The Fiver | Real Madrid are coming to Barcelona and Lionel Messi isn’t coming back

Sign up now! Sign up now! Sign up now? Sign up now!

It was a mixed bag in Europe last night for some of the Premier League’s top striking talent. Cristiano Ronaldo scored a goal that either began a new era of Big Cup glory at Old Trafford or condemned Manchester United to another season of grinding mediocrity, depending on where you’re coming from with the old Ole thing. Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner both picked up cases of knack that will see them miss Unconvincing 2021-22 Premier League Champions Chelsea’s next few dull one-goal victories against mid-table opposition they really should be whipping with panache. Meanwhile in Big Vase, Patson Daka notched his first European goal for Leicester and then, a mere 33 minutes and three more goals later, became the Foxes’ joint-leading scorer in continental football of all time, ever. Easy as that! And there you are, thinking Ronaldo is a force of nature.

Continue reading...

‘We played well’: Solskjær shrugs off jeers of Manchester United fans

  • United pull off thrilling comeback to beat Atalanta 3-2
  • Some supporters booed players off pitch at half-time

Ole Gunnar Solskjær brushed off the half-time boos as Manchester United came from 2-0 behind to beat Atalanta thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s late winner.

Jeers were clearly heard around the stadium as the teams walked off at the break with United’s support unhappy at a poor first-half display in the third Champions League Group F game.

Continue reading...

Cristiano Ronaldo the inevitable headline star of a cinematic thriller | Barney Ronay

Manchester United’s win over Atalanta was made up of magnificent moments but this was a gruelling watch for home fans

With nine minutes to play on a thrilling, increasingly wild night at Old Trafford Cristiano Ronaldo made one of those half-runs, the run that isn’t quite the run, then stretched his stride as he picked up the flight of the ball from Luke Shaw’s boot on the left flank.

This is one of the things Ronaldo does so well, the algebra of flight, speed, timing, gravity, contact, the millions of equations and muscle‑mnemonics that go into making these moments work.

Continue reading...

Sané and Lewandowski lead Bayern Munich to rout of Benfica

  • Bayern Munich win 4-0 for third successive group stage win
  • Barcelona claim first victory in competition this season

Bayern Munich hit Benfica with four late goals to seal an emphatic 4-0 win in Portugal. Leroy Sané broke the deadlock after 70 minutes before an Everton Soares own goal and strikes from Robert Lewandowski and Sané once more saw the German club surge away at the top of Group E.

Barcelona gained their first win in the competition this season after Gerard Piqué scored in a 1-0 victory against Dynamo Kiev at the Camp Nou.

Continue reading...

Ronaldo completes Manchester United’s rousing comeback win against Atalanta

Manchester United continue to be a heart-palpitating proposition who cannot control matches. But, they also continue to be a thrilling team, who stank the first half out, then put on a show that featured Cristiano Ronaldo heading the winner with minutes left. If this was not quite as late as his clincher against Villarreal it unleashed the same cocktail of relief, delirium and disbelief among fans. And the bottom line is Atalanta are no longer Group F leaders and United have six points from three games.

The questions, though, will and should continue about what United can actually win but, for the moment, this was another Old Trafford night to shake the head at, the type Ole Gunnar Solskjær will still hope to eradicate.

Continue reading...

Jon Dahl Tomasson: ‘Malmö being in the Champions League is football heaven’

Swedish club’s manager on his dream of upsetting Chelsea, the unusual homework he sets young players and stunning Rangers

Jon Dahl Tomasson is thinking about how to build connections with young players when his mind drifts back to leaving Denmark and moving to the Netherlands to play for Heerenveen at the age of 18. “I was a very young boy,” Malmö’s manager says. “I was not used to anything. I was away from my family and the manager, Foppe de Haan, took me on scouting trips to learn about the language – but also to connect with me and to help me learn about Dutch football. I was surprised, but at the end of the day you build a relationship with the man.”

He pauses before explaining how he has tapped in to De Haan’s unorthodox methods at Malmö. “All my youngsters give presentations to me,” the former Denmark captain says. “They analyse games for their development. It’s about winning but it’s also about developing youngsters. The best players in the world are those who make the best decisions in the right moment.”

Continue reading...

Champions League roundup: Ajax rout Dortmund, Real Madrid sink Shakhtar

  • Ajax 4-0 Borussia Dortmund, Shakhtar 0-5 Real Madrid
  • Porto edge out Milan, Inter see off Sheriff for first victory

Ajax produced a dominant showing to rout Borussia Dortmund 4-0 in Amsterdam, maintaining their 100% record in the Champions League and putting the Dutch champions in control of Group C.

The hosts went in front when Dusan Tadic’s free-kick deflected in off Dortmund’s Marco Reus, who was credited with the own goal. Daley Blind doubled the lead with a half-volley from the edge of the area in the 25th minute, and Dortmund keeper Gregor Kobel produced several saves to keep the scoreline respectable at half-time.

Continue reading...

Lionel Messi’s Panenka wins it for PSG after RB Leipzig threaten upset

It might sound strange, but despite scoring two goals and winning the game for Paris Saint-Germain with an outrageous Panenka, Lionel Messi did not really have a very good game. Still, nobody at a festive Parc des Princes seemed to mind too much. After looking wooden and curiously passive for an hour, Paris came to life in the last 25 minutes, beating an impressive Leipzig side despite having little cohesion and not much in the way of a tactical plan, but two of the most irresistible attackers on the planet.

With three defeats out of three, Leipzig are now virtually eliminated, and for all their spirit and running, the spotlight will now fall on their new coach Jesse Marsch.

Continue reading...

Atlético Madrid 2-3 Liverpool: Champions League – as it happened

Mo Salah and Antoine Griezmann scored two apiece as Liverpool emerged victorious from an action-packed and controversial ding-dong in Spain

Europa League: For various reasons I won’t bore you with, Celtic were forced to play their match against Hungarian Champions Ferencvaros earlier this afternoon and a commendably almost-full house at Celtic Park saw their team get their Europa League campaign up and running after two defeats with a fairly emphatic win.

With Fabinho among the substitutes, the duo will line up in the centre of the park for Liverpool alongside Jordan Henderson, while Roberto Firmino gets the nod ahead of Diogo Jota in their front three. For Atletico, Kieran Trippier starts while Jose Gimenez and Luis Suarez are both on the bench.

Continue reading...

Club Brugge 1-5 Manchester City: Champions League – as it happened

Manchester City put on a fine display to beat Club Brugge 5-1 and take their first win in Champions League Group A, with Phil Foden shining

5 min: Brugge’s manager is the ex-Coventry player Philippe Clement, for fans of the earlyish Premier League years. His team concede a corner but City can’t create anything from it.

3 min: City make the early running possession-wise, as you might expect, although Brugge do well to force them back into their own half.

Continue reading...

Kyogo Furuhashi fires Celtic to vital Europa League win over Ferencvaros

It would be preposterous to portray a straightforward victory over a woeful Ferencvaros side as evidence that Celtic are once again on the cusp of greatness. As will not prevent many from trying, of course. Nonetheless, there are autumnal green shoots for Ange Postecoglou.

Long overdue, back-to-back domestic away victories for Celtic have now been followed up by success over the very team which emphasised their demise with a Champions League qualifying win in Glasgow at the start of last season. It has been Postecoglou’s hardly insignificant task to pick up the pieces; he now has a collection of meaningful results as a crucial backdrop to soundbites. Celtic needed to beat Ferencvaros to place themselves in pole position for European football of some form post-Christmas and duly did so. With ease, at that.

Continue reading...

‘Overplayed’ Romelu Lukaku could be rested by Chelsea against Malmö

  • ‘If things don’t work, he puts it on his shoulders,’ says Tuchel
  • Christian Pulisic ruled out of Wednesday’s European game

Thomas Tuchel has said he is thinking about resting Romelu Lukaku after suggesting the Chelsea forward’s goal drought is down to mental fatigue.

Lukaku was regarded as the final piece in the jigsaw after joining Chelsea from Internazionale last summer but his performances have dipped after an encouraging start. The £97.5m forward has failed to score in his past six appearances and his sluggish form is a concern for Tuchel, who must decide whether to give the Belgium international a chance to rediscover his rhythm when the European champions host Malmö in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

Continue reading...

Kieran Trippier: ‘It was carnage but understandable because for Atlético it was huge’ | Sid Lowe

The Atlético Madrid defender reflects on the surreal celebrations after becoming only the third Englishman to win La Liga

“It was different,” Kieran Trippier says, laughing. This was not the way he had imagined it, the first trophy of his career celebrated in a car park on the edge of Valladolid. Inside the José Zorrilla the Englishman had the last kick of the 2020-21 season in Spain, smashing the ball into empty seats and roaring as the sound echoed round. It was done. Outside 3,000 Atlético Madrid fans roared with him. They had travelled 195km to be at the game if not actually to see it, to be there the day their team won La Liga. The day Trippier did what he had come to do.

“In the final weeks you could hear fans chanting outside. It was weird but nice too, knowing they were with us,” Trippier says, sitting above the training pitch on a sunny morning at Cerro del Espino. That day particularly, an impromptu title party starting when Atlético left the ground, fireworks and songs going up, players still in kit disappearing among supporters. “We went up this big ramp and there were thousands of fans. As soon as they saw us it was carnage. It’s understandable because for Atlético it was huge. The players started sprinting over and, before you know it, nobody could take control. A fan gave me an England flag with my face on. It said Peaky Blinders on. That’ll get framed as well [as the shirt].

Continue reading...