Thursday, October 23, 2008

Uefa Champions League Matchday 3 - Tuesday Action

In Uefa Champions League Matchday 3 on Tuesday we saw GOALS! GOALS! GOALS! all the way and from every angel in every game. 36 goals across the 8 games, including two goals from Offside looking positions for Dietmar Berbatov, a briliant one from Alessandro Del Piero, Five different scorer’s for Arsenal (six if you include a Silvestre own goal) in Arsenal’s visit to ‘Hell’ made it a bit easier than thier visit to Hull, and nine goals in Villarreal’s game against Aaolborg just some of the many topsy turvy highlights on offer.


Juventus against Real Madrid was arguably the tastiest fixture on paper at the begining of the games, and it looked to all kick off when Del Piero scored inside five minutes with a beautiful strike that left Iker Casillas standing. The game never really ignited though. Real failed to perform in the first half, and Juve kept them out, and it looked to be over when Amauri scored a second half header. Real suddenly found thier grove, playing wider, and Ruud Van Nistolrooy got a unmarked header to put Real back in the game. Snijder hit the post, but it finished 2-1 to Juve.
The other game in that group was a draw, between BATE and Zenit St Petersberg. The Russian side completely dominated, but could easily have come away with nothing, a late goal from Tekke rescued a draw. The Zenit went even closer two minutes later when an almost identical cross from Arshavin was headed onto the post by Tekke.

At the half way stage, that group now looks like this:
Juventus 7
Real Madrid 6
Zenit St Petersburg 1

9 goals came in Villarreals win over Aalborg, it finished 6-3. Substitute Llorente grabbed a hat trick with a last minute goal, to cap off a remarkable match. Fans certainly got their money’s worth, whichever side they support. Villareal's Capdevilla scored two goals one for his club and another is own goal. Llorente replaced the ineffective Guillermo Franco at the interval and scored twice inside three minutes to give the hosts what proved an unassailable 4-2 lead. Villarreal had not conceded two goals in a game all season going into the clash, but did so inside the opening 45 minutes here. All five second-half goals came in a stunning 17-minute spell and 3 first half gaols came in another thrilling 8 minute spell.


Elsewhere, Celtic’s bad luck on the road continues, losing 3-0 to Man Utd in all-British clash after Dietmar Berbatov two suspiciously offside-looking goals and taking his Champions League tally to four goals. Wayne Rooney capped off the scoring at Old Trafford. Now Wayne Rooney, who now has nine in seven games for club and country, paid scant justice to United's total dominance. Celtic did not even make a fight of it, allowing Sir Alex Ferguson to gain the personal satisfaction of avenging a defeat at Parkhead on the last meeting between the teams two years ago. The absence of Rio Ferdinand with a groin strain was having a negligible impact on proceedings, although the contest was so one-sided, United lacked the edge needed to bring them towards top gear. In the early game Wayne Rooney's goal was disallowed.

At the Half Way Stage, That Group Looks Like This:
Manchester United 7
Villarreal 7
Celtic 1
Aalborg 1

In the group of Death, Bayern took on Fiorentina, and despite a shakey performance, La Viola couldn’t punish them, and the German side ran out 3-0 winners. Bayern took the chances that they had, early and late in the game, while Fiorentina scuffed their chances. That’s the difference at this level. Fiorentina were guilty of missing a hatful of chances. Miroslav Klose got Bayern off to the perfect start as he fired them into the lead in the fourth minute and Bastian Schweinsteiger doubled the hosts' advantage in the 25th minute. Fiorentina tried valiantly to get back into the match but it was not to be their night as chance after chance went begging before Ze Roberto added a stunning third right at the death.

Lyon had to fight back from behind to beat Steaua 5-3, a result which seems them move up to second in the group. The French side had gone down, and it looked like another miserable night for French sides in the CL, but the showed their fighting power, and attacking quality to come back. Karim Benzema and Fred grabbed braces as Lyon twice came from behind to emerge victorious in an eight-goal thriller against Steaua Bucharest and go clear in second place in Champions League Group F. In a pulsating end-to-end clash in the Romanian capital, Steaua capitalised on some desperate defending to go 2-0 then 3-2 in front before the break (Kader Keita and Benzema cancelled out goals in the opening 11 minutes by Arthuro and Dorin Goian, but Ovidiu Petre gave the hosts an interval advantage with a header on the stroke of half-time). The Romanians are bottom and still without a win, but with Bayern Munich beating Fiorentina on matchday three, Lyon's victory puts them three points clear of the Italians in second.

At the halfway stage The Group of Death looks like this
Bayern 7
Lyon 5
Fiorentina 2
Steaua 1

The intimidating atmosphere is always talked up when teams travel to Turkey, but it didn’t phase Arsenal tonight who ran out 5-2 winners, with five different scorers, Adebayour, Wallcott, Diaby, Song and new kid Ramsey all getting on the scoresheet. So did Mikel Silvestre, but it was at the wrong end. stunning first 21 minutes paved the way for Arsenal to beat Fenerbahce in their Champions League Group G match at the intimidating Sukru Saracoglu stadium in Istanbul. The profligate Daniel Guiza pulled a goal back in the 77th minute but it was too late to affect the outcome. It was the hosts' first defeat in Europe at home in 16 matches but in truth they were the architects of their own downfall. Both teams defended poorly and the only difference between the two was up front where Arsenal took their chances and Fenerbahce did not. Spain striker Guiza was the main culprit, squandering two excellent opportunities just before half-time which could have made it 3-3 at the interval and a much different proposition for Arsene Wenger's side.

The other game in that group was the dullest of the lot, with Dynamo Kiev nicking a 1-0 against FC Porto. A beautiful 30 yard free kick from Olexander Aliyev was the difference between the two sides. While Dynamo recorded their first Champions League win in 16 games, Aliyev's goal snapped Porto's unbeaten home run in Europe's premier team competition that had stretched back to 11 games. Dynamo moved up to second place in the group with five points from three matches, two behind leaders Arsenal who thrashed Fenerbahce 5-2. Porto tried their best to draw level but they were foiled by Dynamo's well organised defence.

Half way, and the group looks like this
Arsenal 7
Kiev 5
Porto 3
Fenerbache 1

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