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Report: Man City set to meet with Sporting CP on Fernandes

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From Fernando to Fernandinho to Fernandes.

Or Bernardo to Bruno, if you please.

Yeah, it fits.

Alliteration aside, Manchester City is said to be looking hard at 24-year-old Sporting CP midfielder Bruno Fernandes ahead of a summer move.

[ UCL: Barca-Liverpool preview ]

A Bola says City technical director Txiki Begiristain will welcome Sporting’s hierarchy to Manchester soon to discuss terms.

Fernandes has 28 goals and 16 assists in 49 matches across all competitions this season, though he was blanked over 180 minutes by Arsenal in Europa League play.

He was productive as a young player in Serie A with Udinese and Sampdoria, but the 11-times capped Portuguese has found a new level since returning home.

He was the Portuguese league’s Player of the Year last season and was also named to the Europa League Squad of the Season.

One word for all eight teams after the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal 1st legs

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The UEFA Champions League quarterfinal first legs are in the books, and here’s one word and an explanatory thought (or two) for each team at the midpoint.

[ MORE: Smalling, McTominay okay with result ]


Manchester United v. Barcelona1st leg RECAP

Barcelona – Content.

Ernesto Valverde wouldn’t have minded a second goal, or several more, but the Blaugranas set up for a 1-0 win at Old Trafford and got exactly that.

Manchester United – Relieved.

Ole Gunnar Solskajer’s team was also punchless on offense, but certainly not inoffensive with its punch in a physical match, and they’ll also be relieved that the OGS era of Red Devils football did not involve a blowout home loss to his best opponent yet.


Ajax 1-1 Juventus1st leg RECAP

Ajax – Disappointed.

Anyone who watched Wednesday’s first leg in Amsterdam and not just the highlight of Ronaldo’s headed goal will know that Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt, and Ajax’s 18-7 shot advantage was not misleading: Ajax should be leading, not level at 1-1.

Juventus – Tired.

The Old Lady was stout at the back, but produced its goal via its lone shot on target. Turin will be a different beast, or Cristiano Ronaldo’s dreams of a UCL four-peat are dead.


 

(AP Photo/Dave Thompson)

Liverpool 2-0 Porto1st leg RECAP

Porto – Exasperated.

Moussa Marega gave Virgil Van Dijk everything he could handle, even winning the battle, but Alisson Becker’s saves made and Liverpool’s clinical finishing likely mean the end for Porto despite both teams producing the same amount of chances at Anfield.

Liverpool – Gleeful.

Liverpool knows how much better it is than it’s been over the past few weeks, and to escape Tuesday’s so-so display with a 2-0 lead is like putting a quarter in the cosmetic jewelry dispenser and seeing a blue diamond spit into your palm (and the confidence that comes from making the journey to the final last season really begins to pay off now).


Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Man City1st leg RECAP

Tottenham Hotspur – Confident.

After the loss to Man City at Wembley on a substandard pitch, Spurs knew they could beat City and will be pleased to have done just that without conceding an away goal; Score at the Etihad and watch City open up wider.

Manchester City – Bemused.

The City players will be looking at their wizard of a manager and wondering why he didn’t trust the team that got them there, keeping Kevin De Bruyne amongst several on the bench, and will also be perplexed that those changes so drastically affected what’s otherwise been a controlling side.

Latest Cristiano Ronaldo injury update

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Juventus fans will be sweating on the fitness of their star player.

Cristiano Ronaldo, 34, pulled up early during Portugal’s 1-1 drew in Lisbon against Serbia in their UEFA EURO 2020 qualifier on Monday.

[ MORE: EURO 2020 qualifying roundup

It looked as though Ronaldo had tweaked his hamstring, which is an extremely tough injury to recover from quickly.

Speaking after the game briefly to Portuguese media, here’s what Ronaldo had to say.

“I’m not worried, I know my body. I should be back in one or two weeks,” Ronaldo said.

Even though they sit pretty atop the Serie A table with a 15-point lead with 10 games to go, Juventus play against Ajax in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals on Apr. 10.

That doesn’t give Ronaldo that much time to recover for the first leg in Amsterdam.

Despite Juve being the favorites to advance past the Dutch giants, not having Ronaldo (their top goalscorer) available for the first leg would certainly be a problem for Max Allegri’s men. And even then, the second leg in Turin takes place just six days later so this is far from ideal.

His heroic hat trick in the last 16 second leg win against Atletico Madrid got them to the last eight, and the main reason Juventus signed Ronaldo was so they could finally win the UCL trophy again after a 23-year wait.

That all hinges on Ronaldo’s fitness, and the likes of Dybala and Mandzukic stepping up in his absence.

Ronaldo asks for sub following leg injury for Portugal

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Juventus supporters will be hoping their hero is keeping it safe rather than sorry.

Cristiano Ronaldo has left Portugal’s EURO 2020 qualifier with Serbia after sustaining an injury in the first half at the Estadio da Luz on Monday.

[ MORE: Liverpool ready to sell Keita? ]

The 34-year-old pulled up mid-run and asked to be taken out of the game around the half-hour mark, with Portugal trailing Serbia 1-0 on a Dusan Tadic penalty.

Ronaldo went 90 minutes against Ukraine last week in his first Portugal appearance since Uruguay eliminated the EURO 2016 champs from the 2018 World Cup.

Juve has a 15-point lead on Napoli with 10 matches to play in the Serie A season, and won’t begin its next UEFA Champions League round until April 10 at Ajax.

Euro 2020 Roundup: France thrashes Moldova, Portugal fails to score

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France showed on Friday that it hasn’t lost its mojo, as it tore apart Moldova on the road, 4-1, in its Euro 2020 qualifying opener.

Antoine Griezmann, Raphael Varane, Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappe all scored in the win for France, which jumps well ahead in the Group H standings. For Giroud, it tied him for third in all-time scoring for Les Bleus.

Elsewhere, Portugal suffered a surprising result in a scoreless draw with Ukraine. The defending European champions failed to score, despite starting Bernardo Silva and Cristiano Ronaldo up top. It’s the third straight time that Portugal has started off a qualification campaign without a win.

Here’s a look at the other scores around Euro 2020 qualifying on Friday:

Bulgaria 1-1 Montenegro

Albania 0-2 Turkey

Andorra 0-2 Iceland

Luxembourg 2-1 Lithuania