My performance against PSG remains the best of my career – Neymar

Neymar described his two-goal display as the “best game” of his career as he inspired the greatest comeback in Champions League history Barcelona thrashed Paris Saint-Germain 6-1.

The Catalans became the first side to come back from a 4-0 first leg deficit as Neymar scored twice in the final two minutes and then teed up a 95th-minute winner by Sergi Roberto to reach the quarter-finals 6-5 on aggregate.

“This is the best game I have ever played. For what it meant, for what we experienced and because I am in great form,” the Brazilian told BeIN Sports.

However, the Spanish champions looked down and out when Edison Cavani volleyed home what seemed to be the clinching away goal for PSG.

“Before… we believed and now even more,” Neymar added on Barca’s chances winning a sixth Champions League.

“When they scored the goal we had a little dip but then there was the fourth and the penalty. We concentrated and Sergi’s goal came.

“I know that we have made history. A team like this can do anything. The game was lost and we went out to play without pressure and with joy, throwing everything forward.”

Barca boss Luis Enrique announced last week that he will leave the club at the end of the season after he was heavily criticised following their 4-0 humiliation in Paris three weeks ago.

And Enrique took the chance to round on his critics as he thanked the “faith” of the Barca players and fans.

“First we had the mourning and that was especially hard on one person,” he said.

“This victory is dedicated to all Barca fans, but especially those that had faith in their team even after a day in which they were clearly outplayed by a team like PSG.”

– Baby boom –
Defender Gerard Pique even predicted a baby boom in the Catalan capital set off by Roberto’s outstretched right leg sparking delirium among nearly 100,000 at the Camp Nou.

“I would say to the hospitals of Barcelona to hire nurses. Tonight people will make a lot of love,” said Pique, the partner of Colombian pop star Shakira.

“It’s a miracle. We are in the quarters, which was the objective before it got a lot more complicated in Paris,” said Pique.

“We never stopped believing, even the fans, who are normally the most pessimistic. It seems this new generation believes in the team more.

“We have done it all together and that helps a lot.”

Despite Neymar, Suarez and Messi’s heroics, it was Roberto who proved to be Barca’s unlikely hero as he choose the perfect time to score his first goal of the season.

“I threw myself at it with everything,” said the Spanish international.

“We left Paris very down and now this is incredible. We were prepared for all this. The fans were like 10 extra players and in the end this is all for them.”

And Enrique confessed he had questioned why Roberto doesn’t find the net with more regularity.

“I saw him score a lot of goals in the youth team and it is always a joke between us ‘why doesn’t Sergi Roberto score?’ And then he scores tonight,” added Enrique.

“This sport is indescribable.”


Source: AFP

Ronaldo, Bale back for Champions League clash

Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale were named Monday in Real Madrid’s Champions League squad for the last-16 second-leg tie against Napoli after missing the weekend win over Eibar.

Fourt-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo was sidelined with an injury which coach Zinedine Zidane described as “nothing serious”. Also back in the squad for Tuesday’s clash is Welshman Bale after completing a one-match ban.

Both were absent from Saturday’s 4-1 victory at Eibar in which Karim Benzema and James Rodriguez were outstanding.

Reigning European champions Real lead Napoli 3-1 going into the second leg in Italy and tipped as favourites for a quarter-final berth.

Ozil out of Arsenal’s clash against Bayern Munich

Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil will miss Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 second leg against Bayern Munich after illness, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger said.

Ozil was absent from Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Saturday and although the German star has returned to training, Wenger doesn’t believe he is ready to face Bayern.

Losing the World Cup winner for the Emirates Stadium showdown is another blow for Arsenal, who face the daunting task of having to overturn a 5-1 deficit from the first leg.

“He had only one session yesterday. I don’t think he is ready physically to be in the squad.

“He should be ready for the weekend (for the FA Cup quarter-final against Lincoln).”


Source: The Guardian

No excuses after Munich “nightmare” – Arsene Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted his side had “collapsed mentally” in their 5-1 Champions League rout by Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

The under-pressure Frenchman said there were no excuses as the Gunners faced a seventh successive last-16 exit after their latest mauling.

“We conceded the second goal and then the most important thing was that we lost Laurent Koscielny (to injury). We collapsed mentally,” said Wenger who will now face fresh calls for his resignation.

Wenger’s post-match press conference lasted barely five minutes and was cut short after he answered just a few questions.”I am not looking for excuses. Overall I must say they were a better team than us, they played very well in the second half and we dropped our level,” he added.

“They were better than us, well done to Bayern. Their third goal was a killer — we had no response.” It is a shock of course to lose at this level.”

Wenger refused to discuss his personal mood after the match.

“How I feel I don’t think is the most important but of course it is disappointing,” he said although pundits thought otherwise.

“He looked particularly wounded. I feel for him — he almost needs to be protected from himself,” former Arsenal defender Martin Keown told BT Sport.

“This is a massive low point for him. This brings forward the change that looks likely at the end of the season.”

Arjen Robben opened the scoring after just 11 minutes at the Allianz Arena when the Dutchman beat Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina with a fine left-foot strike into the top corner.

Chile international Alexis Sanchez levelled for Arsenal on the half-hour, hitting in a rebound at the second attempt after he had a controversial penalty saved by Manuel Neuer.

But Robert Lewandowski restored the German side’s lead after 53 minutes, heading in a cross from Philipp Lahm with Thiago Alcantara adding a third just three minutes later.

Thiago piled on the misery for Arsene Wenger’s men with his second and Bayern’s fourth just after the hour with substitute Thomas Mueller adding a fifth two minutes from time.

Wenger said the loss of Koscielny just after the break — with the scores at 1-1 — turned the game.

“It was a strange game because we played quite well in the first half, we then conceded goals in quick succession,” said Wenger.

“I’d have loved to have kept Laurent on the pitch and it’s difficult to measure the impact, but the fact is we have to cope with the result. We had an extremely bad result tonight.

“It was difficult to shake off the two goals in quick succession — we lost our organisation and our centre back.”

The Frenchman said his side lost their composure after Lewandowski’s powerful header from a cross and suffered a “nightmare” final 25 minutes.

“We were badly done for the second goal and the real problems came after the third goal, because we lost our organisation,” he added.

“We were very jaded and vulnerable from that moment on. The last 25 minutes were a nightmare for us, because we had no response.”

Arsenal got Bayern again. See the Champions League Draw [Full List] #UCLDraw

Arsenal will meet Bayern Munich while defending champions Real Madrid take on SS Napoli in the round of 16 of 2016/2017 UEFA Champions League.

The draws, held at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, on Monday saw Bayern Munich drawn against Arsenal.

Arsenal met Bayern Munich in the round of 16 in the 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 seasons with the Bundesliga champions emerging victorious on both occasions.

Paris Saint-Germain will take on Barcelona, while English Premier League champions Leicester will square off against Sevilla.

FC Porto will face Serie A champions Juventus, Borussia Dortmund and Benfica will go head-to-head while AS Monaco will take on Manchester City.

The first legs of the round of 16 will take place on the 14th,15th, 21st and 22nd of February, 2017.

The pairings

AS Monaco Vs Manchester City

Arsenal Vs Bayern Munich

FC Porto Vs Juventus

Bayern Leverkusen Vs Atletico Madrid

PSG Vs FC Barcelona

Sevilla Vs Leicester

Real Madrid Vs Napoli

Benfica Vs Dortmund

Nigeria’s Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho score in Champions League

The Nigerian duo of Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho were both on target for their respective clubs in the UEFA Championship League on Tuesday.


Iheanacho showed that he could fit in, in the absence of Sergio Aguero, by scoring Manchester City’s only goal in their 1-1 draw against Celtic FC.


The Citizens conceded an early goal in the fourth minute but Iheanacho was on hand to restore parity in the 8th minute of the encounter that took place at the Etihad stadium.


Regardless of the outcome, Manchester City finished as runners up behind Barcelona who ended the group stage on a high with a 4-0 bashing of Borussia Monchengladbach.


In the other game, Iwobi scored for Arsenal in their 4-1 win over Swiss side, Basel.


The goal will be a confidence booster for Iwobi who scored an own goal last time out against PSG.
The Gunners finished top in group as PSG could only manage a draw in their own game.

UCL: Three Top Champions League Matches To Watch Tonight

For the concluding part of Match Day 5 games, picks a list of three key games that should be explosive tonight.


Arsenal Vs PSG 


The Gunners and the Parisians are both through to the knockout phase of the UEFA Champions League but both teams are understandably angling to finish top in the group.


Though presently tied on 10 points, Arsenal hold a slight advantage at the moment with a better goals’ difference of +9 compared to PSG’s +6.


The reverse fixture between the two teams ended in stalemate as Arsenal snatched a 1-1 draw during their visit of Paris.



Arsenal are unbeaten in 17 games and are just three points off the top of the Premier League while they have as it were breezed through to the next stage in Europe.


One character many will want to see in the Arsenal, PSG clash is French star, Olivier Giroud who was sent off in the first leg in quite debatable circumstances.


The battle ground for the two Fly Emirates teams is the Emirates Stadium where Arsenal’s invincibility is gradually returning… Happy viewing


Besiktas vs Benfica


This is arguably the most keenly-contested group in this stage of the Championship League. Presently, three teams still stand a chance of pulling through to the next phase from this group.


Yet to lose a game this season, Besiktas drew the reverse fixture and recently held the group leaders Napoli to a stalemate at home.


If the Black and Whites can muster a win this term at home, they will be on course to secure a berth in the knockout phase.



However, nothing suggests that Benfica who are joint-top at the moment will be a stroll in the park as the Portuguese team have not been push-overs by any means at home or in their travel.


Benfica are also in fine form. Unbeaten in nine, they lead the Primeira Liga by five points from Porto and have put themselves back in Champions League contention with successive wins over group whipping boys Dynamo Kiev.


Interestingly, while the coaches and players are firming up their strategies, the Besiktas fans also have some innovation they are working on.


Besiktas supporters who once set a world crowd noise record are planning to mark their Champions League tie against Benfica with the world’s first ‘silent cheer’.


On Wednesday, an estimated 42,000 fans in the new Vodafone Arena will choreograph a cheer using only sign language for one minute when the game kicks off against Benfica in Istanbul.


In all a spectacle is expected in Istanbul tonight


Match available on Supersport….


Borussia Moenchengladbach Vs Manchester City


The trip is to Germany is quite tricky for Coach Pep Guardiola and his team. With many already conceding top spot (or at least one of the tickets) in Group C to the rampaging Barcelona team, Moenchengladbach and City are in a straight fight for the other ticket.


Only victory for the Germans can reignite their slim chances but going by their poor run of form, it will be surprising to see them triumph over the Citizens.



Also, a win at Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday night will carry Manchester City through to the knockout phase of the Champions League with a game to spare.


With this development, it is safe to say that it is a winner takes all contest.


After their statement win over Barcelona, many will expect Manchester City to pass their German test in flying colours.