Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Portugal vs Morocco - Competition: World Cup

Ronaldo was the hero for Portugal team in their opening game by scoring his first ever World Cup hat-trick in the 3-3 draw against Spain. CR7 became the first ever player to score at eight consecutive major international tournaments. The European champions have lost just one competitive game in four years but their defense is a major concern: the Iberians have conceded 3 golas to Spain and Netherlands, two to Tunisia this year.
No changes are expected from the side that drew 3-3 with Spain on Friday night. Andre Silva will be hoping to replace Gonçalo Guedes as Cristiano Ronaldo's strike partner, but the AC Milan striker is likely to be benched again. Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes will play out wide with Joao Moutinho and William Carvalho anchoring the midfield. The four man backline will be formed by Raphael Guerreiro, Pepe, Josè Fonte and Cedric Soares. New Wolves' goalkeeper Rui Patricio will start between the sticks.
Morocco team  lost 1-0 to Iran in their opening WC match. The African nation wasted a whole host of chances to put away Iran in their Group B match and they were punished deep into added time when Aziz Bouhaddouz headed the ball into his own net. Picking up points against Portugal and Spain will not come easily for them, but Morocco only conceded three goals in qualifying and will try to frustrate their opponents. Portugal’s ageing defence were exposed far too much against Spain, and Morocco will have every chance of getting on the scoresheet here.
Morocco aren't expected to make any major changes to their squad. They will be without winger Nordin Amrabat, who had to go off with concussion against Iran. Nabil Dirar is a doubt and could miss out here, with Hamza Mendyl in line to start at left-back and Achraf Hakimi set to switch to right-back. The likes of Hakim Ziyech, Amine Harit and Youned Belhanda are expected to retain their starting berth behind the lone striker Ayoub El Kaabi.

Probable lineups:
Portugal: RuiPatricio – Soares, Pepe, Fonte, Guerreiro – Moutinho, W.Carvalho – B.Silva, B.Fernandes, Guedes – Ronaldo.
Morocco: Munir – Dirar, Saiss, Benatia, Hakimi – El Ahmadi, Boussoufa – Ziyech, Belhanda, Harit – El Kaabi.

Date: 20 June 2018 - Kick-off Time: 13:00 BST
Venue: Stadion Luzhniki, Moskva


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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Russia vs Saudi Arabia - Competition: World Cup 2018 (Group A)
Date: 14 June 2018 - Kick-off Time: 16:00 BST
Venue: Stadion Luzhniki, Moskva
Russia team come into their home World Cup as the lowest ranked side in the FIFA, 70th, and three positions lower than the next lowest ranked side, who happen to be Saudi Arabia. They have won just two of their last 11 games, failing to beat the likes Austria (0-1) and Turkey (1-1) in their most recent friendlies. The last time the Russians won an international match was in October of last year when they fended off a late rally from South Korea to win 4-2. They failed to record a victory in Russia four years ago and have not won a match at a major finals since Euro 2012. They conceded three goals in successive matches against Russia and France last March.
Krasnodar forward Fyodor Smolov is expected to lead the line alongside ALeksei Miranchuk as Aleksandr Kokorin is not a part of the team, as he is sidelined with an anterior cruciate ligament injury. Artem Dzyuba provide a further option in attack. In midfield, Erokhin, Golovin and Glushakov are likely to play in the middle of the park while Yuri Zhirkov and Aleksander Samedov should be the starting wing backs in a 3-5-2 system. At the back, Kutepov, Granat, Kudryashov should form the three man defense with veteran goalkeeper Akinfeev between the posts.

Saudi Arabia stepped up their World Cup preparations in an international friendly with Italy, losing 2-1 with Yahya Al Shehri scoring their only goal. Since then, they lost 3-0 at the hands of Peru but limted a full strength Germany side to a 2-1 win on 8th June. The former Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi is the third head-coach in the space of 10 months and he got little time to settle with the squad. Anyway, ten of their 23 man squad play for the same club, Al-Hilal, and this could be a massive advantage.
Top scorer Al-Sahlawi is likely to start up front. He should be supported by Al Shehri, Al Jassim, Al Dawsari as offensive midfielders. The likes of Otayf and Al Khaibri are expected to feature from the off in the middle of the park. In defense, Pizzi is likely to choose Al Shahrani, Om. Hawsawi, Os. Hawsawi and Al-Harbi while Al Mosailem should get the nod over Al Maiouf as starting goalkeeper.
Russia last 5 matches:
14/11/17 Russia 3 – 3 Spain
23/03/18 Russia 0 – 3 Brazil
27/03/18 Russia 1 – 3 France
30/05/18 Austria 1 – 0 Russia
05/06/18 Russia 1 – 1 Turkey

Saudi Arabia last 5 matches:
09/05/18 Saudi Arabia 2 – 0 Algeria
15/05/18 Saudi Arabia 2 – 0 Greece
28/05/18 Italy 2 – 1 Saudi Arabia
03/06/18 Saudi Arabia 0 – 3 Peru
08/06/18 Germany 2 – 1 Saudi Arabia

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Friday, June 8, 2018

Portugal vs Algeria - Competition: Friendly
Date: 7 June 2018 - Kick-off Time: 20:15 BST
Venue: Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica

Goncalo Guedes nets twice for Portugal as they beat Algeria team 3-0 in this friendly in Estadio do Sport Lisboa (Benfica).

Portugal 3-0 Algeria (FRIENDLY)
17' Goncalo Guedes 1-0 // 37' Bruno Fernandes 2-0 // 55' Goncalo Guedes 3-0
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Saturday, May 26, 2018

Real Madrid vs Liverpool - Competition: UEFA Champions League Final
Date: 26 May 2018 - Kick-off Time: 19:45 BST
Venue: NSK Olimpijs’kyj, Kiev
Real Madrid team came through the semi finals with a 4-3 aggregate win over Bayern. They bat the Bavarians 2-1 away from home in the first leg and held on at the death in Madrid to draw 2-2 in the return match. Prior to that they survived a scare against Juventus altough they beat the Italian champions 3-0 in Turin. They are currently on a 27 match scoring streak in European games. Los Blancos have bagged 3 UCL title over the past 4 campaigns and now look to break another record, amid a very disappointing La Liga campaign under Zidane – where they failed to cope with pace-setters Barcelona.
Real Madrid are expected to have a fully fit squad to choose from with Zinedine Zidane revealing Ronaldo would be 100% fit for this clash. Dani Carvajal returned from injury against Villarreal and will start as right back, with Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane and Marcelo completing the back four. Isco and Lucas Vazquez are in contention for the third berth in attack alongside Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. No changes are expected in midfield where Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric are likely to retain their starting berth.

Liverpool team beat AS Roma in the semi-finals to advance to this showpiece clash. The Reds overcame the Giallorossi 7-6 on aggregate, courtesy of a 5-2 win at Anfield in the first leg match. Prior to that, Jurgen Klopp's men beat Manchester City home (3-0) and away (2-1) while in the first knockout round they delivered a 5-0 aggregate win over Porto with all the goals coming in the first leg in Portugal. They were unbeaten in 11 UCL games before to lose 4-2 at the Olimpico. In the Premier League Liverpool finished in fourth place, 25 points adrift of Man City, 6 behind Manchester United and 2 shy of Tottenham.
The Reds will also take an almost fully fit squad to Ukraine, with Emre Can and James Milner both returning to training this week. Jurgen Klopp, who will be only without long-term absentees Chamberlain and Joe Gomez for the final, will keep faith in his usual 4-3-3 formation in which Sadio Manè, Roberto Firmino and Mohammed Salah will lead the line. At the back, Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold should get the nod over Nathaniel Clyne and Alberto Moreno as full back, with Virgil Van Dijk and Dejan Lovren confirmed as centre-backs. Milner, Georginj Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson should form the midfield trio.

Probable lineups:
Real Madrid: Navas – Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo – Casemiro, T.Kroos, Modric – Isco, Benzema, Ronaldo.
Liverpool: Karius – Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, van Dijk, Robertson – Wijnaldum, Henderson, Milner – S.Mane, M.Salah, R.Firmino.
Real Madrid last 5 matches:
01/05/18 Real Madrid 2 – 2 Bayern Munchen
06/05/18 Barcelona 2 – 2 Real Madrid
09/05/18 Sevilla 3 – 2 Real Madrid
12/05/18 Real Madrid 6 – 0 Celta
19/05/18 Villarreal 2 – 2 Real Madrid

Liverpool last 5 matches:
24/04/18 Liverpool 5 – 2 Roma
28/04/18 Liverpool 0 – 0 Stoke City
02/05/18 Roma 4 – 2 Liverpool
06/05/18 Chelsea 1 – 0 Liverpool
13/05/18 Liverpool 4 – 0 Brighton

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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Villarreal vs Real Madrid
Competition: Spanish Primera Division
Date: 19 May 2018
Kick-off Time: 19:45 BST
Venue: Estadio de la Ceramica, Villarreal

Villarreal team score twice in the final quarter to come from behind and draw with Real Madrid in their final game of the season in La Liga.

Real Madrid: 11' Gareth Bale 0-1 // 32' Cristiano Ronaldo 0-2 // 
Villarreal: 71' Roger Martinez 1-2 // 85' Samuel Castillejo 2-2 

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Monday, May 14, 2018

Newcastle United vs Chelsea - Competition: Premier League
Date: 13 May 2018 - Kick-off Time: 15:00 BST
Venue: St. James’ Park 

Chelsea team have to settle for a UEL spot following a 3-0 loss to Newcastle United on the final day of the season In English Premier League.

Newcastle United 3-0 Chelsea:
23' Dwight Gayle 1-0 // 59' Ayoze Perez 2-0 // 63' Ayoze Perez 3-0 

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Sunday, May 6, 2018

Barcelona vs Real Madrid - Competition: Spanish La Liga
Date: 6 May 2018 - Kick-off Time: 19:45 BST
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona
Barcelona have already wrapped up the La Liga BBVA title with a 4-2 win over Deportivo last weekend. They have won 26 of their last 28 home matches and can now become the first team in La Liga history to go unbeaten throughout the entire season. Plus, the Blaugrana have failed to score only once in their last 29 home league games. They have recently beaten Valencia (2-1) and Sevilla (0-5 in Copa del Rey Final) and held Celta Vigo (2-2) to a draw with ten men.
Ernesto Valverde has no injury concerns ahead of the Clasico and is expected to name his best starting XI. That would see Leo Messi and Luis Suarez spearheading the attack, supported by Philippe Coutinho and Andres Iniesta on the flanks. The likes of Sergi Busquets and Ivan Rakitic will anchor the midfield. Sergi Roberto should slot in at right-back, with the likes of Jordi Alba, Samuel Umtiti and Gerard Piquè completing the four man backline.
Fresh from securing their third UCL final spot in a row - and fourth in five seasons - Real Madrid team enter the Clasico in good form as they are unbeaten in their last eight La Liga games. They have struggled for consistency and have failed to make an impact this campaign. Plus, their Champions League performance against Juv and Bayern were severley conditioned by referees' mistakes. The Blancos are undefeated in 23 of their last 25 away matches. Anyway, Zidane's side suffered a 3-0 home defeat at the hands of their eternal rivals back in December.
Dani Carvajal and Isco both missed Real Madrid's midweek Champions League semifinal and are major doubts here. Nacho should fill in at centre-back, with Raphael Varane struggling midweek due to injury. As a result, Lucas Vazquez could play once again as right back, with Marcelo retaining his berth on the other flank. No suprises are expected in midfield and up front. Luka Modric, Casemiro and Toni Kroos should start in the middle of the park, with Isco supporting Karim Benzema and Ronaldo upfront. Gareth Bale and Marcos Asensio provide viable alternatives.
Probable lineups:
FC Barcelona: ter Stegen – S.Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, J.Alba – Busquets, Rakitic, Iniesta, Coutinho – Messi, L.Suarez.
Real Madrid: Navas – Vazquez, Nacho, Ramos, Marcelo – Casemiro, T.Kroos, Modrić – Asensio, Benzema, Ronaldo.
Barcelona last 5 matches:
10/04/18 Roma 3 – 0 Barcelona
14/04/18 Barcelona 2 – 1 Valencia
17/04/18 Celta 2 – 2 Barcelona
21/04/18 Sevilla 0 – 5 Barcelona
29/04/18 Deportivo 2 – 4 Barcelona

Real Madrid last 5 matches:
15/04/18 Malaga 1 – 2 Real Madrid
18/04/18 Real Madrid 1 – 1 Athletic Club
25/04/18 Bayern Munchen 1 – 2 Real Madrid
28/04/18 Real Madrid 2 – 1 Leganes
01/05/18 Real Madrid 2 – 2 Bayern Munchen

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