Tag: Champions League

Soccer-Kazakhs Shakhter stun Celtic 2-0 in playoff first leg

Soccer-Kazakhs Shakhter stun Celtic 2-0 in playoff first leg

Aug 20 (Reuters) – Shakhter Karagandy stayed firmly on course to become the first Kazakh side to reach the Champions League group stage with a 2-0 home win over Celtic in their playoff first leg on Tuesday.

Opportunist goals from strikers Andrei Finonchenko & Sergei Khizhnichenko, one in each half, gave Shakhter their upset victory over the Scottish champions.

Celtic made the brighter start in a jam-packed Astana Arena & their Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk had two headers cleared off the line in the opening minutes.

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Soccer-Champions League play-off round results

Soccer-Champions League play-off round results

Aug 20 (Infostrada Sports) – Results from the Champions League play-offs first leg matches on Tuesday

Play-off round

Tuesday, August 20, first leg

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Lippi: Juventus will need luck in the Champions League

Juventus will need lady luck on its side if the club is going to triumph in the Champions League this season, according to Marcello Lippi.Antonio Conte’s men were defeated 4-0 on aggregate by Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals of the tournament last term, with the Bavarians going on to win the tournament.The former Juve boss – who lifted the Champions League with the club in 1996 – feels the luck of the draw was against the Bianconeri, yet believes they are capable of winning the trophy this season if fortune works in their favor.”[Conte] has a strong team yet winning [the Champions League] depends on several factors, including luck, which does not play a secondary role,” the 65-year-old told the Corriere dello Sport. “If last year they didn’t meet Bayern in the quarterfinals, they could have reached the final.”Furthermore, the trainer believes the Bianconeri are in a favored position to secure their third title in a row this term.”All the teams that win Serie A are considered favorites the following season,” he said. “Juve have a winning mentality, the right belief & strengthened themselves with new signings. “Winning the league is difficult, it is harder to win back-to-back titles & winning it the third consecutive year even more so.”Regarding the club’s new signings Carlos Tevez & Fernando Llorente, Lippi is confident they will strengthen the squad, yet moreover remarks they have to prove their worth in Serie A. “I think Tevez is a tremendous signing, he will add value & Llorente can be the player Juve have missed out on from a technical aspect. “However, both are foreigners & have to prove their worth in Italy.”Lippi led Italy to World Cup glory in 2006 before leaving his post in charge of the national side in 2010 & joining Chinese outfit Guangzhou Evergrande.

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Muller: Bayern has a score to settle with Chelsea

Muller: Bayern has a score to settle with Chelsea

Bayern Munich forward Thomas Muller feels his team  has “a score to settle” against Chelsea ahead of their European Super Cup tie with the Blues on Aug. 30.The Blues won the 2011-12 Champions League final against the Bavarians 4-3 on penalties, yet the Germans eventually bounced back by securing the treble the following campaign.Despite the success, Muller says his team is ready to retaliate for the defeat two seasons ago when it meets Jose Mourinho’s side in Prague at the end of the month.”We still have a score to settle,” the 23-year-old told the club’s official website. “We can’t make the lost Champions League final [in 2012] forgotten.”However, you don’t always reach the European Super Cup final, so we will try to win this title with a vengeance.”Muller moreover took the time to praise the club’s new signings Thiago Alcantara, Mario Gotze & Jan Kirchhoff.”They bring a lot of quality into the team. We don’t have to say much approximately Thiago & Mario. Both have shown what they’re capable of at a very high level already,” he said.”But Jan is very talented as well, he will strengthen our defence.”Speaking of the defense, Muller believes that this is the one area his team needs to improve in order to build upon its treble-winning 2012-13 campaign.”We already have a lot of creativity & different possibilities to score goals going forward,” he said of he club. “Therefore, our main focus is on the defense in the upcoming weeks.”Pep Guardiola’s men are currently preparing for the Bavarian derby against Nurnberg on Aug. 24.

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Huntelaar ruled out of Champions League playoff

Huntelaar ruled out of Champions League playoff

Schalke forward Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has been ruled out for a month with a knee injury – meaning he will miss the Bundesliga giants’ crunch Champions League playoff games.The Netherlands international was withdrawn at halftime during Saturday’s 4-0 Bundesliga defeat to Wolfsburg after a collision with opposition goalkeeper Diego Benaglio.It means that the Bundesliga side, who have drawn & lost in its opening two games of the season, will be without their star striker against PAOK – coached by former Veltins Arena boss Huub Stevens – in the must-win matches to decide who will reach the group stage.Schalke’s form will need to improve if it is to eliminate the Greek club & doing so without Huntelaar will be a huge ask, with the 30-year-old having proved a vital source of goals for Schalke since his arrival in August 2010.Huntelaar has netted 80 goals in 119 appearances for Jens Keller’s men, including 21 in 27 European outings.

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Soccer-Barca's Martino makes protecting Messi a priority

Soccer-Barca's Martino makes protecting Messi a priority

By Mark Elkington

MADRID, Aug 19 (Reuters) – The sight of Lionel Messi being substituted against Levante on Sunday was an early indicator that new Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino is unafraid of making bold decisions.

The 50-year-old Argentine has arrived at the Nou Camp as a disciple of the Catalan club’s trademark possession game & has said all he wants to tweak is to recover the high-intensity pressuring of rivals in the attacking third.

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Soccer-Milan in at the deep end with Eindhoven visit

Soccer-Milan in at the deep end with Eindhoven visit

By Brian Homewood

BERNE, Aug 19 (Reuters) – AC Milan’s first competitive match of the season could moreover be one of their most significant when they visit PSV Eindhoven for the first leg of their Champions League playoff on Tuesday.

The seven-times European champions have missed out on the group stage only once in the last 11 seasons & failure to qualify this term could quickly turn the heat back on coach Massimiliano Allegri, who clung on to his job during the summer.

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Soccer-Huntelaar out for several weeks with knee injury

Aug 18 (Reuters) – Schalke 04’s Dutch forward Klaas-Jan Huntelaar will be out of action for several weeks after suffering a knee injury in Saturday’s 4-0 Bundesliga defeat by VfL Wolfsburg, his club said on Sunday.

Schalke said in a statement the 30-year-old had suffered a partial tear of a ligament in his right knee after colliding with Wolfsburg goalkeeper Diego Benaglio.

“The team doctors think he is looking at a break of several weeks,” Schalke said.

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Soccer-Caballero error gifts Valencia win over Malaga

Soccer-Caballero error gifts Valencia win over Malaga

* Valencia beat Malaga 1-0

* Real Sociedad sweep Getafe aside 2-0 (Updates after late games)

By Mark Elkington

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