PSG Can Beat Barcelona – Enrique

BARCELONA: Paris Saint-Germain manager Luis Enrique said his players were strong enough to overcome Barcelona in the European Champions League quarter-final rematch.

Spanish champions Barcelona won 3-2 in Paris in the first leg last week, and PSG will need to overcome a deficit at the Olympic Stadium tomorrow to advance to the semi-finals.

“PSG have never bounced back from losing the first game, but tomorrow is the day.

“After losing such an important match, the days after are very difficult.

“It’s very difficult to recover mentally, but the good thing about football is that you have another game against the same opponent.

“We are sure of what we are going to do and I think we are quite prepared,” said Enrique.

Barcelona, ​​under Enrique, thrashed PSG 6-1 in 2017 to overturn a 4-0 deficit in the first leg of the last 16.

PSG will return to strengthen Achraf Hakimi after the Moroccan player was unable to play in the first match due to suspension.

Spurs Brightened Their Chances Of Qualifying For Champions League

LONDON: Tottenham Hotspur brightened their chances of qualifying for the Champions League after winning 3-1 at home earlier this morning over Nottingham Forest who are trying to avoid relegation while climbing to fourth place in the Premier League.

Second-half goals from Micky van de Ven and Pedro Porro, after Forest striker Chris Wood had saved Murillo’s own goal in the first half, saw Spurs seize the opportunity after their challengers Aston Villa and Manchester United suffered losses this weekend.

Tottenham’s win kept them tied with Villa on 60 points but played one match less and left United behind on 49 points after they drew 2-2 with Liverpool.

Spurs coach Ange Postecoglou however told reporters it was “not so much about fighting for the top four places, what I care about is how this team develops.”

Tottenham took the lead after 15 minutes when Brazil’s Murillo, who a few minutes earlier had almost scored a stunning goal from inside his own area, dabbled in Timo Werner’s cross into his own goal.

Spurs were free and a second goal seemed inevitable until Forest equalized against the grain in the 27th minute with Wood’s fourth goal in four games.

Forest felt Spurs should have gone down to 10 men just before the break if James Maddison appeared to have tackled Ryan Yates during an off-the-ball incident but VAR was reluctant to intervene.

“It doesn’t look like he’s pounding it, he’s pounding it,” Forest manager Nuno Espirito Santo told reporters.

“I’m surprised VAR didn’t tell (referee) Simon (Hooper) to check it again because to be honest, Maddison lost his mind and he had a blow to the stomach.”

The defeat left Forest in 17th with 25 points from 32 games, ahead of third-placed Luton Town only on points difference.

Fans Unhappy With Taylor Referee-ing Man Utd vs Liverpool

LIVERPOOL: Liverpool fans criticized the Premier League’s decision to appoint Anthony Taylor as referee for the match against Manchester United.

Three weeks after losing 4-3 in extra time in the FA Cup, the league leaders will travel to Old Trafford once again looking to strengthen their bid for a first Premier League title in four years.

Liverpool have been in hot form all season and currently lead the league with a 19-point lead over United, who were lucky to draw at Brentford on Saturday.

With United desperate to try to prevent Liverpool from winning their 21st and record-high league title, the visit to Old Trafford is the toughest remaining fixture for Jurgen Klopp’s men.

United won 2-1 at Old Trafford last season and tied Liverpool at Anfield in December.

Some Liverpool supporters believe Taylor’s appointment will make their job even more difficult, considering the 45-year-old referee is from Greater Manchester.

Taylor was born in Wythenshawe, south of Manchester, which also gave birth to Marcus Rashford, Cole Palmer and Tyson Fury.

However, the last time Taylor refereed a match between United and Liverpool, Klopp’s men crushed their rivals 5-0 at Old Trafford in October 2021.

This season Taylor refereed Liverpool’s 1-1 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and the 2-2 draw at Brighton in October when he awarded the Reds a penalty.

Taylor also awarded Liverpool two penalties in their 4-2 win over Newcastle at Anfield on New Year’s Day, but sent off a red card to the Reds in their 3-1 defeat to Arsenal in February.

He took part in refereeing United’s 3-1 defeat at the Emirates in September and their 2-0 win at Wigan in the FA Cup in January.

Taylor refereed Manchester City and Arsenal’s match at the Etihad which ended 0-0 and was the official of the fourth match when Newcastle hosted visiting Everton last night.

Bellingham Saved England Against Belgium

LONDON: Jude Bellingham struck in stoppage time to help England draw 2-2 with Belgium at Wembley after Youri Tielemans’ brace threatened them in an exciting international friendly earlier this morning.

Tielemans put the visitors in front after 11 minutes with Ivan Toney equalizing from the penalty spot soon after, before Tielemans’ header saw Belgium lead 2-1 at the break.

It looked a bit cruel for England, who did not look the same as the side that bowed out at the hands of Brazil last Saturday and they deserved to grab a late equalizer.

“I realize the curse we’re going to have if we lose two games in a row,” Bellingham said.

“We should have won with all the chances we created but these two games taught us a lot. I know many will criticize but we have to take the positives.

“I’m sure the manager will be happy with the way we played. You won’t be happy with a loss or a draw but we have to be happy with the way we performed.”

The clash between third-ranked England and fourth-ranked opponents was markedly different from last Saturday’s action, where England rarely attempted against Brazil and a chance was created after 20 seconds when Toney fired over the bar from Jarrod Bowen’s cross.

Belgium, wearing a strange light blue and brown kit, took the lead when Jordan Pickford failed to clear the ball from the danger area and it landed at the feet of Amadou Onana before Tielemans fired into the gaping goal.

England equalized from the penalty spot six minutes later when Jan Vertonghen brought down Toney and the Brentford forward marked his first start with his debut goal.

With his challenger as back-up to the injured Harry Kane failing to shine, it’s a big moment for Toney and his dream of knocking on the door in the Euro squad.

Liverpool-Man City Draw, Arsenal Remain At The Top

LIVERPOOL: Pep Guardiola says Manchester City survived Liverpool’s second-half ‘tsunami’ to draw 1-1 in Premier League action at Anfield.

The result leaves the top three teams just one point apart, with Arsenal ahead of Liverpool on points difference at the top of the league and City in third – one point behind.

Guardiola has been chasing victory in the fanfare at Anfield since 2003, with the last time winning in 2021 without spectators.

However, the visitors could breathe a sigh of relief to take home a point after Alexis Mac Allister’s penalty offset John Stones’ goal in the first half.

The last English Premier League clash between Jurgen Klopp and Guardiola did not disappoint when Liverpool recovered in the second half even though their squad was hit by injuries.

Klopp’s men missed several golden chances to seal the three points and return to the top of the league, including being denied a second penalty during injury time.

“I think it’s a match that defines these two clubs for a few years now. Gradually in this stadium it’s like a tsunami!” Guardiola said.

The draw at Anfield kept Arsenal top of the league after an eighth successive win, but they need to travel to the Etihad Stadium to meet City on March 31.

Klopp believes his team will be more eager to win the league title in his final season at Anfield based on their second-half performance against City.

“Today I saw the best 53 minutes against Manchester City. The way we played was extraordinary. There were some of the best moments in my coaching career if we could do that against them.

“The only thing I hope for now is that we are in contention. Based on today’s performance, I see the team is on the right footing – now we’ll see what we can do,” said Klopp.

Mohamed Salah started on the Liverpool bench alongside Andy Robertson, while Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ibrahima Konate and Diogo Jota are still on the injury list.

The clash between the two best clubs in the world saw both goals scored due to defensive errors.

Liverpool looked unprepared for Kevin De Bruyne’s corner in the 23rd minute and Stones easily beat Caoimhin Kelleher for the opening goal.

Early in the second half, Darwin Nunez intercepted Nathan Ake’s back pass before being brought down by City goalkeeper Ederson.

Mac Allister calmly beat Ederson despite being forced to wait a long time for the goalkeeper to receive treatment, who was then replaced by Stefan Ortega.

Foden Helps City Beat United

MANCHESTER, England: Phil Foden maintained Manchester City’s challenge in the race for the English Premier League (EPL) championship with two second-half goals to snatch a 3-1 win over Manchester United at home last night.

Marcus Rashford’s solid strike in the eighth minute allowed United to take the lead despite going against the flow of the opposition and it looked like the visitors might be able to fulfill City’s dream of recording a fourth successive league title.

However, Pep Guardiola’s men remained patient, controlled the ball and finally produced results with Foden proving how valuable he is now for City.

Foden drove powerfully into the corner of the goal in the 56th minute and the England striker once again produced a clinical finish with 10 minutes remaining.

Erling Haaland, who missed a golden opportunity in the first half, saved the points with a goal following a mistake from United’s defense.

Defending champions City, who have not lost 19 games in all competitions, have 62 points, one point behind leaders Liverpool who visit them this weekend.

United, who suffered their 11th league defeat of the season, remained sixth on 44 points.

Rashford’s solid strike may have sunk the bottom team but Erik ten Hag’s United could do nothing about City turning the game around – winning their EPL neighbors for the first time after coming back from behind.

City controlled the ball 74 percent of the time and produced 27 attempts compared to United’s only three, but despite the appearance of a global talent, local boy Foden found a devastating touch.

The 23-year-old received the crowd’s respect when he came off after being knocked out due to injury – City fans were delighted with their ability to suppress Liverpool and Arsenal.

“That’s my aim, to do well in big games,” said Foden, who has now equaled his personal record of 11 league goals in a season.

“This season I proved it.”

Everton Were Deducted Just Six Points

LONDON: Everton’s penalty for breaking English Premier League (EPL) financial rules was reduced to 10 points for six subsequent appeals, giving them hope in their bid to avoid relegation to the lower leagues.

The club was handed the heavy penalty last November after the commission found they had incurred losses justified under the league’s profits and performance regulations by a difference of £19.5 million over the assessment period at the end of the 2021-22 season.

The club can lose a maximum of £105 million within three years or face penalties.

The previous result – the biggest points deduction in EPL history – saw one of England’s historic clubs drop to 19th in the league charts and struggling to avoid relegation.

But free agency reduced the penalty by four points, moving Sean Dyche’s men up to 15th in the league – five points above the knockout zone with 12 games remaining.

“Everton FC requested the punishment imposed against it on nine grounds, each of which relates to the penalty and not the fact of the offence, which the club admitted,” the EPL said in a statement late last night.

“Two of the nine reasons were retained by the seduction board, which replaced the original point deduction of 10 for six.”

The appeals agency concluded the commission had made a “statutory error” for two reasons.

He found the commission cleared of wrongdoing when it found Everton had been “less than forthright” regarding what they had told the EPL about debts linked to their new stadium and found that in doing so the club had breached league rules requiring an obligation to act in good faith.

Nine-time English champions Everton have played in the top flight since 1954 and have never dropped out of the EPL.

Guardiola Apologized To Phillips

LONDON: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola apologized to Kalvin Phillips for saying the midfielder was fat when he returned from the 2022 World Cup.

Guardiola told reporters Phillips was not in good shape for training after returning from Qatar, where he was used for just 40 minutes in two substitute appearances.

Phillips endured a difficult time at City after moving from Leeds United in 2022, making just six first-team appearances in 18 months and the 28-year-old joined West Ham United on loan last month.

After moving to West Ham, the midfielder said his confidence had been affected following Guardiola’s comments.

“Yes, I apologize,” Guardiola told reporters last night.

“I apologized to him. I spoke to him before (about the comments). I never don’t speak to the team before I say something here or the players in this case.”

City, who are third in the Premier League, could close the gap on leaders Liverpool to one point if they beat Brentford at home early tomorrow.

Arsenal Punish Liverpool At The Emirates

LONDON: Arsenal heated up the battle for the English Premier League title when they buried the leaders Liverpool 3-1 to close the gap between the two to two points and jump to the second place early this morning.

Arsenal deserved the three points that allowed them to overcome Manchester City even though they did not expect to receive the help of Virgil van Dijk and Alisson who made a mistake and saw Gabriel Martinelli again put them in front in the 67th minute.

Substitute Leandro Trossard then eased any jitters among the Emirates fans when he sealed victory in stoppage time with a goal through Alisson’s crotch.

Bukayo Saka gave Arsenal the lead with a cool finish in the 14th minute but Gabriel’s own goal in first-half injury time halted their early toil.

On the brink of their second league defeat of the season, both in north London, Liverpool’s frustration was further accentuated when Ibrahima Konate was sent off in the dying minutes for a second yellow card following a foul on Kai Havertz.

Arsenal’s title challenge faltered at the start of the year but three straight wins have lifted them to second place with 49 points to Liverpool’s 51 with both teams having played 23 games.

Defending champions Manchester City, who play early tomorrow morning, have collected 46 points from 21 games.

“It was a bit disappointing to concede a goal after a very good first half but we know we played our best 45 minutes of the season,” said Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice.

“We were on top at Christmas and then had some bad results. Now we look to get this team back on track.”

“It was a difficult day,” Van Dijk said. “I take full responsibility for the 2-1 goal, it was the biggest turning point. It disappointed me and the whole team.”

Trossard’s goal, deflected off Van Dijk’s leg and through Alisson’s crotch, sparked a decision that cast doubt on the Merseyside club’s ability.

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