Atletico Madrid 1-0 Real Betis: Costa seals Champions League spot for 10 men

By Sports Desk July 11, 2020

Diego Costa guaranteed 10-man Atletico Madrid's place in next season's Champions League by heading home the winner in a 1-0 LaLiga victory over Real Betis.

Atleti looked destined to hold on for at most a draw after Mario Hermoso was shown a straight red card for a foul on Loren Moron, but substitute Costa steered home Yannick Carrasco's free-kick in the 74th minute to secure a top-four finish for Diego Simeone's men.

After seeing goals for Angel Correa and Alvaro Morata overturned by VAR, there were concerns Costa's header would be ruled out during a lengthy check for handball.

However, the goal was allowed to stand, ensuring Atleti will return to European football's top table in 2020-21.

 

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    With the Champions League back on, I went in search of predictions about who fans in Jamaica thought would win.

    What I found was there aren’t really fans. Well, I didn’t find what I expect from a fan.

    The term fan is an offshoot of the word fanatic. A fanatic is someone who shows so much loyalty to something that they, not only, have strong emotion about it, but are knowledgeable by virtue of spending so much time dedicated to understanding it.

    In seeking answers to my questions predicting the winner of the Champions League, I found humiliating explanations, shallow reasoning and anything but persuasive arguments for one team or another.

    Come to think of it, maybe they used a little strategy. There were two matches being played at the same time in the UEFA Champions League— Manchester City vs. Real Madrid and Juventus vs. Lyon. Fans were aware and had to develop a strategy to watch them both. But that's just about it.

    When I asked my ‘fair-weather friends’ who they think would win the Champions League and why, their responses were uninspiring.

    They usually started confidently enough, but that was where the solidity ended.

    “BARCELONA!”, “MAN-CITY!”, “CHELSEA!”, “REAL MADRID!” etc, came the answers even before the questions were completely out of my mouth.

    The problem they all encountered though, was the question of … why?

    Suddenly the confidence of the answers were replaced with almost incoherent, largely uninformed drivle.

    “Definitely you know it’s Barcelona. And I know other persons are going to say otherwise but this is the reason why: Barcelona is a champion...beyond champion, beyond champion, beyond champion, beyond champion…”

    Another picked Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) as his winner.

    “Neymar is a star baller,” was his ‘very solid’ reason.

    I wanted a response from a seasoned fan. I figured it would have some substance but a seasoned fan is not common place.

    “Man City definitely! I think they have the best ballers,” is the closest I could come to something resembling a thought-out explanation.

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  • New Juve boss Pirlo is destined for greatness – Paratici New Juve boss Pirlo is destined for greatness – Paratici

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    Pep Guardiola

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    Zinedine Zidane

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    Antonio Conte

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    Roberto Di Matteo

    Di Matteo accepted the top job at Chelsea in 2012, having previously been assistant to Andre Villas-Boas. Di Matteo – who won the FA Cup twice with the Blues as a player – went on to lift two trophies as Chelsea boss, including their first Champions League title with a penalty shoot-out win over Bayern Munich, but he was discarded early in the following season.

    MISSES

    Alan Shearer

    Record Premier League goalscorer, Newcastle United legend and lethal England striker – Shearer's playing career was full of success. When he retired in 2006, Shearer moved into television as a pundit, but when the Magpies came calling in 2009 he stepped in to try and save them from relegation. Sadly for Shearer he was unsuccessful, his eight-game reign ending in Newcastle slipping out of the top flight after a 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa on the final day.

    Filippo Inzaghi

    Employing former players as head coaches had previously worked well for Milan – Fabio Capello and Carlo Ancelotti proving particularly successful. When the Rossoneri turned to Inzaghi in 2014 after Clarence Seedorf's brief tenure, the move was therefore no surprise. However, the former striker – who won eight major trophies at the club in his playing days – flopped, winning just 14 of his 40 matches in charge as Milan finished 10th, their worst league position in 17 years.

    Thierry Henry

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    Juan Jose Lopez

    One of the most decorated players in River Plate history, having won seven league titles in an 11-year spell, Lopez was a popular appointment after making a strong impact in his second period as caretaker manager in 2010. However, he subsequently presided over a poor 2011 Clausura campaign, forcing River into a play-off against Belgrano, who won 3-1 on aggregate. It was the first time River dropped out of the top tier, sparking riots which left many people injured.

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