Champions League Results: Analysis for Arsenal-Dortmund and Tuesday's Matches

Alex Dimond@alexdimondUK Lead WriterOctober 22, 2013

Champions League Results: Analysis for Arsenal-Dortmund and Tuesday's Matches

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    Tuesday saw the first half of Matchday 3 in this year's Champions League, an often pivotal phase of the group stages of the competition.

    In London, Arsenal were hosting Borussia Dortmund—knowing that victory would put them within touching distance of the knockout phase, but defeat would leave them facing an arduous path to that goal.

    Chelsea, similarly, knew they could ill afford defeat against Schalke after their opening-round disaster against Basel—while the undoubted glamour tie of the night saw Barcelona visit famous old rivals AC Milan.

    Five other games were also being played around Europe, with much at stake for every side.

    So click on to read about events from all eight of Tuesday night's matches.


    (Statistics via WhoScored?, quotes via, GIFs B/R own unless otherwise stated)

Arsenal 1-2 Borussia Dortmund: Robert Lewandowski Leaves Gunners Fearing Again

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    A late volley from Robert Lewandowski condemned Arsenal to a first defeat of this year's Champions League group stage—but Arsene Wenger's side now face three difficult games if they are to progress to the knockout stages.

    Wenger, on his 64th birthday, saw his side impress after Henrikh Mkhitaryan's somewhat fortuitous opener, with Olivier Giroud getting a deserved equaliser. Substitute Santi Cazorla then hit the crossbar with a wonderful effort, before Lewandowski stole all three points with a clinical finish from Kevin Grosskreutz's pinpoint cross.

    Lewandowski arguably should not even have been on the pitch, however, having been guilty of an ugly elbow on Laurent Koscielny only minutes earlier. In the end, however, the Polish striker received only a yellow card.

    Wenger, too, might be somewhat disappointed at the manner of the opening goal—Aaron Ramsey guilty of giving the ball away on the edge of the box, as Lewandowski slipped the ball to Mkhitaryan to swipe an effort beyond Szczesny.

    Giroud's equaliser was a product of a fantastic cross from Bacary Sagna, but further incisive play was not forthcoming, as Lewandowski eventually got the crucial goal.

    Arsenal now sit on six points, the same as Dortmund and Napoli, with both those sides still to visit.

    "It's going to be tough now," Mikel Arteta said afterwards. "This is probably the toughest group in the competition but I think we are still capable of going through."


    Shots: 9-8

    Shots on Target: 2-3

    Pass completion: 83%-79%

    Possession: 58%-42%

Schalke 0-3 Chelsea: Fernando Torres Turns Blues' Fortunes Around

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    While Arsenal were seeing their Champions League fortunes take a turn for the worse, Chelsea look to have a straightforward path to the next round after demolishing Schalke, 3-0, in Gelsenkirchen on Tuesday.

    Fernando Torres grabbed two goals and then played a key role in Eden Hazard's third three minutes from time as Jose Mourinho saw his side grab control of Group E.

    With a home meeting with Schalke next up, the Blues are level with the Bundesliga club at the top of the standings on six points after three games, a rapid turnaround after the opening matchday defeat to Basel at Stamford Bridge.

    The win was not as comfortable as the scoreline may suggest, however, with Petr Cech making a number of impressive saves in the period between Torres' fourth-minute opener and his second with 20 minutes remaining.

    "We were lucky to score the first goal early," Torres noted. "In the second half, the individual quality made the difference. To get the last six points away from home is very important."

    Fernando Torres has 8 goals in 22 UCL games with Chelsea. He had 8 goals in 21 UCL games with Liverpool.

    — Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) October 22, 2013


    Shots: 13-10

    Shots on Target: 5-4

    Pass completion: 90%-84%

    Possession: 60%-40%

AC Milan 1-1 Barcelona: Messi Gets Equaliser as Neymar and Robinho Show Respect

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    The most glamorous tie of the night ended in a draw, as Barcelona and AC Milan both appeared content to share the spoils in a 1-1 contest at the San Siro.

    Robinho, formally of Real Madrid, scored the opener—enjoying a nice exchange with Kaka before slipping the ball home. But Lionel Messi once again bailed his side out with the equaliser, before both sides turned down the tempo as the contest wore on.

    The shared point keeps Barca top of Group H with seven points, with Milan in second two points behind. Milan manager Max Allegri noted afterwards:

    The boys played a good game, giving Barcelona no room to be dangerous and hitting on the counter.

    We made one mistake defensively and they punished us.

    We created more chances tonight than in the match we won last season, but this is a good result because we still have a two-points advantage over Celtic.

    Allegri may just wonder if his side could have stolen matters, however, with Robinho inexplicably failing to make contact with a gilt-edged chance prior to his removal for Mario Balotelli. Barca, however, had plenty of chances of their own—Adriano, Alexis Sanchez and substitute Cesc Fabregas perhaps wondering if they could and should have notched a winner.


    Shots: 6-17

    Shots on Target: 2-6

    Pass completion: 75%-91%

    Possession: 28%-72%

Marseille 1-2 Napoli: Zapata's Golazo Clinches the Points

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    Arguably the goal of the night from substitute Duvan Zapata sealed the points as Napoli beat Marseille, 2-1, to make things tight at the top of Group F.

    Jose Maria Callejon opened the scoring with a fine goal of his own shortly before halftime to set Rafa Benitez's side on their way against a dour Marseille side, before Zapata—after a great assist from the lively Dries Mertens—came on and thundered home a beautiful strike to seemingly seal the points.

    But Andre Ayew scored a fine dipping strike to give his side hope, as the Serie A side were eventually forced to scramble to preserve the victory.

    They now remain level with Dortmund and Arsenal on six points, with a home game against the Premier League side (and Marseille) still to come.

    Afterwards, Benitez noted:

    I am satisfied because we won.

    For me it was easy to choose Dries Mertens [in the starting XI] because he is working very well in training.

    Also Duván Zapata is getting better day after day, while [Gonzalo] Higuaín is not fit at 100% yet. The players made a sacrifice display, giving all they could on the pitch.


    Shots: 9-11

    Shots on Target: 2-4

    Pass completion: 82%-80%

    Possession: 52%-48%

Celtic 2-1 Ajax: Kayal's Deflected Strike Gives Bhoys Real Hope

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    Elsewhere in Group H, it is Celtic who can continue with dreams of progressing from a difficult group after they picked up a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Celtic.

    James Forrest—from the penalty spot—and Beram Kayal grabbed the crucial goals for Neil Lennon's side, with Lasse Schone's finish for Ajax only coming with moments remaining in the contest.

    Prior to that, Celtic saw substitute Nir Biton sent off for a late challenge.

    In truth the crucial moments in the contest came in the second half. Forrest put Celtic ahead after Stefano Denswil had tripped Anthony Stokes down the left, but in the second half Ajax returned determined.

    Fraser Forster made a critical save and then moments later Celtic were two clear, Kayal's tame shot being deflected beyond the wrong-footed goalkeeper.

    “I said Ajax would give us as many problems as Barcelona did, as many problems as AC Milan did, and they did," Lennon said afterwards.

    "That’s a fantastic win for us. We are on our knees, in terms of injuries in our squad, so it was a monumental effort from the lads."


    Shots: 10-15

    Shots on Target: 4-4

    Pass completion: 80%-87%

    Possession: 31%-69%

Austria Wien 0-3 Atletico Madrid: Diego Costa Drives Side Towards Last 16

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    At the top of Group G sit Atletico Madrid, who look odds-on for the knockout stages after their 3-0 win over Austria Wien extended their unbeaten record.

    Raul Garcia tapped in the away side's opener, before Diego Costa produced two clinical finishes to wrap up the points for Diego Simeone's side. It was a fine way for the Brazilian to make his debut in the competition.

    "We played a great game," the striker said. "I felt good out on the pitch and was very happy to make my UEFA Champions League debut in such a manner."

    Diego Costa is the 4th player to score 2 goals on his first #CL match for Atlético. One of them was his current coach Simeone. #UCL

    — Infostrada Sports (@InfostradaLive) October 22, 2013


    Shots: 6-13

    Shots on Target: 1-6

    Pass completion: 85%-82%

    Possession: 44%-56%

Porto 0-1 Zenit St. Petersburg: Kerzhakov Steals Win for Visitors

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    Alexander Kerzhakov's solitary strike four minutes from time was enough for a poor Zenit St. Petersburg to steal all three points against a shocked Porto side.

    Porto's job was complicated by the sixth-minute dismissal of defender Hector Herrera, who was booked for a foul before receiving his marching orders seconds later after encroaching on the subsequent free-kick.

    Yet, despite that setback, Porto continued to dominate—before Kerzhakov popped up with a sucker-punch that leap-frogged the Russian side above their opponents to second in Group G.

    Porto midfielder Fernando said afterwards:

    We knew it was an important match but after the red card our job became more complicated.

    But the result is unfair because we created chances. We gave our best but we end up losing.

    The situation is complicated after two consecutive home defeats but we will not give up and we will try to win our next game in Russia.


    Shots: 22-15

    Shots on Target: 5-5

    Pass completion: 76%-85%

    Possession: 42%-58%

Steaua Bucharest 1-1 Basel: Tatu Steals a Point for the Romanian Side

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    Finally, a late finish from Leandro Tatu saw Steaua Bucharest claim their first point of this year's Champions League with a 1-1 draw against Basel in Romania.

    Marcelo Diaz had opened the scoring for the Swiss side with a beautiful curler—punishing an error from the Steaua defence—but the home side were never killed off, and made the most of that glimmer of hope when Tatu arrived on time in the box to turn home with four minutes remaining.

    Steaua nevertheless remain bottom of Group E with one solitary point, with Basel dropping to third on four points—two adrift of Chelsea and Schalke.


    Shots: 18-14

    Shots on Target: 6-4

    Pass completion: 74%-81%

    Possession: 43%-57%