Real Madrid fell apart in extra time of the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday, losing 4-2 at the hands of cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid.
And new manager Julen Lopetegui says it was not down to desire, even considering how many trophies Real has lifted in recent seasons.
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“These players have won a lot of titles but I do not think that their hunger for titles was missing tonight,” he said. “Last year in La Liga things did not go right for them. We want to get the best out of the team and start picking ourselves up after losing this title. We were all excited for this trophy.”
Losing his first serious match doesn’t bode well for Lopetegui, though his club sold Cristiano Ronaldo, didn’t start Luka Modric, and still came close on Wednesday.
Marcelo didn’t want to talk about transfers.
‘”We need to change our mindset because we have a whole season ahead of us,” he said. “I don’t make the signings. The squad looks good to me. We are united as a group. We played a good game until extra time.”
Casemiro has his coach’s back.
“Any team is bound to miss Ronaldo,” he said. “He is a great player, but he left and we cannot talk about him now, the same with Zidane. We have to talk about the coach, Lopetegui, he is doing a great job. We did good things and we must improve other aspects. The players here are trying to do our best to win titles for Real Madrid.”
UEFA conducted its second knockout stage tournament draw on Monday morning, as Arsenal and Chelsea learned their next opponents.
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Arsenal drew BATE Borisov out of Belarus while Chelsea were drawn with Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s former club Malmo in Sweden. Since both Arsenal and Chelsea were seeded, they’ll travel east for the first legs and host the second legs, though they’re not allowed to be hosted on the same night. Matches will take place on February 14 and February 21, with the exception of Arsenal-BATE and Sevilla-Lazio, since Real Betis, Sevilla’s second club, is playing in this stage of the competition as well.
It’s the second-straight season in which Arsenal and BATE will play, after the pair were placed together in the group stage of the 2017-2018 Europa League. Both Arsenal and Chelsea may have an advantage, as both the Belorussian and Swedish top divisions run from spring to winter, taking a long break from December through March due to the weather conditions.
Here’s a look at the full Europa League draw:
The draw for the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League took place on Monday and it was a mixed bag for the four Premier League clubs.
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Reigning Premier League champions Manchester City will play Schalke, while Manchester United were handed a tough draw after finishing second in their group as they face PSG.
Tottenham have also been handed a tough, but very likeable draw for the neutral, as they’ll play Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund. And Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will be heading back to Germany as the current PL leaders will play Bayern Munich.
Below is the draw in full, as the first legs will be played on 12–13 & 19–20 Feb. 2019 and the second legs on 5–6 & 12–13 Mar., 2019. The teams drawn first in the list below will play the first leg at home, with the second legs away.
And remember, VAR will be used in the UCL for the first time for all knockout round games. Get your VAR hand signals ready…
Last 16 draw for UEFA Champions League, 2018-19
Schalke v. Manchester City
Atletico Madrid v. Juventus
Manchester United v. Paris Saint-Germain
Tottenham Hotspur v. Borussia Dortmund
Lyon v. Barcelona
Roma v. Porto
Ajax v. Real Madrid
Liverpool v. Bayern Munich
BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) Geraint Thomas has been voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year after becoming the third British cyclist to win the Tour de France.
In a public vote, Thomas beat five-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton — a former winner of the BBC award — into second place, while England soccer captain Harry Kane, who led his team to the World Cup semifinals, was third.
The 32-year-old Welshman joined Bradley Wiggins (2012) and Chris Froome (2013, ’15, ’16, ’17) as Britons to win the Tour de France. Wiggins has won the BBC award, but Froome never has.
“It’s been an amazing year for British sport,” Thomas said, “and long may it continue.”
Club America had a tall mountain to climb following their scoreless draw, at home, with Cruz Azul in the first leg of Liga MX’s Apertura final on Thursday, but climb that mountain they did with a 2-0 victory at Estadio Azteca on Sunday.
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Midfielder Edson Alvarez scored both goals in the game — five minutes into the second half and one minute before full-time — as America claimed their record 13th league title (first since 2014).
Cruz Azul goalkeeper Jose de Jesus Corona committed a costly error to set up Alvarez for the opener, and ultimately the winner. Alvarez’s second came courtesy of a bit of fortuitous timing, as Corona made the initial save on Cecilio Dominguez’s shot, but the rebound fell to Alvarez for a straightforward finish.
It was the second league title of manager Miguel Herrera’s career, and his first since his first stint with America, in 2013.
Cruz Azul saw their title-less streak reach 21 years, in heartbreaking fashion, after finishing top of the table in the regular season. They are now the first team in Mexican history to lose six straight finals appearances.