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Champions League: 5 issues we realized from Matchday 4

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By Doug McIntyre
FOX Sports activities Soccer Author

With simply two extra rounds of video games remaining within the group stage of the 2022-23 UEFA Champions League, the knockout section image is starting to return into sharper focus. 

Listed here are 5 ideas now {that a} thrilling, action-packed Matchday 4 is over. 

Barcelona survives, however barely

Down by two targets late at residence to Inter Milan on Wednesday, it regarded for all of the world that Barcelona would fail to advance to the enterprise finish of the world’s most prestigious membership competitors for the second consecutive season. That simply might nonetheless occur. 

The brightest stars shine within the greatest moments, although, and Robert Lewandowski confirmed precisely why he was Barça’s No. 1 switch goal in 2022, scoring a pair of equalizers over the ultimate eight minutes late to salvage a 3-3 draw that his crew completely did not deserve.

The consequence prevented Inter from advancing to the second spherical, and it granted the Catalan membership a keep of execution, at the very least quickly. Barcelona now has to beat Bayern Munich at residence and Czech minnow Viktoria Plzen away of their ultimate two matches, and in addition hope that Bayern does not lose to Inter — which is able to absolutely high final place Plzen — on the ultimate match day. 

That may be an excessive amount of to ask, even with Lewandowski within the lineup. 

Salah’s record-smashing hat trick paces rampant Liverpool

It is most likely smart to not learn an excessive amount of into the Reds 7-1 win Wednesday in Glasgow in opposition to Rangers. The hosts had been that badly outclassed. Then once more, this was a cathartic show from Liverpool given their frustrations, significantly within the Premier League, this season.

Mohamed Salah did not even begin the sport at Ibrox. He nonetheless scored three targets in a six-minute span within the second half — the quickest hat trick in Champions League historical past.

Might this be the sport that lastly flip issues round for the Reds? With Liverpool — who’ve participated on three of the final 5 Champions League finals — sitting tenth within the Prem and 14 factors again of leaders Arsenal after Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the Gunners, manger Jürgen Klopp might resolve to prioritize European play over home competitors within the second half of 2022-23.

That might be scary thought for the remainder of the sector if the Reds have certainly lastly discovered their toes.

Man Metropolis, Actual Madrid the primary to clinch 

Two of the title favorites punched their ticket to the second spherical regardless of not successful on Tuesday. Manchester Metropolis, the competitors’s runner-up in 2021, clinched with out Erling Haaland (who was rested) or anybody else even scoring a aim in Copenhagen. Rodi had an early strike referred to as again for a handball within the buildup, and Riyad Mahrez noticed his penalty kick saved. Metropolis performed nearly all of the match with 10 males after Sergio Gómez was proven a purple card within the first half.

Whereas it wasn’t their day, shorthanded Metropolis did not concede both, securing a hard-earned level that was sufficient to ensure their passage to the spherical of 16. And whereas the tie did snap the Sky Blues’ good begin to their Champions League marketing campaign, Pep Guardiola’s aspect nonetheless lead Group G by three factors after Borussia Dortmund and Sevilla additionally resulted in a stalemate. 

In Group F, defending champ Actual Madrid had been fortunate to not lose to Shakhtar Donetsk. The Ukrainians — who’ve been compelled to play their residence video games in Poland due to Russia’s ongoing invasion — took a 1-0 lead deep into second half stoppage time earlier than Antonio Rüdiger headed within the leveler. The German defender paid the value.

Bayern, Membership Brugge and Napoli additionally advance

Three extra groups secured passage to the final 16 on Wednesday. Bayern ran out to a 4-0 lead in Plzen to mainly seal the deal earlier than the hosts pulled two again within the second half.

Membership Brugge — one of many tales of the season to date — progressed to the second spherical for the primary time in 10 tries, turning into simply the second Belgian crew to so. Following Wednesday’s scoreless draw at Atletico Madrid, Brugge now leads Group B forward of former champion Porto and former finalists Atleti and Bayer Leverkusen. Ex- Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet was the person of the match for the guests, posting his fourth successive clear sheet. 

Napoli might not have repeated final week’s 6-1 drubbing at Ajax, however they nonetheless posted one other snug victory over the Dutch giants, leaping out to an early 2-0 benefit via Mexican nationwide crew ahead Chucky Lozano, a lead they would not relinquish en path to a 4-2 win. Of the 32 entrants, Napoli and Bayern are the one two to have received every of their 4 video games to date.

Nightmare season continues for Juventus

It regarded just like the Outdated Woman had turned issues round final week. A decisive win in Serie A was adopted by one other final Wednesday, as Juve simply dispatched Cinderella aspect Maccabi Haifa at residence.

Tuesday’s return match in Israel was the polar reverse. Coming off a deflating weekend loss to Italian rival AC Milan, Juventus regarded like a crew with no confidence in a 2-0 defeat that wasn’t as shut because the scoreboard suggests.

Juve now has simply three factors from 4 contests. Tuesday’s consequence was stunning sufficient that Juventus president Andrea Agnelli needed to publicly again supervisor Massimiliano Allegri afterward.

One other troublesome highway journey awaits Juventus of their subsequent match, on Oct. 25 at Benfica. Even a win in that one may not be sufficient, not with a go to from Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and the remainder of Paris Saint-Germain’s all-star squad looming of their ultimate Group H take a look at.

One of many main soccer journalists in North America, Doug McIntyre has lined United States males’s and girls’s nationwide groups at a number of FIFA World Cups. Earlier than becoming a member of FOX Sports activities in 2021, he was a employees author with ESPN and Yahoo Sports activities. Observe him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.

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