Tuesday, November 3, 2015

It Happened in Europe: Real Madrid through, both Manchesters into first place

Group A
Real Madrid 1-0  Paris St Germain
The battle to win Group A comes to a close. Real Madrid got a 35th minute goal from Nacho to give them a halftime lead. That goal wound staff through the end and give Real Madrid the jump on their only real competition for first place.

Shakhtar Donetsk 4-0 Malmo
As the two powerhouses were battling for the top spot in the group, these two relative minnows were fighting for the leg up on the Europa League spot earned for finishing third. Oleksandr Gladkiy put the Ukrainians ahead in the 29th minute. Darijo Srna scored from the spot in the 48th minute. The rout was on in the 55th even Eduardo scored the third goal. The finishing touch came from Alex Teixiera in the 73rd.

Real Madrid, barring an epic collapse, will take first in the group and have already cliched their place in the Round of 16. PSG will likely finish second and seal their spot next matchday, eliminating Donetsk and Malmo.

Group B
Manchester Untied 1-0 CSKA Moscow
No first half goals to speak of as United loss to overcome their slow start and secure a foothold on second place in the group, or more. Wayne Rooney finally ended Manchester United's long Champions League goal drought and delivered them the home win in the 79th

PSV Eindhoven 2-0 Wolfsburg
Wolfsburg was liking to hold onto the top spot in the group on their tricky trip to the Netherlands. Neither team found a breakthrough in the first half. PSV came alive in the second half. Jurgen Locadia broke the deadlock in the 55th minute and Luuk de Jong put it away for them in the 86th.

Manchester United got the result they wanted, even if it wasn't pretty. They go to the top of the group thanks to the PSV upset of Wolfsburg. The Dutch side are now in second place on goal difference with a pair of matches to play. They staff a real chance if going through, as well. If they can get a win over Moscow and navigate a trip to Manchester they would make it.

Group C
Benfica 2-1 Galatasaray
Benfica went ahead in the 52nd minute through Jonas after a scoreless opening frame. Galatasaray pulled even in the 58th with a Lucas Podolski goal. The Portuguese went back in front when Luisao scored the winner in the 67th.

Astana 0-0 Atletico Madrid
Trips all the way across Europe into Kazakhstan are never easy. Real Madrid priced that as the colossal Spanish club waltzed into Astana's home park and failed to get a goal. The draw was probably the best result in Astana's history. Having never been in European commission before, they will take a draw against one of the largest clubs in the world.

The draw on the other side of the continent means Benfica climbs into the top spot of the group. Galatasaray is still alive for second place as they are only three points back of Atletico. Astana, while still technically alive, will probably be eliminated after the next round, but did manage three home draws in their Champions League debut.

Group D
Borrussia Monchengladbach 1-1 Juventus
American international Fabian Johnson scored for Monchengladbach in the 18th minute to give the home Germans the lead in the defending runners up. The less would hold until the final minute before the halftime whistle when Stephan Lichtsteiner leveled for Juventus. That would be it for the scoring as the second half saw no goals, but did see Juventus's Hernanes get sent off in the 53rd for a reckless challenge.

Sevilla 1-3 Manchester City
Three first half goals for Manchester City power their way through a trip to Spain. Raheem Sterling scored in the eighth minute to give City the fast start. Fernadinho doubled the lead three minutes later. After Benoit Tremoulinas got Sevilla on the board in the 25th, City hit the finisher from Wilfried Bony in the 35th.

Manchester City takes advantage of the dropped points from Juventus to take the top spot in the group by a point. A single point over the next two games sees them through to the knockout rounds. It's still a wide open race for first place, however as the two still have to face each other in Italy. Sevilla misses a chance to climb back into the hunt and is now at risk of being eliminated after next matchday. Borrussia Monchengladbach isn't technically eliminated, but they're goal differential means that, even if they recover their six point deficit for second, they still would be out on tiebreakers.

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