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regular-article-logo Friday, 01 March 2024

Liverpool fade in Diego’s Napoli

Robert Lewandowski already tops the scoring chart after his Champions League debut

Reuters, AP Via PTI Geneva Published 09.09.22, 02:56 AM
Juergen Klopp

Juergen Klopp File Photo

A long-time criticism of the Champions League group stage? Too many lopsided mismatches as the wealth gap between clubs fuels competitive imbalance on the field. Tell that to favoured Liverpool and Eintracht Frankfurt after their heavy losses Wednesday.

Liverpool slumped to a stunning 4-1 defeat at Napoli where the hosts were four goals up in just 47 minutes at the stadium named for club icon Diego Maradona. It was a stellar night for the Simeones in two different countries.

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Son Giovanni scored the third goal for Napoli on his competition debut and dad Diego in Madrid saw his Atletico team show the resilience that is his coaching trademark to outlast Porto in stoppage time. Eintracht won the Europa League title in May but the German club and the team they beat in the final, Rangers, both found it tough on returning to the top-tier competition after long absences.

Robert Lewandowski already tops the scoring chart after his Champions League debut for Barcelona, who beat Viktoria Plzen 5-1. He became the first player to get a hat-trick with three different clubs in the Champions League.

The 34-year-old Poland striker now has seven Champions League trebles, with the others coming with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Barcelona’s biggest signing of the year is now the third-highest goal-scorer in tournament history with 89 goals.

Injury-time drama

A goal in the 11th minute of stoppage-time by Antoine Griezmann earned Atletico a 2-1 home win over 10-man Porto after a frantic end to the match with all the goals coming in added time. Atletico defender Mario Hermoso opened the scoring two minutes into stoppage time. Porto’s Mateus Uribe levelled four minutes later. With a 1-1 draw looming, substitute Griezmann sealed victory for the hosts with a close range header in the 101st minute.

It was only the second time in Champions League history that three goals have been scored in the 90th minute or later — excluding extra time — with the first coming last December when the same two teams met in Portugal.

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