Leicester City extended their winning streak in the Champions League to three matches as matchday three of Europe’s biggest competition served up its usual dose of drama and entertainment. There were eight games played on Tuesday night as groups E, F, G and H took shape at the halfway point of the group stage.
Early favourites Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Juventus all won their respective matches, but it was far from smooth sailing for the likes of Sevilla and Tottenham Hotspur.
Here are the talking points from a night of European football that saw 17 goals including a late winner and an equaliser, a missed penalty, and a red card for Juve’s Mario Lemina.
Leicester continue impressive run
It seems Claudio Ranieri’s Foxes have a new script this season. After last season’s dream Premier League title win, Leicester have now won thrice in three games on the continent, sparking ideas of another fairy-tale campaign.
5 – Teams to win first three CL games in competition
Paris SG (94/95)
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 18, 2016
Danish champions Copenhagen were the visitors to the King Power Stadium, and they were denied by Kasper Schmeichel’s right hand in the 90th minute from Andreas Cornelius’ left-footed shot from close range. Riyad Mahrez scored his third goal in as many matches with a neatly-flicked finish in the first half.
Leicester, who lost 3-0 on the weekend to Chelsea, are the only English club with a 100 percent record in the group stage so far. Along with Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Napoli, the Foxes are the only other club to have won all their games in the Champions League this season.
9 – Leicester have more points in the Champions League this season (9) than they do in the Premier League (8). Focus.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 18, 2016
Ranieri talked post-match about the difference in focus for his players in Europe and domestically. Having collected just eight points from eight league games this term, Leicester are a completely different animal on the continent. They are yet to concede, and are nailed on to progress past the group stage.
Buffon the hero for Juventus in tough night in France
Group favourites Juventus were in for a difficult night in Lyon but emerged victorious courtesy of a stunning goal from Chelsea loanee Juan Cuadrado. Bianconeri captain Gianluigi Buffon was the hero of the night after his penalty save from Alexandre Lacazette in the 35th minute kept the hosts at bay, before he pulled off one stunning save after another to keep his side in the game.
Lemina, who played in a deep-lying anchor role in Max Allegri’s 3-5-2 system, was sent off early in the second half following two bookable offences to compound Juve’s misery on the night. But it took Cuadrado’s brilliance for the Old Lady to pick up an unlikely win that sees them atop the group H table.
Like Leicester, Juve are yet to concede a goal this season, and they had Buffon to thank for last night. Juve fans showed their appreciation for the ageless goalkeeper last weekend, and the 38-year-old did not disappoint in France with what was a one-man job to keep Lyon from scoring.
Brilliant banner from Juventus fans after Buffon’s mistake:
"Even Superman is Clark Kent sometimes. Gigi, you're our superhero forever!" pic.twitter.com/G3UywqH8gy
— BigSport (@BigSportGB) October 18, 2016
Ronaldo made to wait for goalscoring milestone
Real Madrid’s talisman Cristiano Ronaldo endured a frustrating night in front of goal as he was made to wait for his landmark 100th European goal. Los Blancos were comfortable 5-1 winners over Legia Warsaw at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Gareth Bale, Marco Asensio, Lucas Vazquez, Alvaro Morata and a Tomasz Jodlowiec own goal made for a comfortable night’s play for the holders. Miroslav Radovic’s penalty for Legia was their first goal in the group stage this season; the Polish champions look to be heading out of Europe altogether having lost all three games so far.
1 – Gareth Bale has scored his first goal in #UCL since December 2014 against Ludogorets Razgrad. Relief.
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) October 18, 2016
Ronaldo, who had scored in Real Madrid’s last two games against Sporting Lisbon and Borussia Dortmund, will have to wait until November 2nd to score his 100th European goal in the return fixture against Legia. Bale, though, scored his first Champions League goal in almost two years, while Asensio marked his debut in the competition with a fine goal.
Group E takes interesting turn after two draws
Group E was considered one of the tightest groups in the draw, and it has lived up to its billing after two draws saw all four teams sat within touching distance of each other. Monaco earned a late 1-1 draw at CSKA Moscow, while Tottenham were made to sweat in the hostile confines of Bayer Leverkusen’s BayArena last night.
It was a difficult result for CSKA captain and goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev to take, as Bernardo Silva’s 87th minute equaliser poured cold water on the Russian’s hopes of earning his first Champions League clean sheet in almost ten years.
Igor Akinfeev was close, but CSKA conceded after 87 mins.
40 Champions League games without a clean sheet, dating back to November 2006!!!!
— Michael Yokhin (@Yokhin) October 18, 2016
Monaco stay at the top with five points, with Spurs and Leverkusen following them with four and three points respectively. Akinfeev’s CSKA prop up the table, but they are not out of the knockouts’ equation yet. With two points from their three games, the Russian champions are only three points off Monaco.
Messi destroys Manchester City
Lionel Messi’s hat-trick against Manchester City ensured Pep Guardiola’s Camp Nou homecoming was a bitter one as Barcelona cruised to a 4–0 win. Neymar, who missed a penalty, scored the other goal.
As the script goes when Messi is among the goals, he broke quite a few records last night with a display of finesse, intelligence and tenacity. Both sides ended the game with ten men each; Claudio Bravo saw red for handling the ball outside the box after a misplaced pass, while Jeremy Mathieu picked up two bookings inside 33 minutes after replacing the injured Gerard Pique in the first half.
In group C’s other game, Celtic were undone by two KoloToure mistakes as Borussia Monchengladbach earned their first points of the season. It was the Foals’ only third away win in 2016.
Brendan Rodgers’ Bhoys are now bottom of the group, having played two home games and they host Barca in their remaining home fixture of the group stage. Lars Stindl and Andre Hahn scored the goals in a 2–0 win for Gladbach.
Ozil puts icing on Arsenal’s cake with first career hat-trick
While goals and hat-tricks are common business for Messi, Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil is one player at the top who doesn’t score many. But there was no stopping the German World Cup winner last night as Bulgarian champions Ludogorets were put to the sword by Arsenal.
But Arsenal had already put the game to bed before Ozil’s second half treble. Alexis Sanchez put the Gunners in front with a sublime clipped finish, which was followed by Theo Walcott’s screamer from range. It was Arsenal’s seventh straight win in all competitions.
Although Ludogorets completed more passes than the Gunners and had more possession, the scoreline did justice to the overall inferiority in quality of the Bulgarians.
Elsewhere, Paris Saint-Germain were comfortable 3–0 winners over Basel in Paris with EdinsonCavani scoring his 16th goal in all competitions this season for club and country combined.
Basel were unlucky to hit the woodwork thrice but the French champions turned on the style after Angel Di Maria opened the scoring late in the first half.
Bayern have it easy against PSV, Carrasco can’t stop scoring
Carlo Ancelotti’s Bayern Munich handed PSV Eindhoven a footballing lesson in a 4–1 win at the Allianz Arena. Bayern were dominant from start to finish, and the scoreline barely tells the entire story of the game.
Thomas Muller, Joshua Kimmich, Robert Lewandowski and Arjen Robben found the net for the Bavarians, while Luciano Narsingh scored a fine counterattacking effort in the 41st minute for the visitors.
Kimmich, like Cavani and Walcott, cannot stop scoring at the moment, with eight goals in 11 games for both club and country this season. And he is not even a forward.
Meanwhile, another player who can’t seem to stop scoring is Atletico Madrid’s Yannick Ferreira Carrasco. The Belgian followed up his league hat-trick on the weekend with the winner for last season’s runners-up in Russia against Rostov.
With their 1–0 win, Atletico maintain their perfect record in the group stage this season.
Napoli lose perfect record in Besiktas loss
Napoli came into their group B clash with Besiktas having never lost back-to-back home games under manager Maurizio Sarri. The Partenopei lost to Roma in the league last weekend, and were handed another home reverse by their unfancied opponents.
Porto loanee Vincent Aboubakar was the star of the night for the Turkish giants as his brace proved to be the difference. Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne missed a penalty to compound Napoli’s frustrations on a night when they lost their 100 percent record.
While Besiktas’ win left the group wide open, it was Benfica who took full advantage of the result in Naples as they put in a fine away performance in Kiev to come away with a 2–0 win against Dynamo Kiev.
A penalty from Eduardo Salvio and a second half strike from Franco Cervi was enough for Rui Vitoria’s men to earn their first win in the group stage this term.
Other talking points:
1. Sevilla finally won on the road in the Champions League with a hard-earned 1-0 victory over Dinamo Zagreb. The defending Europa League champions last won an away game in the Champions League way back in October 2009, when they beat VfB Stuttgart. Since then, los Nervionses have won the Europa League thrice, and Stuttgart have been relegated from the Bundesliga. How times change!
0 – Sevilla are winless in their last six away games in the #UCL (D2 L4). Wish.
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) October 18, 2016
2. Borussia Dortmund starlet Julian Weigl talked up the need to add more verticality and goals to his game during pre-season, and the 21-year-old finally added substance to his words last night with a sublime goal against Sporting Lisbon. Dortmund went on to record a 2-1 win, with Weigl’s first goal for die Schwarzgelben turning out to be the winner.
Weigl’s goal was class, but I’m more impressed with the interception. Superb anticipation to nick it off Carvalho. pic.twitter.com/nS7Ayb33aP
— RG⁶ (@registability) October 18, 2016
3. Porto got their campaign back on track with a win over Club Brugge in Bruges; their first win of the group stage. Nuno Espirito Santo’s Dragons got over an underwhelming start to their group stage campaign with a comeback win, sealed by a late spot-kick winner from Andre Silva.
Champions League Results
|Tuesday, Oct 18 2016|
|19:45||FT||CSKA Moscow||1 : 1||Monaco|
|19:45||FT||Bayer Leverkusen||0 : 0||Tottenham|
|19:45||FT||Sporting CP||1 : 2||Borussia Dortmund|
|19:45||FT||Real Madrid||5 : 1||Legia Warszawa|
|19:45||FT||Dinamo Zagreb||0 : 1||Sevilla|
|19:45||FT||Lyon||0 : 1||Juventus|
|19:45||FT||Leicester||1 : 0||FC Copenhagen|
|19:45||FT||Club Bruges||1 : 2||FC Porto|
|Wednesday, Oct 19 2016|
|19:45||FT||Arsenal||6 : 0||Ludogorets Razgrad|
|19:45||FT||Paris Saint Germain||3 : 0||FC Basel 1893|
|19:45||FT||Napoli||2 : 3||Besiktas|
|19:45||FT||Dynamo Kyiv||0 : 2||Benfica|
|19:45||FT||Celtic||0 : 2||Borussia M.Gladbach|
|19:45||FT||Barcelona||4 : 0||Manchester City|
|19:45||FT||FC Rostov||0 : 1||Atletico Madrid|
|19:45||FT||Bayern Munich||4 : 1||PSV Eindhoven|
Champions League Updated Standings
Champions League group A Table
|2||Paris Saint Germain||3||2||1||0||7||2||+5||7||DWW|
|4||FC Basel 1893||3||0||1||2||1||6||-5||1||DLL|
Champions League group B Table
Champions League group C Table
Champions League group D Table
Champions League group E Table
Champions League group F Table
Champions League group H Table
Champions League group G Table
Champions League Top Scorers
|7||P. Aubameyang||B. Dortmund||3|
|8||S. Agüero||M. City||3|