Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo is facing disciplinary action for his celebration after one of the three goals he scored in last week’s 3-0 win over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League.
Uefa said the Portuguese would face a hearing on Thursday for “improper conduct” during the last-16 second leg match, where Juventus completed a 3-2 aggregate win.
Ronaldo made a similar gesture to Atletico coach Diego Simeone, who celebrated his team’s opening goal in the first leg by turning to the crowd and putting his hands on his trousers. Place bet on Live Matches 24/7 on NaijaBet
Simeone was fined 20 000 euros ($22 708) for the incident but escaped a touchline ban for the return match. Juventus face Ajax Amsterdam in their quarterfinal.
Cristiano Ronaldo was rested and Juventus crashed to their first Serie A defeat of the season at Genoa on Sunday following their Champions League heroics, as Inter won a fiery Milan derby clash 3-2 to move into third ahead of city rivals AC Milan.
Ronaldo had fired Juventus into the European quarterfinals with a comeback victory over Atletico Madrid last Tuesday.
Without him the team slumped to a 2-0 defeat but still remain comfortably on track for an eighth consecutive league title.
Juventus’s lead was cut to 15 points by Napoli who got back winning, prevailing 4-2 against Udinese after goalkeeper David Ospina collapsed on the pitch after suffering a head injury.
The on-loan Arsenal goalkeeper was later given the all clear following a CT scan at a Naples hospital. Place bet on today’s games on NaijaBet
Juventus had won 24 of their 27 previous matches in Serie A this season with three draws, including a 1-1 stalemate against Genoa in Turin.
Continue reading “Juventus lose without Ronaldo, Inter go third with Milan derby win”
Arsenal are 3-1 down from the first leg but all is not lost as they did manage to score an away goal. The Gunners will be high on confidence after beating Manchester United 2-0 last time out.
Rennes have only lost two of their last 13 matches in all competitions, though both of those defeats were away from home.
Rennes are unbeaten in their last five Europa League matches and have scored exactly three goals in each of their last three in the competition.
Arsenal have won five in a row at home and had to come from a losing position in the last round of the Europa League. Can the Gunners do it again on Thursday?
Arsenal- Alexandre Lacazette’s suspension has been reduced and he is now available to face Rennes on Thursday, having missed the first leg. Sokratis is suspended, however, after being sent off against Rennes last week.
Lucas Torreira is currently in the middle of a domestic ban and has a good chance to start here, with Unai Emery set to shuffle his pack slightly. Bet Now on NaijaBet
Henrikh Mkhitaryan missed the 2-0 win over former club Manchester United at the weekend through injury and remains a doubt here.
Mesut Ozil has surprisingly started Arsenal’s last two matches but could drop down to the bench on Thursday. Continue reading “Europa League Match Preview: Arsenal vs Rennes (Agg 1-3)”
Zinedine Zidane takes charge of his first game since making an astonishing return to Real Madrid on Saturday against Celta Vigo which is set to be a de facto audition for next season for many of the team’s underperforming players.
Having sacked Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari for a series of embarrassing results, Real have decided to turn again to the former midfield great who won an unprecedented three Champions League titles in a row before resigning last May.
But Zidane made it clear in his presentation that sweeping changes must be made for his second coming to be a success, meaning many in his squad will be playing for their futures against Celta and in the other 10 remaining league games.
With Real out of the Champions League and Copa del Rey and sitting third in La Liga, 12 points behind leaders Barcelona, the only purpose for the remainder of the season is for Zidane to assess which players he wants to keep as he plots the team’s comeback in the next campaign.
Veteran defender Marcelo and Wales forward Gareth Bale are the most high profile names whose futures look uncertain under Zidane, while Dani Ceballos, Marco Asensio and Toni Kroos all have points to prove to their returning coach. Bet Now
One player who could benefit from Zidane’s comeback is Isco, who was outcast from the team by Solari, repeatedly left out of the Argentine’s squad for games even when the team was suffering from an injury crisis, as they will be against Celta. Continue reading “Zidane begins second coming with Real this Weekend”
Dynamo Kyiv are 3-0 down from the first leg and have left themselves too much to do here.
Chelsea hold all the cards from the first leg. Even with a rotated XI here they are expected to win again.
Dynamo Kyiv- Dynamo Kyiv welcome back Benjamin Verbic from suspension but the damage is already done after losing the first leg 3-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Vitaliy Buyalskiy is now banned for the Ukranian side after picking up a yellow card last Thursday.
Chelsea- Ross Barkley is one yellow card away from missing the next round of the Europa League and Maurizio Sarri may hold him back here. Place bet on Live Matches 24/7 on NaijaBet
With a 3-0 lead from the first leg, Sarri will surely shuffle his pack on Thursday and hand rare starts to the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi. Continue reading “Europa League Match Preview: Dynamo Kyiv vs Chelsea (0-3)”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp revelled in his side’s growing maturity on the European stage after dumping Bayern Munich out of the Champions League on Wednesday.
A Sadio Mane double and Virgil van Dijk’s towering header secured a 3-1 win on the night in Munich and on aggregate to secure Liverpool’s place in Friday’s quarterfinal draw alongside three other English sides.
“The second half (was) very, very mature. First half we should have played a bit more football,” said Klopp.
“It’s absolutely deserved that’s the main news I would say, because it’s so difficult to play away here at Bayern. They didn’t lose a lot of games (here).
“It’s a really big one, I’m so proud of the boys and how they did it.” Various Europa League Betting options on NaijaBet
Defeat may signal the end of an era for a Bayern side that has reached the semifinals in six of the past seven seasons, including when they beat Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund side to win the Champions League in 2012/13. Continue reading “Klopp hails maturing Liverpool after victory Bayern Munich”
Bayern will have been the happier of the two sides with the stalemate at Anfield last month but approach the second leg in worse shape than their visitors as far as injuries and suspensions are concerned.
The Bundesliga champions did record a thumping 6-0 win at the weekend and will be in confident mood, though Liverpool looked back on form in the attacking third themselves with a win over Burnley, so this promises to be an intriguing battle.
As a result this is an incredibly tough match to call, with the Reds knowing that away goals could be enough to see them through.
Bayern Munich- Joshua Kimmich received a third yellow card of the tournament in the first leg and joins Thomas Muller on the sidelines through suspension.
Rafinha will come in at right-back, while Serge Gnabry may switch flanks to that side to enable Franck Ribery to replace Muller from the 6-0 win over Wolfsbrug, with the Frenchman registering three assists from the bench at the weekend. Bet Now on NaijaBet
Arjen Robben could come back into contention following injury, though given Kimmich’s ban the more pressing need is to have David Alaba back available at left-back, with Rafinha having acted as cover in that position of late.
Continue reading “Champions League Match Preview: Bayern Munich vs Liverpool (Agg 0-0)”
Juventus shares soared by over 20% on the Milan stock exchange on Wednesday, the morning after Cristiano Ronaldo’s incredible hat-trick rescued the Italian giants Champions League campaign.
The Portuguese superstar added a late penalty to a pair of headers for a 3-0 win on the night and 3-2 on aggregate over Atletico Madrid to seal a place in the quarterfinals.
The Turin club’s shares jumped by 23% after the Milan stock exchange opened before dipping to 17.09% later in the morning.
In 90 minutes the five-time Ballon d’Or winner demonstrated why Juventus splashed out 100 million euros ($117 million) last summer to bring the Real Madrid star to Italy, in addition to his annual salary of 31 million euros.
“That’s why Juventus bought me, to help them in games like this,” the 34-year-old Ronaldo said after the game. Continue reading “Juventus shines after Ronaldo’s Champions League hat-trick rescues”
Barcelona will be hoping their profligacy from the first leg doesn’t come back to haunt them when they welcome Lyon to Camp Nou on Wednesday night. The hosts mustered 25 shots in the 0-0 draw, but have scored in every home game this season.
Lyon will be buoyed by the first leg result, but away from home, they have failed to win in three. That being said, a score draw would see the French side progress to the next round, so if they can nick an early goal, then they’ll be confident of securing a quarter-final spot.
However, Barcelona should secure the result needed to progress.
Barcelona- Rafinha is out for the season for the home side, while Ousmane Dembele and Thomas Vermaelen will be assessed ahead of Barcelona’s welcome of Lyon.
Should Dembele fail to prove his fitness, Coutinho could be handed another chance to impress on the left. Bet Now
Arturo Vidal and Arthur are competing for a starting spot alongside Ivan Rakitic and Sergio Busquets in midfield. Continue reading “Champions League Match Preview: Barcelona vs Lyon (Agg 0-0)”
Liverpool have no intention of sacrificing Champions League progress to boost their chances of winning the Premier League title and will do their best to win both competitions this season, goalkeeper Alisson has said.
The Merseyside club, who face Bayern Munich in the Champions League later on Wednesday, are also in the race for the Premier League title, leading some pundits to suggest they should prioritise domestic glory over European success.
Alisson’s teammate Mohamed Salah said earlier this week that he was willing to put his own Champions League ambitions on the back-burner to help his team win the Premier League. Place bet on tonight’s Champions Leagues Games on NaijaBet
“Our goal is to win the league and everything we’re playing in, the Champions League as well,” Alisson told a news conference on Tuesday. “We can’t choose what we go for. Actually, we can choose, and we choose both.” Continue reading “Liverpool must fight for glory in all competitions – Alisson”
Juventus have a mountain to climb after a 2-0 defeat in the first leg but have dropped points in just three matches at home in all competitions this season and will be confident of turning the tables.
Atletico have not been strong on the road all season, winning just seven matches in all competitions, but their defensive record will mean that this is an incredibly tough task for the hosts.
The hosts really need to score in the first half to unnerve their visitors but Simeone’s side have enough know-how about them to see them through.
Juventus- Alex Sandro is suspended having picked up a third yellow card of the tournament in Madrid, while Blaise Matuidi is one caution away from missing any potential quarter-final first leg.
Leonardo Bonucci and Paulo Dybala were among those rested from kick-off at the weekend, while the likes of Giorgio Chiellini, Mattia De Sciglio, Matuidi, Mario Mandzukic and Cristiano Ronaldo played no part whatsoever against Udinese. Various Betting Options are available on NaijaBet
Joao Cancelo and Miralem Pjanic will also be well rested having been suspended at the weekend, while Juan Cuadrado, Sami Khedira and Douglas Costa are all sidelined. Continue reading “Champions League Match Preview: Juventus vs Atletico Madrid”
Zinedine Zidane said he never had any doubts about returning to Real Madrid after he replaced the sacked Santiago Solari as coach on Monday.
“When the president called me the first thing I thought was: go,” Zidane said at a press conference at the Santiago Bernabeu. “I could not say no, I never had any doubts about going back.”
Zidane has been given a contract until June 2022, just nine months after he resigned at the end of last season, having led Madrid to an historic third consecutive Champions League triumph.
Solari’s dismissal was expected after three consecutive home defeats – to Barcelona, twice, and Ajax – deemed Madrid’s season all-but over before the middle of March.
But Zidane coming back, with only 11 games left in La Liga and almost nothing to play for, is a surprise, particularly after he left on the incredible high of yet another European triumph.
“I left because a change was needed at the end of last season, for the good of everyone, after winning so much,” Zidane said.
“I returned because the president called me. I love him and I love this club, so here I am.” Place bet on Live Matches 24/7 on NaijaBet
Zidane inherits a squad that has evolved even in the short time he has been away, with Cristiano Ronaldo gone and the likes of Thibaut Courtois, Vinicius Junior and Sergio Reguilon all enjoying greater prominence this season. Continue reading “I never had any doubts about going back to Real Madrid – Zidane”
Manchester City secured a late 3-2 win at Schalke in the first leg to put themselves in the driver’s seat to secure their spot in the next round of the Champions League. Having won their last nine, Pep Guardiola will demand his side maintain their focus to not lead their lead slip here.
Conversely, Schalke are struggling having failed to win their last six, losing five. On the road, they have won only one of their last nine matches, so it will take a monumental effort to secure their place in the next round of the Champions League.
Indeed, City should make light work of Schalke here.
Manchester City- Nicolas Otamendi and Fernandinho are both suspended for the home side and with John Stones a doubt, Vincent Kompany should deputise for the former alongside Aymeric Laporte at the heart of the defence.
Claudio Bravo is back in training, but isn’t expected to feature here, while Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero will be assessed, while the latter is one booking away from a ban. Bet Now
Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane weren’t part of the starting XI against Watford, but should feature from the off at the expense of Aguero and Riyad Mahrez. Continue reading “Champions League Match Preview: Manchester City vs Schalke 04”
Manchester United’s Ashley Young has called for greater protection for players after his team’s 2-0 Premier League defeat at Arsenal was disrupted by a fan running on to the pitch and shoving his teammate Chris Smalling.
The incident was one of several involving rogue fans over the weekend, with pitch invasions occurring in the Scottish Premiership, the English Championship (second-tier) as well as the Premier League.
A fan confronted Rangers captain James Tavernier in their 1-1 draw with Hibernian in Scotland on Friday, while Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish was punched in the face by a fan during Sunday’s 1-0 win at derby rivals Birmingham City.
“That’s the third time a fan has managed to get on the pitch (this weekend),” Young told reporters. “What if they are carrying something? The players will be in danger. Bet Now on NaijaBet
“It’s definitely something the FA, the Premier League and Fifa have got to do something about. I don’t know if it’s extra stewarding or what but it’s a concern with the one earlier today and the one on Chrissy. Something has got to be done.” Continue reading “Young called for more protection for players after pitch invasion”
Alvaro Morata has made a habit of looking lost and aggrieved during five years wandering Europe’s biggest clubs but in Atletico Madrid he may finally have found one to call home.
Three goals in two games and another couple ruled out by VAR mean Morata looks a player revived since his January loan move from Chelsea.
He started well there too, before confidence shrivelled to the point where faith from fans and coaches turned to frustration, and a belief he was contributing to his own decline.
Yet there is reason to suspect the early surge at Atletico may be longer-lasting, with a return to Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday offering a reminder of how one of the game’s most enigmatic talents is, aged 26, still to deliver on his potential.
“Alvaro has fantastic assets that suit our game,” said Diego Simeone last month. “Hopefully he can continue the way he has started.” Place bet on today’s games on NaijaBet
Strong in the air, hardly sluggish, good with his feet and, at his best, decisive in front of goal, Morata has still struggled to convince an impressive list of managers he is a striker to rely on. Continue reading “Atletico offers Morata fresh start after finding his feet”
Paris Saint-Germain holds all the cards ahead of Wednesday after winning the first leg 2-0 at Manchester United.
Manchester United will be missing 10 first-team players in Paris and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have to play his worst midfield three combinations.
United were played off the park when Solskjaer had his best midfield to call on in the first leg so it could get ugly for the away side here.
Paris Saint-Germain- Edinson Cavani and Neymar continue to miss out for Paris Saint-Germain.
Thomas Tuchel may go with the same starting XI as the first leg, though Christopher Nkunku could replace Dani Alves on the right flank. Bet Now on NaijaBet
Julian Draxler, Thilo Kehrer, Marco Verratti and Juan Bernet are one booking away from missing their next Champions League game. Continue reading “UCL Match Preview: Paris Saint-Germain vs Manchester United (Agg 2-0)”
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino was Wednesday handed a two-match touchline ban and fined £10,000 ($13,000) by the Football Association following an angry clash with a referee.
The Argentine, whose side reached the Champions League quarterfinals with a 1-0 win at Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, was sanctioned over the incident involving referee Mike Dean after last month’s 2-1 Premier League loss at Burnley.
It means he will have to sit in the stands when Spurs visit his former club Southampton on Saturday and also for the league game against Liverpool on March 31.
“Mauricio Pochettino has been fined £10,000 and will serve a two-match touchline ban following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing,” said a statement from the FA.
“The Tottenham manager accepted an improper conduct charge from the FA, which resulted from his language and/or behaviour – both on the pitch and in or around the tunnel area – at the end of the game against Burnley on February 23.”
Pochettino, whose side have slipped out of the title picture after dropping eight points in their past three matches, apologised to Dean after the incident, saying he would accept the charge.
Both teams warmed up for Wednesday’s meeting with defeat at the weekend.
Roma lost 3-0 away to Lazio, while Porto were beaten 2-1 at home to Benfica.
Defeat at home to Benfica was Porto’s first since August, ending an 18-game unbeaten streak. They have scored in every home game this season.
Roma are 2-1 up from the first leg but have a poor record on the road this season. The Italian’s have only won four of their last 13 away matches.
FC Porto- Jesus Manuel Corona is available for Porto after missing the first-leg through suspension. Eder Militao, Pepe, Hector Herrera and Otavio are all one booking away from suspension. Various Champions League betting options are available on NaijaBet
Porto have also recovered striker Moussa Marega from injury since losing the first leg 2-1. Continue reading “Champions League Match Preview: FC Porto vs Roma (Agg 1-2)”
From racquet-smashing enfant terrible with a bad attitude and ill-advised ponytail to universally respected sporting role model and icon, Roger Federer has come a long, long way.
Eighteen years after winning his first title in Milan by beating long-forgotten Frenchman Julien Boutter, Federer on Saturday became just the second man after Jimmy Connors to win 100 career singles crowns.
Among that collection are 20 Grand Slams, 27 Masters and six World Tour Finals.
It’s a success story which has brought him $120 million in prize money alone.
Off court, he is the father of two sets of twins, Myla Rose and Charlene Riva and Leo and Lenny with wife Mirka, a former player he met at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.
But his career and life wasn’t always so settled.
As a talented young player, Federer’s hair-trigger temper once threatened to stunt his undoubted ability. Place Live Bet on NaijaBet 24/7
“I had a tough time getting my act together out on court, trying to behave properly. For me that was a big deal,” he once admitted. Continue reading “Roger Federer has come a long way from Mr Angry to Mr Perfect”
Holders Real Madrid were sensationally knocked out of the Champions League on Tuesday after being thrashed 4-1 at home by an outstanding Ajax Amsterdam who overturned a first-leg deficit to reach the quarterfinals 5-3 on aggregate.
Moroccan midfielder Hakim Ziyech fired Ajax into a shock seventh-minute lead after a lay off from the outstanding Dusan Tadic, who also provided the pass for David Neres to double the Dutch side’s advantage in the 18th.
Madrid, who were missing inspirational captain Sergio Ramos through suspension and hit the woodwork twice in the first half, came out stronger after the interval but were dealt a fatal blow when Serbia international Tadic crowned his sensational display by hammering into the top corner in the 62nd minute.
Substitute Marco Asensio gave Madrid a glimmer of hope by striking back but it was quickly extinguished by a breathtaking free kick from Lasse Schone, condemning Real to a fourth consecutive home defeat in all competitions.
Things got worse for the hosts, who had won the last three Champions League titles in a row, when Nacho was sent off in stoppage time for two bookings. Don’t miss today Champions League Games
Ajax, who have won the trophy four times, most recently in 1995, reached the last eight of Europe’s top competition for the first time since 2003. Continue reading “Ajax knocked Real Madrid out of Champions League with 5-3 on Aggregate”
Both of these sides are in poor patches of form, though Tottenham hold a huge advantage from the first leg.
Borussia Dortmund are rapidly relinquishing their lead in the Bundesliga and may actually benefit from having one less distraction in their bid to regain the title.
Tottenham should sit relatively deep and attempt to hit their hosts on the counter, so Son Heung-Min could have an important role to play once more and you’d back the visitors to get the away goal that should kill off this tie.
Borussia Dortmund- Dortmund welcomed Marco Reus back into the first team following injury but his return didn’t have the desired effect as Lucien Favre’s side suffered a shock defeat to Augsburg.
Lukasz Piszczek is the only likely absentee for the home side, who know that they must go for broke to overcome a 3-goal deficit from the first leg.
Paco Alcacer scored from the bench at the weekend and could return to the side, with Jacob Bruun Larsen likely to drop out. Live Bet on NaijaBet
Favre could recall Raphael Guerreiro at left-back as a more attacking option than Abdou Diallo, who may instead replace Dan-Axel Zagadou in the middle. Continue reading “UCL Match Preview: Borussia Dortmund vs Tottenham”
Manchester United forward Alexis Sanchez is facing up to an eight-week spell on the sidelines due to a knee ligament injury, according to the physiotherapist of the Chilean national team.
Sanchez, 30, injured the medial ligament in his right knee during United’s 3-2 Premier League victory over Southampton on Saturday but is expected to be fit to represent Chile at the Copa American, which starts on June 14, physio Pedro Onate told Chilean newspaper El Mercurio.
Sanchez could return for United’s last two league games against Huddersfield Town and Cardiff City, but any setback in his rehabilitation would mean he has played his last match this season.
United are already without a host of players for Wednesday’s Champions League last 16 second leg at Paris St Germain due to injury, while midfielder Paul Pogba is suspended for the tie.
They trail PSG 2-0 on aggregate after losing the first leg at Old Trafford.
Santiago Solari is clearly focused on promoting the youth players at Real Madrid so we could see some big decisions made, with Luka Modric and Toni Kroos both coming in for criticism of late.
Ajax will take heart from their performance in the first leg and won’t be scared to impose themselves on the reigning champions given that they must score at least twice at the Bernabeu.
Expect the Dutch giants to cause real problems but the hosts to do enough in order to progress.
Real Madrid- Real Madrid will have to make do without Sergio Ramos, who was retrospectively handed an extra game to his suspension for picking up a yellow card in the reverse fixture.
Nacho will replace his compatriot at the back having missed out on the clasico at the weekend due to a ban of his own, while Marcos Llorente remains a doubt. Various betting options are available on NaijaBet
Toni Kroos was substituted early in the second half against Barcelona, while Gareth Bale was also hooked soon after and both could see their places come under threat. Continue reading “Champions League Match Preview: Real Madrid vs Ajax”
Liverpool will fight to the end to win the Premier League title, left-back Andy Robertson has said after his team were overhauled by defending champions Manchester City at the top of the table following Sunday’s 0-0 draw at Everton.
Liverpool’s fourth draw in six league games saw them slip into second place, a point behind City with nine games remaining, with the Merseyside club having squandered a seven-point lead over the defending champions.
“We will fight for every last ball until the whistle is blown at the end of the season,” Robertson told British media after Liverpool’s latest setback. “We become the chasers now and all the pressure is on Manchester City.”
City have not been at their best in recent weeks but have still maintained momentum, extending their winning run to five league games in a row with consecutive 1-0 wins over West Ham United and Bournemouth in their last two matches.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson reinforced the message that his team were still in the hunt to win a first league title since 1990. Place bet on Live Events 24/7 on NaijaBet
“You’ve got to stay confident, stay positive,” the midfielder said. “We’ll take it game by game and there’s still quite a few games to go, so that’s what we’ll keep doing from now until the end of the season.” Continue reading “Liverpool will keep fighting for the title after derby setback – Robertson”
Mario Balotelli showed off a new goal celebration on Sunday as he took a selfie video with his Marseille teammates and posted it on social media during their 2-0 win over Saint-Etienne.
The Italian scored his fourth goal in six Ligue 1 games since joining Marseille from Nice in January by hooking home Florian Thauvin’s 12th-minute corner with an excellent acrobatic volley.
“Balotelli takes the pressure, he takes the limelight. He reminds me of (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic and he scored an Ibrahimovic goal,” said Saint-Etienne coach Jean-Louis Gasset.
“He has brought back the public, the confidence, and many of his teammates will raise their level of play.”
As he celebrated his volley, Balotelli took a phone from the cameraman behind the goal before filming the video with his laughing teammates and posting it on his Instagram story. Various betting options are available for today’s games on NaijaBet
The 28-year-old then carried on playing.
He was not the first player to produce a selfie-based celebration, after Roma great Francesco Totti took a picture of himself after scoring against Lazio in the capital-city derby in 2015. Continue reading “Balotelli celebrates goal with selfie video on the pitch”