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Lyon, Barcelona ahead as Bayern held

UEFA Women’s Champions League holders Lyon edged a quarter-final first-leg win against last season’s runners-up Wolfsburg on a night where Barcelona took control against LSK Kvinner and Slavia Praha pegged back Bayern München. Chelsea host Paris Saint-Germain in the other first leg on Thursday with the returns next Wednesday.

Quarter-final first legs

Slavia celebrate their equaliser

Slavia celebrate their equaliser©Getty Images

Slavia Praha 1-1 Bayern München

  • A brilliant Kateřina Svitková finish from long range on her birthday cancelled out Fridolina Rolfo’s goal for Bayern scored almost immediately after her introduction on the hour. The 6,822 crowd was a record for a UEFA Women’s Champions League game game in the Czech Republic.
Barcelona were 3-0 up before half-time

Barcelona were 3-0 up before half-time©AFP/Getty Images

Barcelona 3-0 LSK Kvinner

  • An early Toni Duggan double was added to before half-time by a Mariona Caldentey penalty as Barcelona took control.

Lyon 2-1 Wolfsburg

  • A quarter-final record crowd of 17,840 at Stade de Lyon were delighted when Eugénie Le Sommer and Wendie Renard put the holders 2-0 up after 18 minutes. But Wolfsburg’s hopes of avenging defeats in the 2016 and 2018 finals as well as the 2017 last eight were boosted when Nilla Fischer headed in a free-kick with 26 minutes left.

Chelsea v Paris Saint-Germain

All second legs on 27 March

  • Slavia or Bayern will reach their first semi-final.
  • LSK are the only contenders in their first quarter-final.
  • Lyon and Wolfsburg met in the 2013, 2016 and 2018 finals; OL beat Wolfsburg in the 2017 quarters.
  • Chelsea and Paris have won all four of the previous quarter-finals between them. Paris’s Formiga at 41 is set to become the first player in her 40s to appear in a quarter-final.

Semi-finals: 20/21 27/28 April

1: Lyon/Wolfsburg v Chelsea/Paris
2: Slavia/Bayern v Barcelona/LSK

  • One of Slavia, Bayern, Barcelona and LSK will reach their first final.
2016 final: Lyon pip Wolfsburg on penalties

Final: 18 May 2019, Ferencváros Stadium, Budapest

Winner semi-final 1 v Winner semi-final 2

Contenders: tie by tie

Slavia v Bayern

Slavia Praha (CZE)
Previous best: quarter-finals (2015/16, 2017/18)
Quarter-final record: W0 L2
Key fact: Only remaining team from the qualifying round.

Bayern München (GER)
Previous best: quarter-finals (2016/17)
Quarter-final record: W0 L1
Key fact: Only German entrants not to win this competition.

Barcelona v LSK

Barcelona (ESP)
Previous best: semi-finals (2016/17)
Quarter-final record: W1 L3
Key fact: Fifth quarter-final in six seasons, only Spanish side to get this far; coach Fran Sánchez was replaced in January by assistant Lluís Cortés.

LSK Kvinner (NOR)
Previous best: first quarter-final
Key fact: First Norwegian quarter-finalists since 2009/10.

Lyon v Wolfsburg

2018 final highlights: Lyon beat Wolfsburg in thriller

Lyon (FRA, holders)
Previous best: winners (2010/11, 2011/12, 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18)
Quarter-final record: W9 L0
Key fact: Their five titles and current run of three in a row are both records.

Wolfsburg (GER)
Previous best: winners (2012/13, 2013/14)
Quarter-final record: W5 L1
Key fact: Have faced Lyon in three of their four finals, winning in 2013 but losing in 2016 (on penalties) and 2018 (in extra time).

Chelsea v Paris

Chelsea (ENG)
Previous best: semi-finals (2017/18)
Quarter-final record: W1 L0
Key fact: All three previous campaigns ended by Wolfsburg.

Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)
Previous best: final (2014/15, 2016/17)
Quarter-final record: W3 L0
Key fact: Last team to knock Lyon out of Europe, in the 2014/15 round of 16.

Article source:,+Barcelona+ahead+as+Bayern+held

Friendly fixtures and results during European Qualifiers

Friendly fixtures that have been confirmed for the first four matchdays of the European Qualifiers for the UEFA EURO 2020. Track all the results here.

All times CET


Wednesday 20 March

Germany 1-1 Serbia
Wales 1-0 Trinidad Tobago

Thursday 21 March

Kosovo v Denmark (19:00)


Monday 25 March

Azerbaijan v Lithuania (15:00)

Tuesday 26 March

Czech Republic v Brazil (20:45)
Gibraltar v Estonia (20:45)


Friday 7 June

Slovakia v Jordan


Tuesday 11 June

Croatia v Tunisia

Further fixtures and results to follow.

Article source:

Champions League 100 club: Petr Čech

The Czech goalkeeper is retiring this summer after a final season with Arsenal, having made his name in the UEFA Champions League during a mighty spell at Chelsea from 2004–15.



Champions League's greatest ever goalkeepers

Sparta Praha: 12
Chelsea: 94
Arsenal: 5

Best performance

Winner (Chelsea, 2012)

If you don’t remember him …

… you have a very short memory. Čech has not played in the UEFA Champions League since 2015/16, but – at 36 – remains a goalkeeping icon in what he has confirmed will be his last season in professional football. A striker-turned-custodian, he made his competitive debut for Chmel Blšany at 17, then swiftly moved on to Sparta Praha before joining Rennes.

Chelsea picked him up in summer 2004, José Mourinho fast-tracking the then 22-year-old into the first team. A serious head injury kept him out of action from October 2006 to January 2007 – he has worn protective headgear ever since – but did not stop him excelling. At Chelsea, he won four league titles, the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League and the following season’s UEFA Europa League.

How he made it to 100 appearances

Petr Čech during his time at Rennes

Petr Čech during his time at Rennes©AFP/Getty Images

Čech made his UEFA Champions League debut for Sparta in a 0-0 group stage draw against Bayern München on 18 September 2001, when he was still 19. It was the first of four consecutive clean sheets as he settled into life among the elite. Absent from the competition during his Rennes spell from 2002–04, he then became a regular at Chelsea after returning in a 3-0 win at Paris Saint-Germain in September 2004.

In typical fashion, the Plzen native produced another clean sheet on the night he became the 19th player to make 100 appearances in the UEFA Champions League, during a 2-0 win against Galatasaray on 18 March 2014. “There is no question about motivation,” he said. “As long as you hear the anthem prior to the game, you have that special feeling.” In 111 appearances overall, he conceded 103 goals and kept 49 clean sheets.

His best moments

2012 final highlights: Chelsea 1-1 Bayern (4-3 pens)

  • Saving Arjen Robben’s spot kick in extra time and shoot-out attempts from Ivica Olić and Bastian Schweinsteiger as Chelsea beat Bayern in their own stadium to win the 2012 final. He told “I have won many things in football, domestic cups and leagues, but that moment when Didier [Drogba] scored the last penalty and you know we’ve done it was an absolutely amazing feeling.”

  • Helping Chelsea to reach their first UEFA Champions League final in 2008, as the Blues beat Liverpool in extra-time of the semi-final decider at Stamford Bridge. “I think if we go through we’ll win it,” he said before the second leg; he was wrong on that point – United beat his side on penalties in Moscow, though he saved from Cristiano Ronaldo in the shoot-out.

  • Being Lionel Messi’s nemesis (for a while). The Argentinian could find no way past Čech in six encounters with the goalkeeper during his time at Chelsea; “Not many can say they’ve played … against Messi and he hasn’t found a way to get past,” he said. Messi, however, had his revenge, scoring both goals as Barcelona beat Arsenal 2-0 in London in February 2016 in what looks set to be Čech’s final UEFA Champions League outing.

What others said about him

Petr Čech faces Lionel Messi for the last time

Petr Čech faces Lionel Messi for the last time©AFP/Getty Images

“Chelsea fans will never forget what he did for the club. Great pro and a great bloke who gave his everything for the club to the end.”
Frank Lampard, former Chelsea midfielder

“I am honoured to have been the manager that, at such an early age, gave Petr a top Premier League No1 shirt. After that day, it is all about him. All about his numbers, his performances, his clean sheets, his titles and his professionalism.”
José Mourinho, former Chelsea manager

“I remember in training we [were] doing a small-sided game and the game couldn’t start because you wanted the balls out of your net. I asked why. You said because you hated any football in your goal: this is a mentality that only the best have. A GREAT man who I am lucky to call a friend.”
John Terry, former Chelsea captain

“Goalkeepers are more important than everybody thinks. When you look at his record it is absolutely fantastic, because considering the number of games he played and the number of games he had a clean sheet, that speaks for itself.”
Arsène Wenger, former Arsenal manager

“It’s true that defensively we [weren’t as strong as some clubs], but we couldn’t blame Petr since he was the best goalkeeper I ever coached. In his area, he was as good as Ronaldo was at the other end of the pitch.”
László Bölöni, former Rennes coach

Iker Casillas is a big admirer

Iker Casillas is a big admirer©Getty Images

“One of the best goalkeepers I have ever seen.”
Iker Casillas, Porto goalkeeper

“The best goalkeeper with his feet? Pepe Reina. In the air I’d say [Manuel] Neuer. With his hands: [Iker] Casillas. The best overall I’d say is Čech.”
Gianluigi Buffon, Paris goalkeeper

In case you missed them …

Champions League 100 club: Paolo Maldini
Champions League 100 club: Gary Neville

Champions League 100 club: John Terry
Champions League 100 club: Ashley Cole
Champions League 100 club: Patrice Evra
Champions League 100 club: Andrea Pirlo

Champions League 100 club: David Beckham

Champions League 100 club: Frank Lampard
Champions League 100 club: Andriy Shevchenko
Champions League 100 club: Oliver Kahn
Champions League 100 club: Luís Figo

Article source:Čech

Under-19 elite round starts Wednesday

Holders Portugal will face Scotland, Turkey and Cyprus in the UEFA European Under-19 Championship elite round.

The draw in December was conducted by John Delaney, chairman of the UEFA Youth and Amateur Football Committee, and Ellery Balcombe, who received the 2018 U19 EURO Fair Play prize on behalf of last season’s England team.

Elite round groups

Group 1: Republic of Ireland, Russia*, Azerbaijan, Romania

Ellery Balcombe receives the Fair Play trophy on behalf of England

Ellery Balcombe receives the Fair Play trophy on behalf of England©UEFA via Getty Images

Group 2: Greece, Czech Republic, England*, Denmark

Group 3: Germany, Hungary, Norway, Croatia*

Group 4: Spain, Netherlands*, Wales, Slovenia

Group 5: France*, Israel, Switzerland, Poland

2018: Portugal win epic final

Group 6: Portugal* (holders), Scotland, Turkey, Cyprus

Group 7: Italy*, Serbia, Ukraine, Belgium


• The group winners qualify to join hosts Armenia in the finals from 14 to 27 July.

Draw notes

  • Spain have won a record seven titles.
  • Portugal hope to be the first nation to retain the title since Spain in 2012.
  • Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Denmark and Wales are aiming to qualify for the first time.

Article source:

Lionel Messi’s hat-tricks: 51 and counting

Lionel Messi has racked up a remarkable 51 trebles for Barcelona and Argentina to date and is showing no signs of slowing down. crunches the numbers behind Messi’s hat-trick heroics.

Messi’s first career treble came against Real Madrid in March 2007, his most recent against Real Betis in March 2019; in over a decade of goalscoring, the Argentinian has returned eight hat-tricks in the UEFA Champions League, 33 in the Spanish Liga, three in the Copa del Rey, one in the Spanish Super Cup and a further six at international level.

Messi’s hat-tricks by numbers

Watch Messi's hat-trick against PSV

  • Of Messi’s eight UEFA Champions League hat-tricks, two have come in the knockout stage: he scored five in a 7-1 win against Bayer Leverkusen in the round of 16 second leg in March 2012 having previously bagged four against Arsenal in the sides’ quarter-final second leg in April 2010.

  • The Argentine hit back-to-back hat-tricks in the 2016/17 group stage, scoring three against both Celtic on matchday one and Manchester City on matchday three having missed matchday two’s trip to Borussia Mönchengladbach through injury.

  • Messi’s 33 Liga trebles are second only to Cristiano Ronaldo’s 34, so overhauling the Portuguese – now starring with Juventus in Serie A – is a realistic ambition for the Blaugrana ace.

  • Valencia, Osasuna, Espanyol and Deportivo have been Messi’s favoured opponents in the Liga, the No10 claiming hat-tricks against each of them on three separate occasions (he has a Copa del Rey treble against Valencia too); Messi also has three hat-tricks against Sevilla, including two in the Liga and one in the Spanish Super Cup, and three against Atlético – two Liga and one Copa del Rey.

  • At international level, the most important of Messi’s six Argentina hat-tricks came in Ecuador in October 2017, his triple strike securing the Albiceleste a place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

How do those numbers compare to his contemporaries’?

Suárez is chasing Messi and Ronaldo

Suárez is chasing Messi and Ronaldo©Getty Images

  • Of Ronaldo’s 52 career hat-tricks, eight have been in the UEFA Champions League (seven for Real Madrid, one for Juventus) – with four of those in the knockout stage, including his first treble for new club Juventus against Atlético in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg.

  • At domestic level, the Portuguese notched one hat-trick for Manchester United, 37 for Madrid (34 in the Liga, two in the Copa in addition to one in the FIFA Club World Cup) and boasts a further six for his country.

  • Messi’s club-mate Suárez boasts an outstanding hat-trick return: the Uruguayan plundered nine for Ajax, six for Liverpool (three of them against Norwich) and has 12 for Barcelona as well as a further two for his nation.

  • Three other South Americans – Agüero, Cavani and Falcao – have reached double figures for hat-tricks in recent years, while the relentless Lewandowski leads the European charge.

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