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Messi scores first goals since transfer saga in Barca friendly win - beIN SPORTS MENA Breaking News
It did not take long for Lionel Messi to rediscover his scoring touch, stunning Girona with his first strike before a deflected second.
Lionel Messi returned to the scoresheet in style with a brace in Barcelona's 3-1 friendly win over Girona on Wednesday. The Blaugrana captain is set to see out the remaining year of his contract at Camp Nou after failing to secure a move away from his only senior club. Messi was heavily linked with Manchester City but stayed at Barca despite announcing his frustration with the failed negotiations. The number 10 returned to the fold for his side's first pre-season friendly under Ronald Koeman on Saturday, playing the first half against Gimnastic but failing to find the net. Messi put that right against Girona, however, with a stunning right-footed strike from 20 yards crashing against the post and in on the stroke of half-time, although it prompted only an understated celebration. A second followed after the restart, his shot deflecting beyond the wrong-footed goalkeeper and adding to Philippe Coutinho's opener. Messi made way for Ousmane Dembele after 63 minutes and now has one more friendly remaining - the Joan Gamper Trophy against Elche - before Barca's LaLiga campaign begins at home to Villarreal on the weekend of September 26/27.
Atalanta 0-2 Inter: Evergreen Young inspires win to secure runner-up spot - beIN SPORTS MENA Breaking News
Inter finished the 2019-20 Serie A season in second place after Ashley Young starred in a 2-0 win at Atalanta on Saturday.
Ashley Young was Inter's inspiration with a goal and an assist as Antonio Conte's men concluded their 2019-20 Serie A campaign by beating Atalanta 2-0 on the road, in turn securing a second-place finish. Any one of Inter, their hosts and Lazio could have clinched the runner-up spot behind champions Juventus on Saturday, but the Nerazzurri who were second going into the final round of fixtures produced a professional and clinical display away to an Atalanta side that were nowhere near their exhilarating best. Just 50 seconds had elapsed before Danilo D'Ambrosio gave Inter the lead from a pinpoint Young delivery, before the former Manchester United captain scored a gorgeous goal to put Inter in complete control. Atalanta reportedly missing star man Josip Ilicic for personal reasons rarely looked capable of clawing their way back into the contest, but nevertheless finished third for a second season running despite Inter coasting to a straightforward win. Conte's side enjoyed an emphatic start as they took the lead inside the first minute D'Ambrosio heading in Young's cross after Pierluigi Gollini came for the delivery and missed it. Atalanta hardly registered a response and their task doubled in size in the 20th minute, Young this time doing it all alone as he cut in off the left flank and curled a sumptuous 25-yard effort into the bottom-right corner. The curiously subdued hosts finally crafted an opening just before half-time, but once again Young was in the right place for Inter, this time blocking Mario Pasalic's volley after missing Alejandro Gomez's initial cross. Excitement was even rarer in a generally monotonous second half, though Gomez did at least force Samir Handanovic into a necessary save in the 54th minute. Atalanta enjoyed a little pressure in the latter stages, but Duvan Zapata's woeful poked effort was blazed high, before Ruslan Malinovskiy drilled a couple of efforts wide from distance. What does it mean? Inter get the job done as Atalanta's focus appears elsewhere In the grand scheme, Saturday's result carried little importance. While Atalanta would have surely been pleased to secure a first-ever second-place finish in Serie A, failing to accomplish that does not render their season any less of a success. While their performance against Inter was disappointing, it would be understandable if their attention is already on the upcoming Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain. Evergreen Young Young has taken to Serie A impressively, with his goal involvements here taking him to eight for the season (four goals, four assists) despite only joining Inter midway through the campaign. He also made a crucial block to deny Pasalic when a goal might have given Atalanta the push they needed. Zapata falls short of expectations So often reliable for Atalanta, it was not Zapata's day here. The Colombian had three shots in the match - two were feeble efforts, and the last the a hopeless prodded attempt that sailed well over from inside the box. What's next? These two now turn their attentions toward Europe, with Atalanta set to face PSG in Lisbon on August 12 for their Champions League quarter-final. Inter head to Gelsenkirchen, where they will go up against Spanish side Getafe for a place in the last eight of the Europa League next Wednesday.
Man City CAS appeal against Champions League ban begins this week - beIN SPORTS MENA Breaking News
The Court of Arbitration for Sport will this week hear Manchester City's appeal against their two-year ban from European competition.
Manchester City's appeal against their two-year ban from UEFA competitions will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport this week. The reigning Premier League champions were hit with the punishment in February after they were found to have committed "serious breaches" of UEFA's club licensing and financial fair play (FFP) regulations. UEFA's independent Adjudicatory Chamber of its Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) also fined City 30million (£27.2m) after finding they had overstated sponsorship revenues in accounts submitted to European football's governing body between 2012 and 2016. City have persistently denied wrongdoing in relation to the matter, which stemmed from a series of articles published by Der Spiegel in November 2018, drawing on information purportedly obtained by the whistleblower Football Leaks. "The club has always anticipated the ultimate need to seek out an independent body and process to impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence in support of its position," read a statement at the time from City, who UEFA said had "failed to cooperate" with the investigation. The hearing begins on Monday and whether or not City are able to have their ban cut or quashed is likely to have a huge impact on their future planning. Manager Pep Guardiola is out of contract in June 2021, although the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss reiterated his commitment in the aftermath of UEFA announcing their punishment. "Unless they sack me, which can happen, I will not leave," he said. "Why should I? I love this club, I like to be here, and after we have seen the sentence [appeal] we will focus on what we have to do. "I want to stay to continue to help the club and maintain this level as long as possible. That's not just because I have a contract, we want to fight to the end for the people who support this club." In an interview with HLN last month, star midfielder Kevin De Bruyne suggested he might be happy to stay at City in the event of a reduction to a one-year ban, although a two-year Champions League absence would force him to consider his options. "I'm just waiting," he said "The club told us they are going to appeal, and they are almost 100 per cent sure they are right. That's why I'm waiting to see what will happen. I trust my team. "Once the decision is made, I will review everything. Two years would be long, but in the case of one year I might see." Despite winning six of the past seven domestic trophies on offer in England, Champions League success has proved elusive for City and a pause in trying to tackle that final frontier would be a considerable blow in financial and sporting terms. In this season's competition, which was halted along with the rest of elite European football due to the coronavirus pandemic, goals from Gabriel Jesus and De Bruyne gave them a 2-1 win at Real Madrid in the first leg of a last-16 encounter.
Lewandowski completes Bundesliga set: Opta breakdown of club-by-club record - beIN SPORTS MENA Breaking News
Bayern Munich benefit from his goals, but who suffers the most at the hands of the prolific Robert Lewandowski?
Robert Lewandowski finally completed the Bundesliga set on Saturday, registering a goal against Fortuna Dusseldorf at long last. The prolific striker had tallied 25 unsuccessful shots in five previous meetings with Dusseldorf, making them the only current top-flight team he had failed to score against in his career. However, Lewandowski's wait came to an end with his first attempt at the Allianz Arena - and it could not have been more straightforward. Excellent build-up work by Joshua Kimmich and Thomas Muller set up the Poland international for a simple finish to make it 3-0 for the hosts just before half-time. Lewandowski, who added another with a cheeky back-heeled finish after the break in Bayern's 5-0 victory, has now recorded a goal against all 18 Bundesliga clubs - including the one he currently plays for. So, who suffers the most when coming up against him? Opta is able to provide the answer... HUNGRY LIKE A WOLFSBURG Poor Wolfsburg top the table of Lewandowski victims; he has scored 20 times against them in 18 appearances, though did draw a blank when they met in December. Augsburg sit second on the list but at an even better strike-rate, having managed 19 goals in just 15 games. Lewandowski has bolstered his tally against Schalke this season, grabbing a hat-trick in a 3-0 away triumph back in August before adding another in a 5-0 thrashing after the turn of the year. His exploits in 2019-20 has lifted his total to 17 in 20. Mainz and Werder Bremen have both conceded 16 in 19 and 18 fixtures respectively when in opposition to the frontman, who sits third on the all-time Bundesliga scoring list. FAMILIAR FACES MADE TO SUFFER Before Bayern, there was Borussia Dortmund of course. Lewandowski started his Bundesliga career at Signal Iduna Park, joining from Lech Poznan for a reported fee of 4.5million back in 2010. It was a bargain buy for Dortmund as they went on to win back-to-back league titles under Jurgen Klopp. Now, though, BVB are often on the receiving end as the player they helped turn into a superstar shines for their rivals. Lewandowski left on a free to move to Munich in 2014 and has been making his former employers pay ever since. In 12 league outings against his old club, he has 16 goals. That total includes notching twice in the last two league clashes at the Allianz Arena, games which Bayern have won by an aggregate score of 9-0. LEW RATIO AGAINST CURRENT CLUB In contrast to his exploits against Dortmund, Lewandowski found it tougher to score when coming up against the team he now plays for. His eight Bundesliga contests when facing Bayern yielded a solitary goal - albeit that was the late winner in an April 2012 victory that proved pivotal in the title race. The following month, he was once again the hero for Dortmund with a hat-trick in a resounding 5-2 triumph in the DFB-Pokal final against the same opposition, in the process completing a domestic double for Klopp's crop. These days, it is Bayern fans who celebrate Lewandowski's goals - and there have been plenty of them to enjoy this season. With 43 to his name in all competitions, he has already equalled the most productive season of his career.