Real Madrid put one foot into the final four of the Champions League after a 2-0 win over 10-man Chelsea in the first leg of their quarter-final.

Karim Benzema's first-half tap-in put the holders in front at Santiago Bernabeu before Marco Asensio doubled their advantage with just over a quarter-hour to go.

A straight red card for Ben Chilwell after he tugged down Rodrygo in-between compounded a tough trip to Spain for Frank Lampard's men.

Former Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti and his Los Blancos side will wish they had more to show, but will nevertheless head to Stamford Bridge with a healthy advantage for next week's return leg.

Thibaut Courtois denied Joao Felix on the break and Benzema forced a close-range stop from Kepa at the other end inside the first 15 minutes.

Benzema was in the place after 21 minutes, though, capitalising when Kepa parried Vinicius Junior's shot into his path.

Madrid had chances to extend the lead before the break with David Alaba's header almost squirming in five minutes before half-time.

Chelsea's hopes of a comeback after the break felt slim even before Kalidou Koulibaly was forced to hobble off, and Chilwell's dismissal only worsened matters.

Asensio then was on-point to cap another fine European performance from Madrid when he swept home a cut-back delivery in the 74th minute.

Benzema could and perhaps should have made it three in the final stages of injury time, only to push his looping header over the crossbar from nine yards out.

But the hosts are now well on course to extend their superb continental record, though Ancelotti will know more than most the battle is not over yet for his side.

Jamaica’s U20 Reggae Girls are scheduled to depart the island on Thursday, April 13 for Nicaragua where they will play in the CONCACAF Women’s U20 Championship qualifiers. The team will have to hit the ground running as they play their first match on Friday.

The Jamaicans who are in Group E, will open their campaign against Anguilla on April 14 before they take on Bermuda on Sunday, April 16. Their final match in the group will be against Honduras on Tuesday, April 18.

Elaine Walker Brown is head of delegation that is comprised of Technical Director Wendell Downswell, Head Coach Hugh Bradford, Team Manager Julett Cobourne, Physical Trainer Iris Saemundsdottir, Goalkeeper Coach Clive Wedderburn, Team Doctor LoriAnn Miller, Masseur Devin Lawson, Equipment Manager Tyrese Palmer and Physiotherapist Nicole Reid.

The squad: Dreanna Thaw, Shaneil Shellicia Buckley, Dannique Lishon Wilson, Davia Brittanie Richards, Liha Williams, Lillian Maxine Clarke, Tiny Tihana Seaton, Kieba Janice Cowan, Natoya Britana Atkinson, Destiny Abigaile Powell, Akeila Avagaye Johnson, Janiel Mignott, Kayesha Jada Sibbles, Liya NjeriNday Brooks, Avery Fay Johnson, Maya Kiera Raghunandanan, Sundai Mary Amele, Tyesha Mchalia Nelson, Katie Nicole Oakley.

Frank Lampard was able to recall Thiago Silva as the veteran defender returned from injury for Chelsea's Champions League quarter-final first leg at Real Madrid.

Chelsea are facing Madrid at this stage of the competition for the second consecutive season, having been agonisingly eliminated in extra time at the Santiago Bernabeu last year.

The Blues are at least boosted by the presence of Silva in the line-up for this latest trip to Madrid, however.

The 38-year-old has been out with a knee ligament injury since late February, missing the European win against Borussia Dortmund and a host of domestic matches that led to Graham Potter's dismissal.

Silva is back working under former boss Lampard, who also brought back N'Golo Kante after he was rested at Wolves on Saturday.

Kante's inclusion saw a change of shape as 2021 final hero Kai Havertz missed out as a difficult season continues, while Ben Chilwell was preferred to Marc Cucurella.

Madrid, like Chelsea, had shuffled their pack at the weekend with little left to play for in the league. They similarly lost to Villarreal.

But Carlo Ancelotti restored his XI from the prior 4-0 win at Barcelona in the Copa del Rey.

Karim Benzema, selected up front, has scored his past 10 Champions League goals in knockout games against English sides, with four of those coming against Chelsea last season.

He netted a hat-trick at Stamford Bridge before his extra-time goal took Madrid through.

Players at the Women's World Cup should be allowed to show support for social causes, believes Football Australia chief executive James Johnson.

Australia and New Zealand are set to host this year's finals following the men's tournament in Qatar in 2022.

The build-up to that event was dominated by discussion of human rights issues relating to the host nation, and players were banned from wearing a OneLove armband supporting LGBTQ+ rights.

Football Australia is in talks with FIFA to avoid similar problems this time around, Johnson revealed, and expects players to be vocal in support of various causes.

"What you'll see from the Matildas is not just great performances on the pitch, but they're going to make some points off it as well," he told Sky Sports.

"We are working with FIFA [and] we'll make sure we bake into the competition regulations some exceptions to the rules, so the players can express themselves in a free way.

"Once that's agreed, the players can express themselves on certain issues, especially LGBTQI issues, which are on the tip of the Matildas' tongue.

"Then they can get back to football and do their work on the pitch.

"It could be an armband, it could be an indigenous flag. We haven't got into the specifics. We're optimistic we'll land in a place we're happy with and the players are happy with as well."

Johnson's comments come after talks between FIFA and Visit Saudi regarding sponsorship of the finals prompted criticism from high-profile players.

"We weren't happy with how it played out," Johnson added. "We weren't happy with what we thought the outcome was going to be either.

"That's not just us [Football Australia], it's the government, and we also spoke to the players. In our view, it didn't align with the vision of the tournament.

"We took a principled stand. It wasn't popular with everyone, but that's what leaders have to do sometimes. We've spent a lot of time listening to our players to try to understand what's important to them.

"The Matildas support a lot of social issues, and we need to back our players. When we have to push issues with FIFA, we do that for our players."

Sevilla president Jose Castro rallied his side ahead of their Europa League tie against Manchester United after the Spanish outfit landed in England for the first leg.

Castro reflected on Sevilla's rich history in the competition as reason for optimism despite the backdrop of a poor LaLiga campaign that sees them in 12th.

This Europa League track record includes six titles, with the most recent coming in 2020 after a semi-final 2-1 win over United.

Castro said: "We have the opportunity after a bad league season that we are doing. In Europe, we are in remarkable shape, and if we advance, it would be outstanding.

"We are the king of the competition, we are going to make it difficult, and the squad is aware, because for Sevilla, the Europa League is something else.

"[United] have the environment, the stadium, the squad, the budget, the clubs they have eliminated... but we are in our competition, and we are going to try to make it difficult, with the memories of going through as we have done on other occasions against this team."

In 2019-20, goals from Suso and Luuk de Jong saw Julen Lopetegui's side through, while Sevilla also eliminated United from the Champions League last 16 in 2017-18.

They are big underdogs this time, however, with Sevilla's domestic form contrasting with a top-four push in Manchester as Erik ten Hag continues to impose his vision on his United squad.

"We know the difficulty of the tie, which is complicated because they are a great team with a huge squad," Castro added.

"Sevilla never give up. We have this opportunity, and we are going to try to take advantage of it against a great team who are showing a lot.

"I see more options now because I see the team more compact and better in everything, but above all because we have players recovering.

"So many injuries in the same positions have affected us a lot, and now the coach has more options, something that could be decisive."

Indeed, this could be a key factor in at least the first leg. As Sevilla players return, Marcus Rashford and Luke Shaw are out for United.

Massimiliano Allegri has warned his Juventus side about the strength of Sporting CP ahead of the two teams clashing in the Europa League quarter-final. 

Juventus host the Primeira Liga side in the first leg on Thursday night, after the Bianconeri eliminated Freiburg in the last 16, while Sporting beat Arsenal. 

Allegri's side sit seventh in Serie A after a 15-point deduction for alleged transfer irregularities, while Sporting are fourth in Portugal's top-flight and are unbeaten in their last 11 games in all competitions.

"Tomorrow is a difficult match," Allegri said at a press conference on Wednesday. "It is an important quarter-final against a team that has been on a positive run for 11 games now.

"Sporting's coach [Ruben Amorim] is young and very good. He brought the league title back to the club [in 2020-21] after 19 years.

"We have to do things the right way tomorrow to have an advantage for when we go to Lisbon."

Juventus will be boosted by the return of key players on Thursday, including Paul Pogba, whose injury-hit season has seen him play just 35 minutes since re-signing from Manchester United last summer.

"Pogba is on his feet, which we are happy about," added Allegri. "Now we are working on improving his condition.

"Tomorrow he will be available and will be on the bench. Alex Sandro and [Dusan] Vlahovic are both available, but [Mattia] De Sciglio is not."

Juventus are second-favourites to win the Europa League behind United, but Allegri is not look beyond the quarter-final.

"Clearly it would be fantastic to get to play the final," he said. "But before then, there are still four games to face, starting with home and away against Sporting.

"So, it's too early to talk about playing in a final. We're only thinking about this next game, and we'll continue step by step."

Eintracht Frankfurt attacking midfielder Daichi Kamada will leave as a free agent at the end of the season, the Bundesliga club have confirmed.

Kamada has spent four years at Eintracht after moving from Belgian side Sint-Truiden, scoring 37 goals and providing 31 assists in 170 appearances so far.

The Japan international was part of the team that won the Europa League last season, and has been linked with Barcelona, Manchester United and Chelsea among others.

Kamada's contract at Deutsche Bank Park expires at the end of the campaign, and the 26-year-old has decided not to sign an extension, meaning he will be available on a free transfer.

 The club confirmed on Wednesday: "Eintracht Frankfurt and Daichi Kamada are going their separate ways after the 2022-23 season."

The club's sporting director, Markus Krosche, said: "Daichi Kamada has developed into a very good Bundesliga player at Eintracht Frankfurt in recent years and has played his part in the sporting development of the club, with the highlight of the Europa League victory last year. 

"We would have liked to see Daichi at Eintracht in the future, but the player's interests did not go hand in hand. We thank him for his commitment to Eintracht and wish him all the best for the future."

Ronald Koeman has welcomed the idea of Lionel Messi making a return to Barcelona and believes the Argentina star is still the best player in the world.

The former Barcelona boss was in charge during Messi's last season with the Catalan club before he made an emotional exit on a free transfer to French giants Paris Saint-Germain.

Barca sacked the Dutchman in October 2021 after a poor run of form with the 60-year-old now returning to manage the Netherlands national team following the retirement of Louis van Gaal after the World Cup in Qatar. 

Koeman himself will not be returning to Barcelona any time soon, but he still holds out hopes that Messi will make a romantic return to the club, amid speculation such a move is in the works.

"Messi is the best player in the world and when he left it was difficult," he said at the Koeman Cup, a charity golf and paddle event. 

"The team that has him is going to be stronger. His departure from Barca was a very bad day.

"If I see Leo with another shirt it hurts me. It's his home, where he needs to be. It was not good that the board did not give him the possibility to stay, but I am in favour of Messi being a Barca player."

Since his sacking, Koeman's successor Xavi has led Barcelona on an inspired league run this season with the side 13 points clear at the top of LaLiga with just 10 games remaining.

"With Xavi they have improved and will surely win the league," Koeman said of the head coach. 

"It's a much-improved squad. A coach is good or bad depending on his players. For me, we have to celebrate this league in a big way because we are talking about several previous seasons that Barca has not won anything. 

"Barca are there for their own quality and for their defence. It should be noted that they have only conceded nine goals. It is deserved and if the others have not been at this level, it is their problem."

Bayern Munich condemned racism in the "strongest possible terms" after Dayot Upamecano was abused online following his mistake against Manchester City on Tuesday.

Upamecano was caught in possession by Jack Grealish ahead of the lead up to City's second goal in their Champions League quarter-final first leg at the Etihad Stadium, with the hosts punishing the France international's error as Erling Haaland crossed for Bernardo Silva to nod home.

Pep Guardiola's men went on to win 3-0, giving Bayern a huge task ahead of the return leg next week at the Allianz Arena, and Upamecano was subjected to racist abuse on social media following the match.

Bayern commented on Upamecano's recent Instagram post: "All of us at FC Bayern condemn racism in the strongest possible terms!

"The entire club stands behind you, Upa!"

Upamecano is the latest player to be abused after FIFA vowed they would clamp down on online discrimination prior to the 2022 World Cup.

FIFA launched a new service following the racial abuse of England's Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford after their missed penalties at Euro 2020, though Upamecano's Bayern team-mate Kingsley Coman would go on to receive comments following his failed spot-kick in France's final defeat to Argentina in Qatar.

The UK and Ireland submitted an official bid to host Euro 2028 on Wednesday, with the homes of Everton, Tottenham and Newcastle United among those proposed to be used.

Overall, 10 stadiums are included in the bid; Wembley Stadium, Hampden Park, Principality Stadium, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Etihad Stadium, St James' Park, Villa Park, Hampden Park, Aviva Stadium, Casement Park and Everton's new stadium, which is still under construction.

England has previously hosted the 1966 World Cup and Euro 96, while multiple games were played at Wembley Stadium and Hampden Park during Euro 2020.

Women's Euro 2022 was also hosted in England, with the hosts ultimately winning the trophy.

The bid claims the UK and Ireland is: "Committed to delivering a record-breaking tournament with more tickets than ever before to grow a more diverse and inclusive game," saying there will be almost three million tournament tickets available.

UEFA also confirmed it had received bid dossiers from Turkey to host either Euro 2028 or 2032, and Italy for Euro 2032.

The UEFA Executive Committee will vote in October to decide who has won the right to host both tournaments.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag expects Marcus Rashford and Luke Shaw to return from injury fairly soon but revealed Alejandro Garnacho's situation is "more severe".

United confirmed on Wednesday that Rashford is due to miss "a few games" after sustaining a muscle injury in Saturday's 2-0 win over Everton.

The striker pulled up late on with apparent groin discomfort and was swiftly withdrawn, meaning United will have to cope without their leading scorer for the time being, starting with Thursday's Europa League quarter-final first leg at home to Sevilla.

Shaw will also miss the visit of Jose Luis Mendilibar's side after being absent for the weekend win over Everton.

United have not confirmed what injury Shaw is suffering from, but Ten Hag seems to believe he will not be out for much longer – unlike Garnacho.

The young winger was injured a month ago against Southampton and Ten Hag seemingly is not expecting him back soon.

Asked whether Shaw or Garnacho would be able to face Sevilla, Ten Hag told reporters: "No, both [are] not available.

"Definitely the injury of Garnacho is more severe, is more strong, but Luke Shaw I expect him back at short notice, yes."

As for Rashford, Ten Hag was unable to be any more specific than United's earlier statement saying he would be out for "a few games".

Though he insisted the England international will not be out for long.

"A few games, so that's the statement" he said. "I can't give more details on it because we don't know. We'll have to see it how it develops.

"It's a setback and he's disappointed, but he's not totally broke because he will return quickly. He's started his rehab and that helps to get back soon."

England manager Sarina Wiegman was "not worried" despite seeing her team's undefeated streak end at the hands of Australia.

The Lionesses went into the friendly on a 30-match unbeaten run, but lost 2-0 at the Brentford Community Stadium on Tuesday thanks to goals from Sam Kerr and Charlotte Grant.

It came just days after the European champions won the first ever women's Finalissima against Brazil on penalties, but Wiegman is not concerned as England prepare for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, which gets underway in July.

"I'm not worried. I don't worry very quickly," she said after the game. "We know we have to be at our top level and that's when we go into the World Cup too.

"Every game we get some warnings – against Brazil we got some warnings in the Finalissima. We know where we want to go to and what we have to do.

"I don't think we're losing momentum, I think it's building. There's 100 days to go and everyone's really excited to go to Australia and this is just a very big learning moment for us that we need to get to a higher level to win these games."

On losing the undefeated streak, Wiegman added: "I haven't been focused on that ever. We just want to win every game and you remind us all of the time [about the unbeaten run] but we don't talk about that in our camp.

"We talk about the next game and we want to improve every game and try to adapt to the opponent.

"I would've loved to have had a 31st win but sometimes you win and sometimes you lose."

Captain Leah Williamson saw a mistake punished by Kerr to open the scoring, and she told ITV: "Yeah. That first goal probably made it worse for me than everybody else but the whole team feels really, really rubbish about losing. It hurts."

She added: "[It's] absolutely not a setback [before the World Cup]. Sometimes you have to take blessings in disguise and I think maybe that's not the worst thing that could've happened to us.

"We wanted to learn this whole time, we wanted to be pushed to our limits and we need to take it up a new level.

"In the past, we won those games, we turned them around but actually tonight to lose it gives you a bit of fire."

Borussia Dortmund's England international midfielder Jude Bellingham is expected to be the topic of widespread speculation in the next transfer window.

Several top clubs are circling to sign the 19-year-old, with Dortmund slapping a staggering £130million transfer fee on him as their asking price.

Real Madrid, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool have all been linked with Bellingham, who is contracted to the German side until 2025.


Liverpool have withdrawn from the race to sign Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham, according to The Athletic.

The Reds had previously made him their number one priority signing but have now opted out of the race given the price tag and impact that would have on their off-season transfer budget.

Football.London claims Liverpool will instead turn their attention to Chelsea's Mason Mount as a priority midfield target.

Other potential targets mentioned by The Athletic are Brighton and Hove Albion pair Moises Caicedo and Alexis Mac Allister along with Bayern Munich's Ryan Gravenberch.


Real Madrid are pondering a free transfer move for Liverpool's Roberto Firmino, according to El Nacional. The Brazilian will depart Anfield when his contract expires at the end of this season.

– Marca claims Madrid are also interested in Villarreal's Samuel Chukwueze, who netted twice against Los Blancos on Saturday. The Nigerian is contracted until 2024 and has a €100m buyout clause on the deal, although Villarreal may reportedly be willing to accept around half of that at the end of this term.

Bayern Munich have come into the picture to sign Napoli forward Victor Osimhen with the German champions weighing up a bid for the Nigerian, reports Sky Germany.

– Football Insider reports Brighton and Hove Albion are willing to accept a £80m bid from Manchester United for midfielder Caicedo, who penned a new long-term deal until 2027 in March following January interest from Arsenal.

– AS claims Chelsea have held talks with Barcelona midfielder Gavi's agent to discuss a potential free transfer to the Blues in the off-season.

Luciano Spalletti wants Pep Guardiola and Paolo Maldini to know he is chief among their biggest fans, with the Napoli boss seeking to make peace with both men.

Speaking on the eve of his team's Champions League quarter-final against Milan, Spalletti stressed his recent spat with Rossoneri sporting director Maldini was no reflection of his admiration for the legendary former defender.

He also stressed he had no problems with Guardiola after recent toing and froing through the media.

Manchester City head coach Guardiola hailed Napoli as Europe's top team when the Champions League quarter-final line-up took shape, but that praise was palmed away by Spalletti.

The Napoli boss saw it as a ploy – "a game to build us up, so they can knock us down" – but he stressed on Tuesday he also recognised it as a compliment.

That was after Guardiola reacted on Monday to Spalletti's remarks by saying: "I don't want to talk about Napoli because the manager will be grumpy with me. So sensitive in Italy."

This time, Spalletti looked to calm the narrative.

"I learned a lot from Guardiola," Spalletti said. "Everyone has learnt something from Guardiola. For me, Guardiola is like [Jurgen] Klopp, [Roberto] De Zerbi, all the amazing managers.

"Guardiola, Klopp and De Zerbi are among the football managers I always look at. So if my expression was misunderstood by Guardiola, I'm sorry because I'm truly happy when a manager like him says good words about Napoli.

"It would take me days and days to appreciate Guardiola's former Barcelona."

A tunnel dispute involving Spalletti and Maldini was picked up by television cameras before the second half of Napoli's shock recent 4-0 home loss to Milan in Serie A.

He was quoted as describing Maldini's behaviour as being "disrespectful" shortly after the event.

According to Spalletti, that April 2 incident could be written off as "just standard chat" or a "small fight".

Napoli's 64-year-old coach even said he has a Maldini shirt on his wall at home and was "totally OK with him".

Manchester City played like a team ready to win the Champions League as they swatted aside Bayern Munich, according to Owen Hargreaves.

City beat Bayern 3-0 in the first leg of their quarter-final tie, with Pep Guardiola seeing off his former side to put one foot in the last four.

Guardiola and City have consistently come up short in the biggest moments in this competition since they first linked up in 2016.

There have been multiple collapses, while their only run to the final ended in defeat to current Bayern boss Thomas Tuchel, then in charge of Chelsea.

But Hargreaves, who played for both City and Bayern, saw something different in Tuesday's performance at the Etihad Stadium.

"That's how you win the Champions League," the former midfielder said on BT Sport. "They were absolutely brilliant.

"Defensively, that was a completely different Manchester City. They were flawless."

Ex-Bayern striker Mario Gomez, in his role on Prime Video, was similarly impressed by a City team who "have everything".

"They have a goalkeeper [Ederson] who suits this team perfectly, defenders where you can see they love to go into every duel," Gomez said.

"They have strategists who set the rhythm, one-on-one players on the wing who change every situation, and they have a killer up front [Erling Haaland] who scores goals out of nothing and then even hits wonderful crosses.

"I think if Bayern don't manage the miracle in the second leg, we've seen the Champions League winners today. This team can also suffer – they have everything."

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