Champions League Matchday 6 recap
Liverpool and Napoli faced off last Tuesday, with both teams playing well. The hosts recorded a slight statistical advantage, but the visitors held them off. In the dying minutes of the match, it looked as if the teams would be splitting the points, but a late goal in the 85th minute by Mohamed Salah tipped the scale in the favor of the Reds. Darwin Núñez scored a second goal in the eighth minute of stoppage time, making the final scoreline 2-0 to Liverpool. Despite their Matchday 6 victory, Liverpool’s 4-1 loss to Napoli back on Matchday 1 means that both teams will be ending the group stage with 15 points. Napoli remains at the top of the Group A table, while Liverpool stays in second. Both will be moving on to the round of 16.
The match between Ajax and Rangers went as expected, with the visitors opening the scoring in the fourth minute with a goal from Steven Berghuis. They doubled their advantage when Mohammed Kudus scored in the 29th minute to make it 2-0. The hosts pulled one back in the 87th minute via a James Tavernier penalty, but the visitors fired back, with Francisco Conceição scoring in the 89th minute to make the final scoreline 3-1 Ajax. As anticipated, Ajax, finishing third in the group, will not play in the knockout stage of the Champions League but will continue their European campaign in the Europa League. The Rangers, on the other hand, are out of Europe.
From a scoring standpoint, Porto dominated in their match against Atlético Madrid last Tuesday. Mehdi Taremi opened the scoring in the fifth minute and Stephen Eustáquio doubled the hosts’ advantage in the 24th minute. Despite the visitors’ best efforts, Atleti failed to capitalize on any of their five shots on target, only getting on the scoreboard when Iván Marcano scored a goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time. With the final scoreline reading 2-1 to Porto, and with Club Brugge and Leverkusen later splitting their points, Porto concluded their Champions League group stage sitting at the top of Group B with 12 points. They are poised to take on the knockout stage, while Atlético Madrid falls to the bottom of the table and out of Europe completely.
The match between Leverkusen and Club Brugge ended in a scoreless 0-0, though not for lack of trying on either team’s part. The hosts recorded 13 shots, four of which were on target, while the visitors recorded eight shots with one on target. However, neither side found the back of the net and the points ended up split between the two. Club Brugge falls from the top of the Group B table to a respectable second place, still qualifying for the round of 16, while Leverkusen finds themselves elevated into third place, ahead of Atlético Madrid, and will continue their European campaign in the Europa League.
Group C table-toppers Bayern Munich put up a solid performance against Inter Milan to stay at the top of the table. Benjamin Pavard put the hosts in front in the 32nd minute and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting doubled their advantage in the 72nd minute. Faced with double their own shots on target and over triple their number of shots, the visitors were thoroughly outmatched. Bayern’s 2-0 victory also means that they are the only team in this year’s Champions League to win every one of their group stage matches, finishing undefeated with 18 points to their name and qualifying for the round of 16. Despite their loss, Inter still remain second in the Group C table and will qualify for the round of 16 alongside Bayern.
The head-to-head between Viktoria Plzeň and Barcelona was one of the most contentious matches of Matchday 6. Marcos Alonso opened the scoring for the visitors in the sixth minute and Ferran Torres doubled Barça's lead just ahead of halftime with a goal in the 44th minute. The hosts pulled one back in the 51st minute when Tomáš Chorý’s penalty made it 2-1, but Torres completed a brace in the 54th minute to reinstate the visitors’ two-goal margin. Chorý fired back, completing a brace of his own in the 63rd minute to put the hosts again within one of equalizing. But it was not to be, and Pablo Torre scored a fourth goal for Barcelona in the 75th minute, making the final scoreline 4-2. Perhaps unfortunately for both teams, however, the result of this match does little to change their standings. Viktoria Plzeň, sitting rock bottom in Group C, is out of Europe and Barcelona, despite their victory, still sit in third, relegated from Champions League into Europa League competition.
In the match between Marseille and Tottenham, it was the hosts who opened the scoring in the third minute of injury time before halftime through Chancel Mbemba Mangulu. For a moment, it looked like Tottenham’s round of 16 qualification was in jeopardy, but the visitors recovered quickly, with Clément Lenglet equalizing in the 54th minute. Despite efforts from both sides, it was the visitors who would emerge victorious, with Pierre-Emile Højbjerg’s goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time making the final scoreline 2-1 Tottenham. With all three points in hand, Tottenham can breathe a sigh of relief, finishing at the top of the Group D table and qualifying for the knockout stage. For Marseille, however, the result means that they sit at the bottom of the table, relegated from European competition.
Quite ironically, the match between Sporting and Frankfurt almost mirrored the match between their Group D counterparts. Once again, it was the hosts who opened the scoring late in the first half, when Arthur Gomes’ 39th minute effort found the back of the net. However, the visitors staged a comeback, with Daichi Kamada’s 62nd minute penalty leveling the score and Randal Kolo Muani’s 72nd minute effort putting Frankfurt in front. With the game finishing 2-1 in Frankfurt’s favor, the visitors find themselves elevated to second in the Group D table, and will continue onwards to the knockout stage. Sporting, however, slips to third, and will be relegated to Europa League competition.
The match between AC Milan and Salzburg was completely dominated by the hosts. Olivier Giroud opened the scoring for the hosts in the 14th minute, Rade Krunić doubled their lead in the 46th minute, Giroud completed his brace in the 57th minute, and Junior Messias topped it off with a fourth goal in the first minute of stoppage time. With a 4-0 shutout, AC Milan retained their second-place position in Group E and guaranteed their qualification for the round of 16. Salzburg, sitting in third place after Dinamo Zagreb failed to overcome Chelsea, is out of the Champions League, but will continue their European campaign in the Europa League.
The bulk of the action in the match between Chelsea and Dinamo Zagreb occurred in the first half of the game. Bruno Petković opened the scoring for the visitors in the seventh minute, but his effort was quickly equalized by Raheem Sterling’s goal in the 18th minute. Denis Zakaria then put the hosts ahead in the 30th minute, and despite further efforts from both sides, no other goals were scored for the remainder of the match. With a 2-1 victory, Chelsea remains at the top of Group E, ready to take on the knockout stage, while Dinamo Zagreb stays rock bottom, falling out of Europe.
Both of Group F’s matches on Matchday 6 featured enormous margins. Real Madrid faced off against Celtic at home, and the visitors found themselves thoroughly overwhelmed. Real opened the scoring when Luka Modrić converted a penalty in the sixth minute and quickly doubled their lead with another penalty converted by Rodrygo in the 21st minute. Marco Asensio then got on the scoreboard with his effort in the 51st minute, Vinícius Júnior made it 4-0 in the 61st minute, and Federico Valverde topped it off with a fifth goal in the 71st minute. Jota put one in the net for Celtic in the 84th minute, but it was far too little, far too late, and Real Madrid emerged victorious, 5-1. With this win, Real has now solidified their place at the top of the Group F table and in the round of 16, while Celtic remains at the bottom of the table, relegated out of Europe.
Leipzig also put up a four-goal margin in their head-to-head against Shakhtar Donetsk. Christopher Nkunku opened the scoring for the hosts in the 10th minute, André Silva made it 2-0 in the 50th minute, and Dominik Szoboszlai extended the margin to three goals in the 62nd minute. Things got worse for the visitors when Valeriy Bondar scored an own goal in the 68th minute, making the final scoreline 4-0 to Leipzig. With this win, Leipzig solidified their second-place position in the group, guaranteeing their qualification for the round of 16, while Shakhtar Donetsk remain in third, and will continue their European campaign in the Europa League.
The match between Manchester City and Sevilla started out in the visitors’ favor with Rafa Mir opening the scoring in the 31st minute. The second half, however, was all Man City’s. Rico Lewis equalized in the 52nd minute, Julián Álvarez doubled City’s lead in the 73rd minute, and Riyad Mahrez made the final scoreline 3-1 City in the 83rd minute. City sits at the top of Group G, comfortably qualifying for the knockout stage, while Sevilla retains their third-place position, and will be playing in Europa League competition.
Despite both sides’ efforts, the match between Copenhagen and Dortmund ended in a deadlock, with Thorgan Hazard having opened the scoring for the visitors in the 23rd minute and Hákon Arnar Haraldsson having equalized in the 41st minute. With the final scoreline reading 1-1 and the points being split, Dortmund remains second in the table as Copenhagen stays rock bottom, with the former qualifying for the round of 16 and the latter falling out of Europe.
The match between Maccabi Haifa and Benfica featured the largest margin of any match on Matchday 6. Gonçalo Ramos opened the scoring for the visitors in the 20th minute, but this was quickly equalized by Tjaronn Chery’s penalty in the 26th minute. The second half, however, saw Benfica completely overrun the hosts. Peter Musa put the visitors in front again in the 59th minute before Álex Grimaldo doubled their lead in the 69th minute. Rafa Silva then put himself on the scoreboard in the 73rd minute, Henrique Araújo scored in the 88th minute, and João Mário finished it off with yet another goal in the second minute of stoppage time. With this massive 6-1 victory, Benfica overtakes PSG to sit at the top of the Group H table on goal difference, poised to take on the round of 16. Unfortunately for Maccabi Haifa, their position at the bottom of the table means that they are out of Europe.
The head-to-head between Juventus and PSG began in the visitors’ favor when Kylian Mbappé scored in the 13th minute to put PSG ahead. The old lady struck back, however, and Leonardo Bonucci equalized for the hosts in the 39th minute. It would be PSG who would go home with all three points, however, with Nuno Mendes scoring in the 69th minute to make the final scoreline 2-1 to the visitors. Despite this victory, PSG slides down to second in the Group H table, though they still comfortably qualify for the knockout stage. Juventus, after a dismal group stage, is out of the Champions League, and will only continue their European campaign in the Europa League thanks to their goal difference over Maccabi Haifa.