Paul Pogba wins Europa League Player of the Season, as Manchester United dominate EL squad of the season

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has been named UEFA Europa League Player of the Season for 2016/17.

The France international beat team-mates Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to the prize.

Pogba, who rejoined United from Juventus last year, started all 15 games and scored three times in Europe’s second-tier competition to help United lift the trophy for the first time in May.

“I am very happy to be the first one to win the UEFA Europa League Player of the Season award,” the 24-year-old said in a statement.

“Hopefully, the new season will be as successful as the last one for both me and my club. Thank you so much.”

The winner of the inaugural prize was chosen by a panel of 48 coaches of the clubs that participated in the Europa League group stage last season and 55 journalists selected by the European Sports Media (ESM) group.

Pogba was also selected to the Europa League squad of the season, along with United team-mates Sergio Romero, Eric Bailly, Daley Blind, Antonio Valencia, Ander Herrera, Mkhitaryan and Ibrahimovic.

Runners-up Ajax Ajax and semi-finalists Celta Vigo and Lyon each contributed three players, while quarter-finalists Anderlecht’s Youri Tielemans, who joined Monaco this summer, was also included.

Goalkeepers: Sergio Alvarez (Celta Vigo), Sergio Romero (Manchester United)

Defenders: Eric Bailly (Manchester United), Gustavo Cabral (Celta Vigo), Jeremy Morel (Lyon), Matthijs De Ligt (Ajax), Daley Blind (Manchester United), Antonio Valencia (Manchester United)

Midfielders: Pablo Hernandez (Celta Vigo), Ander Herrera (Manchester United), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Youri Tielemans (Anderlecht), Corentin Tolisso (Lyon), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United), Amin Younes (Ajax)

Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United), Alexandre Lacazette (Lyon), Bertrand Traore (Ajax)

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2017/18 Europa League Group stage draws

Arsenal and Everton face challenging tests on their return to the Europa League following Friday’s group stage draw in Monaco.

Arsenal were drawn to play Belarus’ BATE Borisov, Cologne of Germany and Serbia’s Red Star Belgrade in Group H.

Everton will play France’s Lyon – hosts of this season’s final – Italy’s Atalanta and Apollon Limassol of Cyprus in Group E.

Both English sides face difficult tasks to advance to the knockout stages when the group phase begins on September 14.

It is the first time in 20 years that Arsenal have started a European campaign in the Europa League.

AC Milan, meanwhile, were pitted against Austria Vienna, Rijeka and AEK Athens in Group D.

The Serie A side are competing in their first European campaign since the 2013-14 season.

Group A: Villarreal, Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Astana, Slavia Prague

Group B: Dynamo Kiev, Young Boys, Partizan Belgrade, Skenderbeu

Group C: Braga, Ludogorets Razgrad, Hoffenheim, Istanbul Basaksehir

Group D: AC Milan, Austria Vienna, NK Rijeka, AEK Athens

Group E: Lyon, Everton, Atalanta, Apollon Limassol

Group F: FC Copenhagen, Lokomotiv Moscow, FC Sheriff, FC Zlin

Group G: Viktoria Plzen, FCSB, Hapoel Beer-Sheva, FC Lugano

Group H: Arsenal, BATE Borisov, Cologne, Red Star Belgrade

Group I: FC Salzburg, Marseille, Vitoria Guimaraes, Konyaspor

Group J: Athletic Bilbao, Hertha Berlin, Zorya Luhansk, Ostersunds

Group K: Lazio, Nice, Zulte Waregem, Vitesse Arnhem

Group L: Zenit St. Petersburg, Real Sociedad, Rosenborg, Vardar Skopje

The first group games will be played on Sept. 14.

Matchday one: 14 September

Matchday two: 28 September

Matchday three: 19 October

Matchday four: 2 November

Matchday five: 23 November

Matchday six: 7 December

Round of 32 Draw: 11 December

First legs: 15 February

Second legs: 22 February

Round of 16 Draw: 23 February

First legs: 8 March

Second legs: 15 March

Quarter-finals Draw: 16 March

First legs: 5 April

Second legs: 12 April

This season’s final will be held in Lyon empty provider Semi-finals and final Draw: 13 April

Semi-finals, first legs: 26 April

Semi-finals, second legs: 3 May

Final (Stade de Lyon, Lyon): 16 May

Cristiano Ronaldo named UEFA Men’s Player of the Year

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo has won the 2016/17 UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award after another impressive campaign for his club and country.

Ronaldo beat off competition from his Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon to take the prestigious award at a ceremony in Nyon, Switzerland on Thursday.

Ronaldo’s outstanding performances helped Los Blancos to become the first club to retain the Champions League trophy.

He scored five goals in the quarterfinal victory over Bayern Munich, with a hat trick in the second leg at the Bernabeu.

Another treble followed in the first leg of the semifinal against Atletico Madrid, and two more goals came in the final success over Juventus.

Ronaldo also helped his country claim an unexpected triumph in the European Championship in France last summer.

Barcelona’s Messi scored 54 goals for his club, but they had only the Spanish Super Cup and the Copa del Rey to show for their efforts.

Buffon, 39, was the losing goalkeeper as Madrid beat Juventus in the Champions League final in Cardiff, but helped his club to an Italian Double.

Ronaldo vowed to maintain his high standards after accepting the award from UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.

“Every year is the same challenge – to win everything, if possible,” he said.

“With my club, the international team, we are not qualified [for the World Cup] yet, we have that to do.

“I’m so glad to be here and win this trophy again. I have to say thank you to my team-mates, I’m so happy for them too.”

Lieke Martens was named UEFA Women’s Player of the Year after leading the Netherlands to the 2017 Women’s Euro title this summer on home soil.

The 24-year-old Martens, who plays her club football at Barcelona, scored three goals and was named player of the tournament at the Euro.

“This is so amazing,” she said upon receiving the award.

“It’s a big honour. I’m really proud, but I couldn’t achieve this without my teammates. I’m speechless!”

Francesco Totti was the recipient of the President’s Award, which recognises outstanding achievements, professional excellence and exemplary personal qualities.

The Roma legend, who spent his entire career at the Rome club before retiring at the conclusion of last season, became the third Italian to be given the honour, joining AC Milan legends Gianni Rivera and Paolo Maldini.

“I am honoured — wearing a single shirt my entire career was my dream, and I managed to do it,” he said.

As expected, Buffon was awarded Goalkeeper of the Year after helping Juventus finish as runners-up to Real Madrid in the Champions League.

Sergio Ramos took home the award for the top defender in Europe.

Luka Modric was named the best midfielder.

Ronaldo was also presented with the Forward of the Year award after claiming his fourth Champions League title.

Awards in full

UEFA Men’s Player of the Year: Cristiano Ronaldo UEFA

Women’s Player of the Year: Lieke Martens

Best Goalkeeper of the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League season: Gianluigi Buffon

Best Defender of the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League season: Sergio Ramos

Best Midfielder of the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League season: Luka Modrić

Best Forward of the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League season: Cristiano

Ronaldo UEFA President’s Award: Francesco Totti

2017/18 UEFA Champions League Group stage draws

Tottenham will face holders Real Madrid in the group stage of the Champions League, while Manchester United will tackle Benfica. Spurs have been drawn in Group H alongside Spanish side Real, German giants Borussia Dortmund and Apoel Nicosia of Cyprus.

The draw pits Spurs against former stars Gareth Bale and Luka Modric.

Premier League champions Chelsea have been drawn to play Atletico Madrid, Roma and Qarabag in Group C, while Europa League winners United face Benfica, Basle and CSKA Moscow in Group A.

Manchester City are up against Shakhtar Donetsk, Napoli and Feyenoord in Group F, and Liverpool will meet Spartak Moscow, Sevilla and Maribor in Group E.

Scottish champions Celtic face an incredibly tough test in a group with Bayern Munich, Paris St-Germain and Anderlecht.

Group A:

Benfica, Manchester United, Basel, CSKA Moscow

Group B: Bayern Munich, Paris St-Germain, Anderlecht, Celtic

Group C: Chelsea, Atletico Madrid, Roma, Qarabag

Group D: Juventus, Barcelona, Olympiakos, Sporting

Group E: Spartak Moscow, Sevilla, Liverpool, Maribor

Group F: Shakhtar Donetsk, Manchester City, Napoli, Feyenoord

Group G: Monaco, Porto, Besiktas, RB Leipzig

Group H: Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham, Apoel

Match day one: 12-13 September

Match day two: 26-27 September

Match day three: 17-18 October

Match day four: 31 October-1 November

Match day five: 21-22 November

Match day six: 5-6 December

UCL Play offs: Liverpool, Qarabag, Sporting advance to group stages

CSKA Moscow 2 – 0 Young Boys

FC FCSB 1 – 5 Sporting CP

FC Koebenhavn 2 – 1 Qarabag FK

Liverpool 4 – 2 Hoffenheim

Slavia Prague 0 – 0 APOEL Nicosia

  • Liverpool 4 – 2 Hoffenheim (Agg 6-3)

Liverpool and Sporting Lisbon both went on scoring sprees as they reached the group stage of this season’s Champions League.

Liverpool, 2-1 up from the first leg against Hoffenheim, made sure they would progress by scoring three goals during the first 21 minutes at Anfield.

Emre Can opened their account, before Mohamed Salah added a second and then Can struck again to leave Hoffenheim facing a potential horror show.

The German side replied before half-time through a Mark Uth goal, only for Roberto Firmino to make it 4-1 before Sandro Wagner grabbed a Hoffenheim consolation 11 minutes from time as Liverpool progressed 6-3 on aggregate.

The result ensures England will be represented by five teams when the draw for the group stages is made.

  • FC FCSB 1 – 5 Sporting CP (Agg 1-5)

Sporting went one better in Romania, crushing FCSB 5-1 following a goalless first leg.

Seydou Doumbia put Sporting ahead after 13 minutes, but when Junior Morais equalised seven minutes later there was no indication of the one-sided second period to follow.

Steaua subsided during the final 30 minutes, conceding four goals as Sporting cut loose with Marcos Acuna, Gelson Martins, Bas Dost and Rodrigo Battaglia ensuring the Portuguese side powered into the pool draw.

  • FC Koebenhavn 2 – 1 Qarabag FK (Agg 2-2)

Azerbaijan challengers Qarabag went through following a tense play-off tie away to FC Copenhagen.

Qarabag took a one-goal advantage with them to Denmark, but they fell behind on the stroke of half-time when Federico Santander netted.

They looked to have eased their nerves, though, when Dino Ndlovu equalised in the 63rd minute, only for Copenhagen to regain the lead just three minutes later through Andrija Pavlovic.

It set up a tight closing 25 minutes, but Copenhagen could not score again, meaning the tie ended 2-2 on aggregate with Qarabag progressing on away goals and becoming the first team from their country to make the Champions League group stage.

  • CSKA Moscow 2 – 0 Young Boys (Agg 3-0)

CSKA Moscow, meanwhile, were always in control of their play-off clash against Young Boys at the VEB Arena.

Having won the away leg 1-0, CSKA were rarely troubled by their opponents as goals from Georgi Schennikov and Alan Dzagoev ensured a comfortable passage 3-0 on aggregate.

  • Slavia Prague 0 – 0 APOEL Nicosia (Agg 0-2)

Apoel Nicosia arrived with a two-goal advantage from the first leg, and they were able to preserve that comfortable cushion despite Slavia Prague’s best efforts as the tie finished 0-0.

The draw for the group stage begins at 5 p.m. BST, midday ET on Thursday, Aug. 24.

Seeded

Pot 1: Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Benfica, Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk, Monaco, Spartak Moscow

Pot 2: Barcelona, Atletico, Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla, Man City, FC Porto, Man United

Pot 3: Napoli, Tottenham, FC Basel, Olympiakos, Anderlecht, Liverpool, Roma, Besiktas

Pot 4: Celtic, CSKA Moscow, Sporting CP, APOEL Nicosia, Feyenoord, NK Maribor, FK Qarabag, RB Leipzig The first group games will be played on Sep. 12-13.

UCL play offs: Celtic, Napoli, Sevilla qualify for group stage

FC Astana 4 – 3 Celtic

Maribor 1 – 0 Hapoel Beer Sheva

Nice 0 – 2 SSC Napoli

Rijeka 0 – 1 Olympiacos

Sevilla 2 – 2 Istanbul Basaksehir

Celtic, Sevilla, Napoli, NK Maribor and Olympiakos booked their place in the Champions League group stage with victory in the play-off round.

  • FC Astana 4 – 3 Celtic (Agg 4-8)

Celtic slipped to a surprise 4-3 defeat against Astana in Kazakhstan but qualified 8-4 on aggregate thanks to their 5-0 first leg win.

There were some nervy moments for the Scottish champions as they slipped to a first defeat of the season in a pulsating encounter at the Astana Arena.

Celtic’s 19-year-old defender Kristoffer Ajer, in for injured Jozo Simunovic, deflected a shot from defender Dmitri Shomko past goalkeeper Craig Gordon in the 26th minute to put the Kazakh side in front, but Scott Sinclair had Celtic level eight minutes later.

Two goals in a minute at the start of the second-half from attackers Serikzhan Muzhikov and Patrick Twumasi brought the home side back to life and, when Ghanaian Twumasi grabbed his second to make it 4-1, the visitors were on the ropes.

However, late goals from Olivier Ntcham and Leigh Griffiths confirmed Brendan Rodgers’ side’s passage into the group stages for the second successive season.

  • Nice 0 – 2 SSC Napoli (Agg 0-4)

Second-half goals from Jose Callejon and Lorenzo Insigne earned Napoli a 2-0 win in Nice and ensured their qualification for the Champions League group stages.

The Serie A side won 4-0 on aggregate but it could have been more with Dries Mertens also striking the post and missing several opportunities in a game they largely dominated.

After a frustrating first half, Callejon opened the scoring from close range in the 48th minute from a Marek Hamsik cross while Mario Balotelli was on the sideline receiving treatment.

Insigne’s well-placed effort from the edge of the box in the 89th minute wrapped up proceedings.

Nice, who started with Balotelli, Wesley Sneijder and reported Barcelona target Jean Seri in their side, did rally after going behind but were unable to break down a superior side.

The Ligue 1 outfit will now play in the Europa League for a second consecutive campaign.

  • Sevilla 2 – 2 Istanbul Basaksehir (Agg 4-3)

Sevilla overcame a scare from Istanbul Basaksehir to advance 4-3 on aggregate after a 2-2 draw.

After Gabriel Mercado hit the post for the Spanish club, the visitors took a shock lead as Emmanuel Adebayor played in Junior Caicara, whose cross found Eljero Elia in the 17th minute.

That put the Turkish side ahead on away goals, and Sevilla needed to wait until the second half to regain control as Sergio Escudero headed home from a Jesus Navas cross in the 52nd minute.

Wissam Ben Yedder then supplied some breathing room from a tight angle on 75 minutes after some good control by Nolito.

And it would prove to be a needed goal as Edin Visca got a goal back in the 83rd minute, but Basaksehir could not find another, though Emre Belozoglu cracked the post in stoppage time.

  • Rijeka 0 – 1 Olympiacos (Agg 1-3)

Olympiakos confirmed their participation in the Champions League group stage with a 1-0 win away to Croatian champions Rijeka.

Former Chelsea winger Marko Marin scored the only goal of the game in the 25th minute, scoring from an angle following a ball from Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe.

That ensured the Greek side a 3-1 aggregate win and a return to the Champions League after they fell at this stage last season.

  • Maribor 1 – 0 Hapoel Beer Sheva (Agg 2-2)

Maribor advanced on away goals after securing a 1-0 win over Hapoel Be’er Sheva.

Mitja Viler scored the only goal of the night after a cross from the endline deflected out to him to just inside the box, and he lashed home in the 15th minute.

That ensured the Slovenian champions reached the group stage 2-2 on aggregate after their 2-1 loss in Israel last week.

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 Play-offs : First leg results – Liverpool, CSKA Moscow win; Copenhagen lose

Qarabag FK 1 – 0 FC Copenhagen

APOEL Nicosia 2 – 0 Slavia Prague

Hoffenheim 1 – 2 Liverpool

Sporting CP 0 – 0 FC FCSB

Young Boys 0 – 1 CSKA Moscow

  • Hoffenheim 1 – 2 Liverpool

Liverpool will take a one-goal advantage back to Anfield for the second leg of their Champions League play-off tie with Hoffenheim after Trent Alexander-Arnold’s free-kick and an own goal earned them a hard-fought victory in Germany.

The 18-year-old fired in a 30-yard free-kick in the 35th minute after Simon Mignolet had earlier saved a tame penalty from former Leicester forward Andrej Kramaric.

James Milner’s cross was then deflected into his own net by Havard Nordtveit in the second half, but substitute Mark Uth gave Hoffenheim a lifeline with an 87th-minute strike.

Benjamin Hubner could have even levelled the tie ahead of the return leg at Anfield on August 23, but missed a free header from close range in injury-time.

    • APOEL Nicosia 2 – 0 Slavia Prague
  • Apoel raced out of the blocks and were out of sight within 10 minutes thanks to goals from Igor de Camargo and Efstathios Aloneftis.

    Former Belgium striker De Camargo flicked home Lorenzo Ebecilio’s corner at the near post after only two minutes.

    The Cypriot outfit, who were knocked out by FC Copenhagen at this stage last term, then doubled that advantage when Aloneftis superbly chipped the ball over Slavia goalkeeper Jan Lastuvka from 18 yards.

    • Young Boys 0 – 1 CSKA Moscow

    CSKA Moscow were fortunate to win their first leg against Young Boys.

    The hosts were undone by a 91st-minute own goal from Kasim Adams that will send them back to Moscow needing to overturn a 1-0 deficit next week.

    Adams was under no pressure when he headed the ball up in the air, then headed it again while trying to give it to his goalkeeper, but it looped over David von Ballmoos and into the net.

    • Qarabag FK 1 – 0 FC Copenhagen

    Azerbaijani club Qarabag FK moved closer to a first appearance in the Champions League group stage by beating FC Copenhagen 1-0 in the first leg.

    Mahir Madatov scored in the 26th minute at the Tofig Bahramov Republican stadium in Baku, bundling home a rebound after Dino Ndlovu’s long-range shot hit the post.

    This is the fourth time Qarabag have made it into Champions League qualifying, though they have never progressed beyond the third round.

    Copenhagen have advanced from two of their six appearances in the playoffs, in 2010 and last year.

    The second leg takes place on Aug. 23 in Denmark.

    • Sporting CP 0 – 0 FC FCSB

    Romanian side FCSB, formerly known as Steaua Bucharest, managed a 0-0 draw with Sporting in Lisbon despite going down to 10 men late on after Mihai Pintilii was sent off.

    Harder, Marozsan and Martens up for UEFA women’s player of the year

    Denmark’s Pernille Harder, Germany’s Dzsenifer Marozsan and the Netherlands’ Lieke Martens make up the shortlist for Uefa’s Women’s Player of 2016-17 award.

    England striker Jodie Taylor and right-back Lucy Bronze were named in the top 10, but missed out on the top three, voted for by coaches and journalists.

    The annual award, which began in 2012-13, is yet to see a British player included in the final shortlist.

    The overall winner will be announced on Thursday, 24 August.

    New Barcelona winger Martens, 24, was a key part of the Netherlands side that won Women’s Euro 2017, beating Denmark – captained by Wolfsburg’s 24-year-old forward Harder – in the final.

    Midfielder Marozsan, 25, who helped French side Lyon retain the Women’s Champions League in Cardiff in June, is in the top three for the third consecutive year.

    Bronze and Arsenal’s Taylor, who finished as the top scorer in the Euros with five goals, are joined in the top 10 by new Gunners striker Vivianne Miedema and Liverpool winger Shanice van de Sanden – both of the Netherlands.

    Norway and Lyon striker Ada Hegerberg won the award in 2015-16.

    The players who make up the rest of the top ten are:

    4: Vivianne Miedema (Netherlands, Bayern München and Arsenal)

    5: Eugénie Le Sommer (France, Lyon)

    6: Wendie Renard (France, Lyon)

    7: Jackie Groenen (Netherlands, FFC Frankfurt)

    8: Lucy Bronze (England, Manchester City) 9: Jodie Taylor (England, Arsenal)

    10: Shanice van de Sanden (Netherlands, Liverpool)

    Previous winners of the award:

    2012/13 ─ Nadine Angerer (Germany, FFC Frankfurt)

    2013/14 ─ Nadine Kessler (Germany, Wolfsburg)

    2014/15 ─ Célia Šašić (Germany, FFC Frankfurt)

    2016/17 ─ Ada Hegerberg (Norway, Lyon)

    Ronaldo, Messi, Buffon up for UEFA Player of the year

    Gianluigi Buffon, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the three shortlisted players for the UEFA Player of the Year award.

    Italy and Juventus goalkeeper Buffon, Argentina and Barcelona striker Messi and Portugal and Real Madrid forward Ronaldo were chosen by a jury of 80 coaches and 55 journalists.

    Messi and Ronaldo have won the award twice – Ronaldo winning last season.

    Andres Iniesta (Barcelona) and Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich) the only other players to receive it.

    The award, which was created in 2011, will be presented at the Champions League group stage draw on Aug. 24, with Real Madrid star Ronaldo the favourite to win it for the third time in four years after his outstanding performances helped Los Blancos to become the first club to retain the trophy.

    Ronaldo scored five goals in the quarterfinal victory over Bayern Munich, with a hat trick in the second leg at the Bernabeu.

    He scored another treble in the first leg of the semi against Atletico Madrid, and two goals in the final success over Juventus.

    Messi scored 54 goals for his club but Barcelona only had the Spanish Super Cup and the Copa del Rey to show for their efforts.

    Buffon would be a popular choice, but the 39-year-old would have been better positioned had Juventus beaten Madrid in the Champions League final.

    Juventus did complete the Italian Double.

    The players who make up the rest of the top 10 are:

    4: Luka Modric (Croatia, Real Madrid)

    5: Toni Kroos (Germany, Real Madrid)

    6: Paulo Dybala (Argentina, Juventus)

    7: Sergio Ramos (Spain, Real Madrid)

    8: Kylian Mbappe (France, Monaco)

    9: Robert Lewandowski (Poland, Bayern Munich)

    10: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden, Manchester United)

    The UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award complements four new positional UEFA Champions League awards, which will crown the best goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and forward of the 2016/17 Champions League season.

    These awards will also be presented during the group stage draw on 24 August.

    The following day, the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League Player of the Season award will be presented at the competition’s 2017/18 group stage draw in Monaco.

    Three players, all from last season’s title-winners Manchester United, have been shortlisted – Zlatan Ibrahimović, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba.

    UEFA Super Cup- Real Madrid beat Manchester United to retain Super Cup title

    Real Madrid 2-1 Manchester United

    Real Madrid lifted a second successive UEFA Super Cup after a 2-1 victory over Manchester United in Macedonia.

    In the battle of last season’s European trophy winners, it was the Champions League holders who took the lead with Casemiro opening the scoring in the 24th minute.

    Zinedine Zidane’s side doubled their lead in the 53rd minute through Isco and were in total control until Romelu Lukau pulled one back for the Europa League winners.

    United rallied late on with substitute Marcus Rashford denied by Keylor Navas and it was Real who held on to become the first team to win successive UEFA Super Cups since AC Milan in 1989 and 1990.

    Real coach Zinedine Zidane called Mourinho’s bluff by playing Gareth Bale 24 hours after the Manchester United manager had suggested bidding for the Wales star if he was left out of the line-up —

    and Zidane won just about every other battle on the night as well.

    UEFA hit Manchester United defender Eric Bailly with additional two-game ban- set tp miss Real Madrid Super Cup clash


    Manchester United defender Eric Bailly has been given a three-match ban for his red card against Celta Vigo in the Europa League.

    The 23-year-old was sent off after a  mass brawl in the semi-final on 11 May and missed the final against Ajax, which United won 2-0.

    However, the suspension has now been extended to include two more games.

    Bailly will miss the Super Cup against Real Madrid on 8 August and United’s first Champions League group match.

    The Ivory Coast international’s case does not qualify for an appeal because European football’s governing body Uefa only overturns decisions made by the referee in cases of mistaken identity.

    Bailly was sent off for a swipe at Celta’s former Manchester City striker John Guidetti, with Facundo Roncaglia dismissed for retaliating.

    The Premier League club also received a warning from Uefa for a late kick-off to the semi-final.

    Real Madrid top, but Atletico overtake Bayern and Barcelona to second in latest UEFA ranking

    Atletico Madrid have overtaken Barcelona and Bayern Munich to move into second place in the UEFA rankings for club competitions.

    The latest official list published ahead of the 2017-18 season sees Atletico with a coefficient of 133.799, putting them ahead of third-placed Barca (128.7990), fourth-placed Bayern (122.656) and fifth-placed Juventus (119.049).

    Real Madrid, who beat Atletico in the 2014 and 2016 Champions League finals, as well as retaining the trophy by defeating Juve 4-1 in the 2017 decider, top the table with a coefficient of 151.799.

    When Diego Simeone took charge of Atletico during the 2011-12 campaign, the club were down in 23rd place in the rankings — between CSKA Moscow and Marseille — but they have climbed steadily each year since due to their success in that season’s Europa League, followed by consistently reaching the latter stages of the Champions League each year since.

    “Atletico Madrid has climbed to second place of the ranking of European clubs that UEFA elaborates,” a club statement read.
    Our scores of the last five seasons are: in the campaign 2013/14 we accumulated 37,600, 26,042 in 2014/15, 32,785 in 2015/16 and 33,028 in 2016/17.

    “In addition, our team starts next season with 4,342 points since it has qualified for the group stage of the Champions League. We need to remember that in the last four seasons, our team has reached two Champions League finals, a semi-final and a few quarter-finals. In addition, for the first time in our history, Simeone’s squad will play for the fifth consecutive season in the continental showpiece.”
    The highest ranked Premier League club in the latest UEFA standings is Manchester City — who sit ninth [94.363], ahead of Arsenal (11th – 84.363), Chelsea (13th – 80.363), Manchester United (16th – 78.363), Tottenham (22nd – 62.363) and Liverpool (35th – 44.363). When Simeone took over Atletico English clubs were much higher — United were then second, Chelsea third, Arsenal sixth and Liverpool 11th.
    Other clubs to rise during recent years include current leaders Madrid [who were seventh back in 2011], Juventus (up from 43rd to fifth), Sevilla (up from 11th to sixth) and Paris Saint-Germain (up from 38th to seventh).

    Significant fallers have been Inter Milan (ninth, down to 59th), AC Milan (10th to 58th) and Valencia (15th to 30th).

    The club coefficient rankings are based on the results of clubs competing in the five previous seasons of the Champions League and Europa League. The rankings determine the seeding of each club in all UEFA competition draws.
    Clubs Country Pts

    1 Real Madrid CF ESP 151.799

    2 Club Atlético de Madrid ESP 133.799

    3 FC Barcelona ESP 128.799

    4 FC Bayern München GER 122.656

    5 Juventus ITA 119.049

    6 Sevilla FC ESP 109.799

    7 Paris Saint-Germain FRA 103.249

    8 Borussia Dortmund GER 95.656

    9 Manchester City FC ENG 94.363

    10 SL Benfica POR 87.783

    11 Arsenal FC ENG 84.363

    12 FC Porto POR 80.783

    13 Chelsea FC ENG 80.363

    14 SSC Napoli ITA 80.049

    15 Bayer 04 Leverkusen GER 78.656

    16 Manchester United FC ENG 78.363

    17 FC Schalke 04 GER 74.656

    18 FC Shakhtar Donetsk UKR 72.786

    19 FC Zenit RUS 72.316

    20 ACF Fiorentina ITA 66.049

    21 AS Monaco FC FRA 64.249

    22 Tottenham Hotspur FC ENG 62.363

    23 Villarreal CF ESP 61.799

    24 FC Basel 1893 SUI 60.900

    25 AFC Ajax NED 57.529

    26 FC Dynamo Kyiv UKR 56.786

    27 AS Roma ITA 55.049

    28 Olympique Lyonnais FRA 54.749

    29 Athletic Club ESP 53.799

    30 Valencia CF ESP 53.799

    31 Olympiacos FC GRE 53.700

    32 RSC Anderlecht BEL 53.340

    33 VfL Wolfsburg GER 52.656

    34 Beşiktaş JK TUR 47.960

    35 Liverpool FC ENG 44.363

    36 VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach GER 41.656

    37 FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk UKR 40.786

    38 PSV Eindhoven NED 40.529

    39 FC Salzburg AUT 39.195

    40 AC Sparta Praha CZE 38.435

    41 RC Celta de Vigo ESP 36.799

    42 PFC CSKA Moskva RUS 36.316

    43 SS Lazio ITA 36.049

    44 Club Brugge KV BEL 35.340

    45 Galatasaray AŞ TUR 34.960

    46 Leicester City FC ENG 34.363

    47 KRC Genk BEL 34.340

    48 AS Saint-Étienne FRA 33.749

    49 KAA Gent BEL 33.340

    50 PFC Ludogorets 1945 BUL 33.200

    51 PAOK FC GRE 32.700

    52 FC København DEN 31.340

    53 Sporting Clube de Portugal POR 30.783

    54 AZ Alkmaar NED 30.529

    55 FC Krasnodar RUS 30.316

    56 Real Betis Balompié ESP 29.799

    57 SC Braga POR 29.283

    58 AC Milan ITA 28.049

    59 FC Internazionale Milano ITA 28.049

    60 Fenerbahçe SK TUR 27.960

    61 Legia Warszawa POL 26.650

    62 Everton FC ENG 26.363

    63 SK Rapid Wien AUT 26.195

    64 Celtic FC SCO 25.975

    65 Torino FC ITA 25.049

    66 Feyenoord NED 25.029

    67 FC Viktoria Plzeň CZE 24.935

    68 Eintracht Frankfurt GER 24.656

    69 FC Rubin RUS 24.316

    70 FC Dinamo Moskva RUS 24.316

    71 Real Sociedad de Fútbol ESP 24.299

    72 APOEL FC CYP 24.085

    73 Trabzonspor AŞ TUR 23.960

    74 Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC ISR 22.925

    75 Olympique de Marseille FRA 22.249

    76 FCSB ROU 22.010

    77 FC Slovan Liberec CZE 21.935

    78 FC Rostov RUS 21.816

    79 1. FSV Mainz 05 GER 20.656

    80 BSC Young Boys SUI 20.400

    81 GNK Dinamo Zagreb CRO 20.275

    82 Southampton FC ENG 19.863

    83 R. Standard de Liège BEL 19.840

    84 FC BATE Borisov BLR 19.700

    85 FC Augsburg GER 19.656

    86 Swansea City AFC ENG 19.363

    87 FC Lokomotiv Moskva RUS 18.816

    88 FC Anji RUS 18.316

    89 EA Guingamp FRA 18.249

    90 SC Freiburg GER 17.656

    91 Qarabağ FK AZE 17.650

    92 NK Maribor SVN 17.650

    93 FC Zürich SUI 16.900

    94 FC Astana KAZ 16.750

    95 FK Austria Wien AUT 16.695

    96 RB Leipzig GER 16.656

    97 FC Astra Giurgiu ROU 16.510

    98 Wigan Athletic FC ENG 16.363

    99 Malmö FF SWE 16.095

    100 US Sassuolo Calcio ITA 16.049

    101 FC Chornomorets Odesa UKR 15.786

    102 Molde FK NOR 15.360

    103 FC Girondins de Bordeaux FRA 15.249

    104 West Ham United FC ENG 14.863

    105 FC Spartak Moskva RUS 14.816

    106 Estoril Praia POR 14.783

    107 HNK Rijeka CRO 14.775

    108 OGC Nice FRA 14.749

    109 FC Midtjylland DEN 14.340

    110 KSC Lokeren OV BEL  14.340

    World Cup UEFA Qualification  – Germany thrash San Marino 7; England held but stay top; Lewandowski Warsaw hattrick hero

    ​Group C

    Azerbaijan 0 – 1 N.Ireland

    Germany 7 – 0 San Marino

    Norway 1 – 1 Czech  Republic

    • Germany 7 – 0 San Marino

    Sandro Wagner scored a hat-trick as Group C leaders Germany stretched their 100 per cent record to six games with a 7-0 win over San Marino in Nuremberg.

    Julian Draxler’s early effort set the Germans on their way and a brace from Wagner and a fourth for Amin Younes put them four goals clear by the break.

    Shkodran Mustafi increased Germany’s lead early in the second half and Julian Brandt headed the sixth before Wagner completed his hat-trick – and the German scoring – with a header of his own five minutes from time.

    • Norway 1 – 1 Czech  Republic

    Czech Republic were held to a 1-1 draw at struggling Norway, Theodor Gebre Selassie’s first-half strike cancelled out by an Alexander Soderlund penalty.

    That result leaved the Czechs four points behind Northern Ireland.

    • Azerbaijan 0 – 1 N.Ireland

    Northern Ireland defeated Azerbaijan 1-0 in Baku thanks to a stoppage-time strike from Stuart Dallas.

    Group E

    Kazakhstan 1 – 3 Denmark

    Montenegro 4 – 1 Armenia

    Poland 3 – 1 Romania

    • Poland 3 – 1 Romania

    Robert Lewandowski netted a hat-trick asPolandmaintained their six-point lead at the top of Group E with a 3-1 win over Romania in Warsaw.

    The striker opened the scoring with a 29th-minute penalty and doubled their advantage when he added a second just before the hour.

    A second penalty from Lewandowski sealed another win for the hosts five minutes later before Bogdan Stancu scored a late consolation.

    • Kazakhstan 1 – 3 Denmark

    Denmark kept up the pressure on Poland with a 3-1 win over 10-man Kazakhstan in Almaty.

    Nicolai Jorgensen put the Danes ahead and Christian Eriksen added a second from the spot after Bauyrzhan Islamkhan was sent off in the dying stages of the first half.

    Islambek Kuat briefly reduced the deficit before Kasper Dolberg’s 81st-minute strike sealed victory for the visitors.

    • Montenegro 4 – 1 Armenia

    Stevan Jovetic was another hat-trick hero as Montenegro held onto second place in the same group with a 4-1 win over Armenia in Podgorica.

    The former Manchester City man added to an early strike by Fatos Beciraj to secure a comfortable win for his side, while the visitors replied late through Ruslan Koryan.

    Group F

    Scotland 2 – 2 England

    Slovenia 2 – 0 Malta

    Lithuania 1 – 2 Slovakia


    • Scotland 2 – 2 England

    Captain Harry Kane rescued a point in injury time as England snatched a dramatic 2-2 draw with Scotland at Hampden Park.

    Two late free-kicks from Leigh Griffiths )87, 90( looked to have earned the home side a sensational victory in Saturday’s World Cup Qualifier, after substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had opened the scoring 20 minutes from time.

    But Kane volleyed in Raheem Sterling’s cross four minutes into added time to preserve England’s unbeaten record and keep them three points clear at the top of Group F.

    The late goal was cruel for Scotland, whose supporters had been vociferously celebrating a thrilling turn-around, mean they remain in fourth place on eight points with four matches still to play.

    • Lithuania 1 – 2 Slovakia

    Slovakia clung onto second place with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Lithuania in Vilnius, goals from Vladimir Weiss and Marek Hamsik giving the visitors the points before Arvydas Novikovas hit a stoppage-time consolation.

    • Slovenia 2 – 0 Malta

    Slovenia maintained their push for a place in Russia as goals from Josip Ilicic and Milvoje Novakovic gave them a 2-0 win over group minnows Malta in Ljubljana.

    World Cup UEFA Qualifiers – Hugo Lloris howler gift Sweden victory; Ronaldo scores twice but Switzerland stay top; Belgium maintain lead

    ​Group A

    Belarus 2 – 1 Bulgaria

    Netherlands 5 – 0 Luxembourg

    Sweden 2 – 1 France

    • Sweden 2 – 1 France

    A blunder from Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris saw Sweden snatch a dramatic stoppage-time winner to open up the battle at the top of World Cup European qualifying Group A.

    Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud fired Les Bleus into the lead in the 37th minute with a superb volley into the top corner after taking the ball down at the far post.

    Sweden hit back just before the break when midfielder Jimmy Durmaz lashed in an angled drive.

    Jakob Johansson and then France forward Antoine Griezmann both had chances before, with just seconds of three minutes of added time remaining, Spurs keeper Lloris dribbled the ball out of his penalty area only to scuff an attempted clearance.

    Toulouse forward Ola Toivonen clipped a first-time effort over the keeper from just inside his own half, which bounced into an empty net to spark wild celebrations from the home fans at the Friends Arena as Sweden moved above France to the top of the table on goal difference.

    Sweden have not qualified for the finals since 2006.

    • Netherlands 5 – 0 Luxembourg

    Holland are now just three points behind Dick Advocaat won his first game back in charge of the Netherlands as the Dutch hammered Luxembourg 5-0 to boost their chances of World Cup qualification.

    The former Sunderland boss, 69, is  starting his third spell as national  team boss.

    Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben put the Netherlands ahead after 21 minutes.

    Veteran midfielder Wesley Sneijder – making a record 131st international appearance on his 33rd birthday – slotted in a second after 35 minutes.

    Advocaat, who was named as Danny Blind’s successor in May, saw his side go further ahead on the hour through Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum.

    Quincy Promes headed in a fourth with 20 minutes left, with a late penalty from Tottenham forward Vincent Janssen completing the rout.

    • Belarus 2 – 1 Bulgaria

    Bulgaria, who had been third, slipped to a 2-1 defeat inBelarus.

    The hosts went ahead after 33 minutes through a penalty from Mikhail Sivakov and a fine individual effort from Pavel Savitskiy sealed victory with 10 minutes left.

    Georgi Kostadinov netted a consolation for Bulgaria in stoppage time.



    Group B

    Andorra 1 – 0 Hungary

    Faroe Islands 0 – 2 Switzerland

    Latvia 0 – 3 Portugal

    • Latvia 0 – 3 Portugal

    Cristiano Ronaldo scored two close-range headers as Portugal won 3-0 in Latvia.

    Ronaldo – whose double helped Real Madrid win the Champions League final in Cardiff last Saturday – nodded Portugal in front five minutes before half-time after Jose Fonte’s header came back off the crossbar.

    The 32-year-old headed in a second from almost on the goalline after 61 minutes, with Porto striker Andre Silva adding a third six minutes later.

    • Faroe Islands 0 – 2 Switzerland

    Switzerland kept themselves ahead of Portugal at the top of Group B with a 2-0 away win over the Faroe Islands.

    Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka put the Swiss ahead in the 36th minute with a low shot and Stoke playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri’s neat angled finish wrapped things up after 56 minutes.

    • Andorra 1 – 0 Hungary

    Andorra moved off the bottom of the table with a shock 1-0 win over Hungary at Estadi Nacional where a header from Marc Rebes brought to an end a run of 66 competitive matches without a victory.

    Congrats.

    Group H

    Bosnia-Herzegovina 0 – 0 Greece

    Estonia 0 – 2 Belgium

    Gibraltar 1 – 2 Cyprus

    • Estonia 0 – 2 Belgium

    Belgium maintained their lead atop Group H with a 2-0 defeat of Estonia, who finished with 10 men at the A. Le Coq Arena.

    The Belgians are yet to lose in qualifying thus far, taking 16 points from six matches, and were on the scoreboard after the half-hour.

    Kevin De Bruyne’s cross from the right was mishandled by Estonia goalkeeper Mihkel Aksalu into the path of Dries Mertens, who comfortably slotted home at the far post.

    Belgium then put the game away in the 86th minute through Nacer Chadli, who slotted home a De Bruyne pass from close range.

    • Bosnia-Herzegovina 0 – 0 Greece

    Second-placed Greece battled to a goalless draw away to Bosnia-Herzegovina, who remain a point behind.

    The draw puts Greece in the playoff position on 12 points from six matches, while the hosts sit on 11.

    • Gibraltar 1 – 2 Cyprus

    Fourth-placed Cyprus rallied to defeat last-placed Gibraltar 2-1.

    Roy Chipolina’s own goal gave the visitors an early advantage in the 10th minute — the defender leaping to cut off a Konstantinos Charalampidis chipped ball into the area and inadvertently looping his header over onrushing keeper Deren Ibrahim and into the empty net.

    Gibraltar responded, though, 20 minutes later through Anthony Hernandez, who received a through-ball in the area and curled his right-footed shot around the keeper.

    Cyprus then went in front for good in the 87th minute — Pieros Sotiriou heading home Jason Demetriou’s cross from the centre of the box to give the Cypriots a valuable three points.

    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.

    Dream debut for Rashford as ‘horny’ United display five star peformance; Livepool, Spurs win; Napoli out

    18-year-old Marcus Rashford scored two goals on his Manchester United debut in a 5-1 win against FC Midtjylland as Louis Van Gaal’s side progressed to the last 16 of the Europa League.
    Rashford was the unlikely hero in Manchester United’s do-or-die clash with FC Midtjylland, marking an unexpected debut with a dream brace that saw Louis van Gaal’s men through a tricky Europa League tie.
    A terrible string of injuries has seen United forced to rely on youth products, although the 18-year-old striker was so far down the pecking order his name did not even appear on the back of the matchday programme.
    Rashford is likely to be the cover star next time, though, having been thrust into the spotlight following Anthony Martial’s warm-up injury and netting twice as United overcame a first-leg defeat and first-half Midtjylland goal to win 5-1 on the night and 6-3 on aggregate.
    It was a dream end to an evening that looked to be going horribly wrong when Pione Sisto all-too-easily carved open United’s makeshift defence to put the Danish champions ahead at Old Trafford.
    Nikolay Bodurov, on loan from Fulham, turned a Memphis Depay cross into his own goal shortly afterwards, but nerves grew as Morgan Schneiderlin hit the woodwork and then Juan Mata saw a penalty saved.
    They need not have worried, though, as Rashford came to the rescue, turning home crosses from Mata and Guillermo Varela to put United in the driving seat.
    Ander Herrera’s penalty and a Depay strike either side of Andre Romer’s red card added extra gloss to the scoreline as they progressed to the last 16.
    The result eases the pressure on Van Gaal, who called for his team to be hungry and, rather amusingly, “horny” in the build-up to a match which ended a run of four games on the road.
    Martial’s warm-up blow took the number of injured first-team players to 13 and led to Rashford making his debut alongside 19-year-old Joe Riley, who made his first start in a defence that saw Michael Carrick drop back to partner Daley Blind.

    Tottenham beat Fiorentina 4-1 on aggregate in their Europa League round-of-32 tie after a 3-0 win in the second leg at White Hart Lane.
    Ryan Mason gave Spurs the lead with a composed finish in the first half and Erik Lamela made it two before a Gonzalo Rodriguez own goal completed a 4-1 victory on aggregate.
    The only negative on another excellent night for Mauricio Pochettino’s men saw Dele Alli pick up his third yellow card of the competition, which means the 19-year-old is banned for the first leg of the next round.
    Harry Kane was left out of a Spurs matchday squad for the first time this season as he recovers from a broken nose, but Pochettino showed the seriousness with which he continues to treat this most exhausting of competitions by fielding all of his other key players including Hugo Lloris, Eric Dier and Alli.
    This was an important victory, not least to recover momentum following last weekend’s shock FA Cup exit at the hands of Crystal Palace, a defeat which brought to an end Tottenham’s eight-match unbeaten run and set nerves jangling amongst the Spurs faithful.

    Liverpool have qualified for the last 16 of the Europa League after beating Augsburg 1-0 at Anfield, courtesy of a penalty from James Milner.
    Milner’s fifth-minute penalty proved decisive but despite creating a number of chances the Reds failed to score a second goal that would have sealed the tie.
    The job was completed within 90 minutes meaning Jurgen Klopp and his players can now concentrate on Sunday’s Capital One Cup final against Manchester City.
    Aside from the result, the real positive was another 65 minutes in the bank for Daniel Sturridge, making his third consecutive start for the first time since last March, who looked Liverpool’s most dangerous player and will be the key man again at Wembley.

    Borussia Dortmund won 1-0 at Porto to add to their advantage from the first leg and cruise to a 3-0 aggregate victory.
    Iker Casillas saved a shot from Marco Reus, only for the rebound to fall to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whose follow-up hit the underside of the bar and came straight down to strike Casillas and roll in for an own goal.

    Karim Bellarabi scored twice to guide Bayer Leverkusen to a 3-1 win at home over Sporting Lisbon, with the hosts advancing 4-1 on aggregate.
    Bellarabi stayed onside to receive a pass from Javier Hernandez before firing a shot through the legs of keeper Rui Patricio from a tight angle on 30 minutes.
    But Sporting scored eight minutes later when Leverkusen keeper Bernd Leno could only parry Carlos Mane’s shot into the path of Joao Mario, who tapped home.
    However, Bellarabi’s powerful, long-distance second goal effectively put an end to the tie before Hakan Calhanoglu added a third goal late on.

    Sabin Merino’s goal nine minutes from time allowed Athletic Bilbao to advance at the expense of Marseille after a 1-1 draw.
    Michy Batshuayi’s 40th-minute goal erased Athletic’s slim edge from the first leg, but Merino headed a home a cross from Markel Susaeta to help the Spanish side move on 2-1 on aggregate.

    Lazio scored twice in a three-minute span to defeat Galatasaray 3-1 on the night and 4-2 on aggregate.
    After a goalless first period, Marco Parolo put Lazio ahead with an unstoppable header from Lucas Biglia’s corner before Felipe Anderson made it 2-0 by tapping in to an empty net from Alessandro Matri’s cut across.
    The visitors had renewed hope when Yasin Oztekin drew a goal back two minutes later, but Miroslav Klose’s 72nd-minute goal — his first goal of the season — made for a comfortable ending.

    Shakhtar Donetsk displayed a dominating performance to win 3-0 at Schalke.
    Marlos found the tie’s first goal in the 26th minute, and Facundo Ferreyra and Viktor Kovalenko added to the visitor’s advantage after the break as the Bundesliga side failed to respond.

    Valencia completed their rout of Rapid Vienna with a 4-0 win in a second leg that was never in doubt.
    Rodrigo, Sofiane Feghouli, Pablo Piatti and Shkodran Mustafi provided the goals as Gary Neville’s side added to the six-goal laugher in the first leg to win 10-0 on aggregate.

    Villarreal managed a 1-1 draw at Napoli to move on 2-1 on aggregate.
    Marek Hamsik scored for the hosts in the 17th minute to level the tie, but Tomas Pina’s fortunate goal on the hour mark put the Spanish side through.
    Pina sent in a cross from the corner of the 18-yard box that sailed into the opposite corner.

    Basel defeated St Etienne at home 2-1 to advance on away goals with the tie level at 4-4.
    After a fine effort in a 3-2 defeat in the first leg, the Swiss side got a 15th-minute goal from Luca Zuffi.
    That set up a dramatic finish where Moustapha Bayal Sall appeared to have found a winner for the French side in the 89th minute, only for Zuffi to put Basel through with a second goal in stoppage time.

    Frank Acheampong scored twice in extra time as Anderlecht won 2-1 away at Olympiakos to go through 3-1 overall.
    Kostas Fortounis pulled the Greeks level in the tie when he converted a penalty in the 29th minute.
    Acheampong scored from a tight angle to put the Belgians ahead on 103 minutes and the Ghana forward made sure of a place in the last 16 with another neat finish midway through the second period of extra time.

    Norwegian side Molde won their home leg over Sevilla 1-0, but it was not enough as the defending champions advanced 3-1 on aggregate.
    Eirik Hestad scored for Molde before the break while American Ethan Horvath kept a clean sheet.

    Sparta Prague won 3-0 at 10-man Krasnodar to ease through 4-0 on aggregate.
    Goals early in the second half from Lukas Marecek and Martin Frydek had ended the tie as a contest.
    It got worse for the hosts when Charles Kabore received a second yellow card and Kehinde Fatai capped the scoring two minutes later.

    Fenerbahce progressed past Lokomotiv Moscow following a 1-1 draw in the Russian capital.
    Holding a 2-0 advantage from the first leg, Fener fell behind to Aleksandr Samedov’s goal on the stroke of half-time, but Lokomotiv were not able to find a second themselves and Mehmet Topal’s late header gave the visitors a comfortable final few moments.

    On Wednesday, Braga advanced 4-3 on aggregate after securing a 2-2 draw at home with FC Sion.

    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.