Gianluigi Buffon kicks idea of Paris Saint-Germain winning the Champions League into Row Z

The legendary Italian stopper is finally set to make his Champions League debut for PSG against Napoli next Wednesday. (AFP)
Updated 02 November 2018
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Gianluigi Buffon kicks idea of Paris Saint-Germain winning the Champions League into Row Z

  • Italian keeper says his new team are not ready to win Europe's biggest prize.
  • PSG currently up against it, lying third in their group behind Liverpool and Napoli.

PARIS: Gianluigi Buffon believes Paris Saint-Germain are not ready to win the Champions League as he prepares to make his European debut with the club against Napoli and play his first game in Italy since leaving Juventus.
The 40-year-old World Cup winner was suspended for PSG’s opening three European games for his behavior and comments toward the referee during Juventus’ quarterfinal loss to Real Madrid last April.
“To achieve certain successes we need a path, a project, a management and a team that have known each other for a long time,” Buffon said in an interview with Sky Sport Italia.
“PSG have been renewed in recent years and need time.”
Buffon said Lionel Messi’s Barcelona and Juventus, who bought Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo last summer, were the favorites.
“In the Champions League there are two or three favorites — Barcelona, because they have the first or occasionally the second (best) player in the world.
“Then there is Juventus, who in recent years have consolidated at these levels and taken the other player who is considered the first and sometimes the second in the world.
“There are outsiders like the (Manchester) City ... who have a coach and a team that make them one of the potential winners.”
Qatar-owned PSG are third in Group C with four points, behind Liverpool (six) and Napoli (five), and will be battling for a win to salvage their flagging European campaign.
“It will be a delicate match against a very high-level opponent,” he said.
“The arrival of (Carlo) Ancelotti means this team now has a certain awareness that it’s not certain they would have had before.”
Buffon added it had been tough watching the first three games from the sidelines.
“I watched on TV in the dressing room, not being able to participate makes me suffer.”
He said he still did not understand why he had been sent off by English referee Michael Oliver.
His suspension followed a post-match rant in which he said the referee had a “rubbish bin” where his heart should be.
“I really was in a foul temper and the Gigi from Carrara (his hometown in Tuscany) came out,” said Buffon, who added he would laugh off the incident if he met Oliver again.
“I would joke, because irony is the best way to break down walls and immediately create empathy.”


Embiid returns to help 76ers beat Nets for 3-1 lead

Updated 21 April 2019
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Embiid returns to help 76ers beat Nets for 3-1 lead

  • The 76ers seized a 3-1 lead in the first-round series against the Nets

NEW YORK: Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid returned from injury to score a game-high 31 points and grab 16 rebounds, powering the 76ers to a 112-108 NBA playoff victory at Brooklyn on Saturday.
Despite a third-quarter incident that saw two players ejected, the 76ers seized a 3-1 lead in the first-round series against the Nets and could advance in the Eastern Conference best-of-seven matchup with a home victory Tuesday.
In the other Eastern Conference game, Khris Middleton finished with 20 points and nine rebounds as the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks put the Detroit Pistons on the brink of elimination with a 119-103 win. The victory give the Bucks a 3-0 lead and they can wrap up the series with a win on the road in the Motor City on Monday.
Philadelphia, down by 10 points early in the third quarter, battled back most of the second half before taking the lead on a run of eight points by Embiid, who missed game three with a sore left knee.
A slam dunk and layup by Embiid gave the 76ers their first late lead at 102-101 but, after an exchange of layups and three-pointers as well as turnovers, fell behind 108-107 on a basket by Brooklyn’s Joe Harris with 25 seconds remaining.
On the next 76er possession, Embiid flipped the last of his seven assists to Mike Scott, whose corner three-pointer put Philadelphia ahead to stay 110-108 with 19 seconds remaining.
Australian Ben Simmons — who added 15 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the 76ers — stole the ball from Brooklyn’s Jarett Allen and Tobias Harris sank two free throws for the last of his 24 points to clinch the triumph.
Caris LeVert led the Nets with 25 points while Brooklyn had 21 points each from Allen and D’Angelo Russell.
Cameroon star center Embiid was issued a flagrant foul in touching off an altercation 4:18 into the third quarter that saw Philadelphia’s Jimmy Butler Brooklyn’s Jared Dudley ejected. Embiid, who had elbowed Allen in the face in game two, was whistled for a hard foul on Allen that prompted Dudley to rush at Embiid, taking down the Sixers big man. Butler swung his left arm at Dudley, who wound up in the front row seats with Simmons at one stage, to earn his ejection.
In Detroit, Brook Lopez tallied 19 points and had seven rebounds and five blocked shots and Eric Bledsoe scored 19 points for the Bucks.
Giannis Antetokounmpo delivered 14 points and 10 rebounds for his third straight double-double in the series and Nikola Mirotic chipped in 12 points.
Detroit’s hobbled star Blake Griffin had 27 points in 31 minutes after he missed the first two games of the series with a sore knee.
Griffin was cleared with his leg heavily wrapped but it didn’t change the outcome.
The Pistons have now lost 13 straight playoff games dating back to 2008. In the Western Conference, the Denver Nuggets — led by game highs of 29 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists from Serbian playmaker Nikola Jokic — pulled level with San Antonio at 2-2 in their opening series with a 117-103 road triumph over the Spurs.