The Bayern Munich manager, Jupp Heynckes, is not picky about who his side will face in the Champions League semi-finals, after a goalless draw against Sevilla sent the German club through with a 2-1 aggregate victory to keep their hopes of a treble-winning season alive.
Liverpool, Roma or Real Madrid wait in the next round but Heynckes knows Bayern face a tough encounter, regardless of their opposition.
“No coach ever has a preference,” Heynckes said. “Look at what happened to Barcelona. The games will be tight. You saw in Manchester and Rome that anything can happen. You cannot underestimate any team that has qualified for a semi-final.
Real Madrid are in the Champions League semi-finals for the eighth year in a row. That is no surprise but what is a surprise is that for so much of a dramatic, nervous night at the Bernabéu it looked like they might not be.
A round of shocks almost had the biggest of them all, a miracle mighty close, the champions following Barcelona in being knocked out by Italian opposition. In Turin they had been applauded, Cristiano Ronaldo holding his heart in gratitude after his superb goal was handed an ovation; at the Bernabéu there were hands on hearts too, in agony, right to the end. And then Ronaldo appeared once more.
Juventus took Madrid to the cliff edge with a 3-0 lead with two from Mario Mandzukic and one from Blaise Matuidi. Until, into the third minute of added time, Lucas Vázquez went down under a challenge from Medhi Benatia. The referee, Michael Oliver, pointed to the spot. As Juventus’s players surrounded him, seeing hope slip away, screaming injustice, Gigi Buffon was sent off, his last European game ending with him walking from the field, angry and unmoved by the ovation.
And so a place in the semi-finals came down a penalty: the world watching, Ronaldo waiting, the substitute goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny eventually standing before him. One shot. It flew high into the net, Ronaldo raced to the corner flag, throwing his shirt in the air, the stadium erupting, barely able to believe it. Juventus couldn’t, either. The roar was delight and relief.
Fear had visited Madrid fans early, a realisation there was a game on, one they had never anticipated, despite the warnings. It never really let go. Douglas Costa played in Sami Khedira, running in on the right, and he clipped the cross to the far post where Mandzukic arrived and headed in the opener. The clock said 1:16: it was the quickest goal Madrid had conceded in this competition and it was just the start. An hour and a half later, this had still not been resolved: a tie that had appeared over a week ago was not yet done.
Less than 30 seconds after the goal, Juventus were back: the celebration high in the north end had barely subsided and the rallying call from the rest of the ground had hardly been raised when Gonzalo Higuaín was there, deep inside the area. He was slow, the shot scuffed and the chance wasted, but the storm had not passed. Mattia De Sciglio delivered two crosses in a minute and then Costa, who tore into them throughout, raced into the area, forcing Keylor Navas to dive at the feet of Higuaín.
All this had happened inside seven minutes and although Gareth Bale forced a save from Buffon two minutes later, Dani Carvajal then bursting through and Isco having one ruled out for offside, the ordeal continued. Carvajal had to clear Mandzukic’s delivery and the resulting corner went through to the Croat, bouncing off his shins and into Navas’s hands from five yards. This was relentless; it was also only 15 minutes in and yet there could have been three or four already.
Still the chances came at both ends. Higuaín shot over, Toni Kroos was blocked and Isco curled wide. Madrid had wrested some control, a little breathing room. Or so it seemed. A minute after Buffon was out to save from Isco, Juventus got the second. De Sciglio had been forced off but the supply from the right was not cut. Stephan Lichtsteiner this time curled to Mandzukic to head home. At the other end, Raphaël Varane’s header thumped back off the bar on the stroke of half‑time.
As the players departed, so Vázquez and Asensio came out to warm up. “I had to change something,” Zinedine Zidane, the Madrid manager, said. But Juventus continued on the front foot, led by Costa, immediately curling over.
Juventus were one goal from extra time and on the hour they got it, when Navas dropped a long, deep and largely inoffensive cross at the feet of Blaise Matuidi, who scrambled it over the line.
Level on aggregate and away goals too, the psychological and tactical advantage was Juve’s. That situation also created doubts, though: they had something to lose now and a decision to make: look for the goal now or later? Madrid, in part, shared that: 20 minutes now, or 30 minutes later? With each passing minute, that question became more pertinent, the balance tilting towards extra time, the margins finer, the tension and the risks greater. If, that is, they could even choose. Max Allegri, Juve’s manager, later implied he preferred the security of 30, but in the end he never got it.
“Neither of us can compete to win the league,” the Atlético Madrid president, Enrique Cerezo, said. If it was true before the game when he said it, it is even more true after it. A 1-1 draw, secured with goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann, leaves Atlético 11 points behind Barcelona at the top of the table. It also leaves them four points clear of Real Madrid with seven matches remaining. They have now been here five years in a row without losing in the league; this has become a real rivalry and this was a competitive derby, despite the suggestion that it would be “decaffeinated”.
The result suited Atlético more, and it was the home side that sought the victory at the end, a superb save from Jan Oblak denying Sergio Ramos in the 90th minute. They did not want a draw, although that its importance was relative was perhaps revealed when Ronaldo was withdrawn after an hour. Both these sides almost certainly have European semi-finals ahead of them. What they do not have is a title race any more – but then they have known that for some time.
The game was only 80 seconds in when Gareth Bale let the ball run through his legs and raced away from Diego Godín out on the right touchline, and while the move ultimately came to nothing, it did come as a warning. Real Madrid began on the front foot, the corner count climbing rapidly, Stefan Savic standing in the way of a series of shots and crosses that started with Marcelo just three minutes later. Soon after, Marco Asensio’s shot hit Godín, and then Toni Kroos tumbled in the area, under a challenge from Juanfran. The shout was loud, but the referee wagged his finger.
Real had possession and Atlético were ill at ease, although the game did begin to open up and suddenly, on the half-hour, Diego Costa was in on the right side, his shot struck hard and low at the near post, where Keylor Navas pushed it wide. Savic shot over and five minutes from the break Vitolo was away, wide space ahead of him beyond the defence only for the flag to be raised – despite the fact that he had set off from well inside his own half.
Bale headed left from his starting point in the centre. From there, he clipped a lovely ball with the outside of the boot to Lucas Vázquez before a triple chance came – one shot blocked, one thundering off the bar, from Marcelo, and the third pushed away superbly by Oblak. Dani Carvajal had hit it. Oblak is not easily beaten but nor is he unbeatable. Eight minutes into the second half, Bale delivered a long, looping cross from the left. Lucas appeared to misjudge it, the ball dropping just behind him where Ronaldo was waiting and as it fell he volleyed it into the far corner.
Atlético’s response was swift. Saúl drew a save from Navas and then Griezmann slipped the ball into the area for Vitolo. Navas was out to him but the rebound came to Griezmann to score. Atlético were level and might have led too, when Navas denied Koke from close range with a superb save. Atlético found ways through Madrid now, Griezmann’s shot blocked, Savic’s effort just wide.
Ronaldo departed after but Real pressed, Marcelo at the heart of most of it, even if Atlético carried a threat still and Griezmann’s ball for Ángel Correa rolled across the face of goal. As the clock ticked down, Real piled into the area, where Bale turned but was snuffed out, Kroos shot over and, after an outrageous touch from Marcelo, Vázquez went down earning only a yellow card for diving.
With 10 seconds left, Real won a free-kick. Ramos stood over it, him again – the man whose 93rd minute goal had denied Atlético the European Cup. Not this time, though. His curling shot was heading for the top corner but Oblak flew and pushed it away. From the corner, Ramos came steaming in one more time but he would not score this time either, his header flying over. Neither of these teams will win the league and neither of the won the derby
Jan 3 (Reuters) – Arsenal and Chelsea made a mockery of talk of player fatigue at the end of a festive slog of Premier League action as Hector Bellerin’s stoppage-time stunner earned the hosts a 2-2 draw in a scintillating derby on Wednesday.
From beginning to end at the Emirates Stadium, both sides traded chances with Arsenal keeper Petr Cech and his opposite number Thibaut Courtois responsible for keeping the scoresheet blank until past the hour mark.
Jack Wilshere gave Arsenal a 63rd-minute lead but Bellerin’s trip on Eden Hazard gave the Belgian wizard the chance to level from the penalty spot four minutes later.
A flowing Chelsea move ended with Marcos Alonso putting the visitors ahead in the 84th minute but they were denied the victory that would have put them above Manchester United into second spot with Bellerin’s sumptuous 92nd minute half-volley.
There was still time for Chelsea substitute Davide Zappacosta to hit the crossbar but defeat would have been harsh on Arsenal who had 14 goal attempts to Chelsea’s 19.
Chelsea remained in third place with 46 points, 16 behind leaders Manchester City, who have a 15-point lead over second-placed Manchester United, while Arsenal stayed sixth.
It was manager Arsene Wenger’s 60th match against Chelsea in his long Arsenal reign but few could have provided as much goalmouth action as this classic.
“It was a fantastic football game and overall it could have gone both ways,” Wenger said. “Maybe it’s a fair result.
“The penalty was a farcical decision. When we looked as though maybe mentally we were shot, we had the resources to come back to 2-2.”
Alvaro Morata, strangely profligate all night, wasted a great chance early on for Chelsea when he took advantage of a yawning chasm in the Arsenal defence to go through on goal but his sidefoot finish was dreadful.
At the other end Alexis Sanchez’s shot struck both uprights after a superb save by Courtois who shortly afterwards did brilliantly to keep out Alexandre Lacazette’s shot.
Tiemoue Bakayoko and Cesc Fabregas both wasted chances for Chelsea while Mesut Ozil drew a fine save from Courtois.
Former Chelsea stopper Cech, seeking a 200th Premier League clean sheet, showed his class to deny Hazard as the second half began with another flurry of attacks.
Not to be outdone, Courtois then blocked Sanchez’s powerful close-range effort after the Chilean’s sublime piece of trickery.
Wilshere finally beat Courtois, the midfielder lashing a left-foot shot high into the top corner on the stretch after a deflected pass found him at the far post.
Arsenal were buoyant but were flattened four minutes later when Bellerin dangled a leg and Hazard went down theatrically — much to the annoyance of Wenger, whose side were denied victory at West Bromwich Albion by a late penalty on Sunday.
Hazard sent Cech the wrong way from the spot.
A sweeping crossfield move in the 84th minute saw Zappacosta get the better of Arsenal’s inexperienced left back Ainsley Maitland-Niles before rifling in a low cross that Alonso met sweetly to give Cech no chance.
To their credit Arsenal refused to accept defeat and when Alonso failed to get proper distance on a clearing header the ball feel for Bellerin to send a half-volley curling away from the helpless Courtois.
Morata spurned another one-on-one before Zappacosta’s dipper cannoned against the crossbar to leave honours even to the frustration of Chelsea manager Antonio Conte.
“I think it is a pity because when you have so many chances to score you must win the game,” said Conte.
BARCELONA (Reuters) – La Liga leaders Barcelona received a record 146.2 million euros (£129.6 million) last season from television rights, figures from La Liga show, earning seven million euros more than champions Real Madrid.
The 20 clubs in Spain’s top flight took in 1.247 billion euros, rising from 1.237 billion from the previous year, with Barca earning an extra 6.2 million than the year before.
The income is distributed according to results in the last five years, explaining why Barca, champions in 2013, 2015 and 2016, earned more than Real, who won the title last season for the first time since 2012.
Real earned the second biggest amount, 140 million euros, Atletico Madrid picked up the third largest share, 99 million, while Athletic Bilbao took the fourth largest sum, 71 million.
Leganes, who in 2016 were promoted to the top flight for the first time ever, earned the smallest amount of all the teams, pocketing 39.3 million.
Barca are nine points clear of Atletico at the top of La Liga, which resumes on Saturday after taking a two-week winter break.
Last season was the second campaign in which La Liga sold its television rights collectively following a change in the Spanish law in 2015. Under the previous system, based on club’s negotiating their deals individually, the league earned a total 851 million euros from television rights.
La Liga, which controls the top two divisions in Spanish football, distributes 90 percent of income to the top flight, with 10 percent going to the second tier Segunda Division.
The league is currently negotiating its next television deal, coming into effect from 2019-20, which the organisation’s president Javier Tebas says could be worth 2.3 billion.