Champions League quarter Finals review

The first leg of the quarter finals have come to an end and it certainly was eventful. I’m going to give y’all a summary of all that happened.

Tottenham vs Manchester City

In a game that was looking like a mismatch on paper was certainly a surprise to everyone as Tottenham came out on top.

The game was Tottenham’s first European game in their new stadium and fans hoped it’ll be a good a game I guess they weren’t disappointed. Manchester City had the opportunity to get ahead when Sergio Aguero had a penalty but Hugo Lloris was up to the task and saved it keeping his team in the game. Both team fired blanks and the game looked like it was headed towards a draw but Hueng min Son scored a goal just before the final whistle to hand Tottenham a 1-0 lead.

Liverpool vs Porto

Porto who qualified by away goals came up against a Dominant Liverpool side and the score went how everyone expected.

With one first half goals from Naby keita and Roberto Firmino respectively. Keita who hasn’t been a regular in the Liverpool squad is beginning to find his stride and making his mark

Ajax Vs Juventus

Ajax who have the youngest side in the competition came up against an experienced Juventus side.

Cristiano Ronaldo came back from the injury he sustained during the euros qualifiers and scored a fantastic header to hand Juve a first half lead over Ajax.

By second Ajax showed their determination and dominated for a better part of the second half and as expected Neres was the one who stepped up and put them level. The Ajax side kept asking questions but the Juventus keeper was up to the task and the game ended draw but Juventus have the advantage due to away goals rule

Manchester United vs Barcelona

This is probably the biggest game of this round due to the history between both teams Since Manchester United Second best to Barcelona in their last encounter.

Barcelona controlled the first half and Manchester United was all over the place it was only a matter of time before a goal would be scored. A header by Luis Suarez made Luke Shaw score a Own Goal and that was the only goal.

We all remember the Tweet from Smalling saying he knows a secret to stop Messi and I guess he showed us what it was.

Will there be shocks in this Round of the Champions League?! We just have to find out

Champions League second leg Preview

The second leg of the Champions League is just around a corner and we’re going to Preview of the Champions League and those who might get Knocked out and those who will qualify.

Paris-Saint-Germain VS Manchester United

The Second leg will be played in Parc des Prince. The first leg ended in a 2-0 win for Psg who were undoubtedly the stronger side and we’re very much in control.
The second leg will see the return of Edison Cavani which will be a great boost to them.

Manchester United have been hit with 9 injuries to important members of the squad but if Manchester United is known for anything it’s their resilience.

Predictions:

PSG will qualify onto the next round

Lyon VS Barcelona

In what was a shock to most fans the game ended in a stalemate. Lyon played a wonderful Defensive game and neutralised the threat of Lionel Messi.

Barcelona are coming into the game after a wonderful victory over Real Madrid in the Copa Del Rey and Lyon are not doing bad in their league.
Lyon will look to cause an upset here like Roma did last year.

Prediction:

Lyon to qualify on away goals

Atletico Madrid VS Juventus

Juventus lost 2-0 in the first leg with goals from Jose Maria Gimenez and Diego Godin. Juventus have been having defensive issues all season and Atletico took advantage of it scoring two late goals.

Juventus will look up to Ronaldo to pull them out of the ditch they’ve found themselves and hope he can become a hat-trick hero like he did against Wolfsburg while he was in Real Madrid.

Prediction:

Juventus to qualify on away goal

Bayern VS Liverpool

This game ended in a stale mate but not without both teams putting their goalies to the test. The game had it all wonderful attacking football a great show of defence but lacked goals.
Both teams are on comfortable positions on the table and they could win it.
Predictions:

Liverpool to qualify

Tottenham VS Borussia Dortmund

This was undoubtedly a shocker to all as Tottenham thrashed the German league leaders 3-0 but they’ve lost momentum since then losing 2-0 to Chelsea while Dortmund seem unstoppable in the League.

Prediction:

Tottenham to qualify

Ajax vs Real Madrid

The defending champions continue their journey to European immortality with hopes to win their fourth Champions League in a row.

Real Madrid will be without Sergio Ramos who got suspended in the last game.

Prediction:

Real Madrid to qualify

Schalke VS Manchester City

The Champions of England look to advance to the next round.

After what seemed an unconvincing performance from Manchester city in the first leg Schalke was unable to take advantage of that and will pay for it

Prediction:

Manchester city to qualify

Porto VS Roma

Roma was undoubtedly in control of the first leg with a wonderful 2-1 win over Porto.

Porto are known for being a stubborn team and hopefully they’ll cause an upset.

Prediction:

Roma to qualify.

What are your thoughts on who will qualify.

Sterling seals first trophy for Manchester city

Manchester City retained the English League Cup by beating Chelsea 4-3 on penalties after a bizarre climax to the Wembley showpiece on Sunday which saw Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga refuse to be substituted.

Nothing could separate the sides as the match finished 0-0 after extra time but it was City who claimed the season’s first major silverware as they won the shootout.

Raheem Sterling fired the decisive spot kick past Spaniard Arrizabalaga to complete the first part of what could be a quadruple for Pep Guardiola’s side.

Arrizabalaga minutes earlier been involved in surely one of the strangest incidents in a Wembley final when he defied Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri’s orders to come off in the closing minutes of extra time after appearing to be injured.

Sarri, who had told substitute keeper Willy Caballero to take over from Arrizabalaga, was left fuming in the technical area at the open show of mutiny by one of his players.

“It was a big misunderstanding because I understood the keeper had cramp and was unable to go to the penalties. But it was not cramp and he could go to the penalties,” Sarri said.

To compound matters Arrizabalaga then dived over Sergio Aguero’s weak penalty during the shootout.

He did save from Leroy Sane but when Chelsea’s David Luiz struck the post with his spot kick, it was left to Sterling to smash his penalty high into the roof of the net and send the City fans into delirium after a tense afternoon.

Italy look up to Ronaldo to pull them through

Cristiano Ronaldo was supposed to be the missing piece of the jigsaw for Juventus in their quest to regain the Summit of Europe for the first time since 1995-96, the Italian club splashing out 117 million euros to bring the five-times winner of the continents elite club competition to Turin last summer.

But after Juves 2-0 defeat at Atlético Madrid in the first leg of the last 16 clash between the sides, the Serie A clubs ambitions hang by a thread. Runners-up five times since their last triumph, Juve will have to score at least twice without reply in the Allianz Stadium to take the tie to extra-time, but the Italian media have been busy collating Ronaldos statistics in the competition – and against the LaLiga side – and speculating an extra half-hour may not be necessary.

Tuttosport ran a headline sounding a rallying cry for the Old Lady: Juve? Coming back from 2-0 down? Cristiano has already done it…” in allusion to the 2015-16 Champions League when Wolfsburg took a 2-0 advantage to the Bernabéu and Ronaldo bagged a hat-trick to turn the tie around.

Ronaldo to the rescue?

The Portugueses statistics in the competition also make for impressive reading. Ronaldo has scored twice or more in a Champions League game 34 times, with 27 doubles, six hat-tricks and a four-goal haul against Malmö.

Against Atlético, Ronaldo has 22 goals, including three hat-tricks and one brace. One of those hat-tricks came in the Champions League, in the 2016-17 semi-finals.

However, Under Diego Simeone, Atlético have never lost a Champions League tie after triumphing in the opening leg. Juventus, meanwhile, have never overturned a 2-0 deficit in European competition home or away.

If Ronaldo is to save the day for Juve, he will need to write another piece of history in Turin on March 13.

Firmino in doubt for Champions league knockout

Liverpool, already dealing with a massive injury crisis in the back line, could also be without one of their top scorers tomorrow night when they Bayern Munich in UEFA Champions League round of 16 action. Forward Roberto Firmino missed training today due to an unspecified virus, making him a serious doubt for the epic Euro clash at Anfield.

Firmino is the fourth Liverpool player who has fallen ill since the beginning of February. Additionally, central defender Dejan Lovren will face a last minute fitness test before the midweek evening kickoff.

“I don’t know 100 per cent. It’s Monday and we play on Tuesday so most of that should be clear,” Klopp told reporters on Monday.

“Gini trained and looked really well. Shaqiri did a lot, so it will be close, we have to see. Dejan, I actually have to wait minute by minute if there is a chance or not. But that’s pretty much all, I would say.”

In addition to all their injury woes, Liverpool must also soldier on against the Bavarian giants without their best defender as Virgil van Dijk is suspended for this one.

PSG defeat Manchester United at Old Trafford

Man United vs PSG Champions League clash saw the Red Devils unbeaten run in all competitions come to an end at Old Trafford

Presnel Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappe both scored a goal each in the second half to power the visitors to 2-0 win

Both sides clash again for the second leg of the clash in France next month

Two second half goals from Presnel Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappe were all Paris Saint Germain needed to overcome Manchester United in the first leg of their Champions round of 16 tie at Old Trafford.

Manchester came into game looking unbeatable and Psg came in with what we all believed to be a weakened side due to the injury of Neymar, Cavani and Meunier.

The first half was an end to end game which saw both sides having a crack at each other. Di Maria came close to an early opener from 20 yards out but he missed the mark while Manchester United golden boy Marcus Rashford had a shot on target after a wonderful team play.

At the start of the second half, both Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial were taken off for Alexis Sanchez and Juan Mata due to injuries suffered in the first half.

Manchester United looked flat and out in the second half showing no attacking impetus and Psg took advantage of this by controlling the tempo and pace of the game.

In the fifty third minute Manchester United conceded a corner kick which was taken by ex Manchester United player Angel Di Maria. It was well struck to the far post and Presnel Kimpembe tucked it in.

Things were looking bad for Manchester United already and Psg star Kylian Mbappe wasn’t going to miss out as he scored his goal from a perfectly layed pass from Kylian Mbappe in the sixtieth minute.

Paul Pogba however lost his cool before the end of the match and was brandished a red card.

With a Mountain to climb and injured players Manchester Uniteds Champions League dreams could as well be over.

Tribute to Emiliano Sala

The football world was left in Shock after the crash and death of ex Nantes Striker Emiliano Sala so we at Halifsblog Blog have decided to give you all a summary of his illustrious carer.

Emiliano Raúl Sala Taffarel (31 October 1990 – 21 January 2019) was an Argentine professional footballer who played as a forward.
After playing youth football in Argentina and following a short spell in Portugal’s regional leagues, Sala began his professional career in France with Bordeaux, making his professional debut in February 2012. After struggling to break into the first team, he was loaned out to Championnat National side Orléans and Ligue 2 side Niort in consecutive seasons. He enjoyed prolific spells with both clubs, scoring 39 goals between them, before returning to Bordeaux. After initially being promised an increased role after his successful loans, Sala fell out of favour again, and instead, joined fellow Ligue 1 side Caen on loan.

In 2015, he signed for Nantes on a permanent basis. With Nantes, he made more than 100 appearances in Ligue 1, and achieved a successful goalscoring record, finishing as the club’s top goalscorer for three consecutive seasons. His form prompted a move to Cardiff City in January 2019, for a club record fee of £15 million (€18 million).

Sala died in a plane crash off Alderney on 21 January 2019. He was flying from Nantes to Cardiff aboard a Piper Malibu light aircraft. An initial three-day search covered 1,700 square miles (4,400 km2) across the English Channel. Two subsequent private searches were launched, resulting in the discovery of the wreckage on 3 February; Sala’s body was recovered four days later.
Below are his total statistics

Team. Appearances Goals. Assists

Nantes. 128. 48. 13
CAEN. 3 5 1
SM CAEN B 1. 1. 0
BORDEAUX 11. 1
BORDEAUX II 2. 0. 0

Over his illustrious career he never won a major Trophy for club or Country but his impact in World football won’t be forgotten.

Rest in Peace Emiliano Sala

Champions League Back in action: Schedules,Reviews

Champions League round of 16 encounters for the 2018/19 season will begin on Tuesday night, February 12, with two games lined up for football fans in many parts of the world to watch.
Real Madrid who are the defending champions of this championship are also in the knockout stages of this competition as they face Ajax.
Los Blancos have been struggling since the departure of superstar Cristiano Ronaldo who joined Juventus, and they will have to up their games against the Dutch club.
Today, we we shall preview all the eight matches that will played in the 2018/19 Champions League encounters.

1. Manchester United VS Paris-Saint-Germain

Manchester United are currently in the best form of their lives since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over in December 2018 from Jose Mourinho, and the Red Devils will want to stretch their impressive performances to the Champions League.
The last time United won the Champions League title was in the 2007/2008 season and they will face PSG side who will be without Brazilian star Neymar.
United and PSG have never met before in the Champions League, and this maiden game will be interesting for all football fans.

2. Roma VS Porto

The Stadio Olimpico in Rome will be the venue where Roma will host FC Porto in what will be a tough Champions League battle between these two clubs.
Porto impressed in the group stages thereby finishing with 16 points and Roma finished second behind last season’s Champions League winners Real Madrid.

3. Tottenham VS Borussia Dortmund

Premier League giants Tottenham will welcome Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund to the Wembley stadium on Wednesday, February 12, for the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 encounter.
With the two sides both known for their work rates and fluid attacking play, this tie looks set to be one of the most mouthwatering of the knockout stages this season.

4. Ajax VS Real Madrid

The last time Ajax won the Champions League title was in the 1994/95 edition of the Championship, and since then, they have been struggling.
Ajax ended the group stages as 1 of only 5 teams to remain unbeaten throughout, and they only finished 2 points behind Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich in the end.
Real Madrid on the other hand struggled in the group stages due to the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, and their credentials will be put to test against the Dutch side.

5. Lyon VS Barcelona

French club Lyon have previously faced Barcelona six times with the Spanish club winning four games, while the other two ties ended in draw.
Barcelona have been impressive this season in all competitions, and it will be difficult for Lyon to overcome the Spanish champions in the two games.

6. Liverpool VS Bayern Munich

This will be the toughest ties in the Champions League round of 16 as last season’s runners-up Liverpool will face German giants Bayern Munich.
These two teams both scored three goals in their last encounters and this tie will be the battle of strikers with the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Firmino expected to be in great form.

7. Schalke VS Manchester City

Schalke’s last three Champions League campaigns have all ended in the round of 16 and they will be keen to make the most of home advantage as they welcome Manchester City for the first leg of their knockout tie.

Premier League champions Manchester City are in the knockout stages for the sixth year in a row, and have won two of their last three round of 16 ties.

8. Atletico Madrid VS Juventus
These two teams have reached the final twice in the past five seasons with Atletico losing to neighbors Real Madrid in 2014 and 2016 whereas Juventus were beaten by Barcelona in 2015 and Real Madrid two years later.
Juventus will be boosted with the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo who joined the club from Real Madrid, but Atletico also have two dangerous strikers Diego Costa and Antoine Griezmann.
Cristiano Ronaldo told Juventus’ chiefs to give him three more bodyguards for himself and his family in Italy.
The superstar is reportedly concerned about the safety of himself and his family as he has been swarmed by fans since his move to Turin from Real Madrid.
One of these three men will be monitoring his house in the Gran Madre Park, while the other two guards will be looking after him and his family.

Manchester City Demolishes Chelsea

Man City vs Chelsea saw the Citizens destroyed Blues armies 6-0 at Etihad
The win saw them go top on the Premier League standings with 65 points
Meanwhile, Chelsea dropped to sixth on the log with 50 points, level with Arsenal
Manchester City continued with their impressive run in the Premier League after embarrassing former Champions, Chelsea, 6-0 at Etihad Stadium on Sunday, February 10.
This was City’s third test in their push to reclaim the EPL title after an arguably gruelling week that saw them battle Arsenal last weekend and Everton in midweek.
Both encounters saw the Pep Guardiola-tutored side pick maximum points as they leapfrogged Liverpool into the first place on the standings
Knowing too well a win against the Blues would once again catapult his side into the top spot, Guardiola fielded a relatively strong side in the Sunday clash, with Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Bernado Silva starting upfront.
The lethal trio went on to play a pivotal part in City’s victory, with Aguero bagging a brace in the first half.
Sterling opened the scoring for the hosts within just four minutes of game play, with the Englishman capitalising on Bernado’s well-placed pass
Aguero nearly made it two four minutes later, but missed the sitter before finally scoring in the 13th minute with a deliciously curled shot into the top corner.
The Argentinian extended the lead six minutes later after Chelsea’s defensive lapse involving Rose Barkley and David Luiz.
Kepa’s goalkeeping blunder saw Gundogan score from the edge in the 25th minute as the first half finished 4-0 in favour of City.

In the second half, Aguero bagged a hat-trick from the penalty spot, after sending Kepa the wrong way to make it 5-0.

Sterling wrapped up City’s win from six yards off David Silva’s gorgeous pass in the 80th minute to put the game beyond the Blues.

The Etihad outfit now sit on the summit of the Premier League standings with 65 points as Chelsea dropped to sixth.

Manchester City beat Everton 2-0 to overthrow Liverpool at the summit of the Premier League table on Wednesday, February 6.

Aymeric Laporte and Gabriel Jesus scored a goal each to ensure the Citizens continued their title defence on a winning note.

Can City go on to win the League consecutively or will they let it Slip? I guess we just have to stick around to find out who will be crowned champions.

Sala confirmed dead

Local police confirmed that the body pulled from the English Channel this week is the former Nantes footballer

The body found in the wreckage of the plane carrying Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson has been identified as the Cardiff City striker, it was confirmed on Thursday night.

The UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) had confirmed on Wednesday that an unidentified body had been passed to the Dorset Coroner, having been recovered from the submerged plane.

The Piper Malibu aircraft disappeared with Sala and pilot David Ibbotson on board on January 21, with the 28-year-old en route to Cardiff after having completed a club-record transfer from Ligue 1 side Nantes.

A police statement issued late on Thursday read: “The body brought to Portland Port today, Thursday 7 February 2019, has been formally identified by HM Coroner for Dorset as that of professional footballer Emiliano Sala

“HM Coroner will continue to investigate the circumstances of this death supported by Dorset Police.”
An initial search and rescue effort was called off by Guernsey Police after three days on January 24.

Guernsey harbourmaster Captain David Barker said their chances of survival were “extremely remote”, but a number of high-profile football figures and members of the public answered the family’s calls to fund a private search operation.

The plane was located on the seabed off Guernsey on Sunday using a remotely operated vehicle, during which time a body was found amid what remained of the light aircraft.
A recovery operation was then launched following consultation with the families of Sala and Ibbotson, and the police.

The football world came together in grief and to pay its respects as the severity of the Sala story began to unfold, with floral tributes laid outside Cardiff City Stadium and vigils held in Nantes, where 42 goals in three-and-a-half seasons made him a fan favourite.

Following reports of a dispute between the two clubs this week, Cardiff chairman Mehmet Dalman confirmed the Premier League outfit was yet to pay the first instalment of Sala’s transfer fee.

“We must show respect to the family. There is a process for recovering the plane,” he said, prior to Sala’s body being identified.

“[We will pay] when we think it’s the right time to do it. I don’t think Cardiff said we were not going to pay.”

Squad Changes For Champions league Round of 16 confirmed

The squad changes for the knockout phase have been confirmed, with the England international back in contention
Article continues below

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been added to Liverpool’s Champions League squad for the knockout phase.

The England midfielder has not played this season since sustaining serious knee ligament damage in the semi-finals of the 2017-18 competition.

He has been added to the final 25-man group for the last-16 onwards, though, along with 17-year-old Ki-Jana Hoever and Ben Woodburn, who is on the B list.

Juventus have chosen to drop Juan Cuadrado, meanwhile, with the winger recovering from an operation on his left knee in December.

Barcelona have added B-team forward Moussa Wague to their squad, along with new signings Jeison Murillo and Kevin-Prince Boateng.

Alvaro Morata is in the Atletico Madrid squad as expected, while Real Madrid have added Brahim Diaz, who joined from Manchester City last month.

City have named Claudio Bravo on their list, with Eliaquim Mangala dropping out having not appeared for the club in the 2018-19 campaign.

All last-16 contenders were permitted to register a maximum of three new A-list players for the last 16 before the deadline of midnight CET last Saturday.

And the news regarding Oxlade-Chamberlain’s inclusion will come as a boost for Liverpool and the player himself, with the Reds facing Bayern Munich in the last 16.

It is unclear exactly when the 25-year-old will be available to play again, although he posted on social media back in December to confirm that he was now able to begin running outdoors.

And Klopp revealed in January that he was hopeful he’d be able to play a part before the end of the season, hence his inclusion in the Champions League squad.

The German said: “He is in a very good way. That will still take a couple of… last time I put a bit of pressure on the medical department.

“But when I see him moving the ball and what he’s doing already it looks really good, promising, close to a return.

“But after so long out – April, against Roma – he will be fine, he looks completely without any problems at the moment, no swelling any more, so he can really work on his fitness issues.

“It’s a surprise. He’s ahead of schedule. That’s always good news. We try not to push him too much but we don’t want to hold him back.

“If he makes further steps like he did in the last few weeks he can play Premier League football this season which is nice to know. I think we will see him this season.”

Changes for Champions league Round of 16 confirmed

It is a week till the Champions league return and The squad changes for the knockout phase have been confirmed, with the England international back in contention

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been added to Liverpool’s Champions League squad for the knockout phase.

The England midfielder has not played this season since sustaining serious knee ligament damage in the semi-finals of the 2017-18 competition.

He has been added to the final 25-man group for the last-16 onwards, though, along with 17-year-old Ki-Jana Hoever and Ben Woodburn, who is on the B list.

Juventus have chosen to drop Juan Cuadrado, meanwhile, with the winger recovering from an operation on his left knee in December.

Barcelona have added B-team forward Moussa Wague to their squad, along with new signings Jeison Murillo and Kevin-Prince Boateng.

Alvaro Morata is in the Atletico Madrid squad as expected, while Real Madrid have added Brahim Diaz, who joined from Manchester City last month.

City have named Claudio Bravo on their list, with Eliaquim Mangala dropping out having not appeared for the club in the 2018-19 campaign.

All last-16 contenders were permitted to register a maximum of three new A-list players for the last 16 before the deadline of midnight CET last Saturday.

And the news regarding Oxlade-Chamberlain’s inclusion will come as a boost for Liverpool and the player himself, with the Reds facing Bayern Munich in the last 16.

It is unclear exactly when the 25-year-old will be available to play again, although he posted on social media back in December to confirm that he was now able to begin running outdoors.

And Klopp revealed in January that he was hopeful he’d be able to play a part before the end of the season, hence his inclusion in the Champions League squad.

The German said: “He is in a very good way. That will still take a couple of… last time I put a bit of pressure on the medical department.

“But when I see him moving the ball and what he’s doing already it looks really good, promising, close to a return.

“But after so long out – April, against Roma – he will be fine, he looks completely without any problems at the moment, no swelling any more, so he can really work on his fitness issues.

“It’s a surprise. He’s ahead of schedule. That’s always good news. We try not to push him too much but we don’t want to hold him back.

“If he makes further steps like he did in the last few weeks he can play Premier League football this season which is nice to know. I think we will see him this season.”

Real Madrid to Face Barcelona In Copa Del Rey Semifinal

LaLiga giants, Barcelona and Real Madrid, will play each other in the semi-final of the Copa del Rey this season, after the draw was conducted on Friday afternoon.
Real Betis will take on Valencia in the other game.
Barca overturned a two-goal deficit from the first leg of their quarter-final against Sevilla, to win 6-3 on aggregate.

Meanwhile, Los Blancos reached the last four, after securing an emphatic 7-3 aggregate victory over Girona.
The draw has given football fans two El Clasicos, with the first leg to be played on February 6 and the second leg on February 27.
The final will take place on May 25 at Betis’ home ground, the Estadio Benito Villamarín.
Draw for the Copa del Rey semi-finals:
Real Betis vs Valencia FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid

Since the Sale of Cristiano Ronaldo to Italian Champions Juventus Real Madrid have struggled to get goals and win important matches.

Real Madrid suffered a 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Barcelona earlier in the season they would be looking to avoid such occurrence.

Who do you think I’ll suffer you ..

All you need to know before Super Bowl LIII

The year’s biggest sporting event will be broadcast live Sunday at 6:30 ET/3:30 p.m. PT on CBS.

The New England Patriots are returning to the Super Bowl following their defeat by the Philadelphia Eagles during last year’s game. This year they are taking on the Los Angeles Rams.

This marks the fourth time in five seasons that the Patriots will compete in the championship game, while it will be quarterback Tom Brady’s ninth Super Bowl appearance.

The Rams have one Super Bowl victory, which took place during the 2000 game over the Tennessee Titans (when the Rams were located in St. Louis). Meanwhile, the Patriots have five Super Bowl victories under their belt. The teams previously competed against each other during the 2002 game, which the Patriots won. (The Rams moved from L.A. to St. Louis in 1995 and returned to Los Angeles in 2016.)

Super Bowl LIII will air live on CBS on Sunday from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Prior to the game, CBS will air The Road to the Super Bowl at noon ET. Tony Goes to the Super Bowl, which follows announcer Tony Romo as he travels to the game, will air at 1 p.m. ET. The Super Bowl Today will begin at 2 p.m. ET and will feature analysis, discussion and interviews about the event. The Super Bowl Kickoff Show will start at 4 p.m. ET and will lead into the game.

The Super Bowl will officially begin at 6 p.m., with kickoff scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET.

Romo, Jim Nantz, Tracy Wolfson and Evan Washburn will serve as the announcers during the game, with Nantz and Romo in the booth and Wolfson and Washburn on the sidelines.

Chloe x Halle will perform “America the Beautiful” before the game starts, while Gladys Knight will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the beginning of this year’s Super Bowl. The Grammy-winning performer has said that she’s proud to use her voice “to unite and represent our country,” especially because the game will take place in her hometown of Atlanta.

Meanwhile, Maroon 5 will headline the halftime show. The band will be joined by Travis Scott and Big Boi, an Atlanta native, during the performance.

In addition to the game airing on CBS, it can be streamed on CBSSports.com, the CBS Sports App and CBS All Access. The preshow festivities will be available to live stream beginning Sunday at 12 p.m. ET.

The premiere of the new global talent competition show The World’s Best will follow the Super Bowl at 10 p.m. ET. The series is hosted by James Corden and will feature Drew Barrymore, RuPaul Charles and Faith Hill as judges.

The Super Bowl festivities will conclude with a special Sunday edition of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert at 11:35 p.m. ET.

Lingard Called English Iniesta by Former Red devil’s Boss

Rene Meulensteen is not surprised to see an academy graduate shining in midfield, but believes defensive reinforcements are needed at Old Trafford

Jesse Lingard has been billed as “the English version of Andres Iniesta” by Rene Meulensteen, with the Manchester United midfielder considered to share many attributes with a Barcelona legend.

A 26-year-old academy graduate has not always enjoyed such lofty billing at Old Trafford.

Several loan spells were taken in before he was finally given his United break by Louis van Gaal in 2015-16.

Lingard has not looked back from that point, taking in over 150 appearances and recording 29 goals – including a number of vital efforts in Wembley showpieces.

He is now considered to be a key man at club level and with the England national side, with Meulensteen of the opinion that his creative qualities were always going to flourish at some stage.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s former assistant told 888sport: “Sir Alex always had a clear picture of what a good player looked like and they had to have quick feet, quick brain, and a big heart.

“That is basically everything that Jesse had but he was very slight for his age. I worked with him from the age of eight or nine and taking him abroad for tournaments and he was always having to fight battles because he was of a tiny build.

“But all things level themselves out and eventually those three things make a difference – quick feet, a quick brain, and a big heart. And he has done every so well.

“The fans always need to associate themselves with players who have come through the ranks.

“While I was there and Sir Alex was there it was so important to keep bringing young players through.

“The difference with Jesse is that he was always the English version of Iniesta. He can play in the pockets, he’s very mobile and very agile.

“He can beat a man and he’s good in combination play. The last few seasons he started to score important goals as well.”
The emergence of Lingard has helped to bolster the creativity ranks at Old Trafford, but United do still find themselves short in other areas.

Additions at centre-half have been pursued for some time and Meulensteen concedes that reinforcements are required to help complement the impressive development of Victor Lindelof.

The Dutchman said: “Stability is a big thing, especially in the back four. Most of the successful teams are able to play with a solid and stable back line, including the goalkeeper.

“It’s normal with a club like Manchester United that it takes some time for a player to settle in but you can see now that Victor has settled.

“He’s played a string of games so he’s starting to find his feet and learning what is required to play at this level.

“He’s done well but the defence is still an area which people are looking at critically. Antonio Valencia is getting on and Ashley Young is a bit older now but still doing a great job.

“There is a need for a really good centre-back alongside Lindelof who can lead from the back and stabilise everything.

“If you look at the firepower and the pace United have up front along with the variety of abilities they can scare any defence in the Premier League and across Europe.

“In midfield they are strong. You have Paul Pogba to the fore and getting better. Nemanja Matic is very strong with a lot of experience.

“But you could maybe do with another creative player there, a passer that can unlock defences from deep.”

 

Djokovic beats Nadal to Claim 7th Australian open title

Novak Djokovic has been crowned Australian Open champion after beating Rafael Nadal in  straight sets.

The Serb earned his seventh title in Melbourne with a 6-3, 6-2. 6-3 win over Nadal after just over two hours on the court.

The Spaniard, who lost 13 of the first 14 points in the match, never got into his stride against the world No. 1.

It was 33 minutes until Djokovic dropped a point, with a forehand that hit the net.

The 31-year-old broke Nadal‘s serve twice in succession in the first set, taking a commanding 4-0 lead in games before securing the set.

That set the tone for the rest of the match – Nadal had only ever won three times against Djokovic after losing the first set.

Spain’s 17-time Grand Slam winner had the chance to get back into the game in the third set but squandered the opportunity to break his opponent in the sixth game.

The comfortable victory reflected Djokovic‘s dominance over Nadal on the hard court, having won each of their last seven meetings on the surface.

Osaka Becomes World Number 1

Japan’s Naomi Osaka said she was “in a state of shock” Saturday after holding her nerve to battle past Petra Kvitova to win the Australian Open in a three-set thriller that also delivered her the world number one ranking.

The fourth seed and US Open champion triumphed 7-6 (7/2), 5-7, 6-4 in a 2hr 27min epic over the Czech eighth seed to claim back-to-back Grand Slams and become the first Asian, male or female, to hold the top spot.
The Japanese youngster fell to one knee in celebration, head bowed, as Melbourne Park erupted in thunderous cheers.

“I felt like I was in a state of shock through the entire trophy presentation,” the 21-year-old said.b21c5b1815f19c34d928d3f9018c26fa.jpg

A rattled Osaka almost blew her title hopes with one hand on the trophy when she failed to convert three championship points leading 5-3 in the second set.

The never-say-die Kvitova forced a deciding set before Osaka finally edged ahead with a decisive break early in the third.

“Of course I felt very disappointed and sad when I had three match points,” she said.

“I tried to tell myself there’s nothing I can do about it. Told myself I’m playing a final and need to keep fighting and couldn’t act immature and needed to keep fighting.”

Her jubilation was a marked contrast to Osaka’s maiden Slam win last year, when she tearfully hid her face as boos rang around Flushing Meadows in the wake of losing finalist Serena Williams’ tirade at the umpire.

This time, Osaka cried with joy and smiled as she became the youngest woman to win back-to-back majors since Martina Hingis in 1998 and the youngest number one since Caroline Wozniacki in 2010.

Her gutsy performance confirms her status as the leading light of tennis’ new generation.

Kvitova can console herself with a career-best performance at Melbourne Park, where she did not drop a set on her way to the final.

It was her first Grand Slam decider since a burglar slashed her racquet hand in a 2016 knife attack and the Czech has shown she is again a contender at the majors.

“Thank you for sticking with me even when we didn’t know if I would able to hold a racquet again,” Kvitova told her team, with her voice cracking.

“It’s crazy. I can hardly believe that I just played in a Grand Slam final again.”

They had never met before and Osaka initially struggled to unlock the lanky left-hander’s serve, while Kvitova at times could not handle her opponent’s powerful returns.

The Czech mixed up her game with drop shots and changes of pace but blew three break chances in a crunch sixth game in the first set.

Kvitova saved two set points to force a tie-break but Osaka ran away with it 7-2, taking the first set the Czech had conceded in the entire tournament.

Kvitova regrouped and kept her hopes alive with the first break of the match, going up 2-0 in the second.

Osaka was frustrated but did not panic, going back on level terms in the next game after benefiting from a Kvitova double fault and poorly hit drop shot.

f0d43c59725f38f305f998aa06046fbd.jpgThe Japanese star broke again to take control as Kvitova’s error rate climbed, bringing up three championship points. But the Czech saved all of them, forcing Osaka to serve for the title.

Nerves took hold as Osaka conceded a break to make it 5-5, smashing a ball into the ground and putting her hands over her ears.

The Czech broke again to seize momentum with her fourth straight game, claiming the set as Osaka left the court with a towel draped over her head.

Osaka regained her cool and clipped a clean backhand winner to take a break point in the third game of the decider, going on to see off a Kvitova break opportunity, her mental demons put to bed.

 

Coutinho decides to stick with Barcelona

Barcelona midfielder, Philippe Coutinho has finally decided to stay at the Camp Nou amid interest from Manchester United.
United are interested in signing the Brazilian international in this January transfer window.

Coutinho has struggled at Barcelona this season, with Barca manager, Ernesto Valverde admitting that the former Liverpool star was far from happy with life at the club.
However, Catalan newspaper, Mundo Deportivo is now reporting that despite Man United contacting Coutinho’s agent, the player has decided to remain at Barcelona.
Coutinho will hope to play for Barcelona when they tackle Eibar at home in the La Liga fixture on Sunday evening.

Emiliano Sala Missing

Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala had fears about his safety before boarding a small passenger plane that disappeared off the coast of Guernsey as he was flying to Wales to join Premier League club Cardiff City.

French news outlet 20 Minutes reported Sala’s friend and team-mate at Nantes, Nicolas Pallois, drove him to the airport for his flight and said Sala told him he had fears for his safety after a bumpy flight back from Cardiff to France over the weekend following his unveiling as a Cardiff player.

He boarded the same Piper Malibu plane which went missing on Tuesday morning (NZT), with an official involved in the air search in the Channels Islands said no survivors were expected to be found.

The French civil aviation authority says Emiliano Sala was aboard a small passenger plane that went missing off the coast of the island of Guernsey.
DAVID VINCENT/AP
The French civil aviation authority says Emiliano Sala was aboard a small passenger plane that went missing off the coast of the island of Guernsey.

Guernsey police said “a number of floating objects have been seen in the water” however they have been unable to confirm whether any of the objects were from the missing plane, and that they have “found no signs of those on board.”

The search was halted overnight because of strong winds and rough conditions at sea, and would resume late on Wednesday (NZT) with help from maritime authorities in Britain and France

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FC Nantes

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Tu es plus qu’un joueur, @EmilianoSala1.

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The light aircraft disappeared from radar over the English Channel as it made the journey from Nantes. The 28-year-old Sala had spent the previous hours saying farewell to teammates at the French city’s soccer team after Cardiff signed him for a club-record fee last week.

“After all this time the weather’s quite cold, the water is very cold out there … I am not expecting anyone to be alive,” Channel Islands Air Search chief officer John Fitzgerald earlier told The Associated Press.

“I don’t think the coastguard are either. We just don’t know how it disappeared at the end of yesterday.”

A powerful and direct player, Emiliano Sala equalled his career-best total of 12 goals - achieved in the past two seasons with Nantes - in 19 league games this season.
CARDIFF CITY
A powerful and direct player, Emiliano Sala equalled his career-best total of 12 goals – achieved in the past two seasons with Nantes – in 19 league games this season.

Britain’s Coastguard received an alert at 8.23pm on Monday (local time) from air traffic control in Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands, after it failed to make contact with the Piper PA-46 plane with two people on board, Guernsey police said.

The French civil aviation authority confirmed Sala was one of the people.

“The search was terminated at 2am, with all search and rescue assets being stood down, due to strengthening winds, worsening sea conditions and reducing visibility,” Guernsey police said.

“So far over 1000 square miles have been searched by a total of five aircraft and two lifeboats. There has been no trace of the aircraft,” they said earlier.

Sala’s last post on Instagram was a picture on Monday with Nantes players with the message

Cardiff signed Sala for a reported £15 million (NZ$29 million) through 2022. He was in Cardiff last week to finalise the transfer, which was awaiting international clearance.

“I can’t wait to start training, meet my new teammates and get down to work,” Sala said in a video posted on the club’s website.

A powerful and direct player, Sala equalled his career-best total of 12 goals – achieved in the past two seasons with Nantes – in 19 league games this season.

He was fifth highest scorer in the French league, one behind Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar, who is the world’s most expensive player.

Emiliano Sala

@EmilianoSala1

La ultima ❤️ ciao @FCNantes 👋🏻💛💚

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“He was a polite, nice and adorable player who was loved by everybody,” Nantes president Waldemar Kita told French TV channel CNews.

Cardiff City chief executive Ken Choo said in a statement the whole club was in a state of shock.

“We were very shocked upon hearing the news that the plane had gone missing. We expected Emiliano to arrive last night into Cardiff and today was due to be his first day with the team.

“Our owner, Tan Sri Vincent Tan, and chairman, Mehmet Dalman, are all very distressed about the situation.

“We made the decision first thing this morning to call off training with the thoughts of the squad, management staff and the entire Club with Emiliano and the pilot.

“All of us at Cardiff City FC would like to thank our fans, and the entire footballing family for their support at this difficult time.

“We continue to pray for positive news.”

Nantes was due to play Entente Sannois in the French Cup on Wednesday but the third-tier club said it was postponed until Sunday “following the disappearance of the plane of former player Emiliano Sala”.

Sala, who had not played for Argentina’s national team, has also played in France for Bordeaux.

Jose Mourinho speaks on who is better between Ronaldo and Messi

Jose Mourinho is now in the unfamiliar role of a TV pundit, and he is already making waves. Just a month after being sacked as Manchester United manager, the Portuguese has now weighed in on the Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo debate.

 

Mourinho spoke to beIN Sports about who the better player was between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, and his words do indeed make a lot of sense.

 

“I think it’s unfair to both of them when somebody [says] this one is better than the other one. I think they are just different,” Jose mentioned.

 

 

 

“When you go to Messi and Ronaldo, I think it’s just unfair to compare the players. The only thing I can say is that when I had Ronaldo on my side, I was a very happy man.

 

“And when I had to play against Messi – and also against Ronaldo because I played against Ronaldo a few times – I had to think a lot to try and help my team have chances to succeed.

 

“The thing that is really to be admired is the number of years that they stay at the top. I always say the same – even with managers – to win once, it can happen. To win and win and win is much more difficult.”

 

Mourinho made some controversial comments about his Manchester United departure as well, and also mentioned that he plans to return to coaching soon.