Frustration for Celtic as missed chances prove costly
Chelsea held at home
EUROPE – It has been a mixed week for British clubs in the UEFA Champions League, with no shortage of incident. There were wins for Liverpool and Manchester City, draws for Celtic and Chelsea and defeats for Rangers and Tottenham Hotspur
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp had demanded a reaction after last week’s 4-1 loss away to Napoli. However, they left it late against Ajax at Anfield, with Joel Matip heading the winner in the 89th minute. Matip’s return after injury, and that of midfielder Thiago Alcantara strengthened Liverpool’s spine and the hosts looked more solid defensively and moved the ball better than of late. Mohamed Salah gave Liverpool a deserved lead on 17 minutes however, ten minutes later Mohammed Kudus crashed in an equaliser off the underside of the bar. Ajax looked as though they were going to hold out for a point before Matip’s late intervention.
Sporting Lisbon 2 Tottenham Hotspur 0
Tottenham missed a number of chances in Lisbon, but looked on course to take a point when Sporting hit them with two injury time goals, through Paulinho and Arthur Gomez, to take all three points. Sporting competed well throughout and ex Spurs forward Marcus Edwards caused his former employers a number of problems.
Rangers 0 Napoli 3
Rangers endured another tough night, despite an improved performance, as they fell to a 3-0 home defeat to Napoli. After a goalless first half Giovanni Simeone was brought down in the box by James Sands. Sands was dismissed, receiving a second yellow card for the challenge however Allan McGregor gave his side a reprieve. The veteran goalkeeper saved Piotr Zelenski’s penalty before Matteo Politano scored from the rebound. However, VAR ruled that Politano had encroached so a re-take was ordered. McGregor once again denied Zelenski to the delight of the Ibrox crowd. However, Borna Barisic was penalised for handling in the area on 68 minutes and Politano took over spot-kick duties and made no mistake. Late goals from Giacomo Raspadori and Tanguy Ndombele ensured victory for the Italian side as ten-man Rangers tired.
Shakhtar Donetsk 1 Celtic 1
Celtic gained a point away to Shakhtar Donetsk, and will feel aggrieved that a positive performance didn’t bring them all three. Reo Hatate’s effort was deflected into his own goal by Artem Bondarenko to give them a deserved lead on ten minutes. Celtic then continued to have the better of proceedings, before Shakhtar got a greater foothold in the game and equalised when the impressive Mykhaylo Mudryk got on the end of a great through ball from Heorhiy Sudakov to crash in the equaliser. Shakhtar were the better side for the remainder of the first half, but after the break it was mainly Celtic in the ascendancy, though a number of missed chances meant they had to settle for a point.
Chelsea 1 Red Bull Salzburg 1
Chelsea were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Red Bull Salzburg in Graham Potter’s first game in charge. Raheem Sterling gave the home side the lead on 48 minutes but Noah Okafor equalised on 75 minutes. This leaves Chelsea bottom of group E, with a great deal of work to be done to reach the knockout stages.
Manchester City staged a stirring comeback to emerge victorious against Borussia Dortmund. The visitors took the lead when Jude Bellingham, outstanding throughout, headed home on 56 minutes. However, City’s persistence was rewarded with ten minutes remaining when John Stones fired home. Then Erling Haaland, who had been relatively quiet on the night, stretched to convert Joao Cancelo’s cross.
The UEFA Champions League resumes with Matchday 3 on October 4 and 5 2022.
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