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Petr Cech criticizes Bayer Leverkusen for Twitter banter

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Bayer Leverkusen made a joke about Arsenal’s starting goalkeeper. Petr Cech didn’t find it very funny.

The German club on Twitter took a shot across Cech’s bow for a slight (and ultimately not costly) blunder during Arsenal’s opening day loss to Manchester City.

Cech, starting in net ahead of former Bayer goalkeeper Bernd Leno, horribly mishit a back-pass from Matteo Guendouzi that skipped hard to his right and just missed tucking inside the far post for an own-goal. Bayer Leverkusen, seeing the mistake with Leno on the bench, tweeted, “We know a guy…” in response to someone posting video of the near-miss.

The 36-year-old wasn’t very happy with the attempt at humor, urging the German club to do some research on “fair competition, professionalism, and sportsmanship.”

Leverkusen responded to Cech’s tweet, attempting to backtrack by saying, “Hi Petr. It seems our joke about wanting to see Leno, our former player, in action has been taken a bit more harshly/personally than intended. It was only a bit of banter. We’re all for the values you’ve stated and wish you and your big club all the best. Nice 1v1 save on Aguero!”

Leno was bought this summer for a reported $28.5 million fee, with former backup David Ospina reportedly on his way out, although no move has materialized just yet.

Arsenal seals transfer of German goalkeeper Leno

Arsenal.com
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Arsenal unveiled German goalkeeper Bernd Leno on Tuesday as the latest member of Unai Emery’s unit.

The longtime Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper, 26, has six caps for Germany but is not on the World Cup roster.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Leno had appeared in 304 matches for Bayer before the move, which will reportedly cost the Gunners approximately $25 million.

Head coach Unai Emery said: “We are very pleased that Bernd Leno will be joining us. Bernd is a goalkeeper of high quality and experience. He has been a top performer and regular number one goalkeeper with Leverkusen in the Bundesliga for the past seven years. We are all excited that Bernd has chosen Arsenal Football Club and look forward to start working with him in pre-season.”

The Gunners have Petr Cech and David Ospina at goalkeeper, but it’s reasonable to expect at least one to leave town. Emery has already added Stephan Lichtsteiner from Juventus to help shore up his defense.

Report: Arteta, Arsenal to meet on Thursday

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Arsenal could have its successor to Arsene Wenger by the end of the week.

That’s if talks with former Gunners midfielder and current Manchester City assistant Mikel Arteta go well.

[ PL TOP 10: GKs and backs | Mids and forwards ]

Already reported as a clear favorite for the job, Arteta will speak with the Gunners brass on Thursday. Sky Sports also says he’d be allowed to bring his own backroom staff.

Pep Guardiola won’t stand in the way of his assistant moving up in the Premier League world, and it would certainly be interesting to see how Arteta would attack and defend his former side.

When Arteta retired from Arsenal in 2016, he was a teammate of several current Gunners’ stars including Mesut Ozil, Laurent Koscielny, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Hector Bellerin, and Nacho Monreal.

Meanwhile, the Metro is reporting that Arsenal is ready to spend $102 million on Freiburg defender Caglar Soyuncu, Borussia Dortmund center back Sokratis Papastathopoulos, and Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

Atletico Madrid 1-0 (1-1) Bayer Leverkusen: Torres gets winner in gripping PK shootout

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Last season’s runners-up needed a win to advance in the UEFA Champions League, and Atletico Madrid’s 1-0 advantage after 90 minutes forced extra time with visiting Bayer Leverkusen at the Vicente Calderon on Tuesday.

There was tension, but not a lot of opportunity between the two sides (especially once Mario Suarez evened the score 1-1 on aggregate). penalty kicks changed that.

Atletico moved to 1-3 in UCL PK shootouts, while Bayer falls to 1-1. They can thank Turkish defender Omer Toprak, who had the goal deflect off him and then missed this side’s third PK attempt of the shootout.

Six of eight UCL quarterfinal berths are decided, with Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, AS Monaco, Porto and Bayern Munich all through.

Borussia Dortmund vs.Juventus and Barcelona vs. Manchester City round out the Round of 16 on Wednesday.

[ RELATED: Champions League schedule ]

source: APAtletico hit its first obstacle in the 23rd minute, as an injury forced veteran goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya off for 22-year-old Slovakian backstop Jan Oblak. The backup would prove more than able in a match that came down to kicks.

Mario Suarez returned the match to even footing with Atletico’s first shot on target of the night, a clearance off a free kick play that deflected off the foot of Toprak. It was 1-0 on the night, and 1-1 overall.

Leverkusen spent the majority of the first half hemmed in their own end. When they did counter, Oblak was aided by his quick defense, particularly Joao Miranda.

The second half found two sides playing quite different. Bayer sat back and counted on their team defense and keeper Bernd Leno, while Atlei looked happy to press for the goal that would end it.

Despite the addition of Fernando Torres to the fold in the 81st minute, the match went to extra time, where Stefan Kiessling’s cheeky shot through a defender’s legs bounded wide of the goal.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

source: APA tense 15 minutes of extra time gave way to the break, leaving the clubs another 15 minutes away from the cruelty of a shootout. Leno made a two-handed stop on an in-tight shot from Arda Turan shortly after play resumed in extra time.

Raul Garcia airmailed the first PK, and Atletico was instantly in a hole. But only for a time, as Calhanoglu hit a weak ball down the middle that Oblak stopped easily. It was one of the worst PKs you’ll see.

Antoine Griezmann suffered no such problem, scoring before Rolfes equalized to make it 1-1 after two sets of shooters. Mario Suarez scored a borderline unstoppable goal before Toprak put a poor attempt over the bar. But Leno dove low and right to thwart a good shot from Koke. Wow!

Castro scored on Bayer’s next attempt to level things at two going into the fifth takers. Torres sent a beauty into the goal, and Oblak was on the clock to deal with Kiessling, who sent it over the bar.

LINEUPS

Atletico Madrid: Moya (Oblak, 23′), Juanfran, Miranda, Gimenez, Jesus Gamez, Cani (Raul Garcia, 46′), Mario Suarez, Koke, Turan, Griezmann, Mandzukic (Torres, 83′).

Goal: (Suarez, 27′)

Bayer Leverkusen: Leno, Hilbert, Toprak, Spahic, Wendell, Bellarabi, Castro, Bender (Papadopoulos, 105′), Son (Rolfes, 77′), Calhanoglu, Drmic (Kiessling, 70′)

UEFA Champions League roundup: Bayern Munich, Manchester City into the knockout round

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Tuesday was the first day teams could secure spots in UEFA Champions League’s knockout round, an opportunity that should have seen Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City into the round of 16. But Tuesday draws meant two sides missed their chance to lockdown places, and while it’s inevitable that each will not only go through but win their respective groups, only the two teams atop Group D can claim to be qualified for the next phase of the competition.

For Bayern Munich, that accomplishment comes with a European record, their ninth straight Champions League victory tying the defending champions with 2002-03’s Barcelona for longest streak in the competition. Though their 1-0 win at Viktoria Plzen proved closer than most expected, it was still enough to keep them perfect through four games.

Second in Group D is Manchester City, whose 5-2 win over CSKA Moscow leaves them on nine points, six ahead of the Russian champions. But with the head-to-head tiebreaker slid inside Manuel Pellegrini’s blazer, City have secure their first passage into the final 16, with a hat trick from Alvaro Negredo fueling the Citizens’ history-making win.

Real Madrid, drawn in Turin, and PSG, held at home, still lead their groups, but their perfect records went out the window with Tuesday stalemates.

Here’s what else happened Wednesday in UEFA Champions League:

Group A: Real Sociedad (Spain) 0-0 Manchester United (England) [REACTION]

Zzzzz. Though in fairness … Zzzzzzzzzz.

PST’s Steve Davis:

From the lineup selections to a wee lack of urgency from the UEFA Group A leaders, it all seemed a bit deflated as Manchester United and last place Real Sociedad exchanged a couple of bad misses, a few half chances and not much else. United will retain a Group A lead after the 0-0 draw, one where the second half did come to life a bit, at least, following a first 45 that could kindly be termed “sleepy.”

Thank you, David Moyes.

United stay on top of Group A, their eight points in four enough for a one-point lead on Bayer Leverkusen.

[MORE: Manchester United, Real Sociedad plod along to a 0-0 Champions League draw]

Group A: Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine) 0-0 Bayer Leverkusen (Germany)

Shakhtar, needing a win to pull even with Bayer, seemed to throw everything at Bayer for 45 minutes, testing Bayer keeper Bernd Leno multiple times, albeit opening themselves up to counters while doing so. An open and exciting half saw the Ukranian champions dominate, though with no reward. In the second, Bayer came into the game and began to level play, doing enough to keep their three-point lead on Shakhtar through the final whistle.

Group B: Juventus (Italy) 2-2 Real Madrid (Spain) [REACTION]

Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale scored in an eight-minute span of the second half pulling, the visitors in front of a Juventus side that had pinned Real in their own end throughout the first half. A Fernando Llorente goal equalized for the hosts, who were unable to find a winner over the match’s final 25 minutes.

From our recap:

The good news, however: [Juventus] still control their knockout round fate. Win both of their final group stage matches, and their nine points will see them through. But with a trip to Istanbul on the round’s last day, Juve still find themselves in a precarious position, one they could have avoided without eight terrible minutes on Tuesday.

[MORE: Eight-minute spell costs Juventus against Real Madrid, leaves Old Lady drawn, winless in Champions League]

Group B: Copenhagen (Denmark) 1-0 Galatasaray (Turkey)

Galatasaray could have taken control of the race for second with a win in Denmark, but one bad, sisth minute sequence from right back Emmanuel Eboué decided the match. The former Arsenal defender kept Daniel Braaten onside ahead of a Rurik Gislason cross, then failed to recover before the FCK attacker scored the match’s only goal. The teams are now tied on four points, six behind Real Madrid.

Group C: Paris Saint-Germain (France) 1-1 Anderlecht (Belgium)

Two weeks after losing 5-0 at home, Anderlecht earn their first point of the tournament, ruining PSG’s perfect record in the process. Sacha Kljestan’s second half run from deep midfield set up Demy de Zeeuw for a shock second half opener, a goal that was pulled back two minutes later by Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Though Klejstan later saw a second yellow card, Anderlecht were able to hold on for a surprise draw in Paris.

Group C: Olympiacos (Greece) 1-0 Benfica (Portugal) 

Based on the game in Lisbon, this might have been the exact match we should have expected. Olympiacos, content to play on the back foot regardless, were given license to do so after going up early through defender Kostas Manolas. The plan, however, would have blown up in their faces had it not been for Roberto’s eight saves, preserving the result and Olympiacos’s path into the knockout round.

Group D: Viktoria Plzen (Czech Republic) 0-1 Bayern Munich (Germany)

As opposed to the 5-0 in Munich two weeks ago, this was a much more typical Bayern game, with the holders’ dominance of possession not easily translated to the scoreboard. It wasn’t until Pep Guardiola sacrificed Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Müller at the hour that something happened, with substitute Mario Mandzukic beating Matús Kozácik six minutes later. Had it not been for Kozácik, though, the margin would have been much worse. The Viktoria keeper finished with eight saves.

Group D: Manchester City (England) 5-2 CSKA Moscow (Russia) [REACTION]

The Citizens secure their first knockout round spot thanks to five goals from their forward tandem, the first of which came from Sergio Agüero three minutes in. He’d complete his double within 20 minutes before Álvaro Negredo recorded a hat trick, with Seydou Doumbia’s goals on each side of half time CSKA’s only bright spots.

From our recap:

Coming off a 7-0 win in Premier League, Tuesday represented City’s second offensive explosion in four days, one which earned the club a bit of history. Though they remain three points behind Bayern Munich for first in Group D, their six-point edge on third-place CSKA ensures the team will be in Champions League come February. For the first time in club history, the team will take part in the competition’s knockout rounds, and while that’s a misleading factoid given City have only made three appearances in the competition, third and fourth place group stage finishes the last two years were seen as bitter disappointments – part of the season Manuel Pellegrini was brought in to replace Roberto Mancini.

[MORE: Álvaro Negredo hat trick helps Manchester City claim first Champions League knockout round spot]