UEFA Champions League matchday three recap


Photo courtesy of Daily Post Nigeria

Paulo Dybala celebrates after giving Juventus a 1-0 lead against Manchester United.

The third matchday of Champions League group play concluded Wednesday night with plenty of action, excitement and goals. Here is a rundown of three key matches from this week.

• Juventus 1, Manchester United 0

• Borussia Dortmund 4, Atlético Madrid 0

•  Barcelona 2, Inter Milan 0

Ronaldo returns to Old Trafford

Juventus 1, Manchester United 0 — Tue. October 23

Cristiano Ronaldo marked his return to Old Trafford with a win as Juventus edged out Manchester United 1-0 to move up to the top of the standings in Group H.

“An important victory in a very emotional match for me. It was great playing at the Old Trafford again,” Ronaldo said on social media after the game.

Paulo Dybala scored the lone goal in the 17th minute with help from his teammates Ronaldo and Juan Cuadrado. Ronaldo helped set up the goal by crossing the ball towards Cuadrado, who ultimately diverted the ball into the path of Dybala.

Juventus dominated the first 45 minutes, leading with 70 percent possession. United improved slightly in the second half but was unable to break through Juventus’ defense.

It was a frustrating match for United, who will play Juventus again on November 7 at Allianz Arena in Turin, in hopes of making it to the knockout round.

Dortmund lights up Signal Iduna Park against Atlético Madrid

Borussia Dortmund 4, Atlético Madrid 0 — Wed. October 24

Wednesday evening, Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund stunned Atlético Madrid with a resounding 4-0 win. Three of those goals came in the final 20 minutes of the match.

Goals from this match came from Axel Witsel who netted the first goal of the match at the 38’ minute, Jadon Sancho who scored his first Champions League goal in the 83’ minute, and Raphaël Guerreiro who came off the bench in the 63rd minute to score a brace.

Dortmund brought a young and vibrant team into the game, including two teenagers in the backline, and twenty-year-old American Christian Pulisic as a winger.

Despite selecting an inexperienced team, Dortmund was able to stand their ground against Atlético, who’ve never conceded four goals against a club outside of Real Madrid or Barcelona.

As a result of the match, Dortmund leads their group with a maximum of nine points at the top of Group A.

Messi-less Barcelona perfect in Group B

Barcelona 2, Inter Milan 0 — Wed. October 24

As Barcelona secured a 2-0 victory to retain top spot in Group B, the focus of the cameras remained on the sidelines where Lionel Messi sat with a broken forearm. The winger, who was injured in last week’s La Liga match against Sevilla, is expected to miss this weekend’s El Clásico against Real Madrid.

Hoping to replace his creative engine, Barcelona fielded a strong lineup with Brazilian winger Arthur replacing the injured talisman. Inter captain Mauro Icardi started against his former club.
Barcelona dominated the early stages of the match, with Inter content to sit back in a signature “Catenaccio”, or doorbolt formation. Waves of pressure were punctuated by occasional Inter counter-attacks, with Icardi coming close on 16 minutes. Barcelona took the lead on 32 minutes as Brazilian midfielder Rafinha prodded in a driven cross from Luis Suárez.

Inter appeared rejuvenated to start the second half, and enjoyed a spell of pressure, forcing Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-André Ter Stegen into a series of saves. As time dwindled and Inter pushed forward, gaps began to open at the back, and fullback Jordi Alba settled the game on 83 minutes with a powerful shot into the bottom corner. Messi watched on from the stands with a grin.

The result sees Barcelona take a commanding position with 9 points from 3 games in Group B. Expected main competitor Tottenham Hotspur sits second-bottom with a single point.