UEFA Champions League action for Wednesday, November 7, 2012 saw two Barclays Premier League teams playing. Check out the results and highlights from week 4. Match analysis for Premier League teams included.
Manchester United traveled to Portugal to take on Braga in their week 4 Champions League fixture. A win or a draw would take United through to the next round, a far cry from last season’s failure to do so. The match itself was very odd. United played most of the match as if they had just stepped off the plane. It was a languid game with very little drive from Man United. Most of the game was played in midfield with the occasional shot at goal. To make it more interesting there was a 15 minute delay when the stadium lights shut off.
Braga were first to score from a fairly soft penalty when Jonny Evans stood his ground and the Braga forward Custodio ran into him. Braga’s Brazilian, Alan, dispatched the penalty easily enough to put the home side ahead in the 49th minute. This slightly increased United’s tempo, but not much changed until the addition of Robin van Persie. His goal in the 80th minute was pure striking class and came all of his own brilliance.
RvP took the ball into the far corner near the top of the box when he noticed Braga’s keeper off his line and took the shot to put United back in the game. This was then followed by Wayne Rooney’s penalty as he was taken down in the box (another soft penalty that came from the forward’s pace, similar to Braga’s) during a scramble for the ball. Rooney made no question of the penalty kick this time, following his weekend miss, as he put it into the upper right corner with the keeper going the wrong way to put United ahead in the 84th minute.
Javier Hernandez put the cap on the night with a very odd goal of his own. Valencia took the ball into the box where he crossed to Rooney who had a bare flick on to Chicharito who rounded the keeper with ease. Most fans assumed he would then put the ball away, but for some reason he continued to dribble with 3 Braga defenders in front of him. He nearly had the ball taken from him before he had a sliding shot to put it away in the 2nd minute of stoppage time.
United’s win takes them to the top of Group H in a very unconvincing, unconventional way. Supporters will say that a win is a win. They now stand at 12 points and will go through to the next round having won all 4 of the matches so far with 2 more to play.
Chelsea had their match at home against Shakhtar Donetsk after having lost the previous match in the Ukraine. Chelsea was able to pull off a last gasp winner thanks to Victor Moses’ goal in the last minute of stoppage time (90’+4’). Chelsea will need to really step it up if they want to progress in what has become a very tight group. At the moment Chelsea remain top tied on points with Shakhtar at 7, but with Juventus just behind them at 6 points. Chelsea can go through if they are able to win their last 2 matches, however, Juventus and Shakhtar have the chance to progress if they can do the same. Chelsea still must face FC Nordsjaelland (which should be an easy win) and Juventus. Juventus will be the true test for them as they travel to Italy in 2 weeks. A Juventus win would give them control over advancing.
Celtic were home at Celtic Park one day after celebrating their 125th anniversary and had to welcome Barcelona for what many assumed would be a Barca win. Celtic had other plans as they were able to get 2 goals in the 21st and 83rd minute. Messi did grab a consolation goal in stoppage time, but the match and the day belonged to Celtic. Listening to the replays of Celtic Park going nuts makes your hair stand on end. I, for one, would have loved to have been there for that! With the win Celtic also have the chance to advance to the next round with just one more win.
Champions League Week 4 Scores
Chelsea 3 – 2 Shakhtar Donetsk
Juventus 4 – 0 FC Nordsjaelland
Bayern Munich 6 – 1 Lille
Valencia 4 – 2 BATE Borisov
Benfica 2 – 0 Spartak Moscow
Celtic 2 – 1 Barcelona
Braga 1 – 3 Manchester United
CFR Cluj-Npoca 1 – 3 Galatasaray