UEFA Champions League 2021-22 has finally started and as expected it had some thrilling matches in round 1. Even though it is just the start of the competition, still we got some exciting matches and we got to see some great football.
Some teams played brilliantly as expected but some were disappointed with their game, but we can not judge the whole campaign with the first match of the tournament. We will have to wait and watch the remainder of the group stage matches. So let’s have some brief summary of the matches group wise.
Manchester City vs RB Leipzig (6-3)
It was a master class from Manchester City. They took full advantage of their squad strength and dominated the match at both the ends. Nkunku tried to give Leipzig some life by scoring a hat-trick but his brilliant performance could not save his team from a defeat. City players kept on scoring on regular intervals.
Club Brugge vs PSG (1-1)
Even though this is just the first match of the tournament, a better performance was expected from the star studded team of PSG. PSG played Neymar, Mbappe and Messi upfront but couldn’t manage to threaten Brugge much. It was a great performance by the home side who held their opponent and scored the equalizer to settle the match for 1-1.
Atletico Madrid vs Porto (0-0)
The group as expected had tough and competitive football. Atletico and Porto have to share the points. Both the teams couldn’t create many chances. It was quite a physical game and both were trying to create something and force the other one for some error but no one could achieve anything.
Liverpool vs Milan (3-2)
It was a game at anfield where not many clubs have won in the past. Milan were also on the same course until 42 minutes and that changed the match in their favour for the first half. But in the second half Liverpool again showed why it is called their fortress. It was a great game with good pressing and fast build up play.
Sporting Lisbon vs Ajax (1-5)
Wow what a performance by Ajax, they have certainly rejuvenated their form this season. They were playing away to Sporting but the way Haller had scored it looked like a tier 3 team in front of them. Amazing performance by Ajax they are surely making a case to qualify from this group.
Besiktas vs Borussia Dortmund (1-2)
This was an impressive performance by Dortmund, especially their dynamic duo of Jude Bellingham and Erling Haaland. These two performed really well in their domestic league and in the champions league. Haaland simply can’t stop scoring. He is the highest scorer from his age group. No one has scored as many goals as Haaland has scored being just 21 years old.
Inter Milan vs Real Madrid (0-1)
It was overall a great performance by Inter Milan who actually outperformed their Madrid counterparts in every department but some brilliant performance by young madrid players made the difference. Inter attacked and defended really well but they got tired and Madrid capitalized. Especially Eduardo Camavinga, who was playing his second game for Madrid, was the main creator for the goal. Brilliant start to his life in Madrid.
Sheriff vs Shakhtar Donetsk (2-0)
Sheriff was considered as the underdog in this group but they surprised by defeating Shakhtar at their home ground. It was a good game and Sheriff played brilliantly on both sides, defending really well as Shakhtar kept trying to salvage something from the match. We will have to see how these two teams perform against two tier 1 teams.
Barcelona vs Bayern Munich (0-3)
This was a repeat of the demolition of Barcelona. Bayern ran rampant and scored three goals, while Barcelona couldn’t even register a single shot on target. Bayern kept hitting the shots, the score could have been 5-0 if the ball didn’t have hit the woodwork twice. Barcelona needs to learn and perform better if they want to progress from the group.
Dynamo Kyiv vs Benfica (0-0)
Both the teams couldn’t score any goal. Benfica dominated the possession and tried their luck but couldn’t score. Both the teams couldn’t create many scoring chances. It was a stalemate situation. This matches the one where one of these teams should have scored some points as now they have to face two of the high quality squad teams. If they want to progress from this group they have to perform better and score.
Young Boys vs Manchester United (2-1)
A star studded United team fell in front of their swiss counterpart. Ronaldo opened the scoring and maintained his great scoring performance but he was substituted and replaced by Lingard. One missed pass by Lingard ended up a gifted goal for Young Boys. United has to buck up and give more in order to survive the group as the other two teams (Villareal and Atlanta) are certainly better than Young Boys. Villareal has defeated United in Europa league as well.
Villareal vs Atlanta (2-2)
A great duel between these two teams. Both of them play with some similarities. Atalanta opened the scoring but then Villareal scored twice but a late goal by Atalanta levelled the match. This game could have gone any way but it ended up as a draw. Both of these teams have capability to reach Top 16 and the way they play there is no doubt in that.
Sevilla vs RB Salzburg (1-1)
This could have been Sevilla’s game if they had all of the players available. The power and depth Sevilla possess could have won the match but playing with 10 players is always difficult. Kudos to Salzburg who just relentlessly kept attacking. An amazing performance by the Austrian team and they certainly played some great football. Sevilla needs to perform better in order to reach top 16.
Lille vs Wolfsburg (0-0)
We can say this was not Lille’s day, they kept playing better football, attacking the game but just could not score any goal. We can see by the game stats that Lille registered 17 shots (4 shots on target) while Wolfsburg only attempted 2 shots and none of them were on target. Lille certainly played better, it’s just a matter of time before they start scoring and may qualify for the next round.
Chelsea vs Zenit (1-0)
Chelsea dominated the whole game in every department. They had more possession, more scoring chances and they kept their Russian counterpart at bay. Chelsea were continuously trying to score and finally they did and who other than Lukaku rose to the occasion. He scored the only goal of the match and Chelsea are making their case to defend the title this year.
Malmo vs Juventus (0-3)
Juventus was accused of not playing well in absence of Ronaldo but they proved it wrong by demolishing Malmo on their own soil. It was a great performance by Italian giants and they proved that they can play without their star player as well. They dominated the match in all aspects and had many scoring chances. Juventus needs to keep this form alive in order to reach the next round.
That is all from the first match of the UEFA Champions League group stage, results of majority of these games were as expected as we had discussed in the group-wise analysis. There were some amazing games, some disappointing performances by some teams as well. It was an amazing start to European football where the fans are allowed in some capacity now.