Takeaways From Champions League Matchday 4
The most anticipated game in Matchday 4 action was played in Turin between Juventus and Real Madrid in Group B action. It was a game that Juventus needed to win in order to still have a chance of advancing into the Round of 16, while a win for Real Madrid would mathematically ensure qualification.
Juventus took a deserved 1-0 halftime lead, but were made to pay for two defensive mistakes as Real Madrid took a 2-1 second-half lead before Fernando Llorente gave Juventus a 2-2 draw.
While they missed their opportunity, Real Madrid will surely achieve qualification on Matchday 5 while Juventus now lie fourth in the group with three points. Luckily for Juventus, FC Copenhagen beat Galatasaray 1-0, which means that Juventus still control their own destiny. The can accomplish their goal by winning the final two games in group play, something that seems likely to happen.
In Group D play, Bayern Munich and Manchester City mathematically sealed qualification with 1-0 and 5-2 wins over Viktoria Plzen and CSKA Moscow respectively.
In Group A, things remained unchanged as both games on Matchday 4 were 0-0 draws while in Group C play, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) got one step closer to qualification with a 1-1 draw. Meanwhile, Olympiacos jumped into second in Group C with a 1-0 home win against Benfica.
In Wednesday action, the game of the day was played in Germany in Group F, aka the “Group of Death” as Borussia Dortmund hosted Arsenal in a game that would give the winner a leg up in advancing to the round of 16.
After the first hour of play were Dortmund where the more aggressive side on attack and had several quality chances that it failed to convert, Arsenal took the lead as Aaron Ramsey scored to give Arsenal a 1-0 lead and eventually the win. Combined with SSC Napoli beating Olympique Marseille 3-2, Arsenal are now first over Napoli because of goal difference despite both having nine points.
Arsenal now appear to have an inside track to advance while the game on November 26 between Dortmund and Napoli will determine the other team that will join them.
In Group E, Chelsea took commanding lead of the group as it easily defeated Schalke 3-0 to move closer to securing automatic qualification into the Round of 16. Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid secured qualification as it easily defeated Austria Wien 4-0. Because FC Porto and Zenit St. Petersburg tied 1-1, the result also means that Atletico have secured first place in Group G play with two matchdays remaining, a very impressive feat for Diego Simeone and co.
FC Barcelona also secured qualification into the Round of 16 as it easily took care of a struggling AC Milan team 3-1. Milan attempted to “park the bus”, but committed a number of tactical and playing errors in the process. While Barcelona have wrapped up qualification in Group H play, Ajax beating Celtic 1-0 means that they are not far behind Milan with four points and three points respectively, and still can take second place.
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