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Rediff.com  » Sports » Champions League PIX: Liverpool whip Red Star, Barca sink Inter

Champions League PIX: Liverpool whip Red Star, Barca sink Inter

Last updated on: October 25, 2018 06:13 IST

In Wednesday's other matches, PSV Eindhoven and Tottenham drew 2-2, Club Burgge and Monaco were locked 1-1, Paris Saint Germain rallied to hold Napoli 2-2, Dortmund trounced Atletico Madrid 4-0, Lokomotive Moscow lost 1-3 to Porto and Galatasary and Schalke 04 drew goalless.

Mohamed Salah

IMAGE: Mohamed Salah scores Liverpool's third goal against Red Star Belgrade from the penalty spot during Thursday's UEFA Champions League Group C match at Anfield. Photograph: Peter Powell/Reuters

Mohamed Salah scored twice on a record-breaking night as Liverpool beat Red Star Belgrade 4-0 in Champions League Group C at Anfield on Wednesday to get their last-16 hopes back on track.

After their defeat at Napoli in their previous game, Juergen Klopp's side bounced back with his attacking trio again all delivering as Salah made it 50 goals for the club while Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane also both hit the target.

 

Egyptian Salah appeared to be rediscovering his deadly form of last season as he reached his half-century quicker than any Liverpool player in history, achieving the feat in 65 games -- 12 quicker than the previous record holder Albert Stubbins.

Red Star, beaten 6-1 by Paris St Germain in their last outing and without away support as the club served the second of a two-match ban on travelling fans, posed little threat in a subdued atmosphere.

Yet Liverpool were still able to produce enough quality to comfortably pick up the three points and, with PSG and Napoli drawing 2-2, they now top the group with six points, one more than Napoli and two ahead of the French champions.

"When the game calmed down we played football and created chances - it was a really good game and I enjoyed it a lot," said Klopp.

"It was a good football game and a deserved win."

Sadio Mane scores

IMAGE: Sadio Mane scores Liverpool's fourth goal. Photograph: Peter Powell/Reuters

Firmino set Liverpool, beaten at Napoli in their previous game, on their way in the 20th minute with an emphatic finish after a smart pull back from Andy Robertson found the Brazilian in space in the box.

Swiss international Xherdan Shaqiri, busy and creative throughout, fed Salah for Liverpool's second on the stroke of halftime, the Egyptian firing home from inside the box.

Red Star had threatened little and Liverpool put the game beyond them six minutes after the interval when Filip Stojkovic stuck out an arm to block Mane and Salah blasted home the penalty for his landmark goal.

There has been talk of Salah struggling for form this season and while he still looks a little short of full sharpness, six goals in 13 games in all competitions is no mean return.

Mane then missed another penalty, his shot pushed on to the bar by Red Star keeper Milan Borjan, before making amends with a close-range finish in the 80th minute.

Substitute Adam Lallana could have made it five when he burst through alone from the halfway line but Canada international Borjan denied him.

Di Maria snatches point for PSG with stoppage time beauty

IMAGE: Napoli's Allan cuts off a pass to Paris St Germain's Neymar and Angel Di Maria during the Champions League Group C match at Parc des Princes, Paris. Photograph: Benoit Tessier/Reuters

Big-spending Paris St Germain avoided a defeat that could have derailed their Champions League campaign when Angel Di Maria curled in a delightful stoppage-time equaliser to rescue a 2-2 draw at home to Napoli on Wednesday.

Napoli, more coherent as a team despite boasting less individual talent, went ahead in the Group C game with a Lorenzo Insigne goal in the 29th minute before PSG, who have won their opening 10 league games, equalised with a Mario Rui own goal in the 61st minute.

An opportunist goal by Dries Mertens put Napoli back in front in the 77th minute but they were denied a shock win when Di Maria collected the ball on the edge of the area and curled a stunning effort past David Ospina in the third minute of stoppage time.

The drew left Napoli with five points from three games and PSG on four with Liverpool top with six. Defeat for the French side would have left them three points adrift of the leading pair.

It was a cruel finale for Ospina, who had kept PSG at bay with several outstanding saves.

IMAGE: Napoli goalkeeper David Ospina makes a vain bid to prevent Angel Di Maria's (not pictured) shot from enter the net. Photograph: Christian Hartmann/Reuters

Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti was returning to the Parc des Princes for the first time since leading Bayern Munich to a 3-0 defeat there last September. He was sacked by the Germans the following day.

"We deserved the win but we knew that PSG have so much quality that they only need a moment to punish you," said Ancelotti, who coached Di Maria when the pair were at Real Madrid.

PSG created a flurry of early chances, the best falling to Edinson Cavani when he was sent clear of the Napoli defence only for Ospina to block the Uruguayan's effort.

Napoli's first dangerous foray upfield nearly ended in a goal as Mertens thumped the ball against the crossbar from an inviting Mario Rui cross.

In the next attack, Jose Callejon curled a ball behind the PSG defence and into the path of Insigne, who gently flicked his shot over Alphonse Areola.

Ospina then made another one-on-one save, this time foiling Kylian Mbappe.

The Colombian was also busy after the break and he blocked a low Neymar shot and then tipped a Thomas Meunier header over the bar but he was left powerless when Mario Rui slid in and diverted Meunier's low cross into the net.

Mertens put Napoli back in front, reacting quickly to fire past Areola after Fabian Ruiz's shot hit PSG captain Marquinhos and landed at his feet.

The visitors were heading for top spot until Di Maria's goal threw the group wide open and provided a fitting end to an enthralling match.

"We knew it was going to be difficult against Liverpool and Napoli, and we're not favourites," said PSG coach Thomas Tuchel. "Everyone thinks we are, but I don't believe that."

No Messi, no problem as Barca sink Inter

IMAGE: Jordi Alba scores Barcelona's second goal past Inter Milan's Samir Handanovic during the Group B match against Inter Milan at Camp Nou, Barcelona. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

Barcelona came through their first test without the injured Lionel Messi, earning a convincing 2-0 win at home to Inter Milan to take control of Champions League Group B.

Midfielder Rafinha opened the scoring against the club where he spent the latter half of last season, bursting through the middle and finding Luis Suarez, then turning the Uruguayan's cross in on the volley in the 32nd minute.

Spanish left back Jordi Alba killed off Inter's resistance late in the second half with a thumping low finish, snapping the Italian side's winning streak of seven games in all competitions and sealing a third straight win in the Champions League for Ernesto Valverde's side.

Barca top Group B with nine points while Inter are second on six, with PSV Eindhoven and Tottenham Hotspur locked on a point each.

A victory for the Catalans away to Inter at the San Siro in two weeks' time will seal their place in the last 16 of Europe's elite competition, in which they have underachieved since lifting the trophy in 2015.

"We still miss Messi but we wanted to miss him while winning. We had a great opponent in front of us and we prevented them from playing and got a great result," Valverde said.

"We were very happy because it was a vital game, we were all waiting to see what would happen without Messi but we responded well."

IMAGE: Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho attempts to get past Inter Milan's Danilo D'Ambrosio. Photograph: Juan Medina/Reuters

With Messi watching on from the stands, his right arm in a cast after fracturing it against Sevilla on Saturday, the Catalans initially appeared to lack some of their usual swagger.

They survived an early scare when a low cross fell to Inter captain Mauro Icardi but the Argentine, a former Barca youth player, sent the ball over the bar.

Barca soon began to dominate the game, however, with Brazilian midfielder Arthur Melo dictating the pace from deep in a manner reminiscent of former midfield great Xavi. He helped Barca monopolise possession and starved Inter of any memorable chances before the break.

"Barca are better with Messi around, but they also know how to do well without him, as we saw today," said Inter coach Luciano Spalletti.

"They know exactly how they want to play, they move the ball with speed and they press you a lot high up the pitch."

The Italians reacted well after the interval and had a couple of dangerous spells without troubling Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

But Barca quickly retook control and Alba wrapped up a win which should give them plenty of confidence heading into Sunday's 'Clasico' against Real Madrid and, above all, the belief they do not need Messi on the pitch to beat one of Europe's best sides.

Sparkling Dortmund crush Atletico

IMAGE: Atletico Madrid's Angel Correa is challenged by Borussia Dortmund's Abdou Diallo during the Group A match at Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund, Germany. Photograph: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

Borussia Dortmund cruised past Atletico Madrid 4-0 in their Champions League match on Wednesday with two goals from substitute Raphael Guerreiro helping propel them to the top of Group A.

The Germans, unbeaten in all competitions so far this season but without injured in-form striker Paco Alcacer, grabbed the lead through Axel Witsel in the 38th minute with a slightly deflected effort.

Apart from an Antoine Griezmann effort, Atletico never threatened in the first half, but came out battling after the break with Saul Niguez rattling the crossbar with a curled shot in the 52nd.

Saul had another three chances in the following minutes as Atletico seemingly edged closer to an equaliser and kept the Germans on the backfoot.

But Dortmund timed their second goal to perfection to take some of the pressure off, with substitute Guerreiro, who had come on in the 63rd, tapping in from close range from an Achraf Hakimi pass.

Hakimi then delivered another assist for another substitute Jadon Sancho to grab Dortmund's third with his first European goal in the 83rd before Guerreiro completed their victory with his second of the evening six minutes later.

Atletico had hit the woodwork for the second time in the 78th minute but had to accept a crushing loss, their first Champions League defeat of the season.

Dortmund, who have yet to concede a goal in the competition, are top on nine points from three games, with Atletico second on six.

Lloris sent off as Tottenham held to draw at PSV

IMAGE: Luuk de Jong celebrates scores a late equaliser for PSV Eindhoven against Tottenham Hotspur in the Group B match at Philips Stadium, Eindhoven. Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Reuters

Captain Luuk De Jong struck a late equaliser for PSV Eindhoven in a 2-2 home draw with Tottenham Hotspur, a result that left both clubs facing Champions League elimination.

Hirving Lozano's deflected effort gave PSV the lead after 30 minutes of the Group B clash but Lucas Moura equalised before half-time, and when Harry Kane headed Tottenham in front after 54 minutes the visitors looked in complete control.

A moment of madness saw Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris sent off in the 79th minute, though, and a rejuvenated PSV grabbed a point with De Jong's close-range flick in the 87th minute.

It was the second time in three group matches that Tottenham were guilty of costly late lapses, having led 1-0 at Inter Milan until the 85th minute before losing 2-1.

The draw left them on one point from three games, the same as Dutch champions PSV, with Barcelona on nine and Inter Milan on six after Barca beat the Italians 2-0 in the Nou Camp later on Wednesday.

With both sides having lost to Barcelona and Inter Milan in their first two matches, there was precious little margin for error for either in a rocking Philips Stadion.

Tottenham, with playmaker Christian Eriksen restored to the starting lineup after recovering from an abdominal injury, settled quickly and Kane had a flurry of early chances, sending one header against the woodwork and firing another effort over.

PSV, without a win in their previous 10 Champions League matches, went ahead with a goal Spurs defender Toby Alderweireld will not enjoy watching again.

His careless pass gifted possession to Mexican Lozano and although Alderweireld did superbly to make a recovery tackle, Lozano's shot deflected up and over Lloris.

Tottenham responded with Davinson Sanchez having a goal ruled out but the north London side went in at the break deservedly level thanks to Moura's deflected finish after good approach play by Eriksen and right back Kieran Trippier.

Gaston Pereiro hit the woodwork for PSV just before halftime but after the interval Tottenham looked the more likely to kickstart their campaign.

Eriksen was again the spark as Tottenham went ahead, this time linking with Son Heung-min down the left before curling a cross invitingly for Kane to head home from close range.

Erik Lamela skimmed the crossbar with a shot as Tottenham continued to assert themselves, but with victory there for the taking they allowed PSV off the hook.

The turning point was when Lloris came charging out of his goal and took out Lozano. The French World Cup-winning captain gave referee Slavko Vincic little choice but to brandish the red card.

Substitute goalkeeper Michel Vorm saved Pereiro's free kick but a few minutes later Tottenham were left crestfallen, just as they were in Milan, as they folded at the back.

This time Sanchez's clearing header was volleyed back in by Pablo Rosario and De Jong flicked out a boot to divert the ball past Vorm into the net.

Galatasaray held by Schalke, Porto sink Lokomotiv Moscow

IMAGE: Galatasaray's Garry Rodrigues is checked by Schalke's Sebastian during the Group D match at Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi, Istanbul. Photograph: Osman Orsal/Reuters

Galatasaray missed the chance to overtake Schalke in the Champions League Group D standings when they were held to a 0-0 draw by the German side.

It proved a frustrating night for the Turkish league leaders, who struggled to create chances from their greater share of possession while Schalke were the more dangerous side.

Galatasaray's best chance in the first half came when striker Eren Derdiyok blasted a close-range effort straight at Schalke goalkeeper Alexander Nubel.

Schalke were the better side after the break, forcing home keeper Fernando Muslera into several fine saves.

Breel Embolo did have the ball in the net for Schalke but his effort was ruled offside.

Galatasaray's performance also drew criticism from head coach Fatih Terim, who said his side were lucky to earn a point from the match and did not deserve to win.

"Three points here would have put us in a very good position in the group standings, but we didn't deserve it," Terim said. "To be frank, we just resisted in the second half."

The draw left Schalke in second place with five points and Galatasaray in third on four. Porto lead with seven.

"We didn't get the result we wanted, but even one point on a stage like the Champions League is huge," Galatasaray defender Ozan Kabak said. "We would have liked a win on our home turf."

Porto proved too good for Lokomotiv Moscow in the group's other game, with goals by Moussa Marega, Hector Herrera and Jesus Corona sealing a 3-1 victory in the Russian capital.

"It was important to win here. It's not over, but it was very important to win away," Porto winger Corona said.

Schalke will host Galatasaray on Nov. 6, while Lokomotiv Moscow will travel to Porto for their next match in the group.

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