Tuesday’s Champions League Recap

Tuesday’s games gave us the final Group A – Group D meetings of this year’s competition. The last matches saw 18 goals and 39 yellow cards.

GROUP A

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Club Brugge v Atletico Madrid

0-0 

Atletico were denied top spot in Group A after a goalless draw away at Club Brugge in Belgium saw them finish in second behind Borussia Dortmund. Brugge finished third in the standing and will play in the Europa League in the new year.

There were few scoring chances for either side at the Jan Breyel Stadium, with the hosts coming closest int he 74th minute when Luan Peres was denied, minutes after coming off the bench for his debut in the competition. He made a stunning run down the pitch to meet a cross which he headed almost straight into the ground, with the subsequent bounce giving Atletico’s goalkeeper Jan Oblak the chance to pull off a point-blank save.

The Spanish side had the better play of the first half though, but Thomas Partey shot straight at goalie Ethan Horvath when well placed and Anotine Griezmann saw his curling effort palmed away.

 

Up Next:

Belgian Pro League

Kortrijk v Brugge – Saturday, December 15th (12pm)

La Liga 

Valladolid v Atletico – Saturday, December 15th (10:15am)

 

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Monaco v Borussia Dortmund

0-2 

Borussia Dortmund deepened Monaco’s season-long misery on Tuesday with a 2-0 away victory that ensured they finished top of Group A, ahead of Atletico Madrid. The win took them to 13pts and meant they won the group thanks to a better head-to-head record against the Spaniards.

Raphael Guerreiro got both goals for the Germans, the first he tapped in following a fine counter-attack with 15 minutes gone and the second came two minutes from time when he curled a shot into the top corner from roughly 10m out.

It was another strong performance by the Bundesliga side, even without several of their players, some whom were being rested. The result extends their season record to 17 wins, four draws and just a single defeat in all competitions.

The Ligue 1 hosts, who were destined to finish bottom of the group even before kickoff, suffered their 14th European match without a win and ended the group in last place with just 1pt, that’s 5pts behind Brugge.

 

Up Next:

Ligue 1

Lyon v Monaco – Sunday, December 16th (7am)

Bundesliga  

Dortmund v Werder – Saturday, December 15th (12:30pm)

 

GROUP B

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FC Barcelona v Tottenham Hotspur

1-1 

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino says his team achieved “mission impossible” by qualifying for the Final 16 of the competition.

Lucas Moura‘s 85th minute equalizer earned them a priceless point at Barcelona, completing an unlikely turnaround in Group B having collected only one point from their first three games.

Heading into the game the London club had to match or better Inter Milan’s result at home to PSV Eindhoven, they’d faced elimination when Mauro Icardi‘s goal cancelled out PSV’s early score. Moura‘s goal swung the advantage back in Spurs’ favor but an agonizing wait followed before it was confirmed that Inter had failed to find a winner against the group’s bottom side.

The Premier League side had fallen behind to Ousmane Dembele‘s early strike but then harassed Barca’s defense with wave after wave of attacks, with both Harry Kane and Son Heung-min coming close. They finally made the breakthrough five minutes from time via the substitute, who only moments earlier had a header cleared off the line.

Tottenham became only the eighth side to qualify from the group stage after claiming just 1pt from their first three games.


Up Next:

La Liga 

Levante v Barcelona – Sunday, December 16th (12:45pm)

Premier League

Spurs v Burnley – Saturday, December 15th (10am)

 

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Inter Milan v PSV Eindhoven 

1-1 

The Serie A giants were knocked out of the Champions League after they could only manage a draw at home to Group B’s bottom team, PSV Eindhoven. They finished third behind Spurs, sending them to the Europa League in the new year.

Had they have won they’d have qualified, but, on a fraught night at the San Siro, they finished level on 8pts with Spurs who squeezed through after an identical result. The London team qualified due to their better head-to-head record over the Italians.

The Dutch side, with only one point from their first five games, took a shock lead after 13 minutes when Hirving Lozano headed home after Kwadwo Asamoah lost possession in a defensive position.

The visitors survived the incessant pressure in a match which the Inter manager described as the most important of his 18 months at the club, until Mauro Icardi headed home Matteo Politano‘s cross in the 73rd minute.

The Italians came close to snatching a stoppage time win on two occasions, first when Icardi had the ball taken off his toe by a brilliant last-ditch tackle and the other when substitute Lautaro Martinez headed Ivan Perisic‘s cross over the bar from an unmarked position.

Despite dominating the game, Inter were often nervous and careless and looked subdued immediately after news of Tottenham’s late equalizer rang around the stadium.

 

Up Next:

Serie A

Inter v Udinese – Saturday, December 15th (12pm)

Eredivisie 

Heracles v PSV – Saturday, December 15th (1:45pm)

 

GROUP C

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Red Star Belgrade v Paris Saint-Germain 

1-4 

Paris Saint-Germain reached the knockout stage after an inspiring performance from NeymarEdison Cavani and Kylian Mbappe secured a 4-1 win in Serbia.

All three strikers scored in an intimidating atmosphere at the Rajko Mitic Stadium, and midfielder Marqunhos also found the back of the net to cancel out a sumptuous volley from Red Star’s Marko Gobeljic.

The result lifted the French champions to the top of Group C with 11pts from six games, two ahead of Liverpool, who qualified thanks to a 1-0 home victory over Napoli that left them ahead of the Italians on goals scored.

The visitors dominated the first half in Belgrade, Cavani put them ahead with a 10th minute tap-in from close range after Mbappe raced clear of his marker and cut the ball back to the Uruguayan.

The hosts were barely able to get out of their own half in the opening period, and Neymar doubled PSG’s lead in the 40th minute with a beautiful goal. Having picked the ball up near the halfway line, the Brazilian sent one defender after another sprawling with shimmies and lightning footwork before caressing the ball past goalkeeper Milan Borjan.

Red Star came out after the break with a renewed purpose, spurred on by the 55,000 home supporters. They came close through El Fardou Ben Nabouhane before Gobeljic‘s volley.

The Ligue 1 side put the game beyond the Serbs’ reach with two more goals in the closing stages as the home side ran out of steam. Marquinhos buried a header past the goalie in the 74th minute after Angel Di Maria swung in an inch-perfect free kick. Mbappe completed the thrashing with a clinical stoppage-time strike to finish off another fast break by the visitors.

Despite crashing out of the competition, the 1991 European Cup winners received a standing ovation from their die-hard supporters at the final whistle after several spirited performances in their maiden Champions League campaign.

 

Up Next:

Serbian SuperLiga

Red Star v Vojvodina – Saturday, February 16th (TBD)

Ligue 1

Dijon FCO vs PSG – Saturday, December 15th (11am)

 

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Liverpool v Napoli 

1-0 

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he “could not be prouder of a team” as Mo Salah‘s goal and Alisson‘s amazing late save earned them a place in the knockout stage.

The Reds needed to win with a clean sheet or by two clear goals to make the last 16 – and in-form Salah obliged by beating David Ospina at his near post in the 34th minute.

Ospina partially redeemed himself with fine saves from Salah and Sadio Mane, with the latter and Virgil van Dijk missing clear chances to extend their side’s advantage, but the hosts deserved the victory.

Liverpool survived a huge scare in injury time when Alisson made his crucial save from Arkadiusz Milik in a rare Napoli opening. The Brazilian goalie joined the Reds from Roma in July for a world-record goalkeeper fee of £66.8m ($84.4m).

The Merseyside team go through in second place behind PSG – a feat achieved despite losing three away games in their group.

The team who were defeated by Real Madrid in last year’s final will face one of the group winners when the last-16 draw is made on December 17th. That could lead to a rematch of last year’s final, a game against Barcelona, Klopp’s former team Borussia Dortmund or Portuguese champions Porto, after they all topped their groups.

 

Up Next:

Premier League

Liverpool v Man United – Sunday, December 16th (11am)

Serie A

Cagliari v Napoli – Sunday, December 16th (12pm)

 

GROUP D

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Schalke 04 v Lokomotiv Moscow 

1-0 

Alessandro Schoepf‘s stoppage time goal gave the Germans a 1-0 win over Lokomotiv Moscow.

The Russians were desperate for a win against the already qualified and injury-hit Schalke to have any hope of snatching third place away from Galatasaray. Unfortunately they couldn’t find the back of the net, however, against the lackluster Bundesliga side.

Schoepf‘s goal condemned the Russian to fourth place on 3pts, one behind the Turkish side, who lost to group winners Porto.

 

Up Next:

Bundesliga

FC Augsburg v Schalke – Saturday, December 15th (9:30am)

Russian Cup – Quarter Final

Rubin Kazan v Lokomotiv – Friday, February 22nd 2019 (TBD)

Russian Premier League

Lokomotiv v Krylya Sovetov – Sunday, March 2nd (TBD)

 

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Galatasaray v FC Porto

2-3 

The Portuguese champions struggled to a 3-2 away victory, whilst the Turkish hosts stayed third in the Group and secured a spot in the Europa League’s round of 32.

Porto took the lead against the run of play in the 17th minute with a well-timed header by Felipe on a free kick. Moussa Marega doubled the visitors’ lead when he converted a 42nd minute penalty, finding the net for the fifth consecutive group-stage game.

The hosts had failed to score in the competition since September and needed to win to make sure of third place. They broke their goal drought with a penalty of their own from Sofiane Fenghouli in stoppage time of the first half.

The Portuguese visitors weathered the Turkish offensive early in the second half and restored their two-goal cushion when Marega jumped on a defensive error and Sergio Oliveira finished off a quick move.

The hosts reduced the deficit through Eren Derdiyok in the 65th minutes and could have drawn level if Algerian international Feghouli hadn’t hit the cross bar with his second penalty a minute later.

Porto finished undefeated and top of Group D on 16pts, with Schalke finishing second on 11pts.

 

Up Next:

Süper Lig

Istanbul Başakşehir vs Galatasaray – Saturday, December 15th (11am)

Primiera Liga 

Santa Clara v Porto – Saturday, December 15th (3:30pm)

 

In Summary:

Advancing to the Knockouts

Group A:

Borussia Dortmund

Atletico Madrid

Group B:

Barcelona 

Tottenham Hotspur

Group C:

Paris Saint-Germain

Liverpool

Group D:

Porto

Schalke

 

Relegated to the Europa League

Group A:

Club Brugge

Group B:

Inter Milan

Group C:

Napoli 

Group D: 

Galatasaray 

 

Eliminated

Group A:

Monaco

Group B:

PSV Eindhoven

Group C:

Red Star Belgrade

Group D:

Lokomotiv Moscow

 

ALL TIMES U.S. EASTERN

 

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