Lionel Messi Joins Cristiano Ronaldo In The 100 European Goals Club And Mbappe Sets A Scoring Record
After round 3 of play concluded on Wednesday the Champions League reached the half-way mark and it seems like a good time to take stock of trends, records, and performances to date.
The last English team to capture the Champions League was Chelsea in 2012. In the five seasons since English teams have only made 4 appearances in the quarter-final stages and the performances from Premier League teams pales in comparison to the likes Spain (15) and Germany (9). French teams have made 6 appearances while only Italy (3) out of the big five European leagues have fared worse than English teams.
Why such a poor record? The conventional wisdom from Premier League fans and pundits is something along the lines of the English schedule is tougher than that faced by foreign rivals and teams are gassed by the time the knock-out stage comes around in the spring.
We will have to wait until February of 2018 to find out whether or not Premier League teams can return to the relative success they enjoyed between 2005 and 2011. During that spell, Liverpool lifted the trophy in 2005 and Manchester United did the same in 2008. Premier League teams were runners-up in 2006 (Arsenal), 2007 (Liverpool), 2008 (Chelsea), and Manchester United (2009 and 2011).
At this stage, it is a case of so far so good. Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea all sit alone atop their respective groups while Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid are tied on points in Group H with 7 points each.
For completeness: pic.twitter.com/M3mnCpLfkb
— Nick Harris (@sportingintel) October 18, 2017
process, he set a new scoring mark for goals scored by a teenager in the Champions League. Looking at the players he has now bested he is in great company.
PSG went on to win comfortably 4-0 and they maintained their 100% record having scored 12 while not yet conceding a goal.
Highest scoring teens in Champions League history: Kylian Mbappé (8 goals), Patrick Kluivert (7); Karim Benzema, Raúl (6); Yakubu, Bojan (5) pic.twitter.com/LLBF5GwMxm
— Mohamed Moallim (@iammoallim) October 18, 2017
Barcelona led Olympiakos 1-0 when their center back Gerard Pique was sent off after being deemed to have intentionally redirected the ball into the Olympiakos goal with his hand just before halftime.
As it turned out there was little difference as Barcelona dominated the play even playing a man short.
It was Lionel Messi who potted the second goal with a textbook free kick after he was fouled on the edge of the opposition penalty area. It was 100th European goal and his 50thgoal in 2017.
Lionel Messi’s goal makes him the second player with 100 goals in UEFA club competition. pic.twitter.com/OWicqK8ZHy
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 18, 2017
The only other player to score 100 goals or more in European competition is Real Madrid’s, Cristiano Ronaldo. How much does Ronaldo enjoy the UEFA Champions League? Enough to sing along with the anthem played before each game if the camera is to be believed.
— Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) October 18, 2017
For those of you inclined to join in the next time here are the background on the anthem and the “lyrics”.
“The music, which cannot be bought or legally downloaded from any website, was written by British composer Tony Britten, a graduate of the Royal College of Music. Commissioned in 1992 to devise a piece in the style of George Frideric Handel, the iconic recording of Britten’s piece is performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and sung by the Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields Chorus. The lyrics mix elements from the three official UEFA languages: English, French and German.” UEFA.com
Ce sont les meilleures équipes
Es sind die allerbesten Mannschaften
The main event
Les grandes équipes
Repeat first two choruses
Ils sont les meilleurs
Sie sind die Besten
These are the champions
Les grandes équipes
My surprise team of the competition so far is Turkish club, Besiktas. Drawn in a highly competitive group along with RB Leipzig (Germany), FC Porto (Portugal) and last season’s beaten semi-finalists Monaco (France), Besiktas has won all three games and enjoy a 5 point cushion on RB Leipzig.
On Tuesday, Besiktas came from a goal down to beat Monaco 2-1 in the principality.
— Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) October 17, 2017
The most disappointing performance so far has come from Benfica of Portugal. Things did not start well when Benfica allowed a 1-0 second-half lead to slip and eventually losing at home to Spartak Moscow. There then followed a 5-0 shellacking from Basle (Switzerland).
On Wednesday Benfica racked up a third straight loss going down 1-0 at home to Manchester United. The winning goal came after a major error from Mile Svilar. Svilar became the youngest goalkeeper in Champions League history beating the mark set by Spain legend Iker Casillas nearly two decades ago.
The Belgian teenager grabbed a vicious in-swinging free kick from Marcus Rashford but backed up too far and carried the ball into his own goal.
— Jason Foster (@JogaBonitoUSA) October 18, 2017
Edin Dzeko of Roma (Italy) scored a goal that will surely make any shortlist of the best goals from 2017.
Roma was 2-0 behind after 37 minutes to Chelsea but Dzeko’s spectacular effort drew the teams level with a third of the match left. The former Manchester City striker then headed Roma into the lead but Chelsea’s Eden Hazard made it 3-3, also with a header.
The single point maintains Roma’s lead of 3 points over Atletico Madrid after the Spanish team could only draw 0-0 with Champions League Qarabag FK (Azerbaijan), a team playing in the group stage for the first time.
— FootySays (@Footy_Says) October 18, 2017