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Bayern vs Real Madrid, Juventus vs Barcelona in Champions League quarters

Both Madrid and Bayern are also currently leading the standings in their respective domestic leagues.

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Nyon (Switzerland), March 17 : The Champions League draw pits Europe’s four heavyweight football clubs in the quarter-finals that also see underdogs vying for a place in the final four showdown. The draw, held here on Friday, left Bayern Munich facing Real Madrid and Juventus grappling with FC Barcelona — in two pairings that are set to absorb soccer fans and viewers across the globe.

The ceremony, presided over by UEFA’s director of competitions, Giorgio Marchetti, also portended a hard-fought battle between Atletico Madrid and Leicester City, while Borussia Dortmund will clash with AS Monaco, reports Efe.

This season’s competition, called “The Road to Cardiff,” will see the two surviving teams clash in the final on June 3 at the Welsh capital’s magnificent Millennium Stadium.

The first-leg matches are set to be played on April 11-12 at the home stadiums of Atletico, Dortmund, Bayern and Juventus, while the second leg is scheduled for April 18-19 in the cities of Leicester, Montecarlo, Madrid and Barcelona.

Bayern-Real Madrid is a classic of European competitions and promises be one of the most attractive clashes, as it pitches coach Carlo Ancelotti against his former team, now led by his ex-assistant Zinedine Zidane.

“The match against Real Madrid will be special for me. It is going to be exciting to play against them,” said Ancelotti, adding that his side wanted to win the Champions League this season.

Both clubs have won the title many times, with Madrid defending the championship this year (they hold the record of 11 cups won) and the Bavarians winning five out of 10 finals they have played.

“There are no easy games in the Champions League and we’re up against a tough and driven opponent. They are a strong team that are doing well. It will be a joy to watch for football fans around the world,” Zidane told his club’s website.

Both Madrid and Bayern are also currently leading the standings in their respective domestic leagues.

Barcelona against Juventus is a repeat of the 2014-15 Champions League final, which ended with a 1-3 victory for the former, adding to the Catalans’ record-shattering treble that season.

Record Italian champions Juventus, who hold the record of being the team who has finished as the runners-up the most times (six), will pursue their third title of the competition.

Meanwhile, Barcelona seek to secure their sixth win and become third in the ranking of total number of championships won after Milan (seven titles) and Real Madrid.

“It will be a passionate, difficult and beautiful tie. We will face a great team with many good players. We will have to play two great matches to get to the next round,” Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta said of Juventus.

“As well as having that solid (defensive) block typical of Italian teams, they have players who can make the difference, some of the best in every position who are at a very high level. It will be a difficult tie but with our capabilities we aim to push the tie in our favour.”

Juventus vice president and former star Pavel Nedved said: “It’s a fascinating tie. We know what a strong side Barcelona are, but we must be brave and take the game to them.

“We’ve come on a long way since the last time we crossed paths in the 2015 final and I believe that this is the right time to be facing them again. I believe that we’ve reached Barcelona’s level this season.”

Atletico Madrid will face the opponent everyone was hoping for, Leicester City, in what nevertheless looks to be a competitive match-up.

Diego Simeone’s team will attempt to finally nab its first title after having lost three finals in the past, two of them against its arch-rival from Madrid.

The reigning English champion will attempt to continue their adventure in the Champions League, a competition they enter for the first time, even after a relatively-poor performance this domestic season and the departure of the coach that led the team to a historical championship win, Italian Claudio Ranieri.

Since coach Craig Shakespeare replaced the Italian, the Foxes have won three consecutive matches.

The last clash will put Borussia Dortmund, who won the cup in 1997, against Monaco, the current Ligue 1 leader which deservingly eliminated Manchester City in the last round and now seeks to reach its second Champions League final.

Monaco lost by 0-3 the 2003-2004 edition to FC Porto, then helmed by Jose Mourinho, in the AufSchalke Arena in Gelsenkirchen (Germany).

Also on Friday, Europa League quarter-finalists confirmed their opponents ahead. Manchester United, aiming for the title to secure one next season’s CL qualification spot, will play against Belgian side Anderlecht, while Lyon are set to meet Beskitas of Turkey.

The other two encounters are Celta Vigo vs Genk, Ajax vs Schalke. The two legs of Europa League quarter-finals will be held on April 13 and 20.

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Blind Cricket WorldCup 2018 : India beat Pakistan by 2 wickets

Blind World Cup 2018: The Indian cricket team won the blind world cup 2018 by beating arch-rivals Pakistan by 2 wickets in the final.

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The Indian cricket team won the blind world cup 2018 by beating arch-rivals Pakistan by 2 wickets in the final. Chasing a target of 308 runs in 50 overs at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in UAE on Saturday, the Indian team reached there with 8 balls remaining.

It was India’s second title at the mega event as earlier they won World Cup, outclassing Pakistan at Cape Town, South Africa in December 2014. Batting first, Pakistan scored 308 runs with the help of Riyasat Khan and skipper Nisar Ali’s solid knocks who scored 48 and 47 runs, respectively after Pakistan was asked to bat first.

India, who are the defending champions, had also defeated Pakistan by seven wickets in their group match on January 13. Pakistan, on the other hand, entered the final after defeating Sri Lanka by 156 runs while India beat Bangladesh by seven wickets to book their place. India, who were favourites to retain the title, have remained unbeaten in this tournament.

The Pakistan Blind Cricket Council had also invited ICC CEO David Richardson, former Pakistan captain Zaheer Abbas and former Indian wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani to witness the final.

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U19 World Cup: India thrash Zimbabwe by 10 wickets in last group tie

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India vs Zimbabwe u19 world cup

Tauranga (New Zealand), Jan 19: India crushed Zimbabwe by 10 wickets in a Group A clash to maintain their all-win record at the ICC U19 World Cup here on Friday.

India had already sealed a quarter-final spot with back-to-back wins against Australia and Papua New Guinea in Group B. It was another clinical performance on Friday as India ended the group stage unbeaten and unchallenged.

Left-arm apinner Anukul Sudhakar Roy spearheaded the Indian bowling effort with figures of 4/20 as Zimbabwe were dismissed for 154 runs in 48.1 overs.

Openers Harvik Desai and Shubman Gill then produced unbeaten half-centuries to carry India to victory in just 21.4 overs.

The Indian boys have thus finished the opening round at the top of Group A with six points after winning all their three matches.

Electing to bart first on winning the toss, Zimbabwe ran into trouble right at the start when their opener Gregory Dollar was bowled by Indian fast bowler Shivam Mavi in the third over.

The other Zimbabwe opener Wesley Madhevere was then involved in two partnerships with Dion Myers and Milton Shumba.

The trio did their best to keep the Indian bowlers at bay, but struggled to keep the run rate going.

Once the three of them had returned to pavilion, the batsmen in Zimbabwe’s middle and lower order were cleaned up by the Indian bowlers with four of them falling before reaching double figures.

Shumba was the highest scorer for Zimbabwe with 36 runs off 59 deliveries.

Apart from Roy, Arshdeep and Abhishek Sharma also bowled well, ending up with a couple of wickets each.

Desai and and Gill then put on an unbeaten opening stand of 155 runs to power the Indians to an easy victory.

Gill was Player of the Match, scored a quickfire 90 off 59 balls which was studded with 13 boundaries and a six.

Desai produced a steady 56 off 73 balls with eight boundaries an a six.

Brief scores:

India 155/0 (Gill 90*, Desai 56*) beat Zimbabwe (155 all out) by 10 wickets.

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Virat Kohli named ICC Captain and Cricketer of the Year

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New Delhi, Jan 18: Indian captain Virat Kohli  had something to cheer about after the second Test debacle against South Africa when was named the ICC awards cricketer of the year, ODI player of the year and captain of the year as well, in both formats. 

The Indian batting mainstay is the leading run-getter in ODIs with 1460 in 26 innings at an average of 76.84 and strike-rate of 99.11, with six centuries – the most for any team. Kohli led India to the final of the Champions Trophy, ODI series wins over England, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand and Test series wins over Bangladesh, Australia and Sri Lanka (twice).

Kohli regained the No 1 spot on the ICC rankings for ODI batsmen with 889 rating points, the best ever by an Indian cricketer.

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