Rediff.com  » Sports » PIX: Toothless Barca held by Slavia; Liverpool go top

PIX: Toothless Barca held by Slavia; Liverpool go top

Last updated on: November 06, 2019 04:51 IST

A summary of Tuesday's Group stage matches in the UEFA Champions League.

Slavia Prague's Ondrej Kolar saves a shot from Barcelona's Lionel Messi

IMAGE: Slavia Prague goalkeeper Ondrej Kolar saves a shot from Barcelona's Lionel Messi during the Champions League Group F match at Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain, on Tuesday. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

Barcelona were booed off the pitch by their supporters as their patchy form continued with a 0-0 draw at home to Slavia Prague in their Champions League Group F game on Tuesday.

 

Ernesto Valverde's side had fallen to a 3-1 defeat at Levante in La Liga on the weekend and could not give the rousing response they craved, failing to break down a diligent and bold Slavia side.

With Luis Suarez injured, Barca lacked a cutting edge and visiting goalkeeper Ondrej Kolar produced an admirable display to shut out the Catalans, thwarting Lionel Messi and Sergi Roberto from close range in the second half.

Messi also struck the top of the post in the first period following a thrilling solo charge from his own half and then teed up Arturo Vidal for a tap-in late in the game but the effort was ruled out for offside against the Argentine.

"Playing like this it's difficult to see us winning the Champions League," said Barca defender Gerard Pique.

"We had chances to score but the ball wouldn't go in. Results aren't going our way in these last two games, and when you go two games without winning at Barca the fans expect more because expectations are so high."

Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen makes a save off Slavia Prague's Jan Boril.

IMAGE: Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen makes a save off Slavia Prague's Jan Boril. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

Barca lead the group on eight points after four games, while Slavia are bottom with two.

The Czechs, who were unfortunate to lose 2-1 at home to Barcelona two weeks ago, made a bright start and nearly took an early lead with a heavily-deflected shot which was repelled by the Catalans' goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

They did manage to find the net at the end of the first half but the goal was disallowed for a clear offside.

The visitors had bright spells in the second half although they did not manage to test Ter Stegen further, and angry boos and whistles rang out around the Camp Nou at fulltime.

"It's a difficult moment for us but the fans have the right to express how they feel and it's up to us to deal with it," said Barca defender Clement Lenglet.

"We knew Slavia were a dangerous opponent who had quality and we were not taken by surprise by them. We suffered at various stages of the game.

"We don't have any time to sit around and get worried, we have to keep working and play every three days. We're going to turn this around."

Hakimi shines as Dortmund fight back to beat Inter

Achraf Hakimi scores Borussia Dortmund first goal against Inter Milan

IMAGE: Achraf Hakimi scores Borussia Dortmund's first goal against Inter Milan, at Signal Iduna Park, in Dortmund, Germany. Photograph: Lars Baron/Getty Images

Borussia Dortmund defender Achraf Hakimi produced a blistering individual performance as he scored a brace to help his side overhaul a two-goal deficit to win 3-2 at home over Inter Milan in their Champions League Group F clash.

Lautaro Martinez and Matias Vecino fired Inter into a 2-0 first-half lead before Dortmund came storming back with Hakimi scoring either side of a Julian Brandt effort.

The result left Dortmund second in the group on seven points from four games, one behind leaders Barcelona and three ahead of third-placed Inter.

Bottom team Slavia Prague, who earned a 0-0 draw at Barca in the early kick off, have two points.

Inter were in complete control in the first half. But Dortmund's relentless pressure paid off after the break, with Hakimi pulling one back and then struck the winner after Brandt equalised with a fine finish from a tight angle.

Lyon beat Benfica to revive last-16 chances

Bertrand Traore scores Olympique Lyonnais's third goal against Benfica

IMAGE: Bertrand Traore scores Olympique Lyonnais's third goal against Benfica at Groupama Stadium, Lyon, France. Photograph: Emmanuel Foudrot/Reuters

Olympique Lyonnais revived their hopes of reaching the Champions League last 16 when first-half goals by Joachim Andersen and Memphis Depay helped secure a 3-1 win over Benfica.

Lyon, who had drawn their previous six home games in the competition, are second in Group G with seven points from four games, two behind RB Leipzig after the German side claimed a comfortable 2-0 win at Zenit St Petersburg.

Zenit are third on four points and Benfica, who reduced the arrears through Haris Seferovic before Bertrand Traore put the result beyond doubt, are bottom of the table on three.

Lyon travel to St Petersburg and Leipzig host Benfica in the penultimate round of matches on Nov. 27.

At the Groupama Stadium, hosts Lyon took the lead after four minutes when Andersen headed home Leo Dubois's fine cross.

Depay doubled the lead from close range, latching onto a cross from Houssem Aouar after 33 minutes before being replaced by Maxwel Cornet for the second half after feeling thigh pain.

Benfica stepped up a gear after the break and substitute Seferovic beat the offside trap to pull one back from close range in the 76th, the goal being awarded after a VAR review.

Traore, however, restored Lyon's two-goal lead a minute from time with a low cross-shot from inside the area.

Leipzig untroubled by Zenit in comfortable win

Marcel Halstenberg scores for Leipzig, but the goal is disallowed after a VAR review

IMAGE: Marcel Halstenberg scores for Leipzig, but the goal is disallowed after a VAR review, in the Group G match against Zenit Saint Petersburg, at Gazprom Arena, Saint Petersburg, Russia. Photograph: Anton Vaganov/Reuters

RB Leipzig were dominant as they followed up on last Saturday's eight-goal demolition of Mainz 05 in the Bundesliga by beating Zenit St Petersburg 2-0 away to stay top of their Champions League group on Tuesday.

Marcel Halstenberg thought he had given the visitors an early lead with a long-range shot, but the goal was chalked off following a VAR review for handball in the buildup by Christopher Nkunku.

Leipzig captain Diego Demme put the visitors ahead with a dipping shot through a crowded penalty area in first-half stoppage time, after Sardar Azmoun came close to giving Zenit the lead with a shot which trickled wide of the goal.

Leipzig, who enjoyed roughly two-thirds of the possession, surprisingly left their leading scorer Timo Werner on the bench. But he was brought on in the second half and was almost immediately involved in their second goal after 63 minutes.

Werner found Emil Forsberg, who slipped the ball through to Marcel Sabitzer, and the Austrian took the ball past goalkeeper Mikhail Kerzhakov with his first touch before slotting it into the net.

Chelsea, 9-man Ajax in thrilling draw

Reece James celebrates with teammates after scoring Chelsea's fourth goal against Ajax Amsterdam

IMAGE: Reece James celebrates with teammates after scoring Chelsea's fourth goal against Ajax Amsterdam, at Stamford Bridge, London. Photograph: David Klein/Reuters

Chelsea and nine-man Ajax Amsterdam battled to an incident-packed 4-4 draw in Group H, the hosts coming back from 4-1 down after scoring two own goals.

The result left both teams and Valencia, who beat bottom side Lille 4-1, on seven points at the top of the standings in a battle for two places in the last 16.

Ajax looked faster and slicker from the outset at Stamford Bridge. Only two minutes into the game Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta gave away a free kick and Tammy Abraham deflected Quincy Promes's whipped cross into his own net.

Less than three minutes later Chelsea were level after US forward Christian Pulisic surged into the Ajax area and was brought down. Jorginho calmly slotted home the penalty, sending keeper Andre Onana the wrong way.

But Ajax, who had won their last five Champions League away games, looked dangerous going forward. They were rewarded in the 20th when Moroccan winger Hakim Ziyech spun an inch-perfect cross into the area and Promes dived low to head it home.

Another free kick led to Ajax's third. Ziyech sent the ball from near the corner flag curling and spinning towards the far post where keeper Kepa failed to track it. The ball rebounded off the woodwork and went into the net off Kepa's face.

Chelsea came out flying after the break and looked to be building momentum but home hopes seemed crushed in the 55th when Ajax's wingers broke from their own half and Ziyech squared the ball for midfielder Donny van de Beek to poke home for 4-1.

Azpilicueta got a goal back for the hosts with a close range flick in the 63rd and soon after Stamford Bridge erupted.

Daley Blind was sent off for a second foul and Joel Veltman also saw red for a second infraction after handling in the area and arguing with referee Gianluca Rocchi.

Jorginho scored his second penalty in the 71st minute and Chelsea's substitute defender Reece James cut through Ajax's depleted defence with an angled shot three minutes later.

Azpilicueta then had a goal ruled out for a handball in the area as Chelsea fought for a winner in a stirring last 15 minutes but Ajax held out to share the spoils.

Valencia roar back in second half to thrash Lille

Dani Parejo scores Valencia's first goal from the penalty spot

IMAGE: Dani Parejo scores Valencia's first goal from the penalty spot after a VAR review against Lille, Mestalla, Valencia, Spain. Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters

Valencia breathed life into their hopes of qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League with a stunning second-half turnaround to beat Lille 4-1 at home.

Nigerian forward Victor Osimhen gave the French side a deserved lead in the 25th minute, but Valencia drew level in the 65th minute with an ice-cool 'Panenka' penalty from captain Dani Parejo.

The home side went ahead in the 82nd with an own goal from Lille defender Adama Soumaoro, who diverted Jose Gaya's low cross into the net.

French midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia stretched Valencia's lead two minutes later with an outstanding long distance strike, and substitute Ferran Torres rounded off the win with a coolly-taken finish in the 90th.

The victory puts the Spaniards third in Group H on seven points, level on points with leaders Ajax Amsterdam and second-placed Chelsea who played out a thrilling 4-4 draw. Lille are bottom with one.

"This was a crucial game for our chances to qualify and we needed to win it, we worked hard and played with purpose," said goalscorer Kondogbia.

"We reacted well after conceding and in the end we were much better than them which is why we scored four goals."

Valencia have had inconsistent results after sacking coach Marcelino in September and badly needed a win after conceding a stoppage-time equaliser to draw 1-1 away to Lille two weeks ago.

They produced a sluggish display in the first half, though, and fell behind when Osimhen fired past Jasper Cillessen after an attempted clearance from the home side took a ricochet and bounced into his path.

Rodrigo could have levelled on the stroke of halftime but was thwarted by a fine save from Mike Maignan and they were fortunate not to concede again when the lively Osimhen teed up Turkish forward Yusuf Yazici but he shot straight at Cillessen.

Lille would pay dearly for their wastefulness as defender Jose Fonte was penalised for handling the ball when he tried to block a cross and Parejo showed nerves of steel by calmly chipping the ball down the middle of the net.

The goal roused the Mestalla faithful and the players fed off their energy, producing a relentless finish to kill off their opponents.

Oxlade-Chamberlain strike takes Liverpool past Genk

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates scoring Liverpool's second goal in the Group E match against Genk

IMAGE: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates scoring Liverpool's second goal in the Group E match against Genk at Anfield, Liverpool. Photograph: Andrew Yates/Reuters

European champions Liverpool moved a step closer to qualifying for the Champions League knockout stage with a laboured 2-1 win over Belgium's Genk at Anfield on Tuesday.

Liverpool, who fielded a weakened side ahead of Sunday's top-of-the-table Premier League clash with Manchester City, top Group E with nine points after Napoli, who have eight, and Salzburg, on four, drew 1-1 in Italy.

Liverpool took an early lead through Georginio Wijnaldum before Ally Mbwana Samata levelled in the 41st but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain got the winner eight minutes into the second half.

"Every game is tough in the Champions League. It's a boring saying but it's true. We need to finish the job now. We are in a good position," said left-back James Milner.

Napoli visit Anfield on Nov. 27 with Liverpool hoping to guarantee qualification for the last 16 before their final group game at Salzburg on Dec. 10.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp named forwards Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane as substitutes, giving a start to Belgian striker Divock Origi against the club where he began his career as a youth player.

The home side took the lead in the 14th minute with a close-range effort from Wijnaldum after James Milner's low cross from the left bounced off Sebastien Dewaest and fell to the Dutchman who scooped home.

Klopp's side had several chances to extend their lead but lacked the killer touch in front of goal with Mohamed Salah below his usual level of sharpness, wasting a good chance by blasting wide after another slip-up from Dewaest.

However, against the run of play, Liverpool were pegged back four minutes before the break, when Tanzanian striker Samatta met Bryan Heynen's corner with a superbly-angled near-post header.

Again, Liverpool were on top after the interval, with Origi missing a good chance and Virgil van Dijk flashing a header just wide.

Oxlade-Chamberlain, playing in a less familiar advanced role, restored the hosts' advantage in the 53rd, collecting a neat pass from Salah on the edge of the box and beating Genk keeper Gaetan Coucke with a low drive on the turn.

Liverpool were comfortably in control from then on but keeper Alisson Becker had to be alert nine minutes from the end to push out a dangerous shot from the impressive Heynen.

Genk, who remain without a win in the group stage and are bottom with one point, can take some heart from a performance which caused Klopp's side plenty of frustration at an unusually quiet Anfield.

Napoli held by Salzburg as Haaland strikes again

Erling Braut Haaland scores Salzburg's first goal from the penalty spot in the Group E match against Napoli

IMAGE: Erling Braut Haaland scores Salzburg's first goal from the penalty spot in the Group E match against Napoli, at Stadio San Paolo, Naples, Italy. Photograph: Ciro De Luca/Reuters

Napoli gave another erratic performance as they hit the woodwork twice, wasted a hatful of chances and looked shaky at the back in a 1-1 draw at home to Salzburg.

Salzburg's teenage forward Erling Braut Haaland continued his prolific season by putting the Austrian champions ahead from a penalty, his seventh goal in four games in Group E and his 23rd of the season in all competitions.

Hirving Lozano equalised with a superb strike one minute before halftime but, despite carving out more openings in the second half, Carlo Ancelotti's side missed their chance to book a knockout-stage place with two games to spare.

Napoli, who had 30 shots on goal but only three on target, dropped to second in the group with eight points, one below Liverpool, while Salzburg are third with four despite being the group's topscorers with 12 goals.

Both sides missed early chances before Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly gave away a penalty with a clumsy tackle on Hwang Hee-chan and 19-year-old Norwegian Haaland continued his remarkable scoring run from the spot in the 11th minute.

Napoli, winless in four games, continue to misfire in attack.

Jose Callejon saw a header bounce off the far post and Lorenzo Insigne twice swept the ball over from similar positions near the edge of the penalty area as he failed to keep his composure.

Napoli finally levelled with their 16th attempt on goal. Insigne slipped the ball inside to Lozano who was surrounded by Salzburg defenders but the Mexican still managed to score with a snooker-like shot from the edge of the area which found a tiny gap between Carlos Coronel and his near post.

The pressure continued in the second half as Lozano flashed a shot over the bar and there was a lucky escape for Coronel when Insigne caught him napping with a 30-metre lob which struck the crossbar, hit the goalkeeper's head and went out for a corner.

Insigne sent another effort wide after a clearance was sent straight to his feet and Fernando Llorente headed wide from a corner, leaving Ancelotti with plenty to ponder.

Source: source
© Copyright 2019 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.
SHARE THIS STORYCOMMENT

close

<<

More from rediff

>