The 2021-22 UEFA Champions League trudges on with the third set of matches of the group stage. Here is a recap of crucial and fun matches of this week.
Liverpool upend La Liga champs
2019-20 English Premier League champion Liverpool defeated 2020-21 La Liga titleholder Atlético Madrid, 3-2, in a thrilling skirmish of recent domestic crown owners.
Mo Salah powered the Reds to victory with a brace, his 78th-minute penalty conversion turning out to be the game-clincher. His eighth minute goal and Naby Keïta’s at the 13th gave Liverpool the headstart.
However, this was erased by Antoine Griezmann, who had a brace of his own, by the 34th minute. But then, he was sent to the showers in the early part of the second half to the disappointment of the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano crowd.
Big clubs win big
It pays to be a big fish as Real Madrid, Manchester City, and Chelsea had a dominating showing against their respective opponents.
Real Madrid, winless in their last three matches in all competitions, finally got out of their slump with a 5-0 stomping of Shakhtar Donetsk.
Shakhtar realized it would be a long evening when Serhiy Kryvtsov had an own goal to start the scoring spree for their opponents. Vini Jr then lit up in the 50-minute mark, scoring two five minutes apart.
Rodrygo had one of his own at the 65th minute. Finally, Karim Benzema added himself to the list of goalscorers by converting at the first minute of added time on the second half.
Meanwhile, Defending EPL champs Manchester City left Club Brugge eating dust, 5-1.
Riyad Mahrez logged a brace, with strikes at the 43rd and 84th minutes. João Cancelo was the first to find the back of the net, doing so at the 30th minute. Kyle Walker and Cole Palmer had one each for City on the second half.
Lastly, Hans Vanaken was responsible for Brugge’s consolation goal, completing the finish at the 81st minute.
Over on Group H, reigning UCL crown holders Chelsea made short work of Malmö, 4-0.
Jorginho also had a brace, courtesy of two penalties. Andreas Christensen had an early one at the ninth minute. Kai Havertz put the cherry on top at the 48th minute.
Barcelona, Bayern lead the way on Group E
FC Barcelona had a better week compared to the one they had before the international break, sneaking past Dynamo Kyiv, 1-0, after winning their La Liga match the past weekend.
Gerard Piqué continues to carry the banner for the Blaugrana in the post-Lionel Messi era, providing the lone incursion of the contest.
On the other hand, Bayern manhandled Benfica, 4-0.
Leroy Sané bookmarked the 14-minute goalfest, sending the ball past Odysseas Vlachodimos at the 70th and 84th minutes. Teammate Robert Lewandowski had one at the 82nd minute.
Everton Soares also scored, but at his team’s own goal, at the 80th minute.
Chaff and grain starting to separate on Group F
Manchester United might not be having the best of stints domestically, but they have proven to have better form at the Champions League. The Red Devils put one over Italian side Atalanta, 3-2, in come-from-behind fashion.
Marcus Rashford, Harry Maguire, and Cristiano Ronaldo had all of their goals on the second half. This was after they and their comrades conceded two goals on the first half.
In the other match of the group, Spanish club Villareal flogged Young Boys, 4-1.
Yeremi Pino and Gerard Moreno made it 2-0 for Villareal, the match still in the midteens. Neither club scored until the 77th minute, when Meschak Elia cut the deficit to half.
From there, it was all-El Submarino Amarillo, as Alberto Moreno and Samuel Chukwueze stringed together two goals with minutes to spare in the game.