Ronaldo’s Brace Sinks Apoel, Spurs And City Shine As Liverpool Stall

Cristiano Ronaldo took just 12 minutes to mark his return to the Real Madrid side with a goal as the holders made light work of Cypriot champions Apoel in a 3-0 win.

Ronaldo was his usual rambunctious self, later raging against the goal-line referee when he correctly adjudged his shot had not crossed the line and smashing in a penalty moments later.

Ronaldo’s first goal was made by Gareth Bale, who also played a part in Ronaldo’s second and Sergio Ramos’ spectacular third. When he was taken off with 10 minutes left the overwhelming response was applause. But there were also a few whistles.

Goals Galore: Chelsea Hit Qarabag For Six As Messi Leads Barca To A 3-0 Win Over Juventus

Meanwhile, Liverpool were held to a two all draw by Sevilla in their first match of the Champions League group stage. The visitors took an early lead through Ben Yedder before Robert Firmino restored parity minutes later.

Mohammed Salah gave Liverpool a 2-1 lead before the break with Sevilla leveling the scores after the break through Joaquin Corea.

Elsewhere Manchester City were in devastating form as they thrashed Feyenoord four nil, Harry Kane struck twice as Tottenham beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1 while Shakhtar Donetsk beat Napoli 2-1.

-Dailymail

Man City Furious With ‘Shambolic’ Arsenal After £60m Move For Sanchez Collapses

Manchester City were left seething at Arsenal’s handling of Alexis Sanchez on Thursday night after a dramatic £60million deadline-day move fell flat.

Sanchez was sat inside Santiago’s Estadio Monumental David Arrellano ready to sign for Pep Guardiola’s team ahead of Chile’s World Cup qualifier against Paraguay on Thursday night.

The 28-year-old believed a deal was set before being denied by Arsenal’s failure to land Monaco winger Thomas Lemar for an eye-watering £92m.

City had officials on hand in South America to oversee Sanchez’s transfer. They were given encouragement at around 10am that Arsene Wenger was some way down the line in finalising a replacement.

The respective chief executives, Ivan Gazidis and Ferran Soriano had been in dialogue all summer but City did not make their first formal offer of £50m until Tuesday.

Arsenal argue they were left with too little time to sign Lemar. It became clear on Thursday afternoon that the France international wanted Champions League football and had designs on joining Liverpool.

That left City sources flabbergasted, baffled that Wenger’s team had not done their due diligence in their pursuit of Lemar.

Communication from the Emirates Stadium went quiet early in the afternoon and one source slammed Arsenal as ‘shambolic’.

Wenger had suggested throwing in Raheem Sterling as part of the deal on Tuesday but Guardiola made it clear to Soriano that he would prefer a straight cash transfer.

It leaves Sanchez, whose contract runs out at the end of the season, in a state of flux until January at least. City are likely to test Arsenal’s resolve again in the winter transfer window.

Sanchez was disappointed at not sealing an Arsenal exit and is highly unlikely to pen new terms, making him available on a free.

City are, however, wary that Sanchez could opt to sign elsewhere next summer, particularly after Dani Alves went back on his verbal pledge to join City and performed a U-turn before moving to Paris Saint-Germain.

-Dailymail

Joy For City, Arsenal & Liverpool More Misery for Mourinho As EPL Shapes Up

On the day Sergio Aguero rediscovered his shooting boots for Manchester’s other lot, United’s main man Zlatan Ibrahimovic extended the worst scoring run of his career and ended up looking every one of his 35 years.

The legend of Ibrahimovic was signed to great fanfare to win matches like this. Instead, he and United registered 37 shots on goal but failed to capitalise against a Burnley team who in fairness defended brilliantly.

United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic shows his frustration after another good chance goes begging against the Clarets

When Jose Mourinho and his players needed that piece of magic to beat the inspired Tom Heaton in goal, the kind Zlatan dined out on in places like Barcelona, Paris and Milan, it was missing.

United will fervently hope the decline is only temporary as they now stand eight points adrift of co-leaders Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal.

Ibrahimovic’s best moment was a trademark overhead kick that was brilliantly saved by Heaton, its power injuring the goalkeeper.

Two other chances inside the box came to nothing. In the final minute, Paul Pogba squeezed a cross to the super Swede. The 13-time league champion fluffed his lines, missed the target and held his head in shame.

Photo: Arsenal

For someone of his talent and ego, it was a sad moment. In the end it was a deserved point for a resilient Burnley side thanks to a goalless draw miles away from home.

Arsenal upstaged lowly placed Sunderland 4-1 at the Stadium of light where they had been pinned back by a Jermaine Defoe spot kick with twenty minutes to go.

Super sub Olivier Giroud  marked his return to the side from a nagging toe injury with two quick goals in just two touches.

Alexis Sanchez rounded off the woeful defence to nick in the fouth goal of the afternoon, his second of the game to make it half a century goals in 106 appearances for Arsenal since his arrival from Barcelona in 2014.

Meanwhile Manchester City bounced back to winning ways with a four nil win over West Brom, with Sergio Aguero rediscovering his scoring boots with a brace with Ilkay Gundogan completing the rout with a brace.

Tottenham settled for a one all draw with Leicester.

Guardiola’s Orchestra Continues As Man City Wins Third Consecutive Match

Manchester City yesterday maintained their 100 percent start in the English Premier League with a 3-1 win over West Ham.

Raheem Sterling opened the scoring for the Citizens before Fernadinho doubled the lead minutes later.

Michail Antonio reduced the deficit after the break before Sterling grabbed his second goal at stoppage time. The win leaves Man City at the top of the English premier league table with nine points, same points with Chelsea and Manchester United who have an inferior goal difference.

The league takes a break this weekend with international friendlies taking center stage.

 

Pep Guardiola surprises 7-year-old Manchester City fan in a taxi (Video)

Pure class from Pep Guardiola

New Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is already a big hit in Manchester and his tock will rise after fans see this video featuring 7-year-old Braydon.

The young Man City fan thought he was meeting Chappy but got a big surprise when he climbed into Chappy’s taxi.

The Manchester City YouTube channel have been raising the bar for years now and this is yet another fantastic feel-good video to feature on their channel.

Sign Messi!

After finally coming to terms with being in the same taxi as Pep Guardiola, Braydon urged his new manager to try and sign Barcelona superstar Leo Messi.

The former Barcelona coach warned the youngster that it may be tough but insisted he will try and win every trophy this season.

-101greatgoals.com

Man City draw PSG, Barca to tackle Atletico in Champions League quarters

Photo: completesportsnigeria.com

Following an action-packed month of UEFA Champions League football, finally the top eight clubs drawn from across Europe’s elite leagues will now battle it out in the competition’s quarter finals stage.

In a draw conducted this afternoon, 2013-14 Premier League champions Manchester City will be facing off recently crowned Ligue1 champions PSG, who eliminated EPL champions Chelsea in the last 16 stage.

The draw also saw defending champions Barcelona pitted against fellow Spanish giants Atletico Madrid, a mouthwatering clash which analysts believe will play a huge role in producing this year’s champions.

Pep Guardiola’s side and Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich face Portuguese champions Benfica. Zinedine Zidane’s outfit Real Madrid will meet German side Wolfsburg.

The quarter-finals will take place on 5-6 April and 12-13 April, 2016.

In the second-tier UEFA Europa League draw, Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp will square it out against an in-form German side Borussia Dortmund, a team he led between 2008-2015 before joining the Klops.

De Bruyne sends Man City to League Cup final

Kevin De Bruyne met with controversy, glory and injury as Manchester City defeated Everton 3-1 on Wednesday to set up a League Cup final showdown with Liverpool next month.

Everton extended their 2-1 advantage from the first leg when Ross Barkley scored a fine individual goal in the 18th minute, but Fernandinho quickly equalised before substitute De Bruyne levelled the tie and then set up Sergio Aguero to complete a 4-3 aggregate victory in the 76th minute.

Replays, however, suggested that Raheem Sterling had taken the ball beyond the byline before cutting it back for De Bruyne to score and the former Wolfsburg winger finished the match on a stretcher after his knee buckled in a late challenge with Ramiro Funes Mori.

City’s win deprived Everton of a meeting with Liverpool — who overcame Stoke City on penalties on Tuesday — in what would have been the first all-Merseyside major final since the 1988-89 FA Cup and the first League Cup final to feature the Goodison Park club since 1984.

With David Silva orchestrating the hosts’ attacks, City looked to dictate the game, but Everton posed a threat on the break and after menacing incursions by Gerard Deulofeu and Barkley, the England playmaker extended the visitors’ aggregate lead.

It was a goal that demonstrated both the brilliance of Barkley and City’s defensive porousness as the Everton number 20 evaded the sliding Nicolas Otamendi and foxed Fabian Delph with a stylish feint before steering a low shot into City goalkeeper Willy Caballero’s bottom-right corner.

Barkley’s strike left City needing two goals to stay in the tie, but after Sterling had tested Joel Robles and Yaya Toure had curled over, they halved the aggregate deficit.

After Aguero’s shot was blocked by returning Everton skipper Phil Jagielka, Fernandinho followed in with a right-foot drive that clipped Leighton Baines’s heel and left Robles clutching at thin air.

City almost levelled the tie nine minutes before the interval, Aguero thumping a shot against the right-hand upright from outside the box and Sterling seeing his follow-up swatted behind by Robles.

– Fury –

Barkley created a chance for Deulofeu early in the second half, the Spaniard drawing a save from Caballero with a side-foot shot, but with Jesus Navas on in place of Delph, City had a new outlet on the right flank and they began to bang on the door.

Aguero miscued, uncharacteristically, from a Navas cross, Silva headed a Pablo Zabaleta cross against the post and Tom Cleverley had to produce a sliding block to thwart Sterling.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez added fresh legs in the form of James McCarthy and Arouna Kone.

City boss Manuel Pellegrini responded by replacing Toure with De Bruyne, City’s record £55 million ($78.3 million, 71.9 million euros) signing, and four minutes after coming on the Belgian levelled the tie.

Sterling had moved to the left following Navas’s entrance and he showed England colleague John Stones a clean pair of heels before pulling the ball back for De Bruyne, who side-footed home.

To the fury of Evertonians on social media, replays showed that the ball had just crossed the line before Sterling played it into the box.

The mood of those in royal blue plummeted six minutes later when De Bruyne shaped a cross into the box from the right and Aguero glanced a deft header past Robles to send City to Wembley.

De Bruyne had made a stunning impact, but his night ended prematurely when he went down on the corner of the Everton box and had to be carried off on a stretcher.

Photo Credits : AFP

Aston Villa set up FA Cup date with Man City

Late goals by Ciaran Clark and Idrissa Gueye gave Premier League strugglers Aston Villa a 2-0 win over fourth-tier Wycombe Wanderers in their FA Cup third-round replay on Tuesday.

Bottom of the Premier League and seemingly destined for relegation to the Championship, Villa had only managed a 1-1 draw with Wycombe — currently seventh in League Two — when the two teams first met 10 days previously.

The reunion at Villa Park proved a similarly close-fought affair, but Clark’s 75th-minute header and a last-minute Gueye strike earned Villa a fourth-round tie at home to Manchester City.

Villa’s fellow Premier League side West Bromwich Albion also secured a narrow victory, winning 1-0 at second-tier Bristol City.

Venezuelan striker Salomon Rondon scored the game’s only goal in the 52nd minute, chesting down Craig Dawson’s cross and slotting home, to earn West Brom a home tie with third-division Peterborough United.

Meanwhile, second-tier Milton Keynes Dons — 4-0 winners against Manchester United in last season’s League Cup — set up a home tie with Premier League champions Chelsea after beating Northampton Town 3-0 in their replay.

Photo Credits : AFP

City depth encourages Pellegrini

Manuel Pellegrini believes the all-round strength of his squad could have a key role to play in the second half of the season after seeing his side re-ignite their Premier League title challenge with a 4-0 win over Crystal Palace.

Saturday’s match at the Etihad saw City score four goals in a game for the eighth time this season as they reinforced their position as the leading scorers at home in the league.

Sergio Aguero signalled his return to something like top form with two of those goals but Pellegrini took particular delight in securing such an emphatic victory after starting without a number of City’s key players.

“We have to play so many games in January, it is very important to have the whole squad involved in what we are doing if you want to continue being a competitive team in all the competitions,” the City manager explained.

“To make five changes and to win the way we did today I think will be very useful for the future,” added the Chilean, whose side ended the day in second place, a point behind leaders Leicester — although both clubs could end the weekend behind Arsenal depending upon the result of the Gunners’ match at Stoke on Sunday.

Pellegrini rested Yaya Toure, who came off the bench in the second half and had a hand in Aguero’s second goal which made it 3-0 to kill off any prospect of a Palace comeback.

Raheem Sterling was an unused substitute and City also again managed without the injured trio of midfielder Fernandinho, defender Vincent Kompany and striker Wilfried Bony.

– ‘Absolute trust’ –

Pellegrini, whose side also kept a third successive clean sheet in extending their unbeaten run to five league games, said: “One of the merits of this squad is to be involved in a lot of competitions without important players for an important part of the first part of the season.

“Of course if you have all your players 100 percent fit our squad would be strong.

“But if not, I trust absolutely the other players. You see today and against Everton we didn’t have any problem with (Nicolas) Otamendi and (Martin) Demichelis.

“Both of them played well, but of course we need Vincent also.”

Aguero’s double-strike against the Eagles gave him 13 goals for the season, his efforts coming between the opening goal from Fabian Delph, who also laid on the fourth for David Silva.

Pellegrini was heartened by the performance of Aguero following the ankle injury that kept the talismanic striker him out for almost a month before Christmas

“Maybe he (Aguero) didn’t score in the last game because (Everton’s Tim) Howard made two good saves but he is making all the movements he normally does when he is 100 percent fit so I think he will continue improving in every game,” said Pellegrini, whose side were held to a goalless home draw by the Toffees in midweek.

Saturday’s result extended Palace’s winless run in the Premier League to five games, during which time the London club have failed to score.

This was a far better showing than their 5-1 loss to City in the League Cup at the Etihad in October, but Palace manager Alan Pardew accepted goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey was under pressure for his place after the Wales international’s error saw him beaten by Delph’s long-range effort.

It was Hennessey’s second high-profile mistake in as many matches after his error gifted Aston Villa a 1-0 win on Tuesday.

“Wayne needed to respond today and made another mistake,” said Pardew. “I need to see a reaction from him. I will give him that chance because he deserves it.”

Photo Credits : AFP

Man City agree terms for Australian Caceres

Premier League giants Manchester City have agreed terms for the transfer of Australian A-League star Anthony Caceres, his club Central Coast Mariners said on Friday.

“The Central Coast Mariners can today confirm that the club has agreed to terms with English Premier League club Manchester City for the transfer of 23-year-old midfielder Anthony Caceres that will take immediate effect,” the club said on their website.

Caceres made 62 appearances for the Mariners following his A-League debut in 2012.

Coach Tony Walmsley said he was looking forward to seeing him reach his potential on the world stage.

“We need to celebrate when players at the Central Coast Mariners are sold to bigger clubs. It’s our charter. It’s our intent,” Walmsley said.

“This move demonstrates how far Anthony has progressed and symbolises how giving youth a chance works for both the Central Coast Mariners and young aspirational footballers.”

Photo Credits : AFP