Month: February 2016

Manchester City lifts Capital One Cup

during the Capital One Cup Final between Manchester City and Sunderland at Wembley Stadium on March 2, 2014 in London, England.
during the Capital One Cup Final between Manchester City and Sunderland at Wembley Stadium on March 2, 2014 in London, England.

Manchester City more than made up for their absence in the Premier League over the weekend as they lift the League cup by beating Liverpool on penalties in Wembley.

Drawing 1-1 at normal time, Fernandinho had brought City ahead before half time thanks to and error from Reds keeper Simon Mignolet. Then, clear misses from Raheem Sterling failed to provide City with goals cushion, allowing Phillipe Coutinho to level the game late on.

Both sides performed entertainingly during extra time, and the game soon extended into penalties. In what was nail biting shootout, Fernandinho hits the woodwork for City’s opener before Sergio Aguero and Jesus Navras went on target to beat Mignolet.

On the other hand, City’s second-choice keeper Willy Caballero more than made up for conceding one to Emre Can’s rather impolite wedge ball, and dramatically saved penalties from Lucas, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana.

Being selected ahead of Joe Hart, the 34-year-old rewarded the faith of City manager Manuel Pellegrini in spades. Furthermore, it was not an easy choice for Pellegrini to field Caballero either; there was that poor performance on his part during the club’s 5-1 defeat and elimination by Chelsea in the FA cup.

But as Pellegrini put it, City did not manage to convert much of their chances during normal time, and Raheem Sterling’s indecisiveness in front of goal was a key factor to that problem. It is clear, that even with the three trophies since he took charge of City, Pellegrini has his work cut out to improve City’s Premier League title chances before his tenure ends.

Ronaldo determined to hold on for Madrid ahead of derby

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As Real Madrid faces neighboring rivals Atletico this weekend it appears more to be a fight to determine who will be placed second in this La Liga season. Still, Cristiano Ronaldo makes it clear that anything is still possible and that he will not give up.

Following a draw against Malaga, Real Madrid had fallen nine points behind leaders and defending champions Barcelona in the table with just 13 more matches left.

But the Portugese ace is convinced that the title race is not over and will keep moving to help Madrid pull ahead of second placed Los Colchoneros by winning their derby in the Bernabeu stadium.

“Football is full of surprises and anything can happen,” Ronaldo said. “You have to fight until the end.”

“I hope that it will be a great game on Saturday and that Real Madrid can win.”

Nonetheless, Madrid had found Atletico to be a rather tough nut to crack as they often struggled against their rivals since Diego Simeone took charge. They had not defeated them in their fast five league encounters, their longest streak in history.

Messi sinks Arsenal’s Champions League hopes

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Barcelona had earned a comfortable 2-0 win over Arsenal thanks to a customary Lionel Messi brace, and in the process secured a two goal cushion as they head towards the second leg at Camp Nou.

For the better part of the game Arsenal held onto the game gallantly, with chances from Olivier Giroud and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain nearly allowing the hosts to take the lead at the Emirates stadium.

However, Barca proved their utter superiority and unparalled talent especially up front in the second half and opened the scoreboard at 71 minutes.

The club’s most envied forward line – Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar – worked together in a blistering counter consisting of precise passes that finally found an unmarked Messi. Then, the inevitable ensued as Lionel Messi swept home past Petr Cech.

The goal marks the Ballon D’or winner’s first in the Emirates stadium and seventh against Arsenal. It was also the first time that Messi managed to get one past Cech, but the Czech national was similarly helpless 10 minutes later.

Mathieu Flamini, who just came on as a substitute for Frances Coquelin played for just a minute before bringing down Lionel Messi in the box with a horribly-mistimed tackle. He got up and sent Cech the wrong way to get his eighth against the Gunners from the spot.

Afterwards, Luis Suarez hits the post and Cech denied a Neymar effort even as Barca took complete control over the game. However, Arsenal looked all but resigned, and all that is left is for the Catalonians to complete the formatlities in Catalonia in 3 weeks.