Tag: Basel

Champions League: ManCity v Barcelona, PSG v Chelsea, Arsenal v Monaco

Man City draw Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League for the second year in a row with Chelsea to face PSG and Arsenal get Monaco.

Arsenal will take on Monaco, while defending champions Real Madrid face Schalke with Bayern Munich drawn to play Shakhtar Donetsk.

Champions League last-16 draw

Paris St-Germain v Chelsea
Manchester City v Barcelona
Paris St-Germain v Atletico Madrid
Juventus v Borussia Dortmund
Schalke v Real Madrid
Shakhtar Donetsk v Bayern Munich
Arsenal v Monaco
Basel v Porto

The first legs of the last 16 ties will take place on February 17/18 and 24/25, with the return matches on March 10/11 and 17/18.

Chelsea, as a seeded group winner, will be away in the first leg with Arsenal and City at home, having finished as runners-up in their respective groups.

Arsene Wenger had admitted before this morning’s draw in Nyon, Switzerland, that he was hoping to face Monaco, whom Arsenal have never played before and where Wenger was in charge between 1987 and 1994, winning the Ligue 1 title and the Coupe de France.

“I don’t think many people want Real Madrid,” he said. “I don’t want Bayern Munich and I am sure they don’t want us as well. I am not against Monaco.

“I have great memories from my time there. They gave me a chance when I was a very young manager. When I arrived they had never passed the first round in the European Cup; we had good times.

Read more at ESPN

Champions League: Liverpool 1-1 Basel

Liverpool out of Champions League after 10-man Reds fail to beat Basel

Ten-man Liverpool were masters of their own downfall as they exited the Champions League after coming up short in their must-win encounter at home to Basel.

Steven Gerrard, 10 years and one day exactly since he rammed home that famous goal against Olympiacos which set them on the path to their fifth European Cup, did his best to change their fate — again — with a late free-kick but he needed others to contribute more and they failed.

Trailing to Fabian Frei’s 25th-minute goal, the hosts had Lazar Markovic sent off 16 minutes after coming on at half-time for an flick of the arm. And although a late trademark set-piece goal from the captain raised hopes, they had left themselves too much to do and a 1-1 draw saw them knocked out.

The omens were not good from the off after Liverpool were denied the calming influence of Kolo Toure, itself an indicator of their defensive frailties, because of a groin injury.

Dejan Lovren came in for his first start in five matches but it was centre-back partner Martin Skrtel who seemed to suffer most as his slip let in Shkelzen Gashi who drilled high into the Kop.

The troublesome Basel winger also had the ball in the net just before half-time but his strike was ruled out for offside.

Marco Streller, who scored the goal in Switzerland which partly accounted for the Reds being in this mess, had a shot blocked by Glen Johnson six yards out and also turned an awkward volley wide.

But it was Frei’s strike from 20 yards, after a one-two with Luca Zuffi, which whistled past goalkeeper Simon Mignolet who could only stand and watch midway through the first half.

By contrast Liverpool’s attacking was sporadic and disjointed even with Gerrard restored to his attacking role behind the central striker.

 

Manager Brendan Rodgers had called for players other than him to write their name into the club’s folklore but those he selected appeared not to have heard that message.

Raheem Sterling was one of the chief culprits as, having been presented with a shooting opportunity by Behrang Safari’s mis-control, he tried to cut back to his captain instead.

The criticism of Rodgers’ squad is that, since the departure of Luis Suarez, Gerrard is their only world-class player.

There was certainly no-one on the same wavelength as him when he received the ball in the hole and spun a pass out to the right wing which neither Sterling nor Johnson had anticipated.

The rain which began to fall just before half-time seemed somewhat symbolic.

Rodgers made a bold decision at the interval and sent on Markovic, possibly the most disappointing of his £20million summer signings, and Alberto Moreno for striker Rickie Lambert and Jose Enrique.

Sterling was pushed into an unfamiliar central role in an attempt to utilise his blistering pace but before he could get into his stride Liverpool’s job was made even more difficult by the dismissal of Markovic.

As the Serbia international broke on the halfway line he flicked out a hand to keep Safari at bay, and if he was surprised by the defender’s collapse to the floor he was astounded to see Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers brandish a red card.

On the touchline Rodgers turned away with his head in his hands.

With his side at a numerical disadvantage the onus appeared to fall even more on Gerrard, but when he charged onto Sterling’s pass he could not muster enough speed in a race with goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik, who got the vital first touch to prevent the concession of a penalty as the Reds captain went sprawling.

But Gerrard was not finished and, 3,653 days since scoring at the same Kop end to write his name large in the club’s history book as they beat Greek opponents by the two clear goals necessary, his free-kick into the top corner off the post cranked the atmosphere up to ‘famous European night’ level but unfortunately for the home side this was no to be St Etienne or Olympiacos.

The Europa League now beckons for Rodgers’ team, which considering their inconsistent domestic form is probably the last thing they need.

Read more at ESPN

Champions League: Basel 1-0 Liverpool

Liverpool suffer humbling defeat at Basel

Liverpool endured another shot-shy night in front of goal as their Champions League hopes were dealt a hefty blow in a 1-0 defeat at Basel.

The Reds have continually struggled to reach the free-scoring heights of last season – and this match was no different as their toothless attack could not get their leaky defence out of jail after another set piece error allowed Marco Streller to stab home the only goal of the game.

Brendan Rodgers’ side failed to carve out clear-cut openings throughout a disappointing all-round display and they could have suffered a bigger margin of defeat if Streller and the impressive Serey Die had made the most of first-half opportunities.

The result means Liverpool have now dropped to third in the group behind Basel and Real Madrid ahead of back-to-back clashes with the table-topping holders. It makes for bleak reading for Reds fans who will be desperate to see the return of the injured Daniel Sturridgesooner rather than later as last season’s Premier League runners-up look to avert a mini crisis.

Read more on Yahoo Sport