Champions League Matchday Three Recap

Some teams are exceeding their expectations, such as Sheriff, while others are underperforming, like Barcelona, at the halfway mark of the Champions League group stages and matchday three brought even more goals and excitement.


Salah scored a brace against Atletico Madrid to continue Liverpool’s perfect streak in the group stage. (Courtesy of Twitter)

The third Champions League matchday took place last week with goals galore across all 16 games.

In Group A, Manchester City put away Club Brugge with a dominating 5–1 win that was never in doubt. As for the other match, Paris-Saint Germain and RB Leipzig played to a five goal thriller that saw the Parisians come away with the 3–2 win. Forward Kylian Mbappe started the scoring within 10 minutes. After that, Leipzig equalized the score in the 28th and later took the lead in the 57th minute. PSG responded as forward Lionel Messi equalized in the 67th minute. PSG was awarded a penalty in the 74th minute. Messi took it and scored with a panenka down the middle to give PSG all three points.

The “group of death,” Group B, saw Porto face AC Milan in a must-win for both teams. Porto won 1–0, with the lone goal in the match occurring in the 65th minute courtesy of Luis Diaz. Liverpool faced off against Atletico Madrid in the other match. Liverpool started the match strong, going up 2–0 within 13 minutes thanks to forward Mo Salah and midfielder Naby Keita. However, Atletico did not go down without a fight. Forward Antoine Griezmann scored in the 20th and 34th minute to make it 2–2 at the end of the first half. In the second half, Griezman was sent off in the 52nd minute with a straight red card. The deadlock was finally broken when Liverpool was awarded a penalty in the 78th minute, which Salah converted. He gave the Reds a crucial 3–2 win to remain perfect in the group stage with nine points out of nine.

The two teams at the top of Group C faced each other, Ajax and Borussia Dortmund. Ajax dominated with a 4–0 thrashing to take the top spot of the group. Sporting finally got their first points of the campaign by beating Besiktas 4–1 in the second match.

13-time Champion League winners Real Madrid beat Shakhtar Donetsk with a 5–0 thrashing to headline Group D. Madrid had 23 shots on the night and completely dominated the game with 58% possession. In the other match, Sheriff’s Cinderella Story took a slight hiccup as it lost to Inter Milan 3–1. Sheriff is still top of the group ahead of Madrid, so its chances of qualifying for the knockout stages remain high.

In Group E, Bayern Munich continued their winning ways as they dominated Benfica 4–0 to remain perfect in the group stages. Bayern dominated proceedings with Robert Lewandowski once again getting on the score sheet to continue his impressive run of form. As for the other match, Barcelona finally broke through, beating Dynamo Kiev 1–0 to get its first win in the Champions League since December of 2020. The sole goal was scored by defender Gerard Pique in the 36th minute to give Barcelona a chance of advancing into the knockout stages.

In Group F, Villareal beat BSC Young Boys 4–1 to secure three points. The other match in the group was Manchester United against Atalanta. Atalanta struck first in the 15th minute and quickly doubled its lead in the 28th minute. At this point, United was going to have three points out of a possible nine. However, United recovered. Marcus Rashford made it 2–1 in the 53rd minute. United kept on pressing for the equalizer in front of the home crowd and found it in the 75th minute with captain and defender Harry Maguire striking the ball into the back of the net. The comeback was completed in the 81st minute by none other than Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo has scored in all three games of this year’s campaign as United now lead the group.

RB Salzburg stayed at the top of Group G by beating Wolfsburg 3–1. As for the other match, Sevilla played to a scoreless draw against Lille. Both sides had several chances to score but were unable to convert any of their opportunities.

Last but certainly not least, in Group H, Juventus beat Zenit 1–0 with the lone goal scored by Dejan Kulusevski to give the Italian side all three points. As for the other match, the reigning Champions League winner, Chelsea, beat Malmo with a dominating 4–0 victory. This was a great victory for the Blues, but now Chelsea has two of their strikers injured: Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner. No timetables have been given for their return, but Chelsea has a plethora of attacking options to pick up the load.

We are halfway through the group stages and now have a clue as to how each group will finish. Some teams are exceeding their expectations, such as Sheriff, while others are underperforming, like Barcelona. The next matchday is next week with the same teams playing against each other due to the round-robin format of the competition. The games to watch are definitely Liverpool and Atletico, PSG and RB Leipzig, and United and Atalanta. In this matchday, 59 goals were scored. If matchday three is any indication of how matchday four will happen, expect another thrilling set of Champions League competition.