Mahrez wants to stay with Le­ices­ter

Pakistan Observer - - SPORTS -

vice-chair­man Aiyawatt Sri­vad­dhanaprabha claims Riyad Mahrez has told him he wants to stay with the newly crowned Premier League cham­pi­ons. Mahrez’s fu­ture was thrown into doubt when the Al­ge­ria in­ter­na­tional’s agent re­cently claimed it was only 50-50 whether the PFA player of the year would re­main at the King Power Sta­dium next sea­son. Mahrez signed a new four-year deal in 2015 but has been linked with Barcelona af­ter scor­ing 18 times to help fire the Foxes to an im­prob­a­ble ti­tle. But with Le­ices­ter due to re­ceive the Premier League tro­phy af­ter Satur­day’s fi­nal home game of the sea­son against Ever­ton, Aiyawatt made it clear he ex­pects to keep Mahrez for his club’s as­sault on the Cham­pi­ons League next term.—AFP pres­sure from Stur­ridge, who scored the sec­ond goal in the 63rd minute be­fore help­ing to tee up Adam Lal­lana for a late strike that com­pleted a 3-1 ag­gre­gate win.

It took Liver­pool into their first con­ti­nen­tal fi­nal since the 2006-07 Cham­pi­ons League, pre­serv­ing Jur­gen Klopp’s hopes of fin­ish­ing his first sea­son as man­ager with both a tro­phy and a place in Europe’s elite com­pe­ti­tion next sea­son.

“Won­der­ful night, bril­liant game from my side. What a per­for­mance,” Klopp told BT Sport.

“Ev­ery­one spoke a lot about this team be­fore I came here. It was all about qual­ity and not good trans­fers. I came here be­cause I thought they had a nice squad, but now we are in the fi­nal. Basel. A longer sea­son!”

Vil­lar­real, for whom cen­tre-back Vic­tor Ruiz was sent off, had been bid­ding to reach their first ever ma­jor fi­nal.

But they could con­sole them­selves with the knowl­edge that fol­low­ing Sun­day’s 2-0 win at Va­len­cia in La Liga, for the third sea­son run­ning, won 3-1 at home to Shakhtar Donetsk for a 5-3 ag­gre­gate suc­cess.

But for all their re­cent pedi­gree in the com­pe­ti­tion, Liver­pool will ap­proach the fi­nal with sig­nif­i­cant mo­men­tum, hav­ing pre­vi­ously seen off both Manch­ester United and Borus­sia Dort­mund in the com­pe­ti­tion.

An­field was stag­ing its first game since the new in­quests into the 1989 Hills­bor­ough dis­as­ter ruled that 96 Liver­pool fans were un­law­fully killed and a stir­ring pre-match ren­di­tion of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, the club an­them, helped to elec­trify the at­mos­phere. There were early scares for the hosts when Si­mon Mig­no­let had to save from Mario Gas­par and Jonathan Dos San­tos curled over, but in the sev­enth minute they lev­elled the tie.

Nathaniel Clyne’s cross from the right was pushed away by Vil­lar­real goal­keeper Alphonse Are­ola, but Roberto Firmino turned the ball back across goal and with have rat­tled them and striker Roberto Soldado, for­merly of Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur, was booked af­ter a se­ries of in­dis­cre­tions.

Af­ter Philippe Coutinho, the tire­less Mil­ner and Stur­ridge had threat­ened for Liver­pool, and Dos San­tos headed over the bar for Vil­lar­real, Klopp’s men scored their cru­cial sec­ond goal.

Firmino mis­cued his at­tempt to lar­rup a left-foot vol­ley to­wards goal from the edge of the box, but the ball ran to Stur­ridge, whose shot clipped Are­ola, struck the base of the right-hand post and rolled in.

Hav­ing been left on the bench for Liver­pool’s pre­vi­ous three games in the com­pe­ti­tion, the Eng­land striker cel­e­brated with aban­don.

Ruiz saw red af­ter a pair of book­ings and with nine min­utes to play it was all over as Firmino did bril­liantly to reach the left-hand by­line and cut the ball back for Stur­ridge, whose mishit shot was alertly poked home by Lal­lana.—AFP

MADRID—In-form LON­DON—Le­ices­ter’s Mickey Arthur’s ca­reer high­lights Adam Lal­lana turns the ball home from a cou­ple of yards out as Liver­pool took ad­van­tage of 10-man Vil­lar­real to seal their fi­nal place. Andy Mur­ray re­turns a ball to To­mas Berdych in the Madrid Open quar­ter-fi­nal match on Fri­day. JP Du­miny plays a sweep dur­ing Delhi Dare­dev­ils v Ris­ing Pune Su­per­giants, IPL match at Delhi.

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