It was a big week for Italian teams with Napoli and Juventus setting the standard for Serie A in Europe, but a bad night for Real Madrid in a losing game of Russian Roulette
An early goal and then a lot of solid defending. This is the way to go against the best team on the planet. A victory against Real Madrid: what more could you ask for?
What a magical night at the San Paolo. Carlo Ancelotti’s men came out with the perfect performance, conceding no shots on target to Liverpool, and gradually building up their attacking play until eventually scoring at the best possible time, with just one minute left to play and no time for the Reds to react. Lorenzo Insigne got the winning goal, but every single Napoli player had a fantastic game. Now the Partenopei now lead the group.
The Argentinean’s first ever Champions League hat-trick, on the night when Juventus had to play without Cristiano Ronaldo due to suspension. Until a couple months ago, Dybala was the main man for the Bianconeri, and he stepped up to show it again, albeit against an average side. He is just as important as every other Juve player in the pursuit of the trophy.
Icardi made his Champions League debut quite late in his career – at 25 – but made it one to remember: after scoring against Tottenham, the Inter forward did the same against PSV Eindhoven, helping Inter to secure two wins in two and responding in the best possible way to all those who said he was only capable of scoring against average Serie A sides.
The atmosphere of the San Paolo was great, as good as many other stadiums on European nights. But what we saw at the home of Eintracht Frankfurt was truly special, with a magnificent choreography involving all 50 thousand fans, all helping the team to demolish Lazio: 4-1 in the end for the players on the pitch, a result they share with amazing supporters.
Sure, three posts hit and a complete possession dominance. But is it really possible that the three times Champions League winners can crumble and lose at CSKA Moscow? Simply not good enough from Julen Lopetegui’s men.
Another mediocre result, a home draw against Valencia. “Mediocre” yet again. The seems to be the best word to describe Mourinho’s tenure at United. Not a disaster: with three trophies won in the first year and a second place in the Premier League last year. It isn’t a disaster this year either, with United on four points in their Champions League group. Yet, the apathy with which the Red Devils play is concerning. Mediocrity at its worst, and it was shown yet again.
He admitted it himself: “It is my fault if we lost to Napoli”. Of course, in football it is always a mix between how well a team has done and how badly the other one has performed. The feeling is, Napoli being so great, it would have been tough in any case for the Reds. But surely, more could’ve been expected from last year’s finalists?