Wednesday was another evening of Champions League group stage matches and they did not disappoint. After Tuesday’s goal-fest (28 in total) there were 22 goals in last night’s matches. So, to sum up, matchday 2 of the UEFA Champions League had a wholesome number of 50 goals, with just one match being goalless.
On the 2nd of October, groups E, F, G, and H had their turn. Barcelona hosted Internazionale and was victorious with a Suarez brace, while Liverpool almost saw Red Bull Salzburg surprise them at Anfield.
All these and much more, with the results you are craving.
Liverpool 4 x 3 Red Bull Salzburg
Liverpool had the difficult task of overcoming a confident Austrian side of Red Bull Salzburg. If you are not remembered, RB Salzburg won 6-2 on their first matchday, over Genk, with their prodigy, 19-year-old Haaland, scoring a hat trick.
However, in Anfield, Salzburg decided to leave the Norwegian wonderboy in the bench, despite him having 17 goals in 10 games so far. Numbers that could rival with Robert Lewandowski.
The current Champions League holders, who lost to Napoli in the first match, did not want to let another 3 points slide and they showed their flair, with 3 goals in 40 minutes.
Mane opened the score with a 1-2 play with Firmino, finishing in the face of Salzburg’s keeper. The second one would come 15 minutes later, with the two full-backs combining: Alexander Arnold assisted Robertson, who showed up to conclude it in the box.
Salzburg would be 3×0 down soon, with Mohamed Salah enjoying an incomplete save from Cican Stankovic. The game seemed set for Liverpool to have a comfortable win. But, RB Salzburg showed why they are one of the teams to watch this season in Europe.
Before the break, Hee-Chan Hwang had the guts to dribble past Van Dijk. The ‘UEFA Best Player’ of the past season, saw the South Korean finishing in style. 3-1 and there would be more goals in the second half.
Salah avoids scare
Just 10 minutes past the interval, Minamino found himself with space in the box and with a well-hit volley made it 3-2. The goal of the Japanese international made Salzburg believe in a comeback.
The equalizer would actually arrive 4 minutes later, with Haaland (remember him?) completing an assist from Minamino. The Norwegian had just come in and 4 minutes later he was on the scoresheet already.
Unfortunately for Salzburg, their defense is not so well-groomed as their attack. So, Firmino found an opening and assisted Mohamed Salah, who avoided another surprise for the Reds in the Champions League.
This was Firmino’s 3rd assist of the evening and Liverpool collected all 3 points. As for Salzburg, they gave a good impression and they demonstrated they are contenders for getting into the knockout phases.
Genk 0 x 0 Napoli
A disappointing evening in Genk, as the Belgians were able to hold Napoli’s attack in a draw. Napoli, who had beaten Liverpool 2×0 in San Paolo, was unable to get past through Genk’s defense.
Meanwhile, Genk, who suffered 6 goals in the first match, looks to have learned their lesson and they closed the gaps to gather 1 point.
Despite a total of 31 attempts on goal, only 6 were on target: 2 for Genk, 4 for Napoli. Mario Rui was close to scoring, but Genk’s keeper made a fine save and then Milik failed on the rebound.
The Polish strike was not on his day, hitting the woodwork, before being replaced by Llorente. The former Tottenham forward was also not able to find the back of the net.
0-0 and Napoli hold to the 1st position of Group E with 4 points. Genk is last with 1.
Barcelona 2 x 1 Inter Milan
In the most expected match from matchday 2, the current Serie A table leaders faced the La Liga champions. Inter arrived with a streak of 6 wins in 6 matches in Serie A schedule, while Barcelona is struggling in their away games in the Spanish top division. However, at home, they reign supreme, with a 100% winning record.
Inter entered promptly in Camp Nou with the right foot. Or better, the left foot, of Lautaro Martinez. The Argentinian finished after a pass from Alexis Sanchez and Lenglet was not able to hold the striker.
Barcelona can be thankful, first to Nelson Semedo and then to Ter Stegen for stopping Inter’s occasions that could have doubled their lead. Still, the ‘Blaugrana’ arrived at the break trailing by 1 goal.
The Catalans would change their approach in the second half, more assertive on the ball, with Messi and Suarez combining to make the comeback. They achieved the 1-1 with the Uruguayan receiving a pass from Vidal and delivering an outstanding volley past Handanovic.
Suarez would be the hero of the ‘remontada’, after a solo run from Leo Messi. Barcelona’s number 10, dribbled past Inter’s defense, assisting Suarez, who had space to control the ball and make a clinical finish.
2-1 was the final result, although a bit harsh, as Inter did a tremendous display of football in the Camp Nou. Ultimately, Messi and Suarez’s brilliance was enough to give Barcelona the first 3 points in the Champions League this season.
Slavia Praha 0 x 2 Borussia Dortmund
Dortmund visited Prague after they conceded a 0x0 draw to Barcelona at home and were hopeful to grab all 3 points. Meanwhile, Slavia Praha, who drew in the Giuseppe Meazza in September (1-1), also had a statement to make in this tightly contested group.
Lucien Favre, Borussia Dortmund’s coach, decided to play Achraf Hakimi in the left midfield position, instead of the fullback one where he usually plays. The choice proved to be the right one, as Hakimi scored both goals of the match.
The Moroccan player opened the scoreline after the first half-hour of the match. He dribbled past one defender, then around the keeper, to finally put it in the top corner. A stunning solo goal.
Slavia did not stop trying to make the equalizer. It would be Dortmund to double it though, but only in the 88 minutes. Once again Hakimi with a run, sliding the ball through the legs of Slavia Praha’s keeper.
Dortmund rises to the top places of Group F, tied in points with Barcelona.
RB Leipzig 0 x 2 Lyon
Two weeks ago, Leipzig conquered 3 points in Lisbon against Benfica and at the same time they were top of the Bundesliga table. Now, they dropped from the lead of the German top division and they fell out of grace in the Champions League too.
Meanwhile, Lyon had drawn with Zenit in the first leg. The Ligue 1 table team broke the deadlock in Leipzig, just 10 minutes after the start. Memphis Depay found an opening and got past Gulacsi easily. Leipzig’s defense was too passive and was unable to stop the Dutch winger.
In the second half, Lyon doubled their advantage, with Upamecano losing the ball to Martin Terrier. The Frenchman took the present and once again Gulacsi could do nothing to prevent the goal.
Lyon rises to the top of Group G, with the same points as Zenit.
Zenit St. Petersburg 3 x 1 Benfica
Underwhelming as usual, it’s what can best describe Benfica’s latest performances in Europe. The team has not been able to past the group stages in the last two seasons and now the Liga NOS table champions seem set to repeat the fate. Two defeats in two games and one of the 4 teams in the group stages so far that has no points in the competition.
This time they faced Zenit, Russian champions, and a series of embarrassing defensive mistakes cost them the result. First, Fejsa got dispossessed by Ozdoev, allowing the midfielder to pass the ball to fellow Russian striker Dzyuba. He had just to tip it over Vlachodimos to score.
Another mistake in the second half, another goal. Ruben Dias trying to clear the ball ended up putting it in his own net and made it 2-0 for Zenit. There was still time for Azmoun to score his 2nd Champions League goal, with the Iranian forward being left unmarked in Benfica’s box.
Raul de Tomas still hit a consolation goal, from a long-range shot. It would be a ‘banger’ to remember if the game wasn’t 3-1 for Benfica. It was Raul’s first goal for Benfica in all competitions.
Benfica trails in the Liga NOS so far, having already lost the first ‘Classico’ against Porto and being second to surprise side Famalicao. Adding the two consecutive defeats in Champions League, their coach Bruno Lage might be in trouble.
Lille 1 – 2 Chelsea
Chelsea lost the first match to Valencia, in Stamford Bridge, but their recently improved form made supporters hopeful of a good result against Lille. Pulisic’s absence from the team, not even making it into the bench, left some people wondering about what happened to the American superstar, lately barely used by Frank Lampard.
Still, another Chelsea star, Tammy Abraham, made the ‘Blues’ fans quickly forget about it, when he opened the score in France. After a pass of another Chelsea academy product, Fikayo Tomori, Abraham made a cheeky turn and finished in the face of Lille’s keeper Maignan.
Lille’s new sensation striker would score the equalizer moments later. Victor Osimhen, who has 6 goals in 8 Ligue 1 games, scored his 1st Champions League goal. The Nigerian striker was signed from Charleroi in the Summer and has been proving himself as another smart purchase from Lille.
In the second half, Chelsea got to the advantage again. Willian received a pass from Hudson-Odoi in the area, and the Brazilian winger launched an efficient first-touch volley.
With this win, Chelsea leaves the bottom of the group, as Lille is now the last one with 0 points. Last season’s Ligue 1 runners-up, seem to be lacking the experience necessary in their long-awaited return to Champions League football.
Valencia 0 – 3 Ajax
We have highlighted how Valencia’s performances have decreased in quality since their coach Marcelino Toral was sacked. They won last weekend over Athletic Bilbao and against Chelsea in Stamford Bridge. Still, their weaknesses have been exposed a couple of times in 2 consecutive draws and a 5-2 loss against Barcelona.
They faced in the matchday 2 of Champions League last season’s semifinalist Ajax. The Amsterdam team showed no mercy in the Mestalla and they went home with a comfortable 0-3 win.
It was a former Ajax player, Cillessen, who was in evidence first. The goalkeeper denied the opener to Donny van De Beek, but he could do nothing to stop the opener from Ziyech.
In what is likely to be the goal of the week, Hakim Ziyech shifted an unstoppable shot from outside the box. Jasper Cillessen was caught on surprise with the intensity of the strike.
Valencia had an opportunity to equalize when Guedes was tripped in the box. Parejo had the duty to convert the penalty but shot it wide over Onana’s goal.
Before halftime, Ajax doubled their lead. Quincy Promes with his second of the tournament, finishing after a pass from van de Beek.
The home side had a couple of opportunities to score, but Onana was a wall in the Mestalla. With the Cameroonian keeper sustaining a clean sheet, Ajax went forward and scored the third: a combination between Tadic and Van de Beek, with the young Dutch midfielder getting the last touch.
0-3 and Ajax has 6 points in 6 games, reigning supreme in top of Group H. With 6 goals scored and 0 goals conceded, Ajax seems set for another great season in the Champions League.
Thursday night and more European football…
We might have to wait 3 weeks for the next Champions League matchday, but tonight there are Europa League group stages matches. Arsenal and Manchester United are in action, but the game we advise to watch is the one that opposes Feyenoord and FC Porto.
The two former Champions League winners are now battling in UEFA’s second-tier competition. Who will get ahead?
To know how are the teams ranked in all Champions League groups, click here. You will also find info about the top scorer of the competition.