There was a thrilling encounter going on at Anfield. At Milan, Real Madrid were experiencing the intensity of Inter. Paris Saint-Germain were experiencing that spending big money does not matter if you don’t realize what football is all about. Erling Haaland was doing his usual job. And, at Etihad, Manchester City joined the festival of goals to add extra spice to the night of Champions League – Don’t you dare to sleep at all!
The good thing was that AC Milan were back in the place where they actually belong – they have been the masters of Champions League and their return was greeted with a banner that read “25/05/05 – There are places I remember” at Anfield which was lively and vibrant. Yet again, Liverpool and AC Milan and orchestrated another Champions League classic – a game to remember.
It was one of those nights of Champions League where your temperament would be tested to the highest level. The opposition would choke our life out but still, you have to find a way to get past and break the deadlock. At Milan, Real Madrid experienced the going tough – well, they do have the youngsters to show them the way and obviously, without Brazilian magic, there cannot be any party.
No sweat. No extra-pressure. No tension at all. Bayern Munich came to hunt their prey at Camp Nou and left Spain after finishing the dinner. It was the most anticipated match last night and it turned out to be an exhibition match where a bunch of schoolboys were mesmerized by the sheer brute force known as Bayern Munich.
Since Cristiano Ronaldo joined Manchester United, the body language of the whole unit changed. They started off the weekend in a dazzling fashion with Ronaldo bagging a brace and at Bern, Switzerland, against the Young Boys; the Red Devils were expected to carry on the momentum. But, on a shocking night, Young Boys stunned the visitors.
There is no need to describe in detail the illustrious coaching career of Jose Mourinho. He once declared himself as The Special One and till today, he has lived up to the expectations. He has achieved greater feats in his coaching career which many of the best could envy. And, even at this age, he has not stopped achieving new feats.
Finally, flowers bloomed at Santiago Bernabeu after more than a year. The Los Blancos donned the white shirt with pride at the newly constructed home of Royal Whites. The feeling was amazing to witness the Men in Whites coming out of the dugout at the Bernabeu, a venue, which was missed by the players, officials and fans for a long time. The waiting was over and Real Madrid made the return a memorable one.
It seems that this week has been all about the returns – Cristiano Ronaldo returned at Manchester United and made it a memorable one, Romelu Lukaku returned to Stamford Bridge and followed the path of Ronaldo, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu was active again and now, it was time for Zlatan Ibrahimovic to return in Rossineri colours and register his name on the score sheet as AC Milan won by 2-0 against Lazio.
After winning their last four league games last season, Leeds United remain winless in the Premier League so far this season. The Whites have drawn their last two games though and are unbeaten in their last seven Premier League games at Elland Road, their longest run without defeat at home in the top-flight since 2001. But Liverpool had other ideas. They bagged a comprehensive victory.
Yesterday, it was all about Cristiano Ronaldo whose return to Old Trafford was glorified with a commendable victory over Newcastle United – Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice and set the world on fire, but at Stamford Bridge, there was another superstar who was making a comeback to the venue where he failed to live up to the expectations ten years ago. Yesterday, he fulfilled the expectations.
The Matchday at Manchester was all about the return of the inevitable – Cristiano Ronaldo. The fans started to gather in plenty to welcome their boy who left for Real Madrid twelve years ago. When he left, he was already a superstar and in the last twelve years, Cristiano Ronaldo has transformed into a giant of the game – the best player in the world for sure. The debate between Messi and Ronaldo would not finish – but one thing for sure, when the occasion is big, there could hardly be anyone who could hold a candle to the greatness of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Nuno experienced the harsh reality after the international break as Crystal Palace sunk Tottenham Hotspur at Selhurst Park. The visitors digested three goals and were down to ten men as Crystal Palace of Patrick Vieira completely decimated the Spurs in style.
After the frustrating display at Santiago, Chile and suspension of the match against Argentina, Brazil faced Peru. The times have changed and such rosters are not a hundred percent guarantee of victory like the good old days, rather, the fear of losing against lower-ranked sides remain. Thankfully, Brazil fared better than the outing against Chile to bag full points and retain their top spot in the CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers.
At Buenos Aires, it was time for Argentina to thrash the visitors – Bolivia and it was all about Lionel Messi who reached the milestone of breaking Pele’s 77-goal record and again, scored a hat-trick. His one-man show propelled Argentina to a comprehensive victory who are looking very good at the moment. Even though, one must not forget the poor state of the Bolivian football team, who are a jolly-bash for many teams in South America. Brazil thrashed them 5-0 previously.
Poland might not be the force which they were once upon a time but they had been the one who denied England a spot in the 1974 edition of the FIFA World Cup. And, with that, the world would not witness England come back to the showpiece event since Spain 1982. Warsaw is a venue that has always been a challenging one for the English and denied them a victory on many occasions. It was not different last night as well.
Germany made it three wins out of three to start Hansi Flick’s tenure as a manager with their 4-0 win over Iceland in Reykjavík. Goals from Bayern Munich star Serge Gnabry, Antonio Rudiger, Leroy Sane, and Timo Werner gave Germany the three points, further cementing their place in the top spot of the UEFA World Cup qualifying Group J after six matches played.
The Italian side of Roberto Mancini has forgotten how to lose. They might end up with a draw, but, still, their impact is always evident and the Azzurri Brigade continues to prosper in every match. During the international break they dropped points against Bulgaria and Switzerland, but, it seems, they had reserved all their firepower for the Lithuania thrashing.
With back-to-back comprehensive victories, Israel expected to shock Denmark but they discovered that against oppositions who are really good can strip and take them to the cleaners in no time. Denmark hit Israel five times and gunned them down and which made them the only team during the World Cup Qualifiers in Europe having a record of hundred percent win.