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PIX: Liverpool cruise; Barcelona, Atletico stunned

Last updated on: October 05, 2022 06:31 IST
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A round-up of Tuesday's action in the UEFA Champions League.

Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates scoring Liverpool's first goal with Darwin Nunez in the Champions League Group A match against Rangers at Anfield, Liverpool, on Tuesday.

IMAGE: Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates scoring Liverpool's first goal with Darwin Nunez in the Champions League Group A match against Rangers at Anfield, Liverpool, on Tuesday. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters

Liverpool put their recent stutters behind them to comfortably beat Rangers 2-0 in the Champions League on Tuesday and move into second spot in Group A.

The win, thanks to a sumptuous first-half free-kick from Trent Alexander-Arnold and a second-half penalty by Mohamed Salah, put the six-times European champions on six points after three games - three points behind leaders Napoli.

The Scots, who barely threatened Liverpool to the disappointment of their passionate fans complete with a bagpipe-player, remain bottom of the group on zero points.

 

In need of a morale booster after their poor start to the Premier League, Liverpool's four-man attack of Salah, Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez swarmed over Rangers from the off. By contrast, the visitors' Colombian striker Alfredo Morelos was largely isolated.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp was delighted by his team's tidy and confident performance, albeit against obviously weaker opposition, especially the first goal from Alexander-Arnold whom he had defended from recent criticism.

Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring Liverpool's second goal from the penalty spot.

IMAGE: Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring Liverpool's second goal from the penalty spot. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

Alexander-Arnold, whose chances of making England's World Cup squad are in the balance after recent below-par displays, struck a superb free kick over the wall and past Rangers keeper Allan McGregor in the seventh minute to raise the roof off Anfield.

Liverpool's Nunez could have had a hat-trick in the first half as McGregor pulled off four saves in succession from the Uruguayan striker.

But it was Salah who scored the second from the penalty spot in the 53rd minute after Diaz was brought down in the box.

The so-called "Battle of Britain" clash underlined the gulf in quality between the top flight divisions in England and Scotland.

Rangers looked drained and exhausted trying to stem Liverpool's attacks as the intuitive Thiago Alcantara blocked attacks and fed through balls from midfield.

Virgil van Dijk, who has been in the firing line for Liverpool's leaky defence of late, was barely troubled at the back, although Rangers substitute Rabbi Matondo did force a goal line clearance from Kostas Tsimikas in the dying minutes.

Calhanoglu scores as Inter Milan sink Barcelona

Hakan Calhanoglu, centre, celebrates scoring what turned out to be the all-important goal for Inter Milan's in the Group C match against Barcelona at San Siro, Milan, Italy.

IMAGE: Hakan Calhanoglu, centre, celebrates scoring what turned out to be the all-important goal for Inter Milan in the Champions League Group C match against Barcelona at San Siro, Milan, Italy. Photograph: Daniele Mascolo/Reuters

Inter Milan bounced back after two consecutive losses in Serie A with a crucial Champions League 1-0 win against Barcelona thanks to a Hakan Calhanoglu goal.

The Turkish midfielder slotted home a clinical strike from just outside the area, with the ball going into the corner to the goalkeeper’s right in added time before the break.

The home win lifted Inter to second place in Group C on six points, three behind leaders Bayern Munich and three in front of Barcelona.

Inter and Barca will face each other again next week at the Camp Nou when a third loss in four games would leave Barca in danger of being knocked out of the Champions League at the group stage for the second consecutive season.

Inter came into the match having lost four of their previous six games in all competitions and are ninth in Serie A, four points from the European qualification spots and eight behind leaders Napoli and Atalanta.

Barcelona, by contrast, arrived as the new LaLiga leaders and with striker Robert Lewandowski on a roll, having scored in six consecutive LaLiga match weeks.

But the Polish star forward made no impression at the San Siro, ending with no shots on target, having been neutralized by Inter’s five-man defence.

In the 24th minute, Barcelona got a break when a potential penalty for a handball by Eric Garcia inside the box was ruled out by the VAR check which spotted a close offside in the build-up.

Inter Milan had a Joaquin Correa goal ruled out in the very next play for another off-side.

However, they manage to break the deadlock at the end of the first half with Calhanoglu's precise, low shot.

Ousmane Dembele was the lone bright spot for Barcelona up front, creating the few opportunities that Barcelona had despite dominating the ball possession.

The French winger had two cross-shots that went just wide in the first half and thundered a close-range shot off the right post midway through the second half.

Dembele kept insisting until he placed a perfect cross in Pedri's path but Barca’s potential equaliser was ruled out after the VAR check spotted a handball by Ansu Fati right before Pedri’s strike.

Barca pressed with long balls and crosses in the final minutes. Their players clamoured for a penalty in added time, complaining about a possible handball inside the box by substitute Denzel Dumfries. But after a VAR check the referee ruled there had been no infringement by the Dutch defender.

Brugge upset Atletico, stay unbeaten in Group B

Kamal Sowah celebrates scoring Club Brugge's first goal in the Champions League Group B match against Atletico Madrid at Jan Breydel Stadium, Bruges, Belgium.

IMAGE: Kamal Sowah celebrates scoring Club Brugge's first goal in the Champions League Group B match against Atletico Madrid at Jan Breydel Stadium, Bruges, Belgium. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

Goals from Club Brugge forwards Kamal Sowah and Ferran Jutgla saw the Belgians beat Atletico Madrid 2-0 at home and extend their unbeaten run in Champions League Group B this season.

The hosts took the lead in the 36th minute when Jutgla's low pass across the goal found Sowah, who tapped the the ball into an empty net for his second European goal in three games.

Jutgla doubled the lead in the 62nd after winger Tajon Buchanan calmly waited for the right moment to set up the Spaniard inside the box.

Atletico had a chance to get back into the match with a penalty 15 minutes later but Antoine Griezmann lashed the ball against the bar and moments later the Frenchman thought he had scored but his effort was ruled out for offside.

Brugge, who have yet to concede a goal in the campaign, remain top of the group on nine points. Atletico, Bayer Leverkusen and FC Porto have three points each after Porto picked up their first points with a 2-0 win against the Germans.

Brugge and Atletico will face each other again next Wednesday in the reverse fixture in Madrid.

Napoli hand Ajax Amsterdam a record defeat

Giacomo Raspadori celebrates scoring Napoli's fourth goal in the Champions League Group A match against Ajax Amsterdam at Johan Cruijff Arena, Amsterdam.

IMAGE: Giacomo Raspadori celebrates scoring Napoli's fourth goal in the Champions League Group A match against Ajax Amsterdam at Johan Cruijff Arena, Amsterdam. Photograph: Piroschka Van De Wouw/Reuters

Giacomo Raspadori netted twice as Napoli came from behind to deliver a masterclass and score a runaway 6-1 win at 10-man Ajax Amsterdam.

Captain Giovanni di Lorenzo, Piotr Zielinski, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and substitute Giovanni Simeone added the other goals for the Italian league leaders, after Mohammed Kudus had given the hosts the lead inside the opening 10 minutes.

Napoli, who might have scored more such was their dominance, have a 100 percent record at the halfway point in Group A, leaving Ajax with three points from their opening three games and in danger of missing out on next year’s knockout stages after their biggest defeat in European football.

Ajax coach Alfred Schreuder had warned on the eve of the game about the attacking threat that Napoli posed but, even then, would not have expected his team to be so thoroughly outsmarted.

Ajax, who had lost at Liverpool in their previous group game, went ahead in the ninth minute when Kenneth Taylor’s goal-bound shot hit team mate Kudus on the shin and deflected into the corner of the net.

It proved the only highlight for the packed house at the Amsterdam Arena as Napoli did not take long to work their way into the game, pressing Ajax into mistakes, cutting them apart with swift attacking moves and finishing with aplomb.

Raspadori equalised in the 18th minute with a diving header at the back post at the end of Mathias Olivera’s cross from the right.

A simple corner routine saw Georgian Kvaratskhelia, who produced another performance to emphasise his growing reputation in European football, deliver a cross for Di Lorenzo to power home a header for a second goal.

Napoli extended their lead on the stroke of half-time with Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa driving forward from his own half before setting up Zielinski to finish.

Two minutes after the break, Zambo Anguissa then stole possession as Ajax were caught trying to pass their way out of defence and set up Raspadori for his second goal.

Kvaratskhelia made it 5-1 in the 63rd minute, showing strength and guile in a simple one-two passing move with Raspadori.

The damage was already irreparable when Ajax captain Dusan Tadic was sent off and Napoli continue to press home their advantage, with Simeone scoring the sixth in the 81st minute.

The two clubs meet again next Wednesday in Italy where Napoli can make sure of progress to the next stage.

Misfiring Tottenham held by Eintracht Frankfurt

Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris thwarts Eintracht Frankfurt's Kristijan Jakic's as Ivan Perisic watches in the Champions Group D match at Deutsche Bank Park, Frankfurt.

IMAGE: Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris thwarts Eintracht Frankfurt's Kristijan Jakic's as Ivan Perisic, right, watches during the Champions Group D match at Deutsche Bank Park, Frankfurt. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Tottenham Hotspur squandered a string of chances and failed to get a shot on target for more than 80 minutes, settling for a 0-0 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt in Group D.

Spurs, who lost 3-1 at rivals Arsenal in the Premier League on Saturday, had plenty of opportunities through Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Ivan Perisic, especially in the first half, but have now gone seven European away matches without a win.

Europa League winners Eintracht and Spurs are both on four points from three matches, with Sporting in top spot on six despite their 4-1 loss at bottom club Olympique de Marseille, who have three points.

In an entertaining first half Tottenham's intensity was up from their London derby defeat and Kane had two chances in quick succession, narrowly failing to connect with Son's in-swinging delivery in the 27th and then firing just wide a minute later.

Perisic could have done better when his shot also missed the mark as Spurs lacked efficiency with their finishing.

The Germans, in their maiden Champions League campaign, remained solid at the back and had a golden opportunity through Ansgar Knauff but goalkeeper Hugo Lloris made a diving save.

Lloris became only the second French keeper to record more than 20 clean sheets in the Champions League by joining Fabien Barthez on 21.

Tottenham and Frankfurt meet again next Wednesday in London.

Porto beat Leverkusen for first win

Zaidu Sanusi celebrates scoring FC Porto's first goal in the Champions League Group B match against Bayer Leverkusen at Estadio do Dragao, Porto, Portugal.

IMAGE: Zaidu Sanusi celebrates scoring FC Porto's first goal in the Champions League Group B match against Bayer Leverkusen at Estadio do Dragao, Porto, Portugal. Photograph: Pedro Nunes/Reuters

Porto substitutes Zaidu and Galeno were both on target as they beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 to seal the Portuguese side's first victory in this season's Champions League group stage.

Nigerian defender Zaidu smashed home a perfect header in the 69th minute from a cross by forward Mehdi Taremi six minutes after coming on to replace Wendell.

Brazilian forward Galeno extended their lead in the 87th minute after his shot from inside the box found the net after taking a huge deflection off Leverkusen keeper Lukas Hradecky.

Leverkusen striker Callum Hudson-Odoi put the ball in the net in the 15th minute from the edge of the six-yard box but his effort was chalked off after a VAR review found midfielder Robert Andrich had fouled Porto forward Pepe Aquino in the build-up.

Taremi tapped in a cross in the 41st minute but his effort was also ruled out by VAR for handball, while Leverkusen were awarded a penalty just before halftime, but Patrik Schick's spot kick was superbly saved by Porto keeper Diogo Costa.

Porto are second in Group B, level with third-placed Leverkusen on three points after three games, while Club Brugge top the table with nine points after a 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid.

Marseille rally to thrash 10-man Sporting Lisbon

Leonardo Balerdi celebrates scoring Olympique de Marseille's third goal with teammates during the Champions League Group D match against Sporting CP at Orange Velodrome, Marseille, France.

IMAGE: Leonardo Balerdi celebrates scoring Olympique de Marseille's third goal with teammates during the Champions League Group D match against Sporting CP at Orange Velodrome, Marseille, France. Photograph: Eric Gaillard/Reuters

Olympique de Marseille secured their first Champions League win of the season when they recovered from a shaky start to outclass 10-man Sporting Lisbon 4-1 in an incident-packed Group D encounter at an empty Stade Velodrome.

The game, played behind closed doors after crowd trouble marred Marseille's home game against Eintracht Frankfurt, was delayed by more than 20 minutes following Sporting's late arrival at the stadium due to a traffic jam.

Francisco Trincao put the Portuguese visitors ahead after just 51 seconds when he picked up the ball on the right and curled a sublime left-footed effort into the bottom corner of the goal.

But Marseille turned the tide in the space of three frantic minutes, with Alexis Sanchez first scoring a freak equaliser when goalkeeper Antonio Adan smashed his clearance against the Chilean before Amine Harit nodded home in the 16th minute for the lead.

Adan's difficult evening came to a premature end seven minutes later when he was given a red card for handling outside the area, and the hosts made that advantage count instantly as Leonardo Balerdi beat his marker to score from Harit's corner.

Amorim's side frustrated Marseille after the break before Chancel Mbemba wrapped up the points in the 84th minute when he finished expertly following Sanchez's initial effort.

Sporting remain top of the group with six points from three games, with Marseille three points behind. Tottenham Hotspur were playing Eintracht later on Tuesday.

Bayern stroll past Viktoria Plzen to set new record

Serge Gnabry celebrates scoring Bayern Munich's second goal with Leon Goretzka in the Champions League Group C match against Viktoria Plzen at Allianz Arena, Munich.

IMAGE: Serge Gnabry celebrates scoring Bayern Munich's second goal with Leon Goretzka in the Champions League Group C match against Viktoria Plzen at Allianz Arena, Munich. Photograph: Michaela Rehle/Reuters

Bayern Munich struck three times in the opening 21 minutes en route to a 5-0 demolition of Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League to stay top of Group C and set a record for the longest unbeaten run in group matches.

Leroy Sane scored twice while Serge Gnabry, Sadio Mane and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting were also on target for the Germans, who have now gone 31 group matches in the competition without defeat, passing the mark set by Real Madrid.

They have also scored nine goals in their last two matches in all competitions after their 4-0 league win over Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday that ended a four-game winless run in the Bundesliga.

The Bavarians, who face Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga's Der Klassiker on Saturday, found no resistance from the Czechs and made the most of big gaps in their defence at every opportunity.

"The lads did it really well. That is how to approach a game," said Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann. "It was decided relatively quickly and then the game sort of trundled along."

"But that is also mature with an eye on Saturday, not to play out every attack. It was a good game to see that we are taking steps in the right direction."

Goals from Sane in the seventh minute, Gnabry five minutes later and Mane in the 21st quickly put the hosts in the driving seat.

Despite the absence of Thomas Mueller and Joshua Kimmich due to COVID-19, they completely overran their opponents with their slick passing game.

Jamal Musiala should have made it 4-0 in the 25th when he had only the keeper to beat but fired his effort against Marian Tvrdon.

The Germany international thought he had made amends in the 36th when he curled a shot past Tvrdon after a quick move by the Germans, but his effort was ruled offside.

Bayern, however, picked up where they left off after the break with Sane latching onto a perfectly lofted Mane pass to fire in five minutes after the restart.

Substitute Choupo-Moting scored with a shot off the post just before the hour mark to complete the rout and put Bayern top of the group on nine points from three games.

Inter Milan and Barcelona, both on three points, face each other later on Tuesday.

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