Sports

Manchester City 0-0 Real Madrid

 Posted by at 5:26 AM
Apr 272016
 
City have kept three home clean sheets in a row in the Champions League after managing just one in their previous 17 ties at Etihad Stadium

Joe Hart kept Manchester City’s hopes of reaching their first Champions League final alive with two brilliant late saves that ensured their semi-final first leg with Real Madrid finished goalless.

With star striker Cristiano Ronaldo missing because of a thigh injury, a cautious Real side offered little goal threat until the closing stages.

But in the last 20 minutes, Jese headed against the bar for the Spanish side before Hart brilliantly denied Casemiro and Pepe from corners.

Hart showed great reactions to keep out Casemiro’s header with his foot but his block to deny Pepe, who was unmarked and five yards from goal, is the standout reason City will travel to Spain next week with a precious clean sheet.

The closest City came to a goal of their own was when Keylor Navas tipped over Kevin de Bruyne’s dipping free-kick in stoppage time.

Relive a tense first leg at Etihad Stadium

Football Daily podcast: ‘A professional European display by Manchester City’

That was Navas’ only save of a game that was billed as a shootout between two attacking sides but was, in fact, a game largely devoid of goalmouth action.

City will take the positives from denying Real an away goal but England’s last remaining representatives in Europe’s elite competition still face a huge task if they are to reach the final, in Milan on 28 May.

Their failure to score at home means former Real boss Manuel Pellegrini does not have a lead to take back to the Bernabeu, where Zinedine Zidane’s side have not conceded a goal in the Champions League all season.

Since 2009-10, Real Madrid have won just 43% of their Champions League games without Ronaldo – who was sat on the away bench – and 71% with him playing

No Ronaldo, no Real threat

The news Ronaldo’s thigh muscle was deemed too tight for him to play was clearly a massive boost for City before their first Champions League semi-final.

Without their 47-goal top scorer, a Real side that had scored 133 goals in their previous 46 games this season seemed reluctant to commit men forward and struggled to create chances.

Gareth Bale, playing his first game in England since his £85m move to Real from Spurs in 2013, was unable to provide the spark in Ronaldo’s absence.

Madrid forward Bale attempted five shots at goal – more than the entire City team

Bale did get the better of Gael Clichy early on down the right but failed to find a team-mate with his crosses and his finishing was also below his usual standards.

The Wales winger cut in to send one curling shot bouncing wide in the second half but disappointed with a free-kick from the edge of the box which he fired against the City wall.

Both of Real’s late chances came from set-pieces and they struggled to open up City.

City also shot-shy

The home side were not helped by David Silva being forced off by injury before half-time and were short of their customary zip in the final third.

Sergio Aguero was starved of service and only managed one shot at goal, which came when he fired over from the edge of the box at the start of the second half.

Aguero only had two touches inside the Madrid penalty area, attempting his only shot from just outside the box

The former Atletico Madrid striker has now played Real 13 times in his career and has still never beaten them, but will get another chance on Wednesday, 4 May.

In truth, City’s whole attack will have to do better in the second leg.

De Bruyne, who started in the number 10 role but ended up on the left after Silva’s injury, was also short of inspiration, Jesus Navas made few inroads down the right and Kelechi Iheanacho’s pace had little impact.

Man of the match – Joe Hart

The City keeper had little to do in the early stages and his first save did not come until he kept out a Sergio Ramos header after the break, but the England international again came to his side’s rescue with his two stops from Real set-pieces in the closing stages

Post-match reaction

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini:

“We played a very intense game and defended well. We tried to create until David Silva got injured then we lost the ball too much. If you cannot win then a 0-0 draw is good.

“We knew they were going to play a slow game and that is why we pressed as a team. When we had the ball, we could not make the difference. We could not score.”

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany:

“It is too close to call at the moment – 0-0 is a very dangerous scoreline.

“From the moment we manage to score in Madrid, it will be very different.

“It is hard to keep a clean sheet against such an attacking team. We can be proud of what we have achieved in this first leg.”

What next?

The first leg of the other semi-final, between Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich, takes place in Spain on Wednesday.

Before their trip to Madrid, City travel to Southampton on Sunday in a 16:30 BST kick-off. With three league games remaining, Pellegrini’s side are still in need of Premier League points to secure a top-four finish that will make sure of Champions League football next season too.

Real, third in La Liga and a point behind leaders Barcelona, are already certain of their Champions League place but are still in the title race. They also have an away game this weekend – against Real Sociedad at 15:00 BST on Saturday.

Stats of the day

  • The first goal attempt of the game – by City defender Nicolas Otamendi – came after 27 minutes, the latest in any Champions League game this season.
  • Real Madrid were involved in only their ninth goalless draw in their 223rd Champions League game.
  • They have won just 43% of their Champions League games without Ronaldo since 2009-10 (3/7), and 71% with him.
  • This was just the fourth Champions League game this season without a first-half shot on target.
  • City have managed only three shots on target in total their past three Champions League home games (one in each).
  • Aguero has now gone 432 minutes without having a shot on target in the Champions League.
  • De Bruyne completed just 62.8% of his passes, the lowest figure for any outfield player.

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Alli charged after Yacob ‘punch’

 Posted by at 11:41 PM
Apr 262016
 
Dele Alli made his England debut in October

Midfielder Dele Alli could miss the rest of Tottenham’s season after being charged with violent conduct by the Football Association.

Television footage appeared to show Alli punching Claudio Yacob during his side’s draw with West Brom on Monday.

The incident was not in the referee’s report on the match, which ended 1-1.

Violent conduct usually incurs a three-game ban, so a guilty verdict would mean the England player, 20, misses all of Spurs’ remaining fixtures.

Alli, named as the Professional Footballers’ Association Young Player of the Year on Sunday, has until 18:00 BST on Wednesday, 27 April to respond.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said he had not seen the incident, which occurred in the 26th minute, but added: “Sometimes the opponents find him and try to provoke. They know he has a strong character and may react.”

Off-the-ball incidents missed by the officials are referred to a panel of three former elite referees to decide on any sanction.

Alli has been a hugely influential figure in his debut season for for Tottenham. The former MK Dons player has scored 10 goals so far and has formed an impressive partnership with striker Harry Kane.

Second-placed Spurs are seven points adrift of Leicester with three games remaining. The Foxes can win the title on Sunday with victory over Manchester United.

Leicester can still win the title at home to Everton or away at Chelsea if they fail to beat Manchester United

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Apr 262016
 

In two years of inquest evidence, a detailed picture has built up of how an FA Cup match at Sheffield Wednesday’s ground turned into a disaster that claimed 96 lives and left hundreds more injured.

The jury was shown CCTV and other footage and heard testimony from hundreds of witnesses.

Ben Schofield reports how events on 15 April 1989 unfolded.

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Hillsborough fans unlawfully killed

 Posted by at 6:44 PM
Apr 262016
 
Media captionThe families of many of those killed sang “You’ll never walk alone” outside court

Ninety-six football fans who died as a result of a crush in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster were unlawfully killed, the inquests have concluded.

The jury decided the match commander Ch Supt David Duckenfield’s actions amounted to “gross negligence” due to a breach of his duty of care to fans.

Police errors also added to a dangerous situation at the FA Cup semi-final.

After a 27-year campaign by victims’ families, the behaviour of Liverpool fans was exonerated.

The jury found they did not contribute to the danger unfolding at the turnstiles at the Leppings Lane end of Sheffield Wednesday’s ground on 15 April 1989.

Live reporting from the Hillsborough Inquests

When the conclusion of the unlawful killing was revealed, families were seen hugging each other in the public gallery and some punched the air.

The jury also concluded

  • Police errors caused a dangerous situation at the turnstiles
  • Failures by commanding officers caused a crush on the terraces
  • There were mistakes in the police control box over the order to open the Leppings Lane end exit gates
  • Defects at the stadium contributed to the disaster
  • There was an error in the safety certification of the Hillsborough stadium
  • South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Ambulance Service delayed declaring a major incident
  • The emergency response was therefore delayed
  • Sheffield Wednesday failed to approve the plans for dedicated turnstiles for each pen
  • There was inadequate signage at the club and misleading information on match tickets

People in the public gallery applauded the jury as they left court, with some standing up to clap them out.


At the scene: Judith Moritz, BBC News

Image copyright Reuters

The families clapped as the jury left the Hillsborough inquests in Warrington. One woman shouted “God bless the jury.”

There were lots of tears as lawyers hugged the families and the shadow home secretary Andy Burnham hugged the families in court.

There were lawyers crying, Andy Burnham was crying and the families were hugging. People said they couldn’t take in the enormity of it all.

Trevor Hicks, whose daughters Sarah and Vicky died, told me: “We’ve done it.”

A spontaneous chorus of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” was sung outside the courtroom as people raised Liverpool flags above their heads.


Leading campaigners Margaret Aspinall and Trevor Hicks were seen hugging each other in tears.

A statement on behalf of the families said the jury’s conclusions “completely vindicate” the long fight for justice.

It added it has brought “significant progress on the journey… and sense of closure to the bereaved”.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption There were emotional scenes outside the courtroom following the conclusions
Image copyright PA
Image caption A relative holds up a photo of Keith McGrath, who died in the Hillsborough disaster, outside the Hillsborough Inquest in Warrington

The police response to the increasing crowd outside the Leppings Lane turnstiles at Liverpool’s match against Nottingham Forest was “slow and uncoordinated”, the inquests heard.

The road closure “exacerbated” the situation and there were no filter cordons in place to regulate the movement of spectators.

Attempts to close the perimeter gates were made too late and there were no contingency plans for the “sudden arrival” of a large number of fans, the jury said.

Jurors concluded the commanding officers should have ordered the closing of the tunnel which led directly to the central pens where the fatal crush occurred.


Who were the 96 victims?

Image copyright other

Read profiles of all those who died in the disaster


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