Chelsea, Arsenal, Napoli, Inter advance in Europa League

first_imgChelsea’s Oliver Giroud celebrates scoring his side’s first goal during the round of 32, second leg, Europa League soccer match between Chelsea and Malmo FF at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Thursday Feb. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)Chelsea shook off their recent troubles and easily advanced in the Europa League with a 3-0 second leg victory over 10-man Malmo on Thursday, a result that takes some pressure off embattled coach Maurizio Sarri.After a scoreless first half, Olivier Giroud tapped in a cross from Willian in the 55th minute before Ross Barkley made it 2-0 from a free kick. Callum Hudson-Odoi finished it off in the 84th, with Willian setting up his goal as well.ADVERTISEMENT Sarri’s position was already being called into question after the 6-0 loss at City in the Premier League on Feb. 10. Even worse, the team dropped to sixth in the Premier League in recent weeks and is out of the top 4 Champions League places.On Thursday, Chelsea looked in control but couldn’t find a breakthrough until Giroud netted in the 55th.Malmo defender Rasmus Bengtsson was sent off after picking his second yellow card in the 73rd, giving Barkley a chance to score from the subsequent free kick a minute later. Hudson-Odoi collected Willian’s perfect cross six minutes from time before surging forward to fire a low shot into the net.Earlier Thursday, Arsenal rebounded from a 1-0 loss to BATE Borisov a week ago with a comprehensive 3-0 second-leg victory.Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang forced an early own goal before center backs Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos added one apiece for Arsenal to advance 3-1 on aggregate.ADVERTISEMENT Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? Japeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for Ginebra Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title LATEST STORIES Rennes made the next round 6-4 overall after a 3-1 away win at Real Betis.Slavia Prague knocked out Genk after coming from a goal down to win 4-1 in Belgium. The two drew 1-1 in the first leg in Prague.Dynamo Kiev advanced with a 1-0 win at home over Olympiakos following a 2-2 draw in the first leg.A scoreless draw with Galatasaray was enough for Benfica to get through due to a 2-1 away win in Turkey.Russia’s Krasnodar advanced on the away goals rule after a 1-1 draw at Bayer Leverkusen.Patson Daka netted twice and Xaver Schlager and Munas Dabbur added one each for Salzburg to beat Club Brugge 4-0 and advance 5-2 on aggregate.Valencia went through 3-0 on aggregate after beating Celtic 1-0 at home.Dinamo Zagreb routed Viktoria Plzen 3-0 for a result that overturned a 2-1 loss in the first leg.Two goals from Sardar Azmoun helped Zenit St. Petersburg overcome Fenerbahce 3-1 to make it through 3-2 overall.Pablo Fornals scored 10 minutes from time for Villarreal to draw 1-1 in the second leg against Sporting Lisbon, enough to advance after winning 1-0 in the first leg. Rogue cops marked as Gamboa’s targets in his appointment as PNP chief Bencic upsets Halep to reach Dubai semifinals; Kvitova wins Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Aleksandr Hleb, who played for Arsenal from 2005-08, came on as substitute in the 58th and was applauded by the home fans at the Emirates Stadium.No more drawsAfter four consecutive draws in all competitions — including 2-2 at Shakhtar Donetsk last week in the first leg — Eintracht Frankfurt celebrated a 4-1 victory and advance 6-3 overall.Forward Luka Jovic scored his sixth European League goal this season for a 1-0 lead in the 23rd. It was 2-0 just four minutes later after Sebastien Haller converted from the penalty spot. Haller added his second and substitute Ante Rebic also scored late in the game.Ancelotti advancesNapoli coach Carlo Ancelotti made it two wins from his first two games in the Europa League with a 2-0 home victory over Zurich.After a 3-1 away win in Switzerland last week, Napoli easily advanced 5-1 on aggregate.Forwards Simone Verdi and Adam Ounas scored in each half at the Stadio San Paolo.Other gamesInter advanced after eliminating Austrian club Rapid Vienna 5-0 on aggregate after winning the second leg 4-0 in Rome.center_img Eugenie Bouchard’s bid for Australian Open spot ends in qualifying Giroud and Barkley also scored in a 2-1 victory in the first leg, with Chelsea advancing to the round of 16 with a 5-1 win on aggregate.The result provides some relief for Sarri, the Italian coach who was subjected to abuse from Chelsea supporters after the side’s FA Cup loss to Manchester United at home on Monday.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissSPORTSCoronation night?SPORTSThirdy Ravena gets‍‍‍ offers from Asia, Australian ball clubs“We played the first 30 minutes without confidence, nervous,” Sarri said. “After the first goal, we played very well — we started to move the ball very fast, with confidence.”On Sunday, Chelsea plays the League Cup final against Manchester City and then faces a Premier League meeting with crosstown rival Tottenham — two games that could yet determine whether Sarri’s stay at Stamford Bridge will be over before his first season ends. Italian clubs Napoli and Inter also had no problems to make the next phase while last year’s semifinalist Salzburg, Eintracht Frankfurt, Valencia, Villarreal, Dinamo Zagreb, Zenit, Benfica, Kiev, Rennes, Krasnodar and Slavia Prague all made it through.Former champion Sevilla advanced after knocking out Lazio on Wednesday.The draw for the last 16 is scheduled for Friday.Here’s a look at Thursday’s games:Effective EmeryArsenal manager Unai Emery made three changes to the starting lineup he used last week in Belarus, bringing on playmaker Mesut Ozil and defender Stephan Lichtsteiner while Aubameyang replaced suspended French forward Alexandre Lacazette .Those changes paid off.Aubameyang needed just four minutes to create the opener. He broke down the right before his cross hit defender Zakhar Volkov, who diverted the ball past goalkeeper Denis Scherbitski.Lichtsteiner made his presence felt when he saved on the goal line minutes later.Mustafi headed home the second from Granit Xhaka’s corner six minutes before interval. Papastathopoulos scored with another header on the hour mark, just four minutes after coming from the bench as substitute to replace injured captain Laurent Koscielny. 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Guardiola returns to Man City drawing board

first_img0Shares0000Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola (R) talks with midfielder Kevin De Bruyne during a training session at Manchester City Football Academy Campus © AFP/File / Anthony DevlinLONDON, United Kingdom, Aug 9 – Rattled by a chastening first season in England, Pep Guardiola has gone back to the drawing board in an attempt to fashion Manchester City into Premier League champions.Expectations were sky-high when Guardiola alighted in Manchester after years of being courted by City, but a title challenge failed to materialise and his side did not make a mark in any of the cup competitions. They return to the fray this weekend having spent around £200 million ($261 million, 221.3 million euros) on players and Guardiola believes an exciting new team is taking shape.“With all respect to the players, last season we were one of the oldest teams in the Premier League. We didn’t buy full-backs for five, six years,” said Guardiola.“We decided last season we could change the team to make the team younger for the next four or five years.Manchester City’s Danilo heads the ball during their 2017 International Champions Cup game against Tottenham Hotspur, at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee, on July 29 © GETTY/AFP/File / Frederick Breedon“Danilo is 26, (Benjamin) Mendy is 23, Bernardo (Silva) is 22, Ederson is 23, so we bought players who are going to be stable for the next years.”There were some promising signs last season — an opening salvo of 10 straight wins, a stunning Champions League victory over Barcelona — but City never found any consistent form.Guardiola seemed unprepared for the rude physicality of English football and was derided for saying he was “not a coach for the tackles” after a one-sided 4-2 defeat at Leicester City.City’s football was, occasionally, dazzling and they were only outscored by champions Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, but finding an effective defensive configuration gave Guardiola a constant headache.John Stones looked shaky following his big-money move from Everton and Guardiola’s dissatisfaction with his full-back options saw midfielders Fernandinho and Jesus Navas deployed in the wide defensive positions.There should not be any shoehorning of players into unfamiliar roles this season after Guardiola signed three top-level full-backs — Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy and Danilo — at a combined cost of around £124 million.– Aguero-Jesus conundrum –Manchester City’s goalkeeper Ederson Moraes make as save during their 2017 International Champions Cup match against Manchester United, at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, on July 20 © GETTY/AFP/File / Bob LeveyGuardiola hopes to have put his goalkeeping problems to bed as well, having reacted to Claudio Bravo’s travails by bringing in Brazil goalkeeper Ederson from Benfica in a £35 million deal.Bernardo Silva, meanwhile, arrived from Monaco, further strengthening a stellar attacking department that also contains Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Leroy Sane, David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling.“Manchester City have the best team on paper,” ex-England midfielder Owen Hargreaves told the Premier League official website.“It took a bit of an adjustment for Pep Guardiola, but City are my favourites.”Back-up goalkeeper Willy Caballero, full-backs Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy and wingers Jesus Navas and Nolito have all left, while the unwanted Joe Hart has gone out on loan again to West Ham United.Guardiola has tested out a three-man defence in pre-season, with Stones lining up alongside Nicolas Otamendi and captain Vincent Kompany, whose ability to remain fit will once again be under scrutiny.Playing three at the back may enable Guardiola to associate Aguero and Jesus in attack, after he generally used a single-striker system last season following Jesus’s arrival in January.Even more so than his old foe Jose Mourinho across town at Manchester United, if Guardiola cannot at the very least orchestrate a sustained title challenge, his gilded reputation will take a sizeable hit.Last season was the first time in his managerial career that he finished a campaign without having added at least one trophy to his collection.Another season without silverware will raise serious doubts as to whether he really is the man to carry City to the summit of European football for the first time.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more