UEFA Champions League Play-offs: First leg results – Celtic run riot on Astana; Napoli, Sevilla win

Celtic 5 – 0 FC Astana

Hapoel Beer Sheva 2 – 1 Maribor

Istanbul Basaksehir 1 – 2 Sevilla

Olympiacos 2 – 1 Rijeka

SSC Napoli 2 – 0 Nice

  • SSC Napoli 2 – 0 Nice

Napoli took a big step towards the group stages with a 2-0 home win over nine-manNice.

Dries Mertens slotted in the opener after 13 minutes before Jorginho doubled the lead with a penalty in the second half.

Lorenzo Insigne hit the woodwork for Napoli and the visitors finished with nine men as Alassane Plea was sent off for a second yellow card just after Vincent Koziello’s straight red for a dangerous tackle on Piotr Zielinski.

Maurizio Sarri’s side are now ideally placed to join Juventus and AS Roma in the group stage while Nice have it all to do in the return leg at the Allianz Riviera stadium on August 22.

  • Celtic 5 – 0 FC Astana

Celtic have one foot in the Champions League group stage after Scott Sinclair’s double inspired a 5-0 thrashing of Astana in the first leg of their play-off round tie on Wednesday.

Tom Rogic created the opener when he drove into the box and lifted a ball into the area that Evgeni Postnikov could only divert into his own net.

Sinclair raced clear to add the second and doubled his tally after the break.

James Forrest fired the fourth before Leigh Griffiths’ shot deflected in off Igor Shitov for number five.

The sides meet again on Tuesday in Kazakhstan for the second leg, which now looks a formality for the Scottish champions, who knocked Astana out of the competition in the third qualifying round last term.

  • Istanbul Basaksehir 1 – 2 Sevilla

Sevilla also set themselves up for a place in the group stage alongside La Liga rivals Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid by beating Istanbul Basaksehir 2-1 in Turkey.

Wisam Ben Yedder picked up a back-heeled pass from Jesus Navas to net the winner six minutes from time.

Sergio Escudero opened the scoring for Sevilla after 16 minutes with Eljero Elia getting the equaliser after 64 minutes.

  • Olympiacos 2 – 1 Rijeka

Alaixys Romao scored in the third minute of added time as Olympiakos left it late to beat Rijeka 2-1.

Croatian champions Rijeka had taken a first-half lead through Brazilian striker Heber on 41 minutes.

But Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe levelled the scores in the 66th minute before Romao gave the Greek side a narrow advantage ahead of the second leg.

  • Hapoel Beer Sheva 2 – 1 Maribor

Hapoel Be’er Sheva ran out 2-1 winners against Maribor.

Marco Tavrares put visitors Maribor ahead on 10 minutes but Anthony Nwakaeme’s 12th-minute strike pulled Hapoel level and Shir Tzedek won it with a penalty in first-half stoppage time.

UEFA Champions League Final:  Record-breaking Ronaldo strikes twice to fire Real Madrid to Champions League glory

Cristiano Ronaldo struck twice as Real Madrid retained their Champions League crown and heaped more final heartbreak on Juventus with a 4-1 win in Cardiff.

In a gripping final, Real took the lead when Ronaldo finished off a flowing counter-attack (20) but Juventus hit back seven minutes later through a skilful overhead kick from Mario Mandzukic that will go down in history as one the greatest goals in Champions League history.

Casemiro fired Zinedine Zidane’s side into the lead on 61 minutes and Ronaldo struck again three minutes later, before Marco Asensio wrapped it up in stoppage time to condemn Juve -who had substitute Juan Cuadrado sent off for two yellow cards late on – to a fifth straight defeat in the showpiece European final (1997, 1998, 2003, 2015, 2017).


Victory for the La Liga giants means they have become the first side to defend the Champions League since its revamp in 1992 and wins them an historic 12th European major title.

This fixture matched up a well-drilled Juventus defence that had conceded just three goals in this season’s competition against a ruthless Real attacking outfit that scored in all of their 12 Champions League matches this season.

Cristiano Ronaldo underlined his status as the Champions League’s greatest goal-scorer with his decisive double taking his tally to 105 career Champions League goals.

  • To put that goal haul into perspective, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has scored 94 times in the competition and the legendary Raul is way back on 71 in third.
  • No other player has more than 56.

Most Champions League goals

Player Goals

Cristiano Ronaldo 105

Lionel Messi 94

Raul 71

Ruud van Nistelrooy 56

Karim Benzema 51

  • Ronaldo’s opener against Juventus also meant he became the first player in history to net in three different Champions League finals, adding to his strikes for United in 2008 and Real in 2014.

  • It’s worth noting Ronaldo had to wait 26 matches before scoring his first Champions League goal – he’s scored 90 in 88 appearances since leaving Manchester United for Real Madrid.

  • Ronaldo’s second of the game then took him clear of Messi at the top of the scoring standings for this competition. His 12 goals in the 2016/17 Champions League mean he has finished top scorer in Europe’s elite club contest five years running.

Champions League top scorer 2016/17

Player  Club  Goals

Cristiano Ronaldo  Real Madrid  12

Lionel Messi  Barcelona  11

Edinson Cavani  PSG  8

Robert Lewandowski  Bayern Munich  8

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang  Borussia Dortmund   7

  • Ronaldo scores brings up another landmark and his second against Juventus was also his 600th for club and country.

UcL: Semi-finals second leg -result – Isco’s strike sends Real Madrid to UCL final despite Atletico defeat

Atletico Madrid 2 – 1 Real Madrid (Aggregate 2 – 4)

​Defending champions Real Madrid held off a spirited Atletico Madrid to set up a meeting with Juventus in next month’s Champions League final in Cardiff, despite losing 2-1 to Atletico Madrid.

Atletico Madrid, who were playing their last European game at the Vicente Calderon, were tasked with overturning Real’s commanding 3-0  semi-final lead from the first leg, and blew the tie wide open with two goals in the first 16 minutes through a Saul Niguez header and Antoine Griezmann penalty.


However, a sublime moment of skill from Karim Benzema saw him set up Toni Kroos just before half-time, and though the German’s effort was superbly kept out by Jan Oblak, Isco was there to follow up with the rebound and leave Atletico needing three more without reply.

Chances were scarcer for both teams after the break, although home substitute Kevin Gameiro missed two presentable chances to give Atletico a glimmer of hope.

The result means Real have now got the better of their city rivals for a fourth successive season in Europe.

Real will be attempting to become the first team to win the Champions League twice in a row, will meet Juventus at the Principality Stadium on Saturday, 3 June.

UCL: Semi-finals second leg result – Juventus beat Monaco to reach second UCL final in three years

Juventus 2 – 1 AS Monaco (Aggregate 4 – 1)

Juventus reached their second Champions League final in three seasons with a comfortable 2-1 win over Monaco in Turin completing a 4-1 aggregate victory.

First-half goals from Mario Mandzukic and Dani Alves ended the tie as a contest before the break to ensure Massimiliano Allegri’s side will contest the final in Cardiff next month.

Kylian Mbappe turned in Joao Moutinho’s low cross to pull one back in the second half, but the Ligue 1 side could not pull off an unlikely comeback.

Mario Mandzukic stabbed in after his initial header was saved.

Dani Alves doubled their lead on the night with an instinctive volley from goalkeeper Danijel Subasic’s punched clearance.

Juventus, who have not won this competition since 1996 and lost 3-1 to Barcelona in the 2015 final, will face either Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid in Cardiff on 3 June.

Stalemate in Eindoven; City bounce back with brilliant peformance

Manchester City took command of their round of 16 Champions League tie against Dynamo Kiev by earning a 3-1 first leg lead in the Ukraine.
The Premier League title hopefuls produced a brilliant opening 45 minutes, and were rewarded with goals from Sergio Aguero and David Silva.
The second half was a tighter affair, and the hosts pulled one back through a deflected Vitaliy Buyalsky effort, but City held firm and added a late third courtesy of Yaya Toure that leaves them in total control going back to the Etihad.
City’s whole-hearted performance, amid snow flurries on a cold night, made light of their recent poor form and the controversy over their team selection at Chelsea on Sunday.
City’s success also came in the face of a difficult atmosphere. The stadium was not full but the home fans were highly vocal and it was little wonder the club were so pleased UEFA lifted the order to have the game played behind closed doors.

Atletico Madrid ground out a disciplined 0-0 draw at PSV Eindhoven in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie, although they probably thought they should have won it.
The La Liga side had by far the best of the encounter and PSV spent a quarter of the game with ten men following the second half dismissal of Gaston Pereiro for a second bookable offence.
However, Atletico will still consider themselves strong favourites to progress.
PSV were a surprise last-16 package after knocking out Manchester United at the competition’s group stages.
But Atleti predictably proved a far tougher nut to crack, with Diego Simeone’s 2014 finalists having forged a reputation as one of the best defensive units in Europe.
Atleti had conceded only three goals in six games in winning their Champions League group and goalkeeper Jan Oblak had just one save to make in keeping yet another clean sheet for the Spaniards.

Juve draw as Bayern squander two goal lead; Messi’s brace leave Arsenal with mountain to climb

Arsenal are on the verge of being knocked out of the Champions League after Lionel Messi scored two goals to guide Barcelona to a 2-0 win at the Emirates Stadium in the last-16 first leg tie.
The holders had plenty of possession but did not have a shot on target in the first half – only for Messi to tuck away his first real chance with 20 minutes remaining before scoring a late penalty to secure a 2-0 win.
Arsenal had a couple of decent chances of their own but have it all to do in the return leg at the Nou Camp on March 16 if they are to go beyond the round of 16 for the first time since 2010.

Juventus came from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Bayern Munich.
Goals from Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben either side of half-time looked to have put Bayern in control of the tie.
But Paulo Dybala pulled one back and substitute Stefano Sturaro equalised to ensure Juventus will go into March 16’s second leg with optimism.
The pre-match team news focused on both team’s defences, with Juve switching to a back four in the absence of Giorgio Chiellini while injury-hit Bayern paired the inexperienced Joshua Kimmich with the versatile David Alaba in the centre. Full-back Philipp Lahm made his 100th Champions League appearance.

UEFA Champions League Group Stage XI

UEFA.com has announced its Champions League XI for the 2015-16 group stage, with no representatives from European champions Barcelona.

Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain have the most representatives with two apiece, with Thomas Muller and David Alaba making the cut for the German champions and Kevin Trapp and Thiago Silva included from the French side.

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who was the leading scorer in the group stage with 11 goals and also contributed three assists, is included alongside Muller (five goals, two assists) and Hulk, whose three goals and four assists helped Zenit St Petersburg top Group H.

There is no place for Barca forwards Luis Suarez (five goals, two assists), Lionel Messi (three goals, one assist) or Neymar (two goals, four assists), while Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski (seven goals, no assists), Zenit’s Artem Dzyuba (six goals, two assists) and Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud (five goals, no assists) also miss out.

In midfield, Willian (five goals, one assist) is included after playing a key role for Chelsea as they took top spot in Group G, while Raheem Sterling (three goals, one assist) makes the cut after Manchester City edged out Juventus to finish first in Group D.

Sven Kums (one goal, two assists) is also recognised for his contribution to Gent’s successful start in the competition as they finished ahead of Valencia to take second place in Group H.

PSG keeper Trapp and centre-back Thiago Silva make the XI after Laurent Blanc’s men conceded just one goal in the group stage, while Alaba, Juventus’ Andrea Brazagli and Atletico Madrid’s Diego Godin are selected after their sides conceded three apiece.

GK: Kevin Trapp (PSG)
DF: Andrea Barzagli (Juventus)
DF: Thiago Silva (PSG)
DF: Diego Godín (Atletico)
DF: David Alaba (Bayern)
MF: Sven Kums (Gent)
MF: Willian (Chelsea)
MF: Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
FW: Thomas Muller (Bayern)
FW: Hulk (Zenit)
FW: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)