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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.

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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.

READ   Toko Ekambi: Indomitable lion and Lyon knocks out Ronaldo’s Juventus from UCL

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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Champions league

Juventus: Maurizio Sarri sacked after Champions league failure

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Maurizio Sarri

Italian manager Maurizio Sarri has been relieved of his duty as the head of the technical bench of Juventus following the club’s early elimination from the UEFA Champions league. This is according to the club.

The Old Ladies were knocked out by Olympic Lyonnais at the round of 16 despite a 2-1 win on Friday August 7, 2020 that appeared insufficient for the night as the visitors sailed through on away goal formalities following a 1 nil victory in February.

Sarri’s dismissal hasn’t come as a surprise to many. With the simple reason. The match outcome against Lyon came as a huge sign of failure for the club whose main target this season was winning the Champions League, a fit they are still to achieve since 1996 when they last grabbed silver ware in the competition. Reasons amongst other that saw the club bringing in 5 times Balloon D’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo to help facilitate the task.

READ   Napoli's Lorenzo Insigne Says His Champions League Goal Against Real Madrid Was His 'Best Ever'

Maurizio Sarri therefore served as the main victim and sacrifice despite helping the club win its 9th consecutive Series A title a few weeks ago.

Sarri who has also managed Chelsea and Napoli had earlier explained his difficulty of having the players adapt to his system which he considers to be “Slow” especially after losing to Lyon in France.

The club have recorded series of unconvincing scores after the Coronavirus restart. They have gathered 7 wins in their last 15 matches. Managing to win the league with a point above runners-up, Inter Milan

A few names have come up as potential replacement. Amongst them, former Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino who is still to join a club since his dismissal by the Spurs in 2019 and Zinedine Zidane.

DEWAH Fabrice TEH

 

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Toko Ekambi: Indomitable lion and Lyon knocks out Ronaldo’s Juventus from UCL

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Cameroonian forward Karl Toko Ekambi and French outfit Olympique Lyonnais have qualified for the quarter finals of the UEFA Champions League after knocking out Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus on away goal basis.

Meeting at the Allianz Stadium on Friday August 7, 2020, Toko Ekambi and teammates put up resilient performances against the Old Ladies. Leading the attack alongside Memphis Depay, the 27 year old showed determination and remained a threat to Maurizio Sarri and boys who appeared vulnerable to the self-confidence put forward by the visitors.

At the 14th minute, the team’s efforts paid off. Rudi Garcia’s boys won a penalty following foul on the team’s midfielder and subsequent man of the match, 22 year old Houssem Aouar brought down by Rodrigo Bentancur. A penalty transformed with a panaka chip-in by Memphis Depay to put the visitors a goal up on the night and 2 goals up on aggregate.

With the Old Ladies in need of 3 goals to turn-around the situation, efforts by Portuguese football magician, Cristiano Ronaldo proved insufficient as his two goals scored at the 45th minute from the penalty spot and a 60th minute rocket strike failed to hit needed the mark.

READ   UEFA Champions League 2019/20: Chelsea possible draw scenarios

The 2-1 defeat to Juventus saw Ekambi and Lyon go through to the quarter finals on away goal basis following a 1 nil win against the Italian Series A champions in February.

It was Lyon’s first quarter final qualification since the 2009/2010 season where their fairy tale run saw them reaching the semifinal of the competition after knocking out Real Madrid and Bordeaux at the round of 16 and quarter finals respectively before being eliminated by German outfit Bayern Munchen at the semis.

Ironically, it is the first time Cristiano Ronaldo will be missing the quarter final of the UEFA Champions League since the 2009/2010 season and Juventus debut absence from the last 8 since the 2015/2016 season under manager Massimiliano Allegri

The team will clash with Manchester City at the Estadio Jose Alvalade on Tuesday August 15, 2020 at the quarter finals in Lisbon, Portugal. Manchester City knocked out Real Madrid to reach the final 8.

READ   PSG boss Thomas Tuchel reveals the most underrated Real Madrid player ahead of UCL clash

DEWAH Fabrice TEH

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Supercomputer Predicts The Champions League Winner For 2019-20 Season

Liverpool will fall short of successfully defending their Champions League crown, according to a supercomputer simulation.But Jurgen Klopp’s men, who have been in the final of the Champions League for the last two seasons, failed to retain the title in the supercomputer’s predictions.

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Supercomputer Predicts The Champions League Winner For 2019-20 Season

 

BT Sport’s The Script predicted if Jurgen Klopp would lead Liverpool to their second consecutive Champions League trophy,Liverpool will fall short of successfully defending their Champions League crown, according to a supercomputer simulation.

But Jurgen Klopp’s men, who have been in the final of the Champions League for the last two seasons, failed to retain the title in the supercomputer’s predictions. Ahead of the Champions League group stage draw on Thursday, BT Sport’s The Script has been used to simulate the winner of Europe’s top-tier club competition. Premier League trio Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City all reached the knockout stage of the competition. But Spurs, who were last season’s runners-up, failed to make the round of 16. And Chelsea come up against Los Blancos in the quarter-finals and are subsequently knocked out of the competition. Liverpool’s hopes of retaining the Champions League end in the quarter-finals against Barcelona. But Barca have the last laugh this time around as they beat Liverpool to set up El Clasico for the Champions League semi-finals.

READ   Lionel Messi emulates Cristiano Ronaldo and Raul while scoring in 15th successive Champions League season

Madrid beat Barcelona in the semi-finals and progress to the final to meet Bayern Munich, who knocked out Juventus. Zinedine Zidane’s men walk away triumphant with another Champions League crown after defeating the German champions 3-2 in the final. Atletico Madrid, who reinforced heavily this summer, were knocked at the hands of Bayern Munich in the round of 16.And Paris Saint-Germain reached the quarter-finals, only to narrowly lose 3-2 on an aggregate scoreline to the Bavarians.

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