MADRID: Real Madrid has done it again.
The 13-time European champion produced yet another magical Champions League night at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium on Wednesday, rallying late with two goals in two minutes by substitute Rodrygo to force extra time and defeat Manchester City 3-1 to reach its first final in four seasons.
Karim Benzema, the hero of Madrid’s previous Champions League comebacks this season, converted a penalty kick in extra time for the decisive goal that allowed Madrid to advance 6-5 on aggregate after a 4-3 first-leg semifinal loss in which it escaped losing by a bigger margin.
Madrid had already pulled off thrilling comebacks at the Bernabéu against Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16 and Chelsea in the quarterfinals.
By doing it again against City, Madrid booked a spot in the May 28 final in Paris against Liverpool, which advanced after defeating Villarreal on Tuesday. Madrid defeated Liverpool in the 2018 final, when the Spanish powerhouse clinched its record-extending 13th title.
The result ended City’s quest for its first Champions League trophy. Pep Guardiola’s team lost in the final last year to Chelsea.
Madrid looked beaten near the end of regulation when Rodrygo scored his goals two minutes apart. Riyad Mahrez had put City ahead in the 73rd but the Brazilian forward equalized in the 90th and got the go-ahead goal with a header a minute into stoppage time.
A few minutes before Rodrygo’s first goal, Ferland Mendy had saved Madrid from conceding a second goal that could have sealed City’s qualification by clearing the ball in front of the goal line while tumbling backward to keep an attempt by Jack Grealish from going in.
Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois moments later saved a Grealish shot with the bottom of his cleat.
Madrid carried all the momentum into extra time and Benzema gave the hosts the 3-1 lead by converting a 95th-minute penalty kick after he was fouled inside the area.
Real Madrid beat Manchester City to reach Champions League final
Real Madrid beat Manchester City to reach Champions League final
MADRID: Real Madrid has done it again.
Marseille beats 10-man Sporting after goalkeeper errors
- Marseille ended Sporting's perfect record with goals from Alexis Sanchez, Amine Harit, Leonardo Balerdi and Chancel Mbemba
- Sporting wasted no time once the game got started, needing less than 60 seconds to break the deadlock
MARSEILLE, France: Marseille recovered from going behind in the first minute to rout Sporting Lisbon 4-1 Tuesday in the Champions League, thanks in part to visiting goalkeeper Antonio Adan making two costly errors before getting sent off.
After not scoring a goal in two opening losses in Group D, Marseille ended Sporting’s perfect record with goals from Alexis Sanchez, Amine Harit, Leonardo Balerdi and Chancel Mbemba.
Adan had a night to forget, as he gifted Sanchez the equalizing goal after dawdling on the ball, made another mistake for the second and then was handed a red card in the 23rd minute after handling the ball outside his area.
The kickoff was delayed by more than 20 minutes after the bus carrying the visiting team’s players was caught in traffic and arrived late at the Velodrome stadium. The delay had been set to 15 minutes by UEFA and as Marseille players waited in the tunnel, coach Igor Tudor looked furious and complained to match officials that their opponents were late to come out of the locker room.
But Sporting wasted no time once the game got started, needing less than 60 seconds to break the deadlock.
With Marseille defenders letting him move forward unopposed, Francisco Trincao went down the right flank and cut inside to fire a left-footed shot into the net.
Marseille needed a blunder from the Sporting goalkeeper to get back in the match in the 13th minute.
Under pressure from Sanchez, Adan kicked the ball straight at the Chile striker as he tried to clear, and it bounced back into the net.
Adan looked destabilized and was again at fault on Marseille’s next goal three minutes later after another poor kick landed at Matteo Guendouzi’s feet. The midfielder was quick to pass the ball to Jonathan Clauss, who crossed it for Harit to finish off the move with a fine header.
Adan then rushed out to clear a ball in the 23rd, only to mistime his run and handle outside the area. Forward Marcus Edwards came off to make way for goalkeeper Franco Israel, who made his Champions League debut.
Israel’s lack of experience was on display on Marseille’s next chance, when he misjudged a free kick from Harit and could not stop Leonardo Balerdi’s powerful header in the 28th.
Sporting could not recover and were repeatedly sanctioned four fouls as Marseille controlled the remainder of the match, with Mbemba adding luster to the win in the 85th minute from close range.
The game was played without fans following the crowd trouble during Eintracht Frankfurt’s 1-0 win at Marseille last month.
Bayern routs Plzeň 5-0 to set CL group-stage unbeaten record
- Bayern recorded 2-0 victories over Inter Milan and Barcelona already in Group C
- They had to face Plzeň without Thomas Müller and Joshua Kimmich due to coronavirus infections
MUNICH, Germany: Leroy Sané scored twice as Bayern Munich set a Champions League record by extending their unbeaten run in group play to 31 matches with a 5-0 win over Czech champion Viktoria Plzeň on Tuesday.
Bayern maintained their perfect start to this season’s campaign to break Real Madrid’s mark of 30 straight group-stage matches without a loss, a streak stretching back to September 2017.
Bayern also haven’t lost at home in Europe’s premier competition since a 3-2 defeat to Manchester City in December 2013. Since then, the Bavarian powerhouse has won 25 games and drawn one in Munich.
Bayern recorded 2-0 victories over Inter Milan and Barcelona already in Group C, but they had to face Plzeň without Thomas Müller and Joshua Kimmich due to coronavirus infections.
Sané opened the scoring in the seventh minute when he coasted past several defenders before unleashing a shot inside the top left corner, and Leon Goretzka pushed the ball through for Serge Gnabry to make it 2-0 in the 13th.
Adam Vlkanova had just tried his luck for Plzeň, but Manuel Neuer safely gathered the shot. It was the visitors’ only real chance in the first half.
Sadio Mané turned on the style to flick the ball over a defender, then breezed past two more before firing in his first Champions League goal for Bayern in the 21st.
Jamal Musiala thought he had added the fourth in the 37th after a well-worked team move, but the goal was ruled out through VAR as Mané was adjudged to be just offside before playing the final pass.
Coach Julian Nagelsmann took off the impressive Musiala for Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting at the break, perhaps to rest the 19-year-old Germany international for Saturday’s Bundesliga “Klassiker” at Borussia Dortmund.
Sané displayed a good first touch to control Mané’s cross with the outside of his boot, then wasted no time in sending the ball with his next touch past the helpless Marián Tvrdoň in the Plzeň goal for Bayern’s fourth in the 50th. It was Sané’s 16th goal in his last 12 games in the competition.
The Germany winger had endured a difficult start at Bayern, with injuries hampering his impact amid high expectations since joining from City in 2020.
But the fans that once whistled him showed their appreciation Tuesday as Sané went off to thunderous applause in the 58th with Nagelsmann bringing on the 17-year-old Mathys Tel.
Choupo-Moting got the fifth goal a minute later.
Substitute Fortune Bassey provided a rare highlight for Plzeň by going close late on.
Vardy must pay up to $1.7 million after losing UK ‘WAGatha Christie’ libel case
- Rebekah Vardy, wife of Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, had sued Rooney for libel after being publicly accused of leaking stories about her
- On Tuesday, Vardy was ordered to pay 90% of Rooney's legal costs of about 1.67 million pounds
LONDON: Coleen Rooney, wife of ex-England soccer captain Wayne Rooney, will receive up to 1.5 million pounds ($1.7 million) in legal fees from the spouse of one of her husband’s former teammates after winning her high-profile libel case, a judge has ruled.
Rebekah Vardy, wife of Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, had sued Rooney for libel after being publicly accused of leaking stories about her to the Sun tabloid.
In July, Judge Karen Steyn ruled that Rooney, 36, had proved her allegation was “substantially true” and that Vardy, 40, knew and condoned private details being leaked to the Sun by her agent.
On Tuesday, Vardy, who said the judge had got it wrong, was ordered to pay 90 percent of Rooney’s legal costs of about 1.67 million pounds, with 800,000 to be paid by the middle of November.
The case has drawn in the public and media with its mix of glamor, soccer, and amateur sleuthing with Rooney turning detective to track down the culprit behind the leaks.
She said she had blocked everyone from viewing her Instagram account except one person and then posted a series of false stories to see whether they leaked out, which they did.
“It’s ... Rebekah Vardy’s account,” she posted on social media, which saw Rooney dubbed “WAGatha Christie,” a reference to the “WAG” moniker given to the glamorous group of footballers’ “wives and girlfriends.”
During the trial, the court was shown message exchanges between Vardy and her agent, which included derogatory remarks about Rooney and talk of leaking stories.
Rooney’s lawyer said Vardy deleted other media files and messages, while the agent’s phone ended up at the bottom of the North Sea after she said she accidentally dropped it over the side of a boat.
“In my judgment, what takes this case out of the norm in a way which compels the conclusion that I should make an order for indemnity costs is that in my judgment following the trial I found that the claimant (and also her former agent) had deliberately deleted or destroyed evidence,” Steyn said.
Spain says would support Ukraine joining its 2030 soccer World Cup bid with Portugal
- Ukraine is set to join Spain and Portugal in their bid to host the soccer World Cup in 2030
MADRID: Spain would support Ukraine joining its 2030 soccer World Cup hosting bid with Portugal, government spokeswoman Isabel Rodriguez said on Tuesday, asked about a report in The Times.
The Times reported on Monday that Ukraine is set to join Spain and Portugal in their bid to host the soccer World Cup in 2030.
The soccer chiefs of both Spain and Portugal will hold a news conference at European governing body UEFA’s headquarters in Switzerland on Wednesday, authorities said.
Saudi Arabia to host the 2029 Asian Winter Games at NEOM
- NEOM is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s most ambitious project under the Kingdom’s Vision 2030
JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia was chosen on Tuesday to host the 2029 Asian Winter Games at Trojena, a year-round winter sports complex being built in the northwest of the Kingdom as part of the futuristic NEOM megacity.
“The deserts and mountains of Saudi Arabia will soon be a playground for winter sports,” the Olympic Council of Asia said after the Saudi bid was “unanimously approved” at its general assembly meeting in Phnom Penh.
Trojena, which is due to be completed in 2026, is in an area of NEOM where winter temperatures drop below zero and year-round temperatures are generally 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the region.
One of 10 regions within NEOM, it is about 50 km inland from the Gulf of Aqaba in an area that, like much of the rest of the Kingdom, receives very little rainfall. The site spans 60 square kilometers, at an elevation of between 1,500 and 2,600 meters.
The complex will have year-round skiing, chalets, mansions, ultra-luxury hotels and a five-meter-deep manmade lake filled with desalinated sea water.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has said that Trojena “will redefine mountain tourism for the world by creating a place based on the principles of ecotourism, highlighting our efforts to preserve nature and enhance the community’s quality of life.”
Among those on the successful Saudi bid team for the Games was alpine skier Fayik Abdi. “I never believed I would ski in my homeland,” he said.
There will be 47 events at the Trojena Games — 28 on snow and 19 on ice — including competitions for skiing, snowboarding, ice hockey and figure skating.
Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, president of the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee, said the success of the Saudi bid to host the Games was “a great victory for the Saudi nation and the people of the Gulf countries.”
He said: “The Saudi sports sector significantly contributes to … the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030.”
The successful bid “also shed light on the enormous potential and the outstanding infrastructure of Saudi Arabia to host and organize international-level sports competitions and games successfully.”
Committee vice president Prince Fahd bin Jalawi said the Saudi leadership was “sparing no effort to push Saudi sports forward alongside the most advanced countries in the world.”
NEOM chief executive Nadhmi Al-Nasr said Trojena would have “suitable infrastructure to create the winter atmosphere in the heart of the desert, to make the Winter Games in Trojena an unprecedented global event.”