The most glamorous club football competition in the world, the UEFA Champions League and its less fancied sidekick, the Europa League returned on Tuesday the 17th of September and Thursday the 19th of September with some surprising results.
UEFA Champions League
The two finalists from the last edition suffered mixed results. Champions Liverpool lost 2-0 to Napoli in Italy. The fantastic three of Salah, Mane, and Firmino could do nothing to stop the Carlo Ancelloti led Italians from pulling what is fast becoming a usual victory over the Reds in Naples.
Harry Kane and co, once again let a two-goal advantage slip when they drew 2-2 with Greek champions Olympiakos, in Athens. Eden Hazard’s Real Madrid could not withstand the rampaging Neymar-less and Mbappe-less PSG who deservedly got a 3-0 victory in Paris. Angel di Maria, a former Galacticos now Parisian, was simply angelic on the night.
Barcelona and Dortmund churned out a frustrating 0-0 result in spite of the attacking riches in both clubs as well as the return of Lionel Messi. Phillipe Coutinho dominated proceedings as Bayern Munich expectedly dispatched Serbian Champions Red Star Belgrade with three unreplied goals at the Allianz Arena.
Robert Lewandowski, Kingsley Coman, and the ever consistent Thomas Mueller were the scorers. Mathijs De Ligt continued his woeful start to life in Turin as Juventus let a 2 goal lead slip at the Wanda Metropolitano.
For the first time in a while, Christiano Ronaldo was not able to score against Athletico Madrid in a pulsating 2-2 draw. Blaise Matuidi opened the scoring, while a screamer from Guadrado doubled the advantage for Juventus. Athletico got a lifeline when Stefan Savic headed in from a corner kick, then substitute Hector Herrera leveled matters for the Rojiblancos.
Manchester City showed their remarkable powers of recovery from the weekend howler against Norwich City by discharging Ukrainian Champions Shaktar Donetsk 3-0 in Donetsk. Riyad Mahrez, Ilkay Gundogan, and Gabriel Jesus were the names on the score sheet for the Citizens.
A young Chelsea team fell 0-1 to Valencia at Stamford Bridge in a dramatic encounter in which Ross Barkley missed a penalty. Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku could not help Inter Milan, as they could only muster a late equalizer against Czech minnows Slavia Prague in a 1-1 affair at the San Siro.
UEFA Europa League
Heavyweight Manchester United huffed and puffed against Kazakhstan Champions Astana in an unconvincing 1-0 victory at an unfilled Old Trafford. Mason Greenwood got the only goal in the 73rd minute.
Pierre Emerick Aubumayeng continued his remarkable scoring form as Arsenal picked a 3-0 away win over Eintracht Frankfurt. Europa League specialists Sevilla got a 3-0 away win over Qarabag with former United and West-Ham Striker Javier Hernandez on the score sheet.
Porto beat Young boys of Switzerland 2-1 at the Estadio Dragao, while the other English side in the completion Wolverhampton Wanderers fell to Portuguese side Sporting Braga, 0-1 at the Molineux. Edin Dzeko led Roma to a convincing 4-0 victory over Istanbul Basaksehir in the Stadio Olimpico.