5️⃣ things we learned from Tuesday's Champions League action | OneFootball

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Joel Sanderson-Murray·24 October 2023

5️⃣ things we learned from Tuesday's Champions League action

Article image:5️⃣ things we learned from Tuesday's Champions League action

There was late drama at Old Trafford, Jude Bellingham scored (again) and Arsenal hung on for a huge win in Seville.

Here is what we made of another pulsating night of Champions League action.


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You can catch up on all of the results here.


Redemption arcs all round at Old Trafford

Article image:5️⃣ things we learned from Tuesday's Champions League action

Pickles the dog found the stolen World Cup trophy in 1966. Neville Longbottom provided a vital intervention to kill off Lord Voldemort. Argentina’s 36-year wait for a World Cup was ended by a right-back who now plays for Nottingham Forest.

Life, culture and sport is littered with unlikely heroes and Manchester United’s Champions League hopes have been kept alive by the unlikeliest pair.

Erik ten Hag’s side had to win tonight after losing their first two games, but for long periods of their clash with Copenhagen it looked as if it was going to be another night of disappointment at Old Trafford.

Up stepped Harry Maguire to head home from Christian Eriksen’s 72nd-minute cross to break the deadlock. The much-maligned Harry Maguire. The Harry Maguire who has been booed by his own fans the past two months.

That looked as if it was going to be the winning touch until Copenhagen were awarded a penalty in the 95th-minute after a foul in the box by Scott McTominay.

Jordan Larsson stepped up but then another United hero presented himself as André Onana guessed the right away and palmed the penalty away to a hysterical ‘Theatre of Dreams.’

The André Onana who has a compilation of blunders after his name full of clips from his three months in Manchester already. But tonight he was the toast of 76,000 supporters as his adoring team-mates lifted him aloft.

Those moments could prove to have a seismic impact on Onana and Maguire’s careers, as well as United’s season.

They are still alive and kicking in the Champions League.


Harry to the rescue

Article image:5️⃣ things we learned from Tuesday's Champions League action

Bayern Munich bought Harry Kane exactly for moments like this.

Ok, maybe Thomas Tuchel was thinking more of the England captain scoring the winning goal in the Champions League final, but the Bayern head coach won’t mind that the 30-year-old was on hand to produce the pivotal moment in Istanbul tonight.

With Galatasaray on top and smelling blood, a swift 73rd-minute counter-attack from the visitors saw Jamal Musiala play in Kane to turn home from six yards out after his initial back-heeled effort had been blocked.

It wasn’t a stunner from 25-yards out but it meant just as much, as did his assist for Musiala to kill the game off moments later.

Kane now has 11 goals and six assists since his €95m move from Tottenham with his strike tonight extending Bayern’s unbeaten run in the group stage to 37 games while also meaning they have become the first side in the competition’s history to win eight successive away games at this stage.

He’s settling in just fine.


Don’t join your Union

Article image:5️⃣ things we learned from Tuesday's Champions League action

Are Union Berlin suffering from an identity crisis?

The mere fact that the club from the German capital are in even in the Champions League is extraordinary, but it’s safe to say Urs Fischer’s men have yet to find their feet in this competition and, in their attempts to do so, may have lost what got them there in the first place.

Losing at home to the Italian champions in Napoli isn’t exactly embarrassing but it is now nine straight defeats in all competitions for Union, and for a side that was built on solidity, the ability to be resolute and pure grit has now conceded 22 goals this season and not won since August.

A team built on humble workers tried to add some magic touch in the likes of Leonardo Bonucci and Robin Gosens but perhaps too much has changed at once.

The scene of Datro Fofana refusing to acknowledge Fisher as he left the pitch after being substituted would never have happened in Union’s journey to the top, and it should ring alarm bells amongst supporters.

Playing at the Olympiastadion, usually home to their rivals Hertha BSC, may make it difficult to impose that ‘Union-ness’ that made them so good. Instead of being able to play European giants at their unique, tight and hostile Stadion An der Alten Försterei, they instead welcome teams to a stadium fit for a tournament final and one to be enjoyed by their opponents.

Back to the drawing board.


Gunning for the knockouts

Article image:5️⃣ things we learned from Tuesday's Champions League action

Essentially – that was a huge win for Arsenal.

The 2-1 defeat to Lens on matchday two wouldn’t have had Mikel Arteta sweating heading into their trip to Sevilla but another loss in Spain would’ve made it squeaky bum time for the Gunners.

Instead his team have gone to a tricky stadium, imposed their authority, displayed their quality and come out of the game looking likely to go on to win the group.

William Saliba was dominant at the back again, Declan Rice never stopped running (even in 30 degree heat) and two moments of class from Gabriel Jesus decided it.

The Brazilian’s turn in the build-up to Gabriel Martinell’s opener was enough to whet the appetite but his stunning goal in the second half gave Arsenal breathing space.

It’s three goals in three Champions League goals for Jesus at Arsenal, and the way it’s going, he will have many more opportunities to extend that record.


Are we sleeping on Real Sociedad?

Article image:5️⃣ things we learned from Tuesday's Champions League action

Regular LaLiga watchers have been going on about the quality of Real Sociedad for a while, and well it might be time that we’re about to see it on the continental stage.

Imanol Alguacil’s team are one of the league’s great entertainers and that has translated onto the Champions League stage so far after they followed up an impressive win in Salzburg last time out with a stunning victory over Benfica in Lisbon tonight.

Brais Mendez has scored in all three of his group stage games, Takefusa Kubo is the magician pulling the strings from the right and 21-year-old Ander Barrenetxea is one to watch.

La Real now sit top of a group containing last year’s runners-up Inter and quarter-finalists, Benfica.

We’re not going to go all ‘Turkey are dark horses at Euro 2020’ on you but don’t be surprised if the team from the Basque country rock up in the last-16.