Barcelona 3-1 Olympiakos: Lionel Messi scores 100th European goal as Gerard Pique sees red

Lionel Messi scored his 100th European goal for Barcelona
Lionel Messi scored his 100th European goal for Barcelona

Lionel Messi’s 100th European goal ensured 10-man Barcelona had little trouble in defeating Olympiakos 3-1 at the Nou Camp in the Champions League.

Dimitris Nikolaou turned the ball into his own net in a first half dominated by the hosts, but one which was blemished by the dismissal of Gerard Pique for a second bookable offence.

Even though they had a man less, Barcelona continued to impose themselves on the game, as Messi first scored a free-kick, before assisting Lucas Digne for the third.

Nikolaou had a better memory to take from the game, as he headed home a late consolation for Olympiakos.

Gerard Pique was sent off three minutes before half-time
Gerard Pique was sent off three minutes before half-time

Barcelona dominated from the opening whistle, as Olympiakos set out to limit the damage that would inevitably be inflicted on them at the Nou Camp.

The hosts had all the possession and numerous chances, but it took Olympiakos’ Nikolaou to divert a well-struck Gerard Deulofeu cross into his own net after 18 minutes to hand the hosts the lead.

Player Ratings

Barcelona: Ter Stegen (6), Sergi Roberto (7), Piqué (5), Umtiti (7), Digne (7), Busquets (7), Paulinho (7), Iniesta (8), Deulofeu (6), Luis Suárez (7), Messi (8)

Subs: Mascherano (7), Rakitic (6), Gomes (6)

Olympiakos: Proto (7), Koutris (7), Botía (6), Nikolaou (6), Elabdellaoui (7), Androutsos (6), Romao (7), Carcela (6), Gillet (6), Odjidja (7), Zdjelar (6)

Subs: Djurdjevic (6), Pardo(6), Fortounis (6)

Man of the match: Andres Iniesta

There seemed to be no chance of the visitors getting back into the game until Pique diverted a rebound from a Deulofeu shot into the back of the net with his right hand. As the defender had already been booked earlier for pulling back an opponent, the referee had no choice but to send him off.

Team news

Gerard Deulofeu was given the role of the third forward by Ernesto Valverde, as Barcelona looked to attack their lesser visitors.

Messi reached his milestone after he was the victim of a crude foul from Nikolaou 25 yards from goal. The Argentine then stepped up to curl the ball over the wall and into the net, despite the efforts of the goalkeeper.

Moments later Messi took the ball to the byline, before jabbing it across the box where Digne was waiting, allowing the Frenchman to smash in the third for Barcelona from the edge of the area.

After a game to forget on the big stage for youngster Nikolaou, he was given one moment to remember as he headed home a corner to earn a late consolation for his team.

Man of the match: Andres Iniesta

In tough conditions for all involved, the Barcelona captain kept things ticking over and put the pressure on the Greeks, to make sure it didn’t look like the hosts were a man down.

Iniesta’s experience was key after Pique’s sending off. It was no surprise that Barcelona boasted 739 passes during the game when you have the likes of Iniesta pulling strings in the middle of the park.

What’s next?

Barcelona host Malaga as they look to improve their position at the top of the league on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports Football from 7.30pm.

Olympiakos host top of the Greek League PAOK, who they hope they can close the current four-point gap on when they face each other on Sunday night.

Chelsea 3-3 Roma: Eden Hazard header rescues point for hosts

Eden Hazard struck with 15 minutes to go in an entertaining 3-3 draw
Eden Hazard struck with 15 minutes to go in an entertaining 3-3 draw

Eden Hazard scored his first two goals of the season, but Chelsea were still held to a 3-3 draw by Roma in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

Chelsea appeared to be cruising towards a comfortable win after strikes from David Luiz and Hazard, only for Aleksandar Kolarov to pull a goal back for Roma five minutes before half-time.

The visitors continued their fightback in the second period as two Edin Dzeko efforts – the second reminiscent of Marco van Basten’s famous volley for the Netherlands at Euro 88 – put them in front.

However, Hazard was on hand to rescue a point for the hosts after heading in Pedro’s cross 15 minutes from a time, a draw that keeps Chelsea top of Group C at the halfway stage.

Player ratings

Chelsea: Courtois (7), Cahill (6), Christensen (5), Azpilicueta (7), Alonso (6), Fabregas (6), Bakayoko (6), Zappacosta (6), Luiz (7), Morata (6), Hazard (8)

Subs: Rudiger (7), Willian (6), Pedro (7)

Roma: Alisson (6), Juan (6), Kolarov (8), Fazio (8), Peres (6), Nainggolan (7), Strootman (8), Gonalons (6), Perotti (9), Dzeko (8), Gerson (7)

Subs: Pellegrini (6), Florenzi (6), El Shaarawy (6)

Man of the match: Diego Perotti

The home team took an 11th-minute lead when Luiz, playing in midfield, strode forward and unleashed a long-range effort that rebounded back to him off a Roma defender.

The Brazilian, though, made no mistake with his second effort, beating Alisson with a delightful curler from 25 yards out.

However, Roma were causing their opponents any number of problems on the break, and Radja Nainggolan really should have equalised just past the half-hour mark, only to shoot too close to Thibaut Courtois when well placed.

Hazard celebrates scoring Chelsea's second goal
Hazard celebrates scoring Chelsea’s second goal

The visitors were then made to pay for that miss when Chelsea doubled their lead eight minutes before the break, but again their goal was slightly fortunate.

Hazard picked up possession just inside Roma’s half, before surging forward and playing a one-two with Alvaro Morata on the edge of the area. The striker then attempted a shot on goal that was deflected straight into Hazard’s path, with the Belgian making no mistake for his first goal since the final day of last season.

That two-goal lead was short-lived, though, with Roma halving the deficit less than two minutes later when Kolarov’s fierce drive from the left edge of the area took a slight deflection off Andreas Christensen, with the ball looping in over a helpless Courtois.

Team news

Chelsea made three changes from the loss to Crystal Palace, with Alvaro Morata back after a hamstring injury, while Davide Zappacosta replaced the Victor Moses and Andreas Christensen came into the back three.
Kevin Strootman started for Roma after missing the weekend loss to Napoli.

And the visitors then turned the game on its head after the break, striking twice in the space of six minutes through Dzeko, the forward’s 58th and 59th goals for the club in just 100 matches.

The Bosnian’s first strike was a sensational first-time volley after being picked out by Federico Fazio’s ball over the top, while his second was a deft header to nod in Kolarov’s free-kick from the left edge of the box.

Chelsea avoided a third straight loss for the first time in 11 years, however, when the unmarked Hazard nodded in Pedro’s right-wing cross to end a breathless night at Stamford Bridge.

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Opta stats

  • Roma have never won an away game against English opposition in the Champions League (D3 L6).
  • Eden Hazard scored his first Champions League goals since March 11th 2015 vs PSG – 952 days ago.
  • Hazard’s two goals on Wednesday were more than he had managed in his previous 14 games in all competitions for Chelsea (1).
  • This is the first time that a team managed by Antonio Conte has conceded three goals in a Champions League game.
  • Chelsea have scored four goals from outside the box in the Champions League this season, more than any other team.
  • Roma have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 23 away games in the Champions League.
  • Six of David Luiz’s last seven goals for Chelsea in all competitions have come from outside the box
  • Edin Dzeko made his 100th appearance for AS Roma in all competitions and has netted 59 goals so far

Man of the Match – Diego Perotti

The little Argentine was a thorn in Chelsea’s side all night long, with the home team’s back three unable to cope with his trickery and dancing feet.

And while the winger was not directly involved in any of Roma’s three goals, his influence down the left helped create space in other areas of the pitch for his team-mates to exploit.

What’s next?

Chelsea entertain Watford at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Saturday lunchtime, a match you can see live on Sky Sports Premier League.

FIFA 18 player ratings: Mesut Ozil and Paul Pogba in latest batch of rankings

Mesut Ozil has been rated higher than Paul Pogba by EA Sports
Mesut Ozil has been rated higher than Paul Pogba by EA Sports

FIFA 18 have released the third batch of player ratings, with Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil and Manchester United’s Paul Pogba included.

With September now in full flow, fans of the EA Sports game only have to wait until later this month to get their hands on the latest edition, which is due for release on September 29.

To whet the appetite, EA Sports are this week announcing the top 100 players in the game. We revealed 100-81 on Tuesday80-61 on Wednesday60-41 on Thursday, and today we have reached the top 40.

Top 40-31 players

Player Team
40 Christian Eriksen Tottenham
39 Arturo Vidal Bayern Munich
38 Marcelo Real Madrid
37 Edinson Cavani PSG
36 Paul Pogba Man Utd
35 N’Golo Kanté Chelsea
34 Marco Verratti PSG
33 Jérôme Boateng Bayern Munich
31 Zlatan Ibrahimović Man Utd

The game developers have continued their countdown by releasing the players ranked between 31-40.

Ozil, who has been criticised for his performances for Arsenal this season, features in this group of players, ranking at 32 in the list, while Pogba is below him at 36.

Other Premier League players in this section include Christian Eriksen (40), N’Golo Kante (35) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (31).

Use the hashtag #FIFA18Ratings to join the conversation.

For a full list of the top players revealed so far, visit: https://www.easports.com/fifa/fifa-18-player-ratings-top-100

Antonio Conte hits back at Jose Mourinho after Chelsea draw with Roma

Antonio Conte has hit back at Jose Mourinho's comments about Chelsea's injury situation
Antonio Conte has hit back at Jose Mourinho’s comments about Chelsea’s injury situation

 

Antonio Conte has told Jose Mourinho to stop talking about Chelsea after the Manchester United boss suggested the Italian was “crying” about his injury situation.

Mourinho, speaking after United’s 1-0 win in Lisbon on Wednesday night, did not name names but it was clear he was thinking of his former club Chelsea and Conte, his successor as boss, when he talked of other managers who “cry and cry and cry” about injuries.

And, when the subject was broached after Chelsea’s 3-3 draw with Roma, Conte retaliated.

“A lot of time Mourinho has to see what happens at Chelsea,” Conte said.

“A lot of time, also last season. I think he has to think about his team and stop… to look at himself, not the others.”

Chelsea are already without N’Golo Kante, Victor Moses (both hamstring) and Danny Drinkwater (calf).

And David Luiz suffered a calf injury against Roma which could make him doubtful for Saturday’s clash with Watford, when Chelsea will be seeking to avoid three straight Premier League losses after defeats to Manchester City and
Crystal Palace.

Eden Hazard celebrates after scoring Chelsea's second goal
Eden Hazard celebrates after scoring Chelsea’s second goal

Tiemoue Bakayoko, meanwhile, played on despite a groin problem, while Conte played down concerns over captain Gary Cahill after the defender finished the game with a heavily bandaged head, saying it was “nothing serious”.

Chelsea had surrendered a two-goal lead, earned through strikes from David Luiz and Eden Hazard, to trail 3-2 with 20 minutes remaining.

Edin Dzeko’s quick-fire double, after fellow former Manchester City man Aleksandar Kolarov’s strike, looked like handing the visitors victory before Hazard headed in an equaliser.

It meant Chelsea avoided what would have been the first three-match losing streak under Conte’s stewardship.

Conte, who deployed defender Luiz in midfield, admitted his tactics contributed to Chelsea being second best.

David Luiz celebrates after his curling effort put Chelsea ahead against Roma
David Luiz celebrates after his curling effort put Chelsea ahead against Roma

When Luiz went off for Pedro, Chelsea reverted to their usual 3-4-3 formation.

“I didn’t like the type of football we did for a lot of the game, but it’s right to take the responsibility for this,” Conte said.

“I tried on one hand to protect my team, to become more solid and to move our central defender into midfield. On the other hand we lost totally our style of football.

“Sometimes you have to find the right solution to try to protect your team. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. But you know very well our situation.

“It was good to draw. Roma deserved this result. I have to praise my players, because my players showed me a big effort, a big commitment tonight. Otherwise, we lose the game.”

Man United boss Jose Mourinho unsure about extent of Marcus Rashford’s knee injury

Jose Mourinho admits he is unsure about the extent of the knee injury which forced Marcus Rashford off during Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Benfica on Wednesday.

The England international, who scored the game’s only goal from a free-kick, went down holding his knee in the 76th minute and had to be replaced by Anthony Martial.

United resume their Premier League campaign on Saturday with a trip to Huddersfield and Mourinho is uncertain if he will be available, though he does expect Phil Jones to return to the starting line-up.

 

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“With Rashford, I thought it was cramp because he was running so much – I thought it was muscular fatigue,” Mourinho said.

“But no, he told me he felt something in his knee. It didn’t look to me like a big thing but we don’t know.

“Phil Jones was on the bench because he felt that if we really needed him, he could [play]. So if he was at that stage today, on Saturday I think he will be in a condition to play. For Eric Bailly, I think it will be difficult.

“Hopefully some of them [can return at Huddersfield] but I don’t know. I don’t know about Paul, I don’t know about Fellaini.”