Juventus lost a goalless draw with Inter and reached the Italian Cup final for the 20th time. Manchester United only hit West Ham in extra time in the FA Cup thanks to a goal from Scott McTominay. And the middle peasant of the second most powerful French division “Valenciennes” created a loud sensation by knocking out “Reims” from the country’s cup. Read about the main events of the day in European cups in RT.
Pirlo surprises with pragmatism
In the return meeting with Inter, Juventus could afford to play on defense, since the first semi-final match of the Italian Cup between these teams remained with Turin (2: 1). This tactic was eventually chosen by the head coach of the reigning champions of the country, Andrea Pirlo.
Throughout the evening, the Piedmontese almost did not change themselves, maintaining the tactical structure of 4-4-2, in which the actions in defense are as simple as possible due to the minimum space between the lines, both horizontally and vertically. This season Juventus has never appeared so pragmatic before the fans. But the idea worked.
The hosts blocked a third of Inter’s shots at a safe distance for the goal. Gianluigi Buffon coped with the same half-moments that arose among the Milanese. As a result, representatives of Lombardy played the sixth match in a row at the Allianz without a goal scored. Juventus reached the Italian Cup final for the 20th time. The closest pursuer in this respect, Roma, has only 17 hits in the battle for the trophy.
Note that Inter, unlike the opponent, acted much more emotionally, losing the thread of the game at the most crucial moment. And even Romelu Lukaku, who is traditionally an example of composure, broke down first at partners, then at the referee. For the Belgian to score against Juventus was a personal challenge, because it was against the Turin players that he risked spending the most minutes on the field without scoring. To the striker’s disappointment, the chain was not interrupted – and now Romelu’s unsuccessful streak reached the mark of 437 minutes.
McTominay continues to score
In the 1/8 finals of the FA Cup, David Moyes and his sensational West Ham met with the former Scottish club Manchester United. The Londoners, obviously, learned from the December home defeat from the giants (1: 3), betting on the reliability of the rear and making the opponent’s approaches to the possessions of Lukasz Fabianski as difficult as possible. The statistics said that the guests of Old Trafford would try to take their own on counterattacks or even agree to bring the case to a penalty shootout. During the whole evening, the “hammer men” only once disturbed the rivals’ goalkeeper, and in general they approached someone else’s penalty a few times. Although it is Manchester United that has the worst defense in the Premier League from among the representatives of the top 9 of the table.
However, in their own half of 90 minutes, Londoners played flawlessly and deserved compliments. Neither Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood, as base players, nor Bruno Fernandes and Edinson Cavani, who were raised from the reserve, managed to score. But for whom the “hammer men” did not keep track of, it was Scott McTominay. It seems logical: the defensive midfielder is certainly not included in the list of the most formidable “weapons” of the Mankunians. But if the Scotsman hits, then for sure. The midfielder celebrated his third appearance for Manchester United in a row with an accurate shot – and the goal was the only one in the match.
Scott McTominay has now scored in each of his last three appearances for Manchester United.
⚽️ vs. Southampton
⚽️ vs. Everton
⚽️ vs. West Ham
Coming off the bench to score this evening. pic.twitter.com/VtEk15v4uK
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 9, 2021
Bournemouth have doubled Burnley’s goals. The winning goal for Lancashire was scored by Sam Surridge, who became a Premier League team specialist. Burnley was the third club after Fulham and Arsenal to be scored by the forward in the current tournament.
Valenciennes surprises France
The most spectacular and most unpredictable match of Tuesday was played in the 1/32 final of the French Cup. Representative of the elite League 1 Reims hosted Valenciennes from the country’s second-strongest division and faced fierce resistance. In the starting 45 minutes, the teams exchanged goals, acting on a collision course. The hosts expected to drive the opponent at a high rate, and then take their own in the class. However, it turned out exactly the opposite: from the 56th to the 81st minutes, Reims conceded three times, effectively knocking themselves out of the tournament.
Nevertheless, in the end, the team’s top scorer Bulaye Dia, who, according to media reports, was interested in Krasnodar, scored a double and gave the favorite a chance to save. David Guyon’s charges tried to grab onto this opportunity, but did not succeed, creating the loudest sensation of the French Cup in 2021.
Lorient was also close to failure, losing to Paris from Ligue 2 until the 72nd minute. But then the representative of the elite was helped by a penalty, realized by Ioan Wissa, and a successful substitution. Opening of the season Teremas Moffy, who scored in each of four matches in January, entered the field ten minutes before the final whistle and after three revolutions of the second hand brought Lorient victory. At 21, the striker is obviously claiming to be the most underrated player in this season’s Ligue 1 and will most likely be promoted after the season ends.
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