BREAKING NEWS: Setien sacked after Barcelona's Champions League humiliation

By Sports Desk August 17, 2020

Quique Setien has been sacked as head coach of Barcelona after their astonishing Champions League thrashing by Bayern Munich.

 

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  • Paris Saint-Germain are on Champions League revenge mission, says Herrera Paris Saint-Germain are on Champions League revenge mission, says Herrera

    This year's Champions League campaign will be a "revenge" mission for Paris Saint-Germain, according to midfielder Ander Herrera. 

    The French giants fell at the final hurdle in the 2019-20 season, Kingsley Coman's goal enough to hand Bayern Munich a 1-0 victory in August. 

    The draw for this season's group stage took place on Thursday, with Thomas Tuchel's men drawn against Herrera's former side Manchester United, RB Leipzig and Istanbul Basaksehir.

    Herrera described the group as "spicy" and has warned his team-mates they will need to be at their best to advance to the knock-out stages and give themselves the opportunity to go one better than last season. 

    "It's a very strong group," he told Telefoot. "Perhaps the most spicy of all, but we are ready. It will be challenging against Leipzig and Manchester United, who we know well. Also, it's never easy to play in Turkey. 

    "There is a feeling of revenge. We want to show everyone we can fight again for this Champions League, but this group of the first round is very strong. If we miss out on a game, we can be eliminated. 

    "It will be necessary to be attentive. It will be necessary to prepare for all the matches like finals. Error is prohibited. Everyone dreams of winning this Champions League. We have to play with optimism and the conviction that we are going to win it."

    Manchester United completed a stunning last-16 win over PSG in the 2018-19 season, the Red Devils coming back from a 2-0 first leg defeat at Old Trafford to win 3-1 in Paris courtesy of Marcus Rashford's stoppage-time penalty. 

    PSG head coach Tuchel agreed with Herrera's assessment that it is a tough group and says he will be aiming to mastermind a repeat of the win at Old Trafford two seasons ago.

    "We are happy and looking forward to returning to the Champions League soon," he told PSG TV. 

    "It's a very difficult draw, but the goal is to get through this group stage. We know Manchester United very well. We will of course try to repeat the result obtained two seasons ago at Old Trafford and do better at Parc des Princes. 

    "I don't know much about Istanbul Basaksehir at the moment, but playing international matches in Turkey is always a big challenge."

  • UEFA clears fans to return, capacity limit set at 30 per cent UEFA clears fans to return, capacity limit set at 30 per cent

    UEFA has given the green light for a partial return of fans at matches, starting with international games next week. 

    The governing body on Thursday announced that stadiums will be allowed to let supporters in for UEFA fixtures, though there will be a limit of 30 per cent of stadium capacity set. 

    No away support will be permitted to attend until further notice and gates will only be opened if allowed under local rules. 

    A gradual return of crowds can start at the upcoming national team matches, then for Champions League and Europa League games in the group stages. 

    The UEFA executive committee made the decision after a successful pilot at the Super Cup between Bayern Munich and Sevilla in Budapest on September 24. 

    Social distancing will be mandatory for fans and precautionary measures such as wearing masks will be required in accordance with local regulations amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

    UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: "Today's decision is a sensible first step which puts fans' health first and respects the laws in each country. 

    "While we all face a common enemy in COVID, different countries have different approaches and different challenges at any given moment. 

    "This decision allows much more local flexibility to deal with admitting fans than was previously the case, always respecting the assessment of local authorities. 

    "Twenty-seven countries on the continent already allow fans to some extent. This decision will allow for a coherent approach on a country-by-country basis and not on a competition-by-competition basis which was sometimes difficult to understand for fans. 

    "In these difficult times, it is important to bring more hope and passion back into the lives of football fans and we urge them to behave appropriately and respect sanitary measures in place for their own health and for the health of their fellow club or national team supporters." 

  • Messi v Ronaldo: Champions League previous meetings after Barcelona draw Juventus Messi v Ronaldo: Champions League previous meetings after Barcelona draw Juventus

    Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will renew their rivalry this season after Barcelona and Juventus were drawn together in the Champions League. 

    The two players that have dominated world football for over a decade are set to go head to head twice more, their teams having been placed in Group G alongside Dynamo Kiev and Ferencvaros. 

    The rivalry between Messi and former Real Madrid star Ronaldo – who have won a combined 11 Ballons d'Or – is firmly rooted in LaLiga and they have met 35 times in all competitions. 

    Messi holds the upper hand in their head-to-head record, winning 16 times and scoring 22 goals compared to Ronaldo's tallies of 10 victories and 19 strikes. 

    However, Ronaldo has lifted the Champions League trophy five times, compared to Messi's four, and his haul of 130 goals in the competition is 15 more than his Argentine counterpart. 

    Ahead of the pair battling it out on the grandest stage, take a look back at their five previous European meetings.


    Barcelona 0-0 Manchester United (2007-08 semi-final first leg)

    Messi and Ronaldo were already established among the leading talents in world football when they first met in the Champions League in April 2008. Things did not get off to a great start for Ronaldo, who missed the chance to score a valuable away goal when he fired wide from the penalty spot in the third minute following a handball by Gabriel Milito. Barca dominated possession with Messi at the heart of their best moves before being replaced by Bojan in the 62nd minute, but the game ended goalless.

    Manchester United 1-0 Barcelona (2007-08 semi-final second leg)

    Messi continued to cause problems for United in the second leg and nearly won an early penalty when his marauding run was halted by Paul Scholes, though the referee correctly awarded a free-kick. Scholes put Alex Ferguson's side in front with a stunning 25-yard effort that beat Victor Valdes, and the brilliant Messi was unable to find an equaliser. United progressed to the Moscow showpiece and Ronaldo got his hands on the trophy for the first time after a penalty shoot-out victory over Chelsea.

    Barcelona 2-0 Manchester United (2008-09 final)

    United were one game away from becoming the first team in the modern era to successfully defend the Champions League title, but Barca proved too good for them at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Samuel Eto'o found a way past Edwin van der Sar to put Pep Guardiola's men in front and Messi helped keep them on top with another mesmerising display. His fine showing was rewarded when he looped a rare header beyond Van der Sar, securing the first treble in Barca's history.

    Real Madrid 0-2 Barcelona (2010-11 semi-final first leg)

    In a heated match at the Santiago Bernabeu, Messi punished Madrid after they were reduced to 10 men when Pepe saw red in the 61st minute – Jose Mourinho was removed from the dugout for his remonstrations too. After turning home a cross from Ibrahim Afellay, Messi scored a stunning solo goal that will undoubtedly go down as one of the best of his career. He exchanged passes with Sergio Busquets before dribbling past Lassana Diarra, Raul Albiol and Marcelo to slot beyond Iker Casillas for his 11th goal in 11 matches in that season's Champions League.

    Barcelona 1-1 Real Madrid (2010-11 semi-final second leg)

    Madrid needed a memorable comeback at Camp Nou to reach the final and looked to be well in the tie when Gonzalo Higuain got the better of Valdes, only for the referee to chalk off the goal for a foul by Ronaldo on Javier Mascherano in the build-up. In a matter of minutes they were behind, as Pedro latched onto Andres Iniesta's wonderful pass in the 54th minute. Marcelo gave Madrid hope after the hour, but they were unable to stop Barca reaching a third Champions League final in six seasons.

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