Champions League draw to include 14 former winners as PSV Eindhoven beat Rangers in playoffs

Champions League draw to include 14 former winners as PSV Eindhoven beat Rangers in playoffs
PSV Eindhoven's Dutch forward Luuk de Jong (C) heads the ball to score his team's third goal during the UEFA Champions League play-off football match between PSV Eindhoven and Rangers FC at The Phillips stadium in Eindhoven on Wednesday. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 31 August 2023
Follow

Champions League draw to include 14 former winners as PSV Eindhoven beat Rangers in playoffs

Champions League draw to include 14 former winners as PSV Eindhoven beat Rangers in playoffs
  • PSV’s single European title means winners of 48 of the 68 editions of Europe’s most prized club title will enter the draw
  • They include record 14-time champions Real Madrid and defending champions Manchester City, who won their first title in June

MONACO: There will be 14 winners of the Champions League, or the old European Cup, in the 32-team group stage draw Thursday after PSV Eindhoven advanced in the qualifying playoffs.

PSV, the European champions in 1988, beat Rangers 5-1 in their playoff second leg Wednesday to complete a 7-3 aggregate score.

Royal Antwerp had not played in the competition since 1957 yet also sealed their place in the draw by winning 2-1 at AEK Athens. The champion of Belgium advanced 3-1 on aggregate.

Copenhagen completed the lineup with a 1-1 draw at home to competition debutant Rakow Częstochowa having already won 1-0 in Poland.

PSV’s single European title means winners of 48 of the 68 editions of Europe’s most prized club title will enter the draw. They include record 14-time champions Real Madrid and defending champions Manchester City, who won their first title in June.

FINAL FORMAT

This Champions League is the 20th and last in the familiar format of eight round robin groups of four teams each, sending the top two into a 16-team knockout bracket.

Next year the Champions League expands to 36 teams, playing eight games instead of six, ranked in a single standings. The top eight will advance direct to the round of 16. Teams ranked No. 9 through 24 go into a knockout playoffs round to decide the other eight places in the last-16.

The final edition in the established format starts Sept. 19 and group-stage games finish Dec. 13. The knockout stage starts in February and reaches the final at Wembley Stadium in London on June 1.

PRIZE MONEY

UEFA has €2 billion ($2.2 billion) prize money for the rest of the competition. Each of the 32 gets a basic €15.64 million ($17.1 million) plus shares of a €600 million ($656 million) fund distributed according to clubs’ historic record in UEFA competitions.

Top-ranked Real Madrid’s share will be about €36.4 million ($40 million) and about €1.14 million ($1.25 million) to the lowest-ranked team, Lens, which have not played in European soccer for 16 years.

UEFA also will pay teams €2.8 million ($3.1 million) per win and €930,000 ($1 million) per draw in the group stage, escalating payments for advancing through each knockout round, plus a share of the TV money paid by rights holders in their home country.

Real Madrid were the highest earnesr with €133 million ($145 million) from UEFA when they won the 2022 title — the last figures published by UEFA. Moldovan champion Sheriff’s €23.7 million s ($26 million) was the lowest UEFA payout that season.

NOMADIC SHAKHTAR

Shakhtar Donetsk have had several adopted home cities in Ukraine and abroad since losing access to their stadium in 2014 because of Russian-backed conflict and then war in the Donbas region.

Last season Shakhtar used Legia Warsaw’s stadium in Poland for their three “home” games in the group stage.

Shakhtar will now play in Hamburg at the Volksparkstadion that is one of Germany’s host venues for the 2024 European Championship. The club said last week it already sold 30,000 ticket packages.

Russian clubs, including champions Zenit St. Petersburg, are banned for the second straight season.

MULTI-CLUB OWNERSHIP

UEFA has had rules for more than 20 years limiting owners from having decisive influence over two or more clubs which can meet in the same European competition. They were designed to protect the integrity of games on the field.

Still, the trend toward multi-club ownership projects has intensified since a UEFA ruling in 2017 let Leipzig and Salzburg both enter the Champions League despite sharing deep ties to the Red Bull brand. The two clubs are in separate draw pots Thursday and can meet in the group stage.

Paris Saint-Germain can be drawn in the same group as Braga despite taking a 22 percent ownership stake in the Portuguese club last year.

CLUB WORLD CUP

The 32 teams also are playing for entry to — and more prize money from – the inaugural expanded FIFA Club World Cup in June 2025 hosted by the United States.

Europe will send 12 teams to that 32-team lineup including the past three Champions League title holders — Man City, Real Madrid and Chelsea — plus the winner of this edition.

Other places should go to teams with the best overall record in the four Champions League seasons from 2020-24.

That’s good for consistent performers Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica. Not so much for clubs which missed qualification in at least one recent season, like Manchester United, Arsenal and now Juventus.

Draw Seedings

Pot 1: Manchester City (England), Sevilla (Spain), Barcelona (Spain), Bayern Munich (Germany), Napoli (Italy), Paris Saint-Germain (France), Benfica (Portugal), Feyenoord (Netherlands).

Pot 2: Real Madrid (Spain), Manchester United (England), Inter Milan (Italy), Borussia Dortmund (Germany), Atlético Madrid (Spain), Leipzig (Germany), Porto (Portugal), Arsenal (England).

Pot 3: Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine), Salzburg (Austria), AC Milan (Italy), Braga (Portugal), PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands), Lazio (Italy), Red Star Belgrade (Serbia), Copenhagen (Denmark).

Pot 4: Young Boys (Switzerland), Real Sociedad (Spain), Galatasaray (Turkiye), Celtic (Scotland), Newcastle (England), Union Berlin (Germany), Royal Antwerp (Belgium), Lens (France).


Qatar beat Jordan to reach last eight of 2024 AFC U23 Asian Cup

Qatar beat Jordan to reach last eight of 2024 AFC U23 Asian Cup
Updated 19 April 2024
Follow

Qatar beat Jordan to reach last eight of 2024 AFC U23 Asian Cup

Qatar beat Jordan to reach last eight of 2024 AFC U23 Asian Cup
  • A last-gasp 2-1 win leaves the hosts on six points from two matches in Group A of the tournament

DOHA: A stoppage time winner saw hosts Qatar defeat Jordan 2-1 on Thursday night to advance to the quarterfinals of the 2024 AFC U23 Asian Cup.

Qatar took the lead through Abdulla Al-Yazidi on 40 minutes, but Jordan equalized seven minutes into the second half thanks to Aref Al-Haj’s spot kick.

The match looked to be heading for a draw when Mohamed Al-Manai scored 14 minutes into stoppage time to break Jordanian hearts. The win Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Al-Rayyan made Qatar the first team to secure a spot in the last eight.

Qatar now sit top of Group A with a maximum six points from two matches. Earlier in the day, Indonesia beat Australia 1-0 at Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium in Doha and are currently second in the table with three points. Jordan and Australia are third and fourth respectively with one point apiece.

Saudi Arabia return to action against Thailand on Friday before facing Iraq in their final Group C match on Monday (April 22).

The U23 Asian Cup, which runs until May 3, is also a route to this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris.

The competition sees 16 nations split into four groups of four teams, with the top two from each progressing to the quarterfinals. The winners of both semifinals automatically qualify for the Olympics, regardless who wins the final.

The two losing semifinalists will contest third place, with the winners also booking a spot in Paris. The fourth-place finishers have one final chance with a play-off against an African qualifier.


Liverpool out of Europa League as Leverkusen advance to semis

Liverpool out of Europa League as Leverkusen advance to semis
Updated 19 April 2024
Follow

Liverpool out of Europa League as Leverkusen advance to semis

Liverpool out of Europa League as Leverkusen advance to semis

LONDON: Liverpool crashed out of the Europa League after a 1-0 win against Atalanta that wasn’t enough to overturn their quarter-final deficit, while Bayer Leverkusen’s 1-1 draw at West Ham took the German champions into the last four on Thursday.
In Jurgen Klopp’s last season as Liverpool boss, the Reds were hoping to give the German a memorable farewell in the final in Dublin.
But Liverpool had suffered a stunning 3-0 loss in the first leg against Atalanta at Anfield last week.
And although Liverpool have authored some of European football’s greatest comebacks down the years against the likes of St. Etienne, AC Milan and Barcelona, there would be no miracle escape this time.
Mohamed Salah converted a seventh minute penalty in the second leg in Bergamo after Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross hit Matteo Ruggeri’s arm.
However, Klopp’s men couldn’t breach the stubborn Atalanta defense again.
It has been a brutal week for Liverpool, whose Premier League title challenge was damaged by a shock home defeat against Crystal Palace on Sunday.
“It’s mixed emotions. We are out but I’m happy with the game,” Klopp said.
“It was clear we gave ourselves a massive hurdle. We wished we could have gone to Dublin but that hasn’t happened.”
While Klopp contemplates his failure to land the one major trophy to elude him during nine years with Liverpool, Atalanta can dream of winning the second silverware in their 116-year history after the 1963 Coppa Italia.
Bidding to reach their maiden European final, Gian Piero Gasperini’s team will face Marseille in their first European semifinal since the 1988 Cup Winners’ Cup.
Fresh from clinching their first Bundesliga title last weekend, Leverkusen survived a scare from West Ham before advancing 3-1 on aggregate.
In the semifinals, Xabi Alonso’s side will play Roma, who saw off Italian rivals AC Milan 3-1 on aggregate.
Leverkusen won the first leg 2-0 but West Ham made the perfect start in east London when Michail Antonio met Jarrod Bowen’s pin-point cross with a close-range header in the 13th minute.
West Ham eventually ran out of steam and Jeremie Frimpong struck in the 89th minute with a shot that deflected in off Aaron Cresswell.
“The momentum was with West Ham. To be honest, we were not at our best in the first half. I’m happy to go through. In the Europa League you always have tough moments,” Alonso said.
Leverkusen are into their second successive Europa League semifinal, while West Ham’s exit means for only the third time in the 21st century, England will have no teams in the Champions League and Europa League last four.
Leverkusen’s 44-game unbeaten run in all competitions has taken them to the brink of an incredible treble, finally ridding the club of the ‘Neverkusen’ tag that mocked their decades of underachievement.
Alonso’s team, who face second tier Kaiserslautern in the German Cup final on May 25, beat Werder Bremen 5-0 on Sunday to win the Bundesliga title.
At the Stadio Olimpico, Gianluca Mancini put Roma head from close-range in the 12th minute and Paulo Dybala doubled their advantage in the 22nd minute with a blistering strike.
Daniele De Rossi’s side were reduced to 10 men in the 31st minute when Zeki Celik was dismissed for a foul on Milan forward Rafael Leao.
Matteo Gabbia got one back in the 85th minute, but his header was little consolation for Milan.
After losing last season’s Europa League final against Sevilla, Roma are one step closer to finally winning the competition for the first time.
Roma, who won the Europa Conference League in 2022, are into their fifth European semifinal in the last seven seasons.
In the south of France, Marseille were 4-2 winners in a penalty shoot-out against Benfica following the French side’s 1-0 victory in a tie that finished 2-2 on aggregate.
Faris Moumbagna struck in the 79th minute, heading in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s cross to force extra-time.
In the shoot-out, Luis Henrique scored the winner for Jean-Louis Gasset’s side after Benfica duo Angel Di Maria and Antonio Silva missed their kicks.


Juventus ordered to pay Ronaldo $10.4 million in back salary

Cristiano Ronaldo was the world’s highest-paid sportsman in 2023. AFP
Cristiano Ronaldo was the world’s highest-paid sportsman in 2023. AFP
Updated 18 April 2024
Follow

Juventus ordered to pay Ronaldo $10.4 million in back salary

Cristiano Ronaldo was the world’s highest-paid sportsman in 2023. AFP
  • The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was the world’s highest-paid sportsman in 2023, with $136 million, including $46 million in wages

Rome: Juventus must pay Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo 9.7 million euros ($10.4 million) in back wages for the 2020-21 season, the Italian courts announced on Wednesday.
The Court of Arbitration, to which Ronaldo appealed, “orders Juventus Turin to pay the sum of 9,774,166.66 euros,” plus interest and procedural costs, it stated in its decision.
The sum equates to the difference between the salary actually received by Ronaldo and that which he should have received after tax and other deductions.
Ronaldo, who spent three seasons in Italy with Juventus (2018-21) before joining Manchester United (2021-22) and then the Saudi club Al Nassr, was claiming 19.5 million euros but the arbitration panel reduced that by 50 percent.
Contacted by AFP, Juventus declined to comment, but said it would be issuing a statement “shortly.”
According to the rankings drawn up by the American business magazine Forbes, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner was the world’s highest-paid sportsman in 2023, with $136 million, including $46 million in wages.
Juventus, who are listed on the stock exchange, recorded losses of 123.7 million euros in the 2022-23 financial year, which ran to the end of June, it announced in October.
No provision has been made in the accounts of Italian football’s most successful club, currently third in Serie A, for the payment of this wages backlog.


Kuwait fall to Vietnam in 2024 AFC U-23 Asian Cup

Kuwait fall to Vietnam in 2024 AFC U-23 Asian Cup
Updated 18 April 2024
Follow

Kuwait fall to Vietnam in 2024 AFC U-23 Asian Cup

Kuwait fall to Vietnam in 2024 AFC U-23 Asian Cup
  • Uzbekistan beat Malaysia 2-0 in the same group as the first round of matches concludes

DOHA: Vietnam defeated Kuwait 3-1 in the 2024 AFC U-23 Asian Cup as Group D games got underway in Qatar on Wednesday night.

The result meant Vietnam took the early lead in the fourth and final group of the 16-team tournament, with Uzbekistan, who beat Malaysia 2-0, sitting second in the table on goal difference. Kuwait and Malaysia, with zero points, are third and fourth respectively. 

The second round of matches kick off in Group A on Thursday (April 18), with hosts Qatar taking on Jordan and Indonesia facing Australia.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia will return to action against Thailand on Friday before facing Iraq in their final Group C match on Monday (April 22).

The 2024 AFC U-23 Asian Cup sees 16 nations split into four groups of four teams, with the top two from each progressing to the quarterfinals. The competition also serves as a route to the Olympic Games in Paris this summer, with the winners of the two semifinals both securing automatic qualification.

The two losing semifinalists will contest third place, with the winners also booking a place in Paris, while the fourth-place finishers have a final chance with a play-off against an African qualifier.


Kimmich header powers Bayern Munich past Arsenal and into Champions League final four

Kimmich header powers Bayern Munich past Arsenal and into Champions League final four
Updated 18 April 2024
Follow

Kimmich header powers Bayern Munich past Arsenal and into Champions League final four

Kimmich header powers Bayern Munich past Arsenal and into Champions League final four
  • Bayern kept alive their hopes of finishing the season with a trophy three days after Bayer Leverkusen ended Bayern’s 11-year reign as German champion
  • Arsenal’s Champions League exit follows a heavy blow to its Premier League title ambitions in a 2-0 loss to Aston Villa on Sunday

MUNICH: Bayern Munich could yet crown a disappointing season with the Champions League title. Arsenal face the prospect of ending a promising season with no trophy.

Joshua Kimmich’s header powered Bayern to a 1-0 win over Arsenal on Wednesday to reach the Champions League semifinals with a 3-2 victory on aggregate.

With the score at 2-2 from the first leg in London, Kimmich’s header off Raphael Guerreiro’s pinpoint cross put Bayern ahead in the 63rd minute as Bayern largely neutralized the English team’s attack.

Arsenal’s players were “gutted,” manager Mikel Arteta told broadcaster TNT Sports. “I cannot find the right words to lift them.”

Bayern kept alive their hopes of finishing the season with a trophy three days after Bayer Leverkusen ended Bayern’s 11-year reign as German champion. Striker Harry Kane — who spoke Tuesday of being motivated by his release from Arsenal as a youth player — takes a step closer to what would be the first trophy of his career.

Tuchel said it meant “really a lot” to beat Arsenal. “The semifinals are an important step, the last four, that was fun,” he told broadcaster DAZN.

Bayern and Arsenal have been drawn together five times in the knockout stages of the Champions League since 2005 and the German team has eliminated Arsenal on each occasion.

Arsenal’s Champions League exit follows a heavy blow to its Premier League title ambitions in a 2-0 loss to Aston Villa on Sunday. Defeat also rules Arsenal out of next year’s Club World Cup in the US, in favor of Austrian team Salzburg.

Arsenal were left to rue the defensive errors that cost the team in the first leg.

“We gave them two goals, a big advantage to give away, and today you could see it was margin of error zero, we made a mistake defending the goal and we conceded,” Arteta said.

“Then it was difficult. We tried in many different ways but it’s difficult. It is the moment to stay next to the players, give them support, because they are the ones who have taken us on this journey.”

Tuchel — who is leaving at the end of the season — becomes a Champions League semifinalist as coach of three different teams, having led Paris Saint-Germain to the 2020 final before winning the competition with Chelsea a year later.

After a first half full of inconclusive midfield battles — Tuchel called it “a chess game” — the contest came to life after the break when Bayern hit the frame of the goal twice in a matter of seconds. Leon Goretzka sent a header against the bar and Guerreiro followed up with a shot that was deflected onto the post.

Arsenal struggled to make any headway against Bayern’s defense and sometimes looked disjointed at the back, especially when defender Takehiro Tomiyasu risked an own goal with a misjudged pass that went behind for a corner.

Kimmich darted into the box unmarked to score the only goal of the game after Guerreiro’s quick footwork on the touchline allowed him to cross past the onrushing Arsenal defender Ben White.

“I got a little lucky that no one seemed to really feel responsible for me,” Kimmich told DAZN.

Arsenal were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position with seconds of stoppage time left to play and opted to take it quickly. That approach yielded only a corner that was easily headed away as the final whistle blew and Bayern’s celebrations began.