The group stage of the UEFA Champions League reached the midway point as we saw 33 goals scored in the 16 games played this past Tuesday and Wednesday. With teams fighting for the trophy to the teams who just have their eyes set on the Europa League spot, we have shortlisted the TOP3 matches of Round 3.
ARSENAL 2 – 0 BAYERN MUNICH
VENUE – The Emirates
Arsenal went into this fixture after a poor set of results in Europe so far. They had been defeated by Dinamo Zagreb and then shocked at home by Olympiakos.
Bayern, meanwhile, were enjoying their journey in Europe after defeating both Olympiakos and Dinamo comfortably, scoring a total of 8 goals and conceding none.
Arsene Wenger and Pep Guardiola both fielded strong sides for this one. With Bayern coming into this one as strong favourites, the score line was 0-0 at half-time. It was a balanced game with Bayern having more of the ball possession.
A crescendo of noise engulfed the Emirates as the deadlock was broken by the home side in the 77th minute through substitute Olivier Giroud. 1-0 is always a risky lead but the home team and fans were happy with it.
It got even better for Arsene Wenger’s men in the final minute of added time as right back Hector Bellerin sprinted with the ball into the opposition’s half and then squared it Mesut Ozil who calmly slotted the ball past Manuel Neuer to give Arsenal a surprising and unpredictable 2-0 win over the German giants.
BAYER LEVERKUSEN 4 – 4 AS ROMA
VENUE – BayArena
Bayer Leverkusen went into this game after losing their previous group stage game to Barcelona. They had beaten BATE on the opening day.
AS Roma had held Barcelona to a draw, but then experienced a shocking defeat at the hands of BATE in their previous group stage match.
Changes were made by both managers as both these sides were desperately looking for a win. The hosts were without a win in their previous 3 games in all competitions while the visitors wanted to kick start a successful journey in Europe.
It just took 4 minutes for the first goal which came through a penalty for the hosts. Former Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez converted from the spot and was on the score sheet once again on the 19th minute. It looked as if AS Roma were collapsing again, but midfielder Daniele De Rossi pulled one back on the half hour mark. Just 8 minutes later, he struck again to make it all square.
The teams headed in and came out after half time as the score was 2-2. The comeback was complete as Miralem Pjanic put the visitors 3-2 up barely 10 minutes after the break. Substitute Iago Falque then put Roma 4-2 up to give them a comfortable lead. But with comfort came complacency as Leverkusen narrowed the deficit through Kevin Kampl just 6 minutes from full time. It was all square just 2 minutes later as Admir Mehmedi scored the fourth and final goal of the game.
The referee blew his whistle and this thoroughly entertaining game ended in a staggering 4-4 draw.
MANCHESTER CITY 2 – 1 SEVILLA
VENUE – Etihad Stadium
Manchester City had a disappointing start to their European campaign as they lost to Serie A champions Juventus on the opening day.They did bounce back with a comeback victory over Borussia Monchengladbach.
Sevilla were impressive on opening day as they eased past Monchengladbach. But then they faced defeat at the hands of Juventus who were on a rampage.
Manuel Pellegrini had some worries as he was without a couple of his key players – Sergio Aguero and David Silva who were out injured. Unai Emery, meanwhile, just made a couple of changes to his side who haven’t really been up to par this season so far.
The first goal came on the half hour mark as the visitors took the lead. It was one of Emery’s changes who gave them the lead – Yevheniy Konoplyanka. Manchester City responded 7 minutes later as the equalizer came through an own goal which was initially credited to Wilfried Bony. The fans did not care who scored as they were just relieved by the equalizer.
The teams went in at half time and the score remained 1-1 till the 90th minute. Lightning struck twice as City scored in second half stoppage time yet again to make it 2-1. New recruit Kevin De Bruyne, who just cannot stop scoring, scored yet again in the 91st minute to give City a very crucial victory over Europa League champions Sevilla.
What they did to Borussia Monchengladbach, they did to Sevilla. On both occasions, the score was 1-1, and City managed to score their second and the match winning goal in second half stoppage time.