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Toothless Barca crash out of Champions League

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Barcelona crashed out of the Champions League following a 3-0 defeat at Bayern Munich on Wednesday, failing to make it past the group stage of the competition for the first time since the 2000-01 season.

First-half goals from Thomas Mueller and Leroy Sane put the Germans, who won all six matches to top Group E, firmly in the driving seat before Jamal Musiala tapped in the third just past the hour.

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Read Also: UCL: Juve sneak into top spot with win over Malmo

Barcelona had advanced to at least the round of 16 every time they competed in the Champions League since 2001 but will continue in the second tier Europa League after ending up third in the group. Benfica qualified as group runners-up with a win over bottom club Dynamo Kyiv.

Barca, who made not a single chance in the second half and scored just twice in six group games, have lost their last two matches in all competitions following new coach Xavi’s first defeat in charge of the side by Real Betis on Saturday.

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Arsenal gave me a ‘good slap’, says Saliba

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William Saliba has revealed how he was given a rude awakening on his arrival at Arsenal back in July 2019.

The French defender joined the Gunners from Saint-Etienne for around £27million.

But he is yet to play for the senior side and last summer was shipped off to Marseille on loan.

Now the 20-year-old has admitted his time in the reserves was like a ‘slap in the face’ and hasn’t ruled out a permanent move away from the Emirates.

He told RMC: “Before going to Arsenal, I said to myself I was going to play, I was sure, I was wondering who I would play alongside.

read also:W/Cup Qualifier: Di Maria, Martinez on target in Chile defeat

“I arrive, I play zero matches. I played for the U23s. That gave me a good slap.

“Things go so fast in football. I don’t want to think about the future. I am going to give my all. Then there will be discussions in summer.”

Reports earlier this month suggested Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was preparing to give Saliba a chance in the senior squad next season.

The centre-back has turned in a string of impressive performances to propel Marseille to third in the Ligue 1 table.

According to L’Equipe, Arsenal are set to reject l‘OM’s attempts to make the deal permanent in the summer.

On his progress, Arteta said earlier this season: “I know that sometimes it’s difficult to explain or understand after the money that the club has spent trying to bring him in, to send him on loan.

“But a lot of things have happened to him, he’s a long-term player for us and we need to protect him as well. And giving him three or four games is not enough.”

 

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Senegal bench on Mane recovery watch ahead E/Guinea clash

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The Senegal technical bench are still monitoring captain Sadio Mane’s recovery ahead of Sunday’s AFCON 2021 quarterfinal date against Equatorial Guinea in Yaoundé.

Mane was taken off in the 70th minute of Senegal’s 2-0 victory over Cape Verde of their last 16 meeting on January 25 with a suspected concussion after earlier colliding with opposition goalkeeper Vozniha who was sent-off in the 56th minute following a second booking for dangerous play.

Senegal national team technical director Mayacine Mar told Sud Quotiden that the bench was observing both Mane and Bamba Dieng who sustained a knock in training.

Read Also: Mane and Salah on track for AFCON final showdown

“Bamba had a little knock but it’s not bad. The doctors preferred to keep him in treatment. Sadio too, but he is doing very well. He feels no pain. He will be operational for the quarter-finals. Maybe tomorrow he will resume training,” Mar said.

Mane is Senegal’s leading scorer at AFCON 2021 on two goals after scoring his second of the tournament with Senegal’s first goal in the victory over Cape Verde.

Senegal are chasing a second successive AFCON final appearance after finishing second in 2019.

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I prefer more-attacking positions for myself, says Chelsea’s Hudson-Odoi

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Hudson Odoi and Tuchel

Callum Hudson-Odoi has said he’s prepared to continue playing at wing-back for Chelsea.

The 21-year-old has fulfilled a number of roles for Chelsea since manager Thomas Tuchel arrived at Stamford Bridge as our head coach just over a year ago, featuring in his natural position out wide in our attacking trio, as well as playing as a wing-back and even as an out-and-out striker in a front two on occasions recently.

“I’d definitely say I prefer more-attacking positions for myself, as a winger or a No.10 kind of player,” he told the club’s website.

“Obviously I like to be direct and try to create scoring opportunities for the team, hopefully try to score some myself. Playing in that position I’m more comfortable and I feel more free while playing there as well.

read also:Stallions look to gallop into AFCON semifinals

“So it’s definitely a nice position, to know that I can go out there, be myself, be free and try to create and score goals as well, but at the same time playing at wing-back is definitely more defensive. Your mentality is more about defending the goal than attacking the goal at times.

“In that position you always have to cover for somebody. For example, if the centre-back goes forward you have to cover in, just to make sure and be around. So it’s definitely a different position, definitely harder, so I’d say definitely an attacking position is what I prefer.”

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