Erling Braut Haaland broke yet another Champions League record on Tuesday as he fired Borussia Dortmund a step closer to the knockout stages with two goals in a 3-0 win over Club Brugge.
Haaland’s 18th-minute opener against Brugge saw him reach 15 Champions League goals in fewer games than any other player in the competition’s history.
The 20-year-old Norwegian hit the milestone in just 12 appearances, smashing the previous record of 19 games held by Ruud van Nistelrooy and Roberto Soldado.
Haaland added another in the second half to take his tally to 16, as he and Dortmund annihilated Brugge to defend top spot in Group F and move within touching distance of qualification for the second round.
With two games to go, Lucien Favre’s side are now five points clear of third place and a point ahead of second-placed Lazio, who beat Zenit Saint Petersburg 3-1 on Tuesday.
Dortmund were predictably dominant in the first half, and it took Haaland just 70 seconds to send a shot fizzing past the Brugge post.
The Norwegian found the net on 18 minutes, placing a low shot past Simon Mignolet after Jadon Sancho set him up with an elegant through ball.
Sancho, who had been dropped to the bench for Dortmund’s league win at Hertha Berlin last weekend, was in excellent form upon his return to the starting XI.
The 20-year-old Englishman doubled Dortmund’s lead on the stroke of half-time, curling a free-kick into the top corner after compatriot Jude Bellingham was fouled on the edge of the box.
Haaland put the game beyond reach on the hour mark, gratefully pouncing on an inadvertent assist from Brugge midfielder Ruud Vormer and sweeping the ball in from close range.
Anthony Martial struck a crucial away goal as Manchester United ground out a 1-1 draw against Club Brugge in Belgium on Thursday in the first leg of their Europa League last 32 tie.
Nigerian forward Emmanuel Dennis lobbed a stranded Sergio Romero from 30 yards to give Belgian league leaders Brugge the lead on 15 minutes at a chilly, rainswept Jan Breydelstadion.
Martial though hauled United level before half-time with an excellent run and finish after pouncing on a defensive lapse from Brandon Mechele.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made six changes to the side that beat Chelsea on Monday, with Romero handed another start in Europe while Victor Lindelof returned from illness to form a three-man defence alongside Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw. New signing Odion Ighalo again began on the bench.
Brugge coach Philippe Clement, once of Coventry City, handed a European debut to 19-year-old Maxim De Cuyper with captain Ruud Vormer only fit enough to start among the substitutes.
De Cuyper nearly popped up with a goal inside three minutes when Dennis escaped Maguire and skipped towards Romero, his attempt to pull back resulting in Nemanja Matic hooking against the teenager and the ball ricocheting fortuitously over the bar.
Andreas Pereira, United’s Belgium-born Brazilian midfielder, saw a low 20-yard drive tipped behind by Simon Mignolet, with the Brugge goalkeeper setting Dennis up for the opener moments later.
A long kick forward caught United short in defence and Dennis, who scored twice against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in October, outmuscled Brandon Williams before lofting over Romero with the Argentine well off his line.
An increasingly ragged United were fortunate not to fall further behind when Mats Rits scuffed wide before Romero positioned himself expertly to keep out Dennis from a tough angle.
Martial takes advantage
Brugge then paid a heavy price when Mechele allowed a bouncing ball to run beyond him, an alert Martial seizing on the opening to race clear and steer calmly beyond Mignolet.
Martial almost bagged a quickfire second as he smacked the post just before the interval, Mignolet extending a vital hand to divert the Frenchman’s curling strike just outside the penalty area.
Brugge will be without Eder Balanta for the return leg at Old Trafford next week after he was booked for a foul on Juan Mata, and the Colombian was replaced by Vormer early in the second half.
Jesse Lingard stabbed wide while lunging to reach a teasing ball from Diogo Dalot before Dennis was again denied by Romero from a tricky position.
Odilon Kossounou squandered a superb chance to put Brugge back on top when he scuffed wide following terrific work on the right from Dennis and a clever dummy from Siebe Schrijvers.
Bruno Fernandes injected fresh life into United as he was introduced for the final 10 minutes, and although the 2017 champions were unable to land a knockout blow they will fancy their chances of finishing off the tie on home soil.
Celtic keeper Fraser Forster saved a late Jens Stage penalty as the Scottish champions drew 1-1 away to FC Copenhagen after Odsonne Edouard’s opener was cancelled by an effort from Senegalese striker Dame N’Doye.
La Liga surprise package Getafe defeated last season’s Champions League semi-finalists Ajax 2-0 in Spain with Brazilian duo Deyverson and Kenedy on target.
Christian Eriksen bagged his first Inter Milan goal in a 2-0 win away to Ludogorets of Bulgaria. Romelu Lukaku added a late second from the spot.
Record five-time winners Sevilla needed the 82nd-minute equaliser from January arrival Youssef En-Nesyri to salvage a 1-1 draw away to Romanians Cluj.
Manchester United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, has hinted that former Super Eagles forward, Odion Ighalo, might make the first-11 squad in Thursday’s Europa League match against Club Brugge.
Ighalo, who teamed up with the Old Trafford side from Shanghai Greenland Shenhua on the January transfer deadline day, was a late substitute as the Red Devils powered home to a 2-0 win over Chelsea in their English Premier League tie on Monday.
The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) top scorer almost made a scoring debut in the tie with Frank Lampard’s men but saw his shot parried by Chelsea goalkeeper, Willie Cabballero.
Ighalo is part of United’s team that travelled to Belgium to face Brugge in a round of 16 Europa League first leg encounter.
Addressing a pre-match press conference, Solskjaer praised the former Watford hitman whom he described as a man who “knows his craft”.
He said, “Well I’m not going to tell the team. But we’re going to have to rotate with all the games we’ve got coming up and he’s one of them that could start. We’ve not 100 per cent decided yet.”
According to the 46-year-old Norwegian, Ighalo is a goal scorer who has shown his skills during training.
“Well, for me, Odion is a different type of striker for us. He is a box striker, he’s a goal scorer. We’ve already seen in training that he really knows his craft.”
Manchester United will face Belgian side Club Brugge in the last 32 of the Europa League, while struggling Arsenal were drawn against Olympiakos on Monday.
United, who won the competition under Jose Mourinho in 2017, travel to Bruges for the first leg on February 20 before returning to Old Trafford a week later.
Arsenal, who finished top of their group in Europe but are languishing ninth in the Premier League after sacking coach Unai Emery, are also away in the first leg.
Ajax were drawn with Spanish outfit Getafe following their surprise exit from the group stage of the Champions League, while Serie A leaders Inter Milan travel to Ludogorets.
Antonio Conte’s side will be among the favourites for the competition alongside last season’s Champions League semi-finalists Ajax after failing to get past Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund in Europe’s top competition.
Sevilla travel to Romanian side Cluj with the five-time winners riding high in La Liga, while fellow Spaniards Espanyol travel to Wolverhampton Wanderers, who are enjoying their first European campaign in nearly four decades.
Senegalese forward Mbaye Diagne has been left out of Club Brugge’s game at Royal Antwerp this weekend after insisting on taking a penalty against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.
The 28-year-old prevented Brugge captain Hans Vanaken from taking the spot-kick with PSG leading 1-0 in the 76th minute on Wednesday, before seeing his effort saved by Keylor Navas as the Belgians went on to lose in Paris.
Coach Philippe Clement confirmed on Friday that Diagne would be punished.
“He will not appear in the squad for Antwerp on Sunday and I will decide in the coming weeks or months about a possible return to the team,” said Clement, who gesticulated wildly at Diagne to give Vanaken the ball.
“There will also be a very heavy financial penalty.”
Diagne has scored four goals for Brugge since signing on loan from Galatasaray in the close season.
Brugge sit third in Champions League Group A, 10 points behind leaders PSG, and will need to win their final two games against Galatasaray and Real Madrid to have any chance of reaching the last 16.
Mauro Icardi scored the only goal and Keylor Navas saved a second-half penalty as Paris Saint-Germain edged out Club Brugge 1-0 to secure their place in the knockout phase of the Champions League with two group matches to spare on Wednesday.
Argentine striker Icardi’s close-range finish in the first half at the Parc des Princes was his eighth goal in PSG’s last seven matches and it was enough to give the French champions a fourth win in as many outings in Group A.
However, their opponents played well enough to take something from the game and would have done so had Navas not stopped Mbaye Diagne’s 76th-minute spot-kick.
Despite failing to convince here — two weeks after a 5-0 victory when the sides met in Belgium — PSG know they will appear in the last 16 for the eighth consecutive season, and a draw in their next game away to Real Madrid will ensure that they progress as winners of Group A.
Real are also on the verge of qualifying themselves after a 6-0 hammering of Galatasaray on Wednesday.
Club Brugge, meanwhile, are now unlikely to finish higher than third — which would see them parachute into the Europa League — as they fell short of replicating their impressive display in drawing 2-2 away to Real earlier in the campaign.
Nevertheless, they are supposed to be small fry for the behemoth that PSG have become.
On Wednesday, the Qatar-owned outfit announced record turnover for last season of 637.8 million euros ($706m), confirming their status as one of the world’s richest clubs.
What PSG do in the group stage has never really been the issue, and once again it will only be when the knockout rounds begin in February that their true potential will be measured.
The nature of their display here, just five days after a Ligue 1 loss against modest Dijon, does raise questions, yet Thomas Tuchel’s side are still yet to concede a goal in this Champions League campaign and again they won here without Neymar.
The Brazilian is scheduled to be back from his latest spell on the sidelines in time for the trip to the Santiago Bernabeu on November 26.
Cavani Left On Bench Again
After scoring a stunning hat-trick as a second-half substitute in Bruges, Kylian Mbappe made his first start in the Champions League this season, while Icardi was again preferred to Edinson Cavani up front.
Cavani, PSG’s all-time leading goal-scorer, has not started a game since suffering a hip injury in late August.
He watched on as Icardi got the opening goal midway through the first half, prodding home from close range after the visitors made a mess of dealing with a seemingly harmless ball into the box by Colin Dagba.
Icardi later hobbled off with a knock to be replaced by Cavani in the 72nd minute, with the Uruguayan being given a hero’s welcome onto the pitch by the home fans.
However, within moments of his introduction the away side won a penalty, Scottish referee Bobby Madden pointing to the spot when substitute Diagne went down under a Thiago Silva challenge.
It was a glorious chance for Club to earn a draw that they will feel they deserved, and yet Senegalese striker Diagne’s kick was clutched low down by a grateful Navas.
Having earlier made two notable saves to deny Emmanuel Bonaventure Dennis, including showing excellent reactions to get down to a deflected effort just after half-time, the Costa Rican was the real hero of the night for the home side.
Substitute Kylian Mbappe scored a hat-trick as Paris Saint-Germain moved a step closer to the Champions League last 16 with a 5-0 victory over previously unbeaten Club Brugge on Tuesday.
The World Cup winner, who has only started four games this season due to thigh and hamstring injuries netted three time in the space of 20 minutes to help PSG go five points clear of Real Madrid, who beat Galatasaray 1-0, in second place in Group A.
Maurco Icardi netted the visitors other two goals as fellow Argentinian Angel Di Maria directly set-up three of his side’s efforts.
For the third time in Europe this season PSG’s Thomas Tuchel was unable to start his attacking trio of suspended Neymar and injured Mbappe and Edinson Cavani.
Brugge coach Philippe Clement, who has guided the club to the top of the Belgian Pro League, was without captain Ruud Vormer as the Netherlands midfielder serves a suspension for a red card he received in the draw at Real.
The visitors claimed an early lead as Di Maria received a long-range ball on the right flank.
The Argentina winger curled in an early cross with the outside of his left foot and Icardi beat Simon Mignolet at his near post after seven minutes.
Champions League debutant Charles De Ketelaere missed a good chance to equalise after half an hour but the 18-year-old failed to worry Keylor Navas.
Icardi had a chance to double the Parisians’ advantage six minutes into the second-half but his effort across goal was well-saved my Mignolet.
Decisive Di Maria
Mbappe entered the fray 60 seconds later and instantly dropped deep hungrily looking for possession.
The Ballon d’Or candidate repeated his feats from Friday’s Ligue 1 victory over Nice by scoring and claiming an assist within the final half an hour.
He claimed his first of proceedings with 28 minutes of the game to go after another Di Maria curling cross.
The World Cup winner then set-up Icardi for his fifth in four games less than 60 seconds later.
Mbappe’s second and third goals of the match both came from lovely Di Maria passes as PSG marked their intentions in the competitions with a clinical performance.
The two clubs meet again on November 6 in the French capital with Neymar expected to be sidelined with a hamstring injury picked up on international duty.
Casemiro’s late header rescued Real Madrid from an embarrassing defeat at home to Club Brugge on Tuesday as Zinedine Zidane’s side came from two goals down to salvage a 2-2 draw.
Madrid were run ragged in the first half by a brilliant Brugge and their speedy striker Emmanuel Dennis, who scored twice at the Santiago Bernabeu and should have completed his hat-trick shortly after the interval.
Instead, Madrid came storming back as Sergio Ramos headed in, before Casemiro claimed a dramatic equaliser in the 85th minute, seconds after Brugge’s Ruud Vormer had been sent off for a second yellow card.
After losing 3-0 to Paris Saint-Germain two weeks ago in what was Zidane’s worst-ever loss as coach, Madrid will be relieved to have avoided another defeat that would have left them facing their first-ever group-stage exit in this competition.
But there were no celebrations at the final whistle from those in white shirts after a chaotic performance checked any morale and momentum gained following three consecutive victories in La Liga.
Madrid’s fans whistled the players off at half-time and Zidane reacted by making two changes, replacing Nacho with Marcelo and his goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois with Alphonse Areola, thrown on for an unforgiving debut.
Gareth Bale was fit but rested, although it was unclear why the Welshman was not even on the bench. With three goals in his last five games, Bale might have been a useful option in the second half.
Dennis the menace
Madrid looked vulnerable to the counter-attack from the start and after nine minutes they were punished. Two close offside calls went Brugge’s way as Percy Tau was played on by Ramos and then Dennis stayed level with Raphael Varane.
The finish was even more fortunate, the ball cannoning off Dennis’ right foot and rebounding off his left, before rolling agonisingly past the wrong-footed Courtois.
Luka Modric wanted a penalty for a clumsy challenge by Clinton Mata and then fired wide after a pull-back from Dani Carvajal. In between, a sluggish Eden Hazard weaved through but lacked the acceleration, or perhaps confidence, to finish the run. It was symptomatic of his night.
Modric, forceful at one end, was then careless at the other as he was robbed by Dennis, who tore beyond the Madrid defence. With only Courtois to beat, Dennis stumbled again but kept his footing to dig out a lifted finish up and into the net.
Zidane made the double change at half-time but Dennis should have had his hat-trick shortly after as Ramos gave the ball away only for Areola this time to shut down the shot.
Spared, Ramos then gave Madrid hope. Benzema chipped a cross to the back post where the defender, played onside by the left foot of Mata, headed down and in, VAR checking but allowing the goal to stand.
Brugge wavered and Madrid might have equalised when Modric blasted over, with a frustrated Benzema waiting inside him. With six minutes to go, Vormer collected a second yellow card for a late lunge on the excellent Vinicius Junior and from the resulting free-kick, Madrid struck.
Kroos’s curling delivery was met by the leaping Casemiro, who headed the ball inside the far post.
There were four minutes left for a winner as Benzema ballooned a shot over and Ramos beat Simon Mignolet to a cross. His header though lacked power and a weary Brugge held on.
Thierry Henry’s Monaco crashed to an embarrassing 4-0 home defeat by Club Brugge on Tuesday that left the French side tumbling towards an early Champions League exit.
Giant striker Hans Vanaken scored twice, the second from the penalty spot, while Brazilian forward Wesley banged in a third as Monaco fell three goals behind in just 24 minutes.
Ruud Vormer condemned Monaco to their heaviest ever home loss in Europe as he netted a fourth with five minutes left.
Henry remains without a win in five matches since replacing Leonardo Jardim last month in his first managerial role, as Monaco’s winless run in the competition extended to 12 outings.
The 2017 French champions will be eliminated if Atletico Madrid beat Group A leaders Borussia Dortmund later on Tuesday.
Henry was dealt another injury blow ahead of kick-off with Russia international Aleksandr Golovin ruled out with an ankle problem, while the game came too soon for inspirational Portuguese winger Rony Lopes.
Radamel Falcao returned to captain the side after missing the reverse fixture, a 1-1 draw on October 24, and the Colombian went close in the first few minutes as he headed a tough chance wide at the far post.
Sofiane Diop should have fired Monaco ahead when he had just Brugge goalkeeper Evan Horvath to beat, but the US international pulled off a brilliant save to keep out the teenager’s powerful strike from close range.
Brugge were without a win in the Champions League group stage since 2005, but the Belgians grabbed the lead on 12 minutes as Vanaken picked out the roof of the net from a Mats Rits cross.
It got worse for Monaco five minutes later as Antonio Barreca was whistled for a handball while attempting to block a shot from Vanaken, who smacked the resulting penalty beyond Diego Benaglio.
Passive defending allowed Wesley to blast home a third, the Brazilian picking the up ball in the channel down the left and skipping past Kamil Glik before hammering in from the edge of the area.
Horvath produced another sharp save to dig out a deflected effort from Youri Tielemans, but Henry effectively accepted the game was up when he removed Falcao for 17-year-old Gobe Gouano on the hour.
Djibril Sidibe sent a flashing drive across the face of the Brugge goal in a rare second-half opening for the hosts, but a dreadful evening was compounded by more appalling defending to allow Vormer a fourth — after Glik had hobbled off with a groin injury.
A flick-on by Rezaei Kaveh skipped past both Tielemans and Almamy Toure to leave Vormer to scamper clear and stroke beyond Benaglio to cap Brugge’s first group stage victory since a 3-2 home defeat of Rapid Vienna in November 2005.
Antoine Griezmann scored twice against Club Brugge on Wednesday as Atletico Madrid made a winning start at the stadium they hope to return to for the Champions League final next year.
Arnaut Groeneveld’s stunning long-range effort pulled Brugge level shortly before half-time but Griezmann added a second, before his driving run allowed Koke to wrap up a 3-1 victory late on.
The result maintains a perfect start for Diego Simeone’s side in Group A. They sit level on six points with Borussia Dortmund, whom they now play twice in succession, starting with a trip to Germany later this month.
This was Atletico’s first home game at the Wanda Metropolitano in this season’s tournament, 241 days before they hope to walk out here again for the final on June 1.
Simeone admitted the prospect of winning the cup on their own patch is a source of inspiration for his side and to do it, Griezmann will surely be key.
The Frenchman has now been involved in 17 of Atletico’s last 19 Champions League goals scored at home, chipping in with 12 goals and five assists.
A successful night was blighted only by injury, with both Diego Costa and Jose Gimenez forced off.
Costa sat out the last international round with Spain for personal reasons and he may now be likely to miss another.
Atletico are now unbeaten in six games and they started like a team with their tails up as Costa and Koke almost pulled off a neat one-two in the box while Griezmann strayed just offside before a superb lifted finish.
Thomas Lemar might have scored had Stefano Denswil not come sliding across to make a last-ditch tackle but it was the winger’s cross that found Griezmann at the back post soon after. Griezmann chested, controlled and steered the ball inside the far post.
Atleti looked almost too comfortable and Brugge seemed as surprised as anyone to equalise shortly before half-time.
Groeneveld rolled his studs over the ball 30 yards out and with no obvious option, whipped it, bending and dipping into the corner.
Filipe Luis came on for Gimenez at half-time and Atletico gradually turned the screw, Griezmann, Costa and Lemar all causing problems for the weary Brugge defence.
Another smooth combination created the goal as Griezmann played in Costa, who could have shot but instead turned back and returned to Griezmann. He made no mistake. It was Costa’s last contribution.
Denswil could have snatched Brugge a point but headed over from six yards. Instead, Atleti confirmed their victory as Griezmann stormed down the left and teed up Koke to slot home from close range.
Real Madrid Coach, Zinedine Zidane says the team will not take anything for granted as the defending champions target their third win in Tuesday night’s UEFA Champions League clash against Sporting Lisbon.
Real Madrid trail Borussia Dortmund with two points in Group F after four games while sporting are third in the group with just one victory.
Real beat Atletico Madrid 3-0 last Saturday in the La Liga but Zidane anticipates a very difficult match against Sporting.
Sporting Coach, Jorge Jesus acknowledged Real Madrid’s quality, but says if his team perform the way they did in Madrid, losing just 2-1, the dream stays alive.
Leicester City can make sure of their place in the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday if they beat Club Brugge at the King Power Stadium.
Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur travel to AS Monaco knowing anything less than a win will see them fail to progress if Bayer Leverkusen beat CSKA Moscow.
Elsewhere, Sevilla and Juventus clash at the top of Group H, while Borussia Dortmund take on Legia Warsaw.