European Review | Week 1 in Champions League & Europa League

After the opening rounds of the new La Liga season, Spanish clubs have played their first European matches of the campaign. Although only one side lost, it is fair to say there was a mixed bag of results for the seven clubs involved.

Here I look at their first encounter of the season and an overview of the groups they have been drawn in.

Champions League

Sevilla 1-1 Salzburg

In a crazy game, which saw no less than four first half penalties awarded, Julen Lopetegui’s men came from behind to salvage a draw at home against the Austrian champions.

Both goals were from the penalty spot, and whilst Los Nervionenses would have been disappointed with two dropped points at home, Youssef En-Nesyri’s 50th minute red card meant they battled most of the second half with 10 men.

Lille and Wolfsburg, the other two sides in the group, drew 0-0 in the other game.

After the opening round, then, this group is wide open.

We shall know more in the next couple of stages.

Barcelona 0-3 Bayern Munich

Although nowhere near as humiliating as that infamous 8-2 defeat, Tuesday’s encounter only goes to show the depth of the challenges which currently haunt the Catalan club.

A double from Lewandowski and one from Muller at the Nou Camp dumped more misery on Ronald Koeman.

With Dynamo Kyiv and Benfica the other two sides in Group E, the Catalan giants must make sure they get positive results against them before they travel to the Allianz Arena.

Villarreal 2-2 Atalanta

The Yellow Submarine, like Sevilla, also went 1-0 down and finished the match with 10 men to scrape a draw at home.

Although Arnaut Danjuma’s 73rd minute finish could have won it for Unai Emery’s men, but for Rubin Gosen’s 83rd minute equaliser.

Were Villarreal helped or hindered by Manchester United’s late defeat against Young Boys?

This is yet to be determined, but the group is there for the taking.

Inter Milan 0-1 Real Madrid

Undoubtedly the best result for the Spanish clubs, Carlo Ancelotti’s return to Italy saw Rodrygo score a last-minute winner, assisted by Eduardo Camavinga, against the defending Serie A champions.

No such complications as the start to their Champions League campaign as last year, as Los Blancos stuttered in a group containing the Italians and almost failed to reach the knockout stages.

Atlético Madrid 0-0 Porto

With a group containing Liverpool and AC Milan, this was an ideal time for Diego Simeone’s men to put pressure on those two European powerhouses.

Unfortunately, especially given the impressive firepower that they have at their disposal, they were unable to get the victory they would have wanted.

Porto were unlucky as their late winner was chalked off by VAR.

Europa League

Real Betis 4-3 Celtic

This encounter had everything neutral fans would have wanted from it and more.

Celtic took a remarkable 2-goal lead before a couple of quick goals from the home side meant that it would be 2-2 at half-time.

Goals from Borja Iglesias and Juanmi looked to settle the tie, but Celtic’s Anthony Ralston added a third in the 87th minute. In the end, Manuel Pellegrini’s men clinched onto the three points.

Bayer Leverkusen and Ferencvaros are the other two sides competing in this attractive-looking group.

PSV 2-2 Real Sociedad

A battling performance from the Basques away in Holland was by no means the end of the world.

Goals from Adnan Januzaj, Mario Gotze and Alexander Isak in six first half minutes gave Los Txuri-Urdin an impressive 2-1 lead at the break.

Meanwhile, Monaco’s 1-0 win over Stern gives them the points advantage after the opening round, there is much football left to be played in one of the toughest looking groups.

James Felton

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