Mourinho, Casillas, Heynckes and more reaction from Madrid

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Bayern were the big winners today, advancing to UEFA’s Champions League final after besting Real Madrid on penalty kicks; however, you can understand why most of the post-match focus was on José Mourinho and his team bowing out of Champions League on home soil.

Here is how the main actors are reacting after Bayern Munich huge Wednesday result:

  • “It was incredible, absolutely crazy. I have never witnessed a match with so many chances. We knew if we could win, we would be favorites in the final.” – Uli Hoeness, via UEFA
  • “It was a magic night. We had big problems in the first 15 minutes, but afterwards my team took over and dominated the match. We were sensational – it is a special victory for Bayern.” – Jupp Heynckes, via UEFA
  • “When you start a game and you’re 2-0 down after 14 minutes you have to be mentally strong to recover. The rest of the game we played some really good football and in the end I think it’s deserved.” – Arjen Robben, via UEFA
  • “The boys were fantastic against a great team. It was a very tactical game. At 2-1, both teams were afraid to make an important mistake. Football is like that – that’s life.” – Jose Mourinho, via UEFA
  • “It’s a big blow for us. It was a very exciting game, but penalties are always a lottery. We played well, but Bayern are a great team. We now have to concentrate on the league.” – Iker Casillas, via UEFA
  • “I am more sad for the players than for me – we must be strong. Last year we won the cup and if we win the league this season, it is another step in the right direction.” – Mourinho, via UEFA
  • “Of course we are quite disappointed, but we are coping – it’s part of football. Today we are feeling the other side of football but we knew that could happen.” – Xabi Alonso, via UEFA
  • “These players have worked like animals for two hours and under a lot of pressure. They went to their limits.” – Mourinho, via @RealMadrid
  • “Bayern are a very good team, now it’s time to start thing about the Liga. Penalties are a lottery and we can’t do anything about it. ” – Mourinho, via @FutbolBoricua
  • “Bayern were luckier than us.” – Mourinho, via @Enhorabuena
  • “I think I can add more, if the players think so too, and I feel they do, as our fellow-feeling is growing, then I will continue.” – Mourinho, via @DermotMCorrigan
  • “Jose Mourinho came into our dressing room and congratulated everybody. He is a good man, a classy man.” – Heynckes, via @IHeartRonaldo

Italian soccer federation signs deal with Chinese government

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ROME (AP) The Italian soccer federation has signed a wide-ranging memorandum with the Chinese government to promote soccer between the two countries.

The deal foresees playing the Italian Super Cup or Italian Cup in China within the next three years.

[ MORE: Upsets in EURO qualifying ]

The Italian Super Cup – which pits the Serie A champion against the Italian Cup champion – has already been played in China four times over the last 10 years.

The meeting with China Media Group head Shen Haixiong also focused on TV content and rights, collaboration over developing young Chinese players in Italy and instruction for using the video assistant referee.

Shen was in Rome for the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Italian federation president Gabriele Gravina says, “Soccer has shown once again to be a bridge between different cultures.”

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

WATCH: Asprilla scores terrific bicycle kick on USL cameo

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Portland Timbers forward Dairon Asprilla has had to spend some time in the USL Championship this season, and the second tier would probably like to see Gio Savarese keep the Colombian in Major League Soccer.

[ REPORT: Liverpool to sell Keita? ]

Asprilla scored twice and added an assists on Saturday night in a defeat of Eric Wynalda’s Las Vegas Lights, and he put up a near picture perfect bicycle kick on the highlight reel.

Watch as he sets himself up, willingly or not, for the endeavor before splashing a shot in the side panel for an amazing aesthetic.

Report: Bayern, BVB ready to buy Keita from Liverpool

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A report claims that Liverpool is ready to admit defeat in the case of Naby Keita.

Keita, 24, was bought from RB Leipzig last season and arrived at Anfield in the summer, but has struggled to find consistent playing time under Jurgen Klopp.

[ VIDEO: USMNT’s Saief shines for FC Cincinnati ]

Viewed as the missing link between the Virgil Van Dijk and Liverpool’s torrential attack, Keita has not come close to replicating the form that saw his price tag reach $69 million.

Indeed, Team Talk says Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich look prepared to pay around $53 million to bring Keita back to the Bundesliga.

Keita has played 27 matches in all competitions for Liverpool, accumulating 1,388 minutes and just one assist. He had nine goals and seven assists in more than double the minutes one season ago.

According to WhoScored.com, he’s passing the ball better and taking almost a foul less than last season, but almost every other measurable has declined since he moved to England.

I’m as guilty as anyone of thinking Keita would be everything the Reds required after an improved 2017-18, but he’s either being used very poorly or having trouble adjusting to the culture.

It’s early to quit on a player so talented, but maybe Klopp and he just don’t mesh well. But if it isn’t a case of clashing with the club, it may be worth waiting out a player who looked a giant just eight months ago.

EURO qualifying: Hungary stings Croatia, Israel hangs 4 on Austria

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It wasn’t just Germany and the Netherlands staging a tight and entertaining match in EURO 2020 qualifying on Sunday.

[ VIDEO: Saief, Manneh lead FC Cincinnati ]

Hungary 2-1 Croatia

Ante Rebic’s early goal made a “business as usual” statement for the World Cup runners-up, but Hungary can be a handful against any opponents and rallied at home.

Hoffenheim striker Adam Szalai brought the hosts level at halftime, and Mate Patkai gave Hungary a deserved 2-1 win in Budapest.

Coming three days after a loss in Slovakia to start qualifying, it was an early almost-must-win for Marco Rossi’s men.

Israel 4-2 Austria

Marko Arnautovic‘s brace in defeat couldn’t have come with different vibes. His eighth minute marker gave the Austrians a leg up, his 75th minute goal meaning very little with the side having conceded four-straight in between.

China-based striker Eran Zahavi scored a hat trick for Israel, and RB Salzburg star Munas Dabbur scored the fourth goal to keep the hosts within sight of first place Poland.

Austria is winless through two qualifiers.

Elsewhere
Wales 1-0 Slovakia
Cyprus 0-2 Belgium
San Marino 0-2 Scotland
Netherlands 2-3 Germany — RECAP, VIDEO
Northern Ireland 2-1 Belarus
Poland 2-0 Latvia
Slovenia 1-1 Macedonia
Kazakhstan 0-4 Russia