Champions League: Liverpool, Man City cruise (video)
Call it the match week that restored a bit of order to the 2021-22 UEFA Champions League.
There were no wins from Young Boys or Sheriff Tiraspol, underdogs of varying status, and the giants of the game more or less collected the expected results.
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That doesn’t mean there weren’t letdowns. Manchester United had to come back twice to draw Atalanta, and all three of Barcelona, Man City, and Real Madrid will have preferred more decisive score lines, but it feels a bit more like your standard UCL seasons after four matches.
UEFA Champions League group stage Matchday 4 results – Wednesday
AC Milan 1-1 FC Porto
Milan got a point but it needed three to have sincere thoughts about the knockout rounds, claiming just one of six available points against Porto in this group stage.
Luis Diaz has put Porto ahead and Milan could only find a Chancel Mbemba own goal to get back into the fray. Even Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s late entry couldn’t produce a goal (that counted) and Milan’s one point on the campaign is a lonely one.
Liverpool 2-0 Atletico Madrid
The only thing that will bother Jurgen Klopp about this one is that his team didn’t make good on more of their chances.
Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota scored first-half goals, Felipe was sent off before halftime, and both teams had second-half goals taken off the board after VAR review.
Trent Alexander-Arnold set up both of Liverpool’s goals, the Reds keeping the ball for more than 70% of the game and limiting Diego Simeone’s 10-man Atleti to a single shot (off target at that).
Liverpool wins the group and can focus on the Premier League (and League Cup quarterfinal), while Atleti needs to chase down Porto to make the knockout rounds.
Sporting Lisbon 4-0 Besiktas
Besiktas finished with 10 men but that was in stoppage time, well after Sporting had put this one in the win column.
Pedro Goncalves scored twice in the first half and Paulinho was joined by Pablo Sarabia on the score sheet as Lisbon led 4-0 before the hour mark.
Souza was shown his second yellow in stoppage time and will miss the Turkish powers’ next match.
Borussia Dortmund 1-3 Ajax
Borussia Dortmund went from unlikely winners to looking like a team that played over an hour with 10 men in a crushing home loss that carried more than a bit of controversy.
That’s because Mats Hummels was sent off for a sliding challenge in which the primary contact was an Ajax attacker landing on his leg.
Still, Dortmund took a lead via a Marco Reus penalty in the 37th minute. Marco Rose’s men nearly rode that to a win but Dusan Tadic, Sebastien Haller, and Davy Klaassen all scored fro the 72nd minute onward -- the last two off Antony assists -- to claim 12 points in the group, six more than Dortmund and Sporting.
Sheriff Tiraspol 1-3 Inter Milan
Sheriff slips from first to third with the loss, scoring only after Inter built a 3-0 lead.
Marcelo Brozovic had a goal and an assist in the win, with goals also coming from Alexis Sanchez and Milan Skriniar.
Adama Traore scored Sheriff’s goal in stoppage time to ruin the clean sheet.
Real Madrid 2-1 Shakhtar Donetsk
Credit Shakhtar for making the hosts work hard for their three points, answering Karim Benzema’s opener through Fernando to have the score 1-1 at halftime.
But Benzema scored off another Vinicius Junior assist to keep his name on nearly every score sheet, the French striker as prolific as anyone not named Robert Lewandowski.
RB Leipzig 2-2 PSG
American boss Jesse Marsch was fuming with the refs and watching the tape will also have him furious with his finishers as an early Christopher Nkunku goal did not help them take three points against Mauricio Pochettino’s dangerous Parisiens.
Andre Silva missed a bid to make it 2-0 on a 12th-minute penalty and Georginio Wijnaldum scored a pair of goals before halftime to lead PSG in front
Dominik Szoboszlai converted Leipzig’s second penalty attempt, but Leipzig is still out of knockout round contention.
The draw sends PSG behind Man City on the group table. City has nine points to PSG’s eight ahead off a Nov. 24 meeting at the Etihad Stadium. Club Brugge’s four points are just three ahead of Marsch’s Leipzig with the pair meeting in Belgium next.
Man City 4-1 Club Brugge
Joao Cancelo ran the show in Manchester with two assists and six key passes in a slow-burning win over Club Brugge.
Phil Foden’s 15th-minute marker was made level by a John Stones own goal the defender couldn’t have avoided, and Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling, and Gabriel Jesus scored after halftime to all but put City in the knockout rounds.
Cancelo had over 125 touches and was all over the left sideline for Pep Guardiola, who turns his attention to the Manchester derby without using Ruben Dias and Fernandinho while keeping Kevin De Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus, and Raheem Sterling from more than 22 minutes on the pitch.