Champions League week 1 review: The champions begin with a win

TAGs: champions league, liverpool, real madrid

The first week of the Champions League group games comes to a close with a standard start for the champions, a Wembley win for Spurs, and a mindless act of silliness from the Sevilla coach.

Champions League week 1 review: The champions begin with a winReal Madrid 3 v 0 Apoel Nicosia 

In the previous ten ties, Real Madrid has played at home to kickstart their Champions League campaign, they have won the lot. There was no way Apoel Nicosia was going to change that record.

The defending champions, and favourites to win an unprecedented three titles on the bounce, began their newest campaign with a stroll in the park against the Cypriot minnows.

Cristiano Ronaldo, the reigning Champions League Golden Boot winner, was the match winner as always. The Portuguese forward found space at the back stick to finish a delightful daisy cutter of a pass from Gareth Bale as early as the 12th minute. The Cypriots held on until six minutes after the break when they were unfortunate to concede a penalty when the ball seemed to strike the shoulder of a defender. Ronaldo had about as much sympathy as a commander of a Gulag. Bang. It was Ronaldo’s 107th Champions League goal, his 55th at home, and his 12th penalty – all Champions League records. The final goal came courtesy of a Sergio Ramos overhead kick from six yards.

Spurs 3 v 1 Dortmund

When you find yourself in a group against Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, the last thing you need is to be playing your home games at a ground you can’t seem to secure a win. That’s the predicament Spurs find themselves in this year, but they buried that ghost with a super win against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley yesterday.

The game crackled to life in the first 15-minute with three shots hitting the back of the net. The first came from Son Heung-min; the South Korean running onto a through ball from Harry Kane, to score at the near post. That goal came in the fourth minute, but Dortmund was level in the 15th minute courtesy of a beautifully curled shot from Andriy Yarmolenko, his first for the club. And then Kane went from provider to goalscorer in a goal that showed every asset you want in a top striker. He shrugged off two defensive challenges, had the pace to advance quickly into the box, and the finish was sublime.

Spurs may have had the lead, but Dortmund had most of the football with a commanding display. And they were unfortunate to go 3-1 down when Christian Eriksen found Harry Kane, and the 24-year old drilled his shot past the Dortmund keeper. It was Kane’s 28th goal in his last 22 games for club and country.

Liverpool 2 v 2 Sevilla 

Liverpool returned to Europe’s premier competition after a three-year absence. Sevilla were the opponents, a repeat of the 2016 Europa League Final, which Liverpool lost by 3-1. Once again there were four goals, but this time they shared them, in what must be classed as two points dropped by Liverpool, and a great result for the Spanish outfit.

champions-league-week-1-review-champions-begin-winSevilla took the lead in the fifth minute. Some dreadful defending by Dejan Lovren allowing a cross to whizz across the six-yard box. Wissam Ben Yedder was at the far post ready to put the ball away. Liverpool reacted well when the Brazilian Firmino levelled in the 21st minute after a fine team move. And Mohamed Salah made it 2-1 with a deflected shot in the 37th minute. Liverpool could have been home and dry after the referee gave them a penalty before half time, but Firmino hit the post.

The second half was like a chaotic cuckoo clock on crack, and it all began with a moment of madness from the Sevilla coach, Eduardo Berizzo, who was sent off for catching the ball on the sidelines and throwing it away from the Liverpool player wanting to take the throw-in. Berizzo would later tell the press that the sending off was a misunderstanding. In the first half, he had deliberately thrown the ball away from a Liverpool player to waste time for his side. After realising his moral error, in the second half, when his side was losing, he thought he would do it again to even the karma.

We believe you, Eduardo, even if the referee didn’t.

Then managerless Sevilla equalised after an excellent piece of skill from Joaquin Correa saw him through on goal, and there was no mistake with the finish. Liverpool’s want a way star, Philippe Coutinho, made his first appearance of the season in the 76th minute, but couldn’t help plunder the Liverpool win, a task made all the mightier when Joe Gomez was sent off for a second yellow card in injury time.

In the group’s other tie, Spartak Moscow left Maribor with a point after a 1-1 draw.

Here are Week 1’s results in full.

The Results in Full

Chelsea 6 v 0 Qarabag
Roma 0 v 0 Atletico Madrid
Olympiacos 2 v 3 Sporting
Man Utd 3 v 0 Basel
Benfica 1 v 2 CSKA Moscow
Barcelona 3 v 0 Juventus
Bayern 3 v 0 Anderlecht
Celtic 0 v 5 Paris St Germain
Liverpool 2 v 2 Sevilla
Maribor 1 v 1 Spartak Moscow
Porto 1 v 3 Besiktas
RB Leipzig 1 v1 Monaco
Real Madrid 3 v 0 Apoel Nicosia
Spurs 3 v 1 Dortmund

Champions League Winning Odds (Courtesy of Oddsshark)

Real Madrid 4/1
PSG 11/2
Bayern 6/12
Barcelona 6/1
Man Utd 12/1
Man City 12/1


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