I don’t think that their is a bigger home-field advantage for the Americans than the home of the Columbus Crew. Since first opening in 1999, the MNT has gone 7-0-3 all-time and 6-0-2 in eight World Cup Qualifying matches at the venue. Most notably, the site has played host to four straight World Cup Qualifiers against Mexico, each finishing with the famous “Dos a Cero” score line.
It was a smiling Jose Mourinho that met with the press on Wednesday after seeing his side beat Maccabi Tel Aviv 4-0 and take a big step towards qualifying for the CHampions League knock-out stages.
The Portuguese manager began his post-match press conference by asking journalists for a calculator so he could figure out what Chelsea would have to do to qualify for the last 16. After pausing and thinking about it, Mourinho said:
“I know if we win, we finish first. If we lose we are going to the Europa League and with a draw second place.”
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal admits that he is was “worried” about his team’s goal-scoring problems after a goalless draw with PSV Eindhoven left their Champions League campaign in the balance.
Victory on Wednesday would have taken United into the last 16, but with Jesse Lingard blazing their best chance over the bar in the second half, they must now win away to Group B leaders Wolfsburg in their final match to be certain of a place in the knockout phase. United have scored only six goals in their last eight games, four of which have been 0-0 draws, but while Van Gaal admitted to feeling concerned, he drew encouragement from the handful of chances his side had created.
Can qualify: Wolfsburg*, Manchester United*, PSV Eindhoven, Roma, Leverkusen, BATE Borisov, Olympiacos*, Arsenal*, Porto*, Chelsea*, Dynamo Kyiv*, Gent*, Valencia*
Group By Group Standings
Group A: Real Madrid (13 points, qualified) v Malmö (3), Paris Saint-Germain (10, qualified) v Shakhtar Donetsk (3)
Madrid have won the group, Paris will finish second.
Athletic Club, Lazio, Liverpool, Schalke, Tottenham Hotspur and Villarreal were among the 11 teams who booked their places in the round of 32 on Thursday.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool defeated Bordeaux 2-1 at Anfield having endured the worst possible start when injury-plagued England striker Daniel Sturridge’s comeback from a knee injury stalled when he hurt his foot in training.
The English side then fell a goal down in the Group B clash in bizarre fashion after 33 minutes when goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was penalised for holding onto the ball for 20 seconds rather than the permitted six.
Douglas Costa opened the floodgates in the eighth minute with a rocket shot before Robert Lewandowski’s 5th goal of the campaign – his 20th in all competitions – doubled Bayern’s lead. Four minutes later Arjen Robben set up Thomas Muller who made no mistake to put the result beyond doubt.
Bayern defender Holger Badstuber was sent off early in the second half but it did not stop the German champions, and Kingsley Coman added a fourth with 20 minutes to go to make it 4-0.
Incredible whining press conference from Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez on Monday, where he confirmed his support for Rafa Benítez which has been called into question after the team’s humbling defeat against Barcelona on Saturday.
As we all know, the squad has been under increasing pressure since January of this year”, he said. He also mentioned the numerous injuries the team has struggled with in the opening months of this season.
“The solution to this is Rafa Benitez. We signed him to turn things around. We think he is the right person. But we must let him work — not listen to those making up lies that board doesn’t want him, or the players don’t want him.
Chelsea have announced that they made a loss of £23.1m last season, despite winning the Premier League title.
According to the Blues annual financial results, the deficit kept them within Financial Fair Play (FFP) limits.
“It was a primary aim in the past financial year to be one of the clubs with a continuous record of meeting the regulations,” said chairman Bruce Buck.
Chelsea, who made a record £18.4m profit last year, announced revenues of £314.3m, marginally down on the previous year’s record of £319.8m. Chelsea put this down to their elimination from the Champions League in the first knockout round compared with a semi-final appearance in 2014. But that figure is still the second best in the club’s history – the Premier League champions turned over £255.8m in 2013.
Arsenal boss continues to take shots at Uefa over their blindness to doping in soccer, and the governing body has resorted to intimidation tactics to try and silence Arsene Wenger.
A week after Wenger criticisd UEFA’s complacency on drugs cheats, Arsenal get a visit from ten members of the organisation’s doping control unit the next.
Coincidence? Arsene Wenger couldn’t possibly say. But it might just be that he has ruffled a few feathers with his very public belief that football has its head in the sand over drugs. Just like athletics did.
A bad weekend got even worse for Arenal fans with the news from L’Équipe journalist Bruno Constant that Francis Coquelin is facing “most probably” at least 3 months on the sidelines after injuring his knee in the first-half against West Brom.
Coquelin went down in the loss to West Brom on a 50-50 challenge with Claudio Yacob, and manager Arsene Wenger said after the match
“it looks to be more severe with a knee problem.”
The midfielder reportedly left the Hawthornes on crutches after the loss and while we have not heard anything official from the Gunners, the number of rumours suggest a longer recovery period than a shorter one.