Porto, Apr 18 (AP/UNB) — For the second year in a row, Porto had no answer to Liverpool's attacking trio of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.
A year after the forwards scored all goals in a 5-0 rout of the Portuguese champions in the round of 16 of the Champions League, the trio combined again to lead Liverpool back to the semifinals of the European tournament.
They netted a goal each in a comfortable 4-1 win over Porto on Wednesday, with Virgil van Dijk also scoring as Liverpool advanced 6-1 on aggregate after winning the first leg 2-0 at home.
Liverpool, which lost in the final last season, will now face Barcelona, which eliminated Manchester United 4-0 on aggregate on Tuesday. Tottenham advanced on away goals despite a 4-3 loss at Manchester City in the other quarterfinal on Wednesday.
Mane had a hat trick at the Estadio do Dragao last season, with Salah and Firmino adding a goal each. The Senegalese player led the way again this time, opening the scoring with a 26th-minute goal that was confirmed by video review after being initially disallowed for offside.
Porto had started well and showed signs it might be able to reverse the first-leg deficit, but Liverpool took control after Mane's goal and cruised to victory.
"We knew they wouldn't be able to keep up the pressure of the first 30 minutes," Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp said. "In the second half Porto's energy levels dropped, so it was easier for us to control the game."
Liverpool had barely gotten close to Iker Casillas's goal when Salah picked up a pass inside the area and sent a low pass to Mane, who came sliding in behind the defenders near the far post to score his 14th goal in 21 Champions League appearances.
Mane looked offside at first, and few Liverpool players complained when the flag went up, but video review showed he was in legal position before making his run to the ball.
"I was thinking it was offside, to be honest," Mane said. "I was surprised."
The goal hurt Porto's morale and the team struggled to keep pushing forward. The pace slowed significantly and Liverpool took advantage, with Salah finding the net from inside the area after a pass by Trent Alexander-Arnold on a quick counterattack in the 65th.
Firmino, who came off the bench after halftime, and Van Dijk added to the lead with late headers — in the 77th and 84th minutes, respectively. Porto's lone goal came through a 69th-minute header by Militao, the defender who is joining Real Madrid at the end of the season.
Mane could have scored his second goal of the game in the 73rd but he missed an open net after dribbling past Casillas on a breakaway.
Porto, which eliminated Roma in the round of 16, had won all of its four home games in the Champions League this season, outscoring opponents 11-3.
It was playing in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2014-15, and was trying to reach the semifinals for the first time since it won the tournament in 2004 under Jose Mourinho for its biggest triumph.
After eliminating the Portuguese champions last season, Liverpool eventually made it to the final and lost to Real Madrid.
Porto was boosted by the return of two key players who missed the first leg because of yellow-card suspensions: captain Hector Herrera and defender Pepe, a three-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid.
"The result is unfair, but these things happen in football," Pepe said. "We had a fantastic Champions League campaign."
Klopp made a series of changes to the lineup from the first leg, revamping the midfield and using Firmino as a second-half substitute.
Dhaka, April 17 (UNB) – Dhaka Division made a good start in the Sheikh Kamal U-20 National Football Tournament beating Rangpur Division by 2-0 goals in one of the two opening day’s matches at the Bir Shrestha Munshi Abdur Rouf Stadium in Narail on Wednesday.
Shohan put Dhaka Division ahead in the 10th minute while Jashim confirmed the victory adding one more goal in the 91st minute.
In the day’s other match at Sankar Gobindha Chowdhury Stadium in Natore, Chattogram Division played to a 1-1 draw with Rajshahi Division.
After a barren first half, Parvez scored for Chattogram Division in the 53rd minute while Ashraful neutralized the margin for Rajshahi Division in the 58th minute.
Dhaka, April 17 (UNB)- The 6-time Bangladesh Professional Football League champions Dhaka Abahani Limited split points with Indian I –League champions Minerva Punjab in a 2-2 draw in their 2nd Group E match of the AFC Cup 2019 at the floodlight Bangabandhu National Stadium here on Wednesday.
Nabib Newaz Ziban and Sunday Chizoba Nwadialu scored one each for the traditional sky-blue Dhanmondi outfit while skipper Mahmoud Al Amna and Sreyas Valiyaveettu Gopalan scored for touring Indian side Minerva Punjab.
The day’s other Group E match between Chennaiyin FC of India and Manang Marshyangdi Club of Nepal was in progress at the time of filing this report, goalless after 41 minutes.
Abahani which are very much serious for a victory against Minerva Punjab for their dream first-ever 2nd round berth of the prestigious Asian meet after beating Nepalese champions Manang Marshyangdi Club 1-0 in group opener in Kathmandu on April 3, made a consolation draw to keep their top slot in four-team group intact with unbeaten run.
Minerva Punjab, which won just four matches from 19 encounters in the I-league 2018-19, started their AFC Cup 2019 campaign with a goalless draw against compatriots Chennaiyin FC at the Arena Stadium in Ahmedabad, also on April 3.
In the day’s match at BNS, Minerva Punjab took 1-0 lead in the 16th minute. Syrian skipper Mahmoud Al Amna netted the first goal for the Indian team, utilizing a cross of forward Lalmuanpuia Samuel (1-0).
But rampant Abahani continued their attacks and got a quick-relief in the 19thminute. Local boy Nabib Newaz Ziban levelled the margin for the Dhanmondi outfit from an exceptional pass by Haiti-recruit Kervens Belfort (1-1).
Punjab booters recovered quickly and came back soon into the game. Both of the teams continued their attacks. Abahani missed several chances to double the score.
In the 42nd minute, a misstep by Abahani defenders handed another success to Punjab. This time, forward Sreyas Valiyaveettu Gopalan, who replaced midfielder Harminder Singh in the 40th minute, doubled the score for his side (2-1).
Abahani then got second success in the 48th minute. Nigerian Sunday Chizoba Nwadialu levelled the score for the hosts from a direct free-kick by veteran defender Waly Faisal (2-2).
However, this was the first ever meeting between Dhaka Abahani and Minerva Punjab in AFC Cup. Abahani, won one of the six home matches in the AFC Cup, may register their second victory.
Dhaka Abahani First XI: Shahidul Alam Sohel (GK & C), Raihan Hasan, Nabib Newaz Ziban, Waly Faisal, Sunday Chizoba Nwadialu, Masih Saighani, Kervens Belfort, Wellington Priori, Rubel Miya, Sohel Rana, Md Atiqur Rahman Fahad
Minerva Punjab First XI: Bhaskar Roy (GK), Omolaja Nurain Kareem, Mahmoud Al Amna (C), Kalif Alhasan, Lalmuanpuia Samuel, Robert Primus, Akashdeep Singh, Souvik Das, Makan Winkle Chothe, Harminder Singh, Amandeep Singh
Remaining Group E Fixture of AFC Cup:
April 30: Chennaiyin FC vs Dhaka Abahani- 7:30 (BST)- India
May 1: Minerva Punjab vs Manang Marshyangdi Club- 6:30 (BST)- India
May 15: Dhaka Abahani Ltd. vs Chennaiyin FC- 7:00 (BST)- Bangladesh
May 15: Manang Marshyangdi Club vs Minerva Punjab- 3:00 (BST)- Nepal
June 19: Dhaka Abahani Ltd. vs Manang Marshyangdi Club- 5:45 (BST)- Bangladesh
June 19: Minerva Punjab vs Chennaiyin FC- 6:30 (BST)- India
June 26: Minerva Punjab vs Dhaka Abahani Ltd.- TBC- India
June 26: Manang Marshyangdi Club vs Chennaiyin FC- TBC- Nepal
Dhaka, Apr 17 (UNB)- Bangladesh footballers will play against Laos in the round-1 of the preliminary joint qualifications for FIFA World Cup 2022 and AFC Asian Cup 2023.
The draw held at the AFC headquarters in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, confirmed Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF).
A total of 12 Asian nations will participate in the round-1 of both the tournaments.
The teams are: Bangladesh, Laos, Mongolia, Brunei Darussalam, Macau, Sri Lanka, Laos, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Timor-Leste, Cambodia, Pakistan, Bhutan and Guam.
The first leg of the round-1 will be held on June 6 with the return leg scheduled to kick-off on June 11. The six winners will join top 34 Asian teams in the round 2 qualifiers, scheduled to be held in September.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh ranked 188th and 41st in the FIFA International Ranking and AFC Ranking respectively while Laos remained 184th and 38th.
The draw result:
Bangladesh vs Laos
Mongolia vs Brunei Darussalam
Macau vs Sri Lanka
Malaysia vs Timor-Leste
Cambodia vs Pakistan
Bhutan vs Guam
Barcelona, Apr 17 (AP/UNB) — Lionel Messi made sure there was no memorable Champions League comeback for Manchester United at Camp Nou this time.
Messi scored two early goals to help Barcelona beat United 3-0 on Tuesday and reach the Champions League semifinals for the first time in four seasons with a 4-0 aggregate score.
United had arrived at Camp Nou hoping to take inspiration from its Champions League final victory twenty years ago, when current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer capped a comeback against Bayern Munich by scoring the winner in injury time.
But Messi showed that past glories mean very little when he is playing at his best.
His first goal was had plenty of the familiar Messi magic, as he ghosted past a defender and bent the ball just inside the upright.
The second was largely thanks to a blunder by David de Gea. Messi only managed a tame shot on goal but the Spain goalkeeper let it slip underneath him and into the net.
"The image (we gave) was spectacular. This is who we are," Messi said. "I was fortunate the first went in, I struck it hard and just inside the post. I needed a little more luck on the second. The important thing is that we achieved our goal. We have taken one more step (to the title)."
After not managing a single shot on target at Old Trafford in the first leg, United looked a lot more dangerous going forward at the start. But after Marcus Rashford hit the crossbar, Messi took over with his tournament-leading ninth and 10th goals of the season.
"Messi and Cristiano (Ronaldo) have been the best players in the world for the past decade," Solskjaer said. "And he showed why we think that and why he has won so many titles. If you give him space and timing around the goal he will create chances and score."
Ronaldo will not be joining Messi in Europe's final four.
Ajax stunned Ronaldo's Juventus 2-1 to progress to the semifinals in Tuesday's other match. Donny van de Beek canceled out Ronaldo's opener before Matthijs de Ligt took the winner to let the Dutch visitors advance 3-2 overall.
The Barcelona crowd, which for so long viewed Ronaldo as its main nemesis when he was with Real Madrid, celebrated the Ajax goals when they were announced on the video monitor.
In the opening leg, Messi had his nose bloodied by the arm of Chris Smalling in a collision that Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde compared to being "run over by a truck."
Messi was back in full force a week later. Far from shying away from contact with rivals, he initiated it with his defense to set an example for his teammates when they were caught off-guard after kickoff.
After Rashford threatened by grazing the bar, Messi outmuscled Ashley Young to win the ball near the right touchline. He then brought the home crowd to its feet as he poked the ball through the legs of Fred, sped along the edge of the box, and drove a left-footed strike around a diving De Gea.
Messi got his double soon with more than a little help from De Gea.
"We started well in the first 15 minutes and I thought, 'We've got something here,'" Solskjaer said. "But then they scored twice in four minutes. ... You could see the difference of the teams tonight. The quality of their finishing was absolutely outstanding."
Messi went close to setting up another goal just before halftime. He made Phil Jones dizzy by changing the direction of his dribble three times. He then played Jordi Alba wide, for the left back to cross the ball to Sergi Roberto arriving at the far post. De Gea made a superb save to block his point-blank effort on the line.
Philippe Coutinho added a third goal with a superb curling strike from long range in the 61st to cap arguably the best performance by the former Liverpool player since joining Barcelona just over a year ago.
Messi cued the attack that ended in Coutinho's goal by playing a long ball down the left to Alba, who knocked it back to the Brazil midfielder to beat De Gea from distance.
The goals ended Messi's bizarre scoring drought in Champions League quarterfinals that had reached 12 matches dating back to 2013.
In total he has 45 goals in 42 games through all competitions this campaign.