Champions League Matchday Two Round-Up (groups E-H): Man United run riot at Old Trafford as Barcelona edge victory in Turin


The second night of Champions League matchday two action saw 22 goals scored across eight games, as the likes of Manchester United and FC Barcelona edged nearer to qualification for the round of 16.

Group E

Frank Lampard’s Chelsea featured in the early kickoff, as they faced a trip to Russia to face FC Krasnodar. The Blues hadn’t in their last two matches, grinding out goalless draws against Sevilla and Manchester United. However, their opponents had only notched up one win in all competitions so far in October, including a 1-1 draw with Rennes on matchday one.

With Chelsea fielding a full strength team, it wasn’t a surprise to see them ease to a 4-0 victory. Callum Hudson-Odoi, who’s struggled for game time so far this season, made up for Jorginho’s earlier penalty miss by scoring the opener late into the first half. A late flourish of goals came after Timo Werner buried his spot-kick, followed by a first Chelsea goal for Hakim Ziyech and a fourth off the bench from Christian Pulisic.

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The later game in group E saw Sevilla host Rennes at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán. The away side were flying high in their league campaign as early leaders, now sitting third in Ligue 1, while Sevilla dropped to 13th in La Liga after consecutive losses. However, it was the Andalusians who dominated proceedings, but struggled to find the clinical edge to put them ahead against in the first half.

It took just ten minutes of the second period for them to finally open the scoring, as Luuk de Jong tucked the ball into the Rennes net after a superb ball from Marcos Acuña. Sevilla were unable to add to their lead, but had no troubles in seeing out the game to pick up their first win of the group stage.

The results see Chelsea top the group on goal difference after their comfortable win in south Russia, while Sevilla currently occupy second place after their home win against Rennes.

Group F

Group F saw Lazio travel to Belgium in the midst of a crisis. The Italians were missing multiple first team players, reportedly after a batch of Covid-19 tests returned as positive. This meant that the likes of Ciro Immobile, Luis Alberto and Lucas Leiva missed out on the clash against Club Brugge.

So perhaps it was a surprise to see I Biancocelesti in the lead after just 14 minutes, as Joaquin Correa curled a superb shot past Simon Mignolet to give his side the lead. With the Belgians piling the pressure on, the equaliser came through an unnecessary penalty given away by Spanish centre-back Patric. Hans Vanaken didn’t need to be asked twice, as he comfortably slotted the ball past Pepe Reina to level the scores and earn the home side a point.

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2013/14 finalists Borussia Dortmund hosted Russian champions Zenit St Petersburg in the other Group F game. The two sides headed into the clash desperate for their first win of the tournament, with Dortmund losing 3-1 away at Lazio and Zenit falling to a 2-1 home loss against Brugge on matchday one.

Despite Lucien Favre’s side being strong favourites, they struggled to break down their Russian opponents, despite having the vast majority of the ball throughout the game. Zenit eventually buckled under the pressure in the 78th minute, however, as Thorgan Hazard was brought down by Vyacheslav Karavaev inside the penalty area. Jadon Sancho tucked away the spot-kick before Erling Håland raced through on goal to knock in Dortmund’s second goal in added time.

A win and a draw from their first two games of the group F see Lazio top of the group on goal difference while Club Brugge occupy second place. Favre’s Dortmund sit in third after picking up their first victory, as winless Zenit sit last in the group after two losses.

Group G

Barcelona’s trip to Turin was set to see another chapter in the rivalry of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but the Portuguese superstar missed the clash due to a positive Covid test earlier in the month. Both Barcelona and Juventus have had tough stars to their respective league campaigns, with Ronald Koeman’s men sat 12th in La Liga and Andrea Pirlo’s side fifth in Serie A.

Despite Ronaldo’s absence, this was always going to be the biggest clash in group G, and Barcelona found themselves ahead after just 15 minutes. Ousmane Dembélé’s strike took a heavy deflection off Federico Chiesa and flew past Wojciech Szczesny in the Juventus net. The Italian champions piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser, with Álvaro Morata scoring a hattrick of disallowed goals before Lionel Messi tucked home a late penalty to seal the win for Barcelona.

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Hungarian champions Ferencváros hosted Dynamo Kyiv in the other match in group G. The home side lost 5-1 at Camp Nou to FC Barcelona in matchday one, while their Ukrainian opponents fell to a 2-0 defeat at home to Juventus. The away side didn’t seem fazed by travelling to Hungary, where a reduced number of fans were allowed to attend the match, as they went 1-0 up inside half an hour thanks to a penalty from Viktor Tsygankov.

It took just over 10 minutes for them to double their lead, as former Middlesbrough midfielder Carlos de Pena tucked home a second goal before half time. However, Ferencváros came out as a rejuvenated side in the second half, getting a goal back on the hour mark through Togmac Nguen, before Franck Boli nicked a 90th minute equaliser for the hosts.

Barcelona’s win at the Allianz Stadium sees them top of group G after two games, with Pirlo’s Juventus in second. Dynamo Kyiv and Ferencváros sit level on points, with the Ukranian side in third on goal difference.

Group H

Group H was headlined by RB Leipzig’s trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United. Despite a poor start in the league, the Red Devils earned a surprise 2-1 win away at PSG on matchday one, while Leipzig saw out a 2-0 victory at home to İstanbul Başakşehir.

Playing up top next to Anthony Martial in a 4-4-2 diamond formation, Mason Greenwood opened the scoring for Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s men after just 22 minutes. The away side pushed for an equaliser, but eventually fell two goals down. Substitute Marcus Rashford was superbly played through by Bruno Fernandes, he beat the offside trap and fired past Péter Gulácsi in the Leipzig net to double United’s lead.

Suddenly, the floodgates opened. Rashford was once again in behind Leipzig’s defence to add a third, before a poor challenge from Marcel Sabitzer allowed Anthony Martial to add a fourth from the penalty spot. Rashford rounded out the romp with another goal to seal his hat-trick, a 5-0 win for Manchester United and the heaviest defeat for Julien Nagelsmann in his managerial career.

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İstanbul Başakşehir welcomed PSG to Turkey in the other early kickoff, with both teams searching for their first points of the season. Thomas Tuchel has been under pressure after a poor league start and their home loss to Man United, although Les Parisiens now sit top of Ligue 1. The home side have also had a fairly torrid season so far, picking up just seven points from their opening six Turkish Super League games, and losing in Leipzig on matchday one of the Champions League.

Neymar’s early injury coupled with a rare off day from Kylian Mbappé meant that the French champions struggled to break down their opponents in the first half. Although in the second half, the spotlight turned to Moise Kean, who had recently arrived in the French capital from Everton after a disappointing spell in Merseyside. The Italian striker tucked away the opener just after the hour mark, before rounding out the game with his first Champions League brace to earn PSG a 2-0 win.

Manchester United now sit three points clear at the top of Group H with a goal difference of +6, while PSG sit in second over RB Leipzig due to goal difference. İstanbul Başakşehir still sit bottom without a win, and face a visit from Manchester United next week.


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East Anglian football editor for Prost International.

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