Barcelona stroll into last four; Leinster’s experience is their trump card
Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team
Lionel Messi and Philippe Coutinho celebrate a goal in Barcelona’s win over Manchester United last night in the Catalan capital. Photograph: EPA
Manchester United’s Champions League adventure was ended last night in Catalonia, as a Lionel Messi inspired Barcelona beat them 3-0 on the night and 4-0 on aggregate. In the night’s other quarter final second leg Ajax were surprise 2-1 winners over Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus in Turin. Tonight, Liverpool aim to join them and Barcelona in the last four when they take a 2-0 advantage to Porto, while Spurs lead Manchester City 1-0 ahead of tonight’s second leg at the Etihad.
In his column this morning (Subscriber Only), Gordon D’Arcy explains why experience is Leinster’s trump card in a clash to savour against Toulouse in this weekend’s Champions Cup semi-final: “the French aristocrats – to batter an old cliché – are back on the elite stage of European rugby but Leinster should make them earn the right to win the title. No better lesson than being scolded in a semi-final.” Ahead of their last four meeting with Munster, Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall expects fans to again boo Billy Vunipola following the forward’s official warning from the Rugby Football Union for a homophobic Instagram comment.