Tuesday’s Champions League battles saw late drama, shock results and Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford.
A.E.K. Athens v Bayern Munich
The visitors scored twice in as many minutes to beat hosts AEK Athens 2-0 to continue their recovery from a recent dip in form and climb to first in Group E.
Javi Martinez volleyed in after 61 minutes and Robert Lewandowski tapped in their second goal two minutes later for their second win in three group matches.
The Greek champions did well for the majority of the game but ultimately could not match Bayern’s speed and power. AEK, who have yet to earn a point after three matches, carved out a couple of scoring chances as they caught Bayern off guard. Ezequiel Ponce saw his powerful shot go narrowly wide.
The hosts piled on even more pressure after the break, pressing hard and high, coming close with Viktor Klonaridis before Martinez silenced the home crowd with the opener.
Bayern, who have never lost to a Greek club, quickly changed the game when Lewandowski was left with too much time and space in front of goal to slot home the second and final goal of the night.
AEK v Aris – Sunday October 28th (1:30pm)
Mainz v Bayern – Saturday October 27th (9:30am)
Bayern Munich v AEK Athens – Wednesday November 7th (3pm)
AJAX v Benfica
Noussair Mazraoui scored an injury-time winner as Ajax claimed a vital 1-0 victory over Benfica in their clash at the Johan Cruyff Arena.
Full-back Mazraoui‘s shot from the edge of the box was deflected into the net as he scored for the second Champions League game in a row to move Ajax level with Bayern Munich at the top of their group. Both teams have seven points, four more than Benfica.
Benfica would have been kicking themselves after missing several opportunities, particularly in the first half when they dominated. They almost took an early lead when Rafa Silva forced an excellent stop from goalie Andre Onana with a low shot toward the bottom corner.
Silva and Haris Seferovic had further chances to open Benfica’s account but spurned those and it was then Ajax who came closest when Nicolas Tagliafico‘s shot had beaten Benfica keeper Odisseas Vlachodimos, but not defender German Conti, who acrobatically hooked the ball to safety.
Donny van de Beek looked certain to give Ajax the lead when a sweeping move ended with the midfielder in tonnes of space in the box and time to pick his spot, but his shot was a good height for Vlachodimos, who managed to make a fine save.
The goal finally came two minutes into stoppage time when an error from Conti saw Ajax march into the Benfica box, with Mazraoui able to line up his shot from just outside the penalty area.
Ajax v Feyenoord – Sunday October 28th (9:30am)
Belenenses v Benfica – Saturday October 27th (3:30pm)
Benfica v Ajax – Wednesday November 7th (3pm)
Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says his side played the best football of his time in charge as they swept aside Shakhtar Donetsk to go top of Champions League Group F.
City dominated from start to finish, with captain David Silva and defender Aymeric Laporte scoring in the first half before substitute Bernardo Silva sealed the three points in Ukraine.
Former Spain midfielder Silva volleyed City into the lead soon after his flick had come back off a post. French defender Laporte headed in their second after a Kevin de Bruyne corner. Substitute Bernardo Silva made it 3-0 with a 70th minute shot that went in off the post.
The Visitors had 14 shots in the first half alone, including a Riyad Mahrez effort that was cleared off the line by Yaroslav Rakitskiy. City also saw Raheem Sterling‘s effort hit the bar in the dying moments of the game. It could have easily been a five or six goal hammering.
The win puts City top of Group F, whilst the Ukrainians sit bottom with just two points.
Ukrainian Premier League
Arsenal Kyiv v Donetsk – Saturday October 27th (10am)
Spurs v City – Monday October 29th (4pm)
Man City v Donetsk – Wednesday November 7th (3pm)
1899 Hoffenheim v Lyon
This Group F game finished in dramatic style, going in to stoppage time it was 3-2 to Lyon but by the end it was all level pegging. Hoffenheim’s Joelinton scored the equalizer in the 92nd minute to top off a rollercoaster game.
The Germans came from a goal behind to lead 2-1 before the visitors scored twice to go back in front until the Brazilian’s very late tap-in.
The French hit the post early in the game and had the upper hand at the start, they could have gone ahead well before Bertrand Traore‘s 27th minute opener. Then it was the hosts who kept finding space down the wings and they were finally rewarded when Andrej Kramaric struck twice to put them ahead.
Kerim Demirbay came close to adding another goal for the hosts early in the second but Tanguy Ndombele‘s thundering shot from a tight angle against the run of play beat Oliver Baumann bringing the visitors level. That was followed by some sloppy defending from the Germans which allowed Memphis Depay to latch onto a deep cross from Houssem Aouar and then sprint clear to beat Baumann in the 67th minute.
Joelinton‘s equalizer came with jut seconds left on the clock after he connected with a cutback and rescued a point for the hosts who are still waiting for their first win after three games.
Hoffenheim v VfB Stuttgart – Saturday October 27th (12:30pm)
Angers v Lyon – Saturday October 27th (11am)
Lyon v Hoffenheim – Wednesday November 7th (3pm)
Real Madrid v Viktoria Plzen
Real Madrid managed to hold on for a 2-1 win over Viktoria Plzen to tie for first in Group G.
It was a nervy win at the Santiago Bernabeu for the Spanish giants, doing little to calm concerns of the three-time defending European champions, whose recent dip in form has piled the pressure on manager Julen Lopetegui.
The home team could have taken the lead within five minutes of the game but Sergio Ramos saw his header bounce off the woodwork. Six minutes later the Czech champions almost had their chance at taking the lead with Keylor Navas saving Milan Petrzela‘s shot with his leg. A minute after that Karim Benzema did open the scoring for Real Madrid with a header into the bottom-left corner.
The rest of the first half saw both sides squander many golden opportunities to score. Gareth Bale saw his 33rd minute goal disallowed for offside and Petrzela once again let a change slip away when he sent his cross from six yards flying over the crossbar in the 44th minute.
Marcelo added Madrid’s second goal of the evening in the 55th minute with a sublime chip over Plzen goalie Ales Hruska after a perfect through ball from Bale. After that Real seemed to be in cruise control, but Viktoria answered in the 81st minute when Patrik Hrsovsky followed his touch-and-go with Ales Cermak into the box and fired it past Navas.
The home side had to play the final five minutes with 10 men. They’d already made their three substations when Marcelo went down with an apparent ankle injury and couldn’t continue. They’ll be hoping he’s okay in time for Sunday’s El Classico showdown.
Viktoria Plzen remain at the bottom of the table with one point.
Barcelona v Real Madrid – Sunday October 28th (11:15am)
Czech First League
Plzen v Slovácko – Sunday October 28th (10am)
Plzen v Real Madrid – Wednesday November 7th (3pm)
AS Roma v CSKA Moscow
After their 3-0 home win Roma’s Edin Dzeko has drawn level with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi at the top of this season’s Champions League scoring charts. The Bosnia-Herzegovina striker scored twice in the first half to take his Champions League goal tally to five, he then set up Cengiz Under for Roma’s third of the night.
Eusebio di Francesco’s side have not suffered a home defeat in a European competition since a 1-0 Europa League loss to Villarreal in February 2017.
The result leaves Roma joint top of the group on six points with Real Madrid, two ahead of CSKA and five clear of Viktoria Plzen, who lost 2-1 to the European champions in Spain.
On a positive note for the Russians, though they still lost, it wasn’t as bad as their last visit to the Italian capital in 2014 when they lost 5-1.
Napoli v Roma – Sunday October 28th (3:30pm)
Russian Premier League
FC Krasnodar v CSKA – Sunday October 28th (12pm)
CSKA v Roma – Wednesday November 7th (12:55pm)
Young Boys v Valencia
Young Boys who are in their first season in the Champions League, scored their first goal and picked up their first ever point in the competition with a well deserved draw at home to Valencia.
Michy Batshuayi gave Valencia a first half lead but Guillaume Hoarau equalized with a second half penalty.
The Spanish visitors have drawn nine game in all competitions this season and have two points from three games in Group H.
Young Boys’ 36 year old goalkeeper Marco Wolfli finally made his Champions league debut for the club that he’s spent all but one season of his career with. Apart from conceding Carlos Soler‘s goal, he had a great debut.
Wolfli‘s counterpart Neto saved a Christian Fassnacht header and saw Kevin Mbabu fire wide of the post. He finally conceded to the Swiss champions in the 55th minute when Djibril Sow was tripped by Daniel Parejo and Hoarau calmly converted from the spot, to make a small piece of Champions League history.
Sekou Sanogo came agonisingly close to giving Young Boys a memorable late win when he headed against the inside of the post from a corner.
Swiss Super League
Young Boys v Sion – Saturday October 27th (1pm)
Atletico Bilbao v Valencia – Saturday October 27th (10:15am)
Valencia v Young Boys – Wednesday November 7th (12:55pm)
Manchester United v Juventus
Tuesday night’s matchup saw Cristiano Ronaldo return to Old Trafford and Paul Pogba play against his former club.
Cristiano Ronaldo marked his return with a win as Juve outclassed United to move five points clear at the top of Group H. The former United player helped set up the 17th minute winner with his cross being hit home by Paulo Dybala from close range.
The Serie A champions had numerous chances to extend their lead in a first half in which they enjoyed 70% of the possession and managed 10 shots to the host’s one.
United improved after the break but could only manage one serious effort on goal, when Pogba let rip from the edge of the box but saw his effort rebound off the post. Other than that it was a frustrating night for the Manchester club and boss Jose Mourinho.
Man United remain second in Group H, their hopes of making the knockout stages were boosted by Valencia’s draw with Young Boys.
The two sides will meet again at the Allianz Stadium on 7 November, where a win will send Juve into the last 16.
Manchester United v Everton – Sunday October 28th (9:30am)
Empoli v Juventus – Saturday October 27th (12pm)
Juventus v Man United – Wednesday November 7th (3pm)
ALL TIMES U.S. EASTERN