Champion’s League Round-up 2

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar October 9, 2015 13:14

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Champion’s League Round-up 2

September 29th and 30th

Real Madrid, fresh from the 4-0 thrashing of Shakhtar Donestsk, beat Malmö 2-0 in Sweden and Paris Saint-Germain beat Shakhtar 3-0 away. Isco’s assist on 29 minutes gave Cristiano Ronaldo the opportunity to score his 500th goal for club and nation. Peruvian defender Yoshimar Yotún was sent off for two yellow cards – the first for dissent.

His second was an important one too – his 323rd for Real Madrid – which brought him level with club record-holder and legend Raúl González Blanco. Laurent Blanc has made it clear that he expects success from his team in this competition. Serge Aurier opened the scoring for PSG against Shakhtar. David Luiz scored the second with his thigh and in injury time Dario Srna put into his own net under pressure from Zlatan Ibrahimović.

The big two are already clear in Group A and face each other next.

Group B s intriguingly poised after the second round of matches as both Manchester United and CSKA Moscow bounced back from opening day defeats. Wolfsburg were beaten 2-1 despite taking the lead through Daniel Caligiuri. But Manchester United recovered to take all three points after an inspired display from Juan Mata. Caligiuri conceded a penalty by handling Mata’s cross. He was cautioned and Mata scored the penalty.

A sublime assist by Mata – a flick with his heel put Chris Smalling through to grab all three points. PSV Eindhoven were beaten 3-2 in Russia. Nigerian international Ahmed Musa scored the first and a brace from Seydou Doumbia, on loan from Roma, in the first half proved enough for CSKA to take the points despite a second half brace by Maxime Lestienne for the Dutch outfit. Doumbia converted one penalty, but missed another. All four teams are on 3 points with a win each.

Benfica pulled off a surprise in Group C by consigning Diego Simeone’s Atlético de Madrid to a 2-1 defeat at the Vicente Calderón. Antoine Griezmann’s assist gave Ángel Correa the opportunity to open his Champion’s League account, but Atlético could not hold on. Argentinian striker Nicolás Gaitán equalised before the break. He provided the assist for Gonçalo Guedes to score the winner 6 minutes into the second half. Benfica top the group with Atlético in second place as Astana and Galatasaray shared the points.

Champion’s League Group Stage debutants Astana won their first point in the competition. Kazakhstan’s first ever match in this stage of the competition resulted in Turkey’s Galatasaray held to a 2-2 draw and a bizarre piece of trivia – there were three own-goals in twelve minutes. Bilal Kisa opened the scoring on 31 minutes for Galatasaray only for Hakan Balta to score the first equaliser for Astana. Serbian-born Kazakh goalkeeper Nenad Erić put into his own net with less than five minutes later, but the Kazakhs snatched a last minute point when Lionel Carole scored the last of the three own-goals.

Manchester City also responded well to their opening day Group D defeat against Juventus with a late win against Borussia Mönchengladbach Manuel Pellegrini’s team had keeper Joe Hart to thank for saving Rafael’s penalty to keep it 0-0. The Germans were denied a second penalty when Lars Stindl appeared to be fouled by Fernadinho. Stindl was booked for simulation – a harsh decision.

Stindl put the injustice behind him and put the Germans ahead before summer signing Nicolás Otamendi’s effort was put into his own net for the equaliser by Andreas Christensen, on loan from Chelsea. Sergio Agüero picked himself up to convert the injury time penalty to give Manchester City a much-needed win. In the other group match Juventus beat a disappointing Sevilla 2-0 in Turin – Álvaro Morata and Simone Zaza scored the goals.

Barçelona without the injured Lionel Messi came from behind at the Camp Nou to beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 in Group E. Kyriakos Papadopoulos put Bayer ahead and Javier Hernández should have doubled their advantage, but shot over the bar. Sergi Roberto equalised for Barça and Luis Suárez scored a late winner for the defending champions.

But the surprise came in Belarus as BATE Borisov beat Roma 3-2. Igor Stasevich opened the scoring, which was doubled by Filip Mladenović thanks to an error by Wojciech Szczęsny. Mladenović got another before Gervinho and Vasilis Torosidis struck back.

Arsenal continue to struggle in Group F. The troubled Greek outfit Olymiacos beat the Gunners 3-2 at the Emirates Stadium with goals by Pardo, thanks to a wicked deflection off Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain that gave Colombian keeper David Ospina no chance. Theo Walcott bagged the equaliser with an assist from Alexis Sánchez.

Ospina was to blame for the Greeks’ second. He dropped the ball from Kostas Fortounis’ corner and a goal was given by the assistant behind the goal – he had a good view – even though replays suggested that the whole of the ball had not crossed the line. Sánchez scored a spectacular equaliser but Finnbogason restored Olympiacos’ lead mid-way through the second half.

Meanwhile, Bayern München made short work of Dinamo Zagreb. Douglas Costa opened the scoring before the prolific Robert Lewandowski got the second. Mario Götze benefited from a howler by keeper Eduardo for Bayern’s third and Lewandowski completed his hat-trick to emphatically end Dinamo’s unbeaten run 5-0. Bayern top the group. Arsenal – without a point – face the German champions next.

Chelsea dropped to third place in Group G, as José Mourinho tasted defeat in his homeland against the team where he made his name. André André put Porto ahead only for Willian to equalise on the stroke of half time with a trade mark free-kick, but Porto’s skipper Maicon restored their lead after 52 minutes.

Diego Costa had a clear case for a penalty turned down in Iker Casillas’ 152 Champion’s League match – a new record. Meanwhile, the group’s minnows Maccabi Tel Aviv were beaten 2-0 at home by Dynamo Kiev. Andriy Yarmolenko and Júnior Moraes scored for the Ukrainians.

Zenit St Petersburg top Group H in André Villas-Boas’ last season in charge. They beat Gent 2-1 while Valencia recovered from their home defeat by Zenit to beat Lyon 1-0 in France. Artem Dzyuba put Zenit ahead after 35 minutes. Thomas Matton equalised after 55 minutes. 12 minutes later Hulk set up Oleg Shatov for the winner.

Algerian international Sofiane Feghouli scored the only goal in France – a spectacular effort. Los Ches are now in second place two points clear of both Gent and Lyon. They face the Belgian outfit next.

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar October 9, 2015 13:14
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