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Salah and Messi star in Champions League action; Ange's claims first Europa League win

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19th October, 2021
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Liverpool have won a five-goal thriller away to Atletico Madrid while Manchester City, Real Madrid and Ajax all recorded convincing wins as the goals flowed in the Champions League.

Liverpool won 3-2 at ten-man Atletico, with record-setter Mohamed Salah opening the scoring then maintaining the Reds’ perfect record penalty to grab the points.

The Egyptian star becoming the first Reds player to score in nine consecutive games.

Naby Keita made it 2-0 for the visitors but an Antoine Griezmann double levelled matters by halftime, only for the France striker to spoil his night by earning a straight red card for a high foot on Roberto Firmino before the winner.

Man City showed their quality as they dismantled Club Brugge 5-1 in Belgium but a Lionel Messi double kept Paris Saint-Germain top of Group A.

Left-back Joao Cancelo opened the scoring for City on the half hour and Riyad Mahrez doubled the lead with a penalty he won himself before the break.

It was then the turn of right back Kyle Walker to claim his first Champions League goal in 39 games in the 53rd minute and midway through the second half youngster Cole Palmer also claimed his maiden goal in Europe’s elite competition.

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Brugge had enjoyed an impressive campaign so far with a home draw to PSG and brilliant win in Leipzig and Hans Vanaken’s alert finish gave them late consolation.

But Mahrez’s second immediately quashed any outside hopes of a comeback against last season’s beaten finalists.

“One of the best performances we have done in Europe, definitely,” Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said.

City are a point behind PSG, who top the group on seven after Messi’s 74th-minute Panenka’ penalty got them past Leipzig 3-2.

Messi had equalised after Andre Silva and Nordi Mukiele cancelled the opener from Kylian Mbappe, who was brilliant throughout but blazed an injury-time penalty over the bar.

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Porto won 1-0 over visitors AC Milan to join Atletico on four points while the seven-time champion Italians have yet to get off the mark in Group B.

Moldovan minnows FC Sheriff lost for the first time, 3-1 at Inter Milan who are now third in Group D on four points.

Edin Dzeko, Arturo Vidal and Stefan de Vrij were on target for Inter while Sebastien Thill – scorer of Sheriff’s spectacular late winner in Madrid – produced a curling free kick from long range to temporarily draw the visitors level in the 52nd minute.

Sheriff were joined on six points by Real Madrid, who cruised 5-0 at Shakhtar Donetsk with Vinicius Junior bagging a double after an own goal and before strikes from Rodrygo and Karim Benzema.

In Group C, Ajax won the battle of teams with perfect records by crushing Borussia Dortmund 4-0 while Sporting took their first points with a 4-1 win at Besiktas, who have suffered three straight defeats.

Meanwhile, Celtic have finally earned their first Europa League win under Ange Postecoglou after second half goals by Kyogo Furuhashi and David Turnbull iced a 2-0 home result over Hungary’s Ferencvaros.

Celtic were feeling the heat after Group G defeats to Real Betis and Bayer Leverkusen but continued their rejuvenation under the former Socceroos boss, claiming their third straight win overall.

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Japan international Furuhashi came up trumps in the 57th minute when he latched on to a searching pass from Jota and slotted past Denes Dibusz.

The Ferencvaros goalkeeper saved a penalty from Hoops captain Callum McGregor moments later before Turnbull’s scrappy second from close range in the 81st minute sealed the deserved win that has rekindled their European ambitions.

Celtic travel for the return game against Ferencvaros on November 4 and after watching a well-deserved win, Postecoglou was confident.

“There is no reason why we can’t (win again),” he said.

“We went to Betis and took the game to them. It is still a game that doesn’t sit well with me because I thought we should have got something out of that game.

“(But) that gave us belief that we can match it against the best even away from home and tonight we felt that.

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“What tonight does is gives us an opportunity to keep our hopes alive which we had to do, we had to win tonight.

“We weren’t shying away from the fact that that it was imperative that we got three points – and we did that.”

Postecoglou hailed the opening goal in which Furuhashi brilliantly controlled Jota’s sweeping long pass and finished with his second touch.

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“It was a world-class move,” he said.

“They are both two talented players. We are trying to play football that will suit those kind of guys and I think they appreciate that.

“The flip side is that they have got to work hard defensively and, as I keep telling them, they will get their rewards.”

The Celtic boss was also delighted with the impact of substitute Giorgos Giakoumakis, who headed wide from a good chance and came close with an ambitious overhead kick.

“He came on and really made a world of difference for us,” Postecoglou said.

“We needed someone to hold the ball up and he was really strong in that final third for us.

“He had a couple of half-chances which he created himself. I think he will be a good player for us.

“We will get him fit slowly but it’s good to have options.”

Ferencvaros are bottom of the group and without a point after three matches.

“The better team won. It was too easy for Celtic to score the first goal,” coach Peter Stoger said.

“In the three matches there have been some close moments but we have to accept a bit of quality is missing.

“But it is possible to win against Celtic in two weeks.”

© AAP

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