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WHAT WE LEARNED: Dominant defences, sloppy City and simple Serie A

All the Champions League second round first-leg matches are done and dusted so what better time to look back at the latest clashes and reveal what we learned from the titanic tussles… DEFENCE BACK IN VOGUE Who would have predicted that Tuesday night’s two clashes would return the miserly total of zero goals? If you…

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WHAT WE LEARNED: Dominant defences, sloppy City and simple Serie A

All the Champions League second round first-leg matches are done and dusted so what better time to look back at the latest clashes and reveal what we learned from the titanic tussles…
DEFENCE BACK IN VOGUE

Who would have predicted that Tuesday night’s two clashes would return the miserly total of zero goals? If you say yes, there is a good chance you are either lying or able to see into the future. Liverpool (minus Virgil van Djik), Bayern Munich and Barcelona are all much better going forward than trying to keep a cleansheet and goals were surely guaranteed. But in both matches — Liverpool at home to Bayern, and Barca away at Lyon — the backlines held firm and Bayern’s performance in particular illustrated a defensive discipline that has been deemed out of fashion the past few seasons. The fullbacks Joshua Kimmich and David Alaba rarely went beyond the halfway line and Mats Hummels was immense in the middle. Likewise the Reds without their defensive rock also looked resolute and solid with their makeshift backline. Over the past few years the top teams, especially in Europe, have generally thrown caution to the wind. Tuesday’s matches were a bit of a throwback, but no less entertaining or enthralling for it.

The disciplined performance of David Alaba typified Bayern’s match at Liverpool. (AFP) 
JUVE FINDING SERIE A TOO EASY?

The Turin club are once again strolling toward another domestic title. They are unbeaten and a mammoth 13 points ahead of second-placed Napoli, their eighth consecutive title is all but assured. In Europe, however, it is a different story as Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat at Atletico Madrid illustrated. Already this season they have lost three of their seven Champions League matches and on now face a huge task to overturn the deficit in Turin on March 12. In four full seasons at Juventus, Massimiliano Allegri has led his team to four successive league and cup doubles and two Champions League finals. But he was out-thought by Atletico counterpart Diego Simeone. Of the result the Juve boss simply said “these things happen” but added: “They are more used playing games of this type than us” a tacit admission that the Spaniards face tougher games in La Liga than Juve do while strolling to wins week after week in Italy.

Ronaldo and Juve are coasting to yet another Serie A title but it’s a different story in the Champions League. (AFP) 
CITY’S INCONSISTENCY CLEAR TO SEE

Before the turn of the year Manchester City lost in the Premier League to Crystal Palace and Leicester City and followed that up in January with a shock loss at Newcastle. For the first time in 18 months, domestically at least, you could no longer assume the Abu Dhabi-owned club would turn up, strut their stuff and claim an easy victory. In Europe so far this season they have only lost once in seven matches, on the face of it no problem. But the defeat at Lyon before the new year has been followed up with Wednesday’s last-gasp 3-2 win at Schalke, again, on the face of it OK, but worrying signs are there. The German outfit may lie 14th in the Bundesliga but for long periods looked more than a match for Pep Guardiola’s side — albeit one down to 10 men from the 69th minute. City could well win the second-leg in a similar manner to their 6-0 win over Chelsea in the league, but this match as much as anything will have perfectionist Guardiola worried. It was not for nothing that he said after the win: “we are still not ready to fight for the latter stages.”

City found the going tough against a resolute Schalke. (AFP)

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Uefa Super Cup: Bayern Munich v Sevilla

Got a TV Licence?You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.Find out moreSummaryEuropa League holders Sevilla lead Champions League winners Bayern MunichSevilla’s sixth Super Cup outing since 2006 – have lost each of past four appearances20,000 fans expected in stadium as test eventLive…

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Got a TV Licence?You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.Find out moreSummaryEuropa League holders Sevilla lead Champions League winners Bayern MunichSevilla’s sixth Super Cup outing since 2006 – have lost each of past four appearances20,000 fans expected in stadium as test eventLive Reporting Alex BysouthAll times stated are UKPost updateBayern Munich 0-1 SevillaWell, well, well… who saw that coming?!GOAL – Bayern Munich 0-1 SevillaLucas Ocampos (12 mins)The Sevilla fans can’t watch…Lucas Ocampos takes a huge run-up, stutters slightly and slots calmly past Manuel Neuer.A no-look penalty, cheeky!David Alaba is booked for knocking over Ivan Rakitic to give away the spot kick.Sevilla lead…PENALTYBayern Munich 0-0 SevillaIvan Rakitic is bundled over in the box. Anthony Taylor points straight to the spot!Post updateBayern Munich 0-0 SevillaNeat little link up down Sevilla’s right between Suso and Jesus Navas, with the former Manchester City man looking to delve into the Bayern half.The Spanish side have settled since that flying Bayern start.Post updateBayern Munich 0-0 SevillaFoul by Serge Gnabry on Lucas Ocampos, and that will give Sevilla a chance to deliver from the left of the Bayern penalty area. Suso looks to whip it in but there are plenty of red shirts in the way to clear.Decent start to this one. Post updateBayern Munich 0-0 SevillaBayern have flown out the blocks…Serge Gnabry wriggles down the right and tries to squeeze a ball into Robert Lewandowski’s path, but Sevilla stopper Yassine Bounou can collect.Post updateBayern Munich 0-0 SevillaEarly touch for Leroy Sane, who you would imagine must love playing in this Bayern Munich side.The winger cuts it back across the top of the box but it allows Sevilla to regroup.KICK-OFFBayern Munich 0-0 SevillaRight then, whose record will slip tonight? Treble winners Bayern are unbeaten in 31 matches, while Sevilla have not suffered defeat in 21. Something’s got to give…Time to find out.Can Bayern make it two?Bayern Munich v Sevilla (20:00 BST)It might surprise you, it did me at least, to learn that Bayern Munich have only won the European Super Cup once, in 2013. Recent fixtures have been dominated by Spanish sides, who have won nine of the last 11 contests – only Bayern seven years ago and Liverpool in 2019 have interrupted that run.The Champions League/European Cup winner has tended to come out on top in this clash though, winning the trophy on 25 occasions.Post updateBayern Munich v Sevilla (20:00 BST)It actually feels a little strange to see and hear fans in the stadium, has it really been that long?!How’s tat…Bayern Munich v Sevilla (20:00 BST)Sevilla’s Nemanja Gudelj has the Europa League trophy his side won tattooed on his leg, will he be evening things up with a Super Cup on his left shin after tonight’s match?Tempted to get one myself when we win the Lancashire & Cheshire Division Two Cup…Getty ImagesCopyright: Getty ImagesPost updateBayern Munich v Sevilla (20:00 BST)There is English interest in Budapest tonight… referee Anthony Taylor is the man in the middle.Sane & Rakitic on showBayern Munich v Sevilla (20:00 BST)Leroy Sane netted on his Bayern debut against Schalke last week, while Ivan Rakitic makes his first start since returning to Sevilla – both have a chance to grab some silverware with their new clubs tonight.Getty ImagesCopyright: Getty ImagesGetty ImagesCopyright: Getty ImagesThe fan debate – safe or ‘experimental rabbits’?The Hungarian government insists it is “safe” for fans to attend today’s game, despite opposition saying they will be “experimental rabbits”.Both Bayern and Sevilla have been allocated 3,000 tickets for the match but far fewer of their fans will attend, with the majority of the 15,500 tickets sold coming from Hungary.European football’s governing body Uefa say fans will be instructed to keep a distance of 1.5m from each other, wear masks and wash and disinfect their hands wherever possible.They also have to undergo body temperature checks at the stadium and anyone over 37.8C will be refused entry.Those supporters arriving from abroad will have to present a ticket and proof of a negative Covid-19 test which must have been conducted in the previous three days and they can only stay in the country for up to 72 hours.The chief of staff for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said the match will be “safer than almost any other gathering” with the measures that are in place but others are not convinced.”This experiment is unacceptable,” said opposition Socialist deputy Ildiko Borbely.”They use 14,000 compatriots as experimental rabbits to see how the coronavirus spreads at mass gatherings. We reject exposing Hungary to such danger.”Post updateBayern Munich v Sevilla (20:00 BST)There’s just about time for a quiz before tonight’s Super Cup kicks off. To mark the occasion, we are testing your knowledge of the competition by asking you to name the 24 sides to have won it since it began in 1973.Click here to get quizzical. Post updateBayern Munich v Sevilla (20:00 BST)Sevilla’s sporting director Monchi likes winning, and cake…Post updateBayern Munich v Sevilla (20:00 BST)Bayern Munich’s warm-up session at their team hotel has the feel of one of those football adverts for sports brands in the late 90s/early 00s…Ronaldo and his Brazil team-mates pegging it around an airport, anyone?Getty ImagesCopyright: Getty ImagesGetty ImagesCopyright: Getty ImagesFans return to watch actionBayern Munich v Sevilla (20:00 BST)Uefa has sold 15,500 tickets for tonight’s game in Budapest, as part of a trial to get fans back into grounds. Match organisers will be broadcasting public announcements on giant screens and TV monitors, reminding fans to put safety first.Uefa said last month up to 30% of the 67,000-seater Puskas Arena would be allowed to be used, though fewer tickets have been sold.Safety precautions include wearing face masks when social distance cannot be respected, queuing lanes marked out at turnstiles and thermal cameras to measure body temperature at entrances.Super six for SevillaBayern Munich v Sevilla (20:00 BST)I know, it feels like Sevilla feature in the Super Cup every year – in fact, the Spanish side are only the fifth team to
contest the tie at least six times, after Barcelona (9), AC Milan
(7), Real Madrid (7) and Liverpool (6).However, they’ve only won the trophy on one of those appearances, against Barcelona in 2006.Win tonight and Sevilla will claim an eighth European trophy, a run that began with the 2005-06 Uefa Cup – only Barcelona (7) and
Real Madrid (7) have won as many continental titles in that time.Post updateBayern Munich v Sevilla (20:00 BST)Getty ImagesCopyright: Getty ImagesSay what?!Image caption: Say what?!Can anyone stop Bayern?The German giants are on an incredible 22-match winning run and are 31 games undefeated in all competitions, a spell that has seen them wrap up the Bundesliga title, clinch the German Cup and win the Champions League.They then kicked off the new season with an 8-0 thumping of Schalke, just in case anyone thought Hansi Flick’s men might be about to let up…Sevilla, who beat Inter Milan in the Europa League final, kicked their domestic campaign off with a 3-2 win against Levante.to-topLatest PostMatch StatsHome TeamBayern MunichAway TeamSevillaPossessionHome60%Away40%ShotsHome0Away1Shots on TargetHome0Away1CornersHome0Away0FoulsHome2Away2Line-upsBayern Munich1Neuer5Pavard4Süle27AlabaBooked at 12mins21Hernández18Goretzka6Kimmich7Gnabry25Müller10Sané9LewandowskiSubstitutes8Martínez Aguinaga11Cuisance14Zirkzee17Boateng19Davies24Tolisso26Ulreich30Fein35Nübel40Tillman41Richards42MusialaSevilla13Bono16Navas12Koundé20Santos Silva18Escudero8Jordán25Reges10Rakitic7Fernández Saez9de Jong5OcamposSubstitutes1Vaclik3Gómez6Gudelj11El Haddadi14Rodríguez15En-Nesyri19Acuña21Torres22Vázquez24Fernández29Gil31DíazScoresFilter by section. Currently selected: Super CupThursday 24th September 2020
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Who is Valencia’s exciting English teenager Musah?

Yunus Musah is eligible to represent England, Ghana, Italy and the United StatesThe departure of several key stars has made for a tough summer for Valencia – but one talented English teenager is offering room for optimism at the Mestalla Stadium.Former Arsenal academy star Yunus Musah became the first English player to represent the Spanish…

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Who is Valencia’s exciting English teenager Musah?

Yunus Musah is eligible to represent England, Ghana, Italy and the United StatesThe departure of several key stars has made for a tough summer for Valencia – but one talented English teenager is offering room for optimism at the Mestalla Stadium.Former Arsenal academy star Yunus Musah became the first English player to represent the Spanish side when he started their opening 4-2 La Liga win over Levante on 13 September.And at 17 years 289 days, it also made England youth international Musah the club’s youngest foreign player, as well as putting him in the top 10 youngest overall.Musah made his second successive start in a 2-1 defeat by Celta Vigo on Saturday, meaning he has played 171 of Valencia’s 180 league minutes so far as he seeks to consolidate a place in the first team following the club’s turbulent pre-season.Valencia supporters protested against owner Peter Lim before the Levante game, after former Watford boss Javi Gracia became the club’s eighth different manager since 2014 and key players Ferran Torres, Rodrigo, Dani Parejo and Francis Coquelin all departed.However, their side twice came from behind in the 4-2 derby victory, with Musah’s impressive debut further helping to lift the mood.”I was very happy. I couldn’t stop smiling and I called my parents afterwards,” Musah told the club’s website post-match.”I spoke with them to thank them and I want to thank everybody who has helped me to have this moment.”So, just how did he get here?Yunus Musah spent seven years at Arsenal, winning the U18 Premier League South in 2019Musah has captained England from under-15 to under-18 level, despite also being eligible to represent Ghana, Italy and the United States.Of Ghanaian descent, he was born in the American city New York while his mother was on holiday there in November 2002 and then lived in Italy until the age of nine.He began his youth career in Italy, with local side Giorgione, before joining Arsenal’s academy after moving to London in 2012.Musah spent seven years with the Gunners and played a key role in their under-18s’ Premier League South triumph in 2018-2019, scoring four goals and making three assists in 15 appearances that campaign, before his Valencia move.The versatile midfielder has featured centrally and on the wing for both club and country, and has already established a reputation for his slick passing, creativity and pace.The question now is: just how good could he be?”The merit for what players do, like Yunus, should go to the player. There is the makings of a player there, and despite his age he showed great maturity to endure the level of demand that was there,” Gracia saidexternal-link following Musah’s debut against Levante.”That should be valued and we should take care of him, so that in the future he contributes many more things to Valencia.”Having already demonstrated his exciting potential in Valencia’s opening games of 2020-21, Musah’s present challenge is to cement his place as a regular starter – and perhaps get his first goal.He came closest when he struck the woodwork against Levante, and his end product is something the player himself identifies as an area for immediate improvement.”I want to score more goals and be more consistent with my passes,” he said. “Sometimes in the game I can do so many good passes and one bad one. I want to correct that.”Musah has described himself as “a passer and also physical”, adding: “I can run past players because I’m a bit bigger than some of them. I’m really good at passing and I can create a lot of chances.”Valencia – and England – will be hoping he can continue to flourish during his time at the Mestalla, where he is contracted until 2022.Stacey Dooley Revisits: Where are they now?Mercury Prize: 12 essential albums from former winners and nominees
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‘He raised me like you’ – Mourinho moved by request for photo to honour journalist’s father

Spurs manager Jose Mourinho agrees to take a photo with a Macedonian journalist to put at his late father’s resting place.Read more: ‘It’s important for Alli to perform’ – Mourinho

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‘He raised me like you’ – Mourinho moved by request for photo to honour journalist’s father

Spurs manager Jose Mourinho agrees to take a photo with a Macedonian journalist to put at his late father’s resting place.Read more: ‘It’s important for Alli to perform’ – Mourinho
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