Tag Archives: UCL

Goals Galore in UCL Match day 3

There were a total of 54 Goals scored over 2 nights in the Champions League this week as three teams found the net 5 times.

The first of which was Tottenham Hotspur as they defied the form book and won 5-0 against Red Star Belgrade. The result demonstrates that Spurs do have undoubted quality and what they are capable of. Red Star gave them far too much space to play and Spurs took full advantage. Harry Kane got them off to the perfect start after 9 minutes with a well-timed header at the near post. Kane and his strike partner Heung-Min Son both netted twice whilst Erik Lamela scored the other.

The other result in Group B saw Bayern Munich overcome Olympiakos by the odd goal in 5. Robert Lewandowski scored on 34 and 62 minutes whilst Corentin Tolisso got there 3rd after 75. The Greeks gave a good account of themselves and Youssef El-Arabi had put them ahead after 23 minutes, Guilherme gave them a chance on 79 minutes but Bayern held on. The results mean Spurs move up to second in the Group.

  1. Bay Munich – 9 Points
  2. Tottenham – 4 Points
  3. C Zvezda -3 Points
  4. Olympiakos – 1 Point

Manchester City also scored 5 on Tuesday night but this was after Atlanta took a surprise lead when Ruslan Malinovskiy scored from the penalty spot after 24 minutes. Raheem Sterling then took over with an 11-minute hat-trick to make it a comfortable win for City, Sergio Aguero got the other 2 goals. There was bad news for City as Phil Foden was harshly sent off for two yellow cards and an injury to makeshift center-back Rodri. Six minutes after being cautioned for tugging back Malinovskiy, the 19-year-old did likewise to Marten de Roon to receive a second booking. Rodri was substituted with what appeared to be a hamstring injury in the first half.

The other result in the Group was a 2-2 draw between Shakhtar Donetsk and Dinamo Zagreb.

  1. 1 Man City – 9 Points
  2. 2 Din Zagreb – 4 Points (+2 Goal Difference)
  3. 3 Shak Donetsk – 4 Points (-2 Goal Difference)
  4. 4 Atalanta Atalanta – 0 Points

The third team to score 5 were Paris Saint Germain. It wasn’t until the second-half introduction of Kylian Mbappé however until they took command. They were leading somewhat fortunately at halftime thanks to Mauro Icardi’s opener but needed something extra. Mbappé undoubtedly provided it with a superb hat trick and assisted Icardi for his second.

Also in the same group, Real Madrid got their first win of the campaign thanks to a Toni Kross goal in the first half. Real were once again largely uninspiring however and look a long way behind where they should be.

  1. 1 PSG 9 Points
  2. 2 R Madrid 4 Points
  3. 3 Club Brugge 2 Points
  4. 4 Galatasaray 1 Point

Atletico Madrid were kept quiet for large periods by Bayer Leverkusen who were on a terrible run of conceding goals prior to the match. However, it took Madrid until the 79th Minute when substitute Alvaro Morata broke the deadlock to get Atletico over the line. It took the introduction of Morata and Thomas Lemar to make the difference as they took a gamble and went two upfront. Lemar did well in the build-up to create the winner for fellow substitute Morata.

Juventus were another big name who struggled for large periods and went behind at home to Lokomotiv Moscow through Aleksey Miranchuk. Paulo Dybala was their heroic rescuer as he scored twice in two minutes to turn the match on its head in the last 15 minutes.

  1. Juventus 7 Points (Goal Difference +4)
  2. A Madrid 7 Points (Goal Difference +3)
  3. Lokomotiv 3 Points
  4. Leverkusen 0 Points

Moving to Wednesday night which started with Chelsea getting a very good result and performance with a 1-0 win away at Ajax. They restricted the usually free-scoring Dutch champions to limited opportunities and were a threat on the counter arrack. They could’ve fallen behind however in the first half when Ajax had a goal ruled out by VAR for offside when the decision was minimal. Chelsea did deservedly take the lead through substitute Michy Batshuayi. The other result in this group saw Lille and Valencia daw one apiece.

  1. Chelsea 6 Points (Ahead on head to head)
  2. Ajax 6 Points
  3. Valencia 4 Points
  4. Lille 1 Point

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored two wonderful goals on his first return to Champions League action in 18 months as Liverpool beat Genk 4-1 on Wednesday. However the scoreline didn’t fully reflect the game, Liverpool were far too open, particularly in the first half as Genk had numerous openings which they failed to capitalise on. Ultimately Liverpool were clinical and Oxlade-Chamberlain had a great night he won’t forget in a hurry. He reminded us that he has a lot of talent – he is a great option if more creativity is required. Napoli avoided a scare as Red Star Belgrade twice pegged them back but eventually came out as 3-2 winners with two goals from Dries Mertens.

  1. Napoli 7 Points
  2. Liverpool 6 Points
  3. Salzburg 3 Points
  4. Genk 1 Point

To roundup the other results were

  • RB Leipzig 2 – 1 Zenit St. Petersburg
  • Benfica 2 – 1 Lyon
  • Inter Milan 2 – 0 Borussia Dortmund
  • Slavia Prague 1 – 2 Barcelona

Which leaves the remaining Groups looking like this

  1. Barcelona 7 Points
  2. Inter 4 Points
  3. B Dortmund 4 Points
  4. Slavia Prague 1 Point
  1. RB Leipzig 6 Points
  2. Zenit 4 Points
  3. Lyon 4 Points
  4. Benfica 3 Points

(Photo – The Week)

The unique Story of Atalanta FC

Manchester City put five past Atalanta on Tuesday. but who actually are Atalanta? Well, they have a very interesting story. 

After impressive saves by both keepers, the deadlock was finally broken after twenty-six minutes when Ilicic, who caused the Sky Blues defence problems all game, was clipped in the box by captain Fernandinho. Penalty. Up stepped Malinovskyi and sent Brazilian keeper Ederson the wrong way. The Italians were 1-0 up but their fragile lead didn’t last long as Augero equalised just six minutes later after a delightful ball over the Atalanta defence. Just a few minutes later, City had completely turned the game around thanks to a penalty, swiftly converted by Agüero. In the second half, Sterling scored an eleven minute hat trick, confirming that the hosts would collect all three points. Because of this, Atalanta sit bottom of the group with zero points but that doesn’t reflect Atalanta’s free flowing expansive football.

Atalanta, formed in 1907, are participating in the Champions League for the first time in their history – after finishing third last season in Serie A. 

The club, based in the small City of Bergamo in Northern Italy with a population of 120,000 doesn’t have a particularly rich history. Formed by a group of Swiss students in 1907, the club nicknamed the Nerazurri only have one major trophy to their name. Atalanta won the Coppa Italia (the Italian equivalent of the FA Cup) in 1963, the same year they finished eighth, a position they’ve only bettered seven times in their history.

Despite not winning another trophy, they have recently improved. Competing in the Europa League in recent seasons before finally qualifying for the greatest club football competition in the World, the Champions League. 

Since getting promoted as Champions in 2011, the club languished in lower mid table for five years with their highest league position being thirteenth. Then in 2016 Edoardo Reja left the club and Gian Piero Gasperini was hired and he had a less than impressive start to his tenure. His team lost four of their first five games, finding themselves in the relegation zone but then something clicked and they went nine games unbeaten, only losing eight games all season. Thanks to this they finished fourth, their highest ever league position and qualified for the Europa League in the process. Despite being their first season in the competition, Atalanta finished top of their group but were knocked out at the round of 32 stage by Borussia Dortmund. 

The season after they finished seventh despite the arrival of Josip Ilicic who scored eleven league goals in Serie A, finishing the season as the club’s top scorer. The season was far from catastrophic but they couldn’t qualify for the Europa League again as they lost to Copenhagen on penalties in the final qualifying round.

Last season, they brought another deadly striker to the club. Duvan Zapata arrived on loan from fellow Serie A outfit Sampdoria. Zapata, Ilicic and club captain Gomez have formed a frightening forward line, leading to the Nerazurri scoring the most goals in Serie A last season, netting 77 times. Scoring so many goals did take a toll on their defence as they also had the worst defence in the top five. They finished third only behind European heavyweight Juventus and Napoli. So, after a season in Europe’s second competition the Nerazurri finally qualified for the Champions League.

After the elation of the impending participation in the Chanpions League, it hasn’t been a great first round of fixtures. Atalanta were drawn in the same group as Premier League champions Manchester City, Shaktar Donetsk and Dinamo Zagreb. Apart from the Sky Blues, the Italian side were put in a group with sides of equal ability but Atalanta have failed to show their quality.

They sit bottom of the group with 0 points and a -9 goal difference after losing 4-0 to Dinamo Zagreb, 2-1 to Shaktar Donetsk and 5-1 to the before mentioned Manchester City.

The fact that they can’t even play in their own stadium for Champions League games probably doesn’t help either. They have to play at the San Siro which is over 40 miles away from their stadium, the Atleti Azzurri d’Italia stadium.

Atalanta’s Serie A campaign is going a little better with them sitting third after eight games.

Premier League teams go undefeated on Matchday 3 of Champions League

All four Premier League teams participating in Europe’s biggest club tournament were victorious during their Matchday 3 games on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Manchester City were able to cruise by Atalanta with a 5-1 victory to claim their third win in Group C. After Ruslan Malinovskyi converted a penalty in the 28th minute to silence the crowd at Etihad Stadium, Sergio Agüero scored two goals in a four-minute span to help City have a one goal lead heading into halftime against the Serie A candidate. City were able to steamroll Atalanta after Raheem Sterling continued his excellent form for the reigning-Premier League Champions, scoring a hat-trick in a span of 11 minutes. However, young talent Phil Foden will miss their rematch at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia on November 6 as he received a red card.

Tottenham, after only accumulating one point in their first two matches of the Champions League a year after making it in the tournament’s final, was able to handle Crvena zvezda at home with a 5-0 victory. Spurs, who were embarrassed at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last time after suffering a brutal 7-2 loss at the feet of Bayern Munich, were able to bounce back thanks to braces from Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son and a goal from Erik Lamela. The reigning-Champions League Runners-up will host Olympiacos on November 26, where they hope to avenge a 2-2 draw during Matchday 1 at Karaiskakis Stadium.

Chelsea, who won the Europa League last season, were able to have their second straight shutout in all competitions as they defeated surprise semi-finalists from last year’s edition of the tournament – Ajax. The fans in Johan Cruijff ArenA were stunned after a late goal from Michy Batshuayi, thanks to an assist from fellow substitute Christian Pulisic. The stadium was rocking as they thought Quincy Promes scored in the 35th-minute before VAR overturned the goal. The Blues will face off against Ajax during Matchday 4 at Stamford Bridge on November 5, hoping to seal another three points and hold sole possession of first place in Group H.

Liverpool, the reigning champions of the event, defeated Genk 4-1 at Luminus Arena. The team got off to a hot start after a goal in the 2nd-minute by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who ended up with a two-goal performance. Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah also scored in the game as they end the first set of matches in second behind Group E leader’s Napoli. Liverpool will face Genk in their next match of the Champions League on November 5 at Anfield.

The Premier League was fortunate to have two of its teams to be in the final of the Champions League last season, and Matchday 3 proved to be another step in the league’s success at the world’s biggest stage for the world’s most popular sport. But which Premier League team will go the furthest?

(Photo – MEN)

Premier League teams attempt to rise on Matchday 2 of Champions League

As the second matchday of the UEFA Champions League commences later today, Tottenham and Manchester City begin their quests of making it to knockout rounds after having successful tournament results last year. Reigning Champions League winners Liverpool and former winners Chelsea are set to play on Wednesday – aiming to get back in the standings after devastating losses to Napoli and Valencia respectively.

Tottenham, fresh off a Champions League campaign in which they finished as the runner-up, started this edition of the tournament with a 2-2 draw against Olympiacos. Scoring two early goals from Harry Kane’s penalty in the 26th minute, followed by a Lucas Moura goal in the 30th minute – goals from Daniel Podence in the 44th minute and Mathieu Valbuena in the 54th minute were enough to seal a draw at Karaiskakis Stadium. Tottenham will host German giants Bayern Munich at 8 p.m. GMT for its fifth-ever meeting against the club. Bayern are coming off a 3-0 victory over Crvena Zvezda after goals from Kingsley Coman, Robert Lewandowski, and Thomas Müller took all three points at The Allianz Arena.

Manchester City had a huge victory 3-0 over Shakhtar Donetsk at The Metalist, with Riyad Mahrez, Ilkay Gündogan, and Gabriel Jesus providing the necessary goals. They will face off against Dinamo Zagreb at Etihad Stadium at 8 p.m. GMT. The Croatian side defeated Atalanta 4-0 on Matchday 1 after Mislav Orsic’s hat trick at Stadion Maksimir. This will be the first-ever matchup between the two clubs – who do you think will end up in top spot?

Liverpool, fresh off of their recent Champions League winning campaign, started their campaign off with a dud as they lost 2-0 to Napoli. Late goals from Dries Mertens in the 82th minute and Fernando Llorente in injury time, helped the Italian team embarass the holders. Now, Liverpool will have to get back on track as they host Red Bull Salzburg at 8 p.m. GMT. The Austrian side had a 6-2 victory against Genk on the first matchday, led by a hat trick from Norwegian teen sensation Erling Braut Haaland at Red Bull Arena. The matchup between tonight’s game will be the first-ever matchup between the two clubs.

Chelsea, the champions of last year’s edition of the Europa League beating London compatriot Arsenal, did not get off to a great start in the Champions League as new coach/former club legend Frank Lampard and The Blues suffered a 1-0 loss at the feet of Rodrigo at Stamford Bridge. Considered the favorites of the group before the start of the tournament, Chelsea will have to get back in gear as they head to Stade Pierre Mauroy to battle Lille OSC at 8 p.m. GMT. Lille suffered a 3-0 defeat in their last game against Ajax due to goals from Quincy Promes, Edson Álvarez, and Nicolás Tagliafico at Johan Crujiff ArenA. The two clubs will face off against each other for the first time.

With the Champions League still in the beginning stages, time will tell if England will have back-to-back winners in the tournament for the first time since Liverpool and Aston Villa won the 1981 and 1982 editions.

FIFA awards Klopp and Alisson; van Dijk and Alisson part of Best XI

On Monday at the Teatro all Scala in Milan, Italy, The Best FIFA Football Awards ™ were hosted. It was a particularly huge night for Champions League winners Liverpool as they had two major award winners for The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper (Alisson) and The Best FIFA Men’s Coach (Jürgen Klopp). Although Virgil van Dijk did not win the award for The Best FIFA Men’s Player, he and Alisson were a part of FIFA FIFPro Men’s World11.

Klopp, after consistently losing in the finals of major competitions such as the Champions League final twice (2012-13 and 2017-18) and the UEFA Europa League Final (2015-2016), he finally was able to get over the hump and win his first major European trophy. Klopp’s journey to glory came with a few bumps in road, having to overcome a massive deficit against FC Barcelona to win 4-3 on aggregate in the semi-final. It ended in glory as Klopp and Liverpool were able to defeat Premier League foe Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in Madrid to clinch their first Champions League trophy since the 2004-2005 season. Klopp had received 48 percent of the vote, edging out fellow Premier League managers Pep Guardiola of Manchester City (38 percent) and Mauricio Pochettino of Tottenham Hotspur (27 percent) for the top award.

Alisson was able to land the award for The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper after becoming a world-class player for Liverpool in their Champions League triumph and for Brazil in their victory at CONMEBOL Copa América, having been named the Best Goalkeeper and to the Team of Tournament as well. He was able to beat out FC Barcelona’s Marc-André ter Stegen and fellow Brazil compatriot Ederson of Manchester City to win the award as the best goalie in the world.

Virgil van Dijk, although not able to win the award for The Best FIFA Men’s Player after FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi received 46 percent of the votes, was able to finish second in the race with 38 percent of the votes, just above Cristiano Ronaldo’s 36 percent. The center back had an incredible 2019 as he helped lead a Liverpool defense in their Champions League journey while also playing a key role for the Netherlands during the UEFA Nations League, making it to the finals before ultimately losing to host Portugal.

Alisson and van Dijk were also able to make the FIFA FIFPro Men’s World11, recognizing the best 11 players in their respective positions during 2019. They made the list along with Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax/Juventus), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Frenkie de Jong (Ajax/FC Barcelona), Eden Hazard (Chelsea/Real Madrid), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), and Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona).

This year was successful for Liverpool as not only were they recognized as a great team by winning the Champions League but received individual awards thanks to those who played a pivotal role in a season their fans will never forget.