Dec 062017
Shakhtar beat Manchester City 2-1 to reach last 16

Shakhtar Donetsk booked a Champions League knockout-stage berth after first-half goals by Brazilians Bernard and Ismaily gave the Ukrainian side a 2-1 win over Manchester City in Group F on Wednesday.City, who suffered their first defeat of the season in any competition, finished top with 15 points, three more than Shakhtar and nine ahead of third-placed Napoli who dropped into the Europa League after a 2-1 defeat at bottom team Feyenoord.With one eye on Sunday’s Premier League Manchester derby against United, City coach Pep Guardiola rested his entire first-choice back four and Shakhtar took advantage as they romped into a 2-0 lead before halftime.Needing only a draw to be sure of qualifying, the home side launched waves of attacks instead of sitting back as Bernard curled a superb shot from 15 metres past City keeper and compatriot Ederson in the 26th minute.Ismaily added the second six minutes later, capitalising on Ederson’s error and beating him to a long ball by Marlos before stroking it into an empty net to delight a full house in Kharkiv, where Shakhtar played their group home fixtures.Taison twice fired narrowly over the bar either side of the break as Shakhtar kept up the pressure before late substitute Sergio Aguero netted a stoppage-time penalty for City.Aguero blasted his spot-kick past keeper Andriy Pyatov but it was scant consolation for City coach Pep Guardiola, who had little to cheer on his 100th Champions League appearance as manager.The draw for the last 16 is in Nyon, Switzerland, on [Read More…]

Oct 202017

MANCHESTER: Kevin De Bruyne has been the inspiration behind Manchester City’s freescoring form but Saturday’s opponents Burnley could be a test even for him as they have already proved they do not fear the Premier League’s leading teams. Pep Guardiola’s side have scored 17 goals in their last three home league matches, and produced one of the most ruthless attacking displays in recent memory as they demolished Stoke 7-2 last Saturday to go two points clear at the top of the table. The key player for Guardiola this season has been Belgium midfielder De Bruyne, who was involved in five of the seven goals against Stoke, and appears to be revelling in a slightly deeper role. De Bruyne, though, is modest about his impressive form. “I think I did the same last season,” said De Bruyne. “Obviously, the team knows me better and better the way I play. I think if you check the assists I did before in Germany and Belgium, a lot of times it’s the same as now.” He refused to take full credit for the league leaders’ scintillating displays. “I’m happy with my form but I’m going the way the team is going. It’s easier when the team is playing the way they are. The praise is nice but in all honesty, I don’t care. In football, you are going to have highs and lows. In football, you must live in the middle.” Guardiola named the same starting line-up for both the Stoke and Napoli matches, and [Read More…]

Sep 092017
Football transfer window the talk of Europe

The European football transfer window may now be closed but there was talk of little else this week as the likes of top coaches Zinedine Zidane, Carlo Ancelotti and even German Chancellor Angela Merkel made calls for sweeping changes.The subject is at the centre of attention not only because of the soaring inflation that marked the latest round of transfers, but also because of the mayhem losing top players can wreak on a team’s best-laid plans.transfers, but also because of the mayhem losing top players can wreak on a team’s best-laid plans.The English Premier League clubs voted on Thursday to shut the 2018 close-season window before the start of the 2018-19 campaign in a move that sparked approval across the European game.The vote followed complaints by managers that transfer activity disturbs their preparations and others in Spain, Germany, Italy and France have been swift to jump on the bandwagon.The windows in Europe’s other major leagues run until at least August 31, meaning clubs outside England could buy players from English top-flight teams after the new Premier League deadline.“I think the same thing as most people do,” said Real Madrid coach,” said Real Madrid coach Zidane.“The transfer window must stop when the league restarts. When official competition restarts, it must stop.”Manchester City are believed to be one of the five clubs who voted against the proposal, but their coach Pep Guardiola said the club’s only concern was that rival teams in other European leagues will still be able to sign [Read More…]

May 162017
Zabaleta bows out as Manchester City climb to third

Manchester City edged ever closer to a guaranteed place in next season’s Champions League after an entertaining 3-1 win over West Bromwich at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday. Gabriel Jesus, Kevin De Bruyne and Yaya Toure scored the goals for Pep Guardiola’s side and barring a freak combination of results on the final day of the league season, City will finish in the top four. City will go into Sunday’s trip to Watford in third place, two points above Liverpool and three clear of Arsenal, knowing victory will rubber-stamp direct qualification for the Champions League group phase. But the evening was as much about popular City defender Pablo Zabaleta, who played out the final minutes of his nine-year stay with the club after coming on as a second-half substitute. When City captain Vincent Kompany was replaced after 77 minutes and handed Zabaleta his captain’s armband, the Argentinian appeared to be fighting back tears. Two goals in as many minutes midway through the first half guaranteed City victory, but given the lack of ambition and enthusiasm shown by the visitors, that outcome had looked all but certain direct from kick-off. Jesus gave City the lead in the 27th minute with his sixth goal in just seven starts since returning to the side from injury at the start of February. It was carved out by the impressive De Bruyne, whose cross from the left-hand byline allowed the young Brazilian to turn the ball into an open net. The build-up play had been [Read More…]

May 142017
?Jesus and Aguero can shine together?

MANCHESTER: Pep Guardiola is certain Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero can play together for Manchester City despite suggesting it was a disaster when they first linked up. Guardiola surprisingly started with the fit-again Aguero on the bench as City moved a step closer to Champions League qualification by beating Leicester 2-1 at Eastlands on Saturday. Third-placed City are three points ahead of fifth-placed Arsenal with two games remaining as they battle for a top-four finish. Jesus scored the penalty that put City two goals in front after David Silva had given them the lead with an effort that Leicester believed should have been disallowed for offside. The Brazilian striker’s arrival from Palmeiras in January has cast doubt over Aguero’s long-term future at City, even though the Argentine has scored 31 goals this season. The two forwards did start together for the 2-2 draw at Middlesbrough on April 30, but struggled initially before clicking, and they had 12 minutes alongside each other against Leicester after Aguero came on as a late substitute. “They play at Middlesbrough together, and in the first half it was a disaster. The second half was much better. Both them have quality enough to see who wins the game for the side,” Guardiola said. “Gabriel can play on the left side if Aguero is in the middle. They can do that. In Brazil, Gabriel plays most of the time in the left. “Of course they can play together. It depends on their behaviour and mood.” Jesus’s penalty [Read More…]

Mar 182017

LONDON: Pep Guardiola has urged Manchester City to ease their Champions League pain by securing a vital win against Liverpool, while leaders Chelsea aim to move a step closer to the Premier League title this weekend. Guardiola’s side were eliminated from Europe’s elite club competition in stunning fashion on Wednesday as they blew a 5-3 first leg advantage to go out on away goals following a 3-1 defeat at Monaco. It was another major setback for City manager Guardiola, who had never before seen one of his teams knocked out before the Champions League quarter-finals. Former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Guardiola was heavily criticised for his tactics and team selection in Monaco. Guardiola faces test of resolve after ‘pathetic’ City’s Euro woe With third placed City just one point ahead of fourth placed Liverpool in the battle for a top four finish, Guardiola needs a lift at Eastlands on Sunday and he is eager to see how his team respond to the situation. “Qualification for the Champions League will be tough until the last game of the Premier League,” Guardiola said. “It will be good to see how everybody reacts, myself and the players, after going out of the Champions League. It’s an important game before the international team break against one of the best teams in the Premier League.” Having won three of their last four games, Liverpool have opened up a five-point gap on fifth-placed Arsenal as the race for Champions League qualification heats up. Guardiola won’t change [Read More…]

Mar 122017
Guardiola eyes silverware on multiple fronts

MIDDLESBROUGH, United Kingdom: Pep Guardiola insists he is keeping all his options open as he pursues a trophy in his first season at Manchester City. Guardiola’s side are still in contention in the Premier League and Champions League, but the City manager appears equally committed to success in the FA Cup. Facing a quarter-final at Premier League strugglers Middlesbrough on Saturday, Guardiola admirably resisted the temptation to rest several of his most influential players with a Champions League trip to Monaco only four days away. The Spaniard was rewarded with a 2-0 victory that represented the ideal preparation for Wednesday’s game where they lead 5-3 after the last-16 first leg, and a daunting run of Premier League fixtures against Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea. “Now we need to take things step by step and see which rivals we are going to face in the semi-finals. “This is a big step for us and now we must try to go back for the final after the semi-final because the cup is very important to us. “I get excited a lot about going to Wembley because I remember the old and the new stadium. We are so happy to be there and we are there because of the way we played. I’m so pleased with our performance.” Click for detailed story

Mar 052017
Mourinho laments United?s lack of cutting edge

MANCHESTER: Jose Mourinho fears Manchester United’s bid to qualify for the Champions League will fail because of their inability to kill off inferior opponents at Old Trafford. United had most of the possession and chances against struggling Bournemouth on Saturday, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s penalty miss forced them to settle for a 1-1 draw. Mourinho’s side have dropped home points against a number of sides below them in the table this season, with Stoke, Burnley and Hull all picking up draws when second best. The United manager believes if his team had been more ruthless, they could even be challenging Chelsea for the title, but instead they are three points adrift of the top four. “I don’t speak about the Manchester City match at home that we lost, because everybody knows what happens, the penalty (we should have had) and the red card (that should have been shown) to (goalkeeper Claudio) Bravo,” Mourinho said. “But if you look at the points we lost at home, all the other matches we drew. If you accumulate those points, you are talking another 10 or 12. “Then you are not just talking about top four, but top two or maybe even top one. There are matches to play, points to win and points to lose, but the reality is that we are losing too many points at home.” Click for detailed story

Dec 032016

MANCHESTER: Brazilian winger Willian was on the scoring sheet as impressive Chelsea beat Manchester City 3-1 to strengthen their lead at the top of the Premier League table on Saturday. Airplane crash: Football pays tribute to those who lost their lives The away win after trailing 1-0 at half time boosts Chelsea’s tally to 34 points, four ahead of Liverpool who play Bournemouth on Sunday. This is a developing story and will be updated shortly. The post Willian remembers Chapecoense in Chelsea’s stunning comeback against City appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click for detailed story

Nov 062016

MANCHESTER: Pep Guardiola acknowledged Manchester City need to develop a more ruthless instinct after they were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw by Middlesbrough. Guardiola’s side made a major statement on the European stage when they beat Barcelona 3-1 in the Champions League on Tuesday. But four days later City looked increasingly lethargic after an impressive first half at Eastlands. Sergio Aguero’s 150th City goal gave Guardiola’s men the lead at half-time, but the Argentina international missed two good second half chances to add to that tally. City winger Kevin De Bruyne also put the ball over an unguarded net and the hosts were made to pay for their profligacy in the first minute of stoppage-time when Marten De Roon headed in his first Middlesbrough goal from George Friend’s cross. Guardiola glee as Gundogan guns down Barcelona “We need to improve in both boxes, both offensive and defensive, to score goals and not concede,” said Guardiola. “In the second half, we didn’t play like the first one, but I think they had one chance at the beginning of the second half, and another in the last minute.” He added: “Maybe in the last minutes, the team can be tired. If we scored the second goal, the chance for Sergio, the game was over. In the last minutes, anything can happen.” The result means that, for the third successive league match, City have drawn 1-1 after dominating, having suffered the same fate against Everton and Southampton. “When you see all three games, [Read More…]

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