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5 talking points as shambolic Spurs knocked out of Champions League

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Tottenham Hotspur were knocked out of Europe by a fantastic RB Leipzig side that dominated from start to finish. FOX Sports Asia takes a look at the key talking points from the encounter.

#1 Quick-fire Sabitzer double ends Spurs hopes 

Tottenham Hotspur were looking to get off to a quick start in Germany and they almost did – before Marcel Sabitzer scored his first goal completely against the run of play in the 10th minute. Timo Werner’s set up was gladly tucked into the net by Sabitzer to open the scoring for Leipzig, despite Hugo Lloris getting a hand to his strike

Tottenham were clearly shaken and began to struggle as Leipzig tried to put the game beyond them with a second goal. It took only 11 more minutes for Sabitzer to virtually seal the game with his second of the night. Manchester City’s on-loan full-back Angelino’s whipped cross was directed into the net with a near-post header by the midfielder, with Lloris again getting a hand to it but failing to save. Game over for Spurs.

#2 Leipzig and Nagelsmann make history 

For the uninitiated, purely in terms of age, Julian Nagelsmann is more likely to be thought of as a top-level player coming to the end of his career than as a manager. Indeed, the Leipzig manager has set a new record by becoming the youngest manager to progress from a UEFA Champions League knockout tie.

Similarly, for his team, this is a historic occasion as well. RB Leipzig have qualified for the knockout phases of the Champions League for the first time in their entire history. Big, big moment for both the club and their young manager.

#3 Leaky Spurs defence Mourinho’s big worry 

Simply put, there hasn’t been a Jose Mourinho team that leaks goals the way Tottenham Hotspur are doing at the moment. After joining a new club, the first thing the Portuguese usually does is shut up shop, something which hasn’t happened at Spurs – only Aston Villa have conceded more goals amongst Premier League clubs than Tottenham since Mourinho’s appointment.

Even more uncharacteristic is the nature of Tottenham’s games. They play an unusually open brand of football for a Mourinho team, with most games being open, end-to-end affairs. Whatever the case may be, the manager is clearly struggling to get his message across to the team.

#4 Top-four the only priority for Spurs now 

Coping with multiple injuries has ultimately proved fatal for a Tottenham Hotspur side who have been knocked out of all the cup competitions this season. Leipzig have ended their European dream on Tuesday while Norwich knocked them out of the FA Cup just a week prior.

Despite patchy form in the league, the equally poor form of the teams around them has meant they are still in contention for a top-four spot. Seven points off Chelsea in fourth place, a top-four finish, should they secure it, will be the only saving grace in what has been a disastrous season.

#5 German teams showing their worth in Europe 

Of the three German teams left in the Champions League, none have been handed a straightforward last-16 draw – and none have disappointed with their performance so far.

Bayern Munich thrashed Chelsea 3-0 in the first-leg to more or less seal a quarter-finals berth, Borussia Dortmund dominated PSG for 90 minutes to put them on the brink of an exit and RB Leipzig are through to the quarter-finals with a 4-0 win on aggregate.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that teams from Germany are no longer the pushovers they used to be in Europe and are finally proving their worth.

 

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Champions league

Portsmouth FC suggests Zorbing to resume EPL !!!

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Zorbing Balls

As an exit to the current Corona Virus trap for the EPL season a weird suggestion came up from Hampshire

• The Portsmouth club administration proposes to complete the season by wearing each zorb player to limit the spread of Corona

• Also, they suggested that the fans wear it, too!

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Coronavirus: Cannavaro doubts European football will resume before season’s end

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Fabio Cannavaro – now in charge of CSL powerhouse Guangzhou Evergrande – is not confident that football will resume by May.

Fabio Cannavaro believes it will be difficult for European football to return before the season ends amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Sport has been brought to a standstill due to COVID-19, with Serie A, LaLiga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and the Premier League all on hiatus.

The Champions League and Europa League finals have also been postponed, with Euro 2020 pushed back to next year following more than 18,800 deaths worldwide – over 9,800 of the casualties from Italy and Spain.

Former Italy, Juventus and Real Madrid defender Cannavaro – now in charge of Chinese Super League powerhouse Guangzhou Evergrande – is not confident that football will resume by May.

 

“In less than a month it is not known what is going to happen in the world,” the 43-year-old told COPE.

“I think it will take a long time for this to end in Italy and Spain.

“It will be difficult for European football to return before the season ends.”

Cannavaro has been based in China since joining Evergrande in 2014 before returning in 2017, while he was briefly in charge of the national team last year.

China has enforced strict measures to combat the spread of coronavirus, which originated in the country and has claimed more than 3,270 lives.

 

“The virus in Guangzhou is under control and life is beginning to go back to normal,” Cannavaro added. “There are no more restrictions, only 14 days at home.

“In two days, I finish my quarantine. All of us who come back have to do it.

“Staying at home is essential because we do not give the virus the opportunity to infect more people.

“We have to learn from China, they have more experience in this situation.”

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Brilliant Leipzig shine uncomfortable light on Mourinho’s elite credentials

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Jose Mourinho’s time at the top table of European football looked done and dusted as RB Leipzig put his Tottenham to the sword.

As Tottenham’s Champions League dreams unravelled in line with Jose Mourinho’s drip-drip doomsaying, it was tempting to wonder how the Spurs boss might have talked up RB Leipzig’s chances were he in the stylish shoes of opposite number Julian Nagelsmann.

How could you expect success for a team looking to Manchester City’s third choice left-back, who was parachuted in as a loan January signing, for a chunk of their attacking threat?

And what about your star striker being unable to train for two weeks, cruelly robbing him of match sharpness?

Oh, that’s before you consider he must line up in a front three alongside a Paris Saint-Germain reject and a big money flop sent packing by Roma.

Of course, Angelino produced a rip-roaring display in this thumping 3-0 win to crown a 4-0 aggregate triumph – raiding relentlessly down the Tottenham right and setting up Marcel Sabitzer’s second of the evening after seeing a fit-again Timo Werner convert his earlier low cross from an offside position.

Had Werner entered this match with ideal preparation under his belt, he might have left Eric Dier marooned permanently in another dimension. Particularly before half-time, the Spurs defender needed every ounce of his commendable grit as the Germany striker tore into him repeatedly.

Dier’s attempt to clear Angelino’s cross that led to the third goal from substitute Emile Forsberg was that of a performer battered and broken by thankless exertions.

Alongside Werner, Christopher Nkunku and Patrik Schick were winning duals and shuttling with creative intent. You could not spot any lingering effect from the back-to-back draws domestically that have checked Leipzig’s Bundesliga title ambitions this month.

Theirs was a performance of purpose, belief and riotous swagger, at least until the final half an hour when they slowed the tempo and tightened the control, squeezing any last lingering drop of Amsterdam fuelled belief in the improbable from a forlorn Tottenham side.

Special legacy compounds ordinary present

Dayot Upamecano imperiously commanded the Leipzig backline, with the sort of performance John Terry or Marco Materazzi might have supplied in one of Mourinho’s great sides.

All the Special One has now are those special memories.

It really is remarkable how quickly this latest scene in the increasingly torturous third act of his career has reverted to recent type.

Mourinho gave a sparky, twinkle-eyed news conference on November 21 last year after he succeeded Mauricio Pochettino. Following three consecutive wins – albeit with six goals conceded – in all competitions – Tottenham were beaten by Manchester United on December 4.

Thirteen days. There ended a honeymoon period shorter than many honeymoons. Spurs did not win consecutive games again until another burst of three in a row at the start of February. They have not won since, with Leipzig extending this slump to six outings.

During this time, Mourinho has played the hits no one wanted to hear. Sure, Harry Kane and Son Heung-min’s injuries leave him significantly compromised in attack, but talent remains. Dele Alli, Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura – the hero of that unforgettable Ajax comeback – are not woe-is-me no hopers.

To quote Alli in his interview to BT Sport immediately afterwards: “We can’t use that as an excuse, we still have quality on the pitch.”

No romance in tough love

Tanguy Ndombele has copped frequent public criticism, presumably because the tactic worked so well with Paul Pogba. Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who clatters from one accident-prone 90 minutes to the next at the moment, should be grateful he isn’t a rangy and gifted midfielder. Mourinho really would be fuming then.

But even when the old tricks had lost their shine, Mourinho was still capable of putting together robust defensive outfits.

Tottenham have kept three clean sheets in his 26 matches in charge, with just Aston Villa (42) conceding more than their 37 during this period. Villa’s fellow Premier League relegation candidates Brighton and Hove Albion and Bournemouth are the only teams with fewer shutouts since Mourinho’s November appointment.

Don’t worry, though, because he’s a serial winner, trophies in every job. Well, roll on 2020-21 for that part of the dubious bargain after Leipzig followed Norwich City in making a mockery of supposedly favourable cup draws.

This man for the big occasion is without a Champions League knockout win since April 2014. All that remains is the top-four race in the Premier League. Tottenham are eighth and host a revitalised United on Sunday.

Nagelsmann’s brilliant Leipzig shone a blazing light on this uncomfortable body of evidence that begs an uncomfortable question concerning one of this century’s defining football figures: if you are a club with elite ambitions in Europe, why on earth would you ever appoint Jose Mourinho?

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