Champions League Matchday Four Recap

Some teams booked their spot as others make a late push into the knockout round as every point matters with just two matchdays remaining in the Champions League group stages.

Cristiano+Ronaldo+once+again+saved+the+day+for+Manchester+United.+%28Courtesy+of+Twitter%29

Cristiano Ronaldo once again saved the day for Manchester United. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Michael Hernandez, Assistant Sports Editor

Next week, the Champions League rolls into the tail end of the group stages with its fifth matchday. But before that happens, let’s take a look at matchday four.

In Group A, Manchester City beat Club Brugge 4–1. As for the other match, Paris Saint Germain played to a 2–2 tie with RB Leipzig. Leipzig took the lead within eight minutes and had a chance to double their lead within the first 15 minutes but missed a penalty. PSG midfielder Georgino Wijnaldum responded by scoring two goals in the 21st and 39th minute to give PSG the lead heading into halftime. 

The score remained the same despite big chances from both sides. However, VAR checked and eventually gave a late penalty shout by Leipzig. Leipzig midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai scored the penalty in stoppage time to tie the game and split the points. This gave Leipzig their first point of the group stages. It was too little too late, though, as they are now officially eliminated from the knockout stages. They still have a chance to qualify for the Europa League by finishing third in the group.

Group B, the “Group of Death,” saw one of the first teams to qualify for the knockout stages. Liverpool beat Atletico Madrid 2–0 to not only qualify for the knockout stages but to secure the top spot in the group and a more favorable draw in the knockouts. AC Milan got its first point of the campaign with a 1–1 draw to Porto. Despite Liverpool securing top spot in the group, the runner-up place is still wide open as all three teams have a chance to qualify.

In Group C, Ajax beat Borussia Dortmund 3–1 to remain perfect in the group stages and punch their ticket to the knockout stage. Ajax still have not secured the top spot in their group but are very close to it. As for the other match, Sporting beat Besiktas 4–0 to keep their Champions League hopes alive. Like Leipzig, Besiktas are now eliminated from the knockouts but are able to qualify for the Europa League.

The Group D heavyweights started to show off their class with Real Madrid beating Shakhtar Donetsk 2–1 and Inter Milan defeating Sheriff 3–1. Madrid is now top of the group but have not secured anything yet. They are just ahead of Sheriff who have stumbled down to third after their electric start to the group stages. Even Shakhtar Donetsk are still in contention for a knockout berth despite being last with only a lone point.

Bayern Munich beat Benfica 5–2 in Group E to secure a place in the round of 16. As for the other match, Barcelona continued their turnaround and downed Dynamo Kiev 1–0 to catapult them into second place from last after matchday two. Barcelona now have a good chance of qualifying into the knockouts with new head coach Xavi.

As for Group F, Villareal beat BSC Young Boys 2–0 to move them into second place. Manchester United took on Atalanta in the other match. As per United’s current run of form, they conceded first after a combination of poor defending and goalkeeping from David De Gea. However, Cristiano Ronaldo restored parity at 1-1 right before halftime. When the second half started, it did not take long before Atalanta retook the lead. The goal was originally viewed offside but given after consulting VAR to put Atalanta ahead. It seemed as if this was another disaster for United until the last minute when, you guessed it, Ronaldo scored. He smashed a volley past the keeper to equalize it at 2–2 in stoppage time and split the points. United still leads the group, but nothing is secure yet heading into the final two matchdays.

Wolfsburg beat RB Salzburg 2–1 in Group G to give them all three points out of the encounter. French champions Lille beat Sevilla 2–1 in the other match to secure all three points. Salzburg currently leads the group, but Lille and Wolfsburg are close behind, tied for second in points with Lille ahead due to goal difference. All of the teams are still able to qualify and expect all of them to give it their all with two matchdays to go.

Last but certainly not least, Juventus beat Russian side Zenit out of Group H 4–2 to secure a place in the knockouts. Chelsea also beat Malmo 1–0 to give them all three points and put them in a good spot to secure the other knockout spot. First place is still up for grabs for both teams, though, which could give them a favorable draw against a weaker side.

The next round of matches is next Tuesday and Wednesday. The games to watch include Manchester City vs PSG, Atletico Madrid vs Milan and Chelsea vs Juventus. With the group stages rapidly coming to a close, every point counts as teams try to qualify for the knockout stages and push for the biggest club trophy in the world.