Champions League Review – Matchday 1

19/09/2012 no comments »
Champions League Review – Matchday 1

Group A

Paris Saint-German 4-1 Dynamo Kiev

Dynamo Kiev suffered a crushing defeat to Paris Saint-German on Tuesday night as the French team put four past their opponents. Ibrahimovic opened the scoring from the penalty spot mid-way through the first half after an unfair challenge on Jeremy Menez and soon after Thiago Silva doubled the lead from close range to increase their advantage. Moment’s later and former Chelsea defender Alex scored making it 3-0 and game over before half-time. The game stayed 3-0 after half-time up until Miguel Veloso scored a consolation for Dynamo Kiev before Javier Pastore sealed the game two minutes from time making the final score line 4-1. A great start for PSG as they look forward to a tough away game against FC Porto.

Dinamo Zagreb 0-2 FC Porto

FC Porto looked at the start of the match to be facing a tough game against current Croatian league leaders Dinamo Zagreb. The first-half was drawing to a close before the opening goal of the game was scored by FC Porto’s Lucho Gonzalez as he grabbed a goal from close range five minutes before the half-time whistle. This game was becoming routine for FC Porto as they took control of the possession and that paid off as they finished off the tie with a late goal by Steven Defour. FC Porto made this game look routine and easily pushed aside their opponents and join PSG at the top of Group A.

Group B

Montpellier 1-2 Arsenal

In their 15th successive start in the Champions League, Arsenal couldn’t have asked for a better start away from home against current Ligue 1 holders Montpellier. However, Montpellier were the team to start the brightest opening the scoring in just 9 minutes through a Belhanda chipped penalty. As this penalty went in it seemed Arsenal completely overturned their bad start and replied twice first on the 16th minute and then 3 minutes later. Lukas Podolski silenced the home crowd with a calm finish. Moments later Gervinho tapped in from close range for a great comeback. Montpellier continued bombarding The Gunners but they managed to hold on to a well fought win.

Olympiakos 1-2 Schalke 04

Schalke started their campaign confident and bright as they came away 2-1 winners. A confident display was needed after suffering in the first round of games to losses four times before this come back to the Champions League. The home side throughout the first-half looked like the side who would take their chances although, it was the visitors that took the lead just before the break as Howedes headed home from close range. It wasn’t until after the break when Olympiakos’ chances turned into a goal when Abdoun scored to equalise. Just a minute later, Huntelaar put the visitors in front again, with what was to be the winning goal of the tie. The win for Schalke put themselves joint top of the group.

Group C

AC Milan 0-0 Anderlecht

AC Milan were in for a surprise when Anderlecht turned up on Tuesday night. Milan walked out into the San Siro to boos after they have lost their first two Serie A games and that didn’t look like changing in competition either. Anderlecht had the better of the chances throughout the game but failed to capitalise. AC Milan has plenty of shots on goal although couldn’t convert these chances into goals. The match ended in a draw, and for many fans inside the San Siro a reminder that this team may not be once what it used to be.

Malaga 3-0 Zenit St. Petersburg

Malaga have had a lot of cash investment in recent times, taking them to finish third in La Liga behind Barcelona and Real Madrid. Zenit St. Petersburg have spent a lot of money this summer, buying the likes of Hulk and Wetzel as they try to defend their league title from big money spenders Anzhi. However, these signings proved to not be significant as Malaga defeated Zenit 3-0. The first goal coming three minutes in from Isco and ten minutes later Saviola doubled their lead. After half-time Isco doubled his own tally and secured the points for Malaga, who could turn out to be the surprise of the tournament.

Group D

Real Madrid 3-2 Manchester City

This tie was the tie of the draw when the groups were decided. Premier League Champions vs La Liga champions. Real Madrid came away 3-2 winners but this wasn’t the story of the tie. Without a goal in the first half, and most of the second half, there were five in 20 minutes. The first came from a second half sub Edin Dzeko who fired City into the lead, only for Marcelo to equalise 6 minutes later. Kolorov thought he had secured City the win with a lovely curling free-kick on 85 minutes but Real Madrid showed why they are one of the top clubs in the world. Benzema scored two minutes later to equalise after a mistake by Joe Hart, and just as the whistle was about to blow, former Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo scored a winner to devastate City fans and players. All in all the result was probably a deserved one, but city have to look forward to the next game and put the bad defending behind them and move on.

Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Ajax

Reigning Bundesliga champions opened their Champions League campaign against four time winners Ajax. Dortmund dealt another blow to City’s woes when Robert Lewandowski hit a late winner to sink Ajax and to dent the hopes that City could get out of this ‘group of death’. Dortmund had less of the ball throughout much of the game, but had more chances and finally in the 87th minute broke the dead lock to secure three points. Dortmund will need Lewandowski to perform at his best in every game if Dortmund are going to get themselves into the knockout stages.

Group E

Chelsea 2-2 Juventus

Chelsea scored two goals in two minutes as Juventus stuttered in the first half. Oscar scored the opener after end to end stuff as he scored a deflected effort from outside the box. Oscar looked slow to the pace of the game before his opener, and showed his true class as he doubled Chelsea’s lead with a sublime touch and finish proving he has the quality to compete against the world’s best. Juventus looked rocked as Chelsea piled on the pressure, but five minutes before half time a hobbling Vidal scored a low drive Cech having no chance. With Mata missing a great chance, Juventus equalised with ten minutes to go as Quagliarella capitalised on a mistake from Mikel as he slid a shot under Cech to seal a point for the away side. Chelsea will be disappointed to start their defence of their title with a draw.

Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0 FC Nordsjaelland

Mkhitaryan scored a brace for Donetsk as they came away from their first game with a win. Nordsjaelland started the brighter of the two sides having a host of chances to score the opening goal but it wasn’t to be. With a minute to go in the first half, Mkhitaryan capitalised on the poor finishing of the Danes and passed in from 12 yards out. Shakhtar started the second half in just the same fashion, much of the possession and not many clear cut chances to extend their lead until the 77th minute when Mkhitaryan scored his second of the game. The defender accidentally passing it back into the path of the forward for him to strike it into the back of the net. It was a great start to the new campaign for Donestk, and a poor start for the Danes’ debut in the Champions League.

Group F

Bayern Munich 2-1 Valencia

Champions League runners up last season, Bayern Munich were looking for a good start to this season’s campaign and got what they deserved with a 2-1 home victory over Valencia. Bayern had to force their way through and be patient as they looked to break down the Spanish side but they broke the dead lock in nearly 40 minutes as Schweinsteiger drove home for the opening goal of the game. Toni Kroos secured the points for Bayern was allowed too much space on the outside of the box as he drove a shot into the top corner of the net. Valencia scored a consolation but Bayern ran away with a comfortable win in the end even though the scoreline may suggest otherwise.

Lille 1-3 BATE Borisov

BATE won convincingly against a lacklustre Lille side. BATE scored within six minutes as Volodko scored against the run of play with a sensational 30 yard strike into the top corner and from then on sparked BATE to score two more in the first half. BATE doubled their lead through Rodinov who slid home an easy shot mid-way through the first half. Just before half time, Olekhnovic scored the third for BATE and secured the win before the second half had started. There was a controversial consolation goal for Lille where the ball was judged by the officials to cross the line although replays show otherwise. Chedjou claimed the goal. BATE deserved the win and go top of their group.

Group G

Barcelona 3-2 Spartak Moscow

Barcelona came out on top in this opening fixture as Spartak Moscow pushed the former Champions League holders all the way in this hard fought match. Barca started the game well and after just 14 minutes Tello opened up the scoring with a well-placed drilled shot into the corner after cutting inside and picking his spot. Tello grabbed his opportunity in the famous Barca front three. However, the next two goals weren’t to go the way people expected them too. Unfortunately for defender Alves, he side footed home an own goal, bringing the score level going into half time. After the break, Spartak Moscow added to their tally and Romulo neatly slid a finish under the body of a diving Valdes. Barca was facing defeat, until golden boy Messi stepped up to the plate to save Barca’s blushes. His first goal was created by the opening goal scorer, who slid a ball to Messi for a tap in on the 72nd minute of the game. For Barca’s standards this game was not a routine win, and the best player in the world stepped up to carry his team to a victory. Sanchez was the architect this time as his well-timed cross landed perfectly for Messi to head in. Barca certainly didn’t make this opening game an easy one for them, but a win is a win and they will look to improve in the next round of fixtures.

Celtic 0-0 Benfica

Celtic’s return to the Champions League wasn’t the most ideal result at Celtic Park, but a well-earned point as both sides struggled to dominate. Benfica came closest to scoring but were stopped by Fraser Forster who played very well. The match wasn’t the most entertaining as both sides struggled to gain an advantage and ended in a 0-0 draw, which isn’t a bad result for Celtic, but if they wish to advance to the knockout stages, they will have to pick up wins at home.

Group H

Manchester United 1-0 Galatasaray

Galatasaray proved tough opponents for United as they were edged out in a close encounter at Old Trafford. United opened the scoring with just seven minutes on the clock as Michael Carrick rounded the keeper and slid the ball into the empty net. Galatasaray were creating all sorts of problems for United, and kept going close with De Gea having to make some very good saves. United were then handed a golden opportunity to double their lead through a Nani penalty, although with his stuttering run up he embarrassed himself when the opposition goalkeeper saved to keep the tie alive. There weren’t many positives in the game, and the most positive thing to come out of it was when 11 minutes from time, Fletcher made his comeback from an inflammatory stomach condition which had kept him out for 11 months. Other than the 3 points, United will be disappointed with their display, and to avoid going out in the group stages a second time in a row they will have to improve in all areas of the park.

Braga 0-2 CFR 1907 Cluj-Napoca

Romanian Champions CFR Cluj walked away from Braga with all three points in a shock result and it wasn’t just the three points that would have shocked the Braga fans and players. Former Braga player Rafael Bastos scored a brace in the first half to lead his club to the victory. Bastos latched onto the perfect through ball as he calmly slotted past the goalkeeper to score his first of the half. His second came 10 minutes from the break, the build up was a lucky one but Bastos’ finish was certainly meant, screaming his strike across goal into the top corner. The second half was Barcelona-esque as Braga bombarded the Cluj defence, yet couldn’t find an opening. The defenders stood firm and blocked every chance that Braga could create. Cluj came away with a well fought victory and will take confidence from this display.

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