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UEFA Champions League review, 23-24 October 2018



 FC Barcelona’s defender Jordi Alba (R) celebrates with midfielder Arturo Vidal after scoring the 2-0 during the UEFA Champions League group B soccer match between FC Barcelona and FC Internazionale at Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, 24 October 2018. EPA/Enric Fontcuberta[/caption]  

The wildly different fortunes of the two Manchester clubs was arguably the dominant narrative of matchday three in the UEFA Champion League group stage this week on SuperSport; with Jose Mourinho admitting his side is way short of the quality of Juventus, while Pep Guardiola raved over their performance in crushing Shakhtar Donetsk in the Ukraine.

  Manchester United were completely outplayed by Juve on the night which saw Cristiano Ronaldo return to Old Trafford. The Portuguese provided an assist as Paulo Dybala scored the only goal of the match, while Red Devils goalkeeper David de Gea ensured the 1-0 score line flattered his team.   “We play against one of the biggest, really biggest, candidates to win the Champions League and we did the possible we could to get the different result,” Mourinho said after the defeat to the Old Lady.   “Especially because of the way we played in the second-half. We didn’t, especially because Mr Bonucci, Mr Chiellini, they could go to some Harvard University to give classes about how to be a central defender. Fantastic, absolutely fantastic.”   By contrast, Man City continued their excellent recent form by easing to a 3-0 away win in Donetsk with goals from David Silva, Aymeric Laporte and Bernardo Silva prompting Guardiola to claim it was the best showing since his arrival at the club.   “Incredible. Our first half was the best we have played in the last three seasons, since I’ve been here. We were outstanding, we created a lot of chances,” said the Citizens’ manager.   “We were under pressure after defeat against Lyon (in the first group game), but now we are in a good position. We can control our destiny now. It was so important to get this result and we will enjoy tonight and the next few days with this victory.”   A manager not enjoying his tenure despite a win is Real Madrid’s Julen Lopetegui, who remains very much under fire after his side were uninspiring in a 2-1 home win over whipping boys Viktoria Plzen, while Tottenham Hotspur’s Maurico Pochettino has admitted that his side are out of contention for the knockout stages after they were held 2-2 in Eindhoven by Dutch champions PSV.   There were plenty of African goal scorers across the round, with arguably the most important strike coming from Moroccan Noussair Mazraoui, as he netted in injury time to see Ajax beat Benfica 1-0 and go top of their group alongside Bayern Munich (who won 2-0 at AEK Athens).   Bertrand Traore scored the opening goal in the 3-3 thriller between Hoffenheim and Olympique Marseille, Mohamed Salah (two) and Sadio Mane both scored in Liverpool’s easy 4-0 home win over Red Star Belgrade, and Moussa Marega was on target for Porto in a 3-1 away victory over Lokomotiv Moscow.   Wednesday’s big-name games saw Barcelona take control of their group with a 2-0 home win over Internazionale (with goals from Rafinha and Jordi Alba), Borussia Dortmund made a major statement with a 4-0 destruction of Atletico Madrid, and Angel Di Maria scored a last-gasp equaliser to see Paris Saint-Germain hold Napoli 2-2 in the French capital.   UEFA Champions League results, 23-24 October 2018   Tuesday 23 October AEK Athens 0-2 Bayern Munich Young Boys 1-1 Valencia Ajax 1-0 Benfica AS Roma 3-0 CSKA Moscow Hoffenheim 3-3 Olympique Lyon Manchester United 0-1 Juventus Real Madrid 2-1 Viktoria Plzen Shakhtar Donetsk 0-3 Manchester City   Wednesday 24 October Club Brugge 1-1 Monaco PSV 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur Barcelona 2-0 Internazionale Borussia Dortmund 4-0 Atletico Madrid Galatasaray 0-0 Schalke Liverpool 4-0 Red Star Lokomotiv Moscow 1-3 Porto Paris Saint-Germain 2-2 Napoli  ]]>