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Thursday, Nov 20th

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Europa League Wrap: Spurs trounce Inter, Chelsea falter at Steaua

 

Tottenham Hotspur and Lazio were the two big winners in the Europa League Round of 16 first leg ties that kicked off across the continent on Thursday night. The Europa League may not have the glitz and glamour of the Champions League, but there was no lack of pride on display as Europe's next best teams slugged it out for a place in the quarter-finals.

Tottenham, fast emerging as the team to watch in England courtesy one Welsh wizard in young Gareth Bale, trounced a poor Inter Milan side 3-0 at White Hart Lane to all but guarantee their spot in the quarter-finals. Goals from Bale, Icelandic midfielder Glyfi Sigurdsson and Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen helped Spurs keep their incredible recent run under Andre Villas-Boas intact, and barring a major meltdown should ease into the quarter-finals in a week's time at the San Siro.

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UCL Wrap: Juventus, PSG advance to the Quarter-finals

After a controversial night in Manchester the eyes of the footballing world moved to Turin and Paris where the second leg of two more UEFA Champions League Round of 16 matches were being hosted. Turin was its usual noisy self as a far superior Juventus team cruised into the quarter-finals of Europe's elite competition with a 5-0 aggregate win over Scottish Champions Celtic. Paris provided a lot more excitement where the latest wannabes of European football, Paris St. Germain battled to a 3-2 aggregate win against Valencia.

Having lost the home leg of their tie against Juventus 3-0, there was little hope for Celtic as they made the journey to Turin to take on the reigning Italian champions. While the tie already seemed over before the match even kicked off, a 24th minute goal from Allesandro Matri but the Old Lady ahead on the night.

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Real Madrid send Manchester United crashing out of Champions League amidst much controversy

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cris ronaldo realManchester United hopes of another treble ended in dramatic fashion at Old Trafford on Tuesday night as the Premier League's runaway leaders crashed out in the round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League at the hands of 9-time Champions Real Madrid. A 56th minute red card to Portuguese winger Nani was the catalyst for Real to script an unlikely win with the Spanish champions trailing United 2-1 on aggregate when Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir shocked everyone at Old Trafford by giving the player his marching orders for what looked to be an unintentional high boot on Alvaro Arbeloa.

Real Madrid responded to the man advantage by sending on former Tottenham playmaker for Arbeloa and the move proved to be a masterstroke from Manager Jose Mourinho with the man rated as 'La Liga Worst Signing of the Season' paying off a huge chunk of his massive summer transfer fee by drawing Real level in the 66th minute with a 20-yard effort that went in off the post.

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Sir Alex rules out Ronaldo move, also casts doubt over Mourinho’s Madrid departure rumours

Manchester United and Real Madrid will resume battle in their all-consuming Champions League tie on Tuesday night as Europe’s two biggest names fight to remain in the continent’s elite competition. Amidst all the hype surrounding the fixture, the media has specifically targeted the future of Real Madrid’s star duo in the aftermath of the contest. Cristiano Ronaldo’s ‘sadness’ combined with Jose Mourinho’s disdain for the Spanish press had been the tale of Madrid’s season until their impressive demolition of the Barcelona empire this past week.

There have been reports that Ronaldo could be set for a remarkable return to Old Trafford in the summer, with Man United said to be assessing the financial aspect of bringing their prodigy back home. Talk of a innovative deal with soon to be shirt sponsors Chevrolet, which would see the American company sign a separate deal with Ronaldo to ensure his high-wages were being mooted. But Sir Alex Ferguson has quashed all the gossip by declaring to the Daily Mail: “I don't think there's anything, as far as I'm aware, that would encourage me to think he would come back here. I don't think there's anything in that at all.”

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Madrid enjoy second successive win over rivals Barcelona

karim benzemaReal Madrid secured their second successive win over bitter rivals and league leaders Barcelona with a 2-1 win over the Catalans at the Bernabeu earlier today.

Karim Benzema opened the scoring on just six minutes with a simple tap-in, but Barcelona replied through Lionel Messi's effort in the 18th minute. However, with the match heading for a stalemate, defender Sergio Ramos headed in a corner in the 82nd minute to secure a morale boosting win over Barcelona, who had Victor Valdes, who was captain for the day, sent off after the final whistle for protesting the non-awarding of a late penalty in Barcelona's favour after Ramos appeared to bring down substitute Adriano in the box.

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Ronaldo powers Real to huge Cup win against Barcelona

Real Madrid have advanced to the Final of the Copa Del Rey courtesy a stunning 3-1 win against arch rivals Barcelona at the Camp Nou. With the tie deadlocked at 1-1 at the end of the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu there was everything to play for for the two giants of Spanish football, but a decidedly one sided contest, inspired by a brace from Cristiano Ronaldo earned Jose Mourinho's side a crucial win.

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UEFA Europa League wrap: Liverpool & Atletico crash out, Tottenham & Chelsea leave it late

The 2nd leg ties in the Round of 32 in the Europa League was the cynosure on Thursday night as a host of big names desperately attempted to squeeze through to the next round. English giants Liverpool couldn’t manage that feat as they crashed out on away goals despite defeating Zenit 3-1 at Anfield. The other three English participants also secured their place in the next round with narrow victories. Chelsea drew 1-1 at home with Sparta Prague but Eden Hazard’s injury-time equalizer meant that the Blues went through with a 2-1 aggregate scoreline.

Tottenham went through the same set of emotions as Moussa Debmele’s dramatic late goal secured a 1-1 draw at Lyon and with it a 2-1 victory in the tie. Newcastle United headed into the unknown in Kharkiv but emerged with a 1-0 victory to seal their place in the last-16. Holders Atletico Madrid were sent packing by Rubin Kazan, who won the tie 2-1 on aggregate despite losing to a solitary Radamel Falcao goal last night. Ajax and Napoli were the other big names to be sent crashing out on the night, with Inter Milan and Lazio holding the Serie A flag aloft with their progress.

Liverpool 3-1 Zenit (3-3 Aggregate, Zenit through on away goals)

Liverpool’s hopes of a trophy this season have vanished after they were sent packing from Europe’s 2nd tier competition by Zenit. Coming into Anfield with a 2-0 lead, Zenit immediately set about increasing their advantage and they were gifted that opportunity by Jamie Carragher, who lost the ball in his own half 19 minutes in to allow Hulk a clean run on goal. The Brazilian unsurprisingly made no mistake as he clinically finished past Pepe Reina to give the Russians the vital away goal.

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