UEFA Champions League Match Day 2 is complete, and group standings are starting to shape up. Who stands to emerge, and who has already had their hopes dashed?
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 500th career goal and tied Real Madrid legend Raúl for most goals in a Madrid uniform on Wednesday, scoring two in Real’s 2-0 victory over Malmo. Paris-Saint. Germain also easily handled Shakhtar Donetsk 3-0. With six points apiece, Paris Saint-Germain and Madrid gear up to their first match against each other in Paris on Oct. 21.
Manchester United went behind in the first five minutes of their Old Trafford clash with Wolfsburg on Wednesday, courtesy of Wolfsburg winger Daniel Caligiuri. United responded well, however, and created more chances and to keep the majority of possession. They were rewarded minutes before half time; Juan Mata cooly slotted away a penalty after his cross struck Caligiuri on the arm. The Red Devils scored again in the second half, and despite several Wolfsberg chances to draw level, United played well enough to earn all three points. Each team in Group B now has three points. It should be an exciting group to watch from here on out.
Goalkeeper Joe Hart was the hero for Manchester City in Germany on Wednesday, as he saved the penalty that proved to be the difference in City’s 2-1 victory over Borussia Monchengladbach. City righted the ship after losing to Juventus in their previous Champion’s League match, grabbing the win with a last-minute penalty kick from striker Sergio Aguero. The Citizens now sit in third place in Group D on goal differential, as Juventus handled Sevilla 2-0 in the day’s other match. With six points in two matches, Juventus’ strong tactics should carry them out of the group from here on in. City will have to play better to progress, but the knockout stage is still within their grasp.
1-0 down and 80 minutes into their match, a Messi-less Barcelona were at risk of losing at home to Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen. But Barça quickly reminded the rest of Europe why they’re still the team to beat in this season’s competition. In the final 10 minutes, Barcelona quickly turned it around, scoring two goals in as many minutes and snatching all three points from the fixture. In the group’s other match, Roma was upset by Belarusian team BATE Borisov, 3-2. After starting out so well by earning a draw against Barcelona, the Italians are suddenly sitting in last place in the group.
The mountain Arsenal had to climb coming into Tuesday’s game grew to Everest-like proportions after losing at home to Olympiakos. With no points heading into back-to-back matches against Bayern Munich, Arsenal’s chances of progressing are estimated at somewhere between slim and zero. Bayern, on the other hand, looked to have already locked up the group. They thoroughly dismantled Dinamo Zagreb 5-0, with Polish striker Robert Lewandowski scoring another hat trick. He is in top form, having scored a ridiculous 10 goals in his last 3 appearances. It looks like no team can stop the German club at the moment.
Jose Mourinho’s return to Estádio do Dragão in Portugal didn’t go as planned, as Chelsea fell to the hosts, FC Porto, 2-1. Mourinho confused many by leaving stars Nemanja Matic and Eden Hazard out of his starting lineup after saying that several unnamed players lacked “attitude, desire and commitment.” Loic Remy, Radamel Falcao, and Oscar didn’t even make it on the plane to Portugal, perhaps as punishment. Chelsea and their fans were the ones punished in the end, and Mourinho’s pride may have cost his team a win against an underrated opponent.