Champions League, Matchday 4, Full Time Report

Matchday 4 of the 2014 Champions League is in the books and while it fell short of Matchday 3’s pyrotechnics in front of goal, there was still plenty of intrigue.

 

This round of fixtures offered a dreadful showing from all four EPL sides. Despite leading 3-0 at the Emirates, Arsenal was held to a draw after conceding three goals to pesky Anderlecht. While the Gunners are favorites to go through in Group D, catching group leaders Dortmund is likely an insurmountable task.

 

Jurgen Klopp’s side is one of just three unbeaten teams in the group stage after their dominant 4-1 display over Galatasaray.

 

In Group B, Liverpool fell 1-0 to Real Madrid (the second side with a 100 percent record) at the Bernabeu but improved from their 3-0 defeat at Anfield a fortnight ago. Basel put themselves in position to go through after their 4-0 thumping of Ludogorets at St. Jakob Park.

 

 

 

In Group E, Manchester City (2 points, 4th in group) put themselves in a dire position after a 2-1 loss to CSKA Moscow at the Etihad. Yaya Toure drew the Citizens level in the 8th minute but a first-half brace from Seydou Doumbia was too much for City to overcome.

 

After their 7-1 assault on the Giallorossi in Rome two weeks ago, Bayern Munich could only muster a 2-0 win over Roma at the Allianz. Die Roten are the other club with a perfect record through four CL matches.

 

In Group G, Chelsea switched off and narrowly escaped embarrassment away to Slovenian minnows NK Maribor. Maribor took a shock lead in the 50th minute after a surgical strike from Agim Ibraimi but Nemanja Matic answered in the 73rd minute. Eden Hazard missed an 86th-minute penalty and the match finished 1-1.

 

Sporting Lisbon did well to overcome Schalke 4-2 at the Estadio Jose Alvalade, leaving the group fairly wide open.

 

Group A is similarly poised for a photo-finish with only Atletico Madrid truly asserting themselves. Los Rojiblancos have won three on the trot after their 2-0 win over Malmo at the Swedbank Stadion. Juventus saw off Olympiakos in a 3-2 thriller in Turin. Atletico tops the group with nine points, followed by Juve and Olympiakos on six, while Malmo has a shout at three.

 

Group C will also be hotly contested over the next two fixtures, but surprising Bayer Leverkusen seem to have a leg up. Bayer came away with all three points after defeating Zenit 2-1 in St. Petersburg and top the group with nine. AS Monaco fell 1-0 away to Benfica but still sit second in the group on five points. Zenit and Benfica are also in good shape on four points.

 

Group F is a two-horse race with Paris St. Germain and Barcelona already qualified. PSG leads Barca by a point with the decider likely to be played between the two December 10th at Camp Nou. For the record, Barca defeated Ajax 2-0 and PSG took out APOEL 1-0.

 

 

 

In Group H, Shakhtar Donetsk continued their dominance over BATE Borisov with a 5-0 display at the Donbass Arena in Lviv. Luiz Adriano is in the form of his life after registering his second hat trick against the Belarusian outfit; the 27-year old Brazilian scored five in Barysaw last time out.

 

Despite scoring 12 in two matches, Shakhtar still trail Porto by two points but are nearly certain to go through. Porto are already through after their 2-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao.

 

As per UEFA.com, Lionel Messi equaled Raul’s record of 71 Champions League goals with his brace against Ajax. It took Raul 142 CL matches to do so, while Leo did it in just 90 appearances. Cristiano Ronaldo is stuck on 70, failing to score in his 107th CL match against Liverpool.

 

-M.F. DiBella

Featured image courtesy of Fox Sports.

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