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Champions League :Napoli stun Liverpool ;Lewandowski sparkle, Griezmann’s winner

Ajax and FC Bayern impressed while FC Barcelona's Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick, but the result of the night came at Napoli, where the scintillating hosts stunned Liverpool 4-1.

by Kolkata Today

Ajax and FC Bayern impressed while FC Barcelona’s Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick, but the result of the night came at Napoli, where the scintillating hosts stunned Liverpool 4-1.

Napoli served notice of their UEFA Champions League intentions with a dazzling first-half performance as they overwhelmed last season’s runners-up Liverpool 4-1. Ajax also impressed against Rangers while Robert Lewandowski struck his first hat-trick for Barcelona. There were wins elsewhere for Bayern, Tottenham, Club Brugge, Sporting CP and Atletico, whose meeting with Porto came to a remarkable conclusion.

Group A

Napoli 4-1 Liverpool

Piotr Zielinski scored in each half as Napoli stunned the visitors. Victor Osimhen hit the post inside a minute before Piotr Zielinski opened the scoring from the spot after James Milner had handled. Osimhen then missed a penalty of his own before Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa’s well-worked second. The lively Osimhen was forced off injured but replacement Giovanni Simeone made it three just before the interval, and Zieliński’s second came soon after the restart. Luis Díaz got one back but it was too little, too late for last season’s beaten finalists.

Napoli are the first side to score four against Liverpool in a group fixture.

Ajax 4-0 Rangers

Just as they did 12 months ago, Ajax laid down a real Matchday 1 marker. From the moment Edson Álvarez’s bullet header put the home side ahead, the visitors were chasing shadows; two goals in as many first-half minutes from Steven Berghuis and the brilliant Mohammed Kudus effectively ended the contest. Rangers improved, Borna Barišić having a goal ruled out and Ryan Kent hitting the post, but Steven Bergwijn’s late strike condemned them to a second 4-0 loss in five days.

Alvarez’s goal was the 50th by a Mexican player in the Champions League, and first since Hirving Lozano for Napoli in November 2019.

Group B

Atletico 2-1 Porto

Antoine Griezmann snatched victory in an amazing finish with all three goals scored after 90 minutes. Griezmann nodded in after Axel Witsel’s flick-on 11 minutes into stoppage time, securing a win that had looked in the bag when Mario Hermoso’s deflected shot had given Atleti the lead a few minutes earlier. Porto then levelled from the penalty spot through Mateus Uribe, before substitute Griezmann’s last-gasp intervention.

This is only the second time in Champions League history where there have been three goals in the 90th minute or later, excluding extra time.

Club Brugge 1-0 Leverkusen

Abakar Sylla scored the only goal as Club Brugge squeezed past Leverkusen. A cautious opening gave way to an absorbing game as Moussa Diaby went close. Sylla showed him how it was done before the interval when he met a corner at the near post, his header catching Lukas Hradecky off guard. Leverkusen pressed for an equaliser, and Patrik Schick had two efforts ruled out for offside as Brugge held on for all three points.

Sylla scored on his Champions League debut, securing victory for coach Carl Hoefkens who was also making his bow in the competition.

Group C

Inter 0-2 Bayern

FC Bayern made light work of strong opponents at San Siro. Leroy Sane gave the visitors a deserved lead midway through the first half when he latched on to a Joshua Kimmich long ball and rounded Andre Onana to score the opener. Inter rallied before Bayern’s second dampened home enthusiasm; there was an element of fortune to it as Danilo D’Ambrosio turned into his own net after sublime work from Kingsley Coman and Sane.

FC Bayern have claimed 19 successive wins on Matchday 1.

Barcelona 5-1 Plzen
Polish football star Robert Lewandowski bagged his seventh Champions League hat-trick to help guide Barcelona to a comfortable victory. Franck Kessié opened the scoring before Lewandowski made it two with a cool finish. Jan Sýkora provided some hope for the Czech champions with a well-taken header but Lewandowski scored a second in first-half added time and a third from the edge of the box midway through the second period. Ferran Torres came off the bench to add a fifth as Barcelona made an emphatic start.

Three of the last five hat-tricks in the Champions League (group stage to final) have been scored by Lewandowski.

Frankfurt 0-3 Sporting CP

Marcus Edwards was the difference as Sporting CP won in Germany for the first time. The former Tottenham youngster was a constant menace, and midway through the second half he finished off a quick counter to give the visitors the lead. Edwards turned provider two minutes later, teeing up Francisco Trincão to fire in the second, before Nuno Santos sealed the points following a fine run and cross from Pedro Porro. Group stage debutants Frankfurt’s best chance came early on, with Randal Kolo Muani denied after intercepting a poor back pass.

This was only Sporting’s second win in their last seven fixtures on Matchday 1, losing four and drawing the other.

Tottenham 2-0 Marseille

Richarlison’s first goals for Tottenham got Antonio Conte’s side get off to a winning start against ten-man Marseille. The French side were on top until Chancel Mbemba was dismissed in the 48th minute for bringing down Heung-Min Son. Tottenham still struggled to break down the visitors before Richarlison headed in a fine cross from Ivan Perišić. The Brazilian then planted another header in off the post to seal the points.

Marseille have failed to score in six of their last seven Champions League matches.


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