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UEFA Champions League Group Stage Review

The first round of the group stage is wrapped up, with some fascinating and shocking results.

Dynamo Kiev v Juventus

The Serie A champions travel to Ukraine where Andreas Pirlo’s campaign as a manager in the UCL begins. Chiellini started off the game with a close miss from a headed chance from a corner. The game was all Juventus traffic. In the first half Juventus had 7 shots. A goal by new talisman, and his return to Juventus Alvaro Morata opened the scoring after Juve struggled to break the deadlock in the first half of the game. Morata capitalised again from a Cuadrado cross, leading to a late finish to seal the win for Juventus. Head to head wise, Dynamo Kiev are yet to beat Juventus after 5 attempts. This game is the first time these sides have met since 2002.

Photo Source: Flashscore.

Zenit v Club Brugge

The two clubs’ first meeting in the Champions League. Zenit were unbeaten at home this year, until this game in which Club Brugge came into it with a beautiful away record, losing their last away game in March. The first half ended with no goals. The first real highlight of the game comes at Dejan Lovren’s UCL debut the home side ending in a yellow card to his name. Both sides had two shots on target in the second half. After 63 minutes the nets were finally shaken as Club Brugge opened the scoring thanks to a goal from Dennis. A rough deflection 11 minutes later, led to an equaliser for the home side and the game was heading towards a stalemate. However, the sharing of points is not what Club Brugge came to do, and on injury time De Ketelaere finishes from close range. Club Brugge take away all 3 points.

Photo Source: AFP via Flashscore.

Barcelona v Ferencvaros

The David v Goliath clash in the Champions League as the Hungarian side Ferencvaros travel to Camp Nou to face Barcelona. A domination of shots and possession in the first half led to a Messi penalty and a Fati goal in the first half. Barcelona had a unique scoreline, with 5 different goalscorers, with Coutinho, Pedri and Dembele also scoring. A Pique red card gave the Hungarian minnows a consolation goal after scoring a penalty. This is Ferencvaros’ first away loss since June.

Photo Source: AFP via Flashscore.

Chelsea v Sevilla

Sevilla return to the Champions League off the back of a Europa League campaign which saw them lift the trophy. This is the first time these sides have met. Chelsea have now drew their last 2 home games, with Sevilla struggling away with only 1 win in their last 5 away games. Both sides had 6 shots in the game, but no one could come out clinical enough to produce a goal.

Photo Source: AFP via Flashscore.

Lazio v Borussia Dortmund

Lazio’s long awaited return to the Champions League plays host to Dortmund at the Stadio Olympico. This is the two sides’ first meeting in 2 years, and competitively, their last meeting was in 1995. Both sides have average sets of form both home and away. Immobile faced his old side with a goal to his name, and started to show the dominance that the side would have in the game. Lazio dominated the first half with 2 goals, and Dortmund the second, which resulted to Haaland continuing his real life dream with another goal. However, 5 minutes later substitute Akpa Akpro scored after 9 minutes being on the field. This game comes as a huge upset for Borussia Dortmund.

Photo Source: AFP via Flashscore.

PSG v Manchester United

The last time these sides met, Manchester United came back from a 3-0 deficit to win their second leg and progress. Both sides have beaten each other twice. PSG looked to bounce back after they lost the Champions League final to Bayern Munich. A penalty gives Manchester United a goal within 25 minutes, after he missed the initial chance. The game remained pretty even with 15 shots and 14 shots respectively. PSG’s only goal came from an own goal from Martial. After being 1-1 for a while, on the 87th minute Marcus Rashford helps deliver the 3 points for a Fergie Time win.

Photo Source: AFP via Flashscore.

Red Bull Leipzig v Istanbul Basaksehir

This is the first meeting between the 2 sides. RB Leipzig started off with their foot on the petal with 2 goals in 4 minutes by 1 man, Angelino. Leipzig have 3 home wins in a row, with Istanbul snapping their 1 win away run. Although Leipzig lost Timo Werner, they are still performing at a brilliant level on the big stage, with a great 3 points to start their UCL campaign. Istanbul Basaksehir look to represent Turkey as the only team from that country in the Champions League, however, it does not look good at the moment.

Photo Source: AFP via Flashscore.

Rennes v Krasnodar

Rennes have not lost at home since January, with Krasnodar losing their last away game before setting off to France. This is Renne’s first ever time in the Champions League. Both the goals came within 3 minutes of each other, with 1 goal being a penalty for the home side. Rennes had double the shots that Krasnodar did, with 20. However, goals are what win the matches and Rennes were not clinical enough to bag the 3 points as Krasnodar remained calm to secure a point and travel back to Russia with it.

Photo Source: AFP via Flashscore.

Real Madrid v Shakhtar Donetsk

These two sides have met each other 3 times. Real Madrid has won twice with Shakhtar winning this game. A shock was not expected to be in the books, Shakhtar scored 3 goals in the space of 13 minutes delivering a stepping stone for Real Madrid to come back on. Although Real Madrid had more shots, they still did not manage to come back, even though they scored 2 goals in 5 minutes. A last minute disallowed goal gives Real Madrid a loss in their first game of the campaign in a group that heavily favours them.

Photo Source: AFP via Flashscore.

Salzburg v Lokomotiv Moscow

This is the second meeting between these two sides, with Lokomotiv winning the last game. Salzburg came off a 7-1 win in the domestic Austrian league, with Moscow also coming off a win. Salzburg dominated the game with 15 shots, and only scoring twice, with Moscow having 2 shots on target which resulted in goals. Former Werder Bremen man, Junuzovic delivered a brilliant game for the home side with a goal and an assist. Lokomotiv Moscow showed that consistency is key as the only shots on target they had resulted in goals.

Photo Source: AFP via Flashscore.

Ajax v Liverpool

A battle between 2 sides who boast 10 UCL titles between them. Ajax’s last loss at home was in March, which has been squandered by the Premier League champions. First half Liverpool had more possession and shots, but Ajax had more shots on target. However, the only goal that would come in the match came from an own goal by Ajax after a low driven cross was put into the box. Momentum remained high for Ajax as they had more possession in the second half. However, Liverpool’s 10 shots left the Dutch side out with a chance of creating an equaliser, and all 3 points goes back to England. VAR also turned down a penalty appeal for Ajax. A goal line clearance for Fabinho and an excelling game out of position puts him in the Man of the Match spot.

Photo Source: AFP via Flashscore.

Bayern Munich v Atletico Madrid

The return of the UCL champions as they face Atletico Madrid! This is their first meeting in 4 years, in which Bayern won last time out. Bayern Munich have built a fortress at home, and have not lost this year at home. Suarez and Felix looked to stop that, but a Coman goal in 28 minutes put the Spanish side on the back foot. A Coman assist to Goretzka put the away side down 2-0 going into the half time break. Atletico Madrid had a first poor half with only 3 shots, compared to Bayern’s 10. Atletico started the second half strong, bagging a goal, which was eventually ruled out by VAR as offside. That seemed to be the only real highlight for Madrid, as they did not possess a shot on target the whole second half. Tolisso and Coman finally put the salt on the wounds for Atletico Madrid concluding the game 4-0. 2 goals and an assist for Coman favours him as Man of the Match.

Photo Source: AFP via Flashscore.

Inter Milan v Borussia Monchengladbach

Inter Milan want a point to prove after bowing out of the UEL Final with a loss to Sevilla. Both sides want the edge and take 3 points after the Real Madrid result. These sides last faced off in 1979. Both sides have lost 1 in 5 games home and away. The first half was all Inter Milan as they had 5 shots, and Monchengladbach could not even get 1 shot off. Unfortunately, these shots would amount to nothing as the half is goalless. Inter dominated again in the second half with 11 shots, and the away side had 6. The deadlock was broken 4 minutes after the commencement of the second half by Romelu Lukaku. A penalty to the away side put them all square, and they then took the lead 21 minutes later on the 84th minute. The last 5 minutes were crucial for Inter Milan, and it remained that way as they bagged a goal on the 90th minute thanks to Romelu Lukaku, who bagged a brace.

Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images (Bundesliga).

Manchester City v FC Porto

The last time these sides met was in 2012, with Manchester City winning both times. FC Porto are desperate to snag a win off Manchester City, and it seemed that way when they bagged the first goal in the 14th minute, as they had more shots in the first half. However, Aguero scored 6 minutes later to allow for a stalemate. It stayed at 1-1 for majority of the game. This was until Gundogan scored on the 65th minute. After this, City ran away with it, Porto only had 1 shot in the second half. Torres came on and scored 5 minutes later to seal the game 3-1. Fernandinho came on and was subbed off in the space of 10 minutes before the conclusion of the game.

Photo Source: AFP via Flashscore.

Midtjylland v Atalanta

This is the first time these sides have met, as Atalanta travel to Denmark. Before this game the home side had a streak of 6 home wins in a row. Atalanta are looking to bounce back away from home after losing their last away affair. Atalanta’s 12 shots in the first half led to the side scoring 3 goals in the first half, showing the home side the real terror of Champions League football. Midtjylland had a much better second half, only letting in one goal from Atalanta, but dominated possession. Midtjylland are looking at being bottom of the group with no wins.

Photo Source: AFP via Flashscore.

Olympiakos v Marseille

The last time these 2 sides faced was in 2012, with Olympiakos grabbing the win. Valbuena is facing his old club of Marseille. Olympiakos still have a fortress at home winning 7 games in a row and are continuing to perform well at home. Marseille had 8 shots in the first half and Olympiakos had 4 with 0 shots on target. Both sides did not really have a game changing opportunity, hence why the first half ended 0-0. The second half was all Olympiakos as they stepped up with 7 shots, another goal denied by VAR this week as Masouras’ foot was offside before scoring their goal. After more dominance of chances, and not finding the net, the game seemed to be heading towards a draw. That was until Ahmed Hassan, the super sub popped up with a header on the 90th minute to give the home team 3 points, this was after 7 minutes of him coming on.

Photo Source: AFP via Flashscore.

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