Liverpool stage staggering comeback to defeat Barcelona 4-3

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Liverpool’s Belgian striker Divock Origi celebrates after scoring their fourth goal during the Champions League semi-final second leg between Liverpool and Barcelona at Anfield. (AFP)
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Liverpool fans celebrate their third goal scored by Liverpool’s Georginio Wijnaldum as Barcelona’s Luis Suarez reacts. (Reuters)
Updated 08 May 2019
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Liverpool stage staggering comeback to defeat Barcelona 4-3

  • Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum scored twice to beat Barcelona 4-0 on the night and progress to the final for the second consecutive year 4-3 on aggregate
  • Despite the despondency of losing Salah and Firmino, Jurgen Klopp’s men never lost faith and were accompanied by a typically raucous Anfield atmosphere on a European night

LONDON: Liverpool defeated Barcelona 4-3 in the Champions League semi-final after one of the greatest ever European comebacks. 

Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum scored twice to beat Barcelona 4-0 on the night and progress to the final for the second consecutive year 4-3 on aggregate on Tuesday.
The Reds not only had a mountain to climb on the scoreboard, but were deprived of two of their most potent attacking weapons in Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino due to injury.
However, Origi and substitute Wijnaldum were the unlikely heroes as Barca surrendered a three-goal first-leg lead to exit the Champions League for the second straight season.
Despite the despondency of losing Salah and Firmino, Jurgen Klopp’s men never lost faith and were accompanied by a typically raucous Anfield atmosphere on a European night.
Origi would almost certainly not have started had Salah and Firmino been fit.
But the Belgian has made a habit of scoring important goals in Liverpool’s challenge for a first Premier League title in 29 years and he had his first ever in the Champions League on seven minutes on the rebound after Marc-Andre ter Stegen had denied Jordan Henderson’s purposeful burst from midfield.
Liverpool have blown plenty of sides away in early bursts under Klopp, most notably hitting three inside the first half-hour at Anfield against Manchester City in last season’s Champions League quarter-final.
Barca looked rattled as Sergi Roberto’s short backpass nearly played Origi in.
However, the visitors soon started to pose a threat themselves in search of the away goal that would kill the tie.
Lionel Messi had turned the tie in Barcelona’s favor late in the first leg with a brilliant free-kick and his first effort was tipped over by Alisson Becker before the Brazilian denied international teammate Philippe Coutinho.
Another former Liverpool favorite Luis Suarez promised not to celebrate if he scored on his former stomping ground, but there was no love lost for the Uruguayan among the home faithful as he was showered with abuse after trying to buy cheap free-kicks.
Ter Stegen nervously parried an Andy Robertson drive and Alisson saved from Jordi Alba at the end of a pulsating first half.
Liverpool were seemingly dealt another injury blow as Robertson could not continue after half-time, but he made way for Wijnaldum with James Milner moving to left-back. Alisson made another important save from Suarez before Wijnaldum sent Anfield wild twice inside two minutes.
Firstly, the Dutch midfielder was picked out by Trent Alexander-Arnold’s low cross and drilled under Ter Stegen.
And from Liverpool’s next attack, Shaqiri picked out Wijnaldum to head home at the Kop end.
Barca coach Ernesto Valverde tried to restore some order as Coutinho, who cost £142 million ($186 million) when moving between the clubs in January 2018, was replaced for the second time in the tie by Nelson Semedo to allow the visitors to switch to a four-man midfield.
The change briefly had an impact, but Barca were inexplicably caught cold from a quick Alexander-Arnold corner 11 minutes from time that picked out Origi completely unmarked to fire high past Ter Stegen.

 


England celebrate World Cup triumph with young fans

Updated 15 July 2019
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England celebrate World Cup triumph with young fans

  • After 44 years of trying, England became world champions with a stunning victory over New Zealand

LONDON: England revelled in their first World Cup triumph on Monday, soaking up the adulation of a disbelieving nation after one of the most extraordinary finishes to a cricket match in history.

The host country, after 44 years of trying, finally became world champions with a stunning victory over New Zealand at Lord’s, triumphing on superior boundary count after both the match and the additional Super Over shootout ended with the scores level.

The game was watched by the biggest audience in a generation, with around 30,000 packed into Lord’s, thousands congregating in front of a big screen in Trafalgar Square in central London and the first free-to-air terrestrial coverage in 14 years.

Hundreds of children flooded across the outfield at the Oval — across town from Lord’s — to help Eoin Morgan’s men celebrate their historic triumph. The south London ground was where England launched their World Cup campaign with a victory over South Africa way back on May 30.

Many of the young children at the Oval were wearing the kit of the All Stars junior program run by the England and Wales Cricket Board and others were dressed in their school uniforms.

As “Happy” by Pharrell Williams blared out, the youngsters were delighted to catch sight of England stars such as Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer and flocked toward their new heroes.

It was a more modest celebration than the open-topped bus parade through the streets of London for England’s 2005 Ashes victors but was in keeping with the push to sell the game to a new generation.

“I don’t know if it’s sunk in yet but coming down here and seeing what a small portion of the support we’ve had feels about it, the kids, the adults, the energy they all had for what they saw yesterday is amazing,” said man-of-the-match Stokes.

England coach Trevor Bayliss, drafted in with the aim of winning the World Cup following their miserable first-round exit at the 2015 tournament, said: “I heard some of the young guys in the team say the 2005 Ashes inspired them to bigger and better things.

“I think they are very proud they’ve been put in a position where they can hopefully inspire a few of the next generation.”

On Sunday the Queen sent her congratulations to England and the Royal Mail postal service announced it would issue a series of special stamps and decorate 15 post boxes to celebrate both the World Cup win and England’s victory at the 2017 Women’s edition of the tournament.

Prime Minister May, a lifelong cricket fan, was due to host the team at a reception.

“Yesterday (Sunday) was a brilliant performance by a brilliant team,” said May. “They showed flair, courage and an absolute determination to become world champions.

“The achievement, delivered in such a thrilling style on home soil, will live forever in our sporting history.”

“It’s also exciting to think just how many children will be inspired by this victory to pick up a bat for the first time and hopefully become the great cricketers and World Cup winners of tomorrow,” she added.

“We must build on this success.”