Football/Soccer

Leicester curse controversial penalty as Madrid giants and Monaco record Champions League victories

Leicester's Danny Simpson applauds the supporters at the end of the Champions League quarterfinal first leg soccer match between Atletico Madrid and Leicester City at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid, Wednesday, April 12, 2017. Atletico won 1-0. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco).

Uefa Champions League quarter-final, first leg

Atletico Madrid 1 Leicester City 0

LEICESTER boss Craig Shakespeare questioned referee Jonas Eriksson after Antoine Griezmann's controversial penalty gave Atletico Madrid a Champions League advantage.

The striker's dubious spot-kick gave Atletico a slender 1-0 quarter-final first-leg win ahead of next week's second leg at the King Power Stadium.

The France forward tumbled under Marc Albrighton's first-half challenge and referee Eriksson gave a penalty despite the tackle occurring outside the area.

It settled the game and Shakespeare insisted the referee got it wrong at the Vicente Calderon Stadium.

He said: "It's a real disappointment. It's a key moment in the game. It's a really disappointing decision by the referee. He has to get that one right. You can't guess on those ones. It's a free-kick, it's a definite free-kick, but it's outside the box.

"The referee has a hard job. We know that. But it's the key decisions that you want correct."

Robert Huth received his third booking of the competition and will miss the second leg leaving Leicester with a centre-back problem.

Captain Wes Morgan has missed the last five games with a back injury leaving Yohan Benalouane the only recognised centre back currently available.

And Shakespeare joked he will do everything he can to have Morgan available.

"I've just told him in there that when we get back to the hotel, he's getting his kit on, going to the gym and making sure he does a session," he said.

"We were always on the tightrope with people like Robert because he's a very competitive centre-half. As you say, it was a very competitive game."

But Shakespeare believes they can still reach the semi-finals when they welcome Atletico for the second leg on Tuesday.

He said: "I think 1-0, we'd have probably taken that before the game. We've come here to try and get the away goal. You saw what a top team Madrid are. We've come away, we have a good home record at the King Power, and the tie's still alive.

"I've seen enough throughout the squad, through working with them. We know what we're about at the King Power. We know what we've got to do."

Koke also hit the post for Atletico, who have been beaten finalists in two of the last three years, and Diego Simeone's team dominated but failed to kill the Foxes off.

But they will travel to Leicester with a slender lead although Simeone admitted they did not have enough edge on Wednesday.

He said: "We lacked the clinical finish. We had most of the possession but I think Leicester were gambling on getting us on the counter attack.

"I think they are betting everything on the second leg. Griezmann is a fantastic player. He plays in midfield and plays like a striker, he's an amazing talent.

"It was a hard-fought match. It's a good win for us but the second leg will be difficult. It's all still to play for."

 

Borussia Dortmund 2 AS Monaco 3

BORUSSIA Dortmund head coach Thomas Tuchel criticised Uefa's decision to make his side play their Champions League quarter-final first leg against Monaco on Wednesday.

The Bundesliga outfit took to the field less than 24 hours after the original tie was postponed when three explosions went off near their team bus as they made their way to Signal Iduna Park, leaving defender Marc Bartra needing surgery on an arm injury.

Dortmund lost 3-2 in a breathless rearranged encounter, which Tuchel claims his side were told they had to play by a text message from Uefa.

"We were informed by text message that Uefa was making this decision," the boss told a news conference.

"A decision made in Switzerland that concerns us directly. We will not forget it, it is a very bad feeling.

"A few minutes after this attack, the only question that was asked was, 'Are you ready to play?'. As if we had thrown a beer on our coach.

"At that time, we did not know the reasons for this attack. There is a feeling of helplessness. The date was imposed on us. What we think has not interested anyone. We weren't asked about playing the game.

"I just wanted more time, a few more days. In a few days, we will not have digested completely but time helps us to find a solution.

"It is important to have a chance to realise this dream and our team was not at the top in concentration to make a difference at this level.

"Uefa is eager to continue playing. Of course we have to keep it going, but we still want to be competitive. We do not want to use the situation as an excuse.

"We wished we would have had more time to deal with what happened, but someone in Switzerland decided we must play.

"Every player has the right to deal with it in his way. The team did not feel in the mood, in which you must be for such a game.

"We let the players choose if they wanted to play. But this morning, we found that the training had done good, that it had made us think of something else.

"We were attacked as men and we tried to solve the problem on the ground.

"Everyone has their own way of reacting to events. The players had the choice not to play but no one chose this option."

Speaking during a pre-match interview with Sky Deutschland, Tuchel said: "There are players who can easily deal with what's happened and others who worry more – very mixed feelings.

"It's not very fair. What happened yesterday happened to us as people. Every player has the right to start with a strange feeling.

"We've been left feeling a bit helpless by the decision. But professionals find solutions to problems. We are strong enough."

Questions were asked whether Dortmund would have been in the right frame of mind to take the field so soon after the incident.

And, after wearing T-shirts supporting their stricken team-mate in the warm-up, their first-half performance proved doubters right as Monaco, who also missed a penalty, surged into a two-goal lead through Kylian Mbappe's opener and a Sven Bender own goal.

The second half was a different story as Ousmane Dembele and Shinji Kagawa goals either side of Mbappe's second left it all to play for ahead of the return leg in the Principality.

And Tuchel was proud of his side's second-half effort.

"The team has shown an incredible character," he added. "We have won the second half, the spirit in the second half was great."

Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim had sympathy with Dortmund, but says a packed fixture list played its part in the quickfire rescheduling.

"Maybe it should not be played either today," he said. "But the calendar gave few options to be able to play the match.

"We produced a good result but it's only half-time of the quarter-final."

 

Bayern Munich 1 Real Madrid 2

REAL Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane hailed the mentality of his side after a brace from Cristiano Ronaldo saw them come from behind to beat 10-man Bayern Munich 2-1 in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final – but warned the job is not done yet.

Bayern, who had thrashed English club Arsenal 10-2 on aggregate to take their place in the last eight, took the lead at the Allianz Arena midway through the first half when Arturo Vidal crashed in a bullet header from a corner.

However, the Chile midfielder then sent a penalty over the crossbar which would have doubled the German team's advantage in stoppage time before the break.

It proved a costly miss as Ronaldo swept in an equaliser two minutes into the second half before Bayern's defensive midfielder Javi Martinez picked up two quick cautions to leave the home side a player down for the final half-hour.

After some brilliant saves from Manuel Neuer, Ronaldo took his tally to 100 European goals when he stabbed the ball in with 13 minutes left which puts the European champions in the driving seat ahead of next week's return leg at the Bernabeu.

Zidane, however, warned against any complacency, despite the confident performance.

"A tie is never decided in the first leg, but we played a good match. We probably could have scored one or two more goals, but we're very happy," the Real coach said at a press conference.

"We showed the willingness to get a good result after the first half and if we had gone in at 2-0, it may have been a different match.

"But we showed patience and managed to get an equaliser, from then on, it was a different game as we showed more personality and won the ball back better."

Zidane continued: "It is not easy to play here, Bayern have great players and are a great team, but we still needed to play well in the second half and we also have to acknowledge how many saves Neuer had to make.

"I can't say that a third goal would have decided the tie already, and we will see about that next week."

Zidane opted to take Gareth Bale off just before the hour, and revealed it was a precautionary measure aimed at keeping the Wales forward fully fit after his recent injury worries.

"Bale felt a tweak at half-time and I didn't want to take any risks. He doesn't feel so good, we hope it's nothing major," he said.

Bayern were missing Poland forward Robert Lewandowsi because of a shoulder injury, and lacked a cutting edge in the final third.

Manager Carlo Ancelotti, though, is determined to remain positive as he prepares to return to the Bernabeu for the first time since he left the Madrid club in 2015.

"We had no luck tonight and it was the small details which made the difference," the Italian coach said.

"We missed the penalty when we could have made it 2-0, then we conceded right at the start of the first half and that changed the match."

Ancelotti added: "Sometimes you miss a penalty, that was not the first one, and it will not be the last one, but we can build on the first half.

"It will be more difficult in Madrid, but we still have a chance, we are still alive.

"We will look to take our chance. We will try to do our best."

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