Three matches you can’t miss today
COMPETITION within the Champions League is expected to heat up today, as three groups feature marquee matchups. Here’s what you need to know:
Group E: CSKA Moscow (RUS) vs Tottenham Hotspur (ENG) in Moscow
Tottenham will look to kickstart their European campaign in the Russian capital after losing 2-1 to Monaco at Wembley last time out. Mauricio Pochettino’s side go to Moscow for the first time and do so in second place in the Premier League after a 2-1 weekend win at Middlesbrough in which Son Heung-Min scored twice. Moussa Sissoko could miss the game after suffering concussion at the weekend and a depleted Spurs are already without striker Harry Kane while also having major doubts over Mousa Dembele, Eric Dier and Danny Rose. CSKA came from two goals down to draw in Leverkusen last time out to set them up nicely for their first Champions League game in their new 30,000-seat stadium. Leonid Slutsky’s side drew 1-1 at home to Krasnodar at the weekend with a goal from giant Ivorian striker Lacina Traore, who once had a spell at Everton.
Group F: Borussia Dortmund (GER) vs Real Madrid (ESP) in Dortmund
One of the most highly anticipated showdowns of the group stage sees reigning champions Real Madrid head to Germany to take on 1997 winners and 2013 runners-up Dortmund at the Signal Iduna Park. Both teams are expected to progress to the last 16 and both won their opening matches, albeit in contrasting circumstances. While Dortmund romped to a 6-0 win away at Legia Warsaw, Real needed two late goals to come back and beat Sporting 2-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu. Madrid won 3-2 on aggregate when the teams last met in the quarter-finals in 2013-14, but they have been beaten on their last three visits to Dortmund and they do not have a good record in Germany, with just four wins from 29 trips. Zinedine Zidane’s side – for whom Pepe is set to return – are still unbeaten this season but have drawn their last two La Liga games at home to Villarreal and away at Las Palmas. Dortmund, meanwhile, have won four on the bounce in all competitions, scoring 20 goals in the process, and are unbeaten in 24 home Bundesliga games, equalling a club record after defeating Freiburg 3-1 on September 23. Marco Reus is among the long-term absentees for Dortmund.
Group G: Leicester City (ENG) v FC Porto (POR) at Leicester
The Premier League champions get set for another historic moment as they host two-time European champions Porto in the first-ever Champions League game at the King Power Stadium. Claudio Ranieri’s team lost 4-1 at Manchester United on September 24, their third league defeat already this season. However, a 3-0 win in Bruges was an ideal start to their European campaign, and Porto have lost and failed to score on each of their last four visits to England. They will be familiar with the threat of Leicester’s record signing Islam Slimani from his time in Portugal with Sporting. Andre Silva scored twice as Porto beat city rivals Boavista 3-1 at the weekend. Maxi Pereira is expected to be fit for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side, who were held at home by Copenhagen after beating Roma to reach the group stage. –