The 1st day of October brought Champions League group stage action once again. Tottenham hosted Bayern and was mercilessly beaten and Real Madrid was surprised by Club Brugge. Juventus and Atletico showed they are the strongest teams in group D.
All this and much more, in the Tuesday action of Champions League group stages.
Real Madrid 2 – 2 Club Brugge
The embarrassment of the opening matchday against Paris Saint Germain (3-0) was not forgotten yet, and Real Madrid needed to win to get back on track. The 13th time Champions League winners hosted Club Brugge this time and they had a first half to forget.
The Belgian side, runners up of last season’s Jupiler League, scored after 9 minutes in the Santiago Bernabeu. Percy Tau squared to Emmanuel Dennis and the Nigerian, with a clumsy finish, betrayed Courtois and put the visitors in front.
Before the break, Dennis would score his 2nd. Another somehow clumsy finish, but he chipped the ball over Courtois and ‘Los Blancos’ were down 0-2 at home, against Club Brugge.
In the second half, Zidane replaced his goalkeeper Courtois for Areola and somehow it worked. The French goalie stopped Dennis from scoring a hat trick and tripling the embarrassment.
Real Madrid would reduce at the 55 minutes by Sergio Ramos. The defender decided to play the role of attacker and appeared at the heart of the box, to head in a cross from Benzema.
Club Brugge’s task of holding into the lead would be more difficult when their captain Ruud Vormer got sent off for a second yellow card. And in the dying minutes of the game, Casemiro with a header would equal the game for Real Madrid.
The current La Liga table leaders get 1 point here, but it is fair to say they should have done much better.
Galatasaray 0 – 1 Paris Saint Germain
In the other match of Group A, PSG had a hard job to do in Istambul, facing a tough Galatasaray side. Tuchel decided to leave Mbappe on the bench, putting deadline say signing Mauro Icardi in the lineup.
The Argentinian would prove to be the right choice, being the scorer of the only goal in the match. Pablo Sarabia found Icardi open and squared for the former Inter Milan player to score his first goal for PSG in all competitions.
PSG could have doubled or tripled the score, but Muslera had a tremendous exhibition, with spectacular saves. The 0-1 victory is still enough for PSG to rise isolated to 1st place, with 6 points in 2 matches.
Tottenham Hotspurs 2 – 7 Bayern Munich
It was supposed to be the redemption night for Tottenham Hotspurs, finalist of last year’s Champions League edition. After being eliminated from the League Cup by a 4th division team and being 6th in the league with 2 defeats so far, Tottenham had a chance to prove to their supporters that they could prove themselves in the biggest club competition.
Yet, the game began quite well for Tottenham, who were ahead in their new stadium in London, with 10 minutes on the clock. The South Korean Son Heung-Min enjoyed a pass from Sissoko to put the home side ahead. However, what seemed like an auspicious start, turned into a nightmare.
Just 3 minutes later, Joshua Kimmich shot from outside the box to equalize the match. Before halftime, Bayern Munich turned the tables and put themselves in front, with a finish from Robert Lewandowski.
In the second half, the true disaster began, and Tottenham’s ship sunk pretty quickly. Serge Gnabry, who would have an inspired evening, made the 1-3, passing through Alderweireld like he was a schoolboy.
Another minute, another goal for Gnabry. Tottenham had yet to recover from the 3rd and the German winger was already netting the 4th. Spurs would have some moment of relief, with Harry Kane putting the score 2-4 from the penalty spot, after a foul on Danny Rose.
A brace for Lewandowski, a ‘poker’ for Gnabry
In the last 10 minutes, Bayern would widen the humiliation by scoring a total of 3 goals in less than 10 minutes. Gnabry would score a hat trick, after a perfect long pass from Thiago Alcantara. Tottenham’s defense had no pace to compete with the 24-year-old German attacker.
With the backline in shambles, Lloris had once again to go pick the ball from the back of the net. Lewandowski with a brace scored his 3rd goal in 2 group stage matches and his 14th goal in 9 official matches.
There was still time for one more, with Gnabry scoring the 7th goal of the evening for the Bundesliga table leaders, his 4th of the match. The former Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion player, scored a poker in half time, to complete the trashing of the North Londoners.
North London was painted in the Bavarian colors and it will be a night that Spurs fans will try to erase from their minds.
Crvena Zvezda 3 – 1 Olympiakos
In the other match of the group, Red Star Belgrade (or Crvena Zvezda), met Olympiakos in the Serbian capital and they took the 3 points.
Defender Ruben Semedo broke the deadlock for Olympiakos, putting the Greek side ahead in the first half. In the second time, though, Olympiakos would be reduced to 10 men, after Yassine Benzia received a second yellow.
The task got slightly easier for Red Star and they took advantage. Milos Vulic equalized just minutes after the sent off. Then in the last 5 minutes of the match, the Serbians came back with 2 goals in 2 corner kicks.
First Milunovic, then Boakye and the home team was leading 3-1. Crvena Zvezda jumps to 2nd place after this result and they will go to London in the next matchday.
Manchester City 2 – 0 Dinamo Zagreb
After Dinamo Zagreb had destroyed Atalanta 4-0 in the first matchday, Manchester City had a warning that the Croatian team should not be underestimated.
City had the first real chance of the match, with David Silva hitting the woodwork after an almost perfect team movement. Dinamo Zagreb defense continued to be pretty tight though and it took City until the middle of the second half to score a goal.
Riyad Mahrez received a pass from Rodri, sending the ball through to Sterling, who only had to tap it inside.
The second goal would arrive only in the last minute of the match, with substitute Phil Foden scoring just one minute after being on the pitch. The young English midfielder caught a pass from Sterling, showing Guardiola that he deserves more playing time.
2-0 and the Premier League table champions lead comfortably the Group C. Dinamo has a fair chance of going through in 2nd place, with the match against Shakhtar in three weeks being crucial for their ambitions.
Atalanta 1 – 2 Shakhtar Donetsk
Besides a fairly good start of the Serie A schedule campaign, Atalanta can’t find their form in Champions League. This is the first-ever group stage for the Bergamo club and they have now 2 defeats in 2 matches.
Two weeks ago, Atalanta faced Dinamo in Zagreb and they were battered 4-0. Now, they could make things less painful, hosting Shakhtar Donetsk in their borrowed home, the San Siro (since their stadium is under maintenance).
They started the match well, showing their attacking prowess and conquering a penalty kick in the first quarter. However, Ilicic wasted the chance, with Pyatov making a fine stop.
But, the same Pyatov would then make a mistake, coming out too soon to a cross and leaving Duvan Zapata open for a header. First goal ever for Atalanta in Champions League.
Shakhtar would equalize, in the 41 minutes, with Junior Moraes scoring his first Champions League goal of the season. The Brazilian born, who has Ukrainian nationality, is Shakhtar’s top scorer, with 8 goals in 9 league games.
In the last breath of the match, Shakhtar conquered all 3 points and crushed Atalanta’s hopes of getting something from this match. Israeli forward Manor Solomon entered as a substitute and scored the winner.
Atalanta is dead last in Group C, Dinamo and Shakhtar have 3 points each.
Juventus 3 – 0 Bayer Leverkusen
Bayer Leverkusen arrived in Torino in hopes of getting at least a point, following their frustrating opening match (1-2 to Lokomotiv Moscow). However, the mission to stop Ronaldo and company to net their first 3 points of the group stage failed miserably.
The first goal came after 17 minutes when Jonathan Tah failed to clear the ball and left Higuain open for beating Hradecky with a strong shot.
Juventus would have to wait until the middle of the second half to make it 2-0, with Ronaldo simulating a dummy and letting the ball slide to Bernardeschi. The versatile Italian winger made no mistake, scoring his first goal of the season.
The game wouldn’t be complete until Cristiano Ronaldo put his name on the scoresheet. The Portuguese forward received an assist from Dybala and was finally able to pass through Hradecky’s wall.
With this win, Ronaldo has broken the record of wins in the competition, previously held by Casillas (104). He has now 105 victories in the tournament.
Lokomotiv Moscow 0 – 2 Atletico Madrid
Atletico conquered a precious point with a 2-2 draw in the Wanda Metropolitano against Juventus and now they needed to win in Moscow.
It proved not so easy as it seemed, as Atletico took until the second half to finally break into the Russian resistance. They could have done it before, had Diego Costa be able not to send an easy tap-in into the clouds.
The opener came through the 120 million wonderboy: Joao Felix. The Portuguese forward tried once and was denied by Guilherme and in the rebound, he confirmed the goal. He became the youngest Atletico Madrid’s goalscorer, breaking a record that was held by Kun Aguero.
They doubled their lead 10 minutes later, through Thomas Partey, assisted by Diego Costa. Atletico is second of the group, tied on points with Juventus.
This Wednesday 8 more games
The Champions League schedule continues this Wednesday, with groups E, F, G and H in action. A total of 8 matches, with Barcelona vs Inter being the headliner. Stay tuned!