The Roar
The Roar

Advertisement

Opinion

Champions League Talking Points: Real shock, Messi breaks PSG duck and Liverpool can’t stop scoring

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
Replay
Cancel
Next
Expert
29th September, 2021
0

It might only be the second round of group stage matches, but the Champions League has delivered an incredible night with results that will go down in history.

It’s usually in the knockout stages of a tournament that the memorable nights take place as giants crash out and legends are made.

But the Champions League has delivered a night to remember in just the second round of the group stages with Real Madrid losing at home to the lowest ranked side in the competition, Sheriff Tiraspol.

Elsewhere there were plenty of other points to discuss as PSG started to fire, both teams from Milan struggled and the FC Porto goalkeeper had an awful night at the office.

So let’s get stuck in…

Uh oh – Messi has found his scoring boots
Mauricio Pochettino is going to wake up smiling after his star-filled Paris Saint-Germain side beat Champions League title rivals Manchester City 2-0 in Paris and took top spot in Group A.

Advertisement

Pochettino will be especially pleased with the way that his attacking line up of Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar are beginning to play well together and look like they are going to cause defences nightmares all season long.

Messi especially had a good night as he scored his first goal for PSG and looked good against a Man City side that he has scored seven goals against in his career.

With 15 minutes to go and PSG ahead by only one goal, Messi picked up the ball on half way out on the right wing.

He then went on one of his trademark cross field moves where he seems to glide more than run with the ball always under control at his toes. His pass to Mbappe was returned immediately with a cheeky back heel and Messi’s shot totally wrong footed Ederson who didn’t move in the Man City goal.

This was City’s first group stage defeat since 2018. Fans will obviously be disappointed that their 18 game unbeaten record in the groups has gone, but they should be proud of the quality of performance that their team delivered. The scoreline hides the fact that Man City were very good in Paris – 54 percent possession, 18 shots (7 of them on target) and 10 corners show that Pep Guardiola will take many positives from the game.

One City player who won’t be in such a positive frame of mind is Bernardo Silva who might well have earned the award “Worst Miss in The World Ever” after he managed to hit the PSG crossbar from two yards out and with an empty net in front of him.

City now have a few days to prepare for part three of a brutal eight days. They beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this past weekend and having lost in Paris, now have to travel to Anfield to take on a Liverpool side that has scored eight goals in their past two games.

Meanwhile PSG fans will be delighted with how the 2021/22 vintage is looking. Gueye and Marco Verratti looked dominant in midfield, Gianluigi Donnarumma had a good night in goal making seven saves and Messi and Mbappe looked dangerous.

Advertisement

Will we see these two in the Final in St Petersburg in May 2022? It would be an incredible game if we do.

Rumours FC Porto Goalkeeper secret plant for Liverpool
FC Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa will wake up on Wednesday and for a split second he’ll have a moment of peace before the memories of last night come flooding back.

Not only did Porto get torn to pieces by Liverpool (again), going down 1-5 at home, but Costa was to blame for at least three of those goals.

For one of them Costa changed his mind halfway through coming out to take a cross and his poor decision left Sadio Mané with a simple tap-in. But the worst was when he came out a good 35 yards and then realised at the last second that he was nowhere near the ball and then desperately tried to scramble back to stop Firmino’s softly struck long range shot. He didn’t make it and as the ref’s whistle went for another goal, Costa had that look on his face that said “What on earth was I thinking?”

Liverpool were in great form and never looked in any danger. They’ve scored 14 goals against Porto in their last three games in Portugal and put in a stunning display again.

Mo Salah picked up another two goals to add to his account and Jordan Henderson was very good on his 400th appearance for the club but it was the 20 year old Curtis Jones who really impressed.

Advertisement

Jones was involved in four of Liverpool’s five goals and played more passes than any of his team mates other than Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip with 72.

One of the exciting aspects of Jones’ game is his ability to change pace so quickly. It takes him past defenders before they can react and against Porto this pace allowed him to get a shot on goal that was deflected and fell to Salah to score his first before then setting Salah up for his second as well.

Liverpool have scored eight goals so far in this Champions League campaign and whilst they won’t always have the help of Diogo Costa, they are showing the attacking ability that has them as many people’s favourites to win another title come May.

The biggest upset in Champions League history?
That’s a bold claim but when you read about the way in which Real Madrid lost to Sheriff Tiraspol you will likely be nodding along in agreement.

The fact that Real lost to Sheriff is surprising. Then you realise that it happened at the Bernabéu Stadium and your eyebrows move a little bit higher up your forehead. Then you watch the replays of the stunning goals that Sheriff scored to win and you will be texting your mates quicker than you can say “New Manager at Real”.

Real had over 76% possession, 31 shots and 11 of them on target and forced 13 corners. From all of this attacking dominance they managed to find the back of the net just once – and that was from a penalty.

Advertisement

Meanwhile the lowest ranked side in the tournament absorbed all this pressure from the 13 time champions and then hit them twice with two beautiful goals.

The first was a nicely worked move where they stretched the Madrid defence out wide before Jasurbek Yakhshiboev headed home a powerful strike having found a huge amount of space at the far post. Real keeper Thibaut Courtois was perfectly justified to scream at his defenders in frustration – how had Yakhshiboev managed to have a completely free header that close to the goal?

The winner from Sheriff – a team who have to have (Mol) after their name to help people figure out where they come from – was even better and will be on the list for goal of the season.

It was the 89th minute and with a hard earned point almost certainly in the bag, the Moldovan visitors kept pressing Real. They didn’t play out the clock but instead created a chance for Sebastien Thill who struck an absolute screamer from just outside the penalty box that secured one of the most famous wins in Champions League history.

The night got even worse for Real with manager Carlo Ancelotti given a yellow card for rowing with officials – for some reason he was a bit wound up.

Are Real in serious trouble here? Well probably not. They are in second plan in Group D and will likely qualify come the end of the group stage. However it is hugely embarrassing for them.

Sheriff meanwhile are sitting at the top of Group D – unbeaten after their opening two rounds and will certainly fancy their chances against Inter Milan who are struggling and Shakhtar Donetsk side that haven’t scored a single goal yet in the competition.

Advertisement

Sad sight as both Milan sides struggle
The football city of Milan has long been associated with success and greatness when it comes to football and the Champions League – ten Champions League titles between them and some of the greatest players to ever play the game. But in 2021, these traditional powerhouses are struggling and we might not see them beyond the group stages.

Inter Milan drew 0-0 at Shaktar Donetsk and AC Milan went down 1-2 against visitors Atletico Madrid meaning the Milan sides have collectively earned one point from four games and are looking at a very challenging battle to try and earn qualification.

AC Milan might well count themselves unlucky as they did have an early lead against Atletico before losing Franck Kessié as he picked up his second yellow card of the match in the 29th minute. Despite this advantage, Milan fought valiantly and it was only down to goals to Atletico in the 84th and 97th minutes that the Spanish side were able to steal all three points.

Inter might feel that stealing a point from the away trip to Shakhtar is actually a good result but it’s hard to be too proud of a night where they could only create two shots on target from 90 minutes.

Maybe both sides are focusing on domestic success this season as the priority. Milan are sitting second in Serie A with Inter just behind them and both sides are unbeaten after the opening six rounds of the league.

But it’s at the top table of the Champions League were sides truly demonstrate their ability and it’ll be a side sight to see both Milan sides disappear so early in the competition.

Sports opinion delivered daily 

   

Past Bundesliga Success Not Translating to Champions League for Leipzig
Despite finishing second in the challenging Bundesliga last season, RB Leipzig are struggling this year.

Their home loss against Club Bruges last night was a big surprise and fans will be worried about how they let an early lead disappear and could only fire another three shots on target in 85 minutes of football.

Leipzig have conceded eight goals in the opening two group stage games and haven’t played PSG yet.

In the Bundesliga they are having a tough opening to the season as well – they sit 10th after six rounds and have only won twice so far.

It was always going to be hard to qualify when you’re picked in a group with Man City and PSG but Leipzig fans will be bitterly disappointed that they went down to the Belgian club side and will be looking ahead wondering if they can scrape a single point this year.

The rest of round two of the Champions League continues this week with plenty more exciting fixtures to keep an eye on. Juventus take on Chelsea in Turin, Barcelona have to travel to Benfica and Manchester United try to overcome their shock first round loss to Young Boys as they welcome Villarreal to Old Trafford.

close