• Sevilla, Bayer Leverkusen reach Europa League quarterfinals
    The Canadian Press

    Sevilla, Bayer Leverkusen reach Europa League quarterfinals

    DUISBURG, Germany — Sevilla beat Roma 2-0 in the round of 16 on Thursday to stay in the hunt for a record sixth Europa League title, as Bayer Leverkusen also qualified for the quarterfinals.Full-back Sergio Reguilon gave Sevilla the lead with a surging run through the Roma defence and a shot past keeper Pau Lopez in the 22nd minute. Youssef En-Nesyri added the second just before halftime, tapping in a low cross from Lucas Ocampos.Sevilla could easily have scored more, with two shots hitting the crossbar and a goal overturned for offside on video review. Playing after a packed run of Serie A games, Roma didn't muster a single shot on target in the first half and just one in the second.It was a single game at a neutral venue in Germany because no first leg was played in March before the season was suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic.Roma defender Gianluca Mancini was sent off in added time after video review for making contact with Luuk De Jong’s head in a challenge for the ball.It was Roma's first game since its $700 million takeover by the Texas-based Friedkin Group was confirmed Thursday morning.The venue was a world away from that high-powered dealmaking. Roma and Sevilla played at the stadium of third-tier German club Duisburg, whose fans have been raising money from T-shirt sales to help the club with the financial impact of the coronavirus.Sevilla had more rest than Roma and it showed as the Spanish team played high-tempo football and pressed Roma intensely to force turnovers high up the field. Since July 19, when Sevilla played its last game in La Liga, Roma had rattled through five Serie A games in 14 days, with a five-day turnaround before the Europa League.Sevilla next faces a quarterfinal against either Wolverhampton or Olympiakos on Tuesday.Bayer Leverkusen cruised into the quarterfinals, beating Rangers 1-0 on Thursday thanks to a powerful shot from Moussa Diaby for a 4-1 aggregate win. Leverkusen takes on Inter Milan in the quarterfinals Monday.Leverkusen’s in-demand forward Kai Havertz volleyed the ball over the bar and sent another chance wide. Leverkusen has vowed that Havertz will complete the club’s Europa League campaign before any transfer. The 21-year-old German has been heavily linked with Chelsea.Rangers had the unusual distinction of playing a 2019-20 Europa League game after it had already begun the 2020-21 season in the Scottish league last week.Later Thursday, Wolverhampton bids to reach its first European quarterfinal since 1972 against Olympiakos with the score level at 1-1 from the first leg. Basel tries to hold on to a 3-0 lead over Eintracht Frankfurt.___More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsJames Ellingworth, The Associated Press

  • Zidane says Bale asked not to play for Madrid at Man City
    The Canadian Press

    Zidane says Bale asked not to play for Madrid at Man City

    MANCHESTER, England — Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale asked not to be included in the squad for the Champions League trip to Manchester City, according to coach Zinedine Zidane.Bale has become a peripheral figure at the Spanish champions after falling out of favour under Zidane.“It was a personal conversation I had with him,” Zidane said. “He preferred not to play. The rest remains between me and him but he said he didn’t want to play.”The 31-year-old Wales international's last appearance for Madrid was on June 24.Madrid is trying to overturn a 2-1 loss against City from the first leg in February of the pandemic-delayed round of 16___More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsThe Associated Press

  • Sarri confident about Juve future independent of Lyon result
    The Canadian Press

    Sarri confident about Juve future independent of Lyon result

    TURIN, Italy — Maurizio Sarri believes his future is safe at Juventus regardless of whether the team overturns a 1-0 deficit to Lyon in the Champions League on Friday.While Sarri led Juventus to a record-extending ninth straight Serie A title, the Bianconeri have yet to really adapt his quick passing schemes and lost four of 12 matches during the restart.What’s more is that amid so much dominance domestically, the true test for any Juventus coach comes in the Champions League -- the competition that the Bianconeri have not won since 1996.“I don’t think it will be my last match,” Sarri said Thursday when asked if he thought he would be fired if the team is eliminated. “I think I’m dealing with top-level managers -- they’re not amateurs. They’ve already made their evaluations, independently of the result tomorrow.“This question implies that the managers are fans and that they merely follow the emotional wave."Sarri has two more seasons on his contract and has said he intends to honour the deal fully.The game at Allianz Stadium will be held without fans due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was postponed from March.The winner will advance to the single-elimination quarterfinals in Lisbon.Key Juventus forward Paulo Dybala is recuperating from a thigh injury.“His status is up to the medical staff, although yesterday he did some work on the pitch," Sarri said. "We’ll try to get him back right up until tomorrow morning. Then we’ll see what his availability his and what the doctors say.”___More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsThe Associated Press