CHAMPIONS LEAGUE : Manchester City suffer shock home defeat to Lyon in Champions League opener
Manchester, Sep. 20 (IANS): French Ligue 1 side Olympique Lyon stunned English champions Manchester City 2-1 in their UEFA Champions League group F match at the Etihad stadium in Manchester.
France’s World Cup winner Nabil Fekir scored from a brilliant long distance strike just before half-time to double Lyon’s lead after Maxwel Cornet had opened the scoring, capitalizing on Fabian Delph’s failure to clear a cross at the back post on Wednesday night.
Those goals came after the visitors had weathered an early storm, during which City hit the post and forced Lyon goalkeeper into a couple of smart saves, reports Efe news.
Bernardo Silva pulled a goal back for the hosts in the 67th minute, burying Leroy Sane’s pull back, to set up an anxious finish.
City pressed for an equalizer, but were only able to test Lopes from a distance.
“The key was our togetherness, we were together as a group, and worked hard for one another, and we managed to control the intensity”, Lyon captain Nabil Fekir told UEFA.com.
Manchester City assistant coach Mikel Arteta, speaking to BT Sport, rued his side’s missed opportunities as they became the first English team to lose four consecutive Champions League matches.
Arteta took charge in the absence of head coach Pep Guardiola, who was watching from the stands as he completed a touchline ban which carried over from last season.
“We saw two very different halves. We conceded many counter attacks and at this level you get punished. In the second half we dominated and played in the opponent’s half and created many chances”, Arteta told BT Sport.
Bayern has good start, beats Benfica 2-0
Lisbon, Sep. 20 (IANS): German football club Bayern Munich won their first match of the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League season against Portugal’s Benfica 2-0 in Lisbon.
The first half of the match saw the total control of Bayern Munich, and Benfica’s bad start became worse when Bayern’s Polish striker Lewandowski marked the first goal in the 10th minute on Wednesday, reports Efe news.
The second half followed the same script, with Bayern’s Portuguese midfielder Renato Sanches scoring the second goal in the 53rd minute.
Sanches, a former Benfica player and one of the main protagonists of Portugal’s victory in the UEFA Euro 2016, put his hands up in apology to the home fans for the 2-0 score and was unable to hold back his tears.
Tagliafico scores brace in Ajax’s 3-0 win over AEK Athens
Amsterdam (Netherlands), Sep. 20 (IANS): Nicolas Tagliafico scored two goals to lead Ajax to a 3-0 home victory over AEK Athens in Group E action in the Champions League, Europe’s premier club football competition.
The score on Wednesday night was an accurate reflection of the action on the field at Johan Cruyff Stadium, with AEK doing its utmost to keep Ajax in check in the first half but falling by the wayside after Tagliafico opened the scoring just after the intermission.
The hosts were in attack mode from the outset, using quick passing in midfield and seeking out combinations that – particularly in the second half – led them to AEK’s penalty box, reports Efe news.
The visitors, meanwhile, looked for Ezequiel Ponce to lead them on the counter-attack when Ajax’s defensive line crept too far forward, but the Argentine forward was mostly unaccompanied on the opposing team’s side of the field and unable to convert any opportunities.
Ajax’s first goal came when Tagliafico took advantage of a failed off-side trap and volleyed home a pass into the area from David Neres in the 46th minute.
The home side then got a further lift when Donny van de Beek came on as a substitute for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar at the one-hour mark and scored 15 minutes later by volleying home a pass from Serbian midfielder Dusan Tadic.
With the game already decided and time winding down, Tagliafico scored on the full run from the left edge of the penalty box on a long-range, dipping shot over the outstretched arms of AEK goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas.
Ajax is currently in first place in Group E with three points. AEK, which is back in the Champions League group stage for the first time in 12 years, is in the last place with zero points.