AEK Athens v Celtic in Champions League and Carabao Cup clockwatch – live!

14 August 2018 05:50
Rolling updates from around Europe and the UKBen Fisher: Morecambe’s Bentley plots upset for underdogsEmail Nick with any thoughts | Tweet @NickAmes82 6.50pm BST Today is judgement day for Crvena Zvezda's Champions Legaue dreams. They are down an away goal to Spartak Trnava and need to put away their chances to advance. Should be a tense evening. Napred Zvezdo!I am an old (well, technically millennial) romantic and would LOVE to see them back in the Champions League. 6.48pm BST Team news starting to flood in from the Carabao Cup. I’m not going to reproduce it all here because that would be just ridiculous, but there’s already evidence of a lot of sides making big changes. Like this:Make that 10 changes for #ncfc from #wba. Strong bench, Let's hope they are not needed https://t.co/1pbDt4p6Po 6.45pm BST Of course, the chances of a real outsider playing in the group stage have receded from this year now that the big leagues have succeeded in taking up more places in it. It’s harder for everyone else now. Minimal competition and maximum profit – it’s what the cabal of top clubs want and it’s what they’re getting, to the detriment of the sport’s overall health. How can it be fought against? Ideas welcome. 6.43pm BST Qarabag could have got themselves into it against BATE just now but were denied by a decent save low down. Where’s the drama going to be tonight? 6.41pm BST “I was wondering if you could keep an eye on the Zagreb vs Astana game,” requests Nick Syrgabaev. “My dad’s from Kazakhstan, so I’ve always loved it when I see a Kazakh team reach the group stages. Bit busy helping in my uni’s opening week, but soccer can come before freshmen!”Of course, Nick – I tend to keep an eye out for Astana myself, as I visited them just under three years ago when they reached the group stage. A fascinating – and quite strange – club, city and story. Would be keen to return some day. They’ve got a mountain to climb in Zagreb, two down from the first leg, but an early goal could change everything. 6.33pm BST Another Champions League tie is getting underway now – it’s Spartak Moscow vs PAOK, and given that the Greek side won the first leg 3-2 we could be in for a fun one there. 6.21pm BST Oh, BATE have scored against Qarabag, I just saw it. Mirko Ivanic capitalised on a catastrophic ball from the back, sashayed on and finished with glee. It’s 2-0 on aggregate. 6.18pm BST As always, do get in touch throughout the evening. Is there a tie you have your eye on – in either competition? A team I should be excited about? A game you’re at? Something else you want to say? Don’t hold it in – the addresses are above. 6.12pm BST Because the football never ever stops, a couple of those Champions League ties have already begun! Dynamo Kiev lead Slavia Prague 1-0 with half-time approaching, which will see them through to the play-offs if it stays like that. BATE and Qarabag are goalless 12 minutes in, which will suit the Belarusians just fine. 4.32pm BST We have . a lot of football on our hands tonight. A lot. I make it 44 games under our aegis over the next few hours, including one or two that are already underway. If you were still feeling your way into the new season then Champions League and Carabao Cup are words that should eliminate any doubt as to where we’re at – and if you stick around we’ll sift through the best of it together.In the Champions League third qualifying round (second leg), we’ll see Celtic battle for a place in the play-offs against AEK Athens (7pm UK time). Easier said than done, you’d fancy, as they drew 1-1 at home and now need a result at a Difficult Place To Go. We’ll follow that one closely. Fenerbahce v Benfica (0-1 after first leg) is another one to keep you abreast of. Continue reading. . read full article

Source: TheGuardian