Josh Cohen and Maccabi Haifa pulled off a surprising upset over Weston McKennie and Italian powerhouse Juventus, while Malik Tillman and James Sands likely improved their stock with Rangers by missing their embarrassing loss to Liverpool.
Maccabi Haifa 2 – 0 Juventus
Josh Cohen and his Maccabi Haifa teammates had a night to remember, holding Juventus at bay as they were able to decisively beat the English favorites in a shut-out victory.
Weston McKennie started for the visitors, however was pulled at halftime with the team already down two goals, after picking up a yellow card.
Cohen and the Haifa defense did well to withstand the off-balance Juventus attack, which despite having vastly superior talent on paper, still only held 58% of possession and managed 14 shots over the 90minutes.
For his part, Cohen played an error-free game, making a total of five saves, to secure his first win as a keeper in the Champions League, and Haifa’s first group-stage win in Europe’s top competition since 2002.
The hosts needed only seven minutes to take a surprising lead, with Pierre Cornud firing in a pass from deep in the left flank, which Omer Atzili headed downwards to the lower left corner for the 1-0 Haifa advantage.
17 minutes later, Juventus suffered an unwanted, but fully predictable setback when glass-man Ángel di Maria was forced out of the game due to an injury, and their misfortune was compounded by a further Haifa score shortly before the half.
In the 42nd minute, Frantzdy Pierrot drew the defensive attention to his slow advance up the middle, then picked out Atzili wide-open in the right side of the area for a looping, left-footed shot to the upper right corner for the 2-0 lead.
Moments later, Cohen made a spectacular, diving, one-handed save to deny a header by Dusan Vlahovic, and prevent the visitors from carrying any momentum into the half.
McKennie picked up a yellow card – still only his first of the competition – in the third minute of added time for a rough foul on Ali Mohamed, and was eventually pulled at the half in favor of Filip Kostic. In his half of play, the American had 26 touches and completed just 11 of 18 passes, while attempting no shots and setting up no chances for teammates.
The second half saw the hosts put on a brave, and ultimately successful display by Juventus to make up the difference. Cohen was again up to the task in the 54th minute, leaping high to push a header from Daniele Rugani over the crossbar.
The result leaves the Bianconeri and Haifa each tied on three points at the bottom of Group H, and facing likely elimination from a knock-out berth when they respectively face Benfica and PSG in two weeks.
AC Milan 0 – 2 Chelsea
Sergiño Dest was a surprise early entry for AC Milan, as they tried unsuccessfully to avoid collapse after an early red card, losing 2-0 at home to Chelsea on Tuesday.
Christin Pulisic was in uniform for the Blues, however was not called into action by head coach Graham Potter against the reigning Italian champions.
The Italians were effectively dealt a death-blow inside of 20 minutes, after Fikayo Tomori was whistled in the area for impeding Mason Mount, and shown a straight red due to being the last defender.
Jorginho successfully converted the spot kick, sending his low attempt to the left side, sending Milan keeper Ciprian Tatarusanu the wrong way.
Mount then turned provider in the 34th minute, redirecting a pass through a crowd in the top of the area to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the right side of the area for an emphatic finish to the near post for the 2-0 lead.
Dest entered the game in the 37th minute for Brahim Diaz as Milan head coach Stefano Pioli looked to stop the bleeding with a tactical shift.
Dest did his part to hold the visiting Blues at bay over the final 53 minutes, and did contribute one exciting moment to the attack when he broke free into the area just before the hour mark for a shot that was sadly well high and wide of the target.
Nevertheless, Pioli’s adjustments did prevent Chelsea from increasing their lead, even if the hosts were unable to carve into the two-goal deficit.
The Chelsea victory does keep the group tight, with all four teams still having a shot at advancing. The Londoners currently lead on seven points and will visit Salzburg in two weeks, whereas Milan are third on four points, and travel to Zagreb for their next group game.
Celtic 0 – 2 RB Leipzig
Cameron Carter-Vickers captained Celtic on Tuesday as they clashed with Germans RB Leipzig, however a pair of late goals by the visitors doomed Celtic to the cusp of European elimination.
The Scottish champions fought valiantly and to their credit weren’t completely overrun by the Leipzigers. Carter-Vickers was a major part of this effort while captaining the team from the central defense. He made nine clearances, won five of six duels, completed 90% of his 52 passing attempts, made four recoveries, and won his only tackle attempt.
Nevertheless, the Germans eventually wore down their hosts, netting the eventual winner in the 75th minute off of a snap header by Timo Werner, then sealing the win with six minutes remaining when Werner found Emil Forsberg on a run into the area for a rocket of a finish from near the spot.
With the loss, Celtic are eliminated from any shot at the knockout round. They have a trio of domestic games before trying to salvage a possible Europa League berth when they host Ukrainians Shakhtar Donetsk in two weeks.
Gio Reyna was a 71st-minute substitute for Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday night, entering the game after it was already tied at its eventual final score of 1-1. He had a total of 14 ball contacts in the midfield, completing 5 of 8 passes, while attempting no shots.
John Brooks was an unused substitute for Benfica on Tuesday night in their 1-1 draw at Paris Saint-Germain. The two teams are tied for the lead of Group H on eight points apiece.
Both Malik Tillman and James Sands were left on the Rangers bench for the duration on Wednesday night, which means they were in no way at fault for the team’s 7-1 thrashing at home against Liverpool. The loss effectively eliminates the Scots from advancement to the final 16, although they can still salvage a Europa League knock-out berth if they make an unlikely turnaround in their final two games.
Owen Otasowie was not in uniform for Club Brugge in their gutsy, scoreless draw at Atletico Madrid on Wednesday. Surprisingly, Club lead Group B on 10 points, and look set for a spot in the knockout round.
Tim Chandler was an unused substitute for Eintracht Frankfurt on Wednesday in their 3-2 road loss at Tottenham. With only three points between the first-place Brits and last-place Germans, all is still up for grabs over the final two games.