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Champions League

Ancelotti explains why Liverpool clash is ‘more complicated’ for Real Madrid

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Carlo Ancelotti has stated that Real Madrid’s second leg clash with Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League is ‘more complicated’ for his side than the Reds.

Real Madrid head into the game with a commanding 5-2 aggregate lead thanks to their win at Anfield a few weeks ago. Braces from Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema, and a goal from defender Eder Militao, earned the win for Ancelotti’s side after they’d initially gone two goals down in the opening 15 minutes of the game.

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Despite Jurgen Klopp stated that he believes Liverpool have a ‘one percent’ of qualifying for the next round, during his pre-match press conference Ancelotti was quick to insist that his side must not be complacent on Wednesday evening.

“Mentally, the game tomorrow is more complicated for us than Liverpool. Liverpool have to come full-on, to get the best they can from the first minute to the last, no matter what happens,” Ancelotti said.

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“The first leg result creates doubts in us in that sense. We will try to be at our best from the first minute, but it is inevitable that we have more doubts than our opponents.

“The message is quite simple: there are no calculations. We have to play the best way we can. Our idea is not to calculate, but to repeat the open match that we had in the first game. We certainly won’t play thinking that we have an advantage in the score.

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“It will be open and we want to play our best attacking football. Liverpool will come here and try to turn the tie around. We don’t only think of defending. No, we think more about attacking.”

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Champions League

Player ratings as Janssen penalty decides even UWCL clash

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Wolfsburg had VAR to thank for their quarter-final first leg victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the Women’s Champions League on Thursday night.

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Dominique Janssen scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot midway through the second half for a handball from PSG defender Elisa de Almeida that wasn’t seen by the officials in real time.

Upon review, English referee Rebecce Welch pointed to the spot and showed De Almeida a yellow card. Having already been avoidably cautioned for dissent in the first half, that mean red for her.

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Janssen calmly converted the penalty, rolling the ball into the bottom corner as eight-time Champions League winning goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi dived the opposite way.

PSG had earlier thought they had a penalty of their own when the impressive Sakina Karchaoui went down under pressure from Wolfsburg defender Marina Hegering. It was initially given as a foul, but when Welch consulted the pitchside monitor she changed her mind.

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Shots on target were few and far between, with Janssen’s penalty one of only three between both sides. Ramona Bachmann had PSG’s best chance, forcing a save from Merle Frohms.

The second leg will take place at Wolfsburg’s Volkswagen Arena next Thursday, where the Germans will have home advantage on top of their aggregate lead.

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GK: Bouhaddi (5); RB: Lawrence (7), CB: De Almeida (4), CB: Geyoro (6), LB: Karchaoui (8); CM: Hamraoui (6), CM: Jean-Francois (6), RM: Baltimore (6); AM: Bachmann (6), LM: Groenen (5); ST: Diani (6)

Subs: Fazer (6), Vangsgaard (6)

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GK: Frohms (7); RB: Hendrich (7), CB: Hegering (7), CB: Janssen (7), LB: Rauch (7); CM: Oberdorf (6), CM: Lattwein (7); RM: Huth (6), AM: Roord (6), LM: Popp (7); ST: Pajor (5)

Subs: Brand (6), Jonsdottir (6), Bremer (N/A)

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Player of the match – Sakina Karchaoui (PSG)



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Champions League

Player ratings as Blues open up slender UWCL aggregate lead

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Chelsea earned a hard fought 1-0 win over Lyon in the first leg of their Women’s Champions League quarter-final at the Groupama Stadium on Wednesday night.

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The Blues will now take that narrow aggregate lead into next week’s second leg at Kingsmeadow, making them slight favourites to reach the last four of the competition.

The ever-impressive Guro Reiten scored the only goal of the game in the first half, curling a delicious first-time shot past Christiane Endler with her weaker right foot after being played in by the returning Erin Cuthbert.

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Lauren James almost scored a stunning second for Chelsea before the interval, running with the ball down the right and unleashing a speculative strike with her left foot that crashed into the far post and bounced clear.

Sam Kerr didn’t see very much of the ball over the course of the 90 minutes but might have thought she could have done better with a good chance early in the second that she missed the target with.

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Lyon saw more of the ball and had more shots in total. But, frustratingly for the home crowd, the eight-time winners and reigning champions lacked the cutting edge quality to breakdown a resilient Chelsea back-line that included Kadeisha Buchanan against her former club.

Delphine Cascarino did hit the post early in the second half and there was a late surge of pressure in the final stages, but the leveller never came.

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The only blot on an otherwise top night for Chelsea was losing Millie Bright to injury in the first half.

GK: Endler (6); RB: Carpenter (7), CB: Gilles (7), CB: Renard (7), LB: Morroni (6); CM: Horan (6), CM: Egurrola (6), CM: Marozsan (6); RW: Cascarino (7), ST: Le Sommer (5), LW: Dabritz (6)

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Subs: Bechel (6), Van de Donk (7), Bacha, (6), Malard (6), Majri (7)

GK: Berger (7); RB: Perisset (7), CB: Buchanan (8), CB: Bright (7), LB: Carter (7); CM: Leupolz (7), CM: Ingle (7); RM: James (8), AM: Cuthbert (8), LM: Reiten (8), ST: Kerr (6)

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Subs: Eriksson (6), Charles (6), Rytting Kaneryd (N/A), Mjelde (N/A)

Player of the match – Kadeisha Buchanan (Chelsea)



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Champions League

Bayern Munich vs Arsenal – UWCL preview: TV channel, live stream, team news & prediction

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Bayern Munich and Arsenal will play the first of this season’s Women’s Champions League quarter-final first legs as the competition reaches the knockout phase.

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The group stage wound up back in December, making it along wait for the last eight to resume their respective quests for European glory.

Bayern are a growing force in Germany and Europe, reaching the semi-finals of this competition in two of the last four seasons. Arsenal, meanwhile, are only featuring in the Champions League at all for the third time since 2014 but, like Bayern, reached the quarters last season.

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Arsenal topped their group earlier in the season, largely thanks to a surprise 5-1 thrashing of reigning champions Lyon. Bayern also enjoyed a strong group stage, inflicting Barcelona’s only defeat in any competition since last season’s final, but finishing second on goal difference.

Former Manchester City midfielder Georgia Stanway is a very familar face for Arsenal fans but has said she has grown and developed even more than she would have expected since moving to Bayern for a new challenge last summer.

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Linda Dallmann has recently been ruled out for the rest of the season following an ankle injury suffered earlier this month. Fellow Germany international Giulia Gwinn is out with an ACL tear, but Carolin Simon is back in the squad.

Arsenal did not add veteran Jodie Taylor to their Champions League squad when she returned to the club last week – the deadline for squad additions had already passed.

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Stina Blackstenius could return to the starting XI after illness in the build up to the last game against Reading just over a week ago limited her to a 30-minute cameo. Frida Maanum, Arsenal’s hero against Lyon, is likely to be back in midfield, with Leah Williamson returning to defence.

The double loss of Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema will still be felt massively. Losing versatile defender Steph Catley in recent weeks has also been a blow.

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Bayern have won 12 consecutive games in all competitions coming into this one, a run which includes victories over Barcelona and domestic rivals Wolfsburg.

Arsenal have themselves come into decent form after a poor start to 2023, putting together successive wins over Chelsea, to win the Conti Cup, Liverpool and Reading.

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But in Munich and Arsenal missing their two most potent goal threats, the advantage here – and perhaps for the whole tie – has to lie with Bayern. There is also the not so small matter of returning to the Allianz Arena for the first time since beating Barcelona, which will evoke fond memories.

Prediction: Bayern Munich 3-1 Arsenal



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