Champions League Match Preview: Barcelona vs Borussia Dortmund

Barcelona will qualify for the knockout stage with a win on Wednesday. They will top the group if they beat Borussia Dortmund and Inter drop points to Slavia Prague for a second time. Borussia Dortmund will only qualify if they better Inter’s result.

Barcelona will be pleased this game is at Camp Nou, as they have not been impressive on the road of late. At home, the Spanish giants are unbeaten this season and have only failed to win one game.

Borussia Dortmund will be pleased with the way they came from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 with Paderborn at the weekend but it’s concerning they were in that position in the first place, especially after losing 4-0 to Bayern Munich in the match before.

Dortmund have only won one of their last six away matches and have failed to score in the last three. Even though Barcelona are missing key defenders, Dortmund arrive into this match at a bad moment.

Team News

Barcelona – With Luis Suarez back from injury, Antoine Griezmann is again forced to play out wide and out of position. Bet Now

Unless Barcelona stick with the 4-2-3-1 formation used at the weekend, former Borussia Dortmund winger Ousmane Dembele looks set for a place on the bench here.

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Hazard might miss El Clasico due to ankle injury

Zinedine Zidane confirmed Eden Hazard twisted his ankle during Real Madrid’s draw against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday, with the Clasico against Barcelona only three weeks away.

Hazard limped off in the second half of Madrid’s 2-2 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu, where PSG scored twice in two minutes late on to secure first place in Group A. Place bet on Virtual and Live Games 24/7 on NaijaBet

But an impressive performance overall from Madrid, and Hazard, was tarnished by the Belgian’s injury, which threatens to prevent him from playing in his first Clasico at the Camp Nou on December 18.

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Troubled Napoli visit Liverpool as Ancelotti’s future in spotlight.

Napoli head for Liverpool on Wednesday for a Champions League which could prove crucial to coach Carlo Ancelotti’s future at the troubled Italian club.

The three-time Champions League winning coach’s second season at the Stadio San Paolo has proved to be a complicated one, after leading them to second in Serie A in his first year.

His team’s fortunes have waned after the high of opening their Champions League campaign with a 2-0 win over reigning European champions Liverpool, with dressing room unrest amid friction between the players and club management.

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis ordered the team to be confined to a week-long training camp earlier this month after a 2-1 league defeat to rivals Roma saw them slip to seventh in Serie A.

But as Ancelotti voiced his disagreement with the lockdown, the players all returned home after a 1-1 draw against Salzburg three days later, which stalled their bid to reach the Champions League last 16. For high odds, Bet now on NaijaBet

“The relationship between the president and I is excellent and nothing changes,” Ancelotti had insisted after saying he disagreed with the ‘ritiro’ or training camp.

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Champions League Match Preview: Real Madrid vs Paris Saint-Germain

In order to stay in the hunt for top spot in Group A, Real Madrid have to beat leaders Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday. Zinedine Zidane’s side trail PSG by five points heading into the last two matches.

PSG will secure top spot in the group by avoiding defeat in midweek. Thomas Tuchel’s side beat Madrid 3-0 in the reverse fixture back in September and that remains their standout performance of 2019/20.

Madrid are unbeaten at home in all competitions this season (W6, D3), while PSG have won seven of their last eight away from home.

This is a difficult match to call, as both teams have been difficult to read throughout the campaign. Home soil and history would favour Madrid but PSG defeated Madrid in emphatic fashion earlier this season.

Team News

Real Madrid-Gareth Bale helped Real Madrid to victory over Real Sociedad from the bench on Saturday but his arrival to the pitch was met by boos and whistles. Bet Now

The Wales international will hope to start such an important game like this one but it remains to be seen whether that will be the case.

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Smalling shines for Roma as Lazio remain third in Serie A

Felipe Caicedo snatched a late winner to keep Lazio third in Serie A with a 2-1 victory over Sassuolo on Sunday, as England defender Chris Smalling scored and set up two other goals for city rivals Roma in a win against Brescia to move fourth.

Champions Juventus maintained their grip on the top of Serie A with a 3-1 win at Atalanta on Saturday, to stay one point ahead of Inter Milan who eased past Torino 3-0 under the rain in Turin.

The two Roman outfits are now third and fourth respectively before Cagliari, a point behind in fifth, play at lowly Lecce on Monday after their game Sunday was washed out.

“It’s an important success,” said Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi.

“Third place consolidated? It’s still early, we are there and the others too, every day things can change.” Place bet on Live Events 24/7 on NaijaBet

Serie A top-scorer Ciro Immobile struck to put Lazio ahead on 34 minutes with his 15th league goal this season.

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It’s a Fresh Start under Mourinho to end title drought – Kane

Tottenham Hotspur have found a “proven winner” in new manager Jose Mourinho and must target the FA Cup and Champions League as they bid to end an 11-year title drought, striker Harry Kane has said.

Mourinho, who replaced the sacked Mauricio Pochettino last week, guided Spurs to a 3-2 Premier League victory at West Ham United on Saturday in his first match in charge.

“The gaffer has won at every club he’s gone to – there’s no hiding away from that,” Kane told reporters.

“He’s a proven winner. I’ve made it clear I’m at the stage of my career where I want to win trophies. I’ve made it clear I want to win them here and it’s a big year for us.” Latest Champions League Odds are available on NaijaBet

Former Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Manchester United boss Mourinho has claimed 25 major honours but that record will be put to the test at Spurs, who have not won a title since the 2008 League Cup.

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Premier League Match Preview: Manchester City vs Chelsea

Manchester City are winless in two matches in all competitions, their worst run this season. They could be as many as 12 points behind Liverpool by the time they host Chelsea and dropping points here is simply not an option for Pep Guardiola’s side.

Chelsea have won their last six matches in the Premier League and have won five in a row away from home in the competition since losing 4-0 at Manchester United on the opening weekend. They are the league’s top scorers on the road this season (18 goals).

City ran out 6-0 winners the last time they hosted Chelsea in the league, though expect a much more difficult game for the home side on Saturday. Frank Lampard’s side have their tails up at the moment but City remain favourites.

Team News

Manchester City-Pep Guardiola has plenty to ponder after Manchester City moved nine points behind Liverpool before the international break after a 3-1 defeat to their rivals. The gap could even be 12 if Liverpool beat Crystal Palace before this match.

Rodrigo and David Silva made remarkable recoveries to make the matchday squad against Liverpool and are both expected to start here, while Guardiola will also hope to have Ederson available. Bet Now

Bernardo Silva serves a one-match ban this weekend after admitting a breach of FA rules. His absence should ensure both Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez start against Chelsea.

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Juventus take on Atalanta as Ronaldo ready to make amends

Cristiano Ronaldo conceded he is not ‘100 percent’ despite his goal spree for Portugal but always ready to play as injury-hit Juventus head to Atalanta on Saturday looking to extend their unbeaten run this season to stay top of Serie A.

Juventus visit fifth-placed Atalanta before hosting Atletico Madrid in the Champions League next week.

Maurizio Sarri’s side are just one point ahead of Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan after 12 matches, with Lazio and Cagliari eight points adrift of the leaders in joint third.

Atalanta have gone three league games without a win and will be eager to get back into the Champions League berths, as they sit two points off fourth place, before next week’s trip to Shakhtar Donetsk.

Atalanta’s fortunes have slipped following the thigh injury suffered to Colombian star Duvan Zapata, who scored six goals in six Serie A matches before being sidelined for their last five league games. Various betting options are available on NaijaBet

As Atalanta sweat on Zapata’s return, Juventus will be without full-back Alex Sandro, who picked up a thigh problem playing for Brazil, with Blaise Matuidi recovering from a rib injury.

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Ibrahimovic get six-month offer from AC Milan

Sweden star Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been offered a six-month deal to come to the aid of struggling former Italian giants AC Milan, according to reports in Italy on Thursday.

The 38-year-old striker confirmed his departure from Los Angeles Galaxy last week following the club’s elimination from the Major League Soccer playoffs.

Reported that the former seven-time European champions have now made contact with the player’s agent Mino Raiola.

The US-owned club want the former Swedish international for six months and are prepared to pay him six million euros ($6.6 million) if he remains for 18 months in total, Gazzetta claimed.

Milan finished fifth last season, missing out on a return to Champions League football by just a point to city rivals Inter. Bet Now on NaijaBet

They have had a poor start to this campaign and are 14th after 12 games before they host last year’s runners-up Napoli on Saturday in the San Siro.

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Bale’s latest act of rebellion poses new problem for Real coach

Zinedine Zidane faces another crossroads in his handling of Gareth Bale, who appeared to mock Real Madrid after Wales’ 2-0 victory over Hungary on Tuesday.

After sealing qualification for Euro 2020 with a wild win in Cardiff, an ecstatic Bale celebrated next to his teammates behind a flag that read “Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order”.

The flag was taken from the crowd after Welsh fans made a slogan out of comments made by former Real Madrid player Predrag Mijatovic during an interview with the Spanish radio station Cadena Ser last month.

“Bale thinks first about the Wales national team, then about golf and then about Madrid,” said Mijatovic. “I have not talked to him but that is the impression I get.”

Zidane must now decide whether to punish Bale and what form that punishment should take. Play Live Bet on NaijaBet

Bale is due to return to Madrid on Wednesday before joining up with the team again on Thursday at Valdebebas, ahead of Real Madrid’s La Liga game at home to Real Sociedad on Saturday.

In between, Zidane will appear in a pre-match press conference on Friday before naming his squad for the fixture later in the afternoon.

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Tottenham name Jose Mourinho as manager to replace sacked Pochettino

Jose Mourinho was on Wednesday appointed Tottenham’s new manager to replace the sacked Mauricio Pochettino, with the club languishing 14th in the Premier League.

The Portuguese former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United manager signed a contract until the end of the 2022/23 season, the north London club said in a statement.

Pochettino, 47, transformed Spurs’ fortunes after arriving from Southampton in 2014 and although he failed to win a trophy he took the club to the Champions League final for the first time in their history just six months ago.

But the Argentine was sacked on Tuesday, with Tottenham struggling in the league after picking up just three wins from their opening 12 games.

This season they were knocked out of the League Cup by fourth-tier Colchester United and suffered an embarrassing 7-2 defeat at home to Bayern Munich in the Champions League. Place bet on Live Matches 24/7 on NaijaBet

“I am excited to be joining a club with such a great heritage and such passionate supporters,” said Mourinho, who has won domestic titles in a record four different countries.

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Ireland forced to settle for play-offs, Wales target Euro 2020 spot

Wales are hoping to snatch the final automatic qualifying berth for Euro 2020 as they take on Hungary on Tuesday, after the Republic of Ireland were left to settle for a crack at reaching the finals via the play-offs.

Ryan Giggs’s Wales side, who have already qualified for the play-offs should things not go their way, face Hungary in Cardiff knowing a victory will guarantee them a place at next year’s 24-team tournament and a chance to repeat their fairytale run to the semifinals in France in 2016.

Despite the presence of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey in their ranks, Wales have not often convinced in this qualifying campaign but a 2-0 victory away in Azerbaijan on Saturday set up this winner-takes-all showdown.

“We have got that momentum. I think we’ll have to be better than we were the other night if we are going to win,” warned Giggs.

“But I believe in the players. I believe in the group that we’ve got and the qualities they possess.” Various betting options are available on site for tonight games on NaijaBet

Wales are currently third in Group E, a point behind second-placed Hungary, while 2018 World Cup runners-up Croatia have already secured top spot.

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Kenya get surprise draw in Egypt as Algeria sink Zambia with five-goals

Kenya held Mohamed Salah-less Egypt 1-1 and defending champions Algeria buried Zambia under a five-goal avalanche on Thursday as 2021 Africa Cup of Nations matchday one qualifying continued.

Debutant Mohammed Kudus clinched victory for Ghana over South Africa while Mali and Guinea ended 2-2 after four goals in 19 minutes.

In other matches, Comoros upset Togo, a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang-inspired Gabon held the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique were too strong for Rwanda.

Even without injured Liverpool goal poacher Salah, Egypt were expected to overcome traditional poor travellers Kenya at the vast 87 000-capacity Borg el Arab Stadium near Alexandria.

But after starting anxiously with every player behind the ball, Kenya had chances to score before they gifted Egypt the lead three minutes before halftime in the Group G clash. Bet Now on today’s AFCON Games on NaijaBet

A back pass from Erick Ouma in the centre circle to goalkeeper Ian Otieno was too weak and Mahmoud Kahraba took advantage to tap into the net.

Continue reading “Kenya get surprise draw in Egypt as Algeria sink Zambia with five-goals”

Who has qualified… Who can still qualify for Euro 2020?

We look at how the qualifying groups stand, who is through and who could join them.

Top two in each group qualify directly for Uefa Euro 2020

QUALIFIED FOR UEFA EURO 2020

  • Belgium
  • Italy
  • Poland
  • Russia
  • Spain
  • Ukraine

Please note that elimination and contention refers only to European Qualifiers group stage; teams may still be able to qualify via the UEFA EURO 2020 play-offs.

Group A

Standings: England (15 pts), Czech Republic (12), Kosovo (11), Montenegro (3), Bulgaria (3)

Matchday 9: 14 November – England v Montenegro, Czech Republic v Kosovo Various betting options are available on NaijaBet

England: will qualify with a draw against Montenegro, or if Kosovo lose to Czech Republic; guaranteed play-off place if required as UEFA Nations League Group A4 winner

Continue reading “Who has qualified… Who can still qualify for Euro 2020?”

Salah out of Egypt AFCON games due injury

Egypt’s Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah has been ruled out of their African Cup of Nations qualifiers against Kenya and Comoros with an ankle injury.

Egypt released a statement on their official Twitter account on Tuesday confirming Salah will miss the games, along with a picture of the striker with a protective boot on his left ankle.

Egypt host Kenya in their opening Group G qualifying match on Thursday and visit Comoros on Monday.

Salah has scored six goals for Liverpool this season and was on target in Sunday’s 3-1 win over Manchester City which took his side eight points clear at the top of the Premier League. Bet Now

But the 27-year-old has had niggling injuries since twisting his ankle against Leicester City at the start of October, which forced him to miss the 1-1 draw at Manchester United, the only Premier League game Liverpool have failed to win this season.

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NIGERIA VS BENIN MATCH PREVIEW

Super Eagles will be striving to make a strong start to their qualifying campaign against Benin who will have gained great confidence from how they competed at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals where they reached the quarter-finals.

Benin proved to be stubborn opposition during that run to the last eight but they may lack the firepower to respond if Nigeria get ahead. The home team should have enough calibre to ensure a hard-fought, narrow victory.

Team News

NIGERIA are back in competitive action for the first time since their third-placed finish at the 2019 AFCON as they begin their qualifying campaign for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations with a home game against Benin, followed by an away match against Lesotho four days later.

Although this is their first competitive game since June, they have earned creditable draws in friendly matches against Ukraine and Brazil within the last couple of months. Bet Now

Coach Gernot Rohr has named a 23-man squad for the double-header of matches and has recalled Ahmed Musa and Daniel Akpeyi along with Samuel Kalu, Mikel Agu and Kenneth Omeruo.

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Premier League Top Scorers returns to Africa as Afcon qualifying begins

English Premier League sharpshooters Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah flew to Africa this week, seeking goals as 2021 Cup of Nations (CAN) qualifying kicks off.

New Arsenal captain Aubameyang has claimed eight league goals this season and Liverpool duo Mane and Salah seven and six respectively, putting the trio among the top 10 scorers.

The form of Gabonese Aubameyang, Senegalese Mane and Egyptian Salah will encourage their nations as they face two matches each between this Wednesday and next Tuesday.

Mane, who is looking good to succeed two-time winner Salah as African Footballer of the Year, will be first into action with Senegal hosting Congo Brazzaville in Thies Wednesday.

Having scored for Liverpool in a 3-1 triumph over reigning champions Manchester City Sunday and travelled to Dakar Monday, Mane will have little time to prepare for the Group I clash. Various international break odds are available on NaijaBet

Fortunately for 2019 Cup of Nations silver medallists Senegal, whose defence is marshalled by Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, Congo have not impressed recently.

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Premier League Match Preview: Liverpool vs Manchester City

Liverpool are six points clear of Manchester City and know a win over their main title rivals would put them in a very commanding position. Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 45 Premier League home matches, last losing in April 2017. Jurgen Klopp’s side have, however, conceded in each of their last five league matches at Anfield.

Manchester City know they simply have to win on Sunday. There is still a long way to go in the season but Liverpool have already shown they rarely drop points and City have to take advantage of when they play Klopp’s side. Their preparations in midweek couldn’t have gone worse and the absence of Ederson is a major blow for Pep Guardiola.

City have actually failed to score in four of their last five visits to Anfield but Liverpool are not as strong at the back at the moment as they have been recently. City will have to go for it at some point but whether they will have enough to the result they crave remains to be seen.

Team News

Liverpool-Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain must be seriously knocking on the door for a start after a few eye-catching displays for Liverpool.

Jordan Henderson missed out through illness in midweek and could make way for Oxlade-Chamberlain if he fails to recover in time. Bet Now NaijaBet.com

Fabinho is on four yellow cards and was not risked last weekend ahead of this match. He will return to the starting XI on Sunday.

Dejan Lovren will once again get the nod ahead of Joe Gomez at centre-back with Joel Matip still sidelined with a knee injury.

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Dortmund look to add more misery on embattled Bayern

Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre says his side have “nothing to lose” as they look to inflict more woe on crisis-hit Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.

Niko Kovac was sacked last Sunday as Bayern coach after a 5-1 drubbing at Eintracht Frankfurt, with Hansi Flick taking over as interim boss for two games.

The former Germany assistant coach oversaw a 2-0 midweek win over Olympiakos which sealed a Champions League last-16 place with two matches to spare.

But Bayern sit fourth in the Bundesliga, one point behind second-placed Dortmund and four adrift of leaders Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Dortmund beat Bayern 2-0 at Signal Iduna Park in the German Super Cup in August, but Dortmund have unfinished business in Munich after suffering a 5-0 thrashing in April before their rivals went on to pip them to the title by two points. For high odds, Play bet on NaijaBet.com

“In the last five years, it has been hard to win there,” said Favre. “But, we have nothing to lose. We respect Bayern – we don’t fear them.”

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Marseille and Lyon clash in Ligue1 as PSG hail Navas

If Paris Saint-Germain have been held back in recent years by their lack of a truly top-class goalkeeper, Keylor Navas showed just why they were so keen to bring him to the French capital with his midweek performance in the Champions League.

The Costa Rican joined PSG in September from Real Madrid as Alphonse Areola moved in the other direction, and on Wednesday his late penalty save helped secure a 1-0 win over Club Brugge that clinched his side’s place in the last 16.

The last line of defence for Real as they won three successive Champions Leagues between 2016 and 2018, Navas is yet to concede a goal in Europe since arriving in Paris.

Indeed, the 32-year-old has let in only five goals in 12 matches for Thomas Tuchel’s side.

“He is an extraordinary goalkeeper. He won three Champions Leagues with Real Madrid in a competition where goalkeeper is such an important position. They can change the outcome of a game,” remarked midfielder Marco Verratti after Wednesday’s game, in which Mauro Icardi scored the winner. Start forecasting your Weekend games Now

“He will bring so much experience and calmness to the side,” said sporting director Leonardo.

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Europa League Match Preview: Manchester United vs Partizan Belgrade

Manchester United return to Old Trafford after a run of three straight away games. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have scored exactly one goal in each of their six home matches since beating Chelsea 4-0 on the opening weekend of the season.

Partizan Belgrade have only won two of their last six matches in all competitions, losing the other four. Those two victories were both 4-0 wins. They have lost back-to-back away matches heading into Thursday’s match in Manchester. A low scoring game is expected here.

Team News

Manchester United-Ole Gunnar Solskjaer isn’t expecting any of his injured players back until after the international break.

Victor Lindelöf has been carrying a back injury in Manchester United’s last two matches and has been ruled out on Thursday to add to Solskjaer’s woes.

As Ashley Young is suspended at the weekend, expect the veteran to start at left-back on Thursday to have Brandon Williams fresh for their home match with Brighton. Bet Now on NaijaBet

Other youngsters like Mason Greenwood and James Garner will hope to get game time against Partizan Belgrade on Thursday.

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My game won’t change because of Guardiola’s diving claims – Mane

Sadio Mane says he will probably be watched more carefully by Sunday’s referee because of Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola’s “diving” comments but the Liverpool forward has no intention of changing the way he plays.

Guardiola said last weekend that Mane dived sometimes, after the forward was booked in the first half against Aston Villa for simulation, though the City boss has since walked back his comments.

Leaders Liverpool host champions City in a Premier League showdown on Sunday and Sane said the timing of Guardiola’s accusation was no coincidence.

“I think it’s a bit clever from him to get the attention of the referee but I will just play my football like I’m always doing,” Mane said. Various Europa League betting options are available on NaijaBet

The Senegal forward added that the comments mattered little to him.

“I don’t pay attention to what he’s saying because it’s part of football,” he added. “If the ‘dive’ will give me a penalty then I will do it. Why not? But what coach Juergen (Klopp) said is correct. I do not dive.”

Hummels says belief helped Dortmund seal stunning win against Inter Milan

Mats Hummels said a frank halftime team talk helped Borussia Dortmund come from two goals down to beat Inter Milan 3-2 in the Champions League on Tuesday thanks to Achraf Hakimi second-half double.

Antonio Conte’s Inter dominated the first-half at Signal Iduna Park as Lautaro Martinez put the Italians ahead after just five minutes before Matias Vecino added a second just before the break.

However, Dortmund made their superior possession count after the break as Hakimi, who turned 21 on Monday, led the charge with two second-half goals either side of Julian Brandt’s equaliser.

“Inter were very clinical in the first half. They scored twice from two chances, unlike us,” said Hummels, who was beaten for pace by Martinez for the opening goal.

“We left them little room to breathe after the break and were really strong in the second half. Various Champions League Odds are available on NaijaBet

“At the interval, we said that we needed to continue with the ball the way we had done so before, but we had to create more chances.”

Continue reading “Hummels says belief helped Dortmund seal stunning win against Inter Milan”

Valverde accepts Barca under pressure after Slavia stumble

Ernesto Valverde admitted Barcelona are in a rut after they followed up their La Liga defeat by Levante with a goalless draw at home to Slavia Prague on Tuesday in the Champions League.

Lionel Messi hit the crossbar in the first half but that was as close as Barca came during a disjointed display that risks dragging Valverde’s team back into the fight for qualification from Group F.

“The other day we lost against Levante and we know this was not one of our best games either,” Valverde said. “We haven’t been convincing either on Saturday or today and we know there is a lot of pressure now on the team. We have to respond.”

Barcelona play Dortmund at home next and will hope progress is secured before their final game against Inter Milan at the San Siro.

The likelihood is they have already done enough to make the last 16 but Valverde will face scrutiny, this blunt performance coming only three days after his side were beaten 3-1 by Levante in La Liga. Place bet on Live Event and Virtual 24/7 on NaijaBet

If that loss was defined by three goals conceded in seven mad minutes, this one was far less dramatic, a story of stodgy possession in front of their own fans, whose displeasure made for an increasingly sour atmosphere at Camp Nou.

Continue reading “Valverde accepts Barca under pressure after Slavia stumble”