Leicester City remains perfect; Real Madrid, Dortmund draw in Champions League
- Despite slipping up in its Premier League title defense, Leicester City's first foray into the Champions League is off to a perfect start, headlining the day's results.
After the second round of games in the Champions League's groups E-H, only one side has a 100% record: Leicester City.
Claudio Ranieri’s side beat Porto at home 1-0 on an Islam Slimani goal to take control of Group G, while Real Madrid could only draw 2-2 after leading twice away at Borussia Dortmund.
In the other game in Leicester’s group, FC Copenhagen emphatically overcame a disappointing Club Brugge 4-0. An own-goal from Stefano Denswil gave Copenhagen the lead early in the second half. Ludwig Augustinsson then had a penalty saved, but Thomas Delaney’s superb strike made it 2-0. Federico Santander slammed in a corner to make it 3-0 and Otavio made it four from another corner in injury time.
Sporting Lisbon, having led for so long at Real Madrid on match-day one only to lose after conceding two late goals, got off the mark with a comfortable win over Legia Warsaw. Bryan Ruiz turned in a corner at the back post, and Bas Dost calmly volleyed in Adrian Silva’s pass for his fifth goal in five games.
After a slightly disappointing home draw against Sevilla two weeks ago, Juventus was a comfortable 4-0 winner away to Dinamo Zagreb. Miralem Pjanic capitalized on a defensive error to put Juve ahead, and then Hernanes laid in Gonzalo Higuain to add a second before halftime. Paulo Dybala hammered in a third from long range and a deflected Dani Alves free kick made it four.
Sevilla, meanwhile, scraped a 1-0 win at home to Lyon. Wissam Ben Yedder got the only goal, nodding in from close range after Luciano Vietto had headed a Steven Nzonzi ball back across goal. Vietto also blasted a penalty over the bar.
Tottenham got its first three-point haul of the campaign with a 1-0 win away to CSKA Moscow, while Monaco, having beaten Spurs at Wembley, salvaged a draw with an injury-time Kamil Glik equalizer against Bayer Leverkusen. Javier Hernandez had headed Leverkusen in front with his 100th career goal in Europe.
Here's what stood out from the day's action:
Player of the day: Federico Santander, FC Copenhagen
The Paraguay center forward may not be a household name, but he was central to Copenhagen’s demolition of a poor Club Brugge. He arrived in Denmark from Guarani last year and has become something of a cult figure among FCK fans. He’s 6’2”, a leader of the line, but also has a subtle touch. His goal, a half-volley from a corner, was expertly taken, but he also bullied the Brugge defense, an ever-willing target.
Goal of the day: Thomas Delaney vs. Club Brugge
Paulo Dybala’s goal for Juventus against Dinamo Zagreb was special, but it came against a team that already looked beaten.
Thomas Delaney’s strike, smacking a dropping ball from 30 yards into the top corner, was vital, settling Copenhagen nerves just a few minutes after a penalty had been missed.
Varane impactful on both ends
Raphael Varane essentially scored for both sides as Real Madrid came out on top in the biggest game of the night. Madrid took a 17th-minute lead against the run of play, with Cristiano Ronaldo seizing on the bouncing ball as Gareth Bale’s back-heel assist bobbled between the legs of Mathias Ginter. He drove home his 98th career goal in European competition (95th in Champions League). Dortmund leveled two minutes before the break, as Keylor Navas punched uncertainly at Raphael Guerreiro’s free kick, slapping the ball into Varane off whom it rebounded toward the net, where Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang got the last touch.
Varane made up for the inadvertent gaffe, though, scoring at the right end by firing in from close range after Karim Benzema’s effort from Ronaldo's cross had come back off the post. But in a game of many chances, neither side looking particularly convincing defensively, and Andre Schurrle smashed in an equalizer–following a cross from 18-year-old U.S. international Christian Pulisic–with three minutes remaining to split the points.
Foxes still purring
Leicester City may have run out of steam in the Premier League, but in Europe the Foxes' fairy tale continues.
Claudio Ranieri’s side took a first-half lead in the first Champions League game ever played in Leicester, as Islam Slimani headed in a cross from his Algerian compatriot Riyad Mahrez, his third goal in four games since moving from Sporting in the summer. Slimani is something of a Porto specialist, having scored six times against the Dragons in four games.
Jesus Corona struck a post late on, but Porto, having been held at home by FC Copenhagen two weeks ago, now faces a serious challenge to qualify for the knockout stage, while Leicester, with two wins in two games, has some breathing room before taking on the Danish champions.
Spurs, Son back in business after CSKA win
After losing its first group game at home to Monaco, it was essential that Tottenham got a positive result in Moscow and, eventually, it did. Christian Eriksen was superb in a playmaking role, but with Pontus Wernbloom excellent as well, CSKA held out until 19 minutes from time when Erik Lamela laid in Son Heung-Min. The South Korean is in the form of his Tottenham life, and he scored his fifth goal in his last four games, the ball squeezing between the shin and wrist of the goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev as he spread himself and trickling over the line.
Akinfeev has gone a decade without a clean sheet in European competition and his distress at having come so close and failed was clear.