester City’s leading man hit in last season’s title-winning campaign?
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Sure, Leicester only just recently did enough to stave off relegation and secure their status as a Premier League club next season — and Vardy’s production has dropped from 24 PL goals last season, to just 11 this term — but that doesn’t mean Diego Godin will be taking the reigning FWA Player of the Year lightly when Atletico Madrid visit the King Power Stadium in the two sides’ UEFA Champions League quarterfinal second leg on Tuesday.
In fact, Godin has revealed just how highly he thinks of Vardy’s game and the threat he’ll pose as the Foxes attempt to overturn a 1-0 deficit and reach the Champions League semifinals — quotes from the Guardian:
“He would fit in at the vast majority of teams in the world. He works, sacrifices himself for the team, and on top of that scores goals. Who wouldn’t want a striker who kills himself for you, then gives you attacking solutions?”
“A striker like that is fundamental for a team like Leicester that plays the way that they do. If they didn’t have that kind of striker, maybe they wouldn’t be Leicester, the team we’ve seen. He’s a great player, who fights and competes. Against Sevilla [in the round of 16], every ball that went into the Sevilla half he fought for; he never gave a ball up for lost. At the Calderon he was virtually alone and if he didn’t touch the ball often that doesn’t mean he’s not a great striker, quite the opposite. It’s because we paid him so much attention. We were focused on not giving him space, cutting off access to him.”
The more Atleti sit back and defend with numbers, the less space Vardy will have to run into and terrorize Godin and Co. Given the fact they’re protecting they’re protecting a one-goal lead away from home, you can expect Diego Simeone’s side to nullify Vardy’s greatest asset, his speed, in that manner.
It was another memorable European night for Liverpool in front of the Kop at Anfield.
Lifted by three goals in the opening 21 minutes, the Reds cruised to a 4-2 win over Hoffenheim 1899 in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League playoff stage Wednesday evening. With the win, Liverpool returns to the Champions League group stage for the first time since the 2014-2015 season.
[ MORE: Champions League scores ]
Sadio Mane set up Emre Can twice and both Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino chipped in with goals of their own to lead Liverpool to victory. After Can’s double and Salah’s goal gave Liverpool a three-goal lead, Hoffenheim’s Julian Nagelsmann brought Mark Uth off the bench onto the field and he promptly scored in the 28th minute to draw within two.
Firmino again put Liverpool ahead by three goals with a goal into an open net in the 63rd minute. Hoffenheim recorded a consolation goal in the 79th minute through Sandro Wagner but Liverpool was resolute and held on for victory.
Liverpool, and the rest of the winning clubs, will learn their fates for the group stage on Thursday.
Here’s a look at the rest of the Champions League playoff scores:
Slavia Prague 0-0 APOEL (APOEL advances 2-0 on aggregate)
FC Copenhagen 2-1 Qarabag FK (Qarabag advances on away goals, 2-2 on aggregate)
FCSB (Steaua București) 1-5 Sporting CP (Sporting CP advances 5-1 on aggregate)
CSKA Moscow 2-0 BSC Young Boys (CSKA advances on aggregate, 3-0)
In Part 2 of Everton Unseen, European football returns to Goodison Park as Everton host MFK Ruzomberok in the qualifying round of the Europa League.
Click play on the video below to get a feel for how Goodison Park will be in the second leg of the Europa League in Part 2 of this videos series.
[ MORE: Live Europa League scores ]
[ WATCH: Part 1 of Everton Unseen ]
ZURICH (AP) FIFA says it is sending in an emergency management team to run the troubled Cameroon football federation.
The panel to be appointed by FIFA and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) will oversee elections by next March to replace disputed polls in 2015 for the Cameroon federation board.
FIFA’s intervention comes amid speculation Cameroon could be stripped of hosting the next African Cup of Nations in June-July 2019.
CAF President Ahmad this month cast doubt on Cameroon’s ability to prepare for the expanded 24-team tournament.
FIFA says Wednesday it acted after “recent failed attempts … to reconcile the football stakeholders in Cameroon and overcome the current impasse.”
Tottenham reportedly broke the bank for its first transfer of the summer.
The North London club confirmed that it had completed a transfer with Ajax for defender Davinson Sanchez after the Colombian international passed a medical. According to The Telegraph, the deal is worth around $54 million, a club record. The deal is subject to acquisition of Sanchez’s work permit but given the transfer fee and him being in Colombia’s squad, it’s likely a mere formality at this point.
[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]
The 21-year-old defender brings speed and strength to Tottenham’s backline as well as a year of seasoning in the Eredivisie, which features plenty of attacking talent. Sanchez will battle with Eric Dier, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen for a place in Spurs’ three-man backline.
It’s a risk moving to a new club a year ahead of the World Cup, but Sanchez is hoping that with appearances in the UEFA Champions League and Premier League up for grabs, he can do well enough to keep his place in the Colombia National Team squad.
Here’s some more transfer news from across England: