joeprincewright

AP

Three things: Man City v. Tottenham

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This will go down as one of the greatest, and most dramatic, games in the history of the UEFA Champions League.

In their quarterfinal second leg at the Etihad Stadium Manchester City beat Tottenham 4-3 on the night but drew 4-4 on aggregate and lost on the away goals rule, as their dream of winning an unprecedented quadruple is over.

Spurs will play Ajax in the UCL semifinals, and Man City were knocked out at the quarterfinal stage by a fellow Premier League club for the second-straight season.

After two goals a piece from Heung-Min Son and Raheem Sterling kicked off a wild opening 21 minutes where five goals were scored, VAR drama in stoppage time saw Man City score, as they thought they had won 5-4 on aggregate. But Sterling’s goal was chalked off and Pep Guardiola‘s men were beaten by Mauricio Pochettino‘s battling Spurs who were without top goalscorer Harry Kane but Son and Fernando Llorente delivered the goods.

Good news for neutrals: Man City host Tottenham on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) in a crucial Premier League game for both clubs.

Here’s what we learned from a wild encounter, which will go down as one of the most incredible 90 minutes in the history of European action.


HISTORIC START SETS TONE FOR INSTANT CLASSIC

Five goals were scored in the opening 21 minutes of the game, which set a new record for the quickest time five goals have been scored in a single Champions League game. Aside from that wild opening period, which ended in Raheem Sterling putting Man City 3-2, the entire game was played at a frantic pace which will see it go down as one of the greatest games in Champions League history. Both teams threw caution to the wind and just went for it.

This was playground football. One team scored, another went up the other end to score. One team attacked, the other then launched a counter. Guardiola and Pochettino will have been far from happy with the standard of defending throughout, but this was one of those games people will be talking about for years and was a real “I was there” moment for anyone at the Etihad Stadium.

Man City went 4-2 up, and thought they had it in the bag, then Fernando Llorente made it 4-3 after a lengthy check with VAR, and then came Sterling’s hat trick goal in the 93rd minute which sparked pandemonium inside the Eithad… only for VAR to correctly show the goal was offside.

This game had it all and it will be shown again and again for the next few decades.


STERLING, KDB SUBLIME BUT CITY’S QUADRUPLE DREAM OVER

Raheem Sterling is having the season of his life and has now scored four goals in his last two games, and on top of Sterling’s goals, the return to form and fitness of Kevin De Bruyne has been a huge bonus for Guardiola’s side despite their heartbreaking exit to Spurs. De Bruyne has now assisted on six of City’s last eight goals, with the Belgian midfielder taking games by the scruff of the neck and making up for lost time after his lengthy spells out this season.

City thought they had sealed yet another dramatic late win, one that would rival Aguero’s amazing last-gasp goal to win them the Premier League title in 2012, but it wasn’t to be. They dominated the game and beat Spurs fair and square in the second leg, but Aguero’s missed penalty kick in the first leg and slack defending from Vincent Kompany and Aymeric Laporte in the second leg ended their chances of winning a historic quadruple.

City’s Champions League jinx has continued for another season, and it was made even crueler by knowing they deserved to go through and thought they had before VAR denied them. Guardiola has long been a fan of VAR technology, but he must feel sick to his stomach as City once again came up short in Europe. He will hope that disappointment will now fuel them to complete the domestic treble, but it is likely this defeat to Spurs over two legs will haunt this group of players for at least the next few months, if not years.


SPURS, SON, DEFIED BELIEF

Losing Harry Kane in the first leg and Moussa Sissoko in the second leg hit Spurs hard in both games, but with Heung-min Son stepping up to score three of their four goals and almost adding a few others, the South Korean star and Tottenham didn’t really deserve to get knocked out of the Champions League.

This was the moment Son truly arrived as a world-class player. He has been criminally underrated in the past few seasons and has stepped up in Kane’s absence again, big time. Llorente, only on for the injured Sissoko, turned out to the hero for Spurs, as they dug deep and rode their luck at City.

As for Spurs’ run to the Champions League last four, for so long it looked like the “Spursy” tag would strike again in this second leg after they chucked away a 2-1 lead by giving up three-straight goals. But they did it. And they’re in the semifinals of the European Cup for just the second time in club history. This is Pochettino’s greatest-ever achievement as a manager, and many will forget that Spurs didn’t win any of their opening three group games, and were 12 minutes from being eliminated but rallied to beat PSV at home in their fourth group game.

Given their injury-hit squad, not playing at their home stadium until the final weeks of the season and not signing a single player in the past two transfer windows, Pochettino has worked miracles. They beat Man City, the favorites to win the Champions League, fair and square over two legs and despite Ajax’s young stars stunning both Real Madrid and Juventus in the last two rounds, Tottenham will be the favorites to advance to the UCL final in Madrid on June 1.

Write this Tottenham team off at your peril.

LIVE, Champions League: Barcelona v. Man United; Juventus v. Ajax

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Two finely balanced ties take center stage in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, as the quarterfinal stage concludes.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Manchester United head to Barcelona for their second leg hoping to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg against Lionel Messi and Co. It will be a tall order for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s men, but he more than anyone knows that even the impossible is possible at the Nou Camp…

In the other quarterfinal second leg there is an intriguing clash as Juventus host Ajax with the scores locked at 1-1 from the first leg in Amsterdam. Cristiano Ronaldo is working his way back to full fitness, but the likes of Dusan Tadic will be aiming to secure another famous away win after they dumped reigning champs Real Madrid out in the last round.

Below is the full schedule for Tuesday’s games, while we will have you covered here at Pro Soccer Talk with analysis and reaction from both games.


Tuesday’s UCL quarterfinal, second leg schedule

Barcelona v. Manchester United – 3 p.m. ET kick off (Barcelona lead 1-0 on aggregate)
Juventus v. Ajax – 3 p.m. ET kick off (1-1 on aggregate)

Watch Live: Brighton v. Cardiff

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Brighton & Hove Albion host Cardiff City on Tuesday (Watch live, 2:45 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) at the Amex, in a massive game in the relegation battle.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

The Seagulls have slumped in recent months and were hammered 5-0 at home by Bournemouth last time out. Chris Hughton‘s men sit five points above Cardiff heading into this game, with Neil Warnock‘s side occupying the final relegation spot and knowing they simply must win to give themselves a chance of staying in the Premier League.

In team news Brighton make five changes as Bruno, Jahanbakhsh, March, Gross and Murray all come into the starting lineups following their thumping at the weekend.

Cardiff make two changes in attack, as Oumar Niasse and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing replacing Kenneth Zohore and Josh Murphy in attack.


LINEUPS

Premier League player Power Rankings

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The latest batch of Premier League player Power Rankings are out, as the busy schedule continues to see the stars rise to the top.

[ MORE: Full Power Rankings archive ]

Players from Liverpool, Man City, Tottenham and Southampton dominate our list, as those teams are in fine form right now.

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League. If they didn’t play in the last matchweek, they aren’t getting in this list!

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.


  1. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) – Up 2
  2. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – New entry
  3. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) – New entry
  4. Lucas Moura (Tottenham) – New entry
  5. Raheem Sterling (Man City) – Up 4
  6. Nathan Redmond (Southampton) – New entry
  7. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) – Down 2
  8. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) – New entry
  9. Heung-Min Son (Tottenham) – New entry
  10. Chris Wood (Burnley) – New entry
  11. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) – Down 4
  12. Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool) – Down 4
  13. Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham) – New entry
  14. Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth) – New entry
  15. Raul Jimenez (Wolves) – Down 13
  16. David De Gea (Man United) – New entry
  17. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Southampton) – Down 2
  18. Callum Wilson (Bournemouth) – New entry
  19. Paul Pogba (Man United) – New entry
  20. Martin Dubravka (Newcastle) – New entry

Joe Gomez ready for Liverpool return

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Joe Gomez has handed Liverpool another huge boost in their quest to win the Premier League title.

The England international, 21, has been out since suffering a fracture to his lower left leg during a win at Burnley in December.

Initially, Gomez was only going to be out for a few weeks but complications have since arrived and he has had to have surgery and further treatment to rectify the issue.

Speaking ahead of Liverpool’s UEFA Champions League quarterfinal second leg at Porto on Wednesday (Liverpool have a 2-0 lead from the first leg), Jurgen Klopp revealed Gomez is now available for selection and has travelled with the team to Portugal.

“Absolutely [he looks strong]. Ox and Joe both did really well at Leicester, it was a brilliant game by all of the boys, to be honest, I watched it back. It looked really good,” Klopp said. “It’s clear they still need time to get full match fitness but it’s nice to have them back and now Joe first as an option. He played right full-back, we need him as this option as well. We all know he played a wonderful season at the centre-half position until his injury, but he can play both and it’s good to have him.”

Klopp now has a lot of options in defense, as Joel Matip has stepped in and played pretty well alongside Virgil Van Dijk over the past few months, as losing Gomez for a pivotal stretch of the season was a big concern for Liverpool. Even though Matip has filled in well, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson are clearly Liverpool’s first-choice back four.

With Dejan Lovren out with illness, getting Gomez back is a big deal for Liverpool as the composed center back was developing a superb relationship with VVD in the heart of Liverpool’s defense. However, with only TAA as a right back option and the likes of James Milner having to fill in there at times, it seems likely Gomez will rotate in that full back role in the final weeks of the season rather than disrupt the Matip-VVD partnership.

Mark this down as another big plus for Liverpool in their quest to win the league title for the first time since 1989-90.

In other injury news, Klopp also confirmed that Lovren is out of the game against Porto, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain needs more fitness work, Adam Lallana has returned to training and Jordan Henderson is fit after a slight ankle knock against Chelsea.

All in all, good news for Liverpool as they enter a season-defining 10 days.