UEFA Champions League Preview (Matchday 2): Group C
Atalanta vs Shakhtar Donetsk– Tuesday, 01 October 2019
Baptism of fire, that’s what Atalanta got on their long-awaited, emotional and fairy-tale return to the Champions League. La Dea were possibly at their worst, with a timid performance that saw them lose 0-4 at the hands of Zagreb in Croatia. They have however not capitulated after that, responding with two impressive Serie A wins, 0-2 away at Roma and the recent 4-1 thrashing of Sassuolo. Gasperini’s men will now take two when they welcome the Ukrainians on Tuesday and with the Colombian Zapata in sizzling form, Shakhtar could find themselves in the firing line.
To be fair to the Ukrainian champions, they have been quite decent in their European matches in the past seasons. They could be forgiven for losing 0-3 to Manchester City on matchday 1 but would be expected and are good enough to get a result in Italy. The question will be on whether they can sustain their opposition’s momentum and desire to prove themselves on the biggest stage.
Manchester City vs Dinamo Zagreb– Tuesday, 01 October 2019
It looks obvious on paper but not so much in reality.
City have since picked themselves up from their shocking 2-3 loss at bottom of the league Norwich, with victories such as an 8-0 dragging of Watford, 3-0 win at high flying Championship side, Preston North End and most recently a late 3-1 win at Everton. In particular, the Algerian captain and AFCON 2019 champion, Riyad Mahrez has re-captured his Leicester form and looks like a new signing for the English champions.
On the other hand, the Croatian champions lie at the top of Group C for a reason. Dinamo Zagreb crushed Atalanta on opening night with a 4-0 scoreline and their league form hasn’t suggested they have put off their foot off the pedal, lying only a point off leaders Hajduk Split in the league. It obviously will be a clash, a level up what they have been involved within recent weeks, but quite capable of getting a result as well. After all, Lyon did it at Etihad last season.