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Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal may be thanking his stars now. The Red Devils have been handed an encounter against Belgian side Club Brugge in their Champions League playoffs round, which is arguably the easiest fixture that they could have asked for.

The Red Devils, who finished 4th in the Premier League last season, thus avoided matches against potential opponents CSKA Moscow, Lazio, AS Monaco and Rapid Vienna in the eliminatory stage of the European competition.

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rosberg_monaco.jpgToto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, was quick to take complete responsibility for the team's error that cost star driver Lewis Hamilton a win at the Monaco Grand Prix today, a decision which saw Hamilton's teammate and closest championship challenger Nico Rosberg pick up his third straight win at the glamorous circuit.

A disappointed Wolff said after the race, What a crazy day. I don't think there has ever been a more bittersweet feeling than this one. We have won the Monaco Grand Prix and we have lost the Monaco Grand Prix all at the same time. First of all, we must apologise to Lewis. We win and we lose together and what I am proud of in this team is that we take collective responsibility. But this is a day when we simply have to say sorry to our driver, because our mistake cost him the victory here."

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An incredible error in judgement by the Mercedes team handed the Monaco Grand Prix on a platter to the team's less favoured son Nico Rosberg, who as a result closed the gap to reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton down to just 10 points, with the Briton ending up finishing third behind Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton drove a nearly flawless race and was comfortably running away with the win when an accident to Toro Rosso's Max Verstappen brought the safety car out. Hamilton's engineers advised the Mercedes man to head to the pits for fresh tyres, and the move cost him dearly with Rosberg and Vettel staying out and taking two places on the track from Hamilton, who was left fuming with his team's poor decision making as it cost him what would have been a deserved win.

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Reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton grabbed his first ever Pole Position at the Monaco Grand Prix with some glee today, setting an outstanding lap of 1:15.098 in qualifying. Hamilton will be joined on the front row of the grid as always by his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, whose best effort was 0.342 seconds slower. Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel continued to be the best of the rest, taking third place on the grid, ahead of his former teammate Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, who showed a marked improvement in this race compared to the first quarter of the 2015 season.

Hamilton was delighted to grab his maiden Pole Position at this historic circuit and shared, "My first Monaco pole position; it's felt a long time coming! Today, bringing the tyres in was tricky. We had to do an out-lap, warm up lap then fast lap. We had to do that for both tyres. It's an important day for me, looking back through every year at Monaco generally it's been quite poor. Sometimes I've had the car, sometimes I haven't. I've lived here for the last few years so it makes this pole position even more special."

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Reigning Champions League champions Real Madrid will face city rivals Atletico Madrid in the quarter finals of the competition.

Since Real’s 4-1 victory over Los Rojiblancos in the final of the Champions League last season, the two sides have met each other 6 times this season, with Los Blancos failing to win on even a single occasion. And with both sides desperate to prove a point to each other, the match will certainly be a fierce one.

 

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has indicated that despite his side’s disappointing exit from the Champions League, he will not let it affect the rest of their season. The Frenchman has already made it clear that it is important for the club to win their next game, which is an away trip to Newcastle United. He also said that his side battled the odds to perform strongly against Monaco, which means that they have it in them to manage the unthinkable with their performances.

Wenger was quoted telling reporters after the game: “It is very, very important [to not let the season slip] because we want to win the next game. If you look at the numbers, we had a 98% chance to be out, but we did fight and produce the game we wanted.”

 

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Arsenal staged a dominating performance in the second leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie against Monaco to record a 2-0 victory over the French side. However, despite that, the Gunners crashed out of the competition on the away goals rule, having lost the first leg 3-1 at home last month.

The visitors got the lead in the 36th minute through Olivier Giroud. However, they had to wait till the 79th minute before substitute Aaron Ramsey added a second.

 

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