Home > Celtic, Champions League, Chelsea, fixtures, Football, Liverpool, Match Report, Soccer, Sport > Tuesday’s Champions League Round-up.

Tuesday’s Champions League Round-up.

On a bad night for Bitish clubs in Europe, most of the results were to be expected, but the biggest shock of the night came at Stamford Bridge where Chelsea were held by Rosenborg to a 1-1 draw.

Chelsea 1-1Rosenborg

Rosenborg frustrate Chelsea

(That’s what it looks like when Sheva celebrates a goal…..don’t see it too often)

Chelsea, without influential duo Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard, frustrated their fans as a string of chances went begging, only Shevchenko’s equaliser in the second half hitting the back of the net. Rosenborg, whom Mourinho admitted afterwards were the ‘weakest team in the group’ showed plenty of heart and by all accounts the goal made the away side seem in control for the remainder of the first half after they had weathered the Chelsea storm.

Florent Malouda could have given Chelsea the perfect start when Shevchenko’s cutback found the Frenchman who chose to hit it with his weaker right foot and it was blocked. Kalou and Essien then both squandered decent opportunities early on before Sapara’s free-kick was volleyed home by centre-back Koppinen who had got ahead of John Terry in the Chelsea defence. Tettey and Kone both had good chances to score a second for Rosenborg, however in between, Malouda’s cross was expertly headed home by Shevchenko for his first Chelsea goal this season and his 47th Champions League goal in his 90th appearance. However despite Malouda and Kalou hitting the post there is plenty for Chelsea to forget from the night, most notably the attendance which at 24,973 was the worst on record for four years at Stamford Bridge. Also, Mourinho’s decision to play John Terry as an emergency centre-forward is an alarming tactic for Chelsea fans who have seen it before and yet never seen it actually work to their team’s advantage.

Positives to take from the game include the performance of Belletti at right-back, finally Mourinho may have found the attacking right-back he has sought for so long, Belletti created many good attacking opportunities. Florent Malouda and even Shevchenko also had a good night. Shevchenko seemed more committed although he still has the frustrating problem of shooting with as much power as he can muster when there are defenders right in front of him.

Mourinho claimed the injuries to his team are the problem as opposed to the one goal Shevchenko and Kalou have scored between them so far this season. With Lampard and Drogba doubtful for Sunday’s clash with Man Utd, things could be getting worse before they get better for Mourinho’s men.

Porto 1-1 Liverpool

Pennant sees red in Porto

(Look at the ref’s face!! Blimey, the sight of Pennant makes him sick..)

Liverpool faced a tricky trip to Porto for their encounter, and for all Rafa Benitez’ talk about wanting to win the game, Liverpool will be happy to have come away with a point following an abject display.

Porto started the game at a ferocious pace and when Finnan’s clearance was blocked by Ricardo Quaresma the ball fell to Lisandro Lopez who had a golden opportunity after three minutes to give Porto the lead. However the forward could only ping the ball off Reina’s face and away to safety. Porto did take the lead minutes later though when Sektioui outpaced Hyypia, who had a yards headstart on his opponent, and Reina brought the striker crashing to the ground. A definite penalty although there was no doubt that the Porto man was going for the penalty as opposed to trying to round Reina to score.

Still, penalties V Reina are 50-50 calls so Liverpool fans prayed their keeper could pull off the heroics of Saturday’s save V Kanu. Not to be. Captain Gonzalez stepped up, and possibly aware that Reina tends to dive to one side no matter what, blasted his penalty down the middle for the Porto lead.

Liverpool equalised when Finnan’s long crossfield ball was well won by Hyypia at the back post and Kuyt stooped to head the ball past Herlander Nuno in the Porto goal. From then on Liverpool began to get a grip on the game, but the passing was at times awful and, as pointed out by the RTE panel after the game, no-one seemed to be remonstrating with the guilty culprits. Gerrard and Mascherano were outplayed in midfield, Gerrard in particular was subdued throughout.

While Ricardo Quaresma earned plaudits from critics everywhere for his performance, thefc100 was sorry to see him, like most on the Porto team, go to ground as though they had been shot whenever a tackle came in. The frustrating aspect in regard to Quaresma was that it was so needless; often he would go down despite the fact that if he had stayed on his feet he would have been away from his marker and in space. The winger seemed to fancy set-pieces as a better route to goal though, and when he could, he hit the deck to get the referee’s attention. A shame, given that he is a terrific footballer and may have left Benitez to wonder why he didn’t pursue him more vigorously last summer….

Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0 Celtic

Celtic’s poor away form in the Champions League is well documented so we won’t delve into that again. Suffice to say, the Ukrainians were deserving winners of this game, scoring two fine goals, having another unfairly ruled out, and forcing Artur Boruc into several smart saves.

Brandao’s fine left-footed strike after just six minutes came when Stephen McManus lost possession and the Brazilian finished expertly. Lucarelli’s goal was one of the best from around the grounds on Matchday 1. A cross from the left found Lucarelli in the box and the Italian managed to evade his marker before stooping low to head bast Boruc into the far corner of the net.

After such a poor start, Celtic were never likely to get anything from the game. Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink (can anyone explain the origin of that name to me??) had the best of Celtic’s chances to score but headed wide from a fair distance. Gordon Strachan will be all too aware of the importance of the home games in the group. Which is why he might be shedding a tear or two when he realises that European minnows AC Milan are first up at Parkhead. Anyone heard of them? Nah, me neither…..

  1. seamus
    September 19, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    Liverpool and Chelsea to go through easily enough….

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