Chelsea advanced to the UEFA Europa League semifinals on Thursday evening, but not without a few heart-stopping moments at both ends of the field.
Chelsea defeated Slavia Prague, 4-3, (5-3 on aggregate) in a seven-goal thriller that looked at one point to be headed for double digits in combined goals. Pedro scored a pair of goals, the first on a wonderful team effort, while Olivier Giroud and an own goal also helped Chelsea’s cause.
While Chelsea ran out to an impressive 4-1 lead on the night at the halftime break, Slavia Prague was kept in the game thanks to the right leg of Petr Ševčík, who scored twice early in the second half to make it a game again, and put Slavia just two goals away from an improbable result at Stamford Bridge.
After Tottenham’s wild finish past Manchester City, anything seems to be possible these days. However, Chelsea held down the fort late and survived to advance to the next round.
In the match, Chelsea displayed some of the beautiful soccer that had made Maurizio Sarri such a prized figure in coaching circles. Chelsea’s first goal featured a litany of one-touch passes and great off the ball movement, ending with a Pedro goal.
An absolutely spectacular team goal from @ChelseaFCinUSA doubles their aggregate lead 🤭🔵
Chelsea went up 2-0 thanks to an own goal we’ve rarely seen before, as Pedro fired a shot that cannon’d off the post, popped up in the air and directed off Slavia Prague defender Simon Dell and into his own net. Then Giroud scored before Pedro finished at the first post again on what should have been his hat-trick to put Chelsea up 4-1.
The most unfortunate own goal you'll ever see puts @ChelseaFCinUSA ahead 3-0 on aggregate 🤦♂️
However, Ševčík wasn’t finished yet, and the Czech midfielder popped a pair of great goals to make for some nervy moments late at Stamford Bridge. Ultimately, though, Chelsea was able to move on and advance to the semifinals. Chelsea will next face Eintracht Frankfort, which completed a terrific home comeback with a 2-0 win to go through past Benfica on away goals, tied 4-4 on aggregate.
NWSL extends league-wide training moratorium through May
All NWSL teams will be unable to partake in team trainings until at least May 5, extending its previous training moratorium that was set to expire on Sunday, April 5. The 2020 season – which was set to start on April 18 – is expected to start by the end of June, according to NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird.
“We’ve been just communicating with our players and we’re targeting for the end of June for our season to start,” Baird told The Equalizer. “I say that with conviction and hope, but … we’re gonna adhere to the public health guidelines that are in place at the time and I don’t think that we can predict what they are. But our strategy is in place.”
Earlier this week, Major League Soccer and United Soccer League extended their training moratorium through April 24 and April 19, respectively.
Southgate’s move, which is reportedly expected to be confirmed by the Football Association (FA) next week, comes hours after the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) released a statement on behalf of the Premier League players responding to proposed pay cuts.
A FA spokesperson told Sky Sports the following: “The financial implications of the coronavirus are not yet known however, as a not-for-profit organization, we want to ensure that we take the appropriate course of action to support the wider organization and our employees.
“We will make a further announcement on our next steps in due course.”
On Friday, Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe – and a handful of technical staff personnel – became the first Premier League manager to take a voluntary pay cut. Howe’s “significant, voluntary” pay cuts were done in light of the club furloughing non-playing employees throughout the organization, joining Tottenham, Norwich, Newcastle and Liverpool.
MADRID (AP) The Spanish league and players are still far apart on the size of the salary cuts they need to take to help reduce the financial impact caused by the coronavirus outbreak, with the footballers saying the organization wants them to carry nearly half the total losses.
The league and the players’ association have been in talks to try to find ways to mitigate losses that could reach nearly 1 billion euros ($1.08 billion) if the season cannot be restarted because of the pandemic.
The players have said they are willing to reduce their salaries, but not as much as the league or the clubs want.
“After analyzing the current circumstances of the sector and given the distance in conversations with the players’ association, it is necessary to adopt measures in view of the serious economic crisis that COVID-19 is causing in the Spanish soccer industry,” the league said in a statement.
It also added that government furloughs are “an exceptional mechanism to avoid and mitigate the negative impact that COVID-19 is having on the sector, and thus guarantee its subsequent recovery.”
According to media reports, the league expects losses of 957 million euros ($1.03 billion) if the season is canceled, with 303 million euros ($327 million) lost if it resumes with games in empty stadiums and 156 million euros ($168 million) of deficits if it continues with fans.
The players said the total cuts in salaries requested by the league would account for 451 million euros ($487 million) if the top flight cannot restart.
The reduction in salaries being discussed reportedly varies depending on the clubs, and also on whether they are playing in the Champions League or the Europa League.
Team captains met with the players’ association late Friday to discuss their options after the league earlier in the day called for all clubs to put the footballers on government furloughs to reduce labor costs while the stoppage of play continued. The furloughs help the clubs and guarantee players their jobs once the crisis is over.
The league said it is responsible for preserving an industry that represents 1.37 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product and employs about 185,000 people.
Atlético Madrid and Barcelona were among the clubs to resort to the furloughs in recent days. Both reached an agreement with players to reduce their salaries by 70 percent, and guaranteed the wages of other employees were unaffected.
There are nearly 125,000 cases of the new coronavirus in Spain, which on Saturday surpassed Italy as the country with the second-most infections behind the United States. The death toll in the nation stands at 11,744.
The government is expected to extend lockdown measures until April 26, likely keeping the Spanish league suspended until then.
The league has said the season won’t resume until authorities deem it safe for everyone’s health. It said it will recommend a “minimum of 15 days” of practice before the games can restart, though it suggested recently the training period may begin with restrictions before the lockdown is removed.
With no live games going on across the vast majority of the world right now, it feels good to at least watch soccer of some kind.
Below are trailers and explainers on 10 movies which differ vastly. From serious documentaries to comedies, we have you covered. There’s something for everyone in the list below. Trust me.
In no particular order, let’s take a look at which soccer movies are essential viewing.
Asif Kapadia, the director of Senna, has produced the best-ever documentary on Diego Armando Maradona. There have been plenty of films which have detailed one of the greatest players in the history of the game but this is just stunning. Kapadia had hundreds of hours of never before seen footage and this docudrama focuses on Maradona’s tumultuous spell at Napoli when he delivered to Serie A titles and was beloved by Neapolitans across the globe. But, like most things in his life, his genius on the pitch got him into trouble off it. Watch this. You will not regret it. One of the great soccer movies ever made.
Escape to Victory
Pele. Check. Bobby Moore. Check. Michael Caine. Check. Sylvester Stallone. Check. Need I say more? Perhaps the greatest soccer movie in history. Escape to Victory (which is known officially as Victory) is set in France during the Second World War and focuses on a team of star players playing against the German army amid the background of (you guessed it) an escape. Stallone’s antics as star goalkeeper, Pele’s bicycle kick and a rallying cry from Caine are just some of the great moments from this classic movie.
Brian Clough is perhaps the greatest manager England has ever produced. He won two European Cups with Nottingham Forest and league titles with Forest and rivals Derby County and did it all while making everyone laugh. This movie, starring Michael Sheen, focuses on his infamous 44-day spell in charge of Leeds United. Sabotage, player revolts and tremendous team talks. Just like the outspoken genius that was Brian Clough, this is top-notch entertainment.
We Must Go
An incredible documentary on Bob Bradley taking charge of the Egyptian national team after being fired by the USMNT in 2011. Amid the uprising against the government in Egypt, the Port Said massacre and huge unrest, people were united by one thing: Egypt reaching the 2014 World Cup for the first time in 24 years. This story about Bradley and his young team coming so close to their goal is emotional, dramatic and full of poignant moments. A reminder that Bradley, the current LAFC head coach, is the bravest coach in American soccer history.
Bend it Like Beckham
Keira Knightley and Parminder Nagra star as aspiring young female players in London as their team, against all the odds, prove they belong. A truly uplifting movie as curling free kicks like David Beckham’s famed right foot is still the main aim for every young English girl and boy growing up.
She’s the Man
Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum star in this comedy about high school soccer as Bynes pretends she is a boy to play on the varsity team but there is plenty of drama along the way. Another inspirational story about women proving antiquated attitudes are no longer welcome in the beautiful game.
Mike Bassett: England manager
Think of every single British soccer cliche you can. Okay? Put that in a movie with plenty of British comedy actors and it is hilarious. Not one of the most intellectual soccer movies out there but Ricky Tomlinson (who plays Mike Bassett) plays the part perfectly. Who would be the manager of England!?
Kicking and Screaming
Will Ferrell is a rising figure in the soccer world as part-owner at LAFC and this movie is a lovely crossover between his comedy genius and his love for the game. Coaching a team of underdogs which includes his young son, Ferrell transforms into a coach who is consumed by the game. Was this the inspiration for Ted Lasso?
The tragic story of the 1958 Munch Air Disaster is told in a compelling and gripping manner, as Manchester United’s famous Busby Babes are still revered to this day. One of the greatest teams English soccer has ever seen, the plane carrying United home from their European Cup clash at Partizan Belgrade crashed in Munich, Germany over a stop. Star players perished as the grief was felt by the entire soccer world.
One Night in Turin
Every single England fan out there will tell you they should have won the World Cup in 1990. Paul Gascogine’s tears. Gary Lineker’s goals. More penalty kick heartache. This was typical England. Set against the backdrop of hooliganism on the rise in England once again, Sir Bobby Robson led his unfancied Three Lions squad to the brink of their first World Cup final since 1966.