Daily Archives

March 13, 2019

Liverpool Defeat Bayern Munich, Premier League Sends Four Teams to Champions League Quarterfinals

High Press 10 March 13, 2019

Liverpool vs. Bayern Munich certainly lived up to expectations.

From FiveThirtyEight to oddsmakers to pundits, most expected a close, hard-fought battle. Probabilities and odds were essentially 50/50 from the the time the Champions League Round of 16 draw was announced. For at least the first 159 aggregate minutes, that’s exactly how the match-up played out.

Both squads were in fine form early on Wednesday, battling to a 1-1 draw at the half. Sadio Mane scored a stunner to put Liverpool up, and Joel Matip OG’d to level it for Bayern.

In the second half, potential PFA Player of the Year Virgil van Dijk drilled a header in the 69th minute to give Liverpool a 2-1 aggregate lead (and essentially a two goal overall lead due to away goals). The goal seemed to take the wind out of Bayern’s squad and fans sails. Sadio Mane added a brace in the 84th off a laser perfect Mohamed Salah cross, and Liverpool advances on a 3-1 aggregate.

Many on social media questioned Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp‘s midfield selection, as he left Fabinho out of the starting XI (in favor of James Milner and Jordan Henderson). However, Jordan Henderson suffered an early injury, Fabinho was inserted, and Liverpool looked like the better squad almost from that moment on.

Premier League Sends Four Team Through

When the Champions League Quarterfinals draw happens on Friday, the Premier League will have all four of its representatives available for selection.

For those standing on the “The Premier League is the Best League in the World” corner, there’s little argument that can be made against it this year. Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham, and Manchester United all proved the better squads in the Round of 16. It will be interesting to see how the quarterfinal draw plays out, as there are no restrictions as to whether the squads can play each other any more.

Barcelona Also Advance, Messi Does it All

In Wednesday’s other game, Barcelona was cruising against Lyon, then things got interesting.

Lionel Messi converted a pk in the 17th, then Luis Suárez fed an easy tap-in goal to Philippe Coutinho for a 2-0.

Lyon scored in the 58th minute, needing then only one more goal to advance (on away goals).

However, Messi, just like Ronaldo the day before, reminded everyone why he’s among the greatest of all time, scoring his brace in the 78th.  Barcelona poured it on from there, securing a 5-1 win to advance on a 5-1 aggregate.

Late Collapse Ruins Comeback as Red Bulls Fall Out of CONCACAF Champions League

Peter Nolan March 13, 2019

On a blustery night in Torreon, Mexico, the New York Red Bulls came to town with their CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) hopes all but extinguished following last Tuesday night’s 2-0 home loss to Santos Laguna in the first leg, only to quickly set the tie on its head by scoring twice in the opening nine minutes.

Homegrown product Omir Fernandez set the stage for the visitors with his first ever Red Bulls goal in the fourth minute. The Bronx, N.Y, native beat Santos Laguna keeper Jonathan Orozco, unbeatable just seven days earlier at Red Bull Arena, to give the visitors hope.

That hope multiplied just six minutes later when Daniel Royer, who earned an assist on Fernadez’ opener, leveled the aggregate at two when he slotted home from a Bradley Wright-Phillips set up to stun the boisterous Estadio Corona crowd into something approaching silence.

In the 23rd minute, Orozco shut down Wright-Phillips, a flashback to last Tuesday at RBA, when the RBNY hitman fired at the keeper from close range. New York netminder Luis Robles did his part to keep the home team at bay robbing Marlos Moreno in a one v one battle at the 40-minute mark, preserving the good vibes for the Red Bulls just ahead of the intermission.

A Tale of Two Halves

Whatever words of wisdom the coach Salvador Reyes imparted during the break, Santos Laguna was a different team at the restart, immediately pinning the Red Bulls in their own end, earning corners and putting Robles’ goal under pressure. Then, as the Red Bulls began to work their way into the second half, Jose Abella fired Santos back into the second leg with a 72nd-minute strike that proved to be the beginning of a four goal in nine minutes onslaught that left New York in tatters, along with their CCL dreams.

After Abella’s opener, the goals came fast and furious for the home side. First from Brian Lozano in the 76th minute, then just three minutes later Diego Valdes got on the scoresheet before Lozano struck again in the 81st minute. That last goal from Lozano had to be a particularly bitter one for New York and its fine keeper and captain Luis Robles to surrender, as Lozano caught Robles off his line a blasted, Carli Lloyd style to beat the New York keeper from the far side of midfield. And so a night that had begun with so much promise, two goals in nine minutes, unraveled just as quickly as the Red Bulls conceded four times in that same time frame to see their CCL dream turn into a nightmare.

Santos win the game 4-2, and advance 6-2 on aggregate.

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