Section: Ligue 1

Champions League: Manaco 0-0 Juventus (agg 0-1)

Treble-chasing Juventus reached a first Champions League semi-final since 2003 as they defended solidly to earn a second-leg goalless draw in Monaco.

The runaway Serie A leaders, who are also in the Italian Cup final against Lazio, led 1-0 after the first leg through Arturo Vidal’s penalty.

The hosts dominated possession for the majority but rarely tested Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.

Home substitute Dimitar Berbatov did have a shot smothered after the break.

The Old Lady have become the first Italian side to reach the semi-final since Inter Milan won the competition back in 2010.

Read more at BBC Sport

Champions League: Barcelona 2-0 PSG (agg 5-1)

Neymar stars as Barcelona ease past PSG into Champions League semifinals

Barcelona reached the Champions League semifinals for the seventh time in eight years after comfortably brushing aside the challenge of Paris Saint-Germain.

Barca did most of the damage in the first leg with a 3-1 win in Paris and they finished the job off with relative ease at the Camp Nou, with two first-half Neymar goals earning a 2-0 win.

Luis Enrique’s in-form side will now go into Friday’s mouthwatering draw for the last four along with Bayern Munich, with one of last season’s two finalists — Atletico and Real Madrid — joining them, as well as either Juventus or Monaco.

The 5-1 aggregate victory also keeps Barca firmly on course for the Treble, having already reached the final of the Copa del Rey and boasting a two-point lead in La Liga with six games to go.

Neymar broke the deadlock in the first leg and it was the Brazilian who got things up and running on Tuesday as well, although it was some Andres Iniesta magic that made it happen.

Iniesta, wearing the captain’s armband, missed the weekend win over Valencia through injury but showed no sign of any ill-effects as he brilliantly beat three players as he charged through the PSG midfield before threading a perfect pass into Neymar’s path.

The Brazilian did the rest, rounding Salvatore Sirigu and slotting into an empty net.

Dani Alves tested Sirigu with a long-range piledriver that the PSG keeper did well to parry, but he was beaten for a second time in the 33rd minute as Barca further strengthened their grip on proceedings.

Alves teased former Barca team-mate Maxwell on the right before floating in a left-footed cross that Neymar, having ghosted in behind David Luiz, easily headed past Sirigu.

The tie was as good as over, although PSG continued to battle and another of their ex-Barca contingent Zlatan Ibrahimovic — who had an effort correctly ruled out for offside in between Neymar’s strikes — almost brought them a goal midway through the second half.

The Sweden international, who missed the first leg due to suspension, ignored the run of an unmarked team-mate to try his luck from 25 yards out and his well-struck effort drew an awkward save out of Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Edinson Cavani and Blaise Matuidi then tried to scramble the ball home with 10 minutes left as the French champions continued to probe, albeit against a Barca side that already knew the job was done.

Substitutes Lucas Moura and Ezequiel Lavezzi both also spurned openings to get on the scoresheet for Laurent Blanc’s men before Lionel Messi fired a shot just wide at the death for Barca, who have now won 23 of their 26 competitive games in 2015.

Read more at ESPN

Champions League: Juventus 1-0 Manaco

Juventus will take a narrow lead to Monaco for their Champions League last-eight second leg after Arturo Vidal’s penalty split the sides in Turin.

Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco wasted a clear opening for the visitors before Carlos Tevez fluffed a volley for Juve.

Vidal, who had blazed over just before the break, then blasted home an emphatic penalty following Ricardo Carvalho’s trip on Alvaro Morata.

Dimitar Berbatov headed just over but Monaco were mostly kept at bay.

Leonardo Jardim, the Principality side’s manager, claimed that the result was a “big injustice” with the decisive spot-kick “inexistent”.

Repeated viewings suggested Carvalho tripped Morata fractionally outside the penalty area, but it would be hard to blame referee Pavel Kralovec on such a marginal call.

Juventus might also have argued that as the last defender, Carvalho was fortunate to see only yellow for the foul.

Monaco had enough chances to return home level, regardless of the official’s decision.

Read more at BBC Sport

Champions League: Monaco 0-2 Arsenal (Monaco win on away goals)

Arsenal beat Monaco but crash out of Champions League on away goals

Arsenal won 2-0 in Monaco in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 clash but couldn’t recover from defeat at the Emirates three weeks ago, going out on away goals after drawing 3-3 on aggregate.

Olivier Giroud put the Gunners in front in the 36th minute but they struggled to create clear-cut openings before Aaron Ramsey doubled their advantage 11 minutes from time.

Arsene Wenger’s side piled on the pressure as the clock ticked down but couldn’t force a third goal which would have taken them through against the odds.

After a slow start, Giroud headed a half-chance wide after 13 minutes. Arsenal were lacking a spark as Monaco, who had not conceded a single goal in their three home Champions League group stage games earlier this season, happily took the tempo out of the match.

Giroud, who had missed several chances in the first leg, grabbed a lifeline for the visitors with a well-taken finish nine minutes before half-time.

Monaco continued to ride their luck as Arsenal pressed, with Mesut Ozil’s free-kick tipped over at the start of the second half.

The game then opened up as Arsenal committed men forwards, and finally reduced the arrears further through substitute Ramsey after 79 minutes.

 

There was, though, to be no miracle of Monte Carlo as Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic denied a late header from Sanchez to end Arsenal’s European dreams at the last-16 stage once again — and leave Arsene Wenger’s men counting the cost of conceding a stoppage-time third goal at the Emirates Stadium.

England forward Danny Welbeck started in support of Sanchez and main striker Giroud, with Theo Walcott again on the bench as manager Wenger named an attacking side on his return to the club he led to the French league championship in 1988.

Despite Arsenal’s positive intentions, they remained vulnerable on the counter-attack, with Joao Moutinho curling an early 20-yard effort over following a quick break by the home side.

Officially only around 1,500 Arsenal fans had made the journey to the French Riviera, but given tickets were put on general sale, there were more than double that around the Stade Louis II.

Arsenal, though, struggled to find any sort of early flow as Monaco slowed the tempo, which suited the game of veteran former Tottenham and Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov.

As the quarter-hour mark approached, Arsenal full-back Hector Bellerin got away down the right and whipped the ball into the six-yard box, from which Giroud glanced just wide.

Arsenal centre-half Laurent Koscielny cannoned the ball up against the crossbar from close range after a deep free-kick into the Monaco penalty area, but the offside flag was raised.

Arsenal continued to look for an opening, but were frustrated by some solid defending from the hosts as the game.

The breakthrough finally came after 36 minutes. After left-back Nacho Monreal had done well to keep the ball in on the far side, Danny Welbeck darted into the penalty area.

The loose ball fell for Giroud, and his shot was saved but cannoned up against his face, with the French striker alert to sweep in the rebound.

Arsenal almost grabbed a quickfire second when Welbeck’s fierce, low shot hit Aymen Abdennour on the inside of his leg as the defender was sprawled on the ground.

Sanchez was shown a yellow card by Norwegian referee Svein Oddvar Moen for tumbling in the penalty area as Nabil Dirar touched him on the back.

In first-half stoppage-time, Welbeck’s low cross from the right flicked up off Giroud’s knee and into the grateful arms of goalkeeper Subasic.

The Croatian was in the right place again at the start of the second half to acrobatically tip over a curling 20-yard free-kick from Ozil.

Although Monaco did not need to score, they still carried a threat on the counter as Arsenal pressed a high line.

Wenger made a positive change after 63 minutes as Ramsey replaced holding midfielder Francis Coquelin.

Ozil flashed a low drive wide as Arsenal again created a good opening which lacked a telling finish.

With 20 minutes left and two goals still needed, Welbeck was replaced by Walcott.

Arsenal’s pressure finally told when Ramsey made it 2-0 with 11 minutes left. Monreal darted into the left side of the Monaco penalty area, before cutting the ball back to Walcott, whose low shot came back off the base of the post.

Layvin Kurzawa should have cleared but stabbed the ball to Ramsey, who cracked it into the bottom left corner to set up a grandstand finale.

Subasic clawed Sanchez’s close-range header off the line, but despite pouring forward during five minutes of stoppage-time, Arsenal were again left to reflect on what might have been.

The Monaco bench celebrated wildly as the principality club reached a first Champions League quarter-final since 2003-04.

Read more at ESPN

Champions League: Chelsea 2-2 PSG (PSG win on away goals)

Chelsea crashed out of the Champions League on a stormy night at Stamford Bridge as Paris St-Germain reached the last eight on away goals after extra time.

PSG came from behind twice to take revenge for last season’s quarter-final exit at the hands of Chelsea – showing great character to play for the last hour of normal time and the added 30 minutes without talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic after he had been sent off for a foul on Oscar.

In an ugly eyesore of a match punctuated by fouls and contentious incidents, Gary Cahill’s late goal looked to be sending Chelsea through until their former defender David Luiz thumped home a header to send this last-16 tie into extra time.

Once more Chelsea went ahead through Eden Hazard’s penalty following Thiago Silva’s handball but PSG’s Brazilian defender made amends perfectly with another superb header six minutes from time to give coach Laurent Blanc’s side the progression they deserved.

While PSG complained about Ibrahimovic’s red card – and the reaction that saw nine Chelsea players crowd referee Bjorn Kuipers – Chelsea suffered injustices of their own as Diego Costa was denied a clear first-half penalty when he was fouled by Edinson Cavani.

As a series of running battles broke out, Costa was fortunate to stay on for a shove on Marquinhos, having been booked earlier for a wild lunge on Silva – the game degenerating into a niggly, fractious affair.

For Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho, who sets such store by the Champions League having won it with Porto and Inter Milan, this will be a devastating blow but he can hardly make a case that his side were unlucky after such a flat performance, even with a numerical advantage.

And now the Premier League, so often boasting its status as the greatest in the world, faces the prospect of a Champions League wipeout at the last-16 stage with both Manchester City and Arsenal also fighting against the odds after home defeats by Barcelona and Monaco.

Ibrahimovic had been on the periphery of a game that had plenty of slick passing without cutting edge – but he was the central figure as he received his red card after 31 minutes.

The giant Swede arrived late in a 50-50 challenge with Oscar, leaving the Brazilian writhing on the ground in agony.

Referee Kuipers produced the red card while surrounded by almost the entire Chelsea team, excluding the stricken Oscar and keeper Thibaut Courtois, who had arrived at the scene en masse.

If PSG were harbouring a sense of injustice, they were fortunate to escape twice in quick succession, first when Luiz appeared to catch Costa with an elbow off the ball and then when the striker was clearly tripped by Cavani in the area, only for penalty appeals to be ignored.

Cavani now carried the responsibility for getting the goal PSG required but he was guilty of a dreadful miss as the hour approached, doing everything right to round Courtois only to strike the near post from an angle with the empty goal beckoning.

It could have proved an expensive miss and PSG’s frustration only increased when they were convinced Costa should have received a similar sanction to Ibrahimovic when he flattened Silva and was fortunate to receive just a yellow card.

Their misery seemed complete when Cahill put Chelsea ahead nine minutes from the end of normal time with a goal that mirrored the game. It was a scrappy affair as PSG failed to clear a corner after keeper Salvatore Sirigu saved from Ramires, and Costa’s sliced attempt on goal fell kindly for Cahill to lash home.

Chelsea’s fans thought this would be enough but reckoned without the spirit of PSG and they took this frenetic tie into extra time as Luiz beat Branislav Ivanovic to a corner to send a thumping header high past Courtois.

PSG’s good work looked to have been undone by that handball by Silva as he contested an aerial challenge with Chelsea substitute Kurt Zouma, resulting in a penalty that was calmly converted by Hazard.

Silva was the man who made amends with a towering header from a corner seconds after he had been denied by a magnificent Courtois stop from a similar effort.

Chelsea wilted visibly and PSG, who are second in Ligue 1, saw out the game without further alarm to spark wild scenes of celebration among their thousands of supporters inside Stamford Bridge.

Read more at BBC Sport

Champions League: Arsenal 1-3 Monaco

Arsenal’s hopes of reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 2010 suffered a stunning blow as they slumped to a shock 3-1 home defeat by Monaco.

The Gunners looked to have been handed a favourable draw but a display that plumbed the depths of incompetence and naivety leaves them facing a last-16 exit once more.

Monaco, resilient at the back and capable of punishing Arsenal’s shoddy defence, took the lead in the first half through Geoffrey Kondogbia’s deflected shot.

To add insult to injury, former Tottenham striker Dimitar Berbatov added the second just after the break. There was even time for Arsenal to cast away the lifeline substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s stoppage-time goal had given them as they were caught hopelessly on the counter once more as Yannick Ferreira Carrasco added a third goal.

As Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim did a Jose Mourinho-style celebration sprint down the touchline, Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger looked crestfallen and no wonder.

This stage has become Arsenal’s perennial stumbling block but Wenger would have had high hopes of clearing the hurdle against his former club, even though they had lost only once in their last 17 games.

But Arsenal were devoid of ideas and when they did create chances they fell to the hapless, and on this night hopeless, Olivier Giroud, who missed every one that came his way.

The eternal optimist Wenger will still believe they can escape from this hazardous position – but they will need to produce something on a different level from this dreadful performance to complete the salvage job.

After a bright opening in which Danny Welbeck threatened and Arsenal had a penalty claim ignored when Wallace appeared to handle, Monaco kept the Gunners at bay in relative comfort.

As Arsenal’s frustration grew, Monaco felt confident enough to move forward with increased ambition and the away goal they would have craved came seven minutes before the break.

Welbeck conceded possession and as Joao Moutinho moved forward he found the impressive Kondogbia, whose 25-yard shot took a decisive deflection off Per Mertesacker to leave keeper David Ospina helpless.

Giroud had been presented with Arsenal’s best opportunities but time and again the striker failed to hit the target. In the first half he scooped Hector Bellerin’s cross over then he turned Alexis Sanchez’s cross wide from six yards.

And how Arsenal paid the price for his profligacy and their own defensive naivety as Monaco doubled their lead after 53 minutes. From their own attack, Mertesacker in particular deserted his defensive post leaving Anthony Martial free to set up the unmarked Berbatov, who steadied himself before thumping a finish high past Ospina.

Giroud’s night got worse when he somehow tapped a simple finish over the top after keeper Danijel Subasic fumbled Sanchez’s shot – and with the fury of Arsenal’s fans ringing in his ears, it was a merciful release when he was replaced by Theo Walcott on the hour.

As Emirates Stadium emptied, Oxlade-Chamberlain, on for Francis Coquelin, curled in a goal that at least offered Arsenal some sort of hope for the second leg.

It was typical of how poor they were, however, that they somehow found themselves caught upfield once more to allow the speedy Ferreira-Carrasco to race clear and beat Ospina for what could be the decisive blow.

Read more at BBC Sport

Champions League: PSG 1-1 Chelsea

Stubborn resistance and a Branislav Ivanovic header earned Chelsea a 1-1 draw in the Champions League last-16 first leg with Paris St Germain at Parc des Princes.

Jose Mourinho’s men are well placed to advance to the quarter-finals after Ivanovic netted a vital away goal, although Edinson Cavani equalised and PSG showed enough for Chelsea to be wary in the second leg on March 11.

Chelsea advanced to the semi-finals at PSG’s expense last term on away goals after losing 3-1 in Paris and Demba Ba’s last-gasp strike in the return in London.

The Blues had won just once in six prior attempts on French soil, at PSG in Mourinho’s first European match as boss in September 2004.

With striker Diego Costa restored following his disputed three-match ban for stamping on Liverpool’s Emre Can and returns for goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, defender Gary Cahill and playmaker Cesc Fabregas, Chelsea were at full strength against an injury-depleted PSG, who started with former Chelsea defender David Luiz in midfield.

Luiz stated on the eve of the match that Chelsea were a better team than last season and they fared better than on their last trip to Paris.

Chelsea’s bus became stuck entering the stadium and Zlatan Ibrahimovic caused the visitors all kinds of difficulties once the match began.

Courtois made three saves from headers in the first half, the pick from Cavani, before Ivanovic’s header against the run of play.

Cavani equalised after losing Cahill to meet Blaise Matuidi’s cross and both the Uruguay striker and Ibrahimovic had chances to double PSG’s lead.

The Swede was denied by Courtois in stoppage time to leave Chelsea in control of the tie heading to Stamford Bridge.

There are three weeks and a day before the return, by which time Chelsea’s confidence may be boosted by silverware, with the Capital One Cup final against Tottenham on March 1.

Read more at ESPN

Europa League: Everton 3-0 Lille

Everton cruise to win over lacklustre Lille to go clear at the top of Group H.

Everton took control of Group H in the Europa League with a 3-0 win over a listless Lille side at Goodison Park.

After a cagey opening to the game, it was Leon Osmanwho opened the scoring with an excellent half-volleyed finish after 27 minutes, which was the perfect way to celebrate his new one-year contract extension.

The goal prompted a spell of Everton domination which culminated in Phil Jagielka’s headed goal from Aiden McGeady’s corner four minutes before half-time.

Lille offered almost nothing in response, with Liverpool-bound Divock Origi unable to make an impression on the game.

It was left to Steven Naismith to kill the game off on the hour-mark, as he smashed Leighton Baines’ cross into the roof of the net to send the Toffees three-points clear at the top of Group H.

Read more on Yahoo Sport

 

Champions League: PSG 3-2 Barcelona

PSG beat Barcelona in five-goal thriller

David Luiz produced a man-of-the-match performance as Paris Saint-Germain beat Barcelona 3-2 at the Parc des Princes to go top of Group F.

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique had picked Jeremy Mathieu to partner Javier Mascherano at the heart of a defence that had not conceded a goal in their previous seven matches this season.

But without the height and reassuring presence of Gerard Pique, they conceded their first goal in 11 hours and 21 minutes of football as Luiz turned Mascherano in the box to score following a Lucas free-kick.

Barcelona hit back within two minutes, a brilliant one-touch team goal finished off by Lionel Messi as the Argentine netted his 68th goal in the Champions League.

The French champions went 3-1 up through goals from Marco Verratti and Blaise Matuidi, and Neymar’s 56th minute strike set up a great final third of the match.

But Barcelona could not break down a PSG defence superbly marshalled by Luiz, as the French champions extended their unbeaten home record in European football to 30 matches.

 Read more on Yahoo Sport