Juve, PSG and Bayern qualify to Champions League round of 16

Juventus' Douglas Costa celebrates with Paulo Dybala after scoring. PHOTO: AFP
Juventus' Douglas Costa celebrates with Paulo Dybala after scoring. the winner that qualified Juventus to the knockout stage. PHOTO: AFP

In the matchday 4, we got the first 3 teams officially qualified to the knockout stages of the Champions League. Juventus, PSG, and Bayern Munich all won on this Wednesday evening and got their passport to the round of 16.

Meanwhile, we saw Real Madrid finally showing dominance, with a hattrick of an 18-year-old Brazilian wonderkid. Atletico Madrid and Manchester City were both surprised in their away trips and they lost the opportunity of an early qualification.

Here is how it went among the groups A, B, C, and D, who played on this Wednesday, 6th of November.

Group A

Paris Saint Germain 1 x 0 Club Brugge

A single early goal ensured that Paris Saint Germain became one of the first teams to qualify for the next stage of the Champions League. With 12 points in 4 games, the French Ligue 1 champions have a perfect record and a win in the next match will guarantee they top their group.

If in Brugge, Paris smashed the hosts with a 0x5 win, this time they had to sweat until the very end, as Brugge proved to be a tough cookie. Two weeks ago, Di Maria was one of the protagonists, assisting 3 goals in the visit to Belgium.

The Argentinian tried his luck once again in Paris, with a free-kick, but this time Brugge’s keeper, Simon Mignolet, denied him the goal.

However, PSG did not take much time to go ahead, as Mauro Icardi showed why the Parisiens have signed him, scoring his 4th goal in 4 Champions League games.

In the second half, the hero was Keylor Navas. First with a double save to deny an equalizer to Emmanuel Denis. Then, he was tested once again, when Thiago Silva brought down Diagne in the box.

The Costa-Rican keeper defended the effort and kept another clean sheet. PSG is the only team in the competition who have not suffered a goal so far.

As PSG are safely going through, Brugge, on the other hand, is eliminated and will have to grab some points in the next matches if they still hope for a Europa League ticket.

Real Madrid 6 x 0 Galatasaray

As PSG got already their way into the next stage, Real Madrid is also close in doing so. Although they had a slow start to their campaign, with a defeat in Paris and a draw against Brugge, their double journey against Galatasaray guaranteed them 6 points.

In Istambul, they gathered a single early win, through Toni Kroos’ goal, but in Santiago Bernabeu, they cruised past the Turkish champions.

The man who rose to the occasion was 18-year old Rodrygo, who arrived this Summer to Real Madrid and he is making quite an impact.

The Brazilian scored twice in the first 10 minutes, his first Champions League goals ever. Both goals were courtesy of fellow Brazilian Marcelo, with two accurate crosses.

Even before the first quarter of the match, Real was already up to 3. Sergio Ramos with a cheeky ‘Panenka’ penalty, converted after Kroos’ being fouled inside the area.

Still, within the first 45 minutes, Rodrygo was once again in the spotlight, as he intercepted a ball gifted from Galatasaray defense and assisted Benzema.

The Frenchman scored again in the second half, assisted by Carvajal. It was his 50th goal in the Champions League for Real Madrid.

At the last minute, there was still time for Rodrygo to score once again, making it an exhibition to remember. 3 goals – a perfect hat-trick, with the left foot, header and right foot – and an assist.

Will Rodrygo be the solution to Zidane’s problems?

Group B

Bayern Munich 2 x 0 Olympiakos

The first game in charge of interim manager Hansi Flick was a reception to Olympiakos, in Champions League. Even though they got their coach Niko Kovac sacked on Sunday and are 4 points away from the Bundesliga tabletop, Bayern is already safely past the group stage.

In Athens, the game was far from easy, as Bayern held to a tight 2-3 win. Still, the quality difference between the Greek champions and the Bavarian was seen in the game in Munich, as Bayern comfortably got the 4th win in 4 games.

The first half was quite dry in ideas, as Flick benched Thiago and Coutinho and the team seemed to lack creativity. Meanwhile, Jose Sa shined in Olympiakos’ goal, as the goalkeeper kept denying Bayern the opener.

However, in the second half the usual suspect, Robert Lewandowski, with a clinical finish, demonstrated once again his tremendous season form.

The Polish forward has a total of 21 goals in 16 games, across all competitions. Just in the Champions League he already scored 6 and he just sits 1 goal behind from Erling Haaland.

Before the final whistle, Ivan Perisic added a second, as the Inter loanee came on from the bench.

With this win, Bayern gets 4 victories in their 4 opening matches for the first time in 5 years. They also qualify for the Champions League round of 16 for the 22nd time in 23 attempts. Not a bad record.

Crvena Zvezda 0 x 4 Tottenham Hotspurs

Spurs’ form raised some questions, as the North Londoners had only 1 point after their two first games. Not only that, but they were crushed in their home game against Bayern, an unforgettable 2×7 defeat.

Nonetheless, it is fair to say, they took advantage of their double fixture with Crvena Zvezda, grabbing all 6 points.

Last season’s finalists, Spurs had beaten the Serbians at home 5×0 and they repeated the dose in their away match in Belgrade.

Their first goal arrived after the half-hour. An authentic ‘pinball’ scene, with the ball hitting 3 times on the woodwork and once in a defender before Lo Celso finally getting the best of it. The Argentinian moved this season from Betis and this was his first goal for Spurs.

Crvena Zvezda was unlucky to not get an equalizer at the end of the first half as they also hit the post and the crossbar in consecutive attempts.

Tottenham punished them for the wasted chance in the second half. Heu Ming-Son scored twice in the space of 5 minutes. Firstly after a tenacious run from Ndombele and then assisted by Danny Rose, in a combo with Harry Kane.

The South Korean refused to celebrate both goals and even apologized to the camera. The forward still seems to not have forgiven himself for an accidental collision with Andre Gomes, that broke the ankle of the Everton’s player.

The last goal of the evening was scored by Christian Eriksen, assisted by deadline day signing Ryan Sessegnon. Tottenham will dispute the other ticket to the round of 16 with Olympiakos, who they face on November 26th.

Group C

Atalanta 1 x 1 Manchester City

Manchester City lost an opportunity to guarantee their passport to the next stage as they struggled past Atalanta. The Italian side got their first point ever in the competition, a hard-fought one and they still hold the dream of going through.

Atalanta had suffered 11 goals so far in the tournament and the last match at Manchester they got whooped 5×1. This time it did not start much better for them as they saw themselves behind with just 6 minutes.

Sterling combined with Bernardo Silva, who passed to Gabriel Jesus, assisting Sterling with a backheel pass. A beautiful constructed goal and Sterling’s 5th goal in 4 Champions League matches.

Manchester City kept producing chances, with Atalanta unable to resist to the ‘gegenpress‘ applied high by the English side. Yet, either by luck or City’s lack of efficiency, the first half ended 1-0 only, with Gabriel Jesus wasting a penalty.

In the second half, however, Ederson got injured and was substituted by Claudio Bravo and things took a turn. First, Atalanta got an equalizer through a header of Mario Pasalic.

Then, Bravo, who had just come in the second half, fouled Ilicic outside the box and the referee gave him a straight red card. City was reduced to 10 men and Pep Guardiola had no goalkeepers left on the bench.

Kyle Walker was picked to enter as goalkeeper in a quite comical situation. Yet, the fullback kept a clean sheet for the remaining 10 minutes, even defending a free-kick.

City needs a single point to go through, while Atalanta needs to win the two remaining matches and expect Shakhtar or Dinamo Zagreb to lose their respective clashes.

Dinamo Zagreb 3 x 3 Shakhtar Donetsk

Shakhtar and Dinamo could have taken the opportunity to face each other since a victory would put them as favorites to go through. However, both games between the two teams ended up in draws.

In Zagreb, the visitors’ stroke first as Shakhtar’s Alan Patrick opened the scoreline before the first quarter. But, minutes later, Bruno Petkovic leveled the game and 1-1 was the score at half time.

In the last 15 minutes of the game, an unparalleled drama began. First, Zagreb’s Nikola Moro got a second yellow for a foul on Junior Moraes, but Shakhtar was not in advantage for long. Marlos was also sent off, 4 minutes later, and left both teams with 10 men.

Then, in the 83 minute, 20-year-old Ivanusec scored the second for Dinamo Zagreb. When Arijan Ademi scored the 3-1, with just a minute to go, the result seemed settled for Dinamo.

During stoppage time, however, the unthinkable happened. First Junior Moraes found the back of the net for Shakhtar and in the last seconds, VAR was called to judge on an alleged foul on Taison.

Somehow, Taison’s foul was actually not proven to be worth the spot-kick award, but the VAR spotted that in the meanwhile, Pyatov had been elbowed in the face.

Tete did not miss and the final result was 3-3, leaving everything open for both clubs and Atalanta, to compete for the final round of 16 places.

Group D

Lokomotiv Moscow 1 x 2 Juventus

Two weeks ago, a Dybala brace avoided surprises in Torino, as Juventus edged Lokomotiv 2×1. Now, the ‘Bianconeri’ had again to sweat to conquer the 3 points, but it was enough for them to qualify to the next stage.

Cristiano Ronaldo was pretty close to edge Messi and Raul’s record, scoring against the 34th different club in the competition. The Portuguese curled a free-kick, who Lokomotiv’s keeper Guilherme was not able to hold properly. As the ball was already going in, Aaron Ramsey ‘stole’ the goal.

The Russians responded immediately, with Miranchuk scoring on a rebound, after his first attempt hit the post of Szczesny’s goal.

Lokomotiv held tight to the score, as Guilherme, redeemed himself from the early blunder, by denying goals to Higuain and Ronaldo.

They were close to edge Juventus with a surprise winner. Krychowiak saw his effort stopped by Szczesny and then Joao Mario shot was blocked on the line by Bonucci.

Juventus’ winning goal would come through Douglas Costa, who invented it all by himself, combining with Higuain and tearing Lokomotiv’s defense apart.

The Italians qualified for the round of 16 for the 6th season in a row.

Bayer Leverkusen 2 x 1 Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid was expected to also book their ticket to the next stage and all they needed was a win away at Leverkusen. Two weeks ago a single goal from Morata was enough to get all 3 points, but this time things turned sour.

Thomas Partey headed a shot into his own net and put Bayer Leverkusen accidentally in front before the halftime whistle.

Kevin Volland doubled Bayer Leverkusen’s lead in the early minutes of the second half, with the German striker completing a clinical finish over Oblak.

Partey was close to a second own goal, that was denied on the line by Santiago Arias. In the aftermath, there was some pushing and confusion that resulted in 4 yellow cards.

The ref had extra work later, as Amiri got a straight red card for a foul on Arias. Bayer Leverkusen was reduced to 10 and was punished with a goal by Morata, who is on great form, scoring for the 5th match in a row.

The Spanish forward was close to make it a brace, but his last-minute shot was blocked by goalkeeper Hradecky.

Bayer Leverkusen grabs the first win and first points in Group H and they renew their hopes into going through to the knockout stages.

More football this Thursday…

If you are interested in knowing the current state of the Champions League groups, click here. You can also check who are the top scorers of this season in the tournament.

Meanwhile, this Thursday there is more football with Europa League. Stay tuned.

About Jorge Costa 140 Articles
Jorge Costa is a freelance journalist, with a Masters Degree in Journalism and Communication, through the University of Coimbra, Portugal. He specializes in sports and soccer in particular.

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