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Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Champions League wrap: Joshua Kimmich rescues, Madrid escape and an easy night for Man City

After a 3-2 defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk last week, Zinedine Zidane’s team has one point from its opening two group-stage games ahead of playing Inter Milan home and away. Madrid has never been eliminated from the Champions League in the group stage.

By: AP | Updated: October 28, 2020 9:45:43 am
Joshua Kimmich, BayernBayern's Joshua Kimmich celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the Champions League group A match between Lokomotiv Moscow and Bayern Munich in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (Maxim Shipenkov/Pool via AP)

Joshua Kimmich scored late for defending champion Bayern Munich to beat Lokomotiv Moscow 2-1 and extend its Champions League-record winning streak to 13 games on Tuesday.

Kimmich ensured Bayern went unpunished for a sloppy performance when he took the ball from Javi Martínez, turned and fired inside the far post in the 79th minute.

“We’ll take the win but we know we didn’t dazzle,” Kimmich said.

Leon Goretzka had opened the scoring in the 13th, but Bayern failed to make its possession count and uncharacteristically yielded chance after chance for the home team.

Anton Miranchuk eventually equalized in the 70th thanks to a low cross from Zé Luís.

Zé Luís then missed a good chance to set up substitute Rifat Zhemaletdinov for the lead minutes later when he decided to shoot and fired wide.

Lokomotiv was to rue the miss when Kimmich stepped up to earn Bayern its second win from two games in Group A.

“We can be happy with how we came back,” Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer said.

Bayern had scored 47 goals over its previous 12 wins but Lokomotiv’s players showed no signs of being overawed.

Fedor Smolov had the game’s first big chance and gave an inkling of what was to come by heading straight at Neuer in the third minute.

Robert Lewandowski then missed a good opportunity from a corner at the other end. It was to be a quiet game from the Poland star, who has 10 goals already in five Bundesliga games.

Highlights:

Goretzka broke the deadlock when Corentin Tolisso sent a diagonal pass to the far side and Benjamin Pavard volleyed the ball back into the center for the Germany midfielder to head inside the post.

Bayern almost scored again in a similar manner but this time Kingsley Coman’s effort from Pavard’s volley came back off the post.

Lokomotiv refused to bow. Neuer got down to push Maciej Rybus’ effort out for a corner before the break, when Hansi Flick gave his players a stern look.

The Bayern coach made two changes, bringing on Javi Martínez to shore up midfield and Serge Gnabry to energize the attack. Thomas Müller, who matched Klaus Augenthaler’s 545 competitive appearances for Bayern, made way along with Goretzka.

Gnabry missed Bayern’s previous two games due to a positive result for the coronavirus, but all tests since were negative and he rejoined the squad on Monday.

Lokomotiv defender Vedran Ćorluka went off for Slobodan Rajković, who earned a kiss from goalkeeper Guilherme for blocking Kimmich’s effort before the hour-mark.

Casemiro’s late goal saves draw for Real Madrid at Gladbach

 Borussia Moenchengladbach and Real Madrid Real Madrid’s Federico Valverde celebrates after Real Madrid’s Casemiro scored his side’s second goal during the Champions League group B match between Borussia Moenchengladbach and Real Madrid. (AP)

Real Madrid escaped another Champions League defeat with a stoppage-time goal from Casemiro to rescue a 2-2 draw at Borussia Mönchengladbach on Tuesday.

Madrid failed to cope with Gladbach’s fast and fluid counterattacks as Marcus Thuram scored both of the German club’s goals. Casemiro assisted Karim Benzema’s overhead kick to give Madrid hope of a comeback in the 87th and then scored himself in added time.

After a 3-2 defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk last week, Zinedine Zidane’s team has one point from its opening two group-stage games ahead of playing Inter Milan home and away. Madrid has never been eliminated from the Champions League in the group stage. Madrid’s 3-1 win over Barcelona in Saturday’s ‘clásico’ is its only win in the last four games.

“We didn’t think this would be such a drama. But my team showed that they know how to react,” Zidane said.

Highlights:

“This was a very important point to secure. This is going to be a difficult year for everyone, but I’m proud of my team tonight.”

Gladbach conceded a late goal for the second game in succession after Romelu Lukaku salvaged a 2-2 draw for Inter last week. One of Germany’s and Europe’s biggest clubs in the 1970s and 1980s, it was playing Madrid for the first time in 35 years.

With only one injury-enforced change from the lineup which beat Barcelona, Madrid dominated the early stages but couldn’t break through Gladbach’s well-organized defense. The German team seized its chance in the 33rd minute when Jonas Hofmann won the ball in midfield and found Alassane Pléa, who swung in a cross-field pass for Thuram to run on and score.

Man City enjoys easy European night with 3-0 win v Marseille

Manchester City’s Ferran Torres, centre, is congratulated by teammate’s Raheem Sterling, left, and Phil Foden, right, after scoring his team’s first goal during the Champions League Group C match between Marseille and Manchester City at Stade Velodrome in Marseille, France, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (Guillaume Horcajuelo/Pool via AP)

Manchester City enjoyed a respite from domestic difficulties and found its scoring touch in a resounding 3-0 win at Marseille in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Once so dominant in the Premier League, the cash-rich club has made an unconvincing start. City sits in 13th place with only two wins from five games and eight goals scored, amid suggestions its usually prolific attack has been found out by English defenses.

A poor Marseille side was not the stiffest test to prove the doubters wrong, but Ferran Torres, Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling all netted to give City a boost and first place in Group C after last week’s 3-1 home victory against Porto.

“We played really well, we didn’t concede much,” City coach Pep Guardiola said. “We were controlled, we were so aggressive without the ball. I’m so satisfied with the performance.”

Highlights:

Marseille, on the other hand, has not even scored yet and is already starting to stare elimination in the face.

“It’s a different level and we have to be honest about that. We need to learn from these matches and improve, but it’s a tough defeat,” Marseille winger Florian Thauvin said. “When you spend the whole match 30 meters from your own goal and you have 70 meters to cover in order to score a goal, it’s difficult to have the legs to do that.”

The home side gifted City the lead in the 18th minute when midfielder Valentin Rongier’s sloppy sideways pass was intercepted by Kevin De Bruyne on the right flank. He quickly teed up Torres to sweep home from close range and claim another goal after also scoring against Porto.

Another panicky moment nearly offered City a second goal, but left back Oleksandr Zinchenko’s low strike from the edge of the penalty area shaved the post.

Liverpool scores 10,000th goal in 2-0 win over Midtjylland

Liverpool defeated FC Midtjylland by 2-0 in a thrilling UEFA Champions League 2020-21 group stage matchup on Tuesday (October 27). With this victory, Jurgen Klopp’s side registered their second straight victory in the UCL in their first two games.

However, Liverpool struggled to get into the game for most of the first half as the Denish club kept controlling the proceedings. It was Trent Alexander-Arnold then, who sparked some life into the game and provided a simple tap in for Diego Jota to put the Reds ahead. This was also Liverpool’s 10000th goal in their long and illustrious history.

Klopp was soon forced to make a substitution after Fabinho picked up a hamstring injury. In the dying embers of the game, Mohammed Salah found the back of the net and doubled Liverpool’s lead in stoppage as the game finished 2-0.

“It is exactly the last thing we needed,” Klopp said during the post-match interview when asked about Fabinho’s injury.

Highlights:

Other results:

Porto beats Olympiakos 2-0 to reach 100 wins

Fábio Vieira scored early and Sérgio Oliveira struck late in the game as Porto beat Olympiakos 2-0 in the Champions League on Tuesday. It was the 100th victory for Porto in the European Cup and Champions League.

The win moved the Portuguese club to second place in Group C, behind Manchester City, which defeated last-place Marseille 3-0 in the other group match. Vieira scored with a low shot from near the penalty spot in the 11th minute after Olympiakos captain Andreas Bouchalakis gave the ball away near the area.

“I worked hard for this,” the 20-year-old Vieira said. “I deserved an opportunity and I’m happy to have scored my first goal in the Champions League.” Oliveira sealed the victory in the 85th with a header into the far corner.

“We lost by details,” Olympiakos defender Rúben Semedo said. “We had a large part of the possession … many chances, but we did not score and Porto were better in both of the major chances they had on our goal. We have to learn from this game in order not to make the same mistakes again.”

Atlético rallies to beat Salzburg 3-2 in Champions League

Atlético Madrid needed João Félix at his best to escape another Champions League disappointment. Félix scored his second goal of the match in the 85th minute to give Atlético a 3-2 win over Salzburg in the Champions League on Tuesday, helping Diego Simeone’s team rebound from an opening 4-0 loss at defending champion Bayern Munich.

“I think this was João Félix’s best match,” Simeone said. “He has played well in many games, but I think that today he was at a great level during the entire 90 minutes.”

Félix got the winner from close range after a cross into the area. He controlled the ball and sent a right-footed shot into the net.

Marcos Llorente also scored for Atlético, which trailed early in the second half at the empty Wanda Metropolitano Stadium. Salzburg got on the board with goals by Dominik Szoboszlai and Mergim Berisha late in the first half and shortly after the break.

Atlético had entered the day in last place in Group A after the loss to Bayern, which stayed at the top with six points after a 2-1 win at Lokomotiv Moscow earlier Tuesday. Atlético is now second with three points, two more than Lokomotiv and Salzburg.

“It was a great match by the whole team,” Félix said. “We are happy, we played well. If we continue like this the results will come.”

Called by some in Portugal as the new Cristiano Ronaldo, Félix arrived from Benfica last season as Antoine Griezmann’s replacement but was yet to meet expectations with Atlético.

Inter hits crossbar twice in 0-0 draw at Shakhtar in CL

Inter Milan dominated but it was held to a second successive draw in the Champions League, ending 0-0 at Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday. The Nerazzurri hit the crossbar twice and were also denied by some superb goalkeeping from Shakhtar’s Anatoliy Trubin.

“I’m feeling positive because the team played with the right intensity and displayed the right attitude,” Inter coach Antonio Conte said. “We took the game to our opponents and played as a real team, but we weren’t very fortunate.

“There’s disappointment because we created a lot of chances, but I can’t really criticize the lads, also because it was our fourth match in 10 days and we began this cycle with eight players missing.”

Shakhtar still leads Group B after its surprise 3-2 victory at Real Madrid last week. It has two points more than Inter and Borussia Mönchengladbach, which drew 2-2 against Madrid. The Spanish side scored two late goals to come back from 2-0 down and pick up its first point in the competition.

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