The Special One pulled off a special win while Mauro Icardi proved that he deserves to be taken seriously – here are the Champions League winners and losers
“I was insulted for 90 minutes, after coming here to do my job. And after the game I didn’t offend anyone.”
This was the Special One’s response to the criticism for his gesture after that win – a scrappy, yet prestigious 2-1 victory for the Red Devils over Juventus. The home fans had plenty of chants against the Portuguese manager, and his revenge was served, with a victory that United did not deserve, but that showed the spirit of the team and the magic of football. A special night for the Special One.
Red Star Belgrade
The Serbian side was meant to be the scapegoat of Group C, and after four games are still in it with a chance to qualify. Unreal scenes at the Marakana in Belgrade, as the spirit of the 1991 European Champions helped Pavkov to score two goals before the 30-minute tick, and the whole team get an amazing victory against one of the biggest clubs in the world. Amazing.
“He’s great in Serie A, but wait until he plays in the Champions League. He’ll struggle.” The Inter captain has reached Champions League football only at 25, and having over 100 league goals to his name was not enough to avoid that kind of criticism. He has scored three Champions League goals – all of which decisive – in four matches, putting himself amongst the best number nines in Europe. His latest goal gave Inter a point against giants Barcelona, a boost in qualifying from the group.
What happened to the 2017/18 finalists? The 2-0 defeat in Belgrade is a huge blow in confidence for Liverpool. Nothing really changes in the group, provided the Reds beat PSG and Napoli, and they’ve still had a good start to the Premier League, but the inability to react to the initial two goal lead of the hosts should be worrying, to say the least.
It doesn’t get a lot worst than losing 4-0 at home by Club Brugge – with all due respect – in the Champions League. But Thierry Henry’s team have amassed negative records this season. They haven’t won in 15 matches, they are 19th in Ligue 1 and are almost out not only of the Champions League, but from European football overall. Terrible.
Dominating for 80 minutes, and then losing the game. It happens in football, but a team that aims to win the Champions League really should avoid it. Luckily, it has arrived early on in the season, and could work as a learning point for the Bianconeri.
His goal was magnificent, and he contributed to Manchester City’s great win. But the penalty he won was simply wrong. It can be debatable whether or not it was a dive, but it would have been a class act from him to tell the referee that it obviously was not a foul.