24 Nov 2021 | 08:21
Things got topsy turvy with the first half of Champions League Matchday 5 on Tuesday. A record six Americans featured, but it was Jordan Pefok who stole the show with a goal for Young Boys in a 3-3 stunner vs. Atalanta. Young Boys needed a win to have a shot at the last 16, so they won’t be advancing but they can hold their heads high after pulling ahead in the 84th minute via an absolute strike from Silvan Hefti. Luis Muriel hit a free kick home in the 87th to level things, leaving Atalanta in third, one point behind Villarreal for advancing heading into the final matchday.
Elsewhere, Benfica, with a draw, has a great chance to advance from Group E with a victory over Dynamo Kyiv in their next match, but they should’ve also won Tuesday’s match against Barcelona. Going into the final moments, Haris Seferovic was one on one with the keeper and tried to chip it. While he got around the keeper, he then missed an open net so things will go to the final day in Group E. Barcelona hit the post as well but they’re left with a tall task needing to take down Bayern Munich on the final day of games.
Chelsea handed Juventus their worst Champions League loss ever as the defense kept the goals flowing with Trevoh Chalobah and Reece James finding the back of the net. The victory came at a cost, however, as N’Golo Kante and Ben Chilwell went off injured. Kante seemed to be a knock and he was withdrawn as a precaution, but Chilwell’s injury could be more serious.
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Group G was turned upside down as every team has a chance to advance on Matchday 6. Lille got into the driver’s seat with an early goal from Jonathan David and Sevilla continued their European dominance at home blanking Wolfsburg. Quite a fitting group to end on in such a topsy-turvy day that saw 20 goals hit the back of the net with three matches seeing three or more goals.
Dynamo Kyiv 1, Bayern 2
Barcelona 0, Benfica 0
Villarreal 0, Manchester United 2
Young Boys 3, Atalanta 3
Sevilla 2 Wolfsburg 0
Lille 1, RB Salzburg 0
Malmo 1, Zenit 1
Chelsea 4, Juventus 0
Young Boys 3, Atalanta 3: Goals, goals, and more goals! It looked like Atalanta would be off to the races in the early going as Duvan Zapata scored only 10 minutes into the match but Young Boys would hold serve to hit back. Jordan Pefok scored a header from an acute angle for his fifth overall Champions League goal (including qualifiers). Things went quiet for a little until Jose Palomino scored one of the contenders for goal of the day. Palomino hit a ball that fell at the edge of the box on the volley to beat the keeper putting Atalanta back in the driver’s seat.
Both teams decided to save their fireworks until after the 80th minute though. Vincent Serro brought Young Boys level, taking advantage of a quick throw to catch Atalanta off guard. Young Boys pulled ahead four minutes later as Silvan Helfti scored another contender for goal of the day with a strike into the top corner. For those fleeting moments, Young Boys were dreaming of the knockout stages only to have their hopes dashed three minutes later. Muriel stroked a free kick home in the 87th minute for the final 3-3 scoreline. If you blinked at the end, you likely missed a goal.
Lucas Ocampos, Sevilla: Ocampos played a large role in Sevilla shutting out Wolfsburg and also assisted their final goal to ensure that the match was out of reach. He had three chances created but was also a machine guarding the flank with two tackles won and nine recoveries. The danger that he caused was also highlighted by the fact that Wolfsburg had to foul him five times in the match. A professional performance to keep things rolling for Sevilla.
This is beginning to become a broken record as Reece James plucks the ball out of the air and lashes it in for Chelsea.
The reflexes and touch for Cristiano Ronaldo to not only turn this around but to make the shot look easy at full speed is ridiculous. If there was more than one defender around him, this would’ve likely taken the top spot for me.
Malmo 1, Zenit 1: Malmo wasn’t expected to do anything, but they pulled out a result versus Zenit. Soren Rieks opened the scoring in the 28th minute scoring Malmo’s first goal of Champions League play. Bad defending from Zenit allowed Malmo space to find Rieks for a tap in. Right after the half, Malmo conceded a penalty as their keeper, Johan Dahlin, took down Wendel in the box. Dahlin made up for his mistake saving Artem Dzyuba’s penalty. While it wasn’t a great one from Dzyuba it’s always cool to see a keeper save a penalty that they concede.
Zenit went down to 10 men in the 86th minute as Dmitri Chistyakov was shown his second yellow for a tackle on Erdal Rakip after the play was already blown dead. Eric Larsson conceded Malmo’s second penalty for an elbow catching Dzyuba and Zenit wouldn’t miss this one. Switching the penalty taker, Yaroslav Rakitskyi found the back of the net but even with a draw, this was a good result for Malmo.
Barcelona: While you could see what Xavi wanted Barcelona to do, Barca players were caught offsides an astounding eight times. Memphis Depay alone was caught off three times and was dispossessed another four times — a number far too wasteful for a team that struggles in attack. The point of tiki-taka is that you have to be clinical with the chances created in open play and Barcelona wasn’t. Yusif Demir hit the woodwork but I’m still not sure if Nicolas Otamendi’s goal should’ve been called off. It was ruled that the corner kick bent out of play but given that it didn’t go to a VAR review, it’s tough to know if the proper angles were reviewed.
There was not only that but the miss at the death from Benfica puts a team ahead nine out of 10 times as well. Now Barcelona has to get a result versus Bayern in the next match day. Not great!