Champions League Roundup: Lewandowski frustrated on Bayern return as Barça loses

Champions League Roundup: Lewandowski frustrated on Bayern return as Barça loses

MUNICH (AP) — Robert Lewandowski was among several Barcelona players to rue missed chances on his return to his former team in a 2-0 loss at Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Back for the first time since forcing his transfer between the clubs, Lewandowski was frustrated by his own lack of precision and a tough marking job from former teammate Dayot Upamecano.

Two second-half goals in four minutes from Lucas Hernández and Leroy Sané were enough for Bayern to claim its fifth consecutive win over the Catalan team, though it needed a vast improvement after the break from Julian Nagelsmann’s team.

There were some boos from Bayern fans for Lewandowski before kickoff, but mostly applause given his 344 goals over eight hugely successful years at the Bavarian club.

The game started at a furious pace and the first big chance fell to the visitors in the ninth minute when Lewandowski carved out an opening for Gavi to find Pedri, who drew a fine save from Manuel Neuer.

Neuer inadvertently passed to Lewandowski when he was looking for Upamecano shortly afterward. The Bayern goalkeeper was grateful that Upamecano was able to clear the danger.

Barcelona’s players continued to press as Bayern’s looked unsettled. Pedri set up Lewandowski, who uncharacteristically missed from a central position and then went on to miss more good chances.

Barcelona should have had a penalty before the break, when Alphonso Davies brought down Ousmane Dembelé, but the referee waved play on and there was no signal from the VAR official.

Nagelsmann responded at halftime by bringing on Leon Goretzka for Marcel Sabitzer.

Raphinha was the next to go close for Barça, before Goretzka let fly to force a good save from André ter Stegen.

Hernández scored from the resultant corner in the 50th, fourth minutes before Jamal Musiala set up Sané to cut through the visitors’ defense for Bayern’s second.

Pedri struck the post for Barcelona in response after a brilliant flowing move involving Lewandowski — it summed up the visitors’ evening.

LIVERPOOL 2, AJAX 1

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Joel Matip headed in an 89th-minute goal — with the aid of goal-line technology — to earn Liverpool a 2-1 win over Ajax and its first points in this season’s Champions League on Tuesday.

The center back met an outswinging corner from the left with a header that had just crossed the line before it was cleared away by a covering Ajax player.

Liverpool fans held their collective breath inside Anfield before the referee pointed to his watch to signal a huge goal for the English team, which was humiliated in a 4-1 loss at Napoli last week in the opening round of Group A games.

Looking to make amends for that defeat in Italy which manager Jurgen Klopp described as the worst performance in his tenure, Liverpool started with intensity and Mohamed Salah ended his run of seven Champions League games without a goal by putting the team ahead in the 17th.

Mohammed Kudus smashed a shot in off the underside of the crossbar for the equalizer in the 27th after Ajax midfielder Edson Alavarez ran in behind Trent Alexander-Arnold and cut a cross back into the penalty area.

Liverpool was the better team for the majority of an end-to-end game but after Darwin Nunez swept a shot wide and Salah hit a deflected effort against the post, it looked like it wasn’t going to be the home team’s night.

Now, after Matip’s late intervention, Liverpool will head into back-to-back games against Rangers after the international break in good heart.

Before kickoff, there was a period of silence as a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, who died last week at the age of 96. It was respectfully observed, except for a few random shouts that were quickly hushed.

It was Liverpool’s first game since the queen’s death. Players from both teams wore black armbands for the game.

EINTRACHT FRANKFURT 1, MARSEILLE 0

MARSEILLE, France (AP) — Careless defending cost Marseille again in the Champions League as it lost 1-0 at home to Europa League winner Eintracht Frankfurt on Tuesday.

Coach Igor Tudor’s side is unbeaten in the French league but lacks a cutting edge at this level. Marseille looked organized and untroubled, just like last week against Tottenham, but fell behind in the 43rd minute after a defensive error allowed attacking midfielder Jesper Lindstrøm to score.

Japan midfielder Daichi Kamada thought he had made it 2-0 in the 79th but his effort was ruled out for offside.

Tottenham’s 2-0 loss at Sporting in the other Group D game means Sporting takes charge with six points, having beaten Frankfurt 3-0 last week in Germany.

Tottenham and Frankfurt have three points, with Spurs in second place on goal difference and Marseille last.

It was a hostile atmosphere at Stade Velodrome, where riot police intervened before kickoff and late on to quell disorder as opposing fans threw flares and fireworks at each other. A large-scale police operation had prevented fan violence before the game, which was classified as very high risk.

After veteran Marseille forward Alexis Sanchez just failed to head home a cross, Frankfurt’s rapid attack down the right prompted an error from home midfielder Valentin Rongier.

He failed to clear the ball properly and Lindstrøm drove it home past goalkeeper Pau López, who tipped the lively Lindstrøm’s angled shot onto the crossbar early in the second half.

With one hour played, Turkey winger Cengiz Ünder came on for playmaker Dimitri Payet and set up right back Jonathan Clauss, who shot straight at former Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Kevin Trapp.

Trapp then stopped a tame effort from Rongier in a good spell for Marseille that saw the unmarked forward Luis Suárez fluff his shot in front of goal with 20 minutes left.

With the game opening up, López did well to deny Frankfurt forward Randal Kolo Muani with his feet and batted away a strike from Kamada, shortly after his disallowed goal.

Marseille, the 1993 champion and only French side to win the Champions League, lost 2-0 at Tottenham last week.

Sporting substitutes Paulinho and Arthur Gomes scored late goals on Tuesday to hand Spurs its first loss of the season.

BAYER LEVERKUSEN 2, ATLÉTICO MADRID 0

LEVERKUSEN, Germany (AP) — Struggling Bayer Leverkusen left it late to earn a welcome 2-0 win over Atlético Madrid in their Champions League group stage game on Tuesday.

Two goals in three minutes from Robert Andrich and Moussa Diaby — both set up by Jeremie Frimpong — were enough for Leverkusen to claim just its second win of the season after six defeats in eight games across all competitions.

Leverkusen coach Gerardo Seoane had been coming under increasing pressure, especially after the 1-0 loss at Club Brugge in their Group B opening game last week, but Andrich finally made the breakthrough in the 84th minute and Diaby sealed the win on a counterattack in the 87th.

Both teams had largely canceled each other out in a first half of few chances. Leverkusen looked better early on, when Andrich fired a good chance over.

Patrik Schick hit the crossbar for Leverkusen after the break, when Czech compatriot Adam Hlozek struck the post from the rebound.

Both teams upped the pace for the last 10 minutes, but it was Leverkusen that made the breakthrough. Frimpong did well to hold off his marker and send a low ball into the center for Andrich, who struck first time inside the left post for his first Champions League goal.

Frimpong then produced a brilliant cross for Diaby to seal it.

CLUB BRUGGE 4, PORTO 0

PORTO, Portugal (AP) — Porto’s Champions League struggles continued with a 4-0 home loss to Club Brugge on Tuesday.

Brugge scored once in the first half and three times in the second to hand Porto its fourth straight loss in the Champions League going back to last season. The Portuguese side is winless in five consecutive games in the European competition since beating AC Milan in October 2021.

Porto’s loss to Brugge in the Group B game followed a 2-1 defeat to Atlético Madrid last week where all three goals were scored in second-half stoppage time. It came after Porto had started the season with six straight victories in all competitions.

It was the second victory in a row in the Champions League for Brugge, the Belgian side which opened its European campaign by defeating Bayer Leverkusen at home. It was only its second win against Porto in five European matches between the teams, and first since the 1972 UEFA Cup.

Ferran Jutglà opened the scoring for the visitors by converting a 15th-minute penalty kick after he was brought down by João Mário in a breakaway. Kamal Sowah added to the lead from close range in the 47th, Andreas Skov Olsen scored the third from inside the area in the 52nd, and 17-year-old Antonio Nusa sealed the victory in a breakaway in the 89th in his Champions League debut.

Brugge nearly added another when Raphael Onyedika’s shot hit the post in the 86th.

Porto had won its two matches against Brugge in the Champions League when the teams met in the group stage of the 2016-17 season.

Porto’s loss on Tuesday came despite the surprise return to the starting lineup of playmaker Otávio, who had injured his ribs in the match against Atlético.

INTER MILAN 2, PLZEN 0

PILSEN, Czech Republic (AP) — Whenever Edin Džeko plays against Viktoria Plzeň, the goals start flowing.

Džeko scored one goal and set up another Tuesday to lead Inter Milan to a 2-0 victory over the Czech club in the Champions League. It was the Bosnia international’s 10th goal in nine matches against Plzeň, and ninth in the last six.

The 10 goals against Plzeň are the most Džeko has scored against any team.

Inter coach Simone Inzaghi surprisingly left Lautaro Martínez on the bench for the match, starting instead with Džeko and Joaquín Correa. And the two combined for Inter’s opener in the 20th minute. Robin Gosens controlled a lofted ball with his back to goal and sent it to Correa, who in turn found Džeko on the left for an angled shot into the far bottom corner.

Plzeň was reduced to 10 men in the 60th minute when midfielder Pavel Bucha was sent off with a red card. Referee Sandro Schärer initially gave a yellow card for Bucha’s challenge on Nicolò Barella but then changed it to a straight red after reviewing the incident.

In the 70th, Inter again broke forward and Džeko picked out Denzel Dumfries, who scored past Plzeň goalkeeper Jindřich Staněk.

Inter has three points in Group C, while Plzeň has zero. Bayern Munich and Barcelona are also in the group, and both won their opening matches.

Inter also received news that forward Romelu Lukaku should be back for its next Champions League match against Barcelona. The Belgium international is expected to return from his thigh injury after the international break.

SPORTING CP 2, TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Sporting scored in the 90th minute and again in stoppage time to beat Tottenham 2-0 on Tuesday and make it two wins from two to open the Champions League group stage.

Both goals came from substitutes — Paulinho and Arthur Gomes — as Tottenham slipped to its first loss of the season in all competitions.

Paulinho glanced in a header from a corner to the near post to give the lead to the Portuguese team, which spent most of the game under pressure and looking to hit Tottenham on the counterattack.

Gomes sealed the win in the third minute of added-on time when he cut in from the left wing on a solo run, darted between two Tottenham defenders and shot low past goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

Tottenham started Group D with a 2-0 win over Marseille last week but only after scoring late goals with the French team down to 10 men. Antonio Conte’s team was poor going forward again against Sporting, with right wing back Emerson Royal — hardly known for his attacking prowess — having the visitors’ two best chances in the second half.

Sporting has opened a Champions League group stage with back-to-back wins for the first time — it beat Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 away in the first matchday — and is impressing with its mobile front line led by Marcus Edwards, a former Tottenham academy product who was sold by the English club in 2019.

The undoubted highlight of an otherwise fairly low-quality match — at least before the late goals — came in first-half stoppage time when the 23-year-old Edwards embarked on a dribble from 50 meters out that took the breath away. He wriggled past two Tottenham players — Eric Dier and then Ivan Perisic — before exchanging a one-two with teammate Francisco Trincao, gliding past Cristian Romero and poking in a shot that was turned around the post by Lloris.

It explained why Mauricio Pochettino, who was manager at Tottenham when Edwards was there, compared the forward’s style to Lionel Messi.

Tottenham’s attack failed to function, with Son Heung-min — tied as the leading scorer in the Premier League last season — coming off in the 72nd minute. He is still without a goal in any competition this season.

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