Football Article

Champions League Football: PSG Loss for Real Madrid, City Win Easy

Champions League Football: PSG Loss for Real Madrid, City Win Easy Photo: TT
Real Madrid Went Down to PSG

The second set of Round One group games of the UEFA Champions League were played on September 18 and Manchester City and Real Madrid were among those in action.

Atlético Madrid and Juventus played out a greatly entertaining 2 – 2 draw at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in which was a high quality match throughout. The first half was goalless but enlivened by one magic moment when João Félix, the 19 year old who Atlético signed for £126 million from Benfica in the summer, embarked on a sixty yard run, trailing defenders in his wake, until his shot was tipped around his post by Wojciech Szczęsny.

The second half though exploded into life when Juventus took the lead. Breaking from the edge of their own penalty box, the ball was swept downfield to Gonzalo Higuaín who found himself on the left wing. He played the ball across the Atlético area to Juan Cuadrado coming in from the right. The Columbian then shifted the ball to his left foot, and powered an unstoppable shot into the top corner. Half-way through the second-half it was 2-0. Juventus broke down the left again, this time in the shape of full-back Alex Sandro, and his pinpoint cross was met at the near post by Blaise Matuidi, who powered home his header.

Two set pieces got Atlético back into the match. First, from a free kick, the ball was delivered to the back post where it was headed back across goal for centre-back Stefan Savić to nod home from close range.

And then, in injury time, substitute Héctor Herrera was the first to meet a corner, and the Mexican’s header was out of the reach of the despairing dive of Szczęsny. Cristiano Ronaldo’s late dribble and shot went agonisingly wide of the Atlético goal but, in the end, honour was satisfied on both sides.

PSG overwhelmed Real Madrid in Paris to heap more pressure on under-fire manager Real Madrid. It equalled Real’s worst ever result in an opening group game of the Champions League. And it was a former player, Angel Di Maria, who inflicted most of the damage, with two goals. The first came in the 14th minute when he collected a pass from Juan Bernat, and his shot from close range just crept inside Thibaut Courtois’ goal. If the goalkeeper could be partially blamed for the first goal, he could do nothing about Di Maria’s second – a curling shot from 20 yards after good work by Idrissa Gueye on the right.

Real did have their chances, mainly when Gareth Bale’s fine lobbed goal was ruled out by VAR. But the Spanish club’s misery was compounded in injury time when Thomas Meunier was allowed to stroll through their defence unchallenged to add the third goal.

Bayern Munich beat Real Star Belgrade 3-0 at home without ever needing to get out of second gear. They took the lead in the 34th minute through a header from Kingsley Coman but, despite dominating possession, had to wait until ten minutes before time until adding a second. The ball bounced around the Belgrade penalty box before ricocheting to Robert Lewandowski, and the Polish striker lashed the ball into the net. Thomas Muller’s late goal was the icing on the cake.

Pre-tournament favourites Manchester City got their campaign off to a convincing start with a 3 – 0 win away at Ukrainian side Shaktar Donetsk. City took the lead when Riyad Mahrez shot into an empty net after Ilkay Gundogan’s shot came back off the post, and Mahrez then returned the favour, setting up Gundogan for the German to toe the ball into the net. After the break, Raheem Stirling hit a post, before Gabriel Jesus completed the scoring after good work from Kevin de Bruyne.

Rajeev mcallister
Sports Pundit staff writer

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