Friday, February 24, 2023

European Results

Manchester United was the only one of five Premier League teams to record a win in this latest round of the European cups. The Red Devils ousted Barcelona from the Europa League Thursday with a 2-1 victory at Old Trafford following a draw between the two sides in last week’s opening leg in Spain. A questionable foul by United’s Bruno Fernandes resulted in a Barca penalty kick converted by Robert Lewandowski to give Barcelona a first half lead. Manchester United attacked with renewed energy in the second half and Fred quickly pulled the Premier League club even in the 47th minute, assisted by Fernandes. Brazilian teammate and second half substitute Antony scored the winner some 25 minutes later to put the Red Devils though to the Round of Sixteen, having ousted one of the tournament favorites. Manchester United will face Real Betis next round while Arsenal has drawn Sporting Lisbon in Friday’s Europa League draw.

Liverpool sprinted to a two-goal lead Tuesday at Anfield versus Real Madrid and then conceded five consecutive goals in a 5-2 Champions League first leg defeat. Elimination in the second leg might be the best option for a Liverpool club which needs to focus on improving its domestic position and qualification for next year’s European competition, Champions League or otherwise. Both Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema had braces as Real Madrid ran roughshod over the exceptionally poor Liverpool defense. Center back Joe Gomez had at least partial culpability in all five of the goals while Virgil van Dijk is just a shadow of his one-time self. An error by goalkeeper Allison led to Real’s tying goal by Vinicius.

Manchester City also took a lead into the second half against RB Leipzig on Wednesday. The Germans earned a 1-1 draw, however, when Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol soared above Manchester City defenders in the 70th minute to head in the equalizing goal. The draw in Leipzig mirrored City’s result at Nottingham Forest last weekend where a dominant first half was wasted by a failure to close out a match. Erling Haaland has been notably silent in recent matches. As is his wont, Manchester City Manager Pep Guardiola had nothing but exclamations of how well his side played despite the disappointing outcome. The failures to deliver a Champions League win by Liverpool and Manchester City followed losses by Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea in their Champions League matches the week before.   


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