It is that time of the year when we sit at the edge of our seats as we try to guess which team will walk away as the UEFA champions. Last night, some of the teams battled it out and here is a summary of those matches:
In group E, Fernando Torres grabbed a brace for Chelsea to help them edge past German outfit Schalke 04. E. Hazard put the match completely out of reach of the home team three minutes before the end to seal the whitewash.
Still in the same group, Steaua Bucuresti and Basel played a match that was a tie in more ways than one. Tatu and Diaz scored in the second half for their respective teams to share the spoils while the referee ensured that the cautions were also balanced as he issued two yellow cards to two players in each team.
The Germans came, conquered and crept away! This must be the feeling of some Londoners after this epic group F encounter last night. Borussia Dortmund made their intentions felt as early as the sixteenth minute through Mkhitaryan with a well placed short past the Gunners goalie. It took all of twenty five minutes for Giroud to grab an equaliser for his team. The whole argument was settled in the eighty-second minute when eccentric Lewandowski grabbed the winner that ensured a quiet London, well, at least in the Gunners part of town!
The same scoreline was repeated in France as the balance of group F, Marselle lost to Napoli. Callejon and Zapata scored on either side of the half time break while A. Ayew helped save face for the home fans only four minutes from the end. The home team vented their frustrations through indiscipline and were rightly rewarded with three yellow cards by the referee of the day.
A similar trend was witnessed in Austria as hosts, Austria Wien could only collect as many as four cautions from the referee while visitors, Athletico Madrid slammed three goals past them. Garcia opened the scoring in the eighth minute and then waited until the stroke of half time to get himself into the referee’s little black book. Ever the focused player, Diaz grabbed a brace to ensure that he finished what his eccentric teammate started.
The embarrassment of home teams who eventually turn to unscrupulous play seemed to continue unabated, this time on the receiving end was FC Porto. As early as the sixth minute, Herrera had to be given his marching orders because of a second caution able offense in as many minutes. They went on to collect two others while the visitors, Zenit Petersburg could only manage two. The only consolation of the game came as late as four minutes shy of the end in the form of a goal by Kerzhakov of the visiting team.
The South Americans showed their dominance of the European football scene when they scored for their respective teams to ensure the share of the spoils in this group H fixture. Robinho scored in the ninth minute for AC Milan while Messi replied for Barcelona in the twenty-third minute. The other players apparently served to ensure that there was also a share of the cautions as each team also got two yellow cards.
In the other match of the group, Celtic was given a penalty on the stroke of half time which J. Forrest converted. Nine minutes later, B. Kayal slammed another one past the visitors goal. It took Ajax until the last minute of the game to find their first goal through Schone and by then, it was clearly too late.