PSG draws 1-1 with wasteful Barcelona to reach CL quarters
(AP Photo/Christophe Ena)PARIS – Paris Saint-Germain withstood early pressure from a much-improved but wasteful Barcelona side to draw 1-1 on Wednesday and reach the quarterfinals of the Champions League. Neymar and Messi tormented PSG that night, but there was to be no reply this time. Navas then tipped Sergino Dest’s drive onto the crossbar as Barcelona opened PSG up with its passing and movement. Incessant pressure led to a penalty for Barcelona, again following a VAR check, when Kurzawa was adjudged to have impeded Griezmann. With that miss, some of the belief seemed to sap from Barcelona and the second half was more even.
Big loss to PSG a reality check for Barcelona
But the struggles were far from over for Barcelona, which went on to lose 4-1 in the first leg of the round of 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday. The team looked beaten and bruised after the home loss on Tuesday, with players and coach Ronald Koeman conceding that Barcelona wasn’t up to the task against a better PSG team and admitting that things have to change. PSG, meanwhile, has added top players and has come closer and closer to breaking through with the European title. AdThe Catalan club has made it to the Champions League quarterfinals 13 straight times, last being stopped in the round of 16 in 2007. It was PSG that looked like the big European powerhouse, and it seems that it felt that way for Barcelona players as well.
AP Interview: Pedri brings back brilliance to Barça midfield
Barcelona will play the final after defeating Real Sociedad 3-2 in a penalty shootout after the game ended 1-1. (AP Photo/Jose Breton)BARCELONA – It’s no coincidence that Pedri González conjures up those flashes of exquisite playmaking brilliance that Barcelona fans have been longing for since the days of Andrés Iniesta. Like Iniesta, Pedri is silky smooth with the ball on his feet, with his dribbling and passing in tight spaces. Pedri has scored three goals this season, but it is his passing and footwork with the ball that has set him apart. Twice this season, Pedri has produced no-look flicks with the back of his heel to roll the ball behind to set up Lionel Messi for goals.
Griezmann ends partnership with Huawei, cites Uighurs
Barcelona's Antoine Griezmann reacts after missing a chance during the Champions League group G soccer match between FC Barcelona and Juventus at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)BARCELONA – French soccer player Antoine Griezmann ended his affiliation with Huawei on Thursday, saying there are “strong suspicions” that the Chinese tech giant has contributed to the repression of the mostly Muslim minority Uighurs. The 29-year-old Barcelona forward's announcement followed media reports that Huawei has tested facial recognition software intended to help China's surveillance of the group. “Following strong suspicions that the Huawei company has contributed to the development of a ‘Uighur alert’ thanks to facial recognition software, I am announcing the immediate termination of my partnership with the company,” Griezmann said in an Instagram post. ___More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Barcelona fans relieved after Messi says he will stay
BARCELONA Barcelona fans breathed a collective sigh of relief a day after Lionel Messi said he would wait a year in his desire to seek success elsewhere. Argentine great Messi announced Friday that, despite having told the club he wanted to leave, he would see out the last season on his contract. The 33-year-old forward said he would stay because he wanted to avoid the ugly possibility of going to court to seek his release. Hes Staying was splashed over a huge photo of Messi on the front page of Barcelonas daily Sport on Saturday. It hurt me when people started to doubt my love for this club, Messi said.
Waiting for Messi, Barcelona still reeling after 8-2 loss
A worker holds a shirt with the name of Barcelona soccer player Lionel Messi at a F.C Barcelona store in Barcelona, Spain on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. Barcelona is banking on a face-to-face meeting with Lionel Messi to try to convince him to stay. Talks with Messis father-agent are expected this week in Barcelona but the club also hopes to sit down with the player himself. Messi invoked a clause that allowed him to leave for free at the end of the season, but Barcelona said the clause expired in June. But so far no word from Messi on anything, and as he keeps quiet, Barcelona keeps reeling.
Spanish league forced to deal with another star departing
Barcelona's Lionel Messi leaves the pitch after the the Champions League quarterfinal soccer match between Barcelona and Bayern Munich in Lisbon, Portugal, Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. The Spanish league is about to see another top player leave one of its clubs, all within a four-year span. The league wasnt hugely affected financially after Neymar left Barcelona or Ronaldo left Real Madrid. The league still benefited from Messis presence after Ronaldo left, but now it wouldn't have that same star power anymore. Since Neymar left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain in 2017, Spain gained few top-notch players.
Barca may need youth to get past Napoli, reach CL final 8
Barcelona will be without midfielders Sergio Busquets, Arturo Vidal and Arthur for Saturdays second leg of their round-of-16 tie. The match will be played five months after the Spanish side earned a 1-1 draw at Napoli before the pandemic brought most sports to a halt. Both Rique and Ansu are ready to play, Setin said Friday. Fati, 17, made a huge splash this season by becoming the youngest player to score in the Spanish league and the Champions League, among other precocious scoring milestones. With only 13 first-team players available, Setin has called up seven members of Barcelonas youth squad, including American Konrad de la Fuente.
Champions League to be played at mini-tournament in Lisbon
(AP Photo/Joan Montfort)NYON The Champions League will finish with a 12-day mini-tournament in Lisbon, restarting in August after a five-month suspension caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The unprecedented solution also sees the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul the originally scheduled host for the final pushed back by one year. Both competitions have yet to complete their quarterfinal line-ups with round of 16 games halted. The Champions League had four second-leg games postponed in March at Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Manchester City. In the Europa League, only six of eight first-leg games in the round of 16 were played.
Atltico Madrid forward Joo Flix has minor knee sprain
(AP Photo/Jon Super)MADRID Atltico Madrid said Monday that forward Joo Flix has sprained his left knee. The clubs said tests have shown that the Portuguese forward suffered a low grade ligament sprain and his return to training will depend on how he responds to treatment. The club did not immediately say how long Flix is expected to be sidelined because of the injury, but he is not likely to miss many matches after the Spanish league resumes. Teams have been undergoing group training sessions as the Spanish government gradually lifts confinement restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic. Flix joined Atltico in 2019 amid high expectations after signing from Portuguese club Benfica, touted as a replacement to Antoine Griezmann.