It was a very good Matchday 4 for some Yanks as Pulisic and Musah kept their dream of continuing in the competition alive but not so good for Cameron Carter Vickers and Celtic as they were crucified by Atletico Madrid in Champions League action.
AC Milan 2 – 1 PSG
Less than three points against the French champions could have spelled the end of AC Milan’s Champions League adventure, but after going down a goal before the clock struck double-digits, the Rossineri fought back and claimed all the points in front of their home fans. Both Yunus Musah and Christian Pulisic were in the starting line up but Musah came off in the 84th minute after a solid performance in the middle of the park, while the former Chelsea man came off in the 92nd minute after an injury scare.
The Parisians struck early after they won a corner. It was delivered into the box and found Marquinhos, who headed it towards the far post for his Slovak teammate, Milan Skriniar who found himself in a one-on-one with Mike Maignan. A downward header easily beat the French keeper.
Six minutes later, however, the Italians were on the attack with Rafael Leao charging down the middle past three defenders. He picked out Olivier Giroud and the Frenchman shot from just left of the goal. Former AC keeper, now PSG keeper, Gianluigi Donnarumma got a strong hand to it and knocked it away, but Leao had continued his run and latched on and put it into the back of the net to tie things up.
Kylian Mbappe should have done better, should have actually scored when he was played through and managed to run away from his marker. The shot from about 12 yards out went wide of the near post, however. The French attack continued and the lead should have been restored by Masouor Dembele but his shot hit from just outside the box rattled the crossbar to save Maignan blushes.
The eventual game-winner came in the 50th minute when a pair of players collided in the box and hit the ground. Played continued however and Theo Hernandez, out wide left, sent it back into the box for Giroud to outjump his marker and head it into the back of the net from close range.
Both teams had chances to score again, with the Parisians’ sub Kang-In Lee being kept out by the near post late on. In the end, it was Milan’s night as they picked up their first win in the group. As things stand with two games to go, Gio Reyna and Dortmund lead the pack on 7 points with PSG on 6, followed by ACM on 5 and Newcastle United on 4. It’s back to league play this weekend for the San Siro boys as they travel to Lecce. Pulisic’s injury is not considered to be serious but he will most likely miss this Serie A game and quite possibly not join up with the USMNTs for their upcoming games.
PSV Eindhoven 1 – 0 RC Lens
In this must-win game for the Dutch league leaders, they did just that, narrowly beating their French opponents by a solitary goal thanks to Luuk de Jong. Sergino Dest continued in his starting role, while both his compatriots started the game on the bench at the Philips Stadium. Malik Tillman entered the field in the 66th minute, while Ricardo Pepi was not even given enough time to break a sweat, coming on for the goal scorer in the 93rd minute.
The goal came in the 12th minute when Johan Bakayoko floated the ball into the box from the top left and watched the Dutch international get in a sweet back header from the six-yard box that dipped just inside the net.
Delver Machado missed a very good chance at getting one back in the 42nd minute but his shot from close range didn’t even challenge the keeper. And with just a couple of minutes left in regulation time, Lens hit the post. Minutes later, they went down to 10 men after second-half sub Przemyslaw Frankowski’s second yellow card.
Group B has now become very tight with Arsenal at the top with 9 points, followed by PSV and Lens, both on 5. Sevilla sits at the bottom with just 2 points, but they will host the Dutchmen and PSV will also have to face Arsenal at home, so continuing in the CL for the trio of Americans is going to be tough but also very possible.
Up next for PSV will be a home lunchtime kick-off against PEC Zwolle.
Atletico Madrid 6 – 0 Celtic
It was a night that will long be remembered by the Scottish champions for all the wrong reasons as they were humiliated in the Spanish capital on Tuesday night, letting Atletico score a half dozen goals at the Estadio Civitas Metropolitano. Cameron Carter Vickers went the distance on the back line.
The scoring got underway almost immediately when 32-year-old Antoine Griezmann had time to take a shot just inside the corner of the D and blasted it past a diving Joe Hart. Going down a goal is bad enough but 17 minutes later the visitors were also down by a man after Daizen Maeda raised his foot just a little too high and came down hard on Mario Hermoso. After an initial yellow card for the Japanese international, VAR was consulted and the card turned to red.
Brendan Rogers’ team thought they had made it to the intermission just a goal down but a couple of minutes into first-half extra time Alvaro Morata struck after some less-than-impressive Celtic defending
Fifteen minutes into the restart it was that pesky Frenchman Griezmann again, who took advantage of defensive ball watching to score from inside the 18-yard box. Then the floodgates opened and Samuel Lino scored six minutes later, followed by Morata again ten minutes after that. Midfielder Saul Niguez also got in on the action striking the last of the game in the 84th minute.
The result pretty much kicks the Scots out of Europe, having just one point out of a possible 12. First place in the league however, the Hoops will now prepare for Aberdeen, who pay a visit to Glasgow on Sunday afternoon.
Brenden Aaronson was given 11 minutes on the field by the Union Berlin coach as they went up against Napoli in southern Italy. The Italian champions’ first-half lead was surrendered in the 52nd minute when David Fofana struck. That was the German side’s first point of the competition and if they hope to stay in Europe, they’ll have to register a win or two. Currently sitting in last place, they’re just two points behind Sporting Braga. Up next will be Bundesliga action against league leaders Bayer Leverkusen.
Royal Antwerp traveled to Porto for their game against the Portuguese champions, without Sam Vines who was “mistakenly” left off the CL roster but has been injured regardless. The Belgian champs fell 2-0. They sit in last place in their group with no points and barring a miracle, no way of staying in any European competition in the new year. The Great Old will next host Marlon Fossey and Standard Liege for a Saturday afternoon fixture.
Giovanni Reyna never got off the bench when Borussia Dortmund came away with a big home win against Newcastle United on Tuesday night. The win and PSG’s loss leave the German side at the top of Group F with two games to go. Next up however will be a league game away to Stuttgart.