The draw for the last four of the 2018 UEFA Champions League was conducted on Friday, April 13, at the football governing body’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.
In the first semi-final, holders Real Madrid were pitted against German giants Bayern Munich away from home.
Los Blancos, who have won the trophy 12 times, were made to sweat in their quarterfinal tie against Juventus. The Old Lady led 3-0 for most of the match but a last minute penalty goal by talisman Cristiano Ronaldo saw the Spanish side seal a 4-3 aggregate win to advance to the semis for the eighth successive season.
The Bavarians on the other hand defeated Sevilla 2-1 in their own backyard before the two sides could only settle for a 0-0 draw in the return leg.
English outfit Liverpool will face AS Roma in the second semi-final outing.
Jurgen Klopp’s troops will welcome the Serie A side to Anfield for the first leg.
The Kop side eliminated fellow English counterparts Manchester City after coming away with consecutive home and away victories. In the first leg, the Reds cruised to 3-0 victory, before fighting off an onslaught at the Etihad Stadium to win 2-1 and confirm a 5-1 victory on aggregate win over the Citizens.
Confirmed semi-finals after draw:
Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid
Liverpool vs AS Roma
The first leg fixture will take place will on Tuesday, 24 April, and Wednesday, 25 April, with the return fixtures scheduled to take place on 1 and 2 May.
The final will be staged at the NSC Olimpiyskiy in Kiev, Ukraine, on Saturday May 26.
The draw for the semi-finals of the Europe League will see Arsenal take on Atletico Madrid at home in the opening tie, while Marseille and Red Bull Salzburg contest the other semi-final tie.
Arsene Wenger’s men reached the last four after a pulsating 2-2 draw away to CSKA Moscow on Thursday evening. The Gunners has registered a comfortable 4-1 win at the Emirates Stadium but had to rally back from two goals down with Danny Welbeck and Aaron Ramsey both registering the late goals for the London side.
Diego Simeone’s Atletico side progressed at the expense of Portuguese outfit Sporting Lisbon. The Spanish side recorded a 2-0 home win and advanced to the last four despite suffering a 1-0 away defeat, progressing 2-1 on aggregate.
French outfit Marseille, who have been pitted against Salzburg in the second semi-final, saw off Leipzig 5-2 to progress 5-3 in aggregate while the Austrian champions sealed a dramatic 4-1 win over Lazio to complete a 6-5 aggregate victory.
Confirmed last four fixtures:
Arsenal v Atletico Madrid
Marseille v Red Bull Salzburg
Atletico Madrid v Arsenal
Red Bull Salzburg v Marseille
The South African national team has moved up four places into 72nd spot in the latest FIFA rankings.
Bafana Bafana were involved in a Four Nations tournament in Zambia last month, which they won, and it seems as though the victories over Angola and Chipolopolo, gave them a points boost in the rankings as they steadily look to break into the top 10 in Africa, as they stay 15th.
Stuart Baxter’s forces started the year in 81st place before going 78th. In February they moved up one spot to 77th and then 76th in March before their newest placing released this week.
With more international fixtures coming up as Bafana look to qualify for the 2019 African Cup of Nations in Cameroon, wins over Nigeria, Libya and the Seychelles in the qualifiers could further see them move up the standings.
Tunisia retain their top spot on the continent, followed by Senegal, DR Congo, Morocco and Egypt.
In the world, World Cup holders Germany remain in pole position, followed by Brazil, Belgium, Portugal and Argentina.
Relegation-threatened Platinum Stars have added Zimbabwean international defender Eric Chipeta to their roster for the remaining matches of the season.
Chipeta joined Saudi Arabian Premier League outfit Al Ra’ed earlier this year after leaving Ajax Cape Town, however, agreed to a mutual termination of his contract after the club was found guilty of breaching it.
The 27-year-old centre back has been a free agent since, after not making a single appearance for the Saudi club.
Stars have been leading the race to bring the defender back on board to help the Phokeng-based outfit in their attempts to stay in the top-flight as they currently anchor the PSL table.
Chipeta has over 50 appearances under his belt in South Africa, having also turned out for Chippa United, and is seen as a key player that could aid Stars’ leaky defence so that they can preserve their top-flight status.
The Warriors defender is understood to have penned a short-term deal until the end of this campaign with an option to renew.
Roger de Sa’s charges are 16th on the PSL standings with four matches left, and are in high spirits after beating Polokwane City, ahead of their next league encounter against a wounded Kaizer Chiefs outfit.
Today, Wednesday, 11 April, marks 17 years since the Ellis Park Disaster.
The disaster is one of the darkest moments in South African football history which claimed the lives of 43 football fans who were attending a Soweto derby fixture between rivals Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, but never made it back home.
About 60,000 spectators filled up the stadium to capacity, but a further 30,000 fans tried to force their way into the arena, causing a stampede.
Despite commemorations in the past years, the PSL says it has no plans in place to commemorate the tragedy that transpired this day in 2001.
This has sparked a lot of backlash from the football mass who claim that a lack of sincerity has been shown for the fallen football lovers.
Despite the criticism, Amakhosi boss Kaizer Motaung Snr spared a moment of sympathy to the families of the deceased.
He told his club’s website: “This day, 11 April, is significant and will forever be in our memories. This is a constant reminder to ensure that proper security measures are put in place at the stadiums. I will not forget this day; I get flashbacks when I remember the 43 people that died on this day. This is a heart-breaking part of our football history.
“Once more, I want to convey my message of sympathy to the families and friends that lost their loved ones in the disaster. Words fail me; I still can’t believe the disaster happened. No words can describe how much I feel about it. This event was regrettable and we pay respect to the departed souls and the bereaved who had to endure this painful experience.
“The disaster taught us many things. From the disaster we learned the hard way to plan our match events thoroughly to avoid the repeat of this fateful night. I wish the families well and strength during this sad reminder.
“It is a coincidence that this time the disaster day falls within the period of mourning for the passing of Mama Winnie Mandela. This day cannot be work as usual at the Village, we will observe the day in the headquarters with the players and staff observing a moment of silence. We will amplify via various media our solidarity with the bereaved families and friends.
“On behalf of the Kaizer Chiefs family, I wish to convey my utmost sympathy to the bereaved. I hope with this as a constant reminder, we will continue to work hard to tighten the planning for safety at match events.”
Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates took time off their hectic schedules to pay a special honour visit at the home of the late Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in Soweto on Monday afternoon.
The struggle icon passed away on Monday, April 2, after a long illness. She was 81.
Captains of both teams, Itumeleng Khune and Happy Jele, laid wreaths outside the house before signing a condolence book inside a marquee.
Amakhosi personnel praised the late Mama Winnie for her remarkable resilience, determination and tenacity , while the Buccaneers saluted her for the great contribution she’s made in her fight for freedom for the oppressed.
A 10-day mourning period has been in full swing since her passing, with memorial services being held around the country in honour of the struggle icon.
Another memorial on Tuesday will be staged where she was born in Bizana, Eastern Cape.
Meanwhile, the PSL has asked for all clubs in the Absa Premiership, National First Division and MultiChoice Diski Shield to observe a moment of silence before matches commence, until she is laid to rest.
Orlando Pirates have claimed their maiden Absa Premiership Q-Innovation quarterly award after been declared Quarter Three (Q3) winners for the 2017/18 season.
The Buccaneers have endured an impressive run of form which has seen them surge up the league standings into second place, and remain serious contenders for the Absa Premiership title this campaign.
This is the first time the Mayfair-based outfit have won the Q-Innovation since its inception back in 2012.
Milutin Sredojevic’s charges walked away R 1,5 million richer after clinching Q3 with 19 points from eight matches, coming away with six victories, with one match ending in a draw and a single loss.
City rivals Bidvest Wits finished second on the Q3 log with 18 points from eight outings as well.
Runaway league leaders Mamelodi Sundowns could only finish in third spot despite their fine run of form that saw them come from a goal down at the weekend against Baroka FC to claim a narrow 2-1 victory.
Pirates are now preparing to take on Tshwane giants SuperSport United in a much anticipated league encounter at Mbombela Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Bayern Munich wrapped up the German Bundesliga title for the sixth successive season following their rampant 4-1 win over Augsburg in the Bavarian Derby on Saturday.
With five games to go, Jupp Heynckes’ side were eager to seal the championship sooner rather than later.
The visitors fell behind as early as the 18th minute through a Niklas Sule own goal but Corentin Tolisso, James Rodriguez, Arjen Robben and Sandro Wagner all scored to see Bayern become German league champions for the 28th time in their history.
Heynckes, now in his fourth spell at the club, opted to rest top scorer Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Mueller, Thiago Alcantara, Mats Hummels and Javi Martinez, with the UEFA Champions League second leg against Sevilla in sight.
The Germans hold a slender 2-1 away lead after beating the Spanish side in their own backyard a week ago and will look to finish the job in the second leg at home and keep their treble hopes alive.
Highlands Park thrashed fellow Gauteng outfit University of Pretoria 5-1 at Makhulong Stadium on Saturday afternoon to clinch the National First Division title with four games to spare.
The Lions of the North needed just a single point to make a return to the Absa Premiership and they did it in style by securing maximum points.
Owen da Gama’s charges went into the match as clear favourites after finding the back of the net 11 times in their past two matches.
Sphiwe Mahlangu was first to get on the scoresheet for the hosts before Moeketsi Sekola doubled his team’s efforts. AmaTuks pulled one back but Lindokuhle Mbatha, Peter Shalulile and Vukile Mnqibisa sealed the deal for Highlands to ensure their status in top-flight football for next season.
Despite their promotion, the Premier Soccer League has confirmed that the Lions of the North will only lift the trophy on the final day of the season.
Absa Premiership title-contenders Orlando Pirates dominated the PSL monthly awards for the second time this season, cleaning sweep all three awards for the month of March.
The trio of Milutin Sredojevic and players Musa Nyatama and Justin Shonga were crowned the coach, player and goal of the month winners respectively.
“Micho” won his second coach of the month award for the season after guiding the Buccaneers to two wins, where they scored five goals during the month of March. The Serbian tactician has also built a strong combination and partnership with his technical bench that has seen the club produce great results, leading them to their current second spot on the PSL standings.
Sredojevic, who is now in his second spell at the helm of the Soweto giants, beat off stiff competition from Maritzburg United’s Fadlu Davids and Luc Eymael of Free State Stars.
In the Player of the Month category, Nyatama, who had a superb month where he picked up back-to-back Man of the Match awards, was rewarded for his fine exploits by being named the best player. The former Bloemfontein Celtic man pipped teammates Thembinkosi Lorch and Luvuyo Memela as well as Siphesihle Ndlovu from the Team of Choice to the accolade.
Zambian international forward Shonga wrapped up the awards as his stunning long range scorcher against Chippa United captured the most votes for the Absa Premiership Goal of the Month.
Pirates piled further pressure on leaders Mamelodi Sundowns following their hard fought 2-1 win over Phunya Sele Sele at the Orlando Stadium on Wednesday evening.
GREATNESS!!! Juventus 0 Real Madrid 3: Cristiano Ronaldo earns standing ovation! [WATCH] the outrageous bicycle kick
Cristiano Ronaldo, record-breaker that he is, is the first player to score in ten successive Champions League matches.
OH. MY. WORD! 😱
Cristiano Ronaldo with an outrageous overhead kick!
Insane! 👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/PYtT0uRTQ9
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 3, 2018
Ronnie’s second here, an outrageous overhead kick 64 minutes into this tie, is one of the finest goals in European Cup history.
Not quite as important as the one picked out of the sky by his coach Zinedine Zidanein the 2002 final against Bayer Leverkusen.
Only a fraction short of the shimmering solo goal scored by Lionel Messi when he put Real to bed in the 2011 semi-final at the Bernabeu.
All the same, this belting strike is not too far behind.
Ronaldo’s goal, recreating Pele’s famous overhead in Escape to Victory, was textbook stuff.
The shape, the body, the angles, the timing, the execution: everything was in place.
The reaction, stunned silence followed by respectful applause from 40,000 Juve fans standing open-mouthed, was the only appropriate response to something as good as this.
By then he had already scored his first, throwing out a leg to divert Isco’s cross beyond Buffon just three minutes in.
Ronnie’s hot streak began last season, when the GOAT scored twice in the 4-1 destruction of Juventus down in Cardiff.
Only a fool or a betting man would dare to predict when and where this jaw-dropping run will come to an end, if ever.
The Real Madrid forward is bossing European football.
The Champions League, a trophy he won once with Manchester United
and followed up with another three with these Galacticos, is his plaything.
Last night, he toyed with Juve again.
The stats are piling up, with Ronnie scoring his 23nd goal in his last 12 games when he flicked Isco’s angled ball beyond Buffon.
It was a magical move.
There was sprinkling of stardust, a giddy combination that really got going when Marcelo upped the tempo with a clever pass into Isco out on the left.
He was free as a bird, given time and space to pick out Ronaldo’s run as he made his way in front of Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli.
The finish was on point.
His celebration was standard Ronnie, sliding to his knees in front of Juve’s over-worked ultras up in the curva sud.
For the Bianconeri, this quarter-final tie was already heading south.
The second leg, in the Bernabeu next Wednesday, is already beyond them.
Juve will need something remarkable, an upgrade on the fly-by-night job when they beat Tottenham 2-1 at Wembley last month.
Real, with Zizou trying to pull off a hat-trick of Champions League triumphs, are different gear.
They knocked out Paris Saint Germain in the second round, cuffing Unai Emery’s side 5-2 on aggregate to set up another meeting with.
This, the exact same 11 players who lined up for the 2017 final, dished out another mauling.
There were chances for more before Ronnie goes his second, with Raphael Varane vexed when he sent Toni Kroos’ corner way over Buffon’s crossbar.
Kroos, playing every imaginable pass from his central midfield station, smashed the frame of Juve’s goal ten minutes before the break.
By then Juve had made some inroads, with Real keeper Keylor Navas saving well from Gonzalo Higuain’s header.
Then there was the scream for handball, a cry for Turkish ref Cuneyt Cakir to give it when Varane made contact inside the area.
Before the half was out they were screaming for a penalty again when Paulo Dybala threw himself flamboyantly to the turf.
The Argentinian was booked, and deserved to be.
Real skipper Sergio Ramos will miss the return, nibbling away at Dybala ten minutes into the second half. They can make do without him now.
Dybala took the free-kick himself, diverted away from safety when his left-footer cannoned off the wall.
It was his last act, sent off after 66 minutes for a stupid, petulant and costly foul.
Juve were falling apart.
Marcelo went on to score the third, given the simple job of tapping home when Ronnie dinked a lob wedge over Buffon and into the path of Real’s rampant left-back.
They are as good as into the last four, setting up the possibility of reaching yet another final with this emphatic win.
Ronnie was in the Real side four years ago when they overcame the yips to beat Atletico to claim the fabled Decima.
After this, he has one of his own.
The 2018 Nedbank Cup semifinals will witness two scintillating matches following the draw conducted on Sunday afternoon.
Maritzburg United who overcame fellow PSL outfit Bloemfontein Celtic 2-1, courtesy of goals by Lebogang Maboe and Andrea Fillecia on Saturday night, will host Mamelodi Sundowns in the first game of the penultimate stage of the Ke Yona competition.
The Brazilians overcame Cape Town City 2-1 at the Cape Town Stadium on Sunday. The visitors took the lead through Percy Tau before doubling their efforts through a 40-yard drive by captain Hlompho Kekana.
The Blue and Gold Army pulled a goal back through Man-of-the-Match Surprise Ralani but Masandawana held on firmly to book a last four berth.
Pitso Mosimane’s charges will now travel to KwaZulu-Natal to take on the Team of Choice for a spot in the final.
Kaizer Chiefs scraped past Baroka FC with a hard fought 1-0 win on Saturday evening via a first-half header by towering defender Eric Mathoho.
Steve Komphela’s men have been pitted against Free State Stars who needed a penalty shootout to get past a stubborn Ubuntu Cape Town FC outfit after the scores ended 1-1 after extra time. Ea Lla Koto advanced to the semis after a 4-2 victory in the spot kicks.
The two sides will also face off in the league before their semifinal battle.
Nedbank Cup Semifinal fixtures:
Maritzburg United vs Mamelodi Sundowns
Kaizer Chiefs vs Free State Stars