Madrid eye goal fest, Le­ices­ter look to stay pe ect in Europe

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

Bayer Lev­erkusen (GER) vs Tot­ten­ham (ENG) Tot­ten­ham’s sur­prise home de­feat to Monaco on open­ing day has put a span­ner in the works, with both the Lon­don side and Lev­erkusen un­der pres­sure. Spurs bounced back with a win in Moscow over CSKA and are the only re­main­ing un­beaten side in the Pre­mier League. Lev­erkusen, on the other hand, had a dif­fi­cult start to the Bun­desliga sea­son and sit in the bot­tom half., and drew their first two pool matches. Be­fore the sea­son be­gan, both would have been con­sid­ered group favourites, but now nei­ther can af­ford to fail to pick up a win in or they risk leav­ing them­selves with too much to do in the fi­nal two fix­tures.

CSKA (RUS) vs Monaco (FRA) Monaco will seek to build on their open­ing 2-1 vic­tory over Tot­ten­ham against CSKA, who sit third in the Rus­sian Pre­mier League af­ter a 1-0 win over Ufa, but are bot­tom of the group and need a win. Monaco has dropped to third in Ligue 1, fall­ing four points be­hind Nice af­ter los­ing 3-1 at Toulouse on Oc­to­ber 14, and would be happy to go home with a point still lead­ing the pool.

Real Madrid (ESP) vs Le­gia War­saw (POL) Le­gia, the first Pol­ish qual­i­fiers to this stage in 20 years, have al­ready con­ceded eight goals in their first two group games, so any­thing other than a Real avalanche a sur­prise. Madrid warmed up with a 6-1 thump­ing of Real Betis, who are prob­a­bly a bet­ter side than War­saw. Real coach Zine­dine Zi­dane praised his side for play­ing with “in­ten­sity” on Oc­to­ber 15, and a sim­i­lar dis­play would likely blow away the Pol­ish side, which was al­ready thumped 6-0 at home to Dort­mund.

Sport­ing (POR) vs Borus­sia Dort­mund (GER) This match could de­velop into a bat­tle for sec­ond place be­hind Real af­ter Sport­ing came close to a stun­ning up­set on open­ing week­end, lead­ing Real 1-0 un­til late in the match. They lost but will have been buoyed by that per­for­mance and a win at home to Dort­mund would fos­ter faith that they have the abil­ity to get through this tough­est of groups. Borus­sia, a reg­u­lar fix­tures in the knock-out stages, have been bang­ing in the goals for fun this sea­son, be­hind only Bay­ern Mu­nich in the Bun­desliga on goals scored. They were un­lucky to only draw Hertha at the week­end af­ter Pierre-Em­er­ick Aubameyang missed a penalty and hit the bar be­fore notch­ing a late equaliser. If luck doesn’t desert the Gabon striker in Lis­bon, it could be a dif­fi­cult night for Sport­ing.

Club Brugge (BEL) vs Porto (POR) Point­less and goal­less Brugge host Porto with both sides tar­get­ing a first win in Group G. The pair last met in the 1972-73 UEFA Cup, where Porto pre­vailed 5-3 on ag­gre­gate. Bel­gian cham­pi­ons Brugge suf­fered heavy losses to Le­ices­ter and Copen­hagen, but coach Michel Preud’homme has valu­able in­sight into the Por­tuguese foot­ball men­tal­ity as a for­mer Ben­fica player. Porto mean­while wel­come back Je­sus Corona, among the scor­ers in their Por­tuguese Cup win at the week­end, from in­jury. Brugge line up af­ter a league loss to Charleroi on Oc­to­ber 14.

Le­ices­ter (ENG) vs Copen­hagen (DEN) Le­ices­ter’s sea­son is de­vel­op­ing a Jekyll and Hyde qual­ity – strug­gling to de­fend their shock Pre­mier League crown but fly­ing high in Europe. Clau­dio Ranieri’s men host Copen­hagen while top of the group with a per­fect six points, while in the Pre­mier League their four de­feats al­ready one more than they suf­fered over the whole of last sea­son. Their Dan­ish guests are placed sec­ond at two points adrift, so a third straight win for the Foxes would punch a ticket to the knock­out stage in their first ever Cham­pi­ons League cam­paign much closer. Le­ices­ter will have to bounce back from a 3-0 loss to Chelsea at the week­end, when Ranieri rested last sea­son’s player of the year Riyad Mahrez, one of three key play­ers, for to­day’s match.

Di­namo Za­greb (CRO) vs Sevilla (ESP) Di­namo took de­ci­sive ac­tion af­ter 3-0 and 4-0 losses to Lyon and Ju­ven­tus, with for­mer Bul­garia coach Ivaylo Petev re­plac­ing Zlatko Kran­j­car. In three-time Europa Cup win­ners Sevilla they face no easy task, though, with the Spa­niards hav­ing drawn 0-0 with Ju­ven­tus and beaten Lyon 1-0 to tie at the top of the ta­ble. Sevilla are also pro­ceed­ing steadily in La Liga, one point off the lead af­ter a win at Le­ganes on Oc­to­ber 15.

Lyon (FRA) vs Ju­ven­tus (ITA) Ju­ven­tus are set­ting the pace in the Serie A ti­tle race, a Paulo Dy­bala brace notch­ing a 2-1 win over Udi­nese on Oc­to­ber 15 and plac­ing them five points clear of Roma. Coach Mas­si­m­il­iano Al­le­gri, who guided Juve to the 2015 fi­nal, cut a frus­trated fig­ure af­ter a goal­less draw with Sevilla de­layed his plot his team’s first Cham­pi­ons League crown in 20 years. Juve fol­lowed that draw with an em­phatic 4-0 win at Di­namo to lead the ta­ble. The teams’ last en­counter came in the 2013-14 Euro­pea League quar­ter-fi­nal, the Ital­ians win­ning both legs. –

Photo: AFP

Betis goal­keeper An­to­nio Adan (left) at­tempts to block Real Madrid for­ward Cris­tiano Ron­aldo dur­ing a La Liga match on Oc­to­ber 15. Real Madrid won 6-1.

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