Champions League knockout stage starts : The Tribune India

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Champions League knockout stage starts

Champions League knockout stage starts

Barcelona’s Lamine Yamal, who scored two goals, looks dejected after their draw against Granada in the Spanish league. Reuters

London, February 12

The Champions League narrative is so often about Manchester City and Real Madrid.

The past two champions of Europe were the only teams to sweep through the group stage with six wins. They also are first in action tomorrow when the most prized competition in club football resumes in the Round of 16.

Man City are away to a Copenhagen team playing in the knockout stage for the first time in 13 years and Madrid are at Leipzig for the first leg. The two teams favoured to lift the trophy warmed up with comfortable wins Saturday and goals from signature players.

Erling Haaland confirmed his return to form after a foot injury with both goals in Man City’s 2-0 win over Everton, his first since November 28 when Leipzig were beaten 3-2 in their Champions League group. Haaland has a Premier League-leading 16 goals and Madrid’s Jude Bellingham has a La Liga-best 15 after also scoring twice in a 4-0 rout of second-place Girona, who are owned by the same Abu Dhabi group as Man City.

But Bellingham has an ankle injury, having asked to be substituted Saturday, and is a doubt to face Leipzig.

At the same time that Madrid were imperious in their domestic title-chasing clash, Bayern Munich were falling to an embarrassing 3-0 loss at Bayer Leverkusen in their own table-topping game.

Bayern now trail Bundesliga leaders Leverkusen by five points and their run of 11 league titles is at risk again after barely holding on to the trophy on the last day last season. The 2020 Champions League winners visit Lazio on Wednesday with their aura dimmed despite Harry Kane’s 28 goals this season and coming through the group stage unbeaten for the sixth straight year. — AP

Barcelona fans jeer team after draw

Barcelona heard from their fans again after their chances of successfully defending the Spanish league title took another hit. Barcelona were jeered at home following a 3-3 draw against second-to-last Granada, a setback that saw the Catalan club move 10 points behind leaders Real Madrid, who defeated second-place Girona 4-0 on Saturday. Barcelona trail Girona by five points and are three ahead of fourth-place Atletico Madrid, who lost 1-0 at Sevilla earlier Sunday. The draw is likely to add more pressure on Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez, who recently said he will not return after the end of the season. “It was already tough for us in the league, and now it’s two points tougher,” Xavi said. AP

#England #Europe #London

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