UEFA Champions League Round Up: Matchday 2
The premium club competition in Europe, UEFA Champions League is up and running. It’s only matchday two but we have seen clashes fit to be finals being played in front our eyes. Who would have thought that CSKA Moscow would beat reigning champions, Real Madrid or that Messi would show off his GOAT nature. Okay maybe, you could have guessed the latter. Here is a pick of the action that involved Africans playing in Europe.
1. (Man Utd vs Valencia) - Kondogbia and Valencia add insult to Manchester United’s injury
The Central African Republic international was in the thick of things as Valencia and troubled United played out a goalless draw. The 25-year-old, Geoffrey Kondogbia teamed up with former Arsenal midfielder, Francis Coquelin to stuff out any potential threat from Jose Mourinho’s men coming from the midfield, winning the battle against Belgium’s Marouane Fellaini and Nemanja Matic. Had it not been for Valencia’s lack of intent and far from satisfying passes in the final third, Kondogbia and his teammates could have gotten more from the match played at Old Trafford.
2. (Porto vs Galatasaray) - Mali’s Moussa Marega steps up in the absence of Aboubakar
Porto had to battle the Turkish giants without their star forward, Cameroonian Vincent Aboubakar who will spend considerable amount of time on the sidelines after undergoing knee surgery. Aboubakar’s bag of goals carried the Portuguese side to the knockout stages in the 2017/18 UCL season but 27-year-old Marega looks more than capable to fill the big shoes. His solitary goal was enough to seal off a 1-0 victory against Galatasaray, sending Porto top of Group D ahead of Bundesliga side, Schalke, who also have four points
3. (Atletico Madrid vs Club Brugge) - Ever so reliable Thomas Partey does the job again
Ghanaian midfielder has really made Atletico Madrid his home and might be on course to become a future captain and legend. He was involved in the side as Diego Simeone’s men registered a 3-1 victory over Club Brugge, taking their points tally to six, tied with group A leaders, Borussia Dortmund who brushed aside Monaco, 3-0
4. (Tottenham vs Barcelona) - Wanyama starts but taken off at the 57th minute
After spending a lot of time on the sidelines with injuries and also bench warming after Eric Dier became the more preferred defensive midfielder at Spurs, Kenya’s Victor Wanyama finally got to start a match, the biggest of them all. He was quite fiery in the opening stages, putting out fires and even getting yellow-carded at some point for a tactical foul on Messi but was just as guilty for Barca’s third goal as Messi leaped into the box to place the ball into the bottom corner under his watch. Dier soon came to replace the 27-year-old Kenyan for reasons best known by Pochettino. You cannot really blame anyone though for Tottenham’s 4-2 loss to Barca - they were simply outclassed.
5. (PSV vs Inter Milan) - Asamoah’s Inter record second successive UCL victory from behind
Ghanaian, Kwadwo Asamaoh was deployed once again at the left-back role as his side came from behind in Netherlands, to beat PSV 2-1. Inter Milan have now collected 6 out of 6 available points after seeing of Tottenham from behind again on matchday 1. It promises to be an interesting encounter when they meet Barcelona in their next match with both teams having bagged maximum points so far.