Tag Archives: uefa champions league

Champions League – Knockout Round Summary for Today

Yesterday started the beginning of the knockout round in the UEFA Champions League.  In the two matches yesterday, both away teams scored critical away goals and secured results, all but guaranteeing them berth into the Round of 8.  Juventus won 3-0 at Celtic in a game where the score is no indicative of the competitiveness of the match.  Neal Lennon has rightfully complained post-match of the the Spanish center’s pro-Juventus calls, particularly the center’s allowance of Juventus’ grappling in the 10 corners Celtic had.  While Lennon is being criticized, it must be hard to watch your team getting mugged at your pitch when you have dominated possession in the game and created most of the goal scoring chances.  Yes, Juventus made the most of their breaks, and they are a solid team (I only wish Arsenal’s back 4 were that interested in defense), but Lennon has a right to be frustrated. He was left to wonder what the rules of the game are in Spain.  (There are some great quotes in there).  Here are some links reflecting the coverage post-game:

Lennon will escape UEFA Sanctions.

Lennon hits out at “pro-Juventus” ref.  

Keep in mind, Celtic had 53% possession and out-cornered Juventus 10-4.  Celtic had 17 goal attempts to 10 of Juventus.  You can see the Match Facts here. That being said, I think Juventus will be a tough out the next round too.  Their defense is that good.

In the other match, PSG scored 2 away goals while only conceding 1 against home Valencia.  I guess this is Ancelotti style — playing the Spanish club, PSG all but conceded the ball to the home team.  Relying on quick counters, PSG was able to score 2 with only 34% possession and meriting zero corners.  A frustrating game, to say the least, for Valencia who had 12 goal attempts but only 2 on target.  PSG, on the other hand, had 8 goal attempts on target.  It goes to show you that there is a lot of meaningless possession.

On a side note, the red card given to Zlatan was ridiculous.  As expected, UEFA is reviewing it.  I do not see it being upheld.  (Meaning, he will be back in the home leg).

TODAY!

Big matches on hand for today.  In the most hyped match of the round. Manchester United travel to Real Madrid.  This will be a quality match.  All the reports out of Madrid are that the team are in shambles, but they are still getting results.  Cristiano may not last the summer, Mourinho almost definitely is gone.  Manchester United, on the other hand, have catapulted to a sizable lead in the EPL, with Mancini all but conceding the title to them.  After losing the EPL last season on the last day to goal differential, Sir Alex goes out and gets the top goal scorer in the EPL – RVP.  How is that for management?  Today, power shifts back to England as Manchester United merit at least a draw away on their way to advance out of the knockouts to the 8.  United has a legitimate chance to win the title this season.

RVP can match Ronaldo’s quality.

Madrid’s season at stake.

Ferguson braced for Madrid’s “acid test.”

My darkhorse favorite for the title (yes, title) is in the other game today — the one no one is talking about.  Dortmund travel to Donetsk in the first leg of their tie.  This Dortmund team is legit.  The possess with purpose — always threatening.  Klopp has done a wonderful job with this squad.  This is the team that won the Group of Death, eliminating Man City and outplaying Real Madrid.  Mark it down now — this is a team to watch to go the distance, not just for some cute points.  As much as I want to watch the super-hyped match of the day today, I will be watching the eventual winners in yellow and black.  Bayern has walked away with the Bundesliga so Dortmund will give primacy to the Champions League.  Lookout!

 

Champions League: Matchday 6

Today and tomorrow are the last group games in the UEFA Champions League. Only 16 teams advance to the knockout round of home and away aggregate scoring. With 14 spots already locked up, very few issues remain other than seeding — who will win the groups and who will be the 2 seeds. There are some battles for the (3) spot, which earns a berth into Europa League. Here is a rundown of all of the groups:

Group A

Porto and PSG both advance but they are only 1 point in difference (13 for Porto to 12 for PSG). They play today in Paris. If PSG wins, they get the (1) seed. If the tie or Porto wins, Porto gets the (1).

Group B
Arsenal travels to Greece to play Olympiacos showing 10 points while Shalke travels to France to play Montpelier showing 11 points. A win by Shalke and they take the (1). Arsenal can get the (1) if they win and Shalke loses or ties or if they tie and Shalke loses.

Group C
Malaga have qualified as Group winners. Milan are through as runners up. The only thing on the line is the Eurpa League berth as RSC Anderlecht and Zenit St. P are tied.

Group D
Dortmund are through as group winners due to their H2H over Madrid, who are through as runners up. Man City and Ajax are bot in contention for a Europa league.

Those are all the games today. Here are the games tomorrow:

Group E (Very interesting games tomorrow)
Shakhtar are through with 10 points but the other team is up for grabs. Juventus is in good form and sit only 1 point behind Shakhtar. Juventus needs a result in Ukraine. Can they do it? Chelsea will be watching because they host bottom feeders Nordsjaelland, a game they should win, and look to move on if Juventus fails to at least draw. The team failing to pass through are in the Europa league.

Group F
Bayern and Valencia are both through with 10 points. Bayern wins H2H and gets (1) if they at least match points with Valencia.

Group G
Barcelona are through as Group Winners but the runner up is up for grabs. Celtic and Benfica are tied with (7) – Celtic hosts Spartak Moskva while Benfica travel to Barca. Odds are in Celtic’s favor.

Group H
Manchester United are through as Group Winners but the runner up is another question. Cluj travel to Old Trafford with 7 points while Galatassaray travel to Braga with 7 too. One will move on, one will be in Europa.

So, even though today there are no matches where the results matter, Arsenal surely need to correct their form and will be looking to bounce back from a home whipping by Swansea. Wenger is under fire and certainly he will look for something positive out of the match. At the same time, Dortmund v. Man City will still be fun – Man City needs points to qualify for Europa.