Sports

Champions League Matchday 2 Recap

Viktoria Plzen vs. Inter Milan
Underdogs Viktoria Plzen was outmatched once again on Matchday 2. Recording only eight shots on Inter Milan’s 19 and just one shot on target versus Inter’s eight, it comes as no surprise that this match was firmly in the hands of the Italian side. The first goal came in the 20th minute, when Joaquin Correa passed to Edin Džeko on the edge of the box, who then placed a well-aimed shot into the side of the Viktoria Plzen net. An Inter counterattack in the 70th minute then saw Džeko make a run down the pitch before passing the ball to an unmarked Denzel Dumfries, who coolly converted to make the scoreline 2-0 to the visitors. Although Inter took all three points, they remain third in the Group C table, behind both Bayern and Barcelona, while Viktoria Plzen continue to sit in rock bottom.

Sporting vs. Tottenham
In the first major upset of Matchday 2, Sporting came out on top of English giants Tottenham. Despite the odds being against them, Sporting performed superbly, dominating possession, matching Tottenham’s shots, and recording one more shot on target than the visitors. It looked like the English side would hold the hosts to a 0-0 until the 90th minute, when Paulinho got onto the end of a corner swiftly taken by Pedro Gonçalves and flicked it past Hugo Lloris. Then, three minutes into stoppage time, Arthur Gomes made a phenomenal run into the box to slot the ball home, doubling the Portuguese side’s lead to 2-0. With this victory, Sporting retains their position at the top of Group A, while Spurs remain second in the table, ahead of Eintracht Frankfurt.

Liverpool vs. Ajax
Although the final scoreline has the teams seeming relatively well-matched, the statistics show a much greater disparity. Whereas Liverpool recorded 24 shots with 10 on target, Ajax recorded a total of three shots, only one of which was on target. The hosts opened the scoring when a long ball from Alisson Becker was passed to Mohamed Salah, who drilled it home past Remko Pasveer. The visitors fired back, however. In the 27th minute, after a lovely bit of back and forth inside the box, Mohammed Kudus deflected a shot off the corner of the woodwork and into the back of the Liverpool net, equalizing for the visitors. Despite numerous subsequent Liverpool chances, the Reds failed to capitalize and it seemed like the Dutch side may be able to hold the hosts to a draw. But then, in the 89th minute, Konstantinos Tsimikas’s corner found Joël Matip, who headed it home to bring the home side up 2-1. Liverpool now sit second in the Group A table under Napoli while Ajax falls to third, still ahead of Rangers.

Bayern Munich vs. Barcelona
Although both teams put forward strong performances, rivaling each other in possession, shots taken, and shots on target statistics, Bayern was the team with the better defense. The hosts opened the scoring in the 50th minute when Lucas Hernandez got on the end of Joshua Kimmich’s corner, heading the ball past Marc-André ter Stegen to put the German side up 1-0. Bayern doubled their lead just four minutes later, with Leroy Sané making a run into the box and bringing the hosts up 2-0 with a clinical finish. Despite Barcelona’s attempts to come back, Manuel Neuer stood firm, shutting the visitors out. Bayern now sits at the top of the Group C table, while Barça slips to second, staying ahead of Inter Milan and Viktoria Plzen.

Porto vs. Club Brugge
In another major upset, Portuguese giants Porto fell to Club Brugge in a 4-0 thrashing. The head-to-head began unfavorably for the home side when João Mário brought down Ferran Jutglà inside the box, giving away a penalty which Jutglà coolly converted. The hosts managed to hold the visitors at bay for the rest of the first half, but Club Brugge doubled their leads just one minute into the second half when a scramble at the edge of the box let the ball fall to Kamal Sowah, who promptly made it 2-0 to the Belgian side. Club Brugge pulled even further ahead in the 52nd minute, when a long, low cross by Bjorn Meijer found Andreas Skov Olsen, who slotted the ball home to make it 3-0. Finally, in the 89th minute, Antonio Nusa got behind his defender to receive a pass from Casper Nielsen before beating Diogo Costa in the ensuing one-on-one, making it 4-0 to Club Brugge. Club Brugge now sits at the top of Group B, just ahead of Bayer Leverkusen. Porto, however, slipped to the bottom of the table.

Marseille vs. Eintracht Frankfurt
Although Marseille recorded better possession rates, Eintracht Frankfurt’s shot statistics were superior, and this was reflected in the final scoreline. The only goal of the match came in the 43rd minute, when Randal Kolo Muani’s pass deflected off of Jordan Veretout to find an open Jesper Lindstrøm. Lindstrøm took it in stride and ushered his shot past Pau López into the bottom corner of the home side’s net. With this victory, Frankfurt climb to third in the Group D table while Marseille fall to the bottom of the group.

Bayer Leverkusen vs. Atlético Madrid
In yet another significant upset, German contenders Bayer Leverkusen scored twice against the visitors while shutting them out completely. Like the match between Sporting and Tottenham, despite numerous chances for both sides, neither capitalized for the majority of the game and it seemed like it would be inevitable for both teams to share the points. However, Leverkusen opened the scoring in the 84th minute when Jeremie Frimpong found an unmarked Robert Andrich at the edge of the box, who slotted the ball past Ivo Grbic to put the hosts up 1-0. Three minutes later, Leverkusen found themselves on a counterattack and Moussa Diaby, having broken free of his defender, converted to double the hosts’ lead. Leverkusen now sit second in the Group B table, just under Club Brugge, while Atleti falls to third, still keeping ahead of Porto.

Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Celtic
The match between Shakhtar Donetsk and Celtic started favorably for the visitors when a clearance-turned-counterattack in the 10th minute saw Reo Hatate’s cross deflect off Artem Bondarenko into the back of the Shakhtar net. Shakhtar made up for their mistake in the 29th minute, however, when Mykhaylo Mudryk sprinted away from his defender to receive a pass from Heorhiy Sudakov and fired the ball into the top of the Celtic net to equalize for the hosts. Despite Celtic creating a myriad of chances for themselves, they failed to capitalize any further, resulting in the match ending 1-1. Shakhtar now sit second in the Group F table, under Real Madrid, while Celtic sit in third, just above Leipzig.

A.C. Milan vs. Dinamo Zagreb
The match between A.C. Milan and Dinamo Zagreb went as the statistics would suggest. The Croatian side was outmatched in every area and fell behind in the 45th minute when Boško Šutalo brought down Rafael Leão inside the box and Olivier Giroud calmly converted the ensuing penalty. The visitors conceded again just after halftime in the 47th minute when Leão crossed the ball to Alexis Saelemaekers, who headed it high, beyond the reach of Dominik Livakovic and into the back of the net. Dinamo pulled one back in the 56th minute, with Bruno Petkovic utilizing some fancy footwork to fend off four defenders before passing the ball to Mislav Oršic, who slotted it past two defenders and Mike Maignan to make it 2-1. There was to be no comeback, however, and Milan sealed their win in the 77th minute when Theo Hernández’s pass found Tommaso Pobega inside the box, who fired the ball into the top of the Dinamo net to make the score 3-1. Milan climbs to the top of Group E while Dinamo falls to second in the table, ahead of Salzburg and Chelsea.

Rangers vs. Napoli
Yet again, the Rangers were thoroughly outmatched. Recording just 10 shots to Napoli’s 25, of those, three being on target in comparison to Napoli’s 10. Still, the Scottish side held out for the majority of the game before conceding in the 68th minute, when Matteo Politano converted a penalty following a handball call. Then, in the 85th minute, Giacomo Raspadori made it 2-0 to the visitors following some back and forth in the box. Six minutes later, in the first minute of stoppage time, André-Frank Zambo Anguissa made a beautiful run before passing the ball to Tanguy Ndombele, who drilled it home to make it 3-0 for the Italian side. Napoli now sit at the top of Group A, ahead of Liverpool, while Rangers remain rock bottom below Ajax.

Chelsea vs. Salzburg
Although both teams earned a point from the match, the result was, undoubtedly, at least a little disappointing for the hosts. Despite recording 13 more shots than the Austrian visitors, the English side failed to convert consistently. The scoring opened in the 48th minute when James Mount’s cross went past Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and found Raheem Sterling, who curled his shot into the back of the net to make it 1-0 to the home side. Salzburg struck back in the 75th minute, however, when Junior Adamu’s cross found Noah Okafor, who converted to draw the visitors level. In sharing the points, both teams ended up remaining in their positions from last week, with Salzburg third and Chelsea fourth in the Group E table, below A.C. Milan and Dinamo Zagreb.

Real Madrid vs. Leipzig
Coming into this match with the odds against them, Leipzig held their own for the majority of the game, managing similar statistics to Real Madrid. In the 80th minute, however, Federico Valverde got on the end of a long cross by Vinícius Júnior, then fired the ball home to make it 1-0 to the home side. Then, in the first minute of stoppage time, a set piece just outside the box taken by Toni Kroos found Marco Asensio, whose first touch sent the ball past Péter Gulácsi to double the home side’s lead. With this win, Real sits on the top of the Group F table, ahead of Shakhtar Donetsk, while Leipzig fell to the bottom of the group, under Celtic.

Copenhagen vs. Sevilla
The head-to-head between Copenhagen and Sevilla was the only goalless match of Matchday 2. Despite this, there were opportunities on both sides. Sevilla recorded 63% possession to Copenhagen’s 37% and 11 shots to Copenhagen’s seven. Both teams managed two shots on target, but neither was able to capitalize. Sharing the points, both teams retained their table positions from last week, with Copenhagen third and Sevilla fourth in the Group G table, under Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund.

Juventus vs. Benfica
In the final upset of Matchday 2, the Old Lady dropped points to her Portuguese visitors despite taking an early lead. Ironically, the match could not have started better for the home side, who put themselves on the score sheet just four minutes in thanks to a free kick by Arkadiusz Milik. However, it seemed like the Old Lady fell asleep for the majority of the rest of the match, and Benfica took advantage. The equalizer came in the 43rd minute, when João Mário converted a penalty following a foul inside the box. Then, in the 55th minute, Rafa Silva’s effort was punched away by Mattia Perin, but fell to David Neres, who drilled the ball into the bottom corner of the net, making the scoreline 2-1 in Benfica’s favor. Benfica sit second in the Group H table, just under PSG, as Juventus remain third.

Maccabi Haifa vs. PSG
In terms of statistics, Maccabi Haifa performed remarkably well against PSG. In terms of the scoreline, however, there is no question that the hosts were outmatched. The Israeli side opened the scoring in the 24th minute when Dolev Haziza made an absolutely fantastic cross to Tjaronn Chery, whose clinical finish put the hosts up 1-0. PSG equalized in the 37th minute, however, when some back and forth between Kylian Mbappé and Lionel Messi saw the latter convert for the visitors. Messi then sent Mbappé a through ball in the 69th minute, which Mbappé fired past Josh Cohen, allowing the French side to pull ahead. Then, a long pass down the pitch by Marco Verratti in the 88th minute found Neymar, who made it 3-1 for PSG. With all three points in hand, PSG now sits at the top of Group H, while Maccabi Haifa remains at the bottom of the table.

Manchester City vs. Borussia Dortmund
The match between Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund boasted some of the best goals of Matchday 2. Though they were had very limited opportunities, the visitors opened the scoring in the 56th minute when Jude Bellingham got on the end of a powerful strike by Marco Reus, heading the ball past Ederson to make it 1-0 to Dortmund. The equalizer came in the 80th minute, with John Stones firing an absolute bullet from outside the 18-yard box into the back of the net. City then pulled ahead in the 84th minute with Erling Haaland scoring an impressive acrobatic goal off of João Cancelo’s cross. Both teams retained their table positions from Matchday 1, with City firmly atop the Group G table and Dortmund in second, above Copenhagen and Sevilla.