Real Madrid were made to sweat in Istanbul but held on for a 3-2 defeat away to Galatasaray, a result which nevertheless assured their passage into the last four of the Champions League with a 5-3 victory on aggregate.The Spanish side looked set to cruise through when Cristiano Ronaldo opened up a four-goal aggregate lead in the opening minutes, but a timid response by the visitors encouraged the Turkish giants to chase the impossible, which they almost achieved as Emmanuel Eboue, Wesley Sneijder and Didier Drogba hit in the second half. Ronaldo finally ended their hopes with a late goal that sealed victory.Virtually assured of a place in the Champions League semi-finals thanks to a dominant 3-0 win in the Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid nevertheless began the second leg in belligerent fashion, pushing forward immediately in search of a goal.Angel Di Maria was almost the man to provide it in the first minute of play, picking up a loose ball after Fernando Muslera’s rushed clearance outside the area. The Argentine went for the net, but with Galatasaray defenders scampering back he saw the effort fall just the wrong side of the post.Away fans, however, did not have to wait long, as after just seven minutes of play the Merengue got the strike that would surely put the tie beyond the faintest of doubts. An overlapping Sami Khedira streaked past on the right-hand side, and put a teasing ball into the middle. As the Turkish backline failed to react, Cristiano Ronaldo was on hand to tap home, recording his 49th Champions League goal and drawing level with the legendary Alfredo Di Stefano in the historical charts.Despite that early blow, Galatasaray held their heads high, dominating possession against Jose Mourinho’s men and attempting to match their rivals. Didier Drogba was the target of much of the Turks’ attacking play, but was let down by poor service and his own fading reflexes, and struggled to make an impact. Madrid sat back and were content to allow their opponents to do the running, while on the counter-attack they remained a frightening force. This potency on the break was demonstrated when Di Maria went within a hair’s breadth of adding a second. The midfielder latched to a wonderful flick from Ronaldo to break free on the left, and looked destined to put his name on the board. He did not count on the heroics of Muslera, however. The goalkeeper pulled off a breathtaking fingertip save to keep Angel out, and ensure that the gap would not widen as the two sides went in for the break.The Turkish side continued their unlikely pursuit in the second half, and were rewarded with their first goal of the tie 57 minutes in – and it was one worth waiting for. A speculative ball across the Madrid area was not picked up by anyone, which allowed Emmanuel Eboue to meet it just on the edge of the area. The right-back had been disappointing during the opening hour, but atoned with a stunning power shot which left Lopez no chance to save, and put Galatasaray on the board.The hosts were now buoyant, and could have reduced the deficit to ‘just’ three goals if Sneijder had converted a golden chance. The Netherlands star found himself in the right place at the back post after a low cross was deflected into his path but, gloriously unmarked, he fluffed a left-footed shot to save Madrid from falling behind on the night. The midfielder was not done, however, cutting inside his marker from deep, Sneijder went to to release a bullet of a shot that put his side ahead, at least for the second leg.The Turkish crowd, from a position of despair, could not believe their eyes. Drogba set up an unthinkable last 20 minutes with a wonderful backheel into the net, putting Galatasaray 3-1 up and leaving just two goals for the comeback.And Drogba thought he had levelled the tie before being pulled back for an offside and Madrid lived to breathe another day, Ronaldo confirming their passage with a strong finish in the final minute. The Merengue join Borussia Dortmund in the penultimate stage of the competition with Juventus, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain fighting to claim the final two spots on Wednesday evening.
Out of contract Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi, has lost out in his bid to replace Paul Put as Coach of the Burkina Faso National team, following the appointment of German’s Genort Rohr.Keshi was rumored to be the front runner for the job due to his age, but just as it happened when he was linked to the managerial role in South Africa and Equatorial Guinea, the Burkinabe Football Federation opted against employing him as the country’s national team coach. He was the preferred choice of the country federation’s president, Col. Sita Sangare, but Rohr was named as the new coach on Wednesday, sl10.ng reports.However the news comes as a relief to the president of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, who said a few days ago, that he prays Keshi turns down Burkina Faso and commits himself to a new deal, with the NFF
SAN DIEGO >> On the same day they acquired veteran leadoff hitter Jimmy Rollins, the Dodgers dealt their leadoff hitter in 2014, Dee Gordon, to the Miami Marlins.According to multiple reports Wednesday, Gordon and pitcher Dan Haren were going from the Dodgers to the Miami Marlins for four players: left-handed pitcher Andrew Heaney, utility player Austin Barnes, right-handed pitcher Chris Hatcher and utility player Enrique Hernandez.The trade, like the Rollins trade, has not been formally announced by either team. There is good reason to believe that a third or fourth team could become involved in one or both trades, which general manager Farhan Zaidi hinted in his media briefing Tuesday.Zaidi also said Tuesday that Gordon “is our second baseman” and the Dodgers were not offering him in trades. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error That must have changed at some point overnight. Heaney was reportedly coveted by multiple teams. The 23-year-old was the ninth overall pick in the 2012 draft. He pitched in Double-A, Triple-A and eventually reached the majors this past season, throwing 29 1/3 innings and allowing 19 runs for the Marlins.Hatcher, 29, made 52 appearances out of the Miami bullpen and posted a 3.38 ERA with 60 strikeouts in 56 innings.Hernandez, 22, played six positions in his rookie year, and was part of a five-player trade between the Astros and Marlins in July. He posted a combined .248/.321/.421 slash line.Barnes, 24, is a native of Riverside who has played four minor-league seasons in the Marlins’ organization. Last year at Double-A he slashed .296/.406/.507.All four players are under team control for 2014, an attractive option for a Dodgers club looking to create a more flexible roster. Since the Dodgers’ 40-man roster was full when the day began, they would certainly not be able to take on five players while trading only two. At least one further move is necessary to complete the picture. What will the roster look like once it’s complete?“I don’t think any of us know what it’s going to look like,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said on a conference call Wednesday afternoon. “I think there’s a lot going on right now.”Dodgers executives cancelled their daily media briefing Wednesday evening as details of the trades leaked.If true, the trade with the Marlins leaves the Dodgers’ roster without a clear-cut second baseman and only three pitchers who started more than two games for them last season.Gordon, 26, led the National League in stolen bases with 64. He was eligible for arbitration and was tendered a contract by the Dodgers for 2015 but had not signed.Gordon made his first All-Star team in July with a strong first half, but a second-half slump left him with a .326 on-base percentage for the season, well below the norm for an All-Star caliber leadoff hitter.“Part of his struggles is just part of being a young player,” Mattingly said. “They’re going to grow and go through stretches where they get tired. It’s cat and mouse, back and forth. You have success, (opposing pitchers) start chasing him in a different way. … He has to make the adjustments back. That’s what was part of his second half last year.”Coincidentally, Gordon made two community appearances in a Dodgers uniform on Wednesday in Los Angeles.Haren, 34, rejoined the Dodgers by exercising a $10 million player option in his contract for 2015. He went 13-11 with a 4.02 ERA in 2014.“I thought he saved us the way he pitched early,” Mattingly said of Haren. “He had a bunch of wins early in the season. I think he hit an extended four or five-game stretch that he struggled, got off track a bit mechaniccaly. But you still were comfortable with Danny because you know he’s not going to panic, not going to worry. I loved what he brought to this club, his makeup. I thought he had a tremendous year last year.”The two trades would allow the Dodgers to save more than $12 million in salary according to some reports, but those do not take into account which players the Dodgers would send to Philadelphia to complete the Rollins trade.McCarthy close to signingThe Dodgers and free agent right-hander Brandon McCarthy have agreed to terms on a four-year contract, according to multiple reports Wednesday.The 31-year-old is 52-65 in nine major-league seasons with the White Sox, Rangers, A’s, Diamondbacks, and Yankees.