Valencia Shock Barcelona to win 8th Copa del Rey

Valencia Shock Barcelona to Win the Copa del Rey

Valencia are the new Copa del Rey champions after beating Barcelona and denying the Blaugrana a fifth consecutive cup success.

After their woeful Champions League capitulation against Liverpool, Barcelona sought to placate their frustrated fans with a domestic double having wrapped up the league title with three games to spare in April.

But goals from Kevin Gameiro and Rodrigo handed the champions a shock defeat at the Benito Villamarín Stadium that piles more pressure on Ernesto Valverde – with Lionel Messi’s effort with 18 minutes left nothing more than a consolation.

The Catalans could have won their fourth domestic double in five years on Saturday but it was not to be.

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Liverpool produce Europe’s greatest comeback

Liverpool produced the greatest comeback in the club’s European history by beating FC Barcelona 4-0 at Anfield to reach the 2018-19 Champions League final.

Trailing 3-0 from the opening encounter in Spain six days ago, the Reds’ hopes of overcoming the Spanish giants on aggregate were alive, yet slim, at kick-off.

But Jürgen Klopp’s remarkable team achieved what many considered impossible courtesy of two goals apiece from Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum on a scarcely believable night in L4.

And so Liverpool will contest a second successive Champions League final, facing the winners of the other semi-final between Ajax and Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid on June 1.

Barcelona, meanwhile, crashed out of the Champions League by blowing an enormous lead for the second consecutive season in unbelievable fashion. 

After Origi’s first goal in the opening minutes, Liverpool’s dominance continued. The team was stronger on the ball, looked more confident and never gave up, and in the second half everything went right.

Minutes after coming on, Wijnaldum finished this ball inside the box to make it 2-0, leaving Liverpool a goal away from potentially forcing extra time:

Then just three minutes later, Wijnaldum did it again with a header goal:

As the match seemed destined for extra time, Liverpool caught Barcelona napping with a corner kick incoming. Trent Alexander-Arnold walked away from the ball as if he was giving up the set piece, but then he quickly saw Origi all alone and took it, setting up an absolutely jaw-dropping fourth goal:

With that, the comeback was complete and Barca fell short of its goal, as it has done each of the last four UCL seasons. 

Messi scores 600 Club goal

Lionel Messi has reached another milestone in his legendary career, hitting his 600th goal for Barcelona with a wonderful free-kick against Liverpool in their Champions League semi-final first leg on Wednesday.

Messi scored number 599 earlier in the match, pouncing on a rebound from a Luis Suarez shot and walking the ball in, before curling home a lovely strike for his 600th moments later. 

The Argentine becomes just the seventh player in history to reach the 600-goal mark at the club level, though he was beaten to the milestone by eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo. 

Ronaldo and Messi, who have dominated world football for the last decade, are joined on the exclusive list by Brazilian legends Pele and Romario, Germany’s Gerd Muller, Slavia Prague hero Josef Bican and Hungarian Ferenc Puskas. 

Messi’s first goal for Barcelona came exactly 14 years ago, on May 1, 2005, against Albacete . He has since grown into arguably the biggest star in the game, having won the Ballon d’Or on five occasions, 10 La Liga titles and the Champions League on four occasions. 

At 31, Messi is also a five-time winner of the European Golden Shoe and claimed the World Cup Golden Ball at the 2014 tournament in Brazil. 

His performance on Wednesday leaves Barcelona in prime position to add to that remarkable haul. 

The club have already won La Liga this season and reached the Copa del Rey final, while a 3-0 result against Liverpool leaves them on the verge of reaching the Champions League final, though a trip to Anfield for the second leg remains. 

It also continues a trend for Messi of dominance over English teams in European play. 

The Barcelona star has netted 26 times in just 33 matches against Premier League clubs in the Champions League, the best haul for any one player against any country in the competition, though he does share that record with Ronaldo, who has netted 26 times against German clubs. 

Barcelona will travel to Liverpool next Tuesday for the return leg, and should they progress they will face either Ajax or Tottenham in the Champions League final in Madrid on June 1.

Champions League quarter Finals review

The first leg of the quarter finals have come to an end and it certainly was eventful. I’m going to give y’all a summary of all that happened.

Tottenham vs Manchester City

In a game that was looking like a mismatch on paper was certainly a surprise to everyone as Tottenham came out on top.

The game was Tottenham’s first European game in their new stadium and fans hoped it’ll be a good a game I guess they weren’t disappointed. Manchester City had the opportunity to get ahead when Sergio Aguero had a penalty but Hugo Lloris was up to the task and saved it keeping his team in the game. Both team fired blanks and the game looked like it was headed towards a draw but Hueng min Son scored a goal just before the final whistle to hand Tottenham a 1-0 lead.

Liverpool vs Porto

Porto who qualified by away goals came up against a Dominant Liverpool side and the score went how everyone expected.

With one first half goals from Naby keita and Roberto Firmino respectively. Keita who hasn’t been a regular in the Liverpool squad is beginning to find his stride and making his mark

Ajax Vs Juventus

Ajax who have the youngest side in the competition came up against an experienced Juventus side.

Cristiano Ronaldo came back from the injury he sustained during the euros qualifiers and scored a fantastic header to hand Juve a first half lead over Ajax.

By second Ajax showed their determination and dominated for a better part of the second half and as expected Neres was the one who stepped up and put them level. The Ajax side kept asking questions but the Juventus keeper was up to the task and the game ended draw but Juventus have the advantage due to away goals rule

Manchester United vs Barcelona

This is probably the biggest game of this round due to the history between both teams Since Manchester United Second best to Barcelona in their last encounter.

Barcelona controlled the first half and Manchester United was all over the place it was only a matter of time before a goal would be scored. A header by Luis Suarez made Luke Shaw score a Own Goal and that was the only goal.

We all remember the Tweet from Smalling saying he knows a secret to stop Messi and I guess he showed us what it was.

Will there be shocks in this Round of the Champions League?! We just have to find out

Champions League Back in action: Schedules,Reviews

Champions League round of 16 encounters for the 2018/19 season will begin on Tuesday night, February 12, with two games lined up for football fans in many parts of the world to watch.
Real Madrid who are the defending champions of this championship are also in the knockout stages of this competition as they face Ajax.
Los Blancos have been struggling since the departure of superstar Cristiano Ronaldo who joined Juventus, and they will have to up their games against the Dutch club.
Today, we we shall preview all the eight matches that will played in the 2018/19 Champions League encounters.

1. Manchester United VS Paris-Saint-Germain

Manchester United are currently in the best form of their lives since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over in December 2018 from Jose Mourinho, and the Red Devils will want to stretch their impressive performances to the Champions League.
The last time United won the Champions League title was in the 2007/2008 season and they will face PSG side who will be without Brazilian star Neymar.
United and PSG have never met before in the Champions League, and this maiden game will be interesting for all football fans.

2. Roma VS Porto

The Stadio Olimpico in Rome will be the venue where Roma will host FC Porto in what will be a tough Champions League battle between these two clubs.
Porto impressed in the group stages thereby finishing with 16 points and Roma finished second behind last season’s Champions League winners Real Madrid.

3. Tottenham VS Borussia Dortmund

Premier League giants Tottenham will welcome Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund to the Wembley stadium on Wednesday, February 12, for the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 encounter.
With the two sides both known for their work rates and fluid attacking play, this tie looks set to be one of the most mouthwatering of the knockout stages this season.

4. Ajax VS Real Madrid

The last time Ajax won the Champions League title was in the 1994/95 edition of the Championship, and since then, they have been struggling.
Ajax ended the group stages as 1 of only 5 teams to remain unbeaten throughout, and they only finished 2 points behind Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich in the end.
Real Madrid on the other hand struggled in the group stages due to the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, and their credentials will be put to test against the Dutch side.

5. Lyon VS Barcelona

French club Lyon have previously faced Barcelona six times with the Spanish club winning four games, while the other two ties ended in draw.
Barcelona have been impressive this season in all competitions, and it will be difficult for Lyon to overcome the Spanish champions in the two games.

6. Liverpool VS Bayern Munich

This will be the toughest ties in the Champions League round of 16 as last season’s runners-up Liverpool will face German giants Bayern Munich.
These two teams both scored three goals in their last encounters and this tie will be the battle of strikers with the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Firmino expected to be in great form.

7. Schalke VS Manchester City

Schalke’s last three Champions League campaigns have all ended in the round of 16 and they will be keen to make the most of home advantage as they welcome Manchester City for the first leg of their knockout tie.

Premier League champions Manchester City are in the knockout stages for the sixth year in a row, and have won two of their last three round of 16 ties.

8. Atletico Madrid VS Juventus
These two teams have reached the final twice in the past five seasons with Atletico losing to neighbors Real Madrid in 2014 and 2016 whereas Juventus were beaten by Barcelona in 2015 and Real Madrid two years later.
Juventus will be boosted with the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo who joined the club from Real Madrid, but Atletico also have two dangerous strikers Diego Costa and Antoine Griezmann.
Cristiano Ronaldo told Juventus’ chiefs to give him three more bodyguards for himself and his family in Italy.
The superstar is reportedly concerned about the safety of himself and his family as he has been swarmed by fans since his move to Turin from Real Madrid.
One of these three men will be monitoring his house in the Gran Madre Park, while the other two guards will be looking after him and his family.

Coutinho decides to stick with Barcelona

Barcelona midfielder, Philippe Coutinho has finally decided to stay at the Camp Nou amid interest from Manchester United.
United are interested in signing the Brazilian international in this January transfer window.

Coutinho has struggled at Barcelona this season, with Barca manager, Ernesto Valverde admitting that the former Liverpool star was far from happy with life at the club.
However, Catalan newspaper, Mundo Deportivo is now reporting that despite Man United contacting Coutinho’s agent, the player has decided to remain at Barcelona.
Coutinho will hope to play for Barcelona when they tackle Eibar at home in the La Liga fixture on Sunday evening.

Barcelona qualify for Copa Del Rey Quarter Final

Barcelona overturned a first leg defeat to beat Levante in the Copa del Rey on Thursday but could yet be thrown out of the competition after being accused of fielding an ineligible player.

Barca won 3-0 at the Camp Nou, with Lionel Messi setting up two Ousmane Dembele goals and then scoring himself to seal a 4-2 victory on aggregate.

Their place in the quarter-finals, however, is under threat after Levante president Francisco Javier Catalan confirmed shortly before kick-off that the club would lodge a complaint to the Spanish Football Federation on Friday.

Levante claim Barcelona defender Juan Brandariz ‘Chumi’ played illegally in the first leg as he should have been serving a suspension.

“Whatever happens on the field of play today, Levante are going to take this situation to the Federation tomorrow,” Catalan said earlier on Thursday.

“We feel that there is a solid enough precedent to back up the club’s decision to do so.”

Chumi was banned after he received a yellow card playing for Barcelona’s B team in the Segunda B division.

Barcelona, however, insisted a change in the rules in November means the suspension does not carry over into the Copa del Rey.

“There were never any doubts about Chumi, none,” Barca coach Ernesto Valverde said. “We did everything right. Tomorrow we will be in the draw, we have no doubts, not before and not now.”

Levante may feel precedent is on their side after Real Madrid were disqualified from the Copa del Rey in 2015 for fielding Denis Cheryshev, despite the player being suspended.

Madrid had overlooked Cheryshev receiving three yellow cards while playing for Villarreal in the competition the previous season.

“I tried to focus on the game,” Levante coach Paco Lopez said. “I understand that the club does what it thinks is right. There are rules we all have to follow.”

Barcelona were certainly worthy winners on the pitch at the Camp Nou and, as it stands, will join Real Madrid, Sevilla, Real Betis, Valencia, Girona, Getafe and Espanyol in the last eight of a tournament they won, as well as La Liga, last year.

That domestic double arguably took its toll in Europe, however, and Valverde has been under pressure to afford his key players more rest this season. Barca play Lyon in the Champions League last 16 next month.

Messi started, along with fellow regulars like Jordi Alba, Clement Lenglet, Ivan Rakitic and Arthur. Luis Suarez, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Marc Andre ter Stegen all began on the bench.

Barcelona were dominant from the outset, as a curling Messi free-kick was pushed wide and Philippe Coutinho, excellent again, shot over.

Messi and Arturo Vidal both went close and finally in the 30th minute, Dembele made the breakthrough, latching onto Messi’s pass before bundling the ball into the net.

A minute later, the Frenchman had a second. Coutinho found Messi on the break and he slipped free the sprinting Dembele, who ran round Aitor Fernandez and scuffed the ball home off the goalkeeper’s outstretched leg.

Levante were still only a goal away from extra-time but Messi ended any hopes of a comeback. Dembele freed Nelson Semedo down the right and he found the Argentinian in the middle. A chipped finish was all it needed.