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LUKAKU, LAUTARO MARTINEZ HITS BRACE AS INTER EASE PASS SHAKTAR DONETSK TO SET UP EUROPA LEAGUE FINAL WITH SEVILLA.

Internazionale defeated Shakhtar Donetsk 5-0 on Monday in Dusseldorf, setting up a Europa League final meeting with Sevilla on Friday.

Lautaro Martinez opened the scoring after 19 minutes, with the 22-year-old forward heading a Nicolo Barella cross past a helpless Andriy Pyatov to give Inter a 1-0 advantage.

In the opening minutes after the restart, Shakhtar were perhaps unlucky not to be awarded a penalty, when Alessandro Bastoni’s booted clearance from deep in his own area struck the arm of the unaware Roberto Gagliardini. The referee, however, waved play on.

Moments later, the dramatics were at the other end, when only a spectacular save from Pyatov kept Martinez from doubling Inter’s advantage, getting his fingertips to the Argentina international’s ambitious and goal-bound chip.

Moraes nearly levelled the score on the hour mark, but his point-blank header struck Samir Handanovic directly in the hands, and the Nerazzurri goalkeeper quickly gathered up the ball before the Shakhtar No. 10 could pounce on the rebound.

Three minutes later, though, Inter made it 2-0. Danilo D’Ambrosio out-jumped his marker at the far post, directing Marcelo Brozovic’s corner kick past Pyatov to double the Italian club’s advantage.

Martinez added his second goal of the night, all but securing Inter’s place in the final, with little more than 15 minutes to play, wrong-footing Sergey Krivtsov and curling a strike into the far corner. In the next nine minutes, Romelu Lukaku would add a pair of goals to make for a lopsided scoreline in favour of Antonio Conte & Co.

A win in Friday’s final would see Inter lift their first continental trophy since their famous Champions League title under Jose Mourinho in 2010.

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BERNARDO SILVA ATTACK LIVERPOOL FANS ON SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWING UCL OUSTER.

Bernardo Silva has branded Liverpool fans “pathetic” in a scathing rant on social media following Manchester City’s elimination from the Champions League.

The Blues were dumped out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage after losing 3-1 to Lyon on Saturday.

And Silva took to social media to apologise to Man City fans after yet another underwhelming European campaign.

On Twitter, he wrote: “The 2019/2020 season has ended for us in a very disappointing way. To all the fans, we’re sorry for this frustrating season.

“The only thing we can promise is that in 2020/2021 we’ll fight a lot to do much better and get back to winning important things for you guys!”

The Portuguese star then turned his attention to Liverpool as he unleashed a brutal tweet.

He said: “And to all Liverpool fans that have nothing else to do than to come to a Man City player account, I’m also sorry for you but for the wrong reasons…pathetic… go celebrate your titles, or try to find a partner, drink a beer with a friend, read a book… so many options!”

Needless to say, Silva’s outrageous tweet sent social media wild with Virgil van Dijk appearing to respond to his post before deleting it.

One Twitter user wrote: “Stop crying your heart out pal.”

A second tweeted: “We, Liverpool fans, are undefeated. We actually made a man city player cry.”

A third added: “This is so weird. Take your own advice.”

Man City bagged just the League Cup last season after failing to defend their Premier League and FA Cup titles.

They finished second to Liverpool in the league and lost to eventual winners Arsenal in the semi-final of the cup.

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BOURNEMOUTH RELEASE CAPTAIN AND VICE CAPTAIN AFTER RELEGATION.

Bournemouth have released captain and vice captain of the club, Simon Francis and Andrew Surman respectively following their relegation from the Premier League.

Club captain Francis spent eight-and-a-half years on the south coast and his deputy Surman seven, both playing key roles in the club’s rise to the Premier League and five-season stay among the big boys.

A statement released on the club’s official website said: “AFC Bournemouth can confirm that club captain Simon Francis and vice-captain Andrew Surman will not be offered new contracts and have left the club.

“The long-serving pair, whose contracts expired at the end of July, have been an integral part of the club’s rise up the football pyramid, culminating in a five-year stay in the Premier League.

“However, following the Cherries’ relegation last month, it has been agreed that both players will be free to find new clubs, and the club wholeheartedly thanks them for their incredible commitment over the past decade.”

Defender Francis, who played at both right-back and centre-half for the club, made 324 appearances and was appointed skipper during the summer of 2016.

Central midfielder Surman pulled on a Cherries shirt on 226 occasions and played every minute of every top-flight game during the 2015/16 campaign.

Bournemouth have confirmed that full-back Charlie Daniels, who is also out of contract, will train with the club in pre-season as he continues to work his way back from a dislocated knee.

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LUUK DE JONG STARS AS SEVILLA BEAT MANCHESTER UNITED 2-1 TO REACH EUROPA LEAGUE FINAL.


Luuk de Jong scored the winning goal as Sevilla came back from a goal down to beat Manchester United 2-1 on Sunday and reach the final of the Europa League.

Sevilla goalkeeper Yassine Bounou kept his team in the semifinal at 1-1 with a string of saves either side of halftime, before de Jong won it. The Spanish club will look to extend its Europa League record with a sixth title on Friday against either Inter Milan or Shakhtar Donetsk, who play Monday.

With the game at 1-1 and heading for extra time, Sevilla substitute de Jong made the breakthrough in the 78th minute. A cross by Jesus Navas fell kindly for the tall Dutch forward to score his first European goal of the season from close range.

United had taken the lead in the ninth minute with yet another penalty in a season packed with them. Diego Carlos tangled with Marcus Rashford as the United forward had his shot saved, and then Bruno Fernandes stepped up to send the penalty into the top-left corner.

United has been awarded 22 spot kicks in all competitions this season, more than any other club in the five biggest European leagues. Since Fernandes arrived at the club in January, he’s scored eight from the spot.

Sevilla evened the score 17 minutes later with a lightning team move which exposed both of United’s full-backs. Lucas Ocampos’ pass put attacking left-back Sergio Reguilon in space to send a perfectly calculated low cross for onrushing forward Suso to knock into the net on the right flank.

That goal jolted United back into life. Anthony Martial curled a promising shot over the bar before Bounou was forced to parry powerful shots from outside the box by Rashford and Fernandes.

United started the second half in similarly exuberant style, with Bounou forced to save from Martial.

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SHEFFIELD UNITED AGREE DEAL TO SIGN BOURNEMOUTH’S AARON RAMSDALE AS DEAN HENDERSON’S REPLACEMENT.

Sheffield United have reached an agreement with Bournemouth to sign goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale this summer, a report from The Daily Echo claims.

Ramsdale was nearly ever-present for the Cherries during the 2019/2020 Premier League campaign and he caught the eye with 129 saves from his 37 appearances.

With the Cherries’ relegation to the Championship, it was always anticipated that Ramsdale would head for the exit door and he now appears on the cusp of re-signing for Sheffield.

The Blades sanctioned the sale of Ramsdale to the Cherries for just £800,000 in January 2017, but they included a 15% sell-on clause on any future transfer.

Earlier this month, Jason Tindall’s side turned down an initial bid of £12m from the Blades, but they have now reluctantly accepted a second offer worth £18.5m.

It is reported that the Cherries have compensated for the sell-on clause by accepting a reduced fee than their original asking price of around £25m.

With Ramsdale set to return to Bramall Lane, it is quite clear that the club won’t re-acquire the services of Dean Henderson from Manchester United this summer.

Henderson has been an influential figure in goal for the Blades on loan over the past couple of seasons and it remains to be seen whether his future lies next term.

The young Englishman is reluctant to act as the deputy to David de Gea and it won’t come as a surprise, if he is loaned out to another club following a contract extension.

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BARCELONA TO PAY HUMILIATING FEE TO LIVERPOOL IF COUTINHO WINS CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WITH BAYERN MUNCHEN.

Barcelona could face the embarrassing prospect of having to pay Liverpool €5m (£4.5m) if Philippe Coutinho wins the Champions League with Bayern Munich this season.

The Catalan giants splashed the cash on the Brazilian attacking midfielder in 2018 in an eye-watering deal worth around £142m, but he failed to impress at the Nou Camp and has spent this season on loan at Munich.

On Friday he came off the bench for the Bundesliga champions to haunt his parent club in the Champions League and score two goals to add insult to injury in a brutal 8-2 thumping.

And as if that was not humiliating enough for Barcelona, it could get even worse if Bayern go all the way and win the tournament.

The deal to sign Coutinho from Liverpool included a number of potential add-on clauses, but incredibly they are player-specific rather than club-specific.

One of those clauses was that Barcelona would pay Liverpool £4.5m if Coutinho won the Champions League in either the 2018-19 or 2019-20 season, but it does not specify that it had to be while playing for them.

Bayern are arguably the favourites to win the competition following their stunning showing on Friday, and face the winners of Saturday’s Manchester City v Lyon clash in the semi-final before a potential final on Sunday.

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UGANDA ATHLETE BREAKS 5000 METERS WORLD RECORD AT THE DIAMOND LEAGUE.

Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda broke a 16-year-old world record to win the men’s 5000 meters in 12 minutes, 35.36 seconds at the ongoing Diamond League Games in Monaco.

Cheptegei was 1.99 seconds inside the 12:37.35 set by Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia in 2004.

Cheptegei, who is the 2019 world champion over 10,000m, took 22 seconds off his lifetime best at 5000.

It was the standout performance of a stellar night in the Diamond League meeting that was the first full international gathering of the track and field season.

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BAYERN MUNCHEN CRASH BARCELONA OUT OF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE IN 8-2 ROUT.

Bayern Munich scored eight goals as a humiliated Barcelona crashed out of the Champions League following an 8-2 mauling in Lisbon.

Thomas Muller and Philippe Coutinho both bagged a brace, while Serge Gnabry, Ivan Perisic, Joshua Kimmich and a David Alaba own goal annihilated a poor Barcelona side.

Hansi Flick had guided Bayern to an incredible run of 22 wins in 23 games, with 18 victories in a row and headed into this tie feeling confident after dismantling Chelsea 4-1 in the last-16 knockout round second leg.

It was no surprise to see the German stick to his guns and keep an unchanged starting line-up, while Barcelona head coach Quique Setien made a surprise call to start Arturo Vidal and keep Antoine Griezmann on the bench with a diamond midfield.

Much had been said in the build-up to this game about whether Robert Lewandowski could match up to Lionel Messi. With 53 goals in 44 appearances, it was certainly an argument that held some credibility.

But a big part of Lewandowski’s success was the unheralded Thomas Muller, who had racked up an astonishing 21 assists in the Bundesliga. This time, it was time for the Pole to return the favour – and that he did.

With just four minutes on the clock, Bayern moved it forward down the left with Ivan Perisic lofting a cross to Muller on the edge of the box. He performed an intelligent fake shot, instead exchanging a one-two with Lewandowski and shooting low into the corner past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

It was a brilliant goal which did more to highlight Bayern’s ruthless finishing more than anything. But at the back, the German champions were badly exposed by their extremely high line and paid the price.

Clement Lenglet clipped a ball into Jordi Alba’s path and he squared it to Luis Suarez. But in attempting to clear it, the Austrian managed to loop the ball over his goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and into the top corner. A fine finish, just at the wrong end.

Barcelona had their foot firmly on the gas and were finding space in behind that high line. Two chances arrived in as many minutes, with Suarez denied by Neuer and Messi’s free-kick beating everyone but the post.

As both sides enjoyed spells in possession, it was Bayern’s relentless pressing that helped them retake the lead. Sergi Roberto was swamped by three white shirts and Alphonso Davies passed it wide to Ivan Perisic, whose low strike – with the aid of a dlefection from Lenglet – squeezed past Ter Stegen.

The heavens opened after that strike and Barcelona were quite simply crumbling under the pressure. Thiago’s sublime no-look pass found Lewandowski, who crafted a perfect ball over the top to Serge Gnabry and he finished with composure and precison to extend the advantage to 3-1.

Four minutes later, it was four. Muller was at the right place at the right time to meet Leon Goretzka’s near-post delivery and prodded past the helpless Ter Stegen.

Bayern began to hunt down a Barcelona side lacking composure on the ball and only Lewandowski will know how he didn’t add his name to the growing scoresheet.

Luis Suarez got one back for Barcelona and with half an hour still to go, a comeback was not out of the question.

But Bayern, having brought on Coutinho to face his parent club, were hoping to create something special. And when Alphonso Davies sold Nelson Semedo with a fine piece of skill, Kimmich tapped home to make it five.

The warning signs were there when Lewandowski was denied his goal by the offside there. Still, Barcelona didn’t take notice and began to crumble.

Coutinho dribbled down the left, found Lewandowski in the box and the Pole made it 14 goals in the Champions League – and six for Bayern. VAR took a long time to review the goal for offside, but it stood.

And Setien’s side simply threw in the towel. Coutinho, perhaps acting with a sense of vengence, reacted first after some awful defending from the Blaugrana to tap home. He got a second three minutes later, sliding home into the bottom corner.

The humiliation was truly completed. Setien turned away with a lost look in his eyes and Barca trudged off the pitch in shame. Their worst-ever defeat in Europe – and a capitulation of this kind was a perfect exhibition of just how far they have fallen.

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BARCELONA’S UMTITI TESTS POSITIVE FOR CORONA VIRUS.

Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti has tested positive for coronavirus but is not with the rest of the squad for their Champions League quarter-final with Bayern Munich.

The Frenchman is currently injured and tested positive at Barcelona’s training ground on Thursday.

He is asymptomatic and is self-isolating at home.

Umtiti is the second player to test positive from Barcelona’s squad away from their Champions League preparations after a player tested positive from Tuesday’s round of testing.

The players tested on Tuesday were: Pedri, Trincao, Matheus Fernandes, Jean-Clair Todibo, Moussa Wague, Carles Alena, Rafinha, Juan Miranda and Oriol Busquets.

Barcelona said in a statement: “After the PCR tests carried out on Thursday the first team player Samuel Umtiti has tested positive for Covid-19. The player is asymptomatic, is in good health and is isolating at home.

The club has informed the relevant sporting and health authorities as well as tracing all the people who have had contact with the player so that they can undergo the corresponding PCR tests.”

Barcelona’s out-of-squad players had returned to pre-season training on Wednesday.

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LEIPZIG STUN ATLETICO MADRID TO REACH UCL SEMI-FINAL; FACES PSG NEXT

RB Leipzig overcame the departure of top scorer Timo Werner when they stunned Atletico Madrid 2-1 on Thursday to set up a Champions League semi-final with Paris Saint-Germain.

Dani Olmo headed Leipzig ahead in the 51st minute, youngster Joao Felix levelled for Atletico 20 minutes later from a penalty, but a deflected shot from Tyler Adams won it for Leipzig in the 88th.

Founded only in 2009 and playing in the elite event for the second time, Leipzig dominated possession at the Estadio Jose Alvalade against three-time runners-up Atletico.

The Spanish outfit was a far cry from their last 16 triumph over title holders Liverpool.

The eastern Germans caused a second surprise in a row after ousting last season’s runners-up Tottenham Hotspur in the previous round.

They are the first German club other than Bayern and Borussia Dortmund to reach the last four since Schalke in 2011.

On Tuesday, Leipzig play PSG who won the first quarter-final 2-1 over Atalanta. Both will be bidding for a first-ever place in the final.

“It was hard work. But we deserved victory, we are overjoyed,” Leipzig’s Marcel Sabitzer told streaming portal DAZN.

“We stayed calm after the equaliser, had a little luck and won.”

Yussuf Paulsen took the place of Werner who departed for Chelsea after the end of the German season while there was no place for Felix in Diego Simeone’s starting line-up in a return of the youngster to his home country.

Julian Nagelsmann’s Leipzig got the first chance when Marcel Halstenberg volleyed over the bar in the fourth minute after Atletico failed to clear decisively.

On the other end the lively Yannick Carrasco forced Peter Gulacsi to a first save in the 13th from a tight angle, after a determined run from Renan Lodi down the left.

Six minutes after the break the Germans found the opening, patiently passing the ball around the Atletico penalty area from left to right, and Sabitzer’s cross from the right then met by Olmo’s glancing header into the far right corner.

Felix came on in the 58th and quickly made an impact. He was fouled by Lukas Klostermann and calmly converted the penalty himself in the 71st into the bottom left corner past the diving Gulacsi.

The goal gave Atletico confidence but it was Leipzig who eventually prevailed. The Germans broke on the left and the ball came to the substitute Adams whose shot from some 20 metres deflected by Savic into the net over the wrong-footed Oblak.

Atletico furiously pressed for another equaliser, with even Oblak moving up front, but Leipzig hung on through eight minutes of stoppage time.

The other quarter-finals at the mini-tournament behind closed doors in Lisbon are Bayern Munich against Barcelona on Friday, while Manchester City clash with Olympique Lyon.