UEFA Champions League Trophy
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UCL Recap: Frustrating Matchday 1 for Americans

3 minutes, 41 seconds Read

Christian Pulisic and Yunus Musah made their first Champions League appearances for AC Milan off the bench as they were held by Newcastle while Brenden Aaronson and Union Berlin lost a heart-breaker to Real Madrid.

AC Milan 0-0 Newcastle United

Milan was dominant throughout the course of the match, but could not find the goals as they had to settle for a point in their first Group F encounter with Newcastle United at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.

Christian Pulisic would start on the bench behind Samuel Chukwueze but he came on in the second half for 29 minutes in a quiet outing. Yunus Musah was a bit more active in his 18 minutes on the field as he completed all of his passes, won four duels, and made a tackle.

After a 20-year absence from Europe’s top club competition, the Magpies made their return, but the hosts were not looking to be hospitable as they came out on the attack from the start. Milan’s Rafael Leao was dangerous throughout, but his finishing let him down in the end.

The Rossoneri had an excellent chance to break the scoreless deadlock in the 13th minute when Tomasso Pobega took a shot from distance, but Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope did well to block it. Leao then crossed the ball to the far side of the goal for Chukwueze to head on target, but Pope was on the spot again to make the stop.

Theo Hernandez then had a chance in the 19th minute when he ran onto a Rade Krunic corner kick. It was a perfectly taken header, but Pope was once again in the right place to parry the ball out of play.

Wave after wave attacks from the home side and they had nothing to show for them as they headed to the locker room with the game still scoreless.

It was much of the same in the second half as Milan continued to pepper their opponent’s goal with shots, but they could not get one to go in.

It was certainly a frustrating night for the hosts and the games don’t get any easier as they will head to Germany next month to face Pulisic’s former team Borussia Dortmund.

Real Madrid 1-0 Union Berlin

Union Berlin’s thoughts of leaving the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu with a point were dashed in stoppage time as they fell in a narrow defeat to Real Madrid.

Brenden Aaronson was inserted into the game for the final 24 minutes as he went on to complete 60 percent of his passes and win a duel.

In their first-ever appearance in the Champions League, the German team did their best to hold their own against the perennial winners of the competition, but Los Blancos were intent on sending a statement to their rivals. However, as dominant as they were in the game, the hosts were let down by their finishing in the final third.

It was much of the same in the second half as Real was unfortunate on several occasions to break the deadlock. A combination of near misses, shots off the woodwork, and saves from Union Berlin goalkeeper Frederik Ronnow kept the game scoreless.

Just when things were heading towards both sides sharing the points, Real Madrid midfielder Jude Bellingham came to the rescue for the hosts in the fourth minute of stoppage time. Toni Kroos played a short corner kick to Federico Valverde who then fired a shot from the edge of the 18-yard box. His attempt was blocked but that just left the ball loose in the area for the Englishman to pounce on and put in the back of the net to the relief of the home supporters.

Union Berlin will have time to regroup before they play their first Champions League game at the Olympiastadion against Portugal’s Sporting Braga.


Sergino Dest started while Ricardo Pepi and Malik Tillman came off the bench for PSV as they were hammered by Arsenal in a 4-0 defeat at the Emirates Stadium.

Gio Reyna traveled with Borussia Dortmund and was on the bench for the team, but he saw no action as they suffered a 2-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain at Parc des Princes.

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Kenya Brown

Born in America, but raised in Europe and Asia, Kenya has loved soccer ever since his parents put a ball at his feet. While covering some of the top U.S. players around Europe, he loves putting the spotlight on players who are based in leagues off the beaten path. He also interviews coaches and other people in the game to gain more insight.

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