Almost in the blink of an eye we reached the second day of the group stage of this edition of the UEFA Champions League. There have been so major surprises along with results that most people were expecting but there is no denying that this competition always has something to offer and this matchday hasn’t been any different. Let’s begin!
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) October 5, 2023
At Old Trafford, Manchester United received Galatasaray in what was one of the surprises of the week. Rasmus Hojlund started the game very well and was even the one who scored the first goal of the game although only four minutes later, a former United player, Wilfried Zaha, would score the equalizer. The Red Devils were better during the development of the match and even managed to have the advantage again after another goal from Hojlund who had already had one disallowed for offside, however, United are weak in defense and again, after 4 minutes, conceded the tie.
Galatasaray would win the match after an error by United goalkeeper Andre Onana that led to Casemiro being sent off and a penalty in favor of the Turkish side that Argentinian striker Mauro Icardi would miss but the former Inter Milan man would redeem himself a few minutes later. Galatasaray won 3 to 2.
On the other fixture, Danish giants Copenhagen faced Bayern Munich in Denmark, in a more even match than it seemed on paper. In fact, the Danes took the lead with Lerager’s goal but could not hold on to the result and the individual hierarchy of the Bavarian team prevailed and managed to come back with goals from Musiala and Tel.
Here one of the main surprises of the matchday occurred (perhaps the main one). Despite the fact that Arsenal started winning with Gabriel Jesús’ goal, RC Lens was able to recover and managed to tie the match. With this, the Gunners began to tilt the pitch towards the French club’s side, but they found Samba who was insurmountable. Finally, Lens would take advantage of a counterattack scored by Sepe Wahi to leave the score at 2-1.
The match between PSV and Sevilla was the definition of equality since the development was very balanced and the final result was, logically, a draw. Gudelj took advantage of a mistake by the Dutch defense to score the first goal in the 68th minute and it would not be until the 86th minute when De Jong scored a penalty caused by Sergio Ramos’ foul on Tillman. The Andalusian team needed less than a minute (literally starting the play from the center kick after the penalty) to regain the advantage thanks to a header from En-Nesyri that, incredibly, was not definitive since Teze scored the final equalizer just one minute before the match ends.
In Germany, Union Berlin faced Portuguese side Sporting Braga in what was another exciting match that involved one more impressive comeback. The Germans took the lead with Sheraldo Becker’s double, but the Portuguese managed to tie the game with goals from Niakaté and Bruma. In the 94th minute, when the tie seemed definitive, a great low shot by André Castro beat the German goalkeeper and meant a 3-2 victory for Braga.
At the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium, Napoli received the 14-time champions of the competition, Real Madrid, who arrived with their stellar trident of Bellingham-Vinicius-Rodrygo. The Englishman had a great game that helped his team overcome Ostigard’s initial goal, first by assisting Vinicius and later by scoring himself after a great individual play.
In the 54th minute, Zielinski would score the equalizer from a penalty after a controversial play by Nacho. However, Real Madrid do have a great Champions League tradition and in the 78th minute, Fede Valverde made a very strong shot that hit the crossbar and bounced off Meret’s back and went in, giving the Spanish team a 3-2 victory.
Real Sociedad visited Red Bull Salzburg, to whom they were much superior and quickly making the difference in the match. The goals from Oyarzabal and Brais Méndez in the first half were enough for the San Sebastian team to keep the 3 points despite the fact that the Austrian team had signs of reaction in the second half although they were unable to make a comeback.
In the other group match, Inter and Benfica played a fairly even match where goalkeepers Sommer and Trubin had a lot of work. The Italians were better in counterattacks, free kicks and corners but were not comfortable with possession of the ball. The first half of the second half was the best moment of the game for Inter, who had two shots at Lautaro’s post and the only goal of the game, that of Marcus Thuram.
In one of the early matches on Wednesday, Atlético de Madrid faced Feyenoord, who managed to take the lead at the beginning of the game with an unfortunate play for Mario Hermoso, who scored an own goal after a stop by Oblak. Morata scored the equalizer although Feyenoord continued to press and managed to take the lead again with Hancko’s goal. Just seconds before the end of the first half, Griezmann resolved a dispute in the Dutch team’s box with a bicycle kick. Shortly after the start of the second half, a cross from Molina was finished off by Morata, leaving the final 3-2 that could not be changed despite Feyenoord’s push.
The other home side in this group, Celtic, didn’t manage to hold unto the lead they crafted in the 12th minute through Japanese starlet Kyogo Furuhashi as Lazio made a very significant comeback for their Champions League aspirations. Uruguayan midfielder Matias Vecino scored in the 29th minute to equalize for the Italians and then former Barcelona forward Pedro, who knows a thing or two about the competition, scored in the dying minutes to secure the away side’s triump.
More than 20 years later, the Champions League anthem was heard again at St. James Park and Newcastle United lived up to the event and there was nothing better than doing so against a powerful team like PSG. The Magpies gave up possession of the ball but they did not do so in creating a goal opportunity as Newcastle took advantage of the Parisian team’s defensive deficiencies to achieve a 3-goal lead. Lucas Hernández managed to score a goal although Fabian Schar would regain the 3-goal advantage for Newcastle, leaving the match with a score of 4-1.
While the Newcastle match would be talked about a lot in the coming days, the same can’t be said of Borussia Dortmund’s 0-0 draw with AC Milan. In terms of goalscoring opportunities, it was fairly even, although Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan perhaps had a bit more work to do, and the Germans would be disappointed that they didn’t get the three points at home.
City visited Leipzig in a match in which the English showed themselves superior but until the 84th minute they were tied at one goal, the one scored by Foden for the Manchester team and by Openda for the Germans. In the 78th minute, Julian Alvarez came on for Foden and changed the game with a great goal in the 84th minute and an assist to Doku in the 92nd minute.
Serbian giants Red Star had a bit of a thriller at home against Swiss team Young Boys as they drew 2-2. It was a fairly back and forward game, although the home side had to rely on a Osman Bukari 88th minute goal to level the score, which would probably frustrate the Young Boys supporters.
Antwerp and Shakhtar Donetsk played a good game that provided the audience with five goals. The Belgian team made the Ukrainian team feel at home and managed to go ahead by two goals in the first half, but the Ukrainians reacted in the second half with a great Danylo Sikan who scored a brace and another goal from Rakitskyi that served to complete the comeback by 3 to 2.
FC Barcelona had to travel to Portugal to face FC Porto and the away side struggled to break the deadlock. It wouldn’t be until the end of the first half that Ferran Torres, who has enjoyed a very good season thus far, would score the first goal for Barcelona, although the three points weren’t easy as Gavi was sent off in the dying minutes, which is, of course, going to be a cause for problems in Xavi’s team.
👌 Bruma’s perfect curler
🍑 A peach from Álvarez
🌍 Schär’s worldie from range
🌪️ Bellingham’s solo brilliance
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) October 4, 2023