Barcelona, Atletico exit Champions League; Liverpool through


Sadio Mane of Bayern Munich warm up prior of the UEFA Champions League group C match between FC Barcelona and FC Bayern München at Spotify Camp Nou on October 26, 2022 in Barcelona, Spain.


Barcelona was eliminated from the Champions League on Wednesday even before enduring yet another 3-0 beating by Bayern Munich.

Atletico Madrid also went out following an extraordinary sequence around a penalty awarded by video review after the final whistle of its 2-2 draw with Bayer Leverkusen.

Atletico’s spot kick was saved before a frantic scramble in the goalmouth still could not bring the winning goal the Spanish club needed to prevent Porto advancing thanks to its 4-0 win earlier at group leader Club Brugge.

Canadian international Stephen Eustaquio scored as Porto punished Club Brugge’s defensive mistakes to hand the Belgian champion its first defeat in the Champions League this season and reach the knockout stage.

The 25-year-old Canadian midfielder made it 3-0 in the 60th minute, knocking home his own rebound after he was found unmarked by Porto striker Medhi Taremi.

It was his first Champions League goal.

Tajon Buchanan started for Brugge with fellow Canadian Cyle Larin on the bench.

Porto avenged its 4-0 home loss when the teams first met in Group B last month and advanced to the round of 16 after Atletico was held 2-2 by Leverkusen.

With one match left to play in the group phase, Porto moved one point behind group leader Brugge, which had already secured advancement before kickoff. Atletico stood third, five points off the pace, with Leverkusen lagging one point further back.

Brugge had not conceded a single goal in its four previous matches.

Two Spanish powers who were part of the failed Super League launch last year will now miss out on the round of 16 of Europe’s top competition.

Liverpool’s passage into the knockout stage with a game to spare was relatively calm in a 3-0 win at Ajax to join leader Napoli in advancing from free-scoring Group A, which has had 44 goals in 10 games.

In more stoppage-time drama with video review, Tottenham thought it had won Group D when Harry Kane shot the ball into Sporting Lisbon’s net with seconds left in a game tied at 1-1.

A long VAR check ruled Kane had been offside, a furious Tottenham coach Antonio Conte was shown a red card, and the most finely balanced group goes to the final round next week with all four teams having a chance to advance.

Group leader Tottenham plays at last-placed Marseille next Tuesday while Eintracht Frankfurt – which beat Marseille 2-1 on Wednesday – goes to Sporting.

The meeting between heavyweights in Barcelona was rendered meaningless before kickoff, when the five-time European champion’s hopes of advancing were ended by Inter Milan’s 4-0 win over Viktoria Plze in one of the early games.

Barcelona needed Inter to drop points and then still had to beat Bayern, which also beat the Spanish team 3-0 in two group meetings last season and won 2-0 at home in September.

The outcome was clear after Sadio Mane scored in the 10th minute. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting doubled the lead before halftime and Benjamin Pavard added a third in stoppage time.

Barcelona, even after signing former Bayern star Robert Lewandowski, has now fallen short of the round of 16 in back-to-back seasons since Lionel Messi left in August 2021 for Paris Saint-Germain.

Bayern and Napoli are the only teams with five straight wins in this group stage, and the Italian team’s 3-0 win against Rangers ran its goal tally to 20.

SPOT-KICK STOPPER

Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa has now saved penalty kicks in three straight Champions League games. It was four straight spot-kick saves, really, because Costa had to stop two efforts taken by Club Brugge in Porto’s 4-0 win. 

The keeper, who wears the No. 99 shirt, first dived to his right to save Hans Vanaken’s attempt, which was ordered to be retaken because of encroachment in the penalty box. Noah Lang stepped up for the retake and Costa also saved that one diving to his left. 

Costa, who should go to the World Cup as Portugal’s No. 1, also saved penalties in home and away wins over Bayer Leverkusen, from Patrik Schick and Kerem Demirbay.


Atletico had to beat Leverkusen and got a corner at the end of stoppage time tied at 2-2. The danger was cleared and the final whistle blown before video review assistants spotted a handball. 

French referee Clement Turpin consulted his screen at the halfway line and gave the penalty, but Belgium midfielder Yannick Carrasco’s effort was pushed away by goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky. The ball then looped up for Atletico’s Saul Niguez to head against the crossbar. 

That in turn teed up Reinildo for a shot that looked goalbound but struck Carrasco’s ankle and bounced over the goal to safety. Atletico, which lost in the final in 2014 and 2016, can now only hope to secure third place over Leverkusen in Group B and enter the Europa League knockout playoffs in February.

NOT SO SUPER

On Tuesday, Juventus was eliminated. One day later it was Barcelona’s turn. Two of the three rebel clubs still backing the failed Super League project are already out of the Champions League. Embarrassment on the field is also a financial hit for Juventus and Barcelona, who each reported record losses this year. 

Both missed out on several million euros (dollars) in result bonuses offered in the group stage and will not get the 9.6 million euros ($9.7 million) in prize money that UEFA awards clubs who reach the round of 16. 

Barcelona, unlike Juventus, is at least sure of switching to the Europa League in February. That is worth 500,000 euros ($504,000) with seven-figure payments for advancing further.



Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post