Champion’s League Round-up 5 (Part Two)

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar November 25, 2015 23:42

Champion’s League Round-up 5 (Part Two)

By Satish Sekar November 25th 2015

Favours

Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t make too many mistakes when it came to assessing talent and giving youth a chance, but letting French international midfielder Paul Pogba leave is becoming a major one. Despite Manuel Pellegrini’s criticism after the humiliation inflicted by Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool at the weekend, Manchester City’s defence had no answer to Pogba’s imperious performance in the first 20 minutes. Pogba’s back-heel to put Paolo Dybala through was sublime even though the Argentinian forward was caught offside.

He also set up the chance that resulted in Juventus taking a deserved lead after Alex Sandro’s cross found in the box. The Croatian international shrugged off Nicolás Otamendi’s challenge to shoot past Joe Hart. Yaya Touré went close, but Gianluigi Buffon won the goal-line scramble after tipping it onto the post. Moments later substitute Álvaro Morata should have scored, but somehow didn’t.

Meanwhile, last season’s Europa League winners Sevilla face elimination from European competition after losing 4-2 against Borussia Mönchengladbach. Sevilla had the best of the early exchanges, but Lars Stindl set the Andalucians onto the back foot after almost half an hour. Fabian Johnson doubled their lead and Raffael made it three before Vitola responded with less than ten minutes remaining. Stindl restored the three goal cushion. Éver Banega ended the scoring at 4-2, but Sevilla now face a difficult task to continue in Europe. They must beat Juentus and hope that Manchester City do them a favour.

Outclassed

Real Madrid were joined in the last 16 by Laurent Blanc’s Paris Saint Germaine. Shakhtar Donetsk’s fall from grace in Ukrainian football has been echoed in Europe. Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring for Real with an assist from Gareth Bale. Within ten minutes of the restart Luka Modrić and Dani Cavajal Ramos had made it comfortable for Rafa Benítez Maudes’ side. With less than 20 minutes remaining Bale once again supplied Ronaldo and the Portuguese captain doubled his tally. With less than 15 minutes remaining Alex Texeira began an epic come-back. In eleven minutes Texeira had a brace separated by Bruno Ferreira Bonfim’s close range effort. But it proved too little too ate as Real hung on for the win.

Zlatan Ibrahimović made his name at Malmö. He celebrated his return by helping to thrash one of many former employers. Adrien Rabiot set the tone by scoring after just 3 minutes. Ángel di María is still Manchester United’s record signing, but never settled. He is taking his time in Paris too, but a brace tonight has helped his cause. Five minutes into the second half Ibrahimović made it three. Di María made it four before a magnificent free-kick by Lucas Moura da Silva made it five. Ibrahimović was given a standing ovation when he was substituted.

Purists

Manchester United’s style of play under Louis van Gaal is not impressing purists, including club legend Paul Scholes, but it is effective. In the earlier kick-off CSKA Moscow’s interest in the Champion’s League was ended by VfL Wolfsburg in Moscow. André Schürrle failed to impress José Mourinho and has yet to win over Dieter Hecking, but tonight can’t hurt. He came off the bench to grab a late brace. PSV and Manchester United drew 0-0 at Old Trafford despite van Gaal’s team knowing that a win would guarantee advancing to the last 16. PSV have the easier final match in Group B, hosting the already eliminated CSKA. Meanwhile, Wolfsburg know that a draw at home against Manchester United would be enough for them to qualify.

Natural Order

Kazakhstani minnows Astana held Benfica to 2-2 draw tonight – a result that eliminates them. However, Ghanaian Patrick Twumasi and the Bosnian Marin Aničić gave Astana a 2-0 lead. Five minutes before the break Benfica’s Mexican international Raúl Jiménez Rodríguez halved the deficit. With 18 minutes of normal time remaining Jiménez scored his second – the goal that ensured Astana could not reach the last 16.

In Group C’s other tie Atlético de Madrid beat Galatasaray 2-0 at the Vicente Calderón. After the horror that he endured recently – his sister was one of the hostages held at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris- few would deny Antoine Griezmann something to celebrate. Griezmann’s brace ensured that Atlético would progress to the last 16 – the order will be determined when play Benfica in the final group stage match.

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar November 25, 2015 23:42
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