Mbappe missed a penalty and was injured, Barcelona is unstoppable, Cancelo made a bright debut in Bayern

Wednes­day’s main events in Euro­pean foot­ball.

Spain: Betis’ nightmare

Spain. La Liga. 17th round

01 Feb, 23:00. Ben­i­to Vil­la­marin (Seville)




More recent­ly, Betis and Barcelona had a hot per­for­mance in the Super Cup semi-finals, where the Blau­grana twice allowed their oppo­nents to come back, but still pre­vailed in the penal­ty shootout. The new game looked good too, and the goal­less draw at half­time was some kind of mis­un­der­stand­ing. Con­sid­er Rui Silva’s self­less throw at the feet of Pedri, who was going one-on-one.

1st of February.  Betis - Barcelona - 1:2.  Photo by Reuters
1st of Feb­ru­ary. Betis — Barcelona — 1:2.

The Por­tuguese goal­keep­er is one of the heroes of the evening. At the begin­ning of the sec­ond half, he pulled out anoth­er dif­fi­cult shot from Pedri, and had to capit­u­late only in a hope­less sit­u­a­tion when Balde cut out a pass to Rafin­ha’s emp­ty cor­ner. The suc­cess of the Brazil­ian, who did not live up to expec­ta­tions in the first part of the sea­son, is impor­tant dur­ing the absence of Dem­bele, who is out of action for five to six weeks.

The day before, Xavi said that he expect­ed more from Raphin­ha, and he did not dis­ap­point. And Lewandows­ki, who final­ly served his dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion, con­sol­i­dat­ed the suc­cess. Barcelona not only gives no chance to pur­su­ing Real Madrid, but also set a record. No one has ever won six times in a row in La Liga at the Ben­i­to Vil­la­marin, where things are dif­fi­cult for every­one. For­mer Sevil­la defend­er Kounde, who scored an own goal, knows this like no one else.

France: Messi scores without Neymar and Mbappe

France. League 1. 21st round

01 Feb, 23:00. La Mos­son (Mont­pel­li­er)




Christophe Galtier’s harsh com­ments are becom­ing a famil­iar attribute of PSG match­es after the world cham­pi­onship. When the Parisians lost a home vic­to­ry over Reims in the sixth added minute, the coach, who acknowl­edged the full­ness of his respon­si­bil­i­ty, said that he need­ed to get out of his com­fort zone and return the game to the lev­el of a top club.

February 1st.  Anoth­er use­ful match for Golovin for Mona­co. But more effec­tive action is need­ed

At the same time, Galti­er spoke about some per­son­nel deci­sions, but if he meant new­com­ers, then the Parisians did not man­age to strength­en them­selves in the win­ter, and Ziyech’s trans­fer, which fell through three times (!) incor­rect­ly com­plet­ed by Chelsea, will go down in the his­to­ry of trans­fer win­dow inci­dents along with fax machines break­ing down in club offices. But even with­out that, PSG has plen­ty of prob­lems.

The goal can­celed after Mes­si’s attempt to throw over the goal­keep­er is just a tri­fle com­pared to them. And this Wednes­day Mbappe became the cham­pi­on of bad luck — he missed a penal­ty and imme­di­ate­ly failed the sec­ond attempt when the shot was allowed to be repeat­ed and Lekom turned the ball into the post. He missed the emp­ty cor­ner when fin­ish­ing and final­ly left the field in the 21st minute due to injury. Ser­gio Ramos, who asked for a replace­ment, also did not fin­ish play­ing before the break; he received a slight con­cus­sion after col­lid­ing with an oppo­nen­t’s head.

And all this — two weeks before the Cham­pi­ons League play­offs! Pos­i­tive emo­tions only came when he fin­ished off Fabi­an Ruiz. It was a work­ing suc­cess, and the sec­ond effec­tive action of the Spaniard, who ripped open the defense with a pass under the accel­er­a­tion of Mes­si, can be admired. Like the youngest Parisian goal in Ligue 1, scored by Zaire-Emery (16 years and 330 days), these are inter­nal reserves that can help PSG in the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion.

02/05/2023 | Tot­ten­ham — Man­ches­ter City

England: best series since Ferguson

Eng­land. League Cup. 1/2 finals

01 Feb, 23:00. Old Traf­ford (Man­ches­ter)

Man­ches­ter Unit­ed


Not­ting­ham For­est

After 3:0 in the first semi-final match, Erik ten Hag had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to give the lead­ers a break, but the coach only allowed De Gea and Rash­ford to catch their breath. The pre­miere of Sab­itzer, who recent­ly com­plet­ed his trans­fer, is nat­u­ral­ly post­poned, and in the cen­ter of the field the vacan­cy of Erik­sen, who retired until the end of April, was filled by Fred. And the Brazil­ian should be praised, as he scored against the Foresters in both match­es. This time the ball sim­ply fell at his feet after an attack by Rash­ford, who nev­er­the­less entered the field and orga­nized both goals. Thanks also to him, Man­ches­ter Unit­ed won twelve times in a row at Old Traf­ford, which is the best streak since the 2010/11 cham­pi­onship sea­son back in the glo­ri­ous era of Alex Fer­gu­son (17 games).

Germany: Leipzig’s cup stability

Ger­many. Cup. 1/8 finals

01 Feb, 20:00. Red Bull Are­na (Zen­tral­sta­dion) (Leipzig)

RB Leipzig



Wednes­day’s first cup quar­ter-final was with­out sur­pris­es, and Leipzig extend­ed the unbeat­en streak that began on Octo­ber 1. In addi­tion, the “bulls” are not only the cur­rent hold­er of the tro­phy, but also the most cup-win­ning team in the five-year plan. Dur­ing this peri­od, they reached the semi-finals for the fourth time, and in the cur­rent tour­na­ment itself, Mar­co Rose’s team is amaz­ing­ly effec­tive. With an expect­ed goals ratio of 6.6 xG, Leipzig sent the ball into the goal 12 times. For exam­ple, in the game against Hof­fen­heim, Fors­berg shot from out­side the penal­ty area so unex­pect­ed­ly into the near cor­ner that the goal­keep­er didn’t even move.

Ger­many. Cup. 1/8 finals

01 Feb, 22:45. Mewa Are­na (Mainz)




It turns out that for Choupo-Mot­ing to start scor­ing again, Bay­ern need­ed to sign Joao Can­ce­lo. This is, of course, a joke, but the Por­tugue­se’s pre­miere turned out to be bril­liant, and his deliv­ery to the far post in the first scor­ing attack was exem­plary. In a for­ma­tion with three cen­tral defend­ers, Can­ce­lo looked like a glove, turn­ing life into a night­mare for the Mainz defend­ers.

Joao Cancelo (left).  Photo by AFP
Joao Can­ce­lo (left).

Mueller also deserves spe­cial men­tion. It’s not even about orga­niz­ing Musiala’s goal, but about the fact that Thomas played the 63rd cup match, repeat­ing the club record of the famous goal­keep­er Sepp Maier. This achieve­ment is an excel­lent bonus to Bayern’s first vic­to­ry of the cal­en­dar year. Now all that remains for Julian Nagels­mann is to trans­fer his returned courage to the Bun­desli­ga, where the cham­pi­on has three draws in a row.

Per­haps anoth­er new­com­er will help there — the Dutch­man Blind, who replaced Upame­cano, who made a lot of mis­takes. He has fan­tas­tic moti­va­tion after a scan­dalous sep­a­ra­tion from his native Ajax, where the vet­er­an stopped mak­ing the team after a con­flict with coach Alfred Schröder. Dur­ing a break in one of the unsuc­cess­ful match­es, he asked the team how best to put pres­sure, Blind replied: “You are a coach and you have to make deci­sions.” Daly was then told to sit down and shut up.

Italy: sensational team

Italy. Cup. 1/4 finals

01 Feb, 23:00. Olimpi­co (Rome)




The thing about cup tour­na­ments is their unpre­dictabil­i­ty. It doesn’t mat­ter that in Serie A you are in twen­ti­eth place, and the chances of avoid­ing rel­e­ga­tion are close to zero. The main thing is how pre­pared you are for a par­tic­u­lar match, and before return­ing to the sec­ond divi­sion, Cre­monese is doing every­thing to make the team remem­bered.

In the pre­vi­ous round, these Cre­monese saved the game with Napoli (2:2) three min­utes before the end of reg­u­lar time and pulled out a lucky tick­et in the penal­ty shootout. Now they have put an end to Jose Mour­in­ho’s hopes of win­ning the cup tro­phy. This is Cre­mone­se’s first semi-final in 37 years, and the pre­vi­ous team to reach this stage after pro­mo­tion to Serie A was Cagliari in the 2004/05 sea­son.

Statistics of the day

eleven Galatasaray won in a row. The head of the Istan­bul team, Okan Buruk, repeat­ed the coach­ing record of the Turk­ish cham­pi­onship.

13 Angers’ con­sec­u­tive defeats are the worst streak in Ligue 1 his­to­ry.

16 Man­ches­ter Unit­ed kept clean sheets, tak­ing into account all tour­na­ments, equal­ing the best team in the Pre­mier League in this indi­ca­tor New­cas­tle.

1/4 finals of the Ital­ian Cup — watch in Okko!