Published on 7 Oct 2022 3:56 pm (UK Time)
The UEFA Champions League group stage reached its midway point this week, with each team having played each other once after Matchday 3, with huge scorelines around Europe.
Liverpool faced Rangers for the first time in the UEFA Champions League, as they look to bounce back from last season’s final defeat.
Spanish giants Barcelona faced Inter Milan at the San Siro, with Real Madrid facing Shakhtar Donetsk, with the Champions looking to continue their winning streak in the competition.
Chelsea faced AC Milan, with Graham Potter’s side in need of a win after only picking up one point from two games.
There was also a crucial game in Group G, with Borussia Dortmund travelling to Spain to faceoff against Sevilla, with both sides setting sights on the second place, with Manchester City in full control at the top.
With big scorelines accumulating elsewhere, here is a breakdown of what unfolded in the UEFA Champions League on Matchday 3 of this year’s competition…..
Group A: Liverpool proves too much for struggling Rangers
Trent Alexander-Arnold responded to his critics by firing home a free-kick in his usual style, as Liverpool eased past Scottish side Rangers 2-0, who remain without a point in the Champions League.
It could’ve been more had it not been for Gers goalkeeper Allan McGregor, who was kept busy by the Liverpool front line.
It took just Liverpool seven minutes to take the lead, however, and it came through Alexander-Arnold from just outside the area, placing a free-kick into the top corner, giving McGregor no chance in the Rangers net.
It took until the 53rd minute for Liverpool to double their lead at Anfield.
Rangers’ 18-year-old central defender Leon King gave away a penalty, which Mohamed Salah dispatched to ultimately seal the three points for the Reds.
The Scottish side struggled to create many chances, with Antonio-Mirko Colak having a good chance from a corner, but couldn’t find a way past Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker.
Just before that, Konstantinos Tsimikas made a crucial goal-line clearance, after substitute Rabbi Matondo found a way past Alisson, in what was Rangers’ best chance of the game.
Liverpool was dominant apart from that, and saw out the win, giving them two wins from three games.
Ajax collapsed in the other game of Group A, despite going a goal ahead at home to Napoli, who ended up beating the Dutch side 1-6 in Amsterdam.
After Mohammed Kudus put Ajax 1-0 up within ten minutes, the Italians were ruthless.
Giacomo Raspadori got the equaliser for Napoli, whilst also bagging a brace in the game.
Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Piotr Zielinksi, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Giovanni Simeone also got on the scoresheet for Napoli, who took all three points back to Naples in style.
It got worse for Ajax, as they finished the game with ten men, after star man Dusan Tadic received a second yellow card, in what was a bad day at the office for Alfred Schreuder’s side.
Napoli go three wins from three after their triumph, with Ajax dropping to 3rd.
Liverpool go 2nd with six points from nine, with Rangers remaining rock bottom, with a hill to climb if they’re to stay in Europe, let alone the Champions League.
Group B: Club Brugge shock Atletico to continue winning run.
Former Barcelona striker Ferran Jutglà scored as Club Brugge beat Spanish side Atletico Madrid, to go three wins from three in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.
Brugge went in front after 36 minutes, with Jutglà firing a low cross into Kamal Sowah, who tapped home to put the Belgians ahead.
Jutglà got his name on the scoresheet in the second half with 62 minutes gone. Canadian winger Tajon Buchanan showed good hold-up play, to set up Jutglà, who fired home past Jan Oblak in the Madrid net.
Atletico had a golden chance to get back into the game, after Casper Nielsen brought down Matheus Cunha in the box, to give Madrid a penalty. Antoine Griezmann stepped up for the Spanish side, only to hit the bar, leaving Atletico still two goals behind.
Former Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet made some key saves in the closing stages, saving a free-kick from Joao Felix, to ensure Club Brugge earned all three points against the Spanish side.
Porto also won 2-0 in their game to earn their first points in Group B, after beating German side Bayer Leverkusen, who finished the game with ten men.
Leverkusen had a chance to go one goal ahead, after the video assistant referee (VAR) gave Bayer a penalty for handball, cancelling out a Porto goal, as a counter-attack lead to Porto thinking they had taken the lead through Mateus Uribe.
Patrik Schick took charge of the penalty but had it well saved by Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa, which would ultimately cost Leverkusen.
Second-half goals from Zaidu Sanusi and Wenderson Galeno gave Porto the victory, whilst Jeremie Frimpong received a second yellow card, to top off Bayer Leverkusen’s disappointing result.
Both sides, along with Atletico Madrid, sit with three points in the group, whilst Club Brugge continued their brilliant start to their Champions League campaign, going three wins from three, to sit top of Group B on nine points.
Group C: Inter first-half goal enough to overcome Barcelona
Hakan Calhanoglu’s powerful low shot in first half added time was enough for Inter Milan to pick up a crucial victory, at home to Barcelona.
Calhanoglu received the ball from Federico Dimarco on the edge of the area, and drilled it home, giving Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen no chance.
Pedri thought he’d equalised for the Spanish side in the second half, after tapping home at the back post. However, after intervention from VAR, the goal was disallowed after a handball by Ansu Fati.
Inter Milan saw out the victory, giving Inter a massive three points in the group.
Bayern Munich put five past Viktoria Plzen, with the side from the Czech Republic suffering another loss by some margin, after conceding five to the German champions.
Bayern was 3-0 up by halftime, after goals from Leroy Sané, Serge Gnabry and Sadio Mané within the space of 14 minutes.
Sané bagged a brace for Munich, with Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting adding his name to the scoresheet to complete a 5-0 victory for Bayern.
The victory gives Bayern three wins from three at the top of Group C, with Viktoria remaining rock bottom, of what is seen as the hardest group in the Champions League this year.
Inter Milan sits in second with six points, with Barcelona in 3rd with just one win from three games in Group C.
Group D: Marseille come from behind to beat Group leaders Sporting
Marseille came from behind to beat 10-man Sporting Lisbon, in a behind-closed-doors game at the Orange Vélodrome.
Lisbon went in front with just one minute played in France, as Francisco Trincão curled in a brilliant effort after cutting inside, giving Marseille goalkeeper Pau Lopez no chance.
However, it was the French side that dominated from then on in, and were helped by a poor game from Lisbon goalkeeper Antonio Adan, in a game which he will want to forget quickly.
It took just 13 minutes for Marseille to equalise, and it was Adan’s error which levelled the game for the French side.
Alexis Sánchez closed down the Spanish goalkeeper, and in doing so blocked his clearance, with the ball rebounding into the Lisbon net, to level the game.
A poor pass by Adan leads to the second goal for Marseille. The French side intercepted the ball from Adan and capitalised on the mistake. Jonathan Clauss played an impressive ball into Amine Harit, who headed past Adan to put Marseille in front.
Just seven minutes later, Adan put out his misery, after handling outside his area, leaving referee Davide Massa with no choice but to give the goalkeeper his marching orders.
Marseille scored a third with 28 minutes played. A corner from Amine Harit found Leonardo Balerdi, who headed in past substitute goalkeeper Franco Israel, who failed to claim from the corner, adding to the list of goalkeeping errors in the match.
Chancel Mbemba sealed the victory for Marseille with just six minutes from time, to give the French side all three points in Group D.
In the other game in Group D, Eintracht Frankfurt and Tottenham Hotspur played out a goalless draw in Germany, leaving both sides with four points in the group.
Marseille remains bottom of Group D, however, have no closed the gap between all the teams in the group.
Sporting remains top of the group, however, will want to bounce back swiftly from a poor display in France.
Group E: Chelsea ease past lacklustre AC Milan side
Chelsea bounced back from a poor start to their Champions League campaign, by putting three goals past AC Milan at Stamford Bridge.
Graham Potter’s side went in front after 24 minutes. Wesley Fofana managed to tap in from a corner kick scenario, to put the Blues one up.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang doubled Chelsea’s lead in the second half, to put the Blues in full control.
Reece James sealed the victory for Chelsea with 61 minutes played. The full-back pushed forward and was on the end of a pass by Raheem Sterling. James fired into Milan goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu’s near post, to claim all three points for the Blues.
Salzburg went top of Group E, after overcoming Dinamo Zagreb at home.
Noah Okafor scored from the spot, in what was his third consecutive game in which he scored a goal in the Champions League, to give the Austrian side the first win of their Champions League campaign.
Dinamo remains bottom of the group, with Milan and Chelsea just above them by one point, with just two points separating all the teams in Group E, in what is one of the toughest groups in this year’s competition.
Group F: Leipzig see off Celtic in the crucial group game
RB Leipzig picked up three vital points at home to Scottish Champions Celtic, who are now desperate for points in order to stay in the Champions League.
Christopher Nkunku gave Leipzig the lead after 27 minutes, with the French attacker rounding Joe Hart to slot into an empty net.
Celtic found an equaliser early in the second half, after Portuguese winger Jota was played in on goal by Kyogo Furuhashi, and stayed composed to place it into the bottom corner, with Leipzig substitute goalkeeper Janis Blaswich having little chance of saving it.
Leipzig retook the lead in the 64th minute. After Dominik Szoboszlai’s goal was ruled out for offside, André Silva capitalised on a poor pass by Joe Hart, to give the hosts the lead once again.
Silva bagged a brace to seal the game for Leipzig, after tapping in at the back post, to give the German side a vital win in the Champions League.
Real Madrid registered 36 shots in a 2-1 over Shakhtar Donetsk in the other game of Group F.
All the action unfolded in the first half. Rodrygo gave Madrid the lead, with Vinicius Junior doubling their advantage in the 28th minute.
Oleksandr Zubkov gave Shakhtar some hope in the 39th minute, after adding his name to the scoresheet, however, it would ultimately be a consolation for the Ukrainians.
Donetsk remains in a healthy position however in Group F, sitting in 2nd with four points from the nine possible.
Madrid remains top with maximum points so far, with Celtic sitting bottom with just a point after their loss to Leipzig, who are above them with three points in third.
Group G: Dortmund extend advantage over Sevilla in vital victory
Borussia Dortmund cemented their status in the top two of Group G, after securing all three points in Sevilla with a 1-4 victory over Julen Lopetegui, in a game which would ultimately be his last.
Dortmund took the lead through Raphaël Guerreiro inside ten minutes, with a superb strike past Sevilla goalkeeper Yassine Bounou.
The German side was 0-3 up going into the break. A Jude Bellingham toe-poke finish and a rebound from Karim Adeyemi, after good work by Youssoufa Moukoko, put the BVB in full control in Spain.
Sevilla got a goal back six minutes into the second half. A good corner by Manchester United loanee Alex Telles found Youssef En-Nesyri, who headed down into the corner to give Sevilla a lifeline.
However, Julian Brandt’s headed finish in the 75th minute sealed the win for Borussia Dortmund, giving them a vital victory over their Group G rivals.
Former Dortmund striker Erling Braut Haaland continued his goalscoring streak, after bagging a brace in Man City’s 5-0 win over FC Copenhagen at the Etihad Stadium.
Davit Khocholava’s own goal, added with a Riyad Mahrez penalty and Julian Alvarez tap-in secured the victory for City over Group G’s bottom side.
Man City remain top with the win after picking up maximum points. Dortmund remains 2nd, with the gap now five points between them and 3rd placed Sevilla, who sacked Lopetegui moments after their humiliating loss to the German side.
Group H: Benfica cancel out Messi’s goal to grab a point
Danilo Pereira’s own goal gave Benfica a point at home to Paris Saint-Germain, keeping both sides level on points at the top of Group H.
Lionel Messi gave PSG the lead just 22 minutes into the game. Neymar set up the Argentine, who curled a shot past Benfica goalkeeper Odisseas Vlachodimos to put the French side 0-1 up in Portugal.
Benfica found an equaliser just before halftime. A cross from Enzo Fernandez on the left side came off Danilo Pereira, which found the net to make it all square.
Just after halftime, Neymar hit the crossbar with an overhead kick effort, inches away from giving PSG the lead once again.
Vlachodimos was called into action to make a brilliant save from a curled Kylian Mbappe effort.
Benfica nearly won it with less than ten minutes left. Rafa Silva ran through the whole PSG back line, only for his shot to be saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma, and his rebound fired over.
The game finished in a 1-1 draw, leaving both sides on seven points at the top.
Juventus found their first points in Group H, after beating Israeli side Maccabi Haifa 3-1 at home.
Adrien Rabiot bagged a brace, with Dusan Vlahovic also getting on the scoresheet, to give Juventus some hope in their quest to stay in the UEFA Champions League this season.
Din David scored a consolation goal for Haifa, who remain bottom of the group, without a point in the group so far this campaign.
Juve remains 3rd, however, have made ground on Benfica and PSG above.
For more on all Football and continued Champions League coverage each week, check out the Football section of the World in Sport website here: https://worldinsport.com/category/news/football/