Champions League Review – Matchday 4

07/11/2012 no comments »
Champions League Review – Matchday 4

FC Schalke 04 2-2 Arsenal

The visitors were two goals to the good in the first half with the first coming through Theo Walcott who had the hard task of tapping into an empty net, they then doubled their advantage as Olivier Giroud nodded home. A goal from the hosts, Klass-Jan Huntelaar halved the deficit before Jefferson Farfan levelled the scores in the second half. Although disappointed with being pegged back from two goals up, Arsenal will still be pleased with earning a valuable point away from home against the Group B leaders.

AC Milan 1-1 Malaga

Malaga retained their unbeaten record in the Champions League as a 1-1 draw with AC Milan at San Siro was enough to confirm their progression to the Round of 16. A victory would have confirmed progression into the next stage of the competition and it looked likely as 5 minutes before half time when Eliseu fired Malaga into the lead. In the second half, knowing that a 1-0 lead was enough, Malaga looked to defend their one-goal advantage away from home. However, they were eventually beaten when Alexandre Pato headed in an equaliser in the 73rd minute but there was to be no winning goal for either side as the points were shared.

Anderlecht 1-0 Zenit

The visitors Zenit look to be on the brink of exiting European competition this year after just one goal seperated the two teams in Brussels. A first-half goal from Dieumerci Mbokani was enough for Anderlecht to grab all three points and keep their hopes of qualification for the knock-out rounds alive. It was a lacklustre Zenit side that performed last night and the Russian side struggled to create any chances of note in the absence of Brazil international Hulk. This victory leaves Anderlecht just one point behind second place AC Milan with two games remaining.

Dynamo Kiev 0-0 FC Porto

A match with chances few and far between finished in a goal less draw and leaves the home side in a position where they must win both of their remaining matches to have any chance of reaching the knockout stages. On the other hand, Porto have progressed to the knockout stages of the Champions League despite losing their 100 per cent record in the competition after a disappointing Group A encounter. The Portuguese side remain top of Group A despite dropping points for the first time in the group stage. Porto can secure top spot in the group if they beat Dinamo Zagreb in matchday five, though that will depend on Paris Saint-Germain’s result against Kiev on the same night.

Paris St. Germain 4-0 Dinamo Zagreb

There wasn’t much between the two teams in the first half as at the break PSG were only one goal up, but the Ligue 1 side recovered from a sluggish start to notch a convincing win over Dinamo, with the Croation champions now being eliminated from the group stage. The one goal in the first half was courtesy of Alex after 16 minutes, all be it against the run of play. The second half told a different story and PSG slotted in another 3 goals and all three were assisted by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, as Blaise Matuidi, Jeremy Menez and Guillaume Hoarau all scored to ensure that qualification is within sight for the capital club. With two games remaining and no chance of progression to the next round, Dinamo will be playing for pride and could still have an influence at the top of the group.

Olympiakos 3-1 Montpellier

Olympiakos have done the double over Montpellier in Group B after recording a 3-1 win over the French side in Tuesday’s Champions League encounter in Piraeus. Portuguese midfielder Paulo Machado gifted the hosts the lead early on when he found the net from inside the area. It looked like it was going to fizzle out into a narrow 1-0 victory for the home side but Leandro Greco and Kostas Mitroglou added their names to the score-sheet in the last ten minutes to help the hosts to victory. This result now eliminates the French champions from the competition and qualification from Group B is a three horse race between Olympiakos, Arsenal and Schalke.

Manchester City 2-2 Ajax

Despite coming back from two goals down, the Premier League holders are on the brink of failing to advance to the knock-out stages for the second consecutive season. Mathematically, City can still qualify for the knock-out stages but it is a long shot after they failed to beat the Eiredivise champions at home. Ajax captain Siem de Jong took advantage of City’s shocking defending at corners, some may argue due to their zonal marking tactics, and he put the visitors 2-0 up after 17 minutes. Yaya Toure reduced the deficit soon afterwards with an acrobatic volley and Sergio Aguero scored the equaliser with 16 minutes left. The pressure has intensified on Roberty Mancini and this draw leaves City rooted to the bottom of the toughest of the eight Champions League groups, with just two points, five adrift of second-placed Borussia Dortmund.

Real Madrid 2-2 Borussia Dortmund

Real Madrid left it late to secure a 2-2 draw against Borussia Dortmund in an exciting Champions League clash at Santiago Bernabeu. A display of defensive diligence and deadly counterattacking seemed set to send the German outfit to their second victory over Jose Mourinho’s men, but a free kick from Mesut Ozil in the dying moments salvaged a point for the hosts. Marco Reus put Dortmund ahead in the 28th minute but Pepe cancelled that out for the home side just 6 minutes later. Just before half time, another charge forward from Dortmund on the break saw Alvaro Arbeloa turn the ball into his own net. The visitors looked to sit back and step up their defensive intensity and it seemed to frustrate Madrid, but on the 89th minute, Ozil stepped up to bury a set-piece to split the points and keep things tight at the top of Group D.

Chelsea 3-2 Shaktar Donesk

Chelsea stole an invaluable 3 points to keep themselves second in the group courtesy of a last minute header from young Nigerian Victor Moses. Chelsea took the lead early on through Fernando Torres after he capitalised on a goal keeper error, Shaktar managed to equalise through Chelsea target Willian after a neat move down the right hand side. Chelsea managed to regain the lead just before half time with a wonderful strike from Brazilian starlet Oscar. Shaktar started the second half better and managed to square the game up once again through Willian and once again coming from down the right hand side. The game looked set to be a draw but Moses managed to head in the winner with a sublime whistle with as much as a second left on the referees watch. Chelsea will now be hoping to get a positive result against Juventus in the next game if they wish to qualify for the last 16 and defend their title.

Celtic 2-1 Barcelona

The shock of the night came from Scotland where Celtic managed to upstage Spanish giants Barcelona, Celtic took the lead when a corner was swung towards the back post and Vincent Wanyama was there to nod it in. Celtic managed to grit their teeth and hold on till half time courtesy of some world class saves from keeper Fraser Foster who had yet another outstanding game. After the break Celtic once again soaked up the pressure being imposed on them by Barca and on 83 minutes doubled their lead through 18 year old Tony Watt. Barca were refusing to give up easily and eventually got a goal through Messi in the last minute, the late surge proved to be to late from Barca and Celtic had managed to secure the win that had shocked the world of football. This leaves Celtic in a healthy position if they wish to qualify for the last 16 with Benfica and Spartak Moscow left to play.

Braga 1-3 Manchester United

Braga once again caused problems for ManUnited early on but had to wait for the restart of the second half to finally take the lead, courtesy of an Alan penalty. Technical trouble then marred the game as the players were left in darkness after a flood light failure. Once the lights were back on and play was resumed Man U sprung into action and took the game to the next level with the introduction of Van Persie who managed to grab an equaliser after 80 minutes. United then grabbed two more goals in quick succession via a penalty scored by Rooney after he was fouled in the box and a less conventional goal from Mexican Hernandez as he scrambled the ball home from close range. This win means United have won the group meaning they will definitely be in the last 16.

Bayern 6-1 Lille

Bayern made positive progress in their group after a convincing win against French outfit Lille, Bayern striker Pizarro managed to score a hatrick in just 33 minutes as Bayern led 5-0 at half time with the other goals coming from Schweinsteiger and the Dutchman Arjen Robben. The second half saw Lille striker Salomon Kalou score a wonderful goal for Lille but it was only ever going to be a conciliation goal and on the 66 minute German international Toni Kroos found himself unmarked in the box to seal the 6-1 with a calm finish. Bayern sit third in their group with Valencia and Bate Birosov left to play.


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