Getty Images

Europa League roundup: Trio of Premier League teams through to Round of 16

2 Comments

With leg two of the Europa League fixtures today, the final 16 teams are set for the stretch run, and all three Premier League teams left in the competition will be a part of it. Spanish teams also completed their dominance that was evident after the first legs, with Valencia, Sevilla, Villareal and Athletic Bilbao all advancing.

Here is a roundup of the final results from today, with the team that advanced from each fixture in italics.

Liverpool 1-0 Augsburg

The Reds came into this game on thin ice after a 0-0 draw away from home, and thus a draw would not do. They got the win on a fifth-minute penalty slotted home by James Milner, and although Liverpool looked the better side, it wasn’t exactly easy. Daniel Sturridge also notably put in 65 minutes.

Tottenham 3-0 Fiorentina

Spurs moved on comfortably, as Ryan Mason and Erik Lamela bookended halftime with a goal each. The 1-1 first leg result away from home meant Spurs needed just a stout defensive performance and they were likely through, and that they got with Toby Alderweireld and Kevin Wimmer holding down the fort at the back.

Manchester United 5-1 FC Midtjylland

With Louis Van Gaal hanging onto his job by a shoestring, Manchester United fittingly got the win after a bumbling first half. Down 1-0 on a 27th minute goal by Pione Sistro, they came back strong to equalize on a Nikolay Bodurov own-goal before the break. Then 18-year-old Marcus Rashford took over on his debut, scoring twice in the second half to put the Red Devils through. Also, Memphis Depay was incredible, and he scored as the Red Devils overwhelmed the Danes late.

Lazio 3-1 Galatasaray

After a 1-1 first leg result in Turkey, it was even in the second leg as well…if you remove 14 wild minutes of play from the books. Those 14 minutes midway through the second half provided all four goals, seeing Miroslav Klose score his first of the season two minutes after coming on to seal the deal. Felipe Anderson and Marco Parolo scored the others for the Italians as they move on.

Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 Sporting CP

The Germans backed up a 1-0 first leg win in Portugal by repeating as victors behind a brace from Karim Bellarabi, the man who scored the winner the first time around. Chicharito assisted the first of Bellarabi’s two which opened the scoring in the 29th minute, and although Sporting hit back before halftime, it was all Leverkusen from there as they put seven shots on target throughout the match.

Napoli 1-1 Villareal

The Italians led after 17 minutes through Marek Hamsik, but a 59th-minute strike by Tomas Pina was enough to put Villareal through 2-1 on aggregate.

FC Porto 0-1 Borussia Dortmund

Porto bowed out alongside their countrymates Sporting as a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang header that Iker Casillas fumbled over the line eased Dortmund through 3-0 on aggregate.

FC Basel 2-1 St. Etienne

An injury-time winner from Swiss midfielder Luca Zuffi – his second of the game – sent FC Basel dramatically through over St. Etienne on away goals, with the aggregate finishing at 4-4.

Olympiakos 1-2 Anderlecht

This one needed added time as the aggregate sat at 1-1 after 90 minutes, but Anderlecht scored twice in added time to move on without needing penalties.

Other results:

Lokomotiv Moscow 1-1 Fenerbahce

Rapid Vienna 0-4 Valencia

Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Marseille

Schalke 0-3 Shakhtar Donetsk

Kuban Krasnodar 0-3 Sparta Prague

Molde 1-0 Sevilla

*Also through: SC Braga with a 4-3 aggregate win over Sion completed on Wednesday.

Inter-Ludogorets to be played in empty stadium due to coronavirus

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MILAN (AP) Inter Milan announced on Monday that its Europa League match against Ludogorets will be played behind closed doors as authorities try to contain a spreading virus that has made northern Italy the focal point of the outbreak in Europe.

The Italian government is moving toward having other soccer matches played without fans in attendance in affected areas but Thursday’s match was the first to be confirmed as going ahead in an empty stadium.

“Inter announces that, in accordance with the requirements of the health authorities in the Region of Lombardy and the Municipality of Milan and with the agreement of UEFA, the second-leg clash between Inter and Ludogorets at the round of 32 stage of the Europa League will take place at 21:00 CET on Thursday 27 February behind closed doors at San Siro,” Inter said in a statement on Monday evening.

[ MORE: Europa League schedule

The decision was widely expected and Ludogorets had announced shortly before that Inter had sent it a letter stating that the city’s health authorities have allowed the match to go ahead behind closed doors.

Ludogorets added that UEFA has said it is monitoring the situation and will react immediately if anything changes.

Inter leads 2-0 from the first leg of the round of 32 clash.

Civil protection officials said at least 229 people have tested positive for the virus in Italy. State television on Monday night reported the seventh death of an infected person – that of a 62-year-old man who already had serious health problems. The other six victims, also with pre-existing medical conditions, were elderly.

The majority of those known to be infected with COVID-19 hail from two main clusters – some 10 towns in Lombardy and another area in the neighboring region of Veneto. Italy has the highest number of cases outside Asia.

Four Serie A match scheduled for last Sunday were postponed, including Inter’s home match against Sampdoria.

Inter’s key match at Juventus next Sunday will likely also be played behind closed doors, as well as several other matches in northern Italy.

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

Man United release latest financial results

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Man United have released their latest financial results and revenue has fallen by 20 percent year-on-year, while net debt has also risen.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

What is clear from the results is that not being in the UEFA Champions League has hit United hard but they continue to make money with commercial revenue on the up seven percent.

Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward revealed the latest results as Man United’s financial might is clear for all to see even.

“We have continued to make progress on our squad rebuild … the foundation for delivering the long-term success that we are all working towards is in place as we implement our plan and our footballing vision with Ole,” Woodward told investors. “We are pushing for a strong finish in the Premier League, the Europa League and the FA Cup as we enter the final third of the season.”

Man United are currently in fifth place in the Premier League table ahead of a pivotal run of games which will decide if they will once again dine at Europe’s top table under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. On the pitch they’ve beaten Chelsea and Watford in the last week without conceding and things are coming together nicely with new signings Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, Daniel James and Bruno Fernandes making a big difference. 

Man United face Everton, Man City, Tottenham and Sheffield United in their next four PL games and that will be crucial in deciding if they’re going to reach the Champions League next season. Given Man City’s European ban and the potential for a UCL spot to move down to fifth-place, Man United are exactly where Solskjaer hoped they would be right now.

Below we have a look at the main takeaways form the financial results, which are always a huge talking point among United fans all over the world.

Main talking points from Man United’s Q2 results:

  • Revenues of $218.3 million, down 20 percent year-on-year
  • Operating profit of $47.3 million
  • Commercial revenue up 7 percent
  • Broadcast revenue down 37 percent due to no UEFA Champions League qualification
  • Matchday revenue down 15 percent due to fewer home games
  • Player wages down 9 percent
  • Net debt is $506.9 million, up $94.6 million, 23 percent

USMNT’s Arriola likely will miss MLS season, six World Cup qualifiers

Paul Arriola
AP Photo/LM Otero
Leave a comment

WASHINGTON (AP) D.C. United midfielder Paul Arriola had major knee surgery Monday and likely will miss the entire Major League Soccer season and the United States’ first six qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup

The operation was to reconstruct his right anterior cruciate ligament. The team said there was no additional cartilage damage.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

The 25-year-old midfielder injured his knee Feb. 15 during D.C. United’s preseason match against Orlando in Tampa, Florida.

Arriola has been a regular starter for the U.S. national team under coach Gregg Berhalter. Arriola has five goals in 33 international appearances.

After failing to reach the 2018 World Cup, the U.S. starts qualifying for the 2022 tournament this year. The Americans have two matches each in September, October and November, then complete qualifying with two games apiece in March and September 2021.

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

State of play in CONCACAF Champions League

CONCACAF Champions League
AP Photo/Carlos Gonzalez
Leave a comment

Four of five Major League Soccer clubs alive in the CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16 are in fine shape to reach the quarterfinals after one leg.

The fifth has a tall hill to climb.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

LAFC trails Club Leon by two and did not collect an away goal in Mexico during first leg play last week.

“It’s 2-0, but we’re going to work hard,” said LAFC attacker Latif Blessing. “We’re going to prepare ourselves to win the next game. … We did good, but we want to win. It couldn’t happen that way but we’re going to prepare next game to win this game. We need to win.”

The second leg in L.A. is one of the last two matches of the round, kicking off at 10 p.m. ET Thursday just as Seattle Sounders square off with Olimpia.

The Honduran side managed a controversial comeback in the 2-2 draw with Jordan Morris-fueled Seattle last week, but the Sounders will be happy to have those two away goals and home field.

Montreal Impact has the same situation for Deportivo Saprissa’s visit at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday, while Atlanta United scored an away goal in a draw with Motagua and hosts the visitors from Honduras’ capital at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday.

That leaves us with NYCFC, who got a Heber hat trick amongst five away goals at Costa Rican side San Carlos in a 5-3 win. The second leg begins at 6 p.m. ET Wednesday at Red Bull Arena (yes, you read that correctly).

Elsewhere, Liga MX sides don’t have it much better. Cruz Azul leads Portmore 2-1 heading back to Mexico, while Club America scored an away goal in a draw with Comunicaciones.

Finally, Tigres UANL trails 2-1 after one leg with Alianza in El Salvador.

CCL second leg schedule
all times ET

Atlanta United v. Motagua (1-1) — 8 p.m. Tuesday
Cruz Azul v. Portmore United (2-1) — 10 p.m. Tuesday
NYCFC v. San Carlos (5-3) — 6 p.m. Wednesday
Montreal Impact v. Deportivo Saprissa (2-2) — 8 p.m. Wednesday
Tigres UANL v. Alianza (1-2) — 8 p.m. Wednesday
Club America v. Comunicaciones (1-1) — 10 p.m. Wednesday
Seattle Sounders v. Olimpia (2-2) — 10 p.m. Thursday
LAFC v Leon (0-2) — 10 p.m. Thursday