Wednesday, November 4, 2015

It Happened in Europe: Bayern Munich demolish Arsenal, Chelsea survive Kiev scare

Group E
Roma 3-2 Bayer Leverkusen
Mohammed Salah gave the home Roma a lightning fast start. It took him all of a minute and a half to give his side the lead. It became a two goal advantage with an Eden Dzeko goal in the 29th minute. The game turned itself on its head in the second half. Leverkusen got themselves in the board all of 30 seconds after the break thanks to a goal from Admir Mehmedi and found themselves level when Chicharito Hernandez scored in the 51st. Roma got themselves back in front after Salah was shoved down in the penalty area in pursuit of what would have been a tap in goal. Miralem Pjanic confidently buried the attempt to put Roma a goal up with ten minutes to play. They were able to hold off their German opposition after that goal, leading to the 3-2 victory.

Barcelona 3-0 Bate
Bate spent this match defending as the much superior Barcelona was on the attack right from the start. It took a penalty for them to get their first goal, however. Neymar scored from the spot after Filip Mladenovic handled the ball in the box just before the half hour mark. Neymar turned provider for a Luis Suarez goal just before the hour mark to secure a trio of points, and knockout round qualification, for the home team. Neymar tapped in his second of the game to make it 3-0 in the 83rd minute thanks to a wonderful run and pass from Suarez.

Barcelona are now through the the knockout stage thanks to the win. The top spot ion the group can be wrapped up next matchday. The Leverkusen-Roma fight for second got a lot more interesting with the Roma victory. They leap over Leverkusen for the second spot with two matches to play.

Group F
Bayern Munich 5-1 Arsenal
Arsenal was in need of at least a point in Germany to really feel like they had a shot at advancing, but their trip to Munich ended in miserable failure.

Just before the clock hit ten minutes, Bayern Munich got the goal they failed to get on their trip to North London a few weeks ago. Robert Lewandowski, who is no stranger to scoring goals, beat Arsenal's offside trap to nail an easy header from just outside the six yard box. Mesut Ozil thought he had equalized a minute later, but it was ruled the he handled the ball into the goal. The call, made by the goal line official, was very close, indeed. Bayern controlled just about the entire ball after the Ozil almost goal and was able to double their lead in the 29th minute when Thomas Muller latched onto a blocked shot in the penalty area that he was able to boot in with ease. It was only a matter of time before the third goal showed up, and it came from an unlikely source. Defender David Alaba hammered a distance shot into the upper corner of the goal in the 44th minute. Bayern Munich's halftime lead ws 3-0, but in truth, it could have been a lot more.

The second half looked an awful lot like the first . Bayern Munich are not the type of club to sit back and defend with a big lead. They just keep thrusting forward for more goals. They got a fourth goal in the 55th minute from the just barely introduced substitute Arjen Robben. Olivier Giroud did get the Gunners on the board with a consolation goal  in the 69th minute. Not that it had any true effect. Muller added Bayern Munich's fifth goal in the 90th minute to finish the embarrassment of the Gunners.

Olympiakos 2-1 Dinamo Zagreb
Armin Hodzic gave the visitors a big first goal in the 20th minute. Their lead would not hold up, however. Felipe Pardo leveled for the Greeks in the 65th minute. Olympiakos completed the turn around with a late winner. It was Pardo providing his second goal to give the Greek champions the leg up on qualification for the knockout rounds.

Arsenal's humbling at the hands of Bayern Munich pretty much their chances at making the Round of 16. Had Zagreb held onto their lead, or even held on to draw, against Olympiakos, the Gunners would have a shot. Instead, their six points back coupled with a -4 goal difference sinks them. Bayern Munich and Olympiakos, while not technically qualified yet, are pretty much through. Both sit with nine points to Arsenal and Zagreb's three.

Group G
Chelsea 2-1 Dynamo Kiev
Amidst rumors that their manager is about to be thrown out, Chelsea was in need of some Champions League points against Kiev at home. It took an own goal to put them on the board. Aleksander Dragovic headed a cross from Willian into his own goal in the 34th minute. Dragovic made up for his error by heading a corner into the Chelsea net in the 77th to tie the score, but Willian was able to restore the advantage in the 83rd with a wonderfully struck free kick.

Maccabi Tel-Aviv 1-3 Porto
Porto went in front by a Cristian Tello goal in the 19th minute. Andre doubled the advantage in the 49th. Miguel Layun continued the rout by scoring in the 71st. Tel-Aviv's first goal of this Champions League campaign came in the 75th minute with a penalty from Eran Zahavi.

Chelsea's win moves them into second over Kiev, but they have a long way to go to catch Porto in first, who is a win away from sealing qualification along with the group's top spot.  Tel-Aviv can only play spoiler at this point as their zero points mean they are done.

Group H
Gent 1-0 Valencia
No goals were scored in the first 45 minutes, and the only goal of the second half needed a penalty to go through. Gent were the beneficiaries if the call as Sven Kums scored from the spot in to 49th minute.

Lyon 0-2 Zenit St. Petersburg
It was Artem Dzyuba giving the visitors the lead in the 26th minute. His second goal came in the 57th to give them an unlikely 2-0 lead. Any hope of a Lyon comeback was thwarted when Maxime Gonalons was sent off for a second yellow in the 72nd minute.

Zenit are in the Round of 16 as they continue their perfect record in Group H. Gent's big win against Valencia puts them right back in the chase for second place. They sit with four points in third, only two back of Valencia. Lyon will need plenty of luck if they want to have a prayer at moving on.

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