Tuesday 12th September 2017 – Group A,B,C and D opening games
Celtic were absolutely hammered by classy PSG. We can’t be mad; the French side will likely win the tournament. I was amongst many a Celtic supporter last night who commented on the fact that no one in Europe, as it stands, is better than this side. They have world class players from back to the front. The newly formed MCN ripped the Hoops apart. Neymar scored the opener, Mbappe doubled the lead and Edinson Cavani scored two. Mikel Lustig’s own goal added the fifth.
This was to be Celtic’s worst European defeat at home. Neymar, the most hated man in the East End of Glasgow, has now scored five Champions League goals in five games at Parkhead, while also conjuring up seven assists.
This was the best bit of football I have ever seen at Celtic Park. I was mesmerized watching PSG pass the ball around the field so strategically, with a touch of elegance to every kick of the ball. I stood to applaud when the final whistle blew; they were majestic.
Celtic will have to battle it out with Belgian side Anderlecht, who also fell to an opening game defeat to Bayern Munich. Goals from Lewandowski, Alcantara and Kimmich gave Bayern a 3-0 victory at home against 10-man Anderlecht. Sven Kums, unfortunate name, was sent off 11 minutes into the game after conceding a penalty which Lewandowski consequently scored from. As they battle it out with PSG for the top-seed.
Lionel Messi continues to prove he’s the best in the world scoring a brace as his side breezed past Juventus with a 3-0 victory at Camp Nou. Sporting Lisbon saw off a late comeback after taking an early two goal lead in Greece. Bruno Fernandes added a third in the second half, which proved crucial towards the end of the game, following Felipe Pardo’s brace which wasn’t quite enough to salvage a point for the Greeks.
Chelsea battered FK Qarabag in their Group C opening game. Goals from Pedro, Zappacosta, Azpilicueta, Bakayoko and Batshuayi, including a Medvedev own goal, gave the Londoners a 6-0 home victory. Zappacosta’s finish to make it 2-0 is sublime! Check that out below. Roma and Atletico Madrid came away with a share of the spoils as they played out a goalless draw in the Italian capital. Both keepers were kept busy, saving shot after shot after shot.
Manchester United got a 3-0 victory at home to Basel. Goals from Fellaini, Lukaku and Rashford got the Red Devils off the mark in Group A. Fellaini was brought on to replace Paul Pogba who pulled up with a hamstring injury just 19 minutes into the game. This could be a concern for Mourinho going forward. The injury proved to be a blessing in disguise when the Belgian opened the scoring in the 34th minute. Group A opposition CSKA Moscow beat Benfica 2-1 in Portugal; a huge statement from the Russian side to take all three points away from home. Benfica will feel hard done by when a penalty was rewarded for a hand ball in the box. Almeida was the man who received a yellow card for the hand ball but he will feel aggrieved as his hands were clearly by his side as Berezutski’s shot was fired at him.
Wednesday 13th September 2017 – Group E, F, G and H opening games
Tottenham Hotspurs and Borussia Dortmund played out an exciing European encounter at Wembley Stadium. Son Heung-min opened the scoring then Yarmolenko equalized for Dortmund and then who else but ‘Arry Kane stepped up to put Spurs ahead four minutes after the score had been tied. Kane scored his second of the night an hour into the game but the talking point of the night was Jan Vertonghen’s sending off in stoppage time. It should be noted that Yarmolenko’s goal is a thing of beauty, get it watched! Don’t let the result fool you, this was a very close encounter. Pulisic was on fire! Definitely the one to watch this season. Should he continue to have such a huge impact on such a big game he’ll have big name clubs calling on him very soon. Dortmund will feel aggrieved after an Aubameyang goal was ruled to be offside. Should the goal have stood it would have been 2-2 with over half an hour to play. Things would have got very interesting indeed. But it wasn’t to be and Kane’s smart finish sealed all 3 points, and the Spurs go marching on on on.
No surprises that Real Madrid made light work of Apoel Nicosia with a 3-0 victory at the Bernabeu. No surprises again the Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brace. No surprises again that Real Madrid were awarded a penalty. However, It was a surprise that centre-back Sergio Ramos scored a over-head kick. CR7 may well have had a hat-trick if it were’t for goal line technology. Modern football eh?
Liverpool’s first Champions League game since 2014 ended in a 2-2 draw with their Europa League final opponents Sevilla. As he did in the 2017 final, Joaquin Correa cut through the Liverpool defence with ease to curl the ball past Karius to level the scoring at 2-2. Wissam Ben Yedder made a fool of the Liverpool back-line for the opening goal; scoring a tap in right in front of the mighty Kop End. Firminho equalized from a Moreno pass. Salah’s hard work paid off for the second goal, which was guided in as the ball struck the foot of Kjaer deflecting it past the goalkeeper Rico. Liverpool may well have taken all three points had Robert Firminho finished from the spot. The Reds were rewarded a penalty when Sadio mane was brought down in the box. But it wasn’t to be and Correa eventually scored the equaliser after many Liverpool chances went begging. The sour point of the evening was when Sevilla boss Eduardo Berizzo was dismissed for throwing the ball away when it went out of play. Ludicrous! Joe Gomez was also sent for an early shower, dismissed following a second yellow. Spartak Moscow drew 1-1 with Maribor in their Champions League opener. UEFA will have to take action following an incident in which a flare was fired at German referee Deniz Aytekin.
Manchester City won their opening game 4-0 in Turkey against Fenerbache. The goals come from John Stone (x2), Sergio Aguero and Jesus. Pretty standard victory, not much to say really. So many shots on target, not enough goals. Napoli fell to an opening game defeat, as Shaktar Donetsk seen the game out to win 2-1.
Besiktas sealed an away victory beating Porto 3-1 in Portugal. Tosun’s second is sublime! RB Leipzig played out a 1-1 draw with last years semi-finalists Monaco.
Thursday 14th September 2017 – Europa League opening games
AC Milan showed that their big summer spending wasn’t done in vain following their 5-1 win in their opening game against Austria Vienna. Their £34 million signing Andre Silva scored a hat-trick, Calhanoglu opened the scoring (£22 million) and Fernández Saez (Suso) scored the fifth. The Rossoneri are not here to mess about.
It would appear that non of the Italian teams are there to take part, but there to take over. Atalanta absolutely hammered Ronald Koeman’s Everton with a 3-0 victory for the Seria A side. Lazio also got in on the act coming from behind twice to beat Vitesse 3-2 in Holland.
French side Lyon drew with Apollon Limassol from Cyprus. Dynamo Kiev defeated Skenderbeu 3-1. Braga came away with the bragging rights (see what I did there) with their 2-1 win over Hoffenheim in Germany.
Why always me? Mario Balottelli was on the score sheet for Nice as they bowled over Belgian side Zulte Waregem with a 5-1 victory.
Osterunds beat Zorya Luhansk 2-0 in Ukraine. Taking the Swede’s top of the table above Athletic Bilbao who managed a draw with Hertha Berlin.
Arsenal came from behind to beat FC Koln 3-1 at the Emirates. Alexis Sanchez scored a fantastic solo effort, not to be missed. While you’re at it check out Cordoba’s long range finish. Peach! The talking point of the night has surely got to be Arsene Wengers pink jacket. Crvena Zvezda drew 1-1 with BATE Borisov.
Slavia Prague beat Maccabi Tel Aviv 1-0. Astana lost 3-1 to Villareal in Spain.
Real Sociedad made light work of Rosenborg with a 4-0 home victory. Zenit won 5-0 in Macedonia against FK Vardar. The Spaniards and the Russians look set to battle it out for the top spot.
There are too many games to comment on, so you can see the results by clicking here.
ONES TO WATCH
Celtic 0 – 5 PSG: https://youtu.be/wnbN8yS24gA
Bayern 3 – 0 Anderlecht: https://youtu.be/vB1O3oj0Y60
Barca 3 – 0 Juve: https://youtu.be/ErL9WRKNJSY
Sporting Lisbon 3 – 2 Olympiacos: https://youtu.be/XqH-QnXs8-0
Chelsea 6 – 0 Qarabag: https://youtu.be/m4A4dAnM9mc
Roma 0 – 0 Atletico: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGlGi-OO6w0
Man U 3 – 0 Basel: https://youtu.be/Lj8RjXAt2XE
Benfica 1 – 2 CSKA Moscow: https://youtu.be/ifTSrMo8umE
Tottenham 3 – 1 Dortmund: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iiQMT5UR9nU
Real Madrid 3 – 0 Nicosia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAWf5DXYtqo (fast forward to 2:42) OR https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZiGetEoa3g
Liverpool 2 – 2 Sevilla: https://youtu.be/JGwZErMgUZc
CAN’T FIND HIGHLIGHTS FOR NK MARIBOR V SPARTAK MOSCOW
Fenerbache 0 v 4 Manchester City: https://youtu.be/T24uu3ZOllQ
Shaktar Donetsk 2 – 1 Napoli: https://youtu.be/H_Zv45Q8q5M
Porto 1 – 3 Besiktas: https://youtu.be/6JOBPE9upVI
RB Leipzig 1 – 1 Monaco: https://youtu.be/-T4KuwxvQi8
Atalanta 3 – 0 Everton: https://youtu.be/igtBOnIuSLE
Arsenal v FC Koln: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uUEFiZ5ArM