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3-3 draws with flashes of South American flair – Benfica’s journey to the last 16

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Ahead of their exciting round of 16 clash with Dortmund, we look back at the Portuguese giants’ UEFA Champions League journey so far

The UEFA Champions League has reached the business end of the competition. It’s knockout football. There is no margin for error, there can be no more slip-ups. Ahead of the round of 16, we take a closer look at how Benfica made it through the group stage and assess their chances of marching into the quarter-finals.

THE JOURNEY SO FAR
Benfica Dynamo Kiev 11012016 UCL

Benfica edged over the line with the lowest qualifying points-total in this season’s group stage, having only won two of their six matches. They are yet to really hit form in the competition, but, if they do so in the last 16, they will no doubt provide serious opposition to German powerhouse Dortmund.

MOST EXCITING MOMENT
Besiktas Benfica UCL 11232016

The most thrilling night of the Portuguese club’s UCL campaign thus far was no doubt the six-goal thriller versus Besiktas in Istanbul on Matchday 5. In a game of two halves, Benfica put in their finest 45 minutes of the season to race to a three-goal lead by the break. A remarkable second-half fightback saw the game end in a disappointing draw, but one that ultimately sealed their qualification.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE
Napoli celebrating vs Benfica

Coming into Matchday 6, there was everything to play for in the most exciting group in this season’s competition. Benfica hosted Napoli with both teams locked on eight points. With Besiktas just one behind and up against already-eliminated FC Dynamo Kyiv, there appeared no room for error. Benfica fell 2-1, but squeezed through after Besiktas suffered a shock 6-0 defeat in Ukraine.

STAR PLAYER
Eduardo Salvio Benfica

No Benfica player saw more UCL action than the 474 minutes from Eduardo Salvio in the group stage. The flying Argentinian forward is also his team’s top-scorer in the competition thus far, having successfully converted three penalties in the 2016-17 Champions League. Quick, penetrative, inventive and a constant goal-threat, he will be key to Benfica’s hopes of securing a quarter-final place.

CHANCES OF PROGRESSION

Raul Jimenez Benfica

Benfica also hit ten goals in their six matches so have the firepower to cause Tuchel’s side problems, but will face a very tough task against a Dortmund side that broke the record for goals scored in a single UEFA Champions League group stage after netting 21 in their six games. Talented young Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson will no doubt have a big role to play.

Source: www.goal.com

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Football

Jordan Ayew tops English Premier League sprint chart after 16 matches

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Ghana forward Jordan Ayew has been rated as the player with most sprints in the English Premier League after 16 round of games.

The Swansea City attacker has always been faced with criticisms for his lack of work ethos when playing for the Ghana’s senior national team.

But the former Olympique Marseille man appears to have had the best statistics in arguably the world’s best championship in terms of a player that has made the most sprints in the league after 16 matches

The 25-year-old heads the list of the 10 players ahead of speedsters including Hector Bellerin of Arsenal, Delle Alli of Tottenham and Richarlison of Watford.

According to the Express.co.uk, with their high intensity and counter-attacking football, Manchester City have wracked up the most sprints so far this season with a whopping 6198.

However, relegation-threatened West Ham have managed a measly 4942.

Surprisingly, Manchester United only have the 15th highest amount of sprints with 5210.

Even though Manchester City have wracked up the most sprints as a team, no individual star of Pep Guardiola’s side makes the top 10.

So which Premier League ace has sprinted the most times?

1. Jordan Ayew (Swansea) – 796 sprints

2. Delle Alli (Tottenham) – 742 sprints

3. Jay Rodriguez (Burnley) – 715 sprints

4. Hector Bellerin (Arsenal)- 695 sprints

5. Tom Cleverley (Watford) – 695 sprints

6. Tom Ince (Huddersfield) – 683 sprints

7. Abdoulaye Doucore (Watford) – 682 sprints

8. Richarlison (Watford) – 677 sprints

9. Erik Pieters (Stoke) – 669 sprints

10. Pascal Gross (Brighton) – 662 sprints

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Pots announced for Final Draw

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With Peru completing the line-up of 32 teams for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, we now know the seeding pots for the Final Draw on 1 December.

It was confirmed in September, by the Organising Committee for FIFA Competitions, that all teams will be allocated to (eight-team) pots 1 to 4 based on sporting principles. The October 2017 edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be used to allocate all qualified teams to the four pots according to their ranking in descending order, after hosts Russia who take the top seeding spot.

With those factors in mind, here are the final pots for the Final Draw:

POT 1 Russia, Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland, France
POT 2 Spain, Peru, Switzerland, England, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay, Croatia
POT 3 Denmark, Iceland, Costa Rica, Sweden, Tunisia, Egypt, Senegal, Iran
POT 4 Serbia, Nigeria, Australia, Japan, Morocco, Panama, Korea Republic, Saudi Arabia

It is worth remembering that the principle of drawing the teams into the groups will remain unchanged. This means that no teams from the same confederation, with the exception of UEFA, which could have up to two teams in the same group, will be drawn into the same group.

The Final Draw will take place on Friday 1 December at Moscow’s State Kremlin Palace.

fifa.com

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« We do not want him at Real Madrid anymore »

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Real Madrid are in a bad situation in the league, the club of Casa Blanca is currently third in Liga behind Valencia and Barça, the Catalans have taken a big lead, and this could definitely make them lose the championship in the winter. And a Madrid club player is highlighted in these poor results.

101 million euros for his transfer, 23 injuries since, 73 matches missed or 55% of the matches of his team. Statistics that would drive any coach and / or leaders crazy. You have it ?

These are the figures of Gareth Bale since his arrival at Real Madrid in the summer of 2013 from Tottenham. Whoever has played only nine games in the year 2017/2018 seems to have seriously undermined the patience of its leaders. Just back from a calf injury, he was summoned by the Welsh side to face France in a friendly last Friday, but made the choice to stay in Madrid to prepare for the derby against Atletico Madrid. But, the blow, the Welsh injured during training last Thursday and will be absent about a month.

What continue to fuel the rumors of transfers but especially what cause irritation of the board leader. The latter, tired of not being able to align their triplet « BBC », have made a decision that should be irrevocable, according to the Madrid newspaper AS: It must leave this summer. And the Spanish media also explains that the president of the Madrilenian club, Florentino Perez, added:

« We do not want him at Real Madrid anymore »
Yet strongly criticized last season, Bale had managed to avoid a departure last summer, claiming to want to win at Real Madrid. This year, his start to the season does not plead in his favor and he seems to have exhausted all his jokers in the Spanish capital. The departure of the Welsh international therefore seems to have been recorded.

The rumor of a return to the Premier League, Manchester United in particular, has been reactivated but the number of contenders could quickly evolve in view of the quality of the player. Be careful though, the Welsh is signed until 2022, and Florentino Perez is determined not to sell his player.

Unless a return to its best level, it is difficult to see how the Welsh international could reverse the situation. Zinedine Zidane even found his replacement for 100 million euros.

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