Champions League Round-Up: Favourites Cruise While Manchester City and Spurs Struggle

VALENCIA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 19: Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus reacts after get a red card during the Group H match of the UEFA Champions League between Valencia and Juventus at Estadio Mestalla on September 19, 2018 in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

With the first matchday of the UEFA Champions League now done and dusted, we find a slightly less blurred picture of what we can expect going forward. For the most part, the opening match of the Champions League group stage was dominated by the favourites. Of course, there were a few exceptions to this rule, as both Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur struggled to defeat in their opening matches.

While these results may not be truly indicative of what we can expect going forward, it does give us some indication of just who might be able to contend for spots in the Champions League knockout rounds. But enough of that, let’s get to the results and take a closer look at just what happened on the opening matchday of the Champions League group stage.

UEFA Champions League Round-Up

Group A

AS Monaco 1-2 Atletico Madrid

Club Brugge 0-1 Borussia Dortmund

As expected, both Borussia Dortmund and the defending Europa League champions, Atletico Madrid, opened their Champions League campaigns with a victory. What may have not been expected, however, was how close both matches were. While Club Brugge should easily finish bottom of the group, Monaco did impress in their loss to Atletico. Should the French side continue to perform well in the group stage, they may give both Atletico and Dortmund a true run for the final knockout phase qualifying position.

Group B

Barcelona 4-0 PSV

Inter Milan 2-1 Tottenham

Opening their Champions League campaign with a 4-0 home win over Dutch side PSV, Barcelona look set to once again coast their way into the knockout phase. However, the other match of the group, featuring Inter Milan and Tottenham, was nowhere near as straightforward. Scoring two goals late in the second half, Inter managed to pull off a miraculous comeback victory over Spurs. Worryingly, Spurs continue to look down a cylinder in their performances, a definite worrying sign for the North London club.

Group C

Liverpool 3-2 Paris Saint-Germain

Red Star Belgrade 0-0 Napoli

The first draw of the competition! Playing out to a 0-0 draw in front of a rabid crowd in Serbia, Napoli managed to hold the returning Red Star Belgrade, earning both sides an all-important point. However, all the talk from this group was dominated by the thrilling 3-2 victory for Liverpool against Paris Saint-Germain. While the result was clearly not the one the Paris club wanted, the result did prove that both Liverpool and PSG remain as the most talented teams in this group. They should have no issue taking the top two spots at the end of this phase of the competition.

Group D

Galatasaray 3-0 Lokomotiv Moscow

Schalke 1-1 Porto

Possibly the weakest group top to bottom in the Champions League this season, Group D also presents the most evenly skilled teams in the competition. In this group, every point is truly important. That should bring comfort to both Schalke and Porto, who fought to a 1-1 draw while Turkish giants Galatasaray destroyed Lokomotiv Moscow 3-0. However, despite these results, this group is far from over and should come down to the final matchday of the group stage.

Group E

Ajax 3-0 AEK Athens

Benfica 0-2 Bayern Munich

Opening with a 2-0 victory in Portugal over Benfica, German giants Bayern Munich have clearly put their stamp on this group. With the German club likely set to top the group and qualify to the knockout rounds, the attention now turns to both Benfica and Ajax, who dominated AEK Athens in a 3-0 victory. With the two sides not set to faceoff until matchday three, the battle for the final qualifying position from this group could be one to watch.

Group F

Shakhtar Donetsk 2-2 Hoffenheim

Manchester City 1-2 Olympique Lyon

Opening with what may be the biggest shock result of the first matchday, Olympique Lyon went into the Etihad Stadium and took the full three points against Manchester City. Earning a 2-1 win over the current Premier League leaders, Lyon have definitely boosted their chances to qualify for the knockout phase. In the other match of the group, Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk came back from a goal down twice to earn a draw against Hoffenheim. While not the best result for either club, the coming match days will determine just what their future in the Champions League looks like.

Group G

Real Madrid 2-0 Roma

Viktoria Plzen 2-1 CSKA Moscow

Earning a 2-0 win over the visiting AS Roma, Real Madrid opened their defence of last years Champions League title with a victory. Asserting their dominance and proving that they are still one of the best clubs in the world, Real now have clear track to finishing top of the group. Roma, however, will now turn their attention to Czech side Viktoria Plzen. Following their 2-1 victory over CSKA Moscow, Plzen now look to be Roma’s biggest contender for second place and final qualifying spot to the Champions League knockout rounds.

Group H

Valencia 0-2 Juventus

Young Boys 0-3 Manchester United

While not as straightforward as the result would leave you to believe, Juventus managed to waltz to victory over Valencia despite being down a man for most of the match following Cristiano Ronaldo’s 29th-minute red card. In the other match, Manchester United cruised to a 3-0 victory over Champions League debutants Young Boys. With the results, United and Juventus have set themselves up to truly battle for the top step in the group over the rest of the group stage matches.

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