Champions League draw offers tough groups

By AP August 30, 2018
General view of the final draw for the UEFA Champions League groups A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H on an on an electronic board during the UEFA Champions League draw at the Grimaldi Forum, in Monaco, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. General view of the final draw for the UEFA Champions League groups A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H on an on an electronic board during the UEFA Champions League draw at the Grimaldi Forum, in Monaco, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. AP Photo/Claude Paris

Cristiano Ronaldo is going back to Manchester United and Paul Pogba will return to Juventus after the teams were drawn together in a Champions League group along with Valencia and Young Boys on Thursday. 

After winning four titles at Real Madrid, and one with United, Ronaldo aims to end Juventus' 23-year wait for a third European title.

Three-time defending champion Madrid will play Roma, CSKA Moscow and Viktoria Plzen.

Barcelona heads a tough group with Tottenham, PSV Eindhoven and Inter Milan, while three former European champions Bayern Munich, Benfica, Ajax are together with AEK Athens.

Liverpool, the runner-up last season, was the toughest third-seeded team and landed with Paris Saint-Germain, Napoli, and Red Star Belgrade.

English champion Manchester City got a favorable group with Shakhtar Donetsk, Lyon and Hoffenheim.

Atletico Madrid, whose Metropolitano stadium hosts the final on June 1, is grouped with Borussia Dortmund, Monaco and Club Brugge.

Lokomotiv Moscow, seeded in the top pot, will play Porto, Schalke and Galatasaray.

The 32 teams will share a record 1.95 billion euros ($2.28 billion) in prize money from UEFA.

Games kick off on Sept. 18.

Here is the draw in full:

Group A: Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Monaco, Club Brugge
Group B: Barcelona, Tottenham, PSV, Inter
Group C: Paris Saint-Germain, Napoli, Liverpool, Red Star Belgrade
Group D: Lokomotiv Moscow, Porto, Schalke, Galatasaray
Group E: Bayern Munich, Benfica, Ajax, AEK Athens
Group F: Manchester City, Shakhtar Donetsk, Lyon, Hoffenheim
Group G: Real Madrid, Roma, CSKA Moscow, Viktoria Plzen
Group H: Juventus, Manchester United, Valencia, Young Boys

Related items

  • AEK Athens handed suspended European competition ban AEK Athens handed suspended European competition ban

    AEK Athens have been hit with a one-season ban from European competition after fan violence in a Champions League game against Ajax, but UEFA has suspended the punishment for two years.

    Home fans were pictured throwing flares and other missiles into the away section of the Olympic Stadium ahead of November's group game between the sides, which Ajax won 2-0.

    Some images showed flames erupting on the terrace and riot police were also seen striking Ajax fans, some of whom were left with bloodied faces.

    AEK were charged by UEFA following the game and the organisation's Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body announced the Greek club's punishment on Friday.

    A statement said: "The UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body has decided: To exclude AEK Athens from participating in the next UEFA club competition for which it will otherwise qualify. This sanction is suspended for a probationary period of two years.

    "To order the club to play its next two UEFA competition matches as host club behind closed doors. To fine AEK Athens €80,000."

    Ajax were also charged by UEFA after the game but proceedings against the Dutch club have now been closed.

    AEK are third in the Greek Super League after 21 rounds of games, sitting outside the Champions League qualification places.

    "Our club apologised publicly and immediately, and recognised its part of responsibility about what happened," said a club statement in response to UEFA's punishment.

    "The most important thing for all of us is to realise and think about that this decision does not mean the end of this incident, but the beginning of an extremely difficult road of complete compliance with the actual meaning of this decision, along with the need of taking drastic action in order to avoid finding ourselves at this position ever again, because in that case there will be no return!"

  • City out to make history against Chelsea - Silva City out to make history against Chelsea - Silva

    Bernardo Silva believes Manchester City will take a significant stride towards becoming serial winners if they overcome Chelsea in the EFL Cup final on Sunday.

    City won the trophy last season after beating Arsenal 3-0 in the final, as well as getting their hands on a third Premier League title.

    The club are yet to retain a trophy in their history – something Silva wants to see corrected against Maurizio Sarri's side at Wembley.

    "It would mean a lot for the history of the club," he said.

    "That is one of our main goals: not only winning it once but keep winning and winning.

    "We know we have the squad to do that but our opponents are very strong and it won't be an easy job."

    City thumped Chelsea in the Premier League 6-0 less than a fortnight ago, but Silva insists it will be a far tougher game this time around.

    "We should forget that match because it won't happen again," he added.

    "We are not expecting the same result. We are playing against one of the best sides in the world, even though lately their results are not the best for them.

    "Against those kind of players you can never relax and if you give them time to think, time to play and time to decide [what to do], they will destroy you. So, we have to play with the same intensity."

  • UEFA explains 'technical issue' behind Schalke-City VAR delays UEFA explains 'technical issue' behind Schalke-City VAR delays

    UEFA says a "technical issue" was behind the delays in implementing the VAR process during Wednesday's Champions League clash between Schalke and Manchester City.

    Despite leading through Sergio Aguero's 18th-minute effort, City - who went on to win 3-2 - were behind at the break after Nabil Bentaleb scored a pair of spot-kicks.

    The first of those was awarded by referee Carlos del Cerro Grande after a lengthy period of deliberation and confusion, with Nicolas Otamendi ultimately penalised for handball.

    It took almost three minutes for that call to be made, and another two before Bentaleb sent Ederson the wrong way from 12 yards.

    Five minutes later, Schalke had another penalty decision awarded following a VAR review, as Fernandinho bundled into Salif Sane at a free-kick.

    UEFA released a statement on Thursday explaining that a problem with the pitchside monitor meant the officials had to use a backup process.

    "When such a malfunction of the system occurs, the IFAB protocol allows for the VAR to describe to the referee what can be seen on the TV replay(s) but not tell him the decision that should be taken," read the statement. "The referee then makes a final decision based on his own perception and the information received orally from the VAR.

    "In regards to the first decision, the inability to access the incident replays at the pitchside review area led to a delay in reaching the correct decision to award a penalty kick for a handball offence, while the VAR orally described the situation to the referee to allow him to make a final decision, and for the referee to then provide an explanation to the two team captains to clarify the circumstances regarding the pitchside review area and the decision-making process

    "The second decision was also correctly made on the basis of the Laws of the Game (Law 11 – Offside) which stipulates: 'if a player in an offside position is moving towards the ball with the intention of playing the ball and is fouled before playing or attempting to play the ball, or challenging an opponent for the ball, the foul is penalised as it has occurred before the offside offence'."

    UEFA chief refereeing officer Roberto Rosetti commented: "I am pleased that even without the possibility for the referee to review the incidents with his own eyes, the excellent cooperation of the team of officials led to correct decisions being made.

    "It must also be underlined that - and as is described in the VAR protocol - accuracy is always in principle more important than speed when reaching a decision.

    "Clearly, last night’s technical issues had a big impact on the time taken to reach decisions, but we are fully aware that reducing the time factor is key to the success of VAR and we are doing our utmost to make reviews as quick and efficient as possible.

    "However, what we ultimately want is correct decisions in such match-changing situations and this is what we got yesterday."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.