CHAMPIONS LEAGUE… Half-Time Report: Ajax 0-1 Juventus… Cristiano Ronaldo’s header makes the difference

Cristiano Ronaldo’s diving header on a Joao Cancelo cross has given Juventus the half-time lead away to Ajax in the Champions League quarter-final.

Ajax started their traditional high press and swarmed into the penalty area, Hakim Ziyech’s curler forcing Wojciech Szczesny to acrobatically fingertip out from under the bar.

Donny van de Beek almost completed a trademark team move, his left-foot strike from 13 yards skimming the far post.

Juve went on a rapid counter-attack with Rodrigo Bentancur, but De Jong made a last-ditch tackle on Bernardeschi. On the resulting corner, Ronaldo volleyed wide.

Ronaldo knocked down a cross for Bernardeschi, who on the turn fired inches past the post from seven yards. Nicolas Tagliafico was booked for a lunge on Joao Cancelo and will be suspended for the second leg.

With the last kick of the first half, Juventus took the lead. Ronaldo completed a long give and go with Cancelo, got away from defenders, bending back goalkeeper Andre Onana’s hand with a diving header from eight yards. It was his eighth career goal past Ajax, having already scored a hat-trick in this stadium for Real Madrid.

Photo Credit: ajax.nl

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE… Half-Time Report: Manchester United 0-1 Barcelona… Luke Shaw scores an own goal

Barcelona are in the lead as result of an own goal by Luke Shaw in the fist 45 minutes of the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals at Old Trafford.

Messi’s back-post cross was headed across goal by Suarez and Shaw was stood in the wrong place at the wrong time, getting the final touch to the ball as it trickled past De Gea – the goal being allowed to stand following a VAR check on Suarez’s positioning.

Luis Suarez was initially ruled offside after directing Lionel Messi’s cross into Shaw and beyond helpless goalkeeper David de Gea.

But after consulting VAR, Barcelona were awarded a valuable away goal at Old Trafford.

Plenty of action and tackles in the opening but not a huge amount of chances for either side.

Barca hearts were in mouths after Messi went down under a challenge from Chris Smalling – a bloody nose and cut eye saw the Argentine go off for treatment before returning.

United defender Diogo Dalot missed the hosts best chance, miscuing a header from Ashley Young’s cross on 41 minutes.

The only on-target attempt of the half came via Coutinho, who had a well-struck shot kept out by De Gea 10 minutes before the interval.

Liverpool coach confirms Reds’ interest in outstanding Wolves star

Liverpool coach Pepjin Lijnders has confirmed the interest of his club in Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves.

Portugal midfielder Ruben Neves has seriously impressed at Wolves this season and is one of the main reasons why they have been so good in the Premier League.

However, the club are braced for interest this summer as the 22-year-old has plenty of suitors, including Liverpool according to O Jogo.

Neves has evidently caught the eye of Liverpool assistant Pep Lijnders, say O Jogo, though the fact he is contracted with Wolves until 2022 means he won’t come cheap.

Lijnders told O Jogo: ‘I know him very well, his ambition, his passion for the game, his professionalism.

‘I know what he gives to the team and this type of player always interests us.

‘I recognised him when I saw him at Wolves. I saw technique, professionalism; I saw the 2013-14 player I knew.’

Liverpool’s new midfield of Naby Keita, Fabinho and Jordan Henderson may prove to be decisive in the club’s trophy hopes this season, but Jurgen Klopp is known to want some more options in the middle of the park, with PSG’s Adrien Rabiot also linked.

He moved to Wolves from Porto in the summer of 2017 for £15.8million, although he would command a much higher fee if he were to join Liverpool.

Photo Credit: Sky Sports

Gonzalo Higuain reveals why Chelsea can’t stop Eden Hazard from joining Real Madrid

Gonzalo Higuain has revealed why Chelsea will find it difficult to stop Eden Hazard from joining Real Madrid.

Argentine striker Higuain played for Los Blancos between 2007 and 2013 but hinted his current teammate could be set to exit Stamford Bridge this summer for the Spanish capital.

The Juventus loanee says it will be ‘difficult’ for Chelsea to ‘change the desire’ of teammate Hazard amid ongoing links to Real Madrid.

“What can I tell you? Those are things that involve the club executives and the desire of the player and when a player has a desire, it is difficult to change his mind,” Higuain told an interview with ESPN FC.

“He is one of the best players in the world and it is obvious that, when he is at this level, he gives you points, he gives you goals and the truth is that it is a great asset to have him with us.

“Here what matters is Eden’s decision and the decision of the board. I cannot do anything.

“Life in Madrid? He has not asked me but if it’s what makes him happy, I wish him the best. I hope he can stay.”

Jose Mourinho explains why Manchester United are capable of defeating Barcelona

Jose Mourinho has explained the reason his former club Manchester United are capable of defeating Barcelona.

The Portuguese was sacked at Old Trafford in December but believes the current team, now coached by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, can build on their victories over Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain in the tournament.

According to Mourinho, the Catalan club “will respect” the English giants.

“United this season was capable to win against Juventus and against PSG why not to do it against Barcelona,” Mourinho told RT News.

“Barca will be aware of that, will respect United and Old Trafford. Messi will want to leave his footprint in a mythical stadium.”

The first leg of the Champions League quarter-final takes place in Manchester on Wednesday night.

Photo Credit: Sky Sports

REVEALED: Why Jurgen Klopp apologised to Jordan Henderson after Liverpool victory over Porto

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp jokingly apologised to Jordan Henderson after the first leg of the Champions League quarter finals match that ended in favour of the Premier League club.

Henderson again impressed in a more advanced role as the Reds took control of their Champions League quarter-final against Porto with a 2-0 first-leg win at Anfield on Tuesday.

The German apologised for holding Henderson back during the past 18 months as he saluted his “brilliant” Liverpool skipper, reports Liverpool Echo.

Having registered a goal and an assist in an explosive cameo at Southampton on Friday, the Reds captain was recalled to the starting line-up.

And he responded with a brilliant throughball that allowed Trent Alexander-Arnold to set up Roberto Firmino to score Liverpool’s second.

“It would be cool if I could ask a player to please play these kind of passes, and we score immediately!” said Klopp.

“Hendo’s a brilliant player, I’m really happy that he can show that again. He likes the position obviously.

“It was my fault that for one-and-a-half years he played as a number six. Sorry for that!

“But we needed him there. It was a really good performance.”

Only a marginal offside call denied Henderson an assist when Sadio Mane’s volley was chalked off shortly after the interval.

And Klopp added: “The second goal was brilliant, but he had the cross for Sadio’s ‘goal’ as well. It was a brilliant cross. I like that.”

Former Italy national team manager tells Napoli what to do to beat Arsenal in Europa League quarter-final

Former Italy Coach Marcello Lippi has advised Napoli play with wisdom and experience against a well-organised Arsenal team.

The Premier League club are billed to face Napoli in first leg of the Europa League quarter-final is at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday evening.

“Arsenal are a strong and well-organised team. Napoli must play the way we know they are capable of, with all the wisdom and experience that they can count on with a Coach like Carlo Ancelotti and great players,” the World Cup winner told Radio Kiss Kiss.

“For some, it’s not an advantage and can be irrelevant, but I believe that playing the game at home with the possibility of extra time to be better. Especially in a stadium like the San Paolo.”

Napoli’s form has slumped in Serie A lately, but Lippi believes it’s a sign they are now focused on winning the Europa League.

“When you have no hope of finishing first and are more or less guaranteed a spot in the top four, it is logical that you concentrate on the only competition you have left.

Photo Credit: sscnapoli.it