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Champions League

Player ratings as Hansen strike sends Barça to third straight UWCL final



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Barcelona have reached a third straight Women’s Champions League final after seeing off Chelsea in a 2-1 aggregate win in the semi-final, with a 1-1 draw in front of 72,000 fans at Camp Nou on Thursday night enough to get the job done.

Caroline Graham Hansen’s goals in either leg proved to be the difference in the tie. Fellow Norwegian Guro Reiten pulled one back for Chelsea that made the second leg competitive until the end, but the better team over 180 minutes probably went through in the end.

Chelsea set up with five at the back, seemingly with the intention of containing a Barcelona side they knew would dominate possession and trying to mount counter attacks when possible.

It wasn’t exactly a rip-roaring first half as a result of the visitors resolutely sticking to their defensive duties, but the best chances did unsurprisingly go the way of Barça.

An early goal from Graham Hansen was ruled out after the Norwegian was seen to have initially controlled the ball with her arm.

Aitana Bonmati was on song and nearly caught out Ann-Katrin Berger with a cross from the right that the Chelsea goalkeeper had to claw away. Bonmati was at the heart of everything good about the hosts and both she and Mariona Caldentey had other chances to break the deadlock. Asisat Oshoala also couldn’t put a good early chance on target.

Chelsea seemed to grow into the game as the first half drew to a close, even getting the ball into a good position in the Barcelona penalty area. But the chance agonisingly went begging when Jessie Fleming couldn’t bring the ball under control in the key moment.

When the second half began, the game followed a similar pattern to the first. Barcelona had control of the ball and made chance – Oshoala was denied by a block after good work from Patri Guijarro and Graham Hansen fired over, while Chelsea were starting to ask more questions.

Barcelona taking the lead on the night was pretty much inevitable and it was fitting that Bonmati made it, driving into the box before laying off to Graham Hansen to her right. The Norwegian’s shot beat Berger and, although Jess Carter got a substantial touch on it on the line, nestled in the corner.

But that didn’t kill the tie as the tens of thousands of home fans would have hoped, given that Reiten almost immediately halved the aggregate lead. Barça appealed for a free-kick when Erin Cuthbert slid in on Caldentey, but Chelsea wasted little time in putting Sam Kerr through. That attempt was smothered by Sandra Panos and Reiten was on hand to smash in the rebound.

Chelsea sensed an opportunity after that and started to be more and more adventurous. Kerr forced a crucial block from Irene Paredes and the game threatened to be quite end to end as the Blues searched for a second goal and Barça looked to exploit the spaces opening up.

Substitute Salma Paralluelo had a chance to kill the tie late on, seeing her low strike expertly turned away by Berger and there were no last ditch heroics from Chelsea like there had been against Lyon in the previous round.

GK: Sandra Panos – 6/10 – Unfortunate that a top save to deny Kerr was turned in by Reiten on the rebound. Not massively busy.

RB: Marta Torrejon (c) – 7/10 – Wouldn’t have started until Lucy Bronze was ruled out but did well.

CB: Irene Paredes – 7/10 – Made a really important block to deny Kerr soon after Chelsea scored.

CB: Mapi Leon – 7/10 – Her composure shone when Chelsea started to build some momentum.

LB: Fridolina Rolfo – 5/10 – Has had far better games than this one.

CM: Aitana Bonmati – 9/10 – At the heart of everything good about Barcelona. Made the goal and countless other opportunities.

CM: Keira Walsh – 7/10 – Her withdrawal after an hour opened up more spaces for Chelsea, highlighting her importance prior to that.

CM: Patri Guijarro – 7/10 – Made things happen when she got forward into the inside left channel.

RW: Caroline Graham Hansen – 8/10 – Gave Chelsea all kinds of problems to deal with and had the ball in the net twice, although only one counted.

ST: Asisat Oshoala – 6/10 – Not able to take the chances that went her way.

LW: Mariona Caldentey – 7/10 – Worked well in tandem with Patri.


SUB: Salma Paralluelo (60′ for Oshoala) – 6/10

SUB: Ingrid Engen (60′ for Walsh) – 6/10

SUB: Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic (73′ for Torrejon) – 6/10

SUB: Geyse (84′ for Bonmati) – 6/10


Jonatan Giraldez – 7/10 – Business as usual.

GK: Ann-Katrin Berger – 7/10 – Made a few saves that kept Chelsea competitive.

RB: Eve Perisset – 7/10 – Engaged in a good battle with Caldentey.

CB: Jess Carter – 6/10 – Made a couple of mistakes but never let it get her down and equally made a few important blocks.

CB: Maren Mjelde – 7/10 – Her return to regular action has been impressive.

CB: Magdalena Eriksson (c) – 7/10 – Decent in the air and used the ball well on the floor.

LB: Niamh Charles – 6/10 – Had her hands full with Graham Hansen.

CM: Jessie Fleming – 6/10 – Lacked quality in the final third more than once but worked hard to get into those positions.

CM: Melanie Leupolz – 8/10 – Worked the opening for Reiten’s equaliser well and did a disciplined job on the defensive side of the ball.

CM: Erin Cuthbert – 8/10 – Won the ball back with a crunching tackle that eventually led to the Chelsea goal. Full of tireless running.

ST: Sam Kerr – 7/10 – Spent a lot of time in the first half very isolated but her increased involvement directly correlated with Chelsea improving.

ST: Guro Reiten – 8/10 – Once again, Chelsea’s most consistent attacking threat. Somewhat surprising to see her withdrawn when she was.


SUB: Pernille Harder (76′ for Fleming) – 6/10

SUB: Lauren James (76′ for Reiten) – 6/10

SUB: Johanna Rytting Kaneryd (81′ for Perisset) – N/A


Emma Hayes – 8/10 – Set up her team to contain Barcelona and attack when possible. It was close to working because the hosts found it harder to close out the tie than they would have expected.

Player of the match – Aitana Bonmati (Barcelona)

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Champions League

When Newcastle last played in the Champions League



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One of football’s greatest obscurities will forever be that the legendary Diego Maradona made as many appearances in Europe’s premier club competition as the, well, less legendary Titus Bramble.

The unheralded defender may not have twice broken the world transfer record or inspired his own religion – although, Titus does feature in the New Testament – but he was a cog in the last Newcastle team to play in the Champions League during the 2002/03 season.

Eddie Howe – along with the eye-watering millions invested by the club’s controversial owners (and Jason Tindall, of course) – has achieved the “dream” of leading Newcastle back to the continental summit for the first time in two decades.

Here’s how the Magpies fared during their last Champions League run.

Xavi Hernandez didn’t make it back out onto the pitch for the second half of Barcelona’s trip to St James’ Park in March 2003. 20 years later, Xavi may lead the Blaugrana out in the north eastern cauldron as manager of the La Liga champions.

Barcelona were fortunate to go into the break with the game still goalless as Craig Bellamy squandered Newcastle’s best chances, coming closest with a shot that Victor Valdes tipped onto the post.

Sir Bobby Robson, in charge of his boyhood club and opposite the Catalan side that ruthlessly moved him out of the dugout after just one season, watched on as Patrick Kluivert and Thiago Motta provided Barcelona with the clinical edge which his Newcastle side lacked. Inter’s victory over Bayer Leverkusen rid Newcastle’s game of any consequence but it was a sour end to what had been a thrilling campaign.

After the first three games of the 2002/03 Champions League group stage, Newcastle had zero points and zero goals. No team had ever qualified for the knockout stages of the competition after three opening defeats and only one (Atalanta in 2019/20) has done it since.

Newcastle began their historic turnaround with a narrow 1-0 win at home to Juventus courtesy of the only Champions League goal of Andy Griffin’s career. Second-half strikes from Gary Speed and Alan Shearer completed a comeback win over Dynamo Kyiv, teeing up a grand crescendo to Group E.

Read the latest Newcastle news here

Heading into the final games of the first group stage in November 2002, all four of Feyenoord, Dynamo, Juventus and Newcastle could still qualify – with only the Italian giants guaranteed.

As Newcastle’s match with Feyenoord ticked into the 90th minute, Dynamo were posed to follow the Turin club into the knockout rounds. However, Bellamy was first to the rebound from Kieran Dyer’s shot, firing the ball from a tight angle with so much venom that it squirmed off the midriff of goalkeeper Patrick Lodewijks and over the line.

The 3-2 victory in Rotterdam was widely billed at the time as a £10m jackpot in reflection of the funds Newcastle would earn by finishing second but Robson summed it up much better. “It was a fluctuating and historical evening.”

Newcastle were drawn against Barcelona, Inter and Bayer Leverkusen in the second round of group-stage matches. The Magpies again began with successive defeats – shipping seven goals across heavy losses to Inter and Barcelona.

Robson’s side did defeat the previous year’s finalists Leverkusen home and away before Alan Shearer twice put Newcastle ahead at San Siro, taking his personal haul to six Champions League goals – the same tally as Real Madrid’s latest Galactico Ronaldo. However, the Nerazzurri equalised each time, taking qualification for the quarter-finals out of Newcastle’s hands.

Bellamy may have been wasteful against Barcelona in Newcastle’s most recent Champions League match but it was his goal that saw the Magpies scrawl their name in the competition’s history with that miraculous group-stage rebirth.

Two decades later, Howe has bought tickets for another ride on the European rollercoaster.





Third qualifying round first leg

Zeljeznicar 0-1 Newcastle


Third qualifying round second leg

Newcastle 4-0 Zeljeznicar


First group stage

Dynamo Kyiv 2-0 Newcastle


First group stage

Newcastle 0-1 Feyenoord


First group stage

Juventus 2-0 Newcastle


First group stage

Newcastle 1-0 Juventus


First group stage

Newcastle 2-1 Dynamo Kyiv


First group stage

Feyenoord 2-3 Newcastle


Second group stage

Newcastle 1-4 Inter


Second group stage

Barcelona 3-1 Newcastle


Second group stage

Bayer Leverkusen 1-3 Newcastle


Second group stage

Newcastle 3-1 Bayer Leverkusen


Second group stage

Inter 2-2 Newcastle


Second group stage

Newcastle 0-2 Barcelona


On this week’s edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders is joined by Toby Cudworth and Graeme Bailey to discuss all the latest transfer news. On the agenda: Declan Rice, Mason Mount, Granit Xhaka, Martin Odegaard, Ivan Toney, Ruben Loftus-Cheek & more!

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

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Champions League

Information for Man City vs Inter fans



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The first competitive meeting between Manchester City and Internazionale will take place in the final of the 2022/23 Champions League.

For Pep Guardiola’s imperious outfit, the European showpiece could be the last leg in a historic triptych of success with the Premier League and FA Cup potentially in their grasp.

Inter have not been to the Champions League final since becoming the only Italian team in history to win the treble in 2010. Simone Inzaghi’s side also have the small matter of a Coppa Italia final to contest before duking it out on the grandest of continental stages.

Here’s everything you need to know about nabbing a ticket for a night to remember.

Read the latest Champions League news here

Olympic Stadium

The Ataturk Olympic Stadium has a capacity of almost 75,000 / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages

The 2022/23 Champions League final will take place on Saturday 10 June at 20:00 (BST). City will contest the FA Cup final against rivals Manchester United one week beforehand while Inter finish the Serie A season away to Torino on Sunday 4 June.

Just as in 2005, the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul will host a Champions League final between teams from England and Italy. Almost two decades ago, the 75,000-seater venue was the setting for arguably the greatest final in the competition’s history as Liverpool infamously overturned a 3-0 half-time deficit before defeating AC Milan in a penalty shootout.

The venue had been scheduled to play host to the 2020 Champions League final before COVID-19 swept across the globe, hitting Turkey particularly hard. That year, the competition was reformatted from the quarter-finals onwards into an eight-team mini-tournament held in Portugal.

Manchester City made the 2021 final which was also set to be held in Istanbul only for another alteration due to COVID-19 restrictions. City lost to Chelsea in Porto’s Estadio do Dragao that summer.

The cheapest available ticket, the first of four categories, for the biggest game in club football this season will set you back £61 – although, the next most reasonable price range is a steep £156. Category Three tickets go for £425 while a spot in the Ataturk this June could cost as much as £599.

Season ticket holders at Manchester City have priority access in the first round of sales. There is guaranteed to be a second opportunity to secure a spot in Istanbul but prices will be considerably heftier than the initial figures.

Category One: £61
Category Two: £156
Category Three: £425
Category Four: £599

Despite the Ataturk boasting a capacity of 74,753, Manchester City and Inter fans have only been allotted 19,926 tickets each. City have averaged 51,000 fans at their Champions League home games this season, with Inter boasting more than 71,000 for the majority of their European clashes at San Siro this term.

Once City and Inter’s allocations have been filled, there will still be 34,901 seats at the Ataturk. After a public ballot on UEFA’s website, 7,500 of those remaining chairs will be warmed by the general public.

Local organisers, UEFA officials, national football associations, commercial partners and broadcasters will take up the remaining 27,401 seats.

Manchester City v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League

Manchester City have scored the most goals (31) and conceded the fewest (five) in the Champions League this season / Anadolu Agency/GettyImages

For the second time in three years, Manchester City will be lining up for a Champions League final. City’s success in this year’s competition has undoubtedly been underpinned by their imperious home form.

In the knockout stages, City put a combined 14 goals past RB Leipzig, Bayern Munich and reigning champions Real Madrid without conceding at the Etihad. However, since defeating Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in September, City have drawn their subsequent five Champions League games away from home.

While City’s caution on the road in Europe may give Inter hope for the final on neutral territory, Guardiola’s side do boast the leading scorer in this year’s competition. Erling Haaland has netted 12 Champions League goals this term, more than four clubs that qualified for the knockout stages of the tournament.

FC Inter vs AC Milan - UEFA Champions League

Inter celebrate a famous Champions League semi-final victory over city rivals AC Milan / Anadolu Agency/GettyImages

Inter were not favourites to even progress beyond the group stage let alone make it all the way to the final. Despite losing home and away to Bayern Munich, Inter took four points off Barcelona to finish above the Catalans and Viktoria Plzen.

Simone Inzaghi has fostered a deserved reputation as a cup specialist and leaned upon his side’s defensive solidity in the knockout stages, steering the Nerazzurri to five clean sheets in six games.

After a narrow 1-0 aggregate victory over Porto in the round of 16, Inter pierced the hype surrounding Roger Schmidt’s Benfica with a decisive 2-0 win in the first leg in Lisbon.

Played to the backdrop of a cacophonous San Siro, Inter defeated arch-rivals Milan in both legs of a semi-final dubbed the Euroderby.


On this edition of 90min’s Definitive European Power Rankings, part of the 90min podcast network, Sean Walsh and Tom Gott discuss the top 10 teams in Europe after a busy week of football.

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

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Champions League

Real Madrid’s financial setback following Champions League exit



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Real Madrid have missed out on a significant financial gain after failing to make the final of the UEFA Champions League.

Manchester City dealt a fatal blow to Real Madrid’s European title defence with a resounding 4-0 victory at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday, securing their spot in the final next month.

The loss will have financial implications for Real Madrid, who would have earned a significant sum of €15.5m had they progressed to the final and faced Inter.

Additionally, winning the tournament would have secured them an additional €4.5m.

Nevertheless, despite missing out on the final, Real Madrid have enjoyed financial success throughout their campaign in the Champions League. Their run to the semi-finals has already earned them just over €60m, which could help them fund a move for Jude Bellingham – 90min understands the Borussia Dortmund midfielder has agreed personal terms with Los Blancos.

In the aftermath of Wednesday’s defeat, there has been considerable speculation surrounding the future of Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti, who has continually been linked to the Brazil job.

Read the latest Real Madrid news here

Despite his team’s inability to retain both La Liga and the Champions League this season, the Italian remains optimistic about continuing in his role for next term.

“It’s been a good season. There are four games to go and we have to give it our best shot. Hopefully we can finish well. Reaching a Champions League semi-final is a success because only four teams can reach it. Losing a sem-final can happen,” he said after the match.

On whether he would stay on as Real Madrid manager, he added: “The club president was quite clear 15 days ago. So nobody has any doubt. What the president tells me privately, I’m not going to say here.”

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