Mixed fortunes for English teams in the Champions League
Last updated: September 21, 2018 by Leon Marshal
The first week of Champions League fixtures proved a mixed bag for the English teams involved. Liverpool continued their fantastic form by beating PSG and Paul Pogba showed his value to Manchester United by hitting a brace against Young Boys. City slumped to a shock defeat and Tottenham couldn’t hold a lead. In case you missed the action, here is our five minute round-up.
Liverpool vs PSG
Last year’s finalist made a bold statement in large capital letters by beating highly fancied PSG. Liverpool demolished PSG 3-2 to continue their impressive form with six wins in a row in all competitions. The win was no fluke as Jurgen Klopp’s side silenced and neutralised all possible threats from the star-studded French side. Neymar, in particular, was a no-show as the £200m man was silenced throughout the match by teenager Alexander Arnold and Andrew Robertson kept the exciting Mbappe at bay.
Liverpool scored first at the half-hour mark when Scottish sensation Robertson’s cross found Daniel Sturridge, who headed home the opening goal. Six minutes later, Wijnaldum was brought down in the penalty area by Juan Bernat and the referee did not hesitate to point to the spot. James Milner fired Liverpool ahead and it all looked done and dusted but PSG fired back through a spectacular volley by Meunier and the young player of the World Cup, Kylian Mbappe, put the scores level in the second half.
Roberto Firmino came off the bench twisting and turning past the PSG defence to score the winner with just seconds left.
Liverpool once again showed their power up front and this will add a bit of pressure on the shoulders of new coach Thomas Tuchel at PSG. They have been poor when facing top quality opposition, something they will need to address to keep the superstars at the club happy.
This group looks like a two horse race, Liverpool lead the group, the other fixture between Napoli and Crvena Zvezda ended in a draw.
Inter vs Spurs
Mauricio Pochettino will be furious with his side as they gave away a 1 – 0 lead late into the match to somehow lose 2 – 1. The English side found the net first through a deflected volley by Christian Eriksen early in the second half. Mauro Icardi levelled the game from way out with a screamer to level the score in the 85th minute before Matias Vecino headed in the winner in the dying seconds to send the San Siro faithful into a frenzy.
The manager would regret his decision to leave behind Kieran Trippier and Toby Alderweireld because of an alleged “technical reason”. The duo would have been a great option coming from the bench to try to hold on to the advantage in the last moments of the match. Another surprising decision from Pochettino was to leave out Lucas Moura who has arguably been Tottenham’s best player so far this season.
Tottenham have now lost three in a row and will need to get back into their stride quickly as their group has Barcelona in it. Barcelona, who won 4-0 in their game against PSV, already look like group winners with Spurs and Inter battling it out for second. A fight that sees the Italians taking an early advantage.
Manchester City vs Lyon
The Premier League champions were stunned by the French side 2 – 1. What would have been predicted to be an easy match turned out to be an acca buster. Manchester City – favourites to win the Champions League – made errors that led to the Lyon goals early in the match and couldn’t get themselves back into the match.
Fabian Delph’s failed clearance in the 26th minute let Maxwell Cornet open the scoring before their captain Nabil Fekir gave Lyon a 2-0 lead in the 43rd minute. Pep Guardiola, who could only watch from the stands due to his sending off against Liverpool in last year’s competition, saw his team outplayed by Lyon who were the much more determined team. Although Bernardo Silva pulled one back for City, it ended 2-1 for Lyon, a shocking home defeat for the champions.
City will not be panicking just yet. There are five games left and it’s unlikely that Pep will allow his team to put in another inept display, especially in the group stages.
Young Boys vs Manchester United
The Reds fired three past the Young Boys in a routine win in Switzerland. Captain Paul Pogba gave a man-of-the-match performance with two goals and one assist to steer United to the top of their group. Pogba scored a magnificent goal in the 35th minute after some great footwork to create space for himself at the edge of the box.
He then converted a very soft penalty late in the first half, when Kevin Mbabu was adjudged to have handled the ball from a Luke Shaw cross. Antony Martial sealed the win for the three-time champions in the 66th minute. Diogo Dalot was a highlight from the match as the 19-year old Portuguese right-back impressed in his first match for the Red Devils.