Newslegend.com.ng comes up with takeaways from Tuesday and Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League matches. This presentation also comes with the match summaries from UIEFA.com.
Salzburg 2-2 Lokomotiv Moskva
Vitali Lisakovich scored his first UEFA Champions League goal in a see-saw draw. Éder put Lokomotiv ahead with a powerful header before Dominik Szoboszlai curled in a superb long-range equaliser on the stroke of half-time.
Zlatko Junuzović rifled rejuvenated Salzburg ahead after the break, only for Lisakovich to nod in and earn a share of the spoils.
Key stat: Salzburg have only failed to score in one of their last 15 home matches in European competition.
Key Takeaway from the match: Most of the game were not lit up by extraordinary performances but the goals were breathtaking.
Bayern 4-0 Atlético
Champions Bayern started their title defence with an emphatic victory against Atlético. A Kingsley Coman double bookended fine strikes from Leon Goretzka and Corentin Tolisso as Diego Simeone’s men suffered their joint-heaviest UEFA Champions League defeat. Bayern’s winning margin could have been greater but for Niklas Süle striking a post.
Key stat: Atlético conceded four goals in a UEFA Champions League game for only the second time.
Key takeaway from the match: Bayern made it compact in the middle of the pitch which inadvertently forced Atletico Madrid’s Luis Suarez to the wings most of the time. The Spanish side missed the presence of injured Diego Costa in the attack.
Next Group fixtures: 27/10: Lokomotiv vs Bayern, Atlético vs Salzburg
Real Madrid 2-3 Shakhtar
A Shakhtar team including seven starters aged 21 or under pulled off a stunning upset in Madrid. The visitors raced into a 3-0 first-half lead thanks to Tetê’s composed opener, Raphaël Varane’s own goal and Manor Solomon’s finish to a fine team move. Madrid threatened a comeback but Luka Modrić and Vinícius Júnior’s goals were all they could muster.
Key stat: Madrid shipped three first-half goals in a UEFA Champions League match for the first time since September 2005, against Lyon.
Key takeaway from the match: Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid was outfoxed by a young Shakhtar side and it just seemed that the decision to rest initially the likes of Karim Benzema and Vinicious Junior with an eye on the El Clasico against Barcelona failed spectacularly.
Inter 2-2 Mönchengladbach
Following a cautious first half, this contest burst into life after the interval. Inter struck first as Romelu Lukaku found the net for the ninth European game in a row but the advantage proved brief, Arturo Vidal tripping Marcus Thuram and Ramy Bensebaini levelling from the spot. When Jonas Hofmann raced clear to slot in with six minutes left, Mönchengladbach looked set for a famous win, only for Lukaku to score again in the 90th minute.
Key stat: Lukaku has now bagged 40 goals for Inter in just 56 appearances.
Key takeaway from the match: It is becoming increasingly glaring that Inter would struggle without Romelu Lukaku in the side. The Belgian international punished a poor defensive showing by the German side. Going forward Monchengladbach are promising but VAR also played an important role in the outcome for them, intervening twice for their goals on the night.
Next Group Fixtures: 27/10: Shakhtar vs Inter, Gladbach vs Madrid
Olympiacos 1-0 Marseille
Ahmed Hassan struck in added time to give Olympiacos an opening win. The match appeared destined for a stalemate despite the home side’s second-half dominance, with Giorgos Masouras having a goal ruled out for offside. Darío Benedetto was denied by José Sá at the other end, but Hassan had the final word when he rose unmarked to head in Mathieu Valbuena’s cross.
Key stat: All three UEFA Champions League meetings between these teams have finished 1-0 – but this was the first home win.
Both sides were evenly matched without much attacking moments but Olympiakos improved as the game wore on.
27/10: Porto vs Olympiacos, Marseille vs Man. City
Manchester City 3-1 Porto
Luis Díaz’s stunning solo effort gave the visitors the lead, though Sergio Agüero quickly levelled from the spot after Pepe felled Raheem Sterling. City continued to hold sway after the restart and were finally rewarded when İlkay Gündoğan curled in their second from a free-kick and substitute Ferrán Torres fired in a third.
Key stat: Porto’s record away to English clubs in European competition now reads: W0 D3 L17 (F11 A53).
Key Takeaway from the match: The City defence were all over the place and practically gave Luis Diaz the freedom in Manchester to fire home the opener. Pep Guardiola’s men bounced back but it is clear to see that the back line would have to be sorted out especially now Fernandes is expected to miss several games through injury.
Next Group Fixtures: 27/10: Porto vs Olympiacos, Marseille vs Man. City
Ajax 0-1 Liverpool
Liverpool returned to winning ways in fortuitous circumstances as Nicolás Tagliafico put through his own net following Sadio Mané’s similarly miscued shot before the break. Fabinho brilliantly cleared Dušan Tadić’s lob off the line and Davy Klaassen’s howitzer came back off the upright as Ajax piled on the pressure, but Liverpool held firm.
Key stat: Liverpool kept only their second clean sheet in 13 UEFA Champions League away games.
Key takeaway from the match: Liverpool were stretched by an Ajax which lost few bright youngsters in the last two seasons but are still a threat to supoosedly bigger sides. Sadio Mane was lucky to see his low crossshot into the box diverted in by Nicolas Tagliafico.
Jurgen Klopp would hope the injury to Sane is not serious enough to keep him away from their upcoming fixtures.
Midtjylland 0-4 Atalanta
Papu Gómez’s strike capped an impressive attacking display from last season’s quarter-finalists. The hosts, playing their first ever UEFA Champions League group stage fixture, were undone in the first half by goals from Duván Zapata and Luis Muriel either side of Gómez’s effort. Debutant Aleksei Miranchuk added a fourth from the bench.
Key stat: Atalanta have scored 18 goals in five matches in all competitions this season.
Key takeaway from the match: Free scoring Atalanta proved to be too strong for the Danish outfit. Their closest chance to scoring came through Super Eagles of Nigeria midfielder Frank Onyeka whose close header went wide.
Next Group fixtures: 27/10: Liverpool vs Midtjylland, Atalanta vs Ajax
Rennes 1-1 Krasnodar
Krasnodar came from behind to draw the meeting of the two group-stage debutants, Cristian Ramírez levelling from distance within three minutes of Serhou Guirassy putting the home side ahead from the spot. The hero of the night, however, was Krasnodar goalkeeper Matvei Safonov, who pulled off a string of game-saving blocks, though the 21-year-old shunned the limelight at full time, saying: ” I don’t want to talk about my game, but overall we did a good job tonight.”
Key takeaway from the match: The battle of Champions League debutants had few sparks to it and it will be interesting to see how they respond to the tough challenges in the form of Chelsea and Sevilla in their next matches.
Chelsea 0-0 Sevilla
Chelsea were held to their first 0-0 draw in more than a year, with neither side looking much like breaking the deadlock at Stamford Bridge. A summer signing from Rennes, Édouard Mendy looked solid as he made his UEFA Champions League debut in goal for the Blues and Frank Lampard suggested the 28-year-old may be in for an extended run, saying: “We knew his qualities when he came in and he’s showed them today. He’s our No1 for now.”
Key take away from the match: This contest did not produce a goal despite the array of stars on both sides. It was cagey at best but with the small matter of the Premier League and La Liga tough games this weekend for them especially Chelsea which face Manchester United, some of the players might have been caught in two minds.
Next Group fixtures: 28/10: Krasnodar vs Chelsea, Sevilla vs Rennes
Zenit 1-2 Club Brugge
Emmanuel Bonaventure prodded the visitors in front, but Zenit’s luck seemed to have turned as Ethan Horvath was credited with their equaliser, the goalkeeper deflecting Dejan Lovren’s shot into his net after it cannoned back off the post. However, the under-par hosts ended up losing all three points at the last, Charles De Ketelaere scrambling the winner in added time. “This shows that we can beat anybody,” beamed the match-winner.
Key takeaway from the match: Club Brugge were extremely fortunate with the own goal that came via the Zenit’s distraught goalkeeper. It was always going to be a meeting of two sides with similar qualities but they will be severely tested by Dortmund and Lazio in the next match days.
Lazio 3-1 Dortmund
Lazio’s return to the UEFA Champions League after a 13-year absence was billed as a war of the super-strikers; ex-Dortmund man Ciro Immobile versus BVB’s Norwegian marvel Erling Braut Haaland.
As it was, both got on the scoresheet, but Immobile’s side took the three points, showing a good deal of class in the process. “We are very happy,” the striker said at full time. “It’s the perfect night. We have a long way to go to qualify still.”
Key takeaway from the match: As UEFA.com noted, it was a battle of two top strikers but they will be keen to repeat their individual brilliance in the next fixtures surely to help their teams get closer to qualification to the knockout stages.
Next Group fixtures: 28/10: Dortmund vs Zenit, Brugge vs Lazio
Dynamo Kyiv 0-2 Juventus
Álvaro Morata filled the gap left by the absent Cristiano Ronaldo as he struck twice in the second half to secure victory in Ukraine, Andrea Pirlo’s side prevailing over a youthful Dynamo team led by the Juve coach’s one-time boss at Brescia and Inter, Mircea Lucescu.
Defeat was no disgrace for Lucescu’s side, while Morata is hoping that it could be the start of something wonderful for Juve, explaining: “Every year you have another chance to go all they way and we will try again.”
Key takeaway from the match: The Old Lady coped well without Cristiano Ronaldo but it was not a simple, easy win. The Ukrainians made it difficult. However the quality of the goals were top notch nonetheless. Juve will also be without Ronaldo in the clash against Barcelona next week after testing positive for Coronavirus for the second time.
Barcelona 5-1 Ferencváros
Lionel Messi scored in this competition for a record 16th straight season as Barcelona cruised to victory despite being reduced to ten men. The Argentinian’s first-half penalty broke the deadlock, with Ansu Fati and Philippe Coutinho extending Barcelona’s advantage before Gerard Piqué’s red card and Ihor Kharatin’s penalty conversion interrupted their flow. Ferencváros gave it a go, but late strikes from Pedri – making it the first time two players under 18 had scored in a UEFA Champions League match – and Ousmane Dembélé ended any hopes of a revival.
Key takeaway from the match: The Barcelona side looks different these days after the sales of Luis Suarez and co but the La Masia always produce quality youngsters and the form of players like Ansa Fati and Predi give optimism that the future could be bright afterall. It was an easy game for the Catalans.
Next Group fixtures: 28/10: Juve vs Barcelona, Ferencváros vs Dynamo
Paris 1-2 Manchester United
Having scored a late penalty to eliminate Paris from the competition in 2018/19, Marcus Rashford struck with three minutes left to earn another famous victory against Thomas Tuchel’s side. Ahead through a Bruno Fernandes penalty, United were pegged back when Anthony Martial headed Neymar’s corner into his own net. Salvation was at hand, though, Paul Pogba squaring for Rashford to send a low shot into the home side’s net.
Key takeaway from the match: PSG continues to have difficult times with English teams at home with this defeat. The pace of Marcus Rashford was a factor in stretching the defence that are apparently missing the duo of now departed Silva and Marquinhos.
Leipzig 2-0 Başakşehir
Manchester City loanee Angeliño scored twice in the first 20 minutes to set Leipzig on their way to victory against the Turkish newcomers.
With Paris and United also in Group H, both sides needed to get points on the board, but if Başakşehir were caught a little bit cold in the first half, they could take some comfort from a stronger second-half performance. “You shouldn’t fear anyone, even when your opponents are very strong,” concluded coach Okan Buruk.
Key takeaway from the match: Leipzig did their participation in Europe, either in the Champions League or Europa League a world of good with the victory over Basaksehir in a group that contains PSG and Manchester United.
Next Group fixtures: 28/10: Başakşehir vs Paris, Man. United vs Leipzig
NOTE: The matchday match summaries are culled from UEFA.com but the Takeaways are exclusively written by Newslegend.com.ng’s Izuchukwu Okosi.