Match Day 2 recap “The Europe Giants were in action yet again” 

“VAR says no-goal to 3 goals scored, First Hat-tricks of 2020/21, Managers concerned with Injuries, Last-minute comebacks & Top Scorers.

Barca Bounce Back

In Italy, Barcelona bounced back from their weekend defeat in the Clasico against Real Madrid and shut out the boardroom crisis which led to president Josep Maria Bartomeu resigning on Tuesday. Barcelona’s 2-0 win away to Juventus in their Champions League group was the perfect reply to the club’s boardroom crisis, midfielder Sergi Roberto said on Wednesday.

Ronald Koeman’s side had luck on their side as they took the lead through a deflected Ousmane Dembele strike and then saw Alvaro Morata have three goals disallowed for offside for the hosts. Barcelona has won their two games in Champions League Group G, a sharp contrast to their La Liga form where they are without a win in their last three matches.

The absence of Ronaldo for Juve because of a positive coronavirus test meant no chance to see him renew his on-field rivalry with Lionel Messi, but the Argentine got his name on the scoresheet late on, netting a stoppage-time penalty to seal Barca’s second victory in as many Group G outings.

Tight contests dominated the second night of Matchday 2 action, no more so than at Juventus where Álvaro Morata had three goals ruled out for offside as Barcelona edged to victory. Juve had Turkish defender Merih Demirel sent off late on as their underwhelming start to the season under novice coach Andrea Pirlo continued. Their next game is away at Ferencvaros, who came from behind to draw 2-2 with 10-man Dynamo Kiev in Budapest

 “This was our best game all season. This is a big win against an important European side and we were able to play the football we’re trying to impose,” Koeman said. “It is always important to create chances. We were superior by playing our game. It was the right result.”

In Group E,

Chelsea was comprehensive 4-0 winners away to Krasnodar in Russia, with Jorginho missing a penalty before Callum Hudson-Odoi opened the scoring. Chelsea moved up to four points at the top of Group E after two matches, level with Sevilla who beat Rennes 1-0 in Spain.

Timo Werner smashed in a spot-kick on 76 minutes to double Chelsea’s lead, with Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic adding late goals.

For Ziyech it was a first Chelsea goal on his first start since signing from Ajax for £37 million ($48 million). The 27-year-old had made three cameos as a substitute before earning his first start in Krasnodar – a journey of some 3 500 kilometres from London.

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard said he expects Hakim Ziyech to prove his value after the Moroccan star scored his first goal for the club in Wednesday’s 4-0 win away to Krasnodar in the Champions League” Hakim Ziyech has worked really hard to be fit, and I was very excited to get his quality in the team,” said Lampard.

Meanwhile PSG

Got their campaign up and running by beating Istanbul Basaksehir 2-0 in Turkey, although they lost Neymar to an adductor injury in the first half. Both PSG’s goals were scored in the second half by Moise Kean, the on-loan Everton striker heading in Kylian Mbappe’s corner in the 64th minute and then turning to fire in the second late on.

Moise Kean’s second-half double gave Paris Saint-Germain a 2-0 win away to Istanbul Basaksehir in Turkey on Wednesday as the French side got their Champions League campaign up and running but lost Neymar to injury.

The world’s most expensive player limped out of the action before the half-hour mark and went straight down the tunnel to join an already lengthy queue to the PSG treatment room.

He was replaced by Pablo Sarabia, but without the Brazilian, the visitors ground out the victory after the break in a game that mercifully passed without incident despite the backdrop of ongoing diplomatic tensions between Turkey and France.

The result allows PSG, last season’s beaten finalists, to get off the mark in Group H, a week after they started with a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Manchester United.

Kean, who is on loan from Everton, had already opened his PSG account with a brace against Dijon in Ligue 1 last weekend and the Italian forward put Thomas Tuchel’s team in front in the 64th minute behind closed doors at the Fatih Terim Stadium.

Kylian Mbappe played the role of provider with a corner from the left that was headed home from six yards by the unmarked Kean.

Manchester United

Another big game and another big win. Some wondered whether Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would be among the turkeys at Thanksgiving but he is now destined to see through Christmas. Manchester United have beaten Champions League semi-finalists and finalists within eight days with a conviction bordering on arrogance and are poised to qualify for the knockouts with matches to spare. They dismissed RB Leipzig as though affronted by the upstarts’ status

Leipzig and PSG, two of European football’s gaudy upstarts, have been taught a lesson by one of its glamour clubs. United have not looked incongruous participants back in the competition they have cherished since Sir Matt Busby’s trailblazing in the 50s and Solskjaer’s tactical acumen underpinned this latest triumph.

“Finish, Rashy,” Solskjaer hollered before Rashford did just that. That was his second in four minutes and a reckless tackle by Marcel Sabitzer presented United with a penalty. Solskjaer instructed Anthony Martial, goalless all season, to step up ahead of the usual taker Fernandes or hat-trick hunter Rashford. Martial got off the mark and Solskjaer smiled smugly but Rashford refused to be denied the match ball. Solskjaer’s in-game management was flawless yet again.

Marcus Rashford was again the star for Manchester United in the Champions League with a hat-trick in a 5-0 thumping of RB Leipzig on Wednesday. Rashford’s hat-trick in Manchester United’s 5-0 win against Leipzig on Matchday 2 moved him top of the UEFA Champions League scoring charts with four goals.

Rashford’s late goal earned United a 2-1 victory away to Paris Saint-Germain last week and at Old Trafford, the England striker came on as a second-half substitute and scored three times from the 74th minute on in what was a fine win against last season’s semi-finalists.

Paul Pogba released Mason Greenwood to open the scoring in the first half before the youngster made way for Rashford after the break and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side ran away with the game to make it two wins from two in Group H.

Anthony Martial also netted from the penalty spot as United ruthlessly exposed the side who currently top the German Bundesliga and went clear at the top of the section. 

Liverpool “Despite injury crisis, Kloop wary about rushing them back.

Klopp opted to start Tuesday’s match with Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino on the bench and Liverpool failed to register a shot on target in the first half. The result leaves Liverpool two points clear at the top of Group D after winning both of their first two matches.

Liverpool faces a nervous wait to find out the extent of the injury, with Van Dijk already set to miss months of action after suffering a serious knee injury.

Klopp has also been without the services of Kostas Tsimikas, Thiago Alcantara and Naby Keita for varying lengths of time. Brazilian midfielder Fabinho, filling in for the absent Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip in central defence, limped off in the first half of Tuesday’s Champions League match against Midtjylland with a muscle issue. Teenager Rhys Williams, who came on for Fabinho, could make his Premier League debut against West Ham on Saturday, with Klopp unsure whether Matip will be available.

But Liverpool, lacking urgency and fluency at an empty Anfield, struggled to break down the hard-working visitors, who lost their Champions League opener to Atalanta 4-0. 

Midtjylland had a chance to take a shock lead in the opening minutes when a long clip down the middle sent Anders Dreyer in on goal and Alisson Becker had to make a smart save. 

Alexander-Arnold then danced through the Midtjylland defence midway through the opening period but failed to find the Japan international.

But Klopp’s problems became a lot more serious just before the half-hour, when Fabinho, filling in alongside Joe Gomez in central defence, limped off with an apparent hamstring injury.

Klopp is already coming to terms with the absence of central defensive lynchpin Virgil van Dijk, who could be out for the whole season.

As half-time approached, Alexander-Arnold drilled another cross to Minamo, who headed wide.

But Liverpool failed to register a single first-half shot on target for the first time in 51 home games in all competitions, since October 2018.

Gini Wijnaldum replaced captain Jordan Henderson at half-time and after a few minutes, Klopp ordered Salah and Mane to warm up on the sidelines.

The Premier League champions were toothless in the first half but finally clicked 10 minutes after the break when the impressive Trent Alexander-Arnold set up Diogo Jota for a tap-in.

The opening could have been worse for Klopp’s men.

It was Liverpool’s 10,000th goal in all competitions, 128 years after their first, netted by Jock Smith in September 1892.

Firmino missed a clear chance for Liverpool in the closing minutes after yet more good work from Alexander-Arnold. They almost paid the price immediately but Dreyer could only find the side-netting after drifting past Gomez.

 Liverpool escaped and Salah won the penalty which he converted. 

“That’s the moment,” said Klopp. “It’s just a tricky one — a lot of games, player after player says goodbye for a while (with injury) and then we still have to play the next game, and in our case, we have to win it.

“We try with all we have and I’m really happy about that.”

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said it was vital not to rush players back from injury too soon despite the hectic schedule as he juggles with a lengthening injury list. 

“If it would be only one game we play, if it was the last game of the season, then I think we could make probably one or the other fit for one game,” he said.

“But then we play three days later again (at Atalanta) and we need players again.

“The players who are now injured, we cannot use them on the first day of being fit again, or not injured any more. They need then a proper build-up for the rest of the season, and that’s what we try.”

Borussia Dortmund 

Borussia Dortmund needed a 78th-minute penalty from Jadon Sancho and a stoppage-time goal from Erling Haaland to beat visitors Zenit St Petersburg 2-0 in their Champions League Group F match on Wednesday.

The Germans, who lost their opener to Lazio, controlled the game from the start but carved out few chances before Vyacheslav Karavaev inexplicably wrestled Thorgan Hazard to the ground for Sancho to score from the spot.

Borussia are on three points with Zenit bottom of the group after two defeats in two games. Club Brugge and Lazio are top on four points.Norwegian striker Haaland had their best chance of the first half when his powerful shot flew just wide after captain Marco Reus missed two good chances of his own.

After pressure straight after the restart, Dortmund quickly ran out of ideas on how to crack open the Russian defence.

With Zenit gradually growing bolder, it looked like the Germans would have to settle for a draw until Hazard was brought down and Sancho sent the keeper the wrong way and Haaland sealed the win.

Dortmund next travels to Club Brugge on November 4 while Zenit host Lazio.

Real snatch draw at Gladbach with late Casemiro goal

The 13-time European champions, who had lost their previous three games including a 3-2 defeat by Shakhtar Donetsk last week, earned their first point in the competition.

Real Madrid scored two goals in the final minutes with Karim Benzema and Casemiro to rescue a 2-2 draw at Borussia Moenchengladbach in their Champions League Group B match on Tuesday and snap a three-game losing run in the competition.

Marcus Thuram fired in for the lead in the 33rd minute and tapped in on the rebound in the 58th before Benzema cut the deficit in the 87th minute and Casemiro bagged a stoppage-time equaliser.

The Foals struck on the break with Alassane Plea pouncing on a Toni Kroos mistake to set up Thuram for his first goal in the competition.

Gladbach then struck against the run of play, with 23-year-old France youth international Thuram tapping in on the rebound after keeper Thibaut Courtois had pushed out a shot from Plea.

Real initially had more spark after the break and hit the woodwork when Asensio’s 46th-minute shot was headed onto the crossbar.

With the Germans thinking the game was already won, Real pulled a goal back when Casemiro headed on for Benzema, who became only the second player to score in 16 consecutive Champions League seasons.

Brazilian Casemiro then dashed Gladbach’s hopes of a memorable win, driving the ball into the roof of the net in stoppage time. “When you concede two late goals and drop the points it is not a good feeling,” Gladbach coach Marco Rose said. “It came down to the quality of Real. We wanted to defend better until the end, but sometimes you need a little bit of luck and we didn’t have that tonight.”

Gladbach, who also conceded a 90th-minute equaliser in their 2-2 draw at Inter Milan last week, are second in the group on two points, with Shakhtar top on four after a 0-0 draw with Inter.

“We didn’t think this would be such a drama,” Real coach Zinedine Zidane said. “But my team showed that they know how to react.

Zidane had been hoping to carry his side’s momentum from their 3-1 weekend win over Barcelona in La Liga into the game.

Yet despite their confidence in possession, chances were few and far between.

Inter left frustrated in Shakhtar draw

Six days after stunning Real Madrid in Spain despite missing 10 first-team players due to coronavirus, Shakhtar was fortunate to take a point against the Italians but the result leaves them in a strong position in Group B.

Inter came closest to scoring, twice hitting the woodwork in the first half at the Olympic Stadium.

Nicolo Barella hit the crossbar early on and Lukaku then had a free-kick turned onto the frame of the goal by Shakhtar ‘keeper Anatoliy Trubin as the interval approached.

Lautaro Martinez then contrived to miss the target from an excellent position after the break, as Inter drew again, following a 2-2 stalemate with Borussia Moenchengladbach last week.

Shakhtar top the group with four points, but Madrid can now go up to second with a win away to Gladbach in Germany later on Tuesday.

Romelu Lukaku and Inter Milan endured a frustrating night in Kiev on Tuesday as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.

featured image credit talksport.com

 

 

By Siya Andrews

Men are born for games. Nothing else. Every child knows that play is nobler than work. He knows too that the worth or merit of a game is not inherent in the game itself but rather in the value of that which is put at hazard. Games of chance require a wager to have meaning at all. Games of sport involve the skill and strength of the opponents and the humiliation of defeat and the pride of victory are in themselves sufficient stake because they inhere in the worth of the principals and define them. But the trial of chance or trial of worth all games aspire to the condition of war for here that which is wagered swallows up game, player, all.