We’re now at the halfway point of the Champions League group stage, and things are really hotting up as the betting exchange favourites begin to emerge. Another cracking matchday is behind us, with plenty of entertaining matches and talking points. Let’s get straight into it, and look at some of the biggest stories in Europe’s premier club competition this week.
Thriller in Madrid
On a breathless night at the Wanda Metropolitano, Liverpool made it three wins out of three in Champions League Group B with a 3-2 triumph over Atlético Madrid. Early goals from Mohamed Salah and Naby Keïta gave Liverpool the perfect start, and it looked like an easy evening was in store for Jürgen Klopp’s side, who won the Champions League in the Spanish capital in 2019.
But Atlético rarely go down without a fight, and in an entertaining first half, the home team drew level thanks to a brace from Antoine Griezmann.
The Frenchman was then sent off when his high boot collided with the face of Roberto Firmino, and Liverpool ultimately got the winner, Mohamed Salah slotting home a penalty after Diogo Jota had been fouled.
The Reds are in pole position in the group, with Atlético Madrid facing a scrap with Porto for second place of betting.
Having beaten Manchester City at the Parc des Princes last time out, Paris Saint-Germain faced another stern test with the visit of RB Leipzig. It was an entertaining affair, with the German side overturning a 1-0 deficit to lead 2-1 with an hour to play.
Then came some trademark wizardry from PSG’s new talisman. Lionel Messi got on the end of Kylian Mbappé’s pass to equalize, before producing a sensational ‘Panenka’ penalty to give the French side the lead once again. It was a gutsy move with so much riding on the result, but thanks to Messi’s magic, PSG held on to top spot in Group A despite Manchester City’s 5-1 hammering of Club Brugge.
Barcelona off the mark
Barcelona have had a torrid time in the Champions League so far this season, with successive 3-0 defeats to Bayern Munich and Benfica representing an awful start to the campaign. But, Ronald Koeman’s side may have turned the corner after a hard-fought 1-0 win over Dynamo Kyiv.
Gerard Piqué got the all-important goal after 36 minutes, and although it was hardly a classic at the Camp Nou, Barcelona limited their opponents to very little in the way of scoring opportunities, and they still have a chance of qualifying for the knockout rounds after Bayern Munich beat Benfica in the other match.
United survive a scare
It was a week defined by 3-2 scorelines, and Manchester United came out on the right end of a thriller against Atalanta. The Italian side started like a house on fire, racing into a 2-0 first-half lead thanks to goals from Mario Pašalić and Merih Demiral, and it looked like the home side were going to suffer a second defeat of their European campaign after losing to Young Boys on the opening matchday.
But whatever Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said at half-time did the trick, as United looked like a different team after the break. Marcus Rashford pulled a goal back, before Harry Maguire drilled home the equaliser with 15 minutes remaining.
There was only one man likely to pop up with the winner, and Cristiano Ronaldo rose highest to power home a head and give United a precious three points in Group F.