Manchester United have almost certainly navigated their way out of Group A with their victory over Benfica, but what else happened on matchday 4 of the UEFA Champions League?
Chelsea turned in a performance in Rome that Antonio Conte called “really, really bad” as last season’s Premier League Champions crashed to a 3-0 defeat. Roma now top Group C by a point, but Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid were unable to capitalise on Chelsea’s slip, only managing a 1-1 draw with Qarabag.
Tottenham Hotspur turned in the most surprising result of the round, hammering back-to-back Champions League winners Real Madrid 3-1. Dele Alli scored twice at Wembley in a match that now leaves a huge question mark over the future of Zinedine Zidane. Not many Real Madrid managers survive consecutive defeats, even if a few weeks ago Zidane was being called the greatest coach ever to be in charge of Madrid. The win puts Spurs three points clear at the top of Group H, but Madrid look likely to qualify as well. Borussia Dortmund failed to get the win needed against APOEL and remain five points behind the current champions. Their Head Coach, Peter Bosz, is also under increasing pressure to turn the German giants season around quickly.
Liverpool had to remain patient but were able to beat Maribor 3-0 at Anfield and afford the luxury of missing another penalty. The win leaves Liverpool a point ahead of Sevilla who recovered from their 5-1 thrashing two weeks ago in Moscow to beat Spartak 2-1.
Manchester City contested a thriller in Naples which saw Sergio Aguero become the club’s record goalscorer. City eventually won 4-2, leaving them three points clear at the top of Group F. Napoli, expected to qualify, now face an uphill struggle as they are six points behind second-placed Shahktar who beat Feyenoord.
Group B looks like a two horse race for PSG and Bayern Munich. The Paris side hammered Anderlecht 5-0, including a stunning strike from Neymar and a hat-trick from Layvin Kurzawa. Bayern continued their resurgence under Jupp Heynckes with a 2-1 over Celtic.
Barcelona have started their season brilliantly under their new coach Ernesto Valverde, but they were held to a 0-0 draw in Greece against Olympiakos, bottom of Group D. Juventus and Sporting drew 1-1 after Gonzalo Higuain scored a vital goal for the Italians. They remain three points ahead of Sporting in the race for second place.
Last season’s darlings, AS Monaco, look like they are heading for the Europa League this time out despite drawing 1-1 with Group G leaders Besiktas. Porto and RB Leipzig’s battle for second place could well go to the wire, although Porto will have the momentum following their 3-1 over the Bundesliga side.
Back in Group A, United should safely progress to the knockout stages but it will be a close run thing between Basel and CSKA Moscow for second place, CSKA scoring twice in the second half to win their match 2-1 and keep themselves in the hunt for a knockout place.