UEFA to pick Lisbon as Champions League knockout rounds host

The Champions League final is heading to Lisbon, with UEFA planning an Aug. 23 final to cap seven broadcast nights in a 12-day span of elite European teams playing knockout soccer. (Reuters/File Photo)
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Updated 15 June 2020

UEFA to pick Lisbon as Champions League knockout rounds host

  • UEFA’s executive committee must agree on the plan on Wednesday
  • The Europa League mini-tournament is set to be shared by four cities in western Germany

NYON: The Champions League final is heading to Lisbon, with UEFA planning an Aug. 23 final to cap seven broadcast nights in a 12-day span of elite European teams playing knockout soccer.
The widely reported UEFA wish to hold an eight-team knockout bracket in two empty stadiums in Portugal’s capital was confirmed in reports Monday by broadcaster Sky Italia.
UEFA’s executive committee must agree on the plan on Wednesday among a series of decisions to reschedule international soccer — for Europe’s clubs and national teams — after the coronavirus pandemic upended the global sports calendar.
The most prized trophy in club soccer will be decided in a rare Sunday final at Benfica’s Stadium of Light. It was originally to be on Saturday, May 30 at Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, but UEFA looked elsewhere when that city was no longer practical.
Semifinals will be shared by the Stadium of Light and the nearby home stadium of Sporting Lisbon on Aug. 18-19. Four quarterfinals are planned on consecutive nights from Aug. 12-15, Sky Italia reported.
Four quarterfinals places have yet to be decided, and the UEFA executive panel must decide on Wednesday where to schedule second-leg games in the round of 16 that were postponed in March.
Those games could also go to Lisbon or be played without fans in the home stadiums of Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Manchester City.
The Europa League mini-tournament is set to be shared by four cities in western Germany with Cologne hosting the final on Friday, Aug. 21. It was meant to be on Wednesday, May 27 in Gdansk, Poland.
The second-tier competition also paused at the round of 16 in March. Six first-leg games were played and two more — Inter Milan-Getafe and Roma-Sevilla — could not be played in Italy when that country was hit hard by coronavirus cases.


Murray to the rescue as Nuggets hold of Lakers

Updated 23 September 2020

Murray to the rescue as Nuggets hold of Lakers

  • The 23-year-old Canadian’s three-pointer from 26 feet gave Denver a seven-point advantage at 106-99

ORLANDO: Jamal Murray scored 28 points as the Denver Nuggets held off a ferocious late fightback from the Los Angeles Lakers to roar back into contention in the Western Conference finals series on Tuesday.

Murray nailed two crucial late three-pointers in the closing minutes as Denver held on for a 114-106 victory in game three to reduce the Lakers’ lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

But the Nuggets — who looked in complete control for long periods of the contest — were given a mighty scare by the Lakers in a thrilling fourth quarter battle.

The Lakers had trailed by 20 points with just over 10 minutes remaining but whittled away the Denver lead to just three points with 3min 53sec left on the clock in Orlando.

But just as it looked as if LeBron James and Anthony Davis were poised to complete a remarkable comeback, Murray regrouped to take the game away from the Lakers.

The 23-year-old Canadian’s three-pointer from 26 feet gave Denver a seven-point advantage at 106-99 and he then provided the assist for Paul Millsap to make it 108-99.

With less than a minute on the clock, Murray struck the dagger blow with a 29-foot three-point jumpshot to make it 111-99 and effectively seal victory.

Denver coach Michael Malone said his team — who had suffered an agonizing buzzer-beater defeat in game two on Sunday — were determined not to go 3-0 down in the series.

The Nuggets have already overturned 3-1 series deficits en route to the Western Conference finals.

“I had no doubt we were going to show up tonight,” Malone said.

“We have won six straight elimination games. Everybody always has us packing our bags and leaving, but we’re not ready to go. They’re a very resilient group and they have proved that time and time again.”

Asked about his late flourish, Murray said he had set out to lead by example.

“That’s my whole energy, my whole approach to the game, not getting down if I miss a couple of shots,” Murray said.

“I’m just trying to be aggressive ... but the most important part is the energy I bring when I’m talking to my team-mates, being a vocal leader, getting up and down and pushing everybody so they tend to follow. I just wanted to see them have a lot of fun today.”

The Lakers, meanwhile, were left reflecting on an uneven display which ultimately left James and Davis with too much to do.

James led the scoring with a triple double comprised of 30 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, with six turnovers. Davis had 27 points, with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (12) and Kyle Kuzma (11) the only other Lakers players to crack double figures.

Murray, who also had 12 assists, was backed with 26 points from Jerami Grant while Nikola Jokic weighed in with 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

“You put yourself in an 18-point hole, it’s tough to climb out of that,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.

“I thought Denver played with great energy throughout the game. We didn’t match it early, we matched it late. They’re a great basketball team so credit it to them for the win. They played a really good basketball game.

“We were not as sharp as we could have been on both ends of the floor. We were playing at a high level, but were a little bit off in the first half.

“But I liked the spirit that the guys competed with down the stretch to try and make it a game.”