Schalke 04 secured first place in Champions League Group B when goals by winger Jose Manuel Jurado and defender Benedikt Howedes gave them a 2-1 win over a tame Benfica on Tuesday.
Benfica were disappointing throughout, but Lyon’s late equalizer in the 2-2 draw against Hapoel Tel Aviv in the night’s other Group B game meant the Portuguese champions finished third and grabbed a Europa League place.
The German team scored with their first real chance of the game when Ivan Rakitic’s cross was chested down by Raul for his fellow Spaniard Jurado to fire in on 19 minutes, with a static Benfica defence caught ball-watching.
Schalke doubled their lead in the 81st minute when Howedes beat an offside trap after a corner to finish coolly from near the penalty spot before Luisao headed in a consolation goal for the hosts.
Lacking aggression going forward, Benfica’s sole clear chance in the first half was a fierce long-distance effort by midfielder Carlos Martins that went just wide.
The Lisbon club have failed to repeat last season’s impressive performances and the fans, already unhappy that the side are eight points adrift of Porto in the domestic league, made their point by booing the team during parts of the game.
Even without putting their foot on the gas, Schalke looked dangerous, with Rakitic and Jurado lively on the flanks and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, combining well with Raul to make the Portuguese side look vulnerable.
Benfica introduced Argentine duo Pablo Aimar and Nicolas Gaitan at halftime but Schalke continued to control the match and came close in the 54th minute when Peer Kluge beat Fabio Coentrao in the box only to send his scuffed effort wide.
The Portuguese team slowly started to threaten and created two chances in quick succession around the 65th minute, with Javi Garcia sending a first-time shot wide and Oscar Cardozo forcing Manuel Neuer to block a powerful drive moments later.
LYON V HAPOEL
Hapoel Tel-Aviv narrowly missed out on qualifying for the Europa League after a thrilling 2-2 draw with French giants Lyon, who leveled five minutes from time to save face against the plucky Israeli side.
Lyon coach Claude Puel has only held on to his job thanks to the European exploits of his team, which had already qualified for the last 16 knockout phase of the competition before Tuesday’s home encounter.
However, the look on club president Jean-Michel Aulas’ face when Eran Zahavi gave Hapoel a 2-1 lead in the 69th minute with a superbly taken overhead kick suggested Puel’s troubles may not be over yet.
Lyon signaled their intentions from the outset and Bafetembi Gomis headed home in the 14th minute, only to be ruled off-side.
However, Hapoel were not in France to make up the numbers and the lively Toto Tamuz pounced on a loose ball and let loose a cannon of a shot that Lyon keeper Hugo Lloris did well to parry.
Moments later, Lyon spurned a great chance to open the scoring when Gomis unselfishly squared for Jean II Makoun while under pressure, however, Vincent Enyeama produced a fine save to stop the Cameroonian midfielder’s shot.
At the other end, Hapoel had the head of Gil Vermut to thank for blocking a goal-bound header from Cris after the Lyon defender rose to meet Miralem Pjanic’s cross.
DECREASED TENSION: The US players’ lawyers said that the soccer federation no longer disputes that the jobs of the women’s and men’s national teams require equal skill Women players suing the US Soccer Federation (USSF) said in in court documents filed on Tuesday that the federation has acknowledged that the jobs of male and female soccer players require equal skill. The language seemed to signal a decrease in tension between the parties after language in documents filed by the federation’s lawyers earlier last month provoked widespread outrage in saying that playing on the men’s national team required a higher level of skill based on speed and strength and carried greater responsibility. The fierce backlash — not only from the women players, but also from sponsors such as Coca-Cola —
A businessman who received millions of dollars for his work on Tokyo’s successful campaign to host the 2020 Olympic Games has said that he played a key role in securing the support of a former Olympics powerbroker suspected by French prosecutors of taking bribes to help Japan’s bid. Haruyuki Takahashi, a former executive at the advertising agency Dentsu, was paid US$8.2 million by the committee that spearheaded Tokyo’s bid for the 2020 Games, financial records showed. Takahashi said the work included lobbying International Olympic Committee (IOC) members such as Lamine Diack, the ex-Olympics powerbroker, and that he gave Diack gifts, including digital
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are planning to play a charity golf match next month with Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, CNBC reported on Wednesday. CNBC, which cited an unnamed person familiar with the negotiations, said that the charity match would be held at an undisclosed location without fans and is being organized by the PGA Tour and AT&T’s WarnerMedia. The negotiations are still being finalized, but the match pitting 15-time major champion Woods and Manning against five-time major winner Mickelson and Brady could be aired on live TV and is unlikely to be featured on pay-per-view, CNBC said. “Discussions
WAIT AND SEE: The estimated cost of postponement started at US$2 billion and has kept rising, but the IOC has yet to say whether it would help pay for the extra expenses Postponing the Tokyo Olympics to next year would make the event more costly for all parties, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) acknowledged on Thursday, although it offered few details on what the final bill might be. Four directors of the Olympic body held a conference call three days after Tokyo’s new dates were finalized, with the Games pushed back to July 23 to Aug. 8 next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the new dates cleared up any uncertainty about the event’s future, there are still plenty of question marks as the committee begins to work with Tokyo organizers and the