Tag Archives: champions

Al Ahly win African Champions League

Egyptian side Al Ahly sealed a record-extending 10th African Champions League title when they beat 10-man Kaizer Chiefs of South Africa 3-0 in Saturday’s final.

The Cairo club have now won double the number of Champions League titles than the next most successful club – their neighbours Zamalek.

Mohamed Sherif opened the scoring eight minutes into the second half, and that was followed by goals for Magdi Afsha and Amr El-Sulaya in a dominant display at an empty Mohamed V Stadium in Casablanca.

Chiefs, appearing in their first Champions League final, had to play the entire second half with 10 men after Happy Mashiane was sent off on the stroke of half-time for a studs-up challenge.

It effectively killed off any chance for the South Africans, who had played the game on the back foot – managing only one shot on target – as they looked to catch Al Ahly on the counter-attack.

Sherif broke the deadlock after a clever run between the Chiefs’ defence to collect a pass from Akram Tawfik and finish from a tight angle.

Afsha doubled the lead 11 minutes later with a curling shot from the edge of the box before Sherif turned provider with a clever backheel to set up El-Sulaya in the 74th minute.

It sealed a third Champions League title for Ahly’s South African coach Pitso Mosimane.

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This post originally posted here SkySports | News

Italy crowned European champions as England crash on penalties

Italy 1 — England 1 (after extra time)
Italy win 3-2 on penalties

England crash on penaltiesItaly deserved it, even if the win came on penalties, the monkey on England’s back for decades now.

Playing away from home in the Euro 2020 final, the Azzurri outpassed England, conceded just one shot on target (Luke Shaw’s goal), and are now unbeaten in 34 matches, the longest such streak in their history.

This team is greater than the sum of its parts, but it contains several remarkable individuals: Juventus’s ancient central defending duo of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, the twin midfield playmakers Jorginho and Marco Verratti and goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, apparently complete at 22 and named player of the tournament.

Gareth Southgate’s England were outclassed but highly organised as ever, did well to hold a better side for two hours of play, and can congratulate themselves on their best performance in a tournament since 1966.

England’s captain Harry Kane told the BBC: “We should be extremely proud as a group of what we have achieved,” adding, “We progressed well from Russia and now is about continuing that.”

Southgate said that the players: “have been an absolute joy to work with and they have gone further than we’ve gone for so long. But, of course, tonight it is incredibly painful in that dressing room. You have to feel that disappointment because the opportunities to win trophies like this are so rare in your life.”

This game followed the script of most of England’s big games of recent decades: take an early lead, then spend the rest of the game defending with their backs to the wall, finally succumb, and lose on penalties.

On two minutes they counter-attacked down the right and found Kieran Trippier, who had come into the team for this match in the place of winger Bukayo Saka. A Beckham-esque striker of the ball, Trippier lobbed a precise cross to his fellow full-back, unmarked at the far post. Shaw crowned an excellent tournament by smashing in an instant half-volley.

Italy’s Andrea Belotti lifts the trophy after the final of Euro 2020 © AP

Wembley had been waiting for this moment for 55 years. The stadium was heaving, but dangerously so. It looked a lot fuller than the official capacity of 60,000. People without tickets had breached security, and in some stands every seat looked occupied, and then some: many were standing. Others arrived before extra time, and by the end some gangways were dangerously packed, with few interventions from stewards.

At first, Shaw’s goal seemed to have set up the game England wanted: sit back, rely on their tight defence that had conceded just once before in this tournament, let Italy come at their massed ranks, then hope to counter through the pacy Raheem Sterling.

Their central defensive trio of Harry Maguire, John Stones and Kyle Walker as ever made hardly any mistakes. Keeper Jordan Pickford had recovered his nerves after losing them in the semi-final against Denmark.

Southgate always has a plan, and by and large his players stick to it. When England had the ball, they tried to bypass central midfield, Italy’s strongest spot, where the Azzurri had both a numerical advantage and the Jorginho-Verratti engine room.

England aimed to play from the back straight to Shaw and Trippier on the flanks or hit deep passes to the head of Kane. But Kane and especially Sterling scarcely got into the game, neutralised by Bonucci (deservedly named “star of the match”) and Chiellini.

England are not an aggressive pressing side, and fielding three centre-backs meant surrendering midfield.

From late in the first half, Italy’s passing moves forced the English to defend around their own penalty area, the zone where one slip can mean disaster.

Italy were the more skilled side on the ball — 90 per cent of their passes were accurate, versus just 78 per cent of England’s — but they also trusted themselves to pass more. If you give a team as good as Italy almost nonstop possession, and licence to advance almost unhindered to within 20 yards of your goal, they are likely to take advantage at some point.

It took until the 61st minute for the Azzurri to force Pickford into a decisive save, diving to his left to stop Federico Chiesa’s low shot. But the goal came six minutes later, the logical consequence of ever-deeper Italian territorial penetration. The scorer, improbably, was 34-year-old Bonucci. An Italian corner prompted a scramble in the penalty area. Pickford pushed Verratti’s header against the post, but the Juventus grandee tapped in the rebound.

Southgate should have intervened to change England’s tactics earlier, but did so only after the damage was done, sending on Saka for Trippier and going from a five-man to a four-man defence.

From then on, England did manage to keep the ball more often and further from their own danger area.

In extra time Italy’s menace diminished, with their chief creator Verratti and Chiesa having gone off injured. Southgate had sent on the wild-card young dribbler, Jack Grealish, and he danced around Italian defenders, serenaded by Wembley as “Super, Super Jack”.

Still, the stats told the story of who had dominated the 120 minutes of play: Italy had 62 per cent possession, completed 755 passes to England’s 341, and had six shots on target to England’s one. It’s a tribute to England’s defensive organisation that they managed to take this game to penalties.

Southgate’s England will have felt more confident about the shootout than any other recent national side. They had broken the country’s ancient penalty jinx by beating Colombia in the shootout at the World Cup in 2018, and few sides practice penalties more or perform more exhaustive data analysis of them.

Just before the end of extra time, Southgate had sent on Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho specifically for their prowess at penalty-taking.

It was brave of them to line up. In the event, they were the first England players to miss, after Kane and Maguire had hit unstoppable kicks. Perhaps it’s too much to ask of young men to come into a game of such importance cold, and then almost immediately take the weightiest spot-kicks in English football history.

When Donnarumma saved from Saka, it was all over.

Italy hadn’t even qualified for the last World Cup, a low in their modern footballing history. This triumph crowned their thrilling reinvention as an attacking passing side under manager Roberto Mancini. Their 13 goals at Euro 2020 were the most the Azzurri have scored in a major tournament.

Italy will travel with confidence to the World Cup in Qatar next year. But England — still a relatively young side with potential to grow — have an outside shot, too.

Euro 2020: Italy crowned European champions, again

Italy seal second Euro triumph after beating England 3-2 in the final on penalties.

Italy won the European Championship for the first time since 1968 as goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma saved two England penalties en route to a 3-2 shoot-out win.

Both sides had fought out a 1-1 extra-time draw at a raucous Wembley on Sunday.

The giant keeper saved from Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka after Marcus Rashford hit the post, as Federico Bernardeschi, Leonardo Bonucci and Domenico Berardi all scored for the Italians.

Luke Shaw had given England a dream start with a superb goal after two minutes but Italy, who offered almost nothing in response in the first half, gradually took command as the hosts sat back and leveled through Bonucci after 67 minutes.

It was the first final to be decided on penalties since Czechoslovakia beat West Germany in 1976 and will be wildly celebrated in Italy after they lost in the final in 2000 and 2012.

They made most of the running after halftime and in extra time and England can have few complaints after their early promise faded away.

It was nevertheless heartbreaking for most of the 67,000 Wembley crowd as England came up short in their first major final since they won the World Cup 55 years ago.

It had all started so well when Harry Kane spread the ball wide to Kieran Trippier and he instantly repaid coach Gareth Southgate’s faith in recalling him by sending over a curling deep cross that the fast-arriving Shaw met on the half volley to hammer inside the post for his first international goal.

England’s Luke Shaw celebrates scoring their first goal [Frank Augstein/Reuters]

England had taken an early lead in their 2018 World Cup semi-final against Croatia before eventually being outplayed and beaten in extra time, but they did not look like giving up the initiative on home soil, playing on the front foot, though failing to threaten Donnarumma.

England keeper Jordan Pickford was similarly untroubled as Federico Chiesa’s crisp shot went just wide and Ciro Immobile’s blocked effort were all Italy had to show for a disjointed half.

Pickford was called into action after 57 minutes, blocking a Lorenzo Insigne shot and then getting down to palm away from Chiesa as Italy began to apply pressure, pinning England back.

It paid dividends when Bonucci pounced from close range after Pickford had turned Andrea Belotti’s header onto a post.

It was a similar story in the first additional 15 minutes, though England did briefly force their way back into the game in the second period, albeit without either side creating anything to reward the crowd for their waves of noise.

So it went to penalties, where England’s young guns failed and Italy took the glory.

England remains without a major trophy since 1966.

Italy supporters cheer during the final [Facundo Arrozabalaga/AFP]

England lose dramatic Euro 2020 penalty shootout as Italy crowned champions

SOME things it seems even Gareth Southgate cannot change. Another brave England performance, another agonising night for the nation. The players were younger, less experienced but a much more relatable bunch than their predecessors, but still that was not enough. Jordan Pickford looked like being the hero, saving from Andrea Belotti and Jorginho to keep England in it after Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho missed.

But Bukayo Saka – the embodiment of Southgate’s young England, saw his final kick saved and that was it.

Still that major crown remains determinedly elusive and it is Italy who can lay claim to being kings of Europe as they paraded the trophy in front of their delighted fans.

In 1966, the young Queen was here in person to hand out the football honours.

This time she sent the future of the Royal Family in the shape of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George… and a message.

“I send my good wishes with the hope that history will record not only your success but also the spirit, commitment and pride with which you have conducted yourselves,” she wrote in a letter of Gareth Southgate.

No scoreline alone – whether it is positive or negative – is ever going to reflect that, but safe to say, Your Majesty, it is a night that always should certainly be remembered for all those qualities.

From the opening ceremony, it was a night that – when the emotional roller-coaster, which must eventually grind to a halt at some point during today’s national hangover – should have filled everybody with patriotic hope.

The chimes of Big Ben. The Red Arrows, the Coldstream Guards and now the England football team.

After all, it took them just two minutes to showcase their very best qualities.

World class skipper Harry Kane saw the opportunity and spread the ball wide to Kieran Trippier whose pin-point cross was met by his opposite wing-back Shaw on the half-volley, right on the laces and the ball scraped the post at it flew straight in.

Roberto Carlos could not have finished it better.

Wembley went wild, up and down the country beers were thrown and in the Royal Box David Beckham and Tom Cruise performed an unexpected fist bump.

Such A-list celebrity is the England of old, though – a throwback to those more lacklustre exits of the Sven-Goran Eriksson era.

Southgate has put together more of a young ensemble cast, and for as long as they could they put on a very believable portrayal of a team who were in command of the game.

Shape was maintained, balls were chased down and every time Italy tried to play an intricate pass around the edge of the England area, a white figure ghosted into position to intercept.

However, this was the first time in over two years that Italy had even been behind and it was clear that they did not like it.

Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Chiesa were inevitably England’s chief tormentors – the latter beating Shaw in the 35th minute and firing just wide.

Ciro Immobile finally got involved, too, just before the break, firing a sharp shot at John Stones he knew very little about.

Clearly this was going to be a big half for England – the biggest for half a century.

Raheem Sterling fell in the box in the opening minutes but after the fuss made about the Denmark penalty was never going to get an award.

Pickford was properly tested by Chiesa for the first time in the 62nd minute as Italy continued to crank up the pressure.

Increasingly it was beginning to look like England were going to need to score again and Stones did come close with a header from a corner.

Then Italy finally broke England’s resolve from a corner of their own.

Pickford pushed Verratti’s header onto the post, but Leonardo Bonuccio was in the perfect place to bundle the rebound in.

Now what was this England team really made of?

The excellent Declan Rice was replaced by Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson and Bukayo Saka was thrown into the fray.

Old head; young legs.

The inevitable extra time was always going to be a test of both.

What England really needed was the ball, and Italy were not giving it to them much any more. Perhaps Jack Grealish could rectify that?

England were hanging on with some brave goalkeeping from Pickford but not even the Aston Villa maestro could save us from another shootout.

Trump DOJ Obtained Data on Schiff and Swalwell

The Trump Justice Department in 2017 and early 2018 issued subpoenas to Apple to obtain the communications records of at least two Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee, Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA). According to The New York Times, DOJ prosecutors attempting to determine who leaked classified information to the media about Russiagate suspected the two House Democrats were the culprits, and to prove that, they obtained their communications records as well as those of family members, including minor children.

A DOJ leak investigation aimed at sitting members of Congress is highly unusual. Both the Obama and Trump administrations, in a hunt for leakers, created controversy by obtaining the communications records of journalists, including — in the case of the Obama DOJ — the family members of those journalists. But investigating members of the House Intelligence Committee for leaking crimes — as opposed to corruption or other standard criminal charges — can present different dangers. Neither Congressman was charged with any crimes and the investigation reportedly bore no fruit.

The two House Democrats, among the most fanatical disseminators of baseless Russiagate conspiracies and long known to serve as anonymous sources of leaks to liberal media outlets, reacted with predictable outrage. “This baseless investigation, while now closed, is yet another example of Trump’s corrupt weaponization of justice,” Schiff intoned on Thursday night. As difficult as it is, Swalwell, as he often does, found a way to be even more melodramatic than Schiff: “Like many of the world’s most despicable dictators, former President Trump showed an utter disdain for our democracy and the rule of law.”

Investigating possible crimes — such as leaking classified information — is the job of the Justice Department. To accomplish that, FBI agents and prosecutors often obtain personal communications records about their suspects. But invading the communications records of journalists, as both the Obama and Trump DOJ did, can create serious threats to press freedom and the possibility of abuse and retaliation. The same is true for invading the communications records of members of the legislative branch, particularly ones hostile to the president. An investigation is certainly warranted to determine the propriety of these subpoenas.

But like so many politicians before them, Schiff and Swalwell have zero credibility to object to this targeting. When it comes to ordinary Americans, both have been long-time champions of expanding domestic spying powers and blocking efforts at reform designed to curb abuses of the type they claim took place here.

From the start of the Trump administration, Schiff and Swalwell were among the lawmakers most shrilly depicting Trump as some sort of Nazi-like figure bent on fascistic control of the United States. Yet their actions were sharply at odds with that cable-friendly rhetoric, as they repeatedly voted to preserve and expand the military budget, war powers and spying authorities of the New Hitler.

Perhaps the most relevant example was a 2018 amendment introduced by then-Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), the long-time privacy advocate who had repeatedly sought to rein in the U.S. Government’s domestic spying powers and impose safeguards as a way to curb abuses. Amash’s amendment was part of a bill to reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which allows the NSA to spy on the communications of American citizens without a warrant as long as it can claim that their target is a foreign nation and that they only “incidentally” listened in on the calls or read the emails of citizens.

That 2008 law was enacted with bipartisan support to retroactively legalize the clearly illegal Bush/Cheney program of warrantless domestic surveillance. That law also authorizes the FBI to search NSA-collected communications of Americans without a warrant for use in its criminal investigations.

Amash’s 2018 amendment was designed to prevent those abuses and rein in the power of the Executive Branch to spy on Americans. Its key provision was that it “required federal law enforcement agents [including those with the DOJ/FBI] to get a warrant before searching NSA data for information on Americans.”

It appeared that Amash had secured enough GOP votes to ensure passage of his reform bill. Fifty-seven House Republicans — part of the anti-spying wing of that party — announced their intention to support Amash’s bill. Had the 193-member House Democratic caucus delivered its votes for Amash’s amendment, it would have passed, and the U.S. Government’s spying powers could have finally been reined in, with meaningful safeguards imposed.

Instead, then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced her opposition to Amash’s amendment. She then convinced just enough of her caucus — fifty-five members — to join with the GOP majority to defeat Amash’s bill. Among those who joined with Pelosi and the pro-spying wing of the GOP led by then-House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) were Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell. In other words, while they were basking in the adoration of MSNBC and CNN hosts for calling Trump a dictator, they were joining with Pelosi and the GOP Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, to ensure that no limits were imposed on Trump’s powers of domestic spying.

Had Schiff and Swalwell been concerned at all with the privacy rights of ordinary citizens, they would have joined with the majority of Democrats in supporting Amash’s bill. They sided with the U.S. security state (and the Trump White House) against the rights of ordinary Americans. When reporting on this repellent act, I wrote under the headline: “The Same Democrats Who Denounce Donald Trump as a Lawless, Treasonous Authoritarian Just Voted to Give Him Vast Warrantless Spying Powers.”

So stunningly craven was this vote from Pelosi, Schiff and Swalwell that they were denounced even by the ACLU, which, during the Trump years, rarely criticized Democrats. Though not calling them out by name, the group clearly referred to them and others when expressing indignation about how the same Democrats who claimed to find Trump so dangerous just ensured the defeat of a bill that would have limited his powers, along with those of future Presidents, to abuse the government’s spying powers against U.S. citizens.

The privacy group Electronic Frontiers Foundation described the bill that ultimately passed this way: “the House just approved the disastrous NSA surveillance extension bill that will allow for continued, unconstitutional surveillance that hurts the American people and violates our Fourth Amendment rights.” Meanwhile, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) praised the Republicans who voted to rein in spying powers even under Trump — an effort that would have succeeded if not for the pro-surveillance treachery of Pelosi, Schiff and Swalwell — and pointedly asked:

Thus do we have Schiff and Swalwell joining the ranks of a shameful club: politicians — usually California Democrats — who cheer for and empower the spying state when they think it will be used only against ordinary Americans, but not important and upstanding figures such as themselves. They then become indignant when they learn that they themselves were targeted with the spying powers they enabled.

In 2009, another long-time pro-surveillance California House Democrat, Rep. Jane Harman, learned that her private communications with an Israeli government agent had been intercepted by NSA wiretaps as she was plotting to pressure the DOJ to reduce the criminal charges against two AIPAC officials. She was absolutely furious to learn of this, telling MSNBC‘s Andrea Mitchell:

 I call it an abuse of power…. I’m just very disappointed that my country — I’m an American citizen just like you are — could have permitted what I think is a gross abuse of power in recent years.  I’m one member of Congress who may be caught up in it, and I have a bully pulpit and I can fight back.  I’m thinking about others who have no bully pulpit, who may not be aware, as I was not, that someone is listening in on their conversations, and they’re innocent Americans.

What Harman forgot to mention during her angry rant was that she had spent years — as the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee and Homeland Security subcommittee — doing everything possible to defend, justify and expand the powers of the U.S. security state to spy on ordinary Americans. Like Schiff and Swalwell, she was delighted to see ordinary serfs spied on by their own government, and discovered her passion for privacy rights only when it was her conversations that were monitored.

Exactly the same thing happened with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, yet another California Democrat who has long been one of the most stalwart defenders of the NSA and CIA. Feinstein, whose oligarchical husband made tens of millions as a military contractor, spent years as one of the security state’s most loyal allies. She has been at the center of virtually every increase in NSA spying powers over the last several decades. Even in the wake of the Snowden reporting, she was fighting to preserve and even increase NSA domestic spying powers, vowing to block any reform efforts.

Yet in 2014, Feinstein learned that the CIA under then-Director John Brennen was spying on her and her Committee as it investigated the CIA’s interrogation programs. And, like Harman before her and Schiff and Swalwell now, she was furious about it, demanding an investigation and warning: “this is plainly an attempt to intimidate these staff and I am not taking it lightly.” As Snowden himself put it at the time after expressing concerns over the Brennan-led CIA’s spying on the Senate:

It’s equally if not more concerning that we’re seeing another “Merkel Effect,” where an elected official does not care at all that the rights of millions of ordinary citizens are violated by our spies, but suddenly it’s a scandal when a politician finds out the same thing happens to them.

And, needless to say, Feinstein, Schiff and Harman were all leading voices in maligning and demanding the prosecution of Snowden for blowing the whistle on the domestic spying abuses they supported against ordinary Americans. These political elites view revelations of illegal spying on ordinary Americans as a crime, but revelations of spying on themselves as a noble journalistic act that require immediate investigations and mass outrage.

There are few attributes more contemptible in a politician than placing themselves above the citizenry they are supposed to be serving, believing that they themselves should be immune and protected from the burdens they impose on ordinary Americans. That this DOJ investigation of Schiff and Swalwell was baseless or abusive may turn out to be correct: time will tell.

But few people have less credibility to express indignation over such spying abuses than these two House members. After playing such a vital role in ensuring that ordinary citizens are vulnerable to these vast and unrestrained surveillance systems, they now want everyone to denounce those same powers since they are the purported victims this time rather than the perpetrators.

Update, June 11, 2021, 12:12 p.m. ET: I neglected to include one of the most relevant examples. In 2019, Schiff, as part of his investigation into Trump’s involvement in Ukraine, subpoenaed the telephone records of various Trump allies and then publicly released them, in the process revealing communications activities of fellow members of Congress and journalists:

Fanatics can justify any action, and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff this week demonstrated where that mindset leads. In his rush to paint Donald Trump as a lawbreaker, Mr. Schiff has himself trampled law and responsibility.

That’s the bottom line in Mr. Schiff’s stunning decision to subpoena the phone records of Rudy Giuliani and others. Mr. Schiff divulged the phone logs this week in his Ukraine report, thereby revealing details about the communications of Trump attorneys Jay Sekulow and Mr. Giuliani, ranking Intelligence Committee member Devin Nunes, reporter John Solomon and others. The media is treating this as a victory, when it is a disgraceful breach of ethical and legal propriety.

Check to see how many people expressing indignation today over the Trump DOJ’s acquisition of these records on Schiff and Swalwell expressed even a whiff of concern about that, and there you will see the difference between genuine defenders of privacy and those (like Schiff and Swalwell) who feign indignation only when they themselves are targeted.

Author: Glenn Greenwald
This post originally appeared on Glenn Greenwald

Kai Havertz's x-rated Champions League message proves he's arrived as a Chelsea star

“Not only that, he ran like crazy, that’s the teamwork, that’s why he deserves this.”

Havertz was initially speechless, before thanking everyone close to him for supporting him in his career.

“I don’t know what to say, I really don’t know what to say. We deserved it, now we celebrate,” he said.

“I waited a long time, I just want to thank my family, my parents, my brother, my sister, my grandmother, my girlfriend. I don’t know what to say!”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Chelsea may be about to get even better after Manchester City Champions League win

Haaland recently insisted he would ‘respect’ his Dortmund contract, but didn’t entirely rule out a move.

“Well I have a contract for a couple of years, so I am respectful towards my contract,” he told Viaplay.

“I am a simple guy. When I like something I just want to have more – when I score a goal, I always chase the next goal.”

Chelsea, as Champions League winners, now have a new ace up their sleeve when it comes to potential negotiations with the striker.

And he isn’t the only player in their sights, either.

Romelu Lukaku has been left gutted by Conte’s departure from Inter Milan, with the duo striking up a strong bond during their two years together at the San Siro.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Kevin De Bruyne in tears after suffering black eye injury during Champions League final

Kevin De Bruyne struggled to hold back the tears after being forced off in the second half of the Champions League final. The Belgian suffered an immediate black eye after being knocked off his feet by Antonio Rudiger in an unfortunate coming together between the two players.
De Bruyne had endured a difficult evening after struggling to find his rhythm against Chelsea’s dogged midfield.

And with City pressing hard for an equaliser, you just wondered whether this was going to be their night after De Bruyne hit the deck.

As he tried to make a run off the ball, Rudiger stopped him in his tracks.

In doing so, both players fell to the deck in what looked a nasty collision in real-time.

JUST IN: Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich spotted celebrating Kai Havertz goal with Andriy Shevchenko

De Bruyne did not appear to react well to treatment and remained on his back as he received attention from City’s medical staff.

BT Sport commentator Darren Fletcher feared the playmaker may have suffered a neck injury.

But those fears are eventually eased when De Bruyne rose to his feet, albeit gingerly.

The damage to De Bruyne’s eye was immediate as the bruising and swelling ballooned.

Gabriel Jesus was then summoned to replace him as he left in tears.

De Bruyne was then checked over by UEFA’s medical staff and was clearly devastated that his night ended early.

Five minutes later, he was spotted seated on the bench applying ice to the injury as he nervously watched on from the sidelines.

As Chelsea made a substitute on 80 minutes, De Bruyne was then pictured limping down the tunnel under the assistance of the City medical staff.

It appeared he was off for further medical checks as Belgium fans and Roberto Martinez sweat on the fitness of their star man.

The scenes were reminiscent of the 2018 Champions League final, when Mohamed Salah’s night ended in Kiev for Liverpool.

Salah fell awkwardly in a tussle with Sergio Ramos before suffering a shoulder injury.

He would later be declared fit for the World Cup despite missing the first match for his country in Russia.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel explains joy that Champions League superstition came true

“For Kai, I was so happy,” Tuchel said. “It would have been nice in the moment to have gone 2-0 up though!

“It’s so hard to defend, there was deflected shots, throw ins, long balls but we got out the other side.

“It was very intense on the sideline, very fast. It was a tough match to step in, step out constantly and not lose your shape.”

Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount added: “I can’t put it into words. It’s impossible. I just mentioned then that I’ve played in two finals for Chelsea and we lost them both. The way that hurt… It’s all I’ve dreamt winning a trophy with Chelsea. To go all the way in the Champions League.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Chelsea v Man City Champions League winners REVEALED in FIFA 21

Chelsea and Manchester City are about to go head-to-head in the Champions League final.

The all-English Champions League final kicks off at 8pm BST on the evening of May 29.

As an added bonus, the game will be shown in full on the BT Sports YouTube channel. You can check it out at this link.

In the run up to the big game, FIFA fans have been having fun predicting the result using the latest release.

In a new video by Beatdown Gaming x Veloce, the YouTuber pits Chelsea against Manchester City in a bid to see who will emerge victorious. 

“Check out this brand new next-gen FIFA 21 gameplay of the 2021 UEFA Champions League final, recorded in 60fps on PS5 by Beatdown Gaming with the AI difficulty set to Legendary,” reads the video prediction.

“In this full match prediction Manchester City take on Chelsea at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium!”

Interestingly, the same channel (using the same settings) successfully predicted the outcome of the FA Cup Final, where Leicester edged out Chelsea 1-0.

You can watch the Champions League Final simulation below.

As you can see from the video above, Manchester City are predicted to come out on top.

The video shows Manchester City going ahead after 20 minutes through a Kevin de Bruyne goal.

Chelsea are tipped to equalise around 15 minutes later, leading to a 1-1 scoreline for halftime.

Unfortunately for Thomas Tuchel’s side, Man City are predicted to score two goals in the closing stages, resulting in a 3-1 victory for the team from Manchester.

With Manchester City favourites to win in real life, this seems like a fairly plausible scoreline.

The actual game will be played in front of around 16,500 fans in Portugal’s Estadio do Dragao.

Chelsea have appeared in two Champions League finals, losing to Manchester United on penalties in 2008, before beating Bayern Munich on penalties to win the competition in 2012.

Tonight marks the first time Manchester City have appeared in the Champions League final, having been knocked out in the quarter finals for the past three seasons.

Pep Guardiola’s side are favourite to win this year’s competition, especially after comfortably winning the Premier League.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Entertainment Feed