BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 19: Andres Iniesta of FC Barcelona (R) celebrates with his teammate Xavi Hernandez after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League Group H match between FC Barcelona and FC Viktoria Plzen at Camp Nou on October 19, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

UEFA Champions League 2011, Matchday 3: All The Big Boys Win On Wednesday

Arsenal, Chelsea, Barcelona and AC Milan all picked up expected wins on Wednesday, while Leverkusen got a big win over Valencia, but there was one surprise as Dortmund fell to Olympiakos

  • Live
28 Total Updates since October 19, 2011
  • Important 7
  • Updates 24
  • Articles 4
  • All Updates 28

UEFA Champions League 2011, Shakhtar Donetsk Vs. Zenit St. Petersburg: Entertaining Game Ends 2-2

Shakhtar Donetsk had a lead over Zenit St. Petersburg on two separate occasions in their UEFA Champions League clash, but the visitors fought back on two occasions to earn a deserved 2-2 draw. Shakhtar now have just two points from their first three matches - including two home draws - and are in very bad shape in Group G. Meanwhile, Zenit are in the mix for a knockout stage place and will like their chances of qualifying if they can defeat Shakhtar at home in their return fixture.

Zenit was the team very much on top in the first 15 minutes, and they should have been ahead after 10. Shakhtar's star defender Dmytro Chigrynskiy pushed down Aleksandr Bukharov in the box in the 9th minute, leading to a Shakhtar penalty, but Roman Shirokov's effort was a weak one and Oleksandr Rybka made a simple save.

Willian made Zenit pay for squandering that opportunity shortly afterwards, scoring a sensational goal in the 15th minute. From 25 yards out on the left wing, the Brazilian took a rip towards the far post. Vyacheslav Malafeev got his fingers to the ball, but could only tip it to the inside of the post, which wasn't enough to stop it from going into the back of the net.

Shirokov would atone for his earlier error, though, scoring a great goal in the 33rd minute from close range. Bukharov provided a brilliant assist with a curled pass into the box with the outside of his foot, doing much of the work for his teammate. However, Shakhtar snatched a goal just before the break, as Luiz Adriano finished low from 15 yards out after a scramble, just before stoppage time.

Their lead wouldn't last, as Victor Faizulin netted the equalizer from an extremely narrow angle in the 60th minute. Rybka made a total of seven saves on the night, some of which were downright brilliant, but the Shakhtar keeper deserves a lot of the blame for giving up Faizulin's goal, as he rushed out towards a through ball, then was caught standing still at the top of the box as Faizulin ran by him with the ball.

The teams will meet again during the next round of Champions League fixtures, where Zenit will be favored to win at home in St. Petersburg.

Continue

Barcelona Vs. Viktoria Plzen, 2011 UEFA Champions League: Full Time, Blaugranes Frustrated But Win Comfortably

Viktoria Plzen did not create a single shot and only had 23 percent of the possession, but this was not a typical dominant FC Barcelona performance. The Blaugranas were made to work for most of the game, as the Czech champions defended expertly for the majority of the game, keeping Barcelona from capitalizing on their possession and chances for the most part. In a group where goal differential could be the deciding factor between Plzen and BATE Borisov for a place in the Europa League knockout stages, the visitors will likely go home please with their respectable 2-0 loss at the Camp Nou.

Andres Iniesta scored a brilliant opener in the 10th minute, but Barcelona failed to create clear-cut chances afterwards, and were regularly off target with their half chances. They could and should have been up by a higher margin at halftime, but walked into the locker room up just 1-0, leaving many wondering if Plzen could nick a garbage goal on the counter and rob a point from their opponents.

To start the second half, Plzen were much better, defending expertly and stopping Barcelona from creating chances. The breakthrough came eventually, though, and the Blaugranas sealed their win in the 82nd minute. Lionel Messi had a close-range shot saved by Marek Cech after running onto a pass by David Villa, but the striker followed up his pass and pounced on the rebound, shooting into an open net to clinch the three points for Barcelona.

For more on Barcelona vs. Victoria Plzen and anything else about the Blaugranas, check out FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes.

Continue

Marseille Vs. Arsenal, 2011 UEFA Champions League: Late Aaron Ramsey Goal Gives Gunners Win

A last-minute goal by Aaron Ramsey saw Arsenal emerge from the Stade Velodrome with a 1-0 win over French opponents Marsille and the top spot in UEFA Champions League Group F. It was really the only bright spark in what was otherwise an incredibly dull affair, with neither team doing much of anything. Compared to the second half, the first half was abuzz with action - and the first half was pretty poor too.

Anyway, in the third minute of stopped time, Ramsey, who'd come on as a substitute for Andrei Arshavin fifteen minutes prior was played into the box after a neat flick on by Gervinho, and the Welsh midfielder looked up, saw that Steve Mandanda wasn't properly covering his near post and slotted home the winner. If you're interested in watching the match, you might as well just see that goal and spare yourself the trouble.

The win, of course, leaves Arsenal with seven points from three matches and marks them as heavy favourites to qualify - they're now in first place in Group F and four clear of Olympiakos in third. If they hadn't gotten that goal, things would have looked a little different. Turns out winning is good for everyone's collective mood.

Continue

Marseille Vs. Arsenal, 2011 UEFA Champions League: 0-0 At Halftime

If you want UEFA Champions League goals, go watch Chelsea destroying Racing Genk. If you want... well, Marseille vs. Arsenal, you're rather stuck with this edition of things. It's scoreless at halftime at the Stade Velodrome, and so far the match has featured a couple of close(ish) calls for both teams but no real attacking quality. Arsenal have dominated possession but their hosts have tried to hit the Gunners on the counterattack, only to break down whenever they try to get into the final third.

About the only really interesting thing about the match so far is that three yellow cards were issued in the first fifteen minutes, to Alex Song, Andre Santos and Andre Ayew. I suppose that's kind of interesting, but yeah, the point is mostly that this game really really really needs a goal to make it watchable. Still 0-0 in France at halftime, and we're hoping for better after the break.

Continue

Barcelona Vs. Viktoria Plzen, 2011 UEFA Champions League: Halftime, Blaugranas Somehow Only Up By One

Barcelona lead Viktoria Plzen by a score of 1-0 at halftime in their UEFA Champions League encounter, but how this match has produced so few goals, no one is going to be able to explain. It appears that the Blaugranas were attempting to break the world record for side netting hits in a 45 minute period. I don't have a book of football records in front of me, but I am fairly certain they accomplished this goal.

Andres Iniesta scored the match's only goal in the 10th minute, finishing on a half-volley after a great combination with Lionel Messi and some lovely skill to get himself in a perfect shooting position. It was one of about 10 clear-cut scoring chances for Barcelona in the first half, and it was somehow the only one they were able to capitalize on.

Plzen created zero shots, but look on the bright side! They were able to win 27 percent of the possession, which is about seven percent better than anyone could have reasonably expected.

For more on Barcelona vs. Victoria Plzen and anything else about the Blaugranas, check out FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes.

Continue

Marseille Vs. Arsenal, 2011 UEFA Champions League: Lineups

There were some hints that Arsenal weren't going to be taking this match particularly seriously, especially considering the lineup that they sent out at home against Olympiakos. Arsene Wenger, however, has opted for a relatively strong side, with only Andre Arshavin at left forward not amongst his usual league starters.

Marseille have been far more successful in Europe than they have domestically so far this season, with two wins from two at the top of Group F, which was supposed to be territory reserved for third-place Borussia Dortmund. Can they cement their status as favourites to win the group with a home victory against Arsenal? We'll find out soon enough.

Marseille (4-2-3-1): Steve Mandanda; Jeremy Morel, Nicolas N'Koulou, Souleymane Diawara, Cesar Azpilicueta; Benoit Cheyrou, Alou Diarra; Andre Ayew, Lucho Gonzalez, Mathieu Valbuena; Loic Remy.

Arsenal (4-3-3): Wojciech Szczesny; Andre Santos; Laurent Koscielny; Per Mertesacker, Carl Jenkinson; Alex Song, Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky; Andre Arshavin, Robin van Persie, Theo Walcott.

Continue

Chelsea Vs. Racing Genk, 2011 UEFA Champions League: Lineups

Chelsea are likely confident going into their UEFA Champions League match at home against Racing Genk, who are struggling for fitness in the back. They're so supremely confident that Juan Mata and John Obi Mikel are being rested to give some playing time to Nicolas Anelka and Oriel Romeu. Here are the lineups.

Chelsea Lineup (4-3-3): Cech; Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cole; Romeu, Lampard, Meireles; Malouda, Anelka, Torres

Substitutes from: Turnbull, Mata, Mikel, Ferreira, Kalou, Sturridge, Alex

Genk Lineup (4-3-3): Koteles; Masuero, van den Borre, Ngongca, Hyland; Tozser, Pudil, Buffel; Vossen, Barda, de Bruyne

Substitutes from: Sandomierski, Camus, Ndabashinze, Durwael, Nwanganga, Ogunjimi, Limbombe

Jelle Vossen and Kevin de Bruyne are supremely talented youngsters on the fringes of regular playing time in their national team, so this isn't an inherent cakewalk for the Blues. However, that Genk defense looks less than intimidating.

For more on Chelsea vs. Genk and everything about the Blues in general, head over to Chelsea FC blog We Ain't Got No History.

Continue
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.