Shakhtar Donetsk

Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Manchester City: Pep praises LB Delph, issues Mendy update

Leave a comment

Sometimes, the opposing manager has a line or two which sums up the brilliance of the victors.

That’s the case Tuesday, as Shakhtar Donetsk manager Paulo Fonseca was downright glowing after his side frustrated Man City before falling 2-0 in UEFA Champions League action at the Etihad Stadium.

[ RECAP: Man City 2-0 Shakhtar Donetsk ]

“We were very compact and we were not leaving many gaps for them, and trying to attack them,” Fonseca said. “I always watch all the matches of City and this year City have not met a team who has created any problems. … I think all our players were playing at a very good level and as I said, it is difficult to come here and demonstrate such courage as our guys have demonstrated today.”

Don’t tell Paulo about the Bournemouth and Everton matches, but we get the idea.

City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne downplayed his evening, but turned the keys that led to several chances. He started and finished the side’s first goal after a 1-2 with David Silva.

Yet the name on Pep Guardiola‘s lips was Fabian Delph who, after scoring a stunning goal in the Premier League this weekend, put in a strong performance at… wait for it… left back!

“Fabian Delph was man of the match. When a guy who is so kind and can help the team, he is intelligent, is physical and never loses the ball. He controlled Marlos and did it very well.”

Entering the season, Delph had made just 39 performances in two seasons since arriving from Aston Villa. Guardiola is making things happen for most of his players this season, and it’s starting to feel like some special things are cooking on both sides of Manchester.

As for Benjamin Mendy, who was seen on crutches following an injury against Crystal Palace, the wing back could be set for a while on the sidelines.

Guardiola says Mendy will undergo tests on Wednesday in Barcelona, calling his absence “a major setback.”

“He is a unique player,” Guardiola said. “We will see in January about a new signing. We have alternatives.”

Manchester City 2-0 Shakhtar Donetsk: KDB pulls the strings

Getty Images
Leave a comment

A Man of the Match performance from Kevin De Bruyne was just enough to send Man City past plucky Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.

David Silva assisted De Bruyne’s second half goal, and Bernardo Silva set up Raheem Sterling for the second just before time.

Alone in first, City will host Napoli on Oct. 17 while Shakhtar is off to Feyenoord.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]  

Kevin De Bruyne set Sergio Aguero up for a chance that was well-covered by Shakhtar backstop Andriy Pyatov.

De Bruyne had the best chance of the first half, working himself into a “Surely” position only to miss his mark with a shot and leave the match scoreless.

At the other end, Ederson made an excellent save on Marlos.

Fittingly, De Bruyne helped set himself up for the opener, winning the ball and working a 1-2 with David Silva to finish with style.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Leroy Sane won a penalty for City, but Sergio Aguero’s tame effort was saved. At the other end, John Stones was directing traffic when a ball hit his arm. No call from the officials.

2-time defending champions Sevilla back in Europa League final behind Gameiro brace

Getty Images
1 Comment

Sevilla is getting pretty good at this European competition thing.

The two-time defending Europa League champions are back in the finals after topping Ukranian giants Shakhtar Donetsk 3-1 in Seville thanks to a pair from Kevin Gameiro plus an insurance goal from Mariano.

With the aggregate even at 2-2 coming into the second leg, Gameiro got things started in the ninth minute all by himself when he pilfered the ball off Maksim Malyshev in the attacking half and stuck it home into the far post. Shakhtar hit back just before halftime when former Arsenal striker Eduardo finished off a wonderful through ball by Marlos that split the Sevilla defense, tying things at 1-1 and the aggregate at 3-3.

[ MORE: Liverpool into Europa League final after running Villarreal ragged ]

But with Shakhtar still trailing on away goals, Sevilla put things away straight after the break when Gameiro again proved vital. The 28-year-old Frenchman took a feed from Grzegorz Krychowiak and finished from a very tight angle. Mariano left no doubt when he struck a stunning curler that bent inside the left post and put Sevilla 3-1 up.

Sevilla has not failed in European play since they dropped out of the Europa League qualification round to Hannover 3-2 on aggregate in August 2011. They won the title in 2014 on penalties after drawing 0-0 with Benfica in Turin, and they took down Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 3-2 in last year’s final from Warsaw.

LIVE – Europa League semifinals: Liverpool vs. Villarreal, Sevilla vs. Shakhtar

AP
Leave a comment

This is it, Liverpool.

Trailing 1-0 from their Europa League semifinal first leg against Villarreal in Spain last week, Jurgen Klopp‘s boys must overturn that deficit in the second leg on Thursday to reach the final in Basel on May 18.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores ]

Adrian Lopez’s late goal is the difference but Liverpool still believe they are in a strong position to reach their first European final since 2007 when they lost in the UEFA Champions League final to AC Milan. As we saw in the stunning quarterfinal second leg win over Borussia Dortmund, with the Anfield crowd behind them anything is possible. Don’t forget, if Liverpool wins the Europa League then they will reach the Champions League next season, something they can’t do via their league position.

In the other semifinal on Thursday, Sevilla bring Shakhtar Donetsk to Spain with the tie level at 2-2 after the first leg in Lviv saw Kevin Gameiro score a late penalty kick for the La Liga side.

Sevilla is the two-time reigning Europa League champions and have won the competition four times in the last 10 years. With two away goals in their back pocket they will fancy their chances of advancing to the final for a third-straight season but Ukrainian outfit Shakhtar have overcome extreme adversity this season as they’ve played their entire campaign away from their home city and stadium due to the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Click on the link above to follow both games live from 3:05 p.m. ET, while we will have reaction and analysis from both games.

Europa League preview: Liverpool, Shakhtar look to overcome Spanish foes

Getty Images
1 Comment

The second leg of the Europa League semifinals kick off tomorrow, with two La Liga sides looking to make it an all-Spanish final.

[ MORE: Premier League Playback ]

Villarreal holds a 1-0 lead over Liverpool, while Sevilla scored two away goals in their 2-2 draw at Shakhtar Donetsk.

Liverpool vs. Villarreal – 3:05 p.m. ET
Villarreal won first leg 1-0

Adrian Lopez’s late winner in the first leg has given Villarreal a slight lead, while the Spanish side did well not to concede an away goal. However, Liverpool have overcome deficits at Anfield before, including their memorable 4-3 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the quarterfinals. Emre Can is back fit for the Reds, as manager Jurgen Klopp will hope his fellow German can help the team to a cup final in his first year in charge.

[ RELATED: Liverpool preparing for another big Thursday night at Anfield ]

Sevilla vs. Shakhtar Donetsk – 3:05 p.m. ET
First leg ended 2-2 draw 

Sevilla are looking to become the first team to win three consecutive Europa League titles as the two-time defending champions face off against Shakhtar Donetsk. Sevilla are in the driver’s seat after scoring two away goals in Ukraine, and will feel confident of advancing to the final with a great home record at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.