Manchester City manager, Roberto Mancini has apologised to fans for underestimating opponents Sporting Lisbon, with their loss against the team resulting in their exit from the Europa League on Thursday.
Mancini expected Sporting Lisbon to be easier to play against than Porto, their opponents in the previous round, as the team exited for the exit time this term.
Although Sergio Aguero bagged a double and Mario Balotelli scored a penalty as City came back from 2-0 to win 3-2 on the night at the Etihad Stadium, they were ultimately eliminated based on away goals after their 1-0 defeat in Portugal.
City’s entertaining second-half performance at failed to mask a disappointing opening 45-minute display which saw Sporting race into a 3-0 aggregate lead.
Mancini said that “I made a mistake in the first game when I prepared because, after Porto, to play against Sporting I thought was maybe easy, but football is never easy.
He took full responsibility for the error in judgement saying ”I am the manager, it is not the players fault, it is my fault. Probably I made mistakes – the players did everything on the pitch so I’m very proud.”
At this stage, Mancini and his team’s only opportunity for a trophy is in the Premier League where they dropped to second last weekend for the first time since October after losing at Swansea. However, Mancini is confident they can return to the top.
FC Barcelona has consolidated its online leadership in China through the country’s principal Internet service provider Tencent. The Spanish Club and Chinese company are working together to develop Barca’s brand in the Chinese market which will result in the reaching of a massive audience and therefore increase revenue. Director of New Technology Dídac Lee was “very satisfied” with the agreement which will include Tencent developing a Chinese version of Barcelona’s website as well as the commercialisation of applications and mobile games. All the content created by Tencent will be subject the club’s approval.
The agreement also opens up Chinese social media sites to FC Barcelona. Tencent owns several social media sites that boast millions of users including QQ, the country’s largest instant messaging platform with 900 million users; Qzone, with 500 million users and Pengyou with 130 million users. In the mean time, FC Barcelona will open a verified account on Tencent Weibo, known as the Chinese Twitter, this week.
Harry Redknapp, Tottenham Hotspur manager, has said that he expects to be on the touchline for the club’s Premier League match again Aston Villa at White Hart Lane tonight at 8pm, UK time.
Redknapp, 64, who is tipped as becoming the next England coach missed Tottenham’s matches against Rubin Kazan at the Uefa Europa League and Fulham after undergoing heart surgery. Redknapp has since told Sky Sports that ”I feel fine, I’ve got more energy than I had before.”
The former Bournemouth, Portsmouth and West Ham manager said he felt even worse watching Tottenham’s 3-1 victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage from his home than if he had been at the ground.
Porto’s Radamel Falcao scored a hat-trick to help the newly-crowned Portuguese champions thrash Spartak Moscow 5-1 on a night of one-sided Europa League quarter-final first leg ties on Thursday.
Silvestre Varela and Maicon were also on target for Porto who are aiming for a league, cup and Europa League treble.
Benfica, attempting to reach their first European semi-final for 17 years, thrashed PSV Eindhoven 4-1 with all their goals coming from Argentines, two from Eduardo Salvio and one apiece from Pablo Aimar and Javier Saviola.
Two goals from Brazil striker Nilmar helped Villarreal to a 5-1 win over Dutch league leaders Twente Enschede on a dismal evening for the Netherlands.
Liverpool were trailing Braga 1-0 from the first leg of their last-16 tie and, although Andy Carroll started his first game for the club, the Reds struggled to produce clear-cut chances and were held to a 0-0 draw.
Liverpool, who have qualified for Europe every year since 1999, will have to finish fifth or above in the Premier League if they are to be involved next season.
Mario Balotelli was sent off as Manchester City failed to overturn a 2-0 first leg deficit against Dynamo Kiev, with a 1-0 win on the night not enough to prevent them crashing out of the Europa League.
Balotelli was issued a straight red card for a crashing 36th-minute challenge on Goran Popov, but City gave themselves hope three minutes later when Aleksandar Kolarov hit a low free-kick under Oleksandr Shovkovskiy.
The Ukrainians defended deep in the second half and restricted City to few chances, threatening to make the game safe themselves when Denis Garmash had a header cleared off the line but holding on for their last eight place.
Rangers – having secured a 0-0 draw in the Netherlands in the first leg – were defeated 1-0at home by PSV Eindhoven. Jeremain Lens scored in the 13th minute and it proved enough to send the Eredivisie side through as the hosts struggled to provide a response.
Liverpool‘s captain Steven Gerrard came off the bench and inspired his team last night with a hat-trick in the second half to see his team beat Napoli 3 – 1 at Anfield in their Europa League encounter last night in front of new owner John Henry.
Lech Poznan scored two late goals – one freakish and the other superb – to stun Manchester City 3-1 in the Europa League on Thursday while Juventus drew 0-0 with Salzburg for their fourth draw in as many group games.
CSKA Moscow and BATE Borisov became the first teams to guarantee a place in the knockout rounds, the Russians beating Palermo 3-1 to maintain their 100 percent record while the Belarus outfit beat Sheriff Tiraspol by the same score.
Roy Hodgson’s side came close to conceding on numerous occasions, with Jan Wuytens seeing a first-half effort chalked off for a foul and Dries Mertens drawing a sharp save from Reds goalkeeper Pepe Reina in the 39th minute.
Liverpool were lucky to escape early in the second period when Raul Meireles had to head off the line from skipper Michael Silberbauer after Reina came for the ball at a corner and missed.
Fernando Torres produced another subdued performance and was denied by home keeper Michel Vorm after being teed up by Utrecht old boy Dirk Kuyt.
Jacob Mulenga spurned a late sight of goal for the hosts, poking across goal and fractionally wide after exploiting hesitancy from Reds left-back Martin Kelly.