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Champions League semi-finals: Vote for your favourite classic last four tie



Divock Origi celebrates scoring the fourth Liverpool goal during the Liverpool v Barcelona Champions League semi-final second leg at Anfield on 7 May 2019
Divock Origi completed Liverpool’s famous comeback against Barcelona in 2019

Champions League semi-finals – where the unthinkable occurs.

From late goals to the impossible comeback, and the occasional red card, BBC Sport has taken a look back at some of the most remarkable ties of recent years and it is up to you to choose which is the best of the best.

So what are you waiting for? Read below and get voting.

Real Madrid 6-5 Manchester City (2022)

Star Players: Karim Benzema, Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo, Kevin de Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden

Karim Benzema of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring a goal during the Champions League Semi Final second leg between Manchester City and Real Madrid at Bernabeu Stadium in May 2022
In the past nine seasons, Real Madrid have featured in five Champions League finals

A thrilling first leg at Etihad Stadium saw Pep Guardiola overcome his old rivals on his most recent pursuit of Champions League glory. His side battled with Real Madrid to take a 4-3 lead into the second leg.

In a game which was not short of chances, Riyad Mahrez extended City’s advantage at the Bernabeu to leave Carlo Ancelotti’s men needing two goals just to take the tie to extra time.


Substitute Rodrygo kick-started an incredible turnaround, putting two efforts past Ederson in as many minutes right at the end of normal time.

To Manchester City’s disbelief they now had to put up with a fully enthused Madrid side, who managed to grab a place in the Champions League final thanks to a 95th-minute penalty from Karim Benzema. Pure drama.

Barcelona 3-4 Liverpool (2019)

Star players: Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho, Gerard Pique, Divock Origi, Sadio Mane, Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold

Liverpool squad and backroom staff celebrate in front of the Kop after winning the Champions league semi-final second leg between Liverpool and Barcelona 4-0 at Anfield in May 2019
Liverpool progressed to beat Tottenham in the final

Finalists the previous year, Jurgen Klopp’s side looked as though they were heading out after a goal from Luis Suarez and a Lionel Messi double – including a dream free-kick – condemned them to a 3-0 first-leg loss at the Nou Camp.

Liverpool needed a second-leg miracle. Usual starters Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino were missing – but up stepped Divock Origi.

The striker pulled one back in the first 10 minutes and, as belief rose inside a fervent Anfield, midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum popped up with two goals in two minutes to level the tie.


Rarely have you seen Barcelona so rattled. Messi was as anonymous as he was omnipresent just a week earlier, and when Origi swept in Trent Alexander-Arnold’s quick corner with 11 minutes left the incredible had become reality.

Tottenham 3-3 Ajax (2019)

Star players: Lucas Moura, Son Heung-min, Cristian Eriksen, Donny van de Beek, Dusan Tadic, Hakim Ziyech, Matthijs de Ligt

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino celebrates his side's win in the Champions League semi-final between Ajax and Tottenham Hotspur at the Johan Cruyff Arena in May 2019
Tottenham have not reached the Champions League last four since 2019

Ajax had been the breakout side of 2018-19, beating Real Madrid and Juventus to set up a tie with Tottenham. So it was perhaps no surprise when they left London with a 1-0 lead.

In Amsterdam things went from bad to worse for Tottenham. With no Harry Kane up front, they were facing a mountain to climb when Matthijs de Ligt and Hakim Ziyech made it 3-0 on aggregate before half-time.

Lucas Moura inspired a magnificent comeback. The forward scored twice in the space of four minutes to leave the visitors needing one goal to go through, and after Jan Vertonghen had headed against the post, Moura’s low drive completed his hat-trick to give his side victory on the away goals rule and set up an all-English final against Liverpool.

Borussia Dortmund 4-3 Real Madrid (2013)

Star players: Robert Lewandowski, Marco Reus, Mario Gotze, Mats Hummels, Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil, Xabi Alonso, Sergio Ramos

Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring for Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid in the 2013 Champions League semi-final
Robert Lewandowski scored a first-leg treble as Borussia Dortmund knocked out Real Madrid in 2013

This was the first year Jurgen Klopp came to the attention of many in the UK, with Borussia Dortmund scoring twice in added time to beat Malaga in the previous round. Still, they weren’t fancied to pull up too many trees against Real Madrid, but produced a remarkable first-leg display at the Westfalenstadion.

Robert Lewandowski – who would leave a year later for free – scored four times as Real were routed 4-1. The Polish forward was too mobile for Pepe and Sergio Ramos, scoring a second-half treble in front of the yellow wall.

Real needed a 3-0 win in the second leg to go through but a fine performance from Klopp’s men looked to have done enough. However, two goals in the last 10 minutes, from Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos, ensured a nervy finale as Dortmund just about hung on.

Chelsea 3-2 Barcelona (2012)

Star players: Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Ramires, John Terry, Lionel Messi, Alexis Sanchez, Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta

Chelsea defender John Terry argues with Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets and Barcelona captain Carles Puyol after receiving a red card from Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir during the Champions League semi-final second leg in April 2012
John Terry saw red as Chelsea held on to beat Barcelona in 2012

The first leg at Stamford Bridge saw Barcelona come close, but it was Chelsea, through Didier Drogba, who edged ahead 1-0.

Back to the Nou Camp and it was the anchorman Sergio Busquets who popped up with a tap-in to level the aggregate scores. It was one-way traffic and soon Chelsea were seriously up against it when captain John Terry saw red for a knee in the back of Alexis Sanchez.

Messi then teed up Andres Iniesta to make it 2-1 on aggregate and Chelsea needed a goal. Ramires was the unlikely man to find it, a superb finish to chip Victor Valdes – all of this before half-time.


Lionel Messi then missed a penalty, planting it against the crossbar, before Barcelona, facing defeat on away goals, were caught on the break. Fernando Torres had the whole half to run into, rounded Valdes and rolled in to cap a remarkable win.

Barcelona 1-1 Chelsea (2009)

Star players: Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, John Terry, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba

Michael Ballack of Chelsea complains to referee Tom Henning Ovrebo after he turned down a penalty claim in the final minute of the Chelsea v Barcelona Champions League semi-final second leg at Stamford Bridge in May 2009
Chelsea were left fuming with referee Tom Ovrebo as they were knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona in 2009

After a goalless draw at the Nou Camp, Chelsea were on course for a second straight final when Michael Essien scored one of the great forgotten goals, a 25-yard volley which smashed in off the underside of the crossbar.

Chelsea felt they should have had four penalties, and even their staunchest critics would have to concede that they should have had at least one, most obviously for a handball from Gerard Pique.

Ovrebo said no – although he did send off Eric Abidal – and deep into added time Andres Iniesta scored superbly from Lionel Messi’s pass.

Chelsea couldn’t believe it – remember Didier Drogba’s “disgrace” rant straight down the camera? – but Barca advanced on away goals to play Manchester United in the final.


Chelsea 4-3 Liverpool (2008)

Star players: Didier Drogba, Michael Ballack, John Terry, Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso, Steven Gerrard

Avram Grant manager of Chelsea celebrates victory following the UEFA Champions League Semi Final 2nd leg match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on April 30, 2008 in London, England
Avram Grant led Chelsea to their first Champions League final

Chelsea came up against their previous semi-final rivals Liverpool, who knocked them out in the last four in both 2004-05 and 2006-07.

In a cagey first leg, Liverpool had a one-goal lead thanks to a close-range shot from Dirk Kuyt. However, Chelsea were offered a lifeline in the dying minutes as John Arne Riise nodded a clearing header into his own net.

At Stamford Bridge, Didier Drogba gave the Blues the lead in the opening half but opposing forward Fernando Torres levelled after the break.

Extra time was needed and Frank Lampard converted a penalty to put Chelsea 3-2 ahead on aggregate before Drogba stepped up again to score his second of the night.

Ryan Babel’s audacious effort reduced the deficit but it was not enough and Liverpool would not make another semi-final until 2017-18.


AC Milan 5-3 Man Utd (2007)

Star players: Kaka, Clarence Seedorf, Paolo Maldini, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney

AC Milan's Brazilian midfielder Ricardo Kaka celebrates after scoring against Manchester United during their European Champions League semi final first leg football match at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, 24 April 2007
Kaka proved the difference as AC Milan saw off Man Utd in 2007 to reach the Champions League final

A fantastic start to the tie for Manchester United saw Cristiano Ronaldo put them ahead in the first 10 minutes.

But then Kaka entered the scene. The 2007 Ballon d’Or winner collected a pass and glided past United with ease before planting a fine low shot into the far corner.

It was a Kaka masterclass and the Brazilian added a beautiful solo goal with his flair too much for United defenders Gabriel Heinze and Patrice Evra.

Wayne Rooney did get a leveller and then powered in a superb shot from long range in stoppage time to give United a slender 3-2 lead at the halfway stage of the tie.

At the San Siro, it was Kaka once again who proved the difference and his delicious left-footed drive put Milan back ahead on away goals early on.


Clarence Seedorf then beat Edwin van der Sar from the edge of the area and Alberto Gilardino provided the coup de grace.

Real Madrid 3-4 Juventus (2003)

Star players: Roberto Carlos, Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, Gianluigi Buffon, Lilian Thuram, Pavel Nedved, Alessandro del Piero, David Trezeguet

Juventus' captain Alessandro Del Piero jubilates after scoring the second goal for his team during the second leg semi-final Champions' League soccer match against Real Madrid, 14 May 2003 in Turin
Alessandro del Piero starred as Juventus squeezed past Real Madrid in 2003

The first leg was in Madrid and Ronaldo opened the scoring with a superb finish from the edge of the area.

Juventus grabbed an away goal on the stroke of half-time when David Trezeguet stabbed in a deflected shot from Alessandro del Piero.

Real were back in front when Roberto Carlos’ piledriver went through a sea of players and it was on to Turin.

Trezeguet spurred Juve’s second-leg comeback as his close-range effort put the home side ahead on away goals.


Real needed a goal, on came Ronaldo, and he won a penalty with a trademark body-swerve. Up stepped Luis Figo, but Gianluigi Buffon saved his spot-kick.

It was the key moment as within five minutes Pavel Nedved had outpaced Fernando Hierro to fire in, and while Zinedine Zidane scored against his old team, it was too late.

Man Utd 4-3 Juventus (1999)

Star players: Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Roy Keane, Dwight Yorke, Zinedine Zidane, Antonio Conte, Edgar Davids, Filippo Inzaghi

Manchester United celebrate Andy Cole's winner in the Champions League semi-final second leg against Juventus in April 1999
Andrew Cole sealed Man Utd’s memorable win against Juventus in 1999

The 1999 Treble win for Manchester United is etched into the public consciousness, even if the final against Bayern Munich was largely quite dull – until the incredible finale.

The two-legged semi-final against Juventus was dramatic from start to finish. The first leg at Old Trafford saw future Chelsea boss Antonio Conte strike the Italian giants into an early lead before a second-half United siege finally bore fruit when Ryan Giggs hammered into the roof of the net in the last minute.

With the tie all square at 1-1, Juve were favourites in the second leg, even more so when Filippo Inzaghi scored twice in the first 11 minutes. Game over? Nobody told Roy Keane. His header gave United hope and he led by example throughout, despite picking up a yellow card that would rule him out of the final.


Dwight Yorke headed United level on the night – and ahead on away goals – before half-time in this classic encounter.

Inzaghi had a hat-trick ‘goal’ correctly ruled out for offside, before Andrew Cole tapped in to seal a famous win for United.

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Scotland 0-6 England: Beth Mead says England are ‘devastated’ after missing out on the Nations League finals



Beth Mead said England are “devastated” while manager Sarina Wiegman said it “really hurts” after her side agonisingly missed out on a place in the Women’s Nations League finals on goal difference.

England’s game had finished when the Netherlands scored their decisive fourth goal in the 95th minute, ending the Lionesses’ Nations League campaign and also meaning Team GB will not be in the Paris 2024 Olympics football competition.

“We thought we’d got over the line but it wasn’t to be,” Mead told BBC Sport.

England needed to better the Netherlands’ result by three clear goals to reach the Nations League finals and keep Olympic hopes alive, as the nominated nation to qualify on behalf of Team GB.


In the end, both England and the Dutch finished on 12 points in Group A1, with the Netherlands advancing because of a superior goal difference of plus eight. England finished with plus seven.

“We’re devastated. We did everything we possibly could on the pitch,” said Mead.

“It’s a tough one. The girls have worked incredibly hard. We let ourselves down maybe earlier in the competition.”

Wiegman, who oversaw a 30-match unbeaten run when she first took charge of the Lionesses, said she was “proud” of the performance but “gutted” not to get over the line.

“We scored six goals, and we were so close. In the dying seconds the Netherlands scored a goal, you can’t control that,” she said.


‘I thought it was going to happen for us’

When Lucy Bronze’s header hit the back of the net in the 93rd minute at Hampden Park – England’s sixth goal – Wiegman said she thought her side had secured their progression to the finals and the noise from a pocket of fans inside the stadium echoed that feeling.

Alex Greenwood had opened the scoring before goals from Lauren James, Beth Mead and Fran Kirby put the finals in sight.

But the elation of Bronze’s sixth was quickly forgotten as the players gathered in a huddle at full-time and discovered the news that the Netherlands had scored a fourth to end Team GB’s Olympic dream.

“It was about two minutes I think but they took forever,” said Wiegman. “I did think actually that as they [Netherlands] had just scored the third goal, in extra time just as we scored, that wow, it’s going to happen for us. I really thought that.

“I actually don’t know what to say because I’m really proud of this performance but we’re not through and I’m very disappointed.”


‘Players are not robots’

Mistakes earlier in the campaign have ultimately proved costly for England with the 3-2 loss to Belgium in October giving them an uphill task for these December fixtures.

Another loss away to the Netherlands despite periods of dominance was also key and even just one more goal in their 3-2 win over the Dutch on Friday would have put qualification in England’s hands this week.

“This is part of football, it’s not easy to keep performing, we need a high level and sometimes it dropped,” said Wiegman.

“After the Belgium game we had a very good camp, because the result against Belgium was not related to how we trained as a team.”

But while the players will undoubtedly reflect on this campaign as a missed opportunity and feel disappointed to miss out on another chance to win a title, a hectic schedule in recent years means they may also be thankful for the rest.


“On the back of the World Cup going again, having injuries, being unlucky at moments and pushing ourselves,” said Wiegman.

“Hardly any rest and going again. We conceded in September, players were tired, some more injuries, but we were building and building.”

England won the Euros in 2022 before reaching a historic World Cup final this summer and fatigue and injuries have clearly been factors in what has ultimately been a difficult campaign.

“Of course it hurts because you want to be in major tournaments and we wanted to win the Nations League group but if you see the bigger picture, what we have done over the last say two and a half years,” said Wiegman.

England have also missed key players Mead, Kirby and Leah Williamson through serious injuries, with captain Millie Bright also missing the latter stages of the Nations League campaign through injury.


“You want to go to every major tournament so every player wants that,” said Wiegman.

“But in the bigger picture we have to look at the calendar and think that the players are not robots and they need some rest too, that’s very obvious.”

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Luton 3-4 Arsenal: Gunners ‘showing spirit’ with another late winner



Declan Rice celebrates his late winner for Arsenal against Luton
Declan Rice’s goal was the second time this season he has scored in the 90th minute

“Great teams find a way to win a game of football.”

Premier League leaders Arsenal were seconds away from leaving Kenilworth Road with a draw that would have given Liverpool the chance to move above them when they play Sheffield United on Wednesday.

Instead, Mikel Arteta’s side have gone five points clear – at least for 24 hours – as they continue to show the sort of fight needed to ensure they are in the title battle for longer than they were last season.

“That that could be an absolutely vital three points at the end of the season,” McCoist, commentating on the game for Amazon Prime, added.

Former Everton boss Roberto Martinez said: “It is a winning mentality. Luton were going to make it difficult but Arsenal found away.”


Gunners boss Arteta called it “a beautiful win”, adding: “Luton are so good at set pieces and they made us really fight for the game.”

Arsenal showing the right mentality?

Injuries and fatigue played a key role as Arsenal’s title challenge fell away last season as Manchester City were crowned champions, but the players’ mentality also came into question after they twice gave away two-goal leads in the crucial latter stages of the campaign.

This time, however, they are displaying a never-give-up attitude that has seen them score a number of late winners.

Rice’s goal against Luton was the second he has scored after the 90th minute, having also done so in the 3-1 win against Manchester United back in September.

The Gunners have taken nine points thanks to goals scored in the final five minutes of matches.


“It is another late winner and you have to admire and respect that because that is a team that doesn’t give up,” former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer said on Amazon Prime.

It was an assessment Arteta agreed with.

“The team showed spirit, quality, courage to go and go again,” he added. “We never gave up and tried to the end.

“Big credit to the team, the way they go every three days is remarkable.”

Raya errors remain a concern

David Raya lets Ross Barkley's shot go under him and into the goal
David Raya let Ross Barkley’s shot go under him to make it 3-2 to Luton

Despite the battling display, Arteta was understandably disappointed his side had to score four goals to get the three points.

“It’s something we have to improve, conceding three goals from home makes life difficult,” he said.


“Credit to the opponent, they did really well and cause problems to any team.”

No team has made more mistakes leading to goals than Arsenal this season (five) and their cause was not helped by an error-strewn display by goalkeeper David Raya.

Aaron Ramsdale played in all 38 of Arsenal’s Premier League games last season but was dropped early into this campaign as Arteta favoured Raya, who joined in the summer on loan from Brentford.

But Raya made two mistakes against Luton, failing to deal with a corner as Elijah Adebayo headed in and then allowing Ross Barkley’s shot to go under his legs.

“It is the obsession with having a footballing goalkeeper nowadays that the fundamentals are forgotten – shot stopping and coming to collect crosses and we saw them punished this evening,” Shearer added.


“It would’ve been far more difficult if his team hadn’t bailed him out but sometimes you need that. His team-mates have helped him out big time tonight.”

Martinez feels the scrutiny on which goalkeeper Arteta picks is now putting the player in question under additional pressure.

He added: “The goalkeeper is the only position you can’t have doubt. It’s a position you need to be full of confidence but now what we’re seeing is whoever’s in goal for Arsenal, they’re not feeling confident. They’re so fearful.”

But despite those defensive concerns, Arsenal’s fourth consecutive win in the Premier League puts the pressure back on their rivals at the top of the table.

However, Gunners legend Thierry Henry accepts it is still far too early to entertain title talk.


“They were behind the eight-ball tonight and managed to win the game… but we saw it last year,” he said. “They won at Aston Villa in the last minute and everyone said ‘it’s our year’.

“Let’s relax, it’s great and you can carry momentum. “It allows the team to believe they can do it. It allows the team to believe if they go down they can come back in a game. But it’s a long road.”

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Luton Town 3-4 Arsenal: Last-gasp Declan Rice goal snatches win for Gunners in seven-goal thriller



Declan Rice scores
Arsenal have won eight points from losing positions in the Premier League this season

Declan Rice’s last-gasp header snatched victory for Arsenal in a seven-goal thriller at Luton to move them five points clear at the top of the Premier League.

It was the conclusion to a compelling encounter in which the hosts twice fought back and threatened to win when Elijah Adebayo and Ross Barkley scored in an eight-minute period after the break, with Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya culpable for both goals.

However, the Hatters were denied a valuable point when Rice met Martin Odegaard’s cross in the seventh minute of stoppage time, 23 seconds after the six official minutes added on had expired.

Arsenal had dominated a largely uneventful opening to a game which sparked into life when Gabriel Martinelli steered Bukayo Saka’s pass into the bottom-left corner.

Gabriel Osho’s header from Alfie Doughty’s corner brought the hosts level shortly after, but when Gabriel Jesus nodded in Ben White’s cross from close range the Gunners looked to have regained control.


But in a chaotic period after the interval, the league’s best defence suddenly appeared flustered with Adebayo leaping above Raya to head in another Doughty delivery from a corner.

And with Luton in the ascendency, Barkley collected an Andros Townsend pass and beat White before driving a low left-foot shot under Raya.

The momentum swung back towards Mikel Arteta’s side when Kai Havertz prodded in from the impressive Jesus’ pass to equalise, but Luton looked to have held the visitors at bay until Rice’s dramatic intervention.

The result leaves Luton 17th, two points above the relegation zone. Liverpool, who sit five points adrift of Arsenal in the table will play their game in hand at Sheffield United on Wednesday (19:30 GMT).

More to follow.


Player of the match

Gabriel MartinelliGabriel Martinelli

Luton Town

  1. Squad number6Player nameBarkley

  2. Squad number45Player nameDoughty

  3. Squad number7Player nameOgbene

  4. Squad number19Player nameBrown

  5. Squad number2Player nameOsho

  6. Squad number30Player nameTownsend

  7. Squad number11Player nameAdebayo

  8. Squad number15Player nameMengi

  9. Squad number17Player nameMpanzu

  10. Squad number14Player nameChong

  11. Squad number12Player nameKaboré

  12. Squad number29Player nameBell

  13. Squad number24Player nameKaminski

  14. Squad number9Player nameMorris

  15. Squad number18Player nameClark

  16. Squad number26Player nameGiles



Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 24Kaminski
  • 15Mengi
  • 2Osho
  • 29Bell
  • 12Kaboré
  • 17MpanzuSubstituted forClarkat 88′minutes
  • 6BarkleyBooked at 44mins
  • 45DoughtySubstituted forGilesat 88′minutes
  • 30TownsendSubstituted forOgbeneat 62′minutes
  • 19BrownBooked at 33minsSubstituted forChongat 61′minutes
  • 11AdebayoSubstituted forMorrisat 61′minutes


  • 7Ogbene
  • 8Berry
  • 9Morris
  • 14Chong
  • 18Clark
  • 23Krul
  • 26Giles
  • 38Johnson
  • 43Nelson


Formation 4-3-3

  • 22Raya
  • 4White
  • 2Saliba
  • 6Gabriel
  • 15KiwiorSubstituted forZinchenkoat 64′minutes
  • 8Ødegaard
  • 41Rice
  • 29Havertz
  • 7Saka
  • 9Gabriel JesusBooked at 45mins
  • 11MartinelliSubstituted forTrossardat 64′minutes


  • 1Ramsdale
  • 14Nketiah
  • 17Cédric Soares
  • 19Trossard
  • 20Jorginho
  • 24Nelson
  • 25Elneny
  • 35Zinchenko
  • 76Walters

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Alfreton Town 0-0 Walsall: Non-league side earn FA Cup second-round replay after battling draw



Walsall's Liam Gordon controls the ball whilst under pressure from Alfreton Town's William Fewster
Walsall’s Liam Gordon comes under pressure from Alfreton Town’s William Fewster

Alfreton Town held League Two Walsall to a battling stalemate to earn an FA Cup second-round replay at Bescot Stadium next week.

The National League North part-timers are 38 league places below the Saddlers, but their direct approach and the prodigious long throw of midfielder Adam Lund made it an uncomfortable night at North Street for the Black Country side.

The non-league side survived a contentious early refereeing decision as Ryan Stirk’s inswinging corner eluded goalkeeper George Willis to find the top corner, only for official Sam Allison to rule out the ‘goal’ for what seemed to be minimal contact on Willis by Walsall striker Freddie Draper.

Walsall went into the game, rearranged after an icy pitch forced a postponement six minutes before kick-off on Saturday, having lost three of their past four to slip towards the League Two relegation zone, and they failed to make their superior fitness and full-time status count.

Alfreton themselves have hit a rocky patch in their season, with no wins in their past four matches, but with the majority of the bumper 3,000 crowd behind them they gave a good account of themselves.


Willis was in the thick of it again a few minutes after his disallowed goal let-off, this time with a superb save as Draper burst clear and shot across him, aiming for the far corner.

Billy Heath’s Reds, however, matched them blow for blow as Donervon Daniels hooked the ball to safety at the far post after another dangerous Lund throw, and then defender Shaun Brisley stole forward to get on the end of Dwayne Wiley’s cross only to send it straight at Walsall goalkeeper Jackson Smith.

Willis was the home side’s hero again when Stirk met David Okagbue’s cross, the goalkeeper saving at point-blank range before his defence smuggled the ball to safety.

Walsall were expected to make their full-time conditioning tell as the game wore on, but they were wasteful as Isaac Hutchinson landed their best chance in the garden of a house behind the Alfreton goal, Willis produced another fine save to deny the same player, and defender Priestly Farquharson looped a lazy shot wide of the post.

It was increasingly Lund’s booming long throws that looked most likely to break the deadlock, but with the Walsall defence standing firm, the only real chance fell to Harry Perritt at the far post, with Smith getting his body in the way of the Alfreton man’s shot.




Formation 4-3-1-2

  • 1Willis
  • 2Clackstone
  • 14Brisley
  • 6Wiley
  • 23NewallBooked at 85mins
  • 8Cantrill
  • 4Lund
  • 22Fewster
  • 12Perritt
  • 29TaylorSubstituted forDayat 66′minutes
  • 7ThewlisSubstituted forSalmonat 65′minutes


  • 5Digie
  • 9Day
  • 10Waldock
  • 11Salmon
  • 13Askew
  • 16Stacey
  • 17Oliver
  • 21Grewal-Pollard


Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 22Smith
  • 2Okagbue
  • 6Farquharson
  • 5DanielsBooked at 90mins
  • 3Gordon
  • 10KnowlesBooked at 85mins
  • 4McEntee
  • 25Stirk
  • 8Hutchinson
  • 26TierneySubstituted forEaringat 78′minutes
  • 15Draper


  • 9Matt
  • 11James-Taylor
  • 12Foulkes
  • 14Comley
  • 17Earing
  • 19Williams
  • 21Allen
  • 32Barrett
  • 42Griffiths

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Nations League: Lauren James curls in England’s third against Scotland



Lauren James puts England 3-0 up against Scotland with a stunning curled effort from the edge of the area in their crucial Nations League game at Hampden Park.

FOLLOW LIVE: Scotland v England – watch on BBC iPlayer, text updates and live clips

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Northern Ireland 1-6 Republic of Ireland: Katie McCabe stars as visitors end campaign unbeaten



Katie McCabe scores a goal
Katie McCabe scored the pick of the goals at Windsor Park

Katie McCabe scored a stunner as the Republic of Ireland made it six wins from six in the Nations League with a 6-1 victory over Northern Ireland at Windsor Park.

Lucy Quinn and Heather Payne hit a quickfire double in the first half.

Kyra Carusa netted 50 seconds after the restart before McCabe fired in a superb effort to make it four.

Louise Quinn and Caitlin Hayes scored from corners either side of Kerry Beattie’s 75th-minute consolation.

Hungary’s 4-0 win over Albania means Northern Ireland will face a relegation play-off against a League C team in February.


The Republic had already topped Group B1 and earned promotion to League A but end their campaign and the tenure of interim manager Eileen Gleeson in style.

After a historic first as the Republic of Ireland’s anthem, Amhran na bhFiann, was played at Windsor Park for the first time, the game had a derby feel with plenty of challenges coming in from both sides, albeit with little goalmouth action.

However it was Quinn, who scored the opening goal between the sides in the reverse fixture in Dublin, who broke the deadlock on 36 minutes when she cut inside Sarah McFadden and her strike deceived Maddy Harvey-Clifford as it curled into the net.

Quinn turned into provider when her back post cross found Everton full back Payne, who started the move and charged up field to fire into the roof of the net just two minutes later.

The Republic made the perfect start to the second half when Carusa got in front of McFadden to head in McCabe’s cross less than a minute after the restart.


Arsenal’s McCabe had the pick of the goals on 50 minutes as she cut inside and let fly on her weaker right foot, which flew into the top corner and left Maddy Harvey-Clifford with no chance.

Defender Quinn’s bullet header made it five as the Republic turned on the style but Beattie grabbed a consolation with 15 minutes to play as the half-time substitute diverted Rebecca Holloway’s effort into the net.

The Republic would have the final say when Caitlin Hayes slid home Megan Connolly’s corner with four minutes to play.

Clincial Republic

Lucy Quinn
Lucy Quinn, as she did in Dublin in the first match between the sides, opened the scoring midway through the first half

Before the goals, there was little to split the sides as Northern Ireland frustrated their higher-ranked opponents, who had already won promotion to League A and could only create half-chances.

Northern Ireland had efforts of their own through Holloway, whose looping effort dipped over, and Marissa Callaghan, who could not keep a first-time strike down from inside the area.

The Republic’s quickfire double all but ended the game, but the hosts were almost handed a lifeline when Republic goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan almost spilled Marissa Callaghan’s cross into her own goal.


Carusa’s goal 50 seconds after the restart and McCabe’s superb solo goal ended any Northern Irish hopes.

Ruesha Littlejohn curled a free-kick well over and Harvey-Clifford pushed Payne’s long-range effort over the bar and Quinn was on hand to head home from the resulting corner.

Holloway put in a goal-saving block to deny Carusa a second before Beattie touched home a consolation for the hosts, which was only the second goal the Republic conceded in their six matches.

Megan Connolly blazed over from inside the area and Lucy Quinn fired straight at Harvey-Clifford but the visitors got their sixth when Hayes netted.


Northern Ireland

Formation 4-3-3

  • 23Harvey-Clifford
  • 2McKennaSubstituted forVanceat 45′minutes
  • 4McFadden
  • 6Rafferty
  • 15HollowayBooked at 64mins
  • 16CaldwellSubstituted forMaxwellat 67′minutes
  • 7McCarronSubstituted forBellat 82′minutes
  • 8Callaghan
  • 17Hamilton
  • 9MagillSubstituted forBeattieat 45′minutes
  • 14Wade


  • 1Turner
  • 3Vance
  • 5Mason
  • 10Halliday
  • 11Maxwell
  • 12Norney
  • 13McLaren
  • 18Bell
  • 19Wilson
  • 20Andrews
  • 21Beattie
  • 22Magee

Republic of Ireland

Formation 3-4-1-2

  • 1Brosnan
  • 5Hayes
  • 4QuinnSubstituted forMustakiat 81′minutes
  • 6Connolly
  • 14PayneSubstituted forLarkinat 63′minutes
  • 17FinnSubstituted forAggat 85′minutes
  • 8LittlejohnSubstituted forStapletonat 63′minutes
  • 11McCabe
  • 10O’Sullivan
  • 15QuinnSubstituted forAtkinsonat 81′minutes
  • 18Carusa


  • 2Stapleton
  • 3Mustaki
  • 7Caldwell
  • 9McLaughlin
  • 12Toland
  • 13Nolan
  • 16Moloney
  • 19Larkin
  • 20Dolan
  • 21Agg
  • 22Atkinson
  • 23Whitehouse

Veronika Kovarova

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Trent Alexander-Arnold: Jurgen Klopp says England international will play ‘wherever it’s best’ for Liverpool



Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrating his late winner against Fulham
Trent Alexander-Arnold has scored two goals in his last three appearances for Liverpool

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says Trent Alexander-Arnold will play “wherever it’s best for us” sfollowing his late winner from midfield against Fulham.

Alexander-Arnold started at right-back but pushed into midfield late on, sparking a debate about whether he could permanently play there.

But Klopp does not want to pin the England international to one position.

“We still have to make decisions on what is best for the team and Trent sees it exactly the same way,” he said.

“Trent can play midfield, we all knew that and he can play the role really well.


“If he wants to be good he has to be influential from all different areas because it makes us better.”

Alexander-Arnold’s attacking instincts have led to some criticism of his defensive attributes and questions over whether he would be more effective further forward.

He started both of England’s European qualifiers against North Macedonia and Malta in central midfield during the November international break.

The 25-year-old was back at full-back when Liverpool resumed Premier League action at champions Manchester City, but did score a late equaliser in the 1-1 draw at Etihad Stadium.

“Trent became one of the most successful players in the history of Liverpool. In the recent history, he became a Premier League player as a right-back so he will play wherever it’s best for us and that’s just how it is and Trent sees it exactly the same way,” added Klopp.


“I’m not stubborn and don’t want to play him midfield, not at all, but I am not part of the discussion. You [the media] can discuss it as much as you want but it will not have any influence.

“He wants to play and from my point of view he has to be influential and we have to make sure we help him with the positioning.

“If you want to be good he has to be influential from all different areas because it just makes us better if he plays a good game.”

Joel Matip getting treatment by a physio on his knee injury
Joel Matip was forced off after 67 minutes against Fulham and replaced by Ibrahima Konate

Meanwhile, defender Joel Matip could be set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after Klopp said his knee injury “doesn’t look good”.

Matip was forced off during the second half of Sunday’s win against Fulham at Anfield.

“The scan is not done yet so we don’t know exactly but it is not great,” said Klopp, whose side travel to Sheffield United on Wednesday.


“I don’t know the exact timescale but it doesn’t look good. That is something we can say.

“I spoke to him and said: ‘Ah no, that is not good’. But how long [he will be injured for], we don’t know.”

Forward Diogo Jota and goalkeeper Alisson suffered muscle injuries during last month’s draw at Manchester City, though they are not expected to be out long-term.

The Merseyside club are also without full-back Andy Robertson as he recovers from shoulder surgery, while midfielders Thiago Alcantara and Stefan Bajcetic have yet to make an appearance this season because of hip and adductor injuries respectively.

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Sheffield United: Chris Wilder says relationship with Prince Abdullah ‘repaired a long time ago’



Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder during training
Chris Wilder took charge of training on Tuesday before his first game against Liverpool on Wednesday

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder says his relationship with owner Prince Abdullah was “repaired a long time ago” after he replaced Paul Heckingbottom.

Wilder led the club from League One to ninth in the Premier League during his first spell, but left by mutual consent as they neared relegation in 2021.

They are bottom of the Premier League and four points from safety after losing 11 of their opening 14 games.

“I didn’t have to think about it,” said Wilder.

“People know what this club means to me, and the task now is to try and provide a boost to improve our current situation.


“My relationship with Prince Abdullah and the board was repaired a long time ago.

“After some time passed following my initial departure, we spoke, met in person and there was an amicable ending.

“There were certain things that I shouldn’t have been involved in, but things over time have been repaired and there is a reason Prince Abdullah wants me to come back to the football club.

“He feels I am the best man to do the job and I am delighted he thinks that. The biggest positive for me is that the relationship between him and myself is good.”

There had been issues between Wilder and Prince Abdullah behind the scenes, with the manager feeling not enough had been done to strengthen his squad.


Prince Abdullah told Talksport that Wilder was “the best guy on Planet Earth to take over the club right now”.

Heckingbottom, appointed on a permanent basis in November 2021, guided the club back to the top flight by finishing second in the Championship last season.

But after Saturday’s 5-0 defeat at fellow promoted side Burnley, and United’s drop to the bottom of the table, the 46-year-old has become the first Premier League manager to be sacked this season.

Heckingbottom’s scheduled news conference on Monday afternoon was cancelled amid morning reports that he had been sacked.

But the news had not been announced by the Blades as of Tuesday morning, with the finer details of his departure still being finalised.


It was not until Prince Abdullah’s appeared on Talksport that the change was confirmed, with an official statement following more than one hour later on the club’s website.

‘Sheffield United are getting me at my best’

Since leaving Bramall Lane, Wilder has had spells at Championship sides Middlesbrough and Watford.

He has also done some media work and now believes he is a better manager than when he left the Blades in March 2021.

“I am going to give it my all, I am more enthusiastic and determined than I have ever been, Sheffield United are getting me at my best as well,” he said.

“For me, this is a huge challenge personally, and I am rubbing my hands together to try and help the club get out of the position we are in. We are up against it, everyone in the world thinks we are done and dusted. We have always had that underdog tag, that mentality.


“I have come back to help the football club. I have been given a great opportunity to hopefully make a difference.

“It is going to be a long hard season, we know that, we are going to have some difficult moments and we are going to have to suffer. I am into the players and hopefully we can get a reaction.”

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Manchester City: Pep Guardiola says his side will win fourth straight Premier League title



Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says his side are going to win a record fourth straight Premier League title this season.

City have slipped to third, three points off leaders Arsenal, after draws with Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham.

Guardiola’s side have conceded eight goals in those games and thrown away leads in each, but are still favourites with the bookmakers for the title.

“My feeling today is we’re going to win the Premier League,” said Guardiola.


“If we play at the levels that we showed against Liverpool and Tottenham, we’re going to win it again.

“People don’t believe it already after three draws but we feel we’re going to do it again, knowing that it is not easy because no team has done it yet [won four in a row].

“The difficulty is there and was last season but, if you ask me today what I’m feeling, we’re going to do it again.”

City matched Manchester United’s record of three straight Premier League titles when they won the Treble last season.

At one stage they were eight points behind Arsenal last season, but won the league by five points.


The previous season saw City edge Liverpool out by a point, coming from 2-0 down against Aston Villa on the final day to win the league by a single point.

They finished 12 points clear of Manchester United the season before.

‘We never use these situations’

Guardiola’s side were incensed in the closing stages of their 3-3 draw with Tottenham on Sunday when referee Simon Hooper blew for a free-kick after initially playing advantage for a foul on Erling Haaland.

Haaland got back to his feet and clipped the ball over the top, releasing Jack Grealish, but Hooper brought play back for the foul.

However, Guardiola does not think his players need that incident to fuel their fight for the rest of the season.


“We never use these kind of situations. Today the motivation is to try and do better,” he said.

“Sometimes decisions help you, sometimes they don’t. I learn that if you want to win something you have to do it much, much better than the opponents.”

City have been charged with failing to control their players by the Football Association after their players surrounded Hooper following the incident.

Haaland went on to criticise Hooper in a social media post, but the Norwegian is not facing any individual action from the FA.

Guardiola said his side have “behaved incredibly this season” and pointed to comments by his players that highlighted they needed to do better as a group on the pitch.


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Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi in talks over new contract



Roberto De Zerbi
As well as a sixth-place finish, Roberto De Zerbi also led Brighton to the FA Cup semi-finals last season

Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi says he has opened talks over a new contract.

De Zerbi, who succeeded Graham Potter in September 2022, guided the Seagulls to sixth last season and a European qualification for the first time.

Brighton are eighth in the Premier League and have qualified for the knockout stages of the Europa League.

“I usually work to be happy and to enjoy and I feel very good in Brighton,” said the 44-year-old, whose current contract runs until 2026.

“I have a great relationship with the players, with the club, with Tony [Bloom, chairman], with Paul Barber [chief executive], with David Weir [technical director] and everybody who works in Brighton.


“Yes, we are speaking about the new contract but at the moment we are [only] speaking, it’s not done yet.”

Brighton’s progress under De Zerbi has led to speculation linking him to other clubs.

But the former Sassuolo and Shakhtar Donetsk boss says he has no plans to leave Amex Stadium provided the club shares his ambitions.

“At the end we have to analyse the target. If the targets are the same as the club’s, it’s an honour for me working in Brighton. I don’t try to reach the higher level,” the Italian added.

“Most important for me is working seriously, with a good team, good players. It’s important for me to fix an important target.”


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