Spot­light on Ron­aldo for Euro­pean home­com­ing, Servilla-Ju­ven­tus clash

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

APREVIEW of to­day’s Cham­pi­ons League ac­tion, as Cris­tiano Ron­aldo goes back to face his first club Sport­ing Lis­bon and Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur face a crunch trip to Monaco.

Group E CSKA Moscow (RUS) vs Bayer Lev­erkusen (GER) Morale is rock-bot­tom in Moscow with CSKA at the bot­tom of Group E. The de­fend­ing Rus­sian cham­pi­ons saw their mid­fielder Ro­man Ere­menko hit with a two-year ban for co­caine use this week af­ter a pos­i­tive test fol­low­ing th­ese teams’ last meet­ing in Septem­ber. Ere­menko’s goal in that match brought CSKA level 2-2 af­ter be­ing two goals down. The Mus­covites notched just their first win in their past five league games over the week­end and must win this game to keep their hopes of reach­ing the last 16 alive. Lev­erkusen can progress by avoid­ing de­feat pro­vided Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur lose away to Monaco. The Ger­mans are un­beaten in the group, and fol­lowed up three draws by beat­ing Tot­ten­ham at Wem­b­ley. How­ever, they are strug­gling in the Bun­desliga at mid-ta­ble, hav­ing lost at home to Cin­darella-story RB Leipzig on Novem­ber 19.

Monaco (FRA) vs Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur (ENG) Tot­ten­ham travel to Monaco af­ter claim­ing their first win in eight matches on Novem­ber 20, beat­ing West Ham United 3-2 with a dra­matic late surge. They’re in real trou­ble in the Cham­pi­ons League, though, hav­ing lost at home to Monaco and Bayer Lev­erkusen, and will be elim­i­nated if they fail to win at the Stade Louis II and Lev­erkusen beat or draw CSKA Moscow. Monaco, mean­while, need only draw the game to seal a place in the last-16, and will se­cure first place if they win and Lev­erkusen drop points. Leonardo Jardim’s side are the lead­ing scor­ers in Europe’s big five leagues, av­er­ag­ing three goals a game in Ligue 1 in­clud­ing a 3-0 win at Lori­ent on Novem­ber 18. Lead­ing their at­tack is a re­vi­talised Radamel Fal­cao, who has net­ted nine times this sea­son. The teams drew 1-1 in the Europa League last sea­son. Group F Borus­sia Dort­mund (GER) vs Le­gia War­saw (POL) Dort­mund, the 1997 win­ners and 2013 run­ners-up, are al­ready into the last 16, hav­ing amassed 10 points from their first four matches. Thomas Tuchel’s side are now look­ing to se­cure the top spot and a win at home to al­readye­lim­i­nated Le­gia will guar­an­tee them first place as long as Real Madrid drop points at Sport­ing Lis­bon. At the very least, a win will en­sure the Bun­desliga club go to Madrid next month in a po­si­tion to clinch the group. Dort­mund are fresh from beat­ing Bay­ern Mu­nich 1-0 in “Der Klas­siker” on Novem­ber 20 thanks to Pierre-Em­er­ick Aubameyang’s 12th league goal of the sea­son. The Gabon star was also on tar­get when Dort­mund won 6-0 to Le­gia in their group opener in Septem­ber. Le­gia, who re­main in with a chance of fin­ish­ing third and go­ing into the Europa League, have im­proved of late, win­ning five of their last six games, the ex­cep­tion be­ing a 3-3 draw at home to Real Madrid.

Sport­ing Lis­bon (POR) vs Real Madrid (ESP) Cris­tiano Ron­aldo is doubt­less to re­ceive a hero’s wel­come as he re­turns to his first pro­fes­sional club Sport­ing a cham­pion of Europe with Por­tu­gal and widely ex­pected to pick up his fourth Bal­lon d’Or this year. Ron­aldo’s hat­trick this week­end, his 39th for Real, de­liv­ered a 3-0 away win at Atletico Madrid de­spite the vis­i­tors miss­ing six key play­ers in cap­tain Ser­gio Ramos, Pepe, Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Al­varo Mo­rata and Karim Ben­zema. Cham­pi­ons League-hold­ers Real won the re­verse fix­ture 2-1 and is un­beaten in 29 games in all com­pe­ti­tions this year. All Zine­dine Zi­dane’s men need is a point to ad­vance to the next round, but with Dort­mund top of the group by two points Real will be look­ing to hunt them down as a point of pride – and to earn an eas­ier draw in the next round. Sport­ing is on an up­turn and scor­ing reg­u­larly, and still seek­ing a chance at the Europa League.

Group G Le­ices­ter City (ENG) vs Club Brugge (BEL) Le­ices­ter cur­rently top Group G with 10 points, hav­ing yet to con­cede a goal, and need­ing only a draw to progress to the last 16 with a game to spare. Con­versely, Brugge are yet to notch a sin­gle point. Le­ices­ter have strug­gled in the do­mes­tic league to re­pro­duce the form that de­liv­ered a sur­prise Premier League ti­tle last year, sit­ting just two points above the rel­e­ga­tion zone af­ter a 2-1 de­feat to Wat­ford. Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez are on the Bal­lon d’Or list, how­ever, and it al­most seems Clau­dio Ranieri’s side are pri­ori­tis­ing suc­cess in Europe over the Premier League. FC Copen­hagen (DEN) vs Porto (POR) Copen­hagen bagged a 1-1 draw away to sec­ond-placed Porto in Septem­ber and are fight­ing for sur­vival in this game, where a win would qual­ify the Por­tuguese. But Porto are mis­fir­ing, with only two wins in their past five out­ings in all com­pe­ti­tions, while Stale Sol­bakken’s team is un­beaten in their five games at home in Europe this sea­son. Porto go into the clash damp­ened by hav­ing lost a penalty shoot-out to Chaves in the Por­tuguese Cup at the week­end. A win for the Danes would see them leap-frog their op­po­nents in the group. One to watch for a po­ten­tial up­set.

Group H Sevilla (ESP) vs Ju­ven­tus (ITA) This is ar­guably the match of the round, with Sevilla on top with 10 points and vis­i­tors Juve sec­ond with eight and their last meet­ing a tight 0-0 draw. Sevilla are fly­ing high in Spain af­ter a stun­ning come­back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at De­portivo la Coruna. Ar­gen­tine coach Jorge Sam­paoli has trans­formed Sevilla from Europa League cham­pi­ons into a thrilling, free-think­ing out­fit. But Ital­ian cham­pi­ons Ju­ven­tus are also run­ning hot on the back of a 3-0 Serie A win over Pescara. “It’s an im­por­tant game for us be­cause we have to win one of our last two games to go through,” coach Mas­si­m­il­iano Al­le­gri said. Juve may have to do it the hard way with sev­eral de­fend­ers car­ry­ing knocks, but the for­ward line of Mario Mandzu­kic and Gon­zalo Higuain is a fright­en­ing prospect for Sevilla.

Di­namo Za­greb (CRO) vs Lyon (FRA) Di­namo are al­ready out of con­tention af­ter a mis­er­able cam­paign that has seen them fail to earn a point or even score a goal in four matches. They just about have a shot at con­so­la­tion in the Europa League, but must win this game to keep the flame lit. Lyon, with four points from four games, are only slightly bet­ter off, need­ing a vic­tory in Za­greb and for Ju­ven­tus to fail to win to stay fight­ing. Lyon are fourth in Ligue 1 in France and their form has picked up af­ter a slow start. Bafe­timbi Gomis now at rivals Mar­seille scored four, in­clud­ing an eight-minute hat-trick, when Lyon won 7-1 in Za­greb in the 2011-12 group stage. –

Photo: AFP

Real Madrid’s Cris­tiano Ron­aldo shoots to score against Atletico Madrid on Novem­ber 19. Ron­aldo scored a hat trick to hand Real a 3-0 win.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.