|< Prev||Next >|
The Spectre of Death loomed large over Group D when the draw was made for the UEFA Champions League and the reigning champions of England, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands were drawn in the same group. And now with the Group Stage of the tournament having reached its half-way stage, the Group is certainly throwing up a few surprises.
Borussia Dortmund courtesy of their 2-1 win at Signal Iduna Park over 9-time Champions Real Madrid now top the group with 7 points, while Madrid are close behind with 6. Ajax meanwhile produced arguably the result of the night, beating Manchester City 3-1 at the Amsterdam Arena to go third with 3 points while City are in deep trouble with just a solitary point to show from three games.
The contest between Borussia and Real was a closely fought affair with the Spanish Champions predictably dominating possession despite being away from home. Their finishing though was abysmal on the night with only 2 of their 14 shots on goal being on target, with Cristiano Ronaldo's 38th minute strike cancelling out Robert Lewandowski's opener just 2 minutes before.
Marcel Schmelzer grabbed the winner for Dortmund just after the hour mark with the Spanish side fortunate not to go further behind when the referee waived away claims for what looked like a certain penalty when Pepe brought down Mario Gotze in the 76th minute.
Over in the Amsterdam Arena, goals from Siem de Jong, Nicklas Moisander and Christian Eriksen helped Ajax come from behind to grab their first points of the Group after Samir Nasri had put the English champions ahead on 22 minutes.
De Jong brought Ajax level on the stroke of half-time taking advantage of a good cross from Ricardo van Rhijn. Had City gone into the break ahead, the game might have finished differently, but Ajax came out of the interval a side rejuvenated, and soon went ahead through Moisander's header from a corner as he leapt ahead of Joleon Lescott.
The game had an amazing flow to it as chances were created every few minutes at both ends and it was the home side who had the better fortune in front of goal as Eriksen's shot took a massive deflection off Gael Clichy to give Ajax the cushion they had been looking for.
City fought valiantly till the very end with Dzeko, their unsung hero over the last few weeks, guilty of missing some gilt-edged opportunities.
The result means that City's Champions League aspirations are all but over, leaving them needing to win each of their last three games and praying for a whole host of results to go their way if they are to have any hope of qualifying. Chances are they will be battling with Ajax for a Europa League place, and the return leg of this last night's contest could prove crucial in that quest. Madrid meanwhile will believe that they can bounce back against Dortmund at the Santiago Bernabeu and reclaim top spot in the Group.
- 07/11/2012 08:14 - UCL: Schalke 2-2 Arsenal: Player Ratings
- 07/11/2012 06:24 - Champions League: Twin draws in Group D on Matchday 4 leaves Man City on the brink of exit
- 07/11/2012 05:44 - UCL: Schalke come from two goals down to peg back Arsenal