Our 5️⃣ points after a controversial night in the Champions League | OneFootball

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Joel Sanderson-Murray·4 October 2022

Our 5️⃣ points after a controversial night in the Champions League

Article image:Our 5️⃣ points after a controversial night in the Champions League

Napoli stunned Amsterdam while Barcelona and Atlético Madrid suffered defeats that leaves their campaigns in trouble after a pulsating night of football in the Champions League.

Here is what we made of it all.

Napoli conquer Amsterdam

Something special is happening at Napoli.

Luciano Spalletti has guided his team to the top of Serie A and the top of their Champions League group, and their performance in Amsterdam tonight is the type to send shockwaves around Europe.

They became the first team in the competition’s history to score at least five goals away from home against Ajax, adding to the four they bagged against Liverpool and 18 they have in the league so far this season.

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia put in a show that will only enhance his burgeoning reputation, scoring and adding another assist to the eight goal involvements he’s already totalled up so far this season.

Do we ever have dark horses for the Champions League? Napoli may have just sealed their place as the holder of that tag.

And they did all this without Victor Osimhen.

Yet another scalp in Belgium

When do giant-killings become just something that is meant to happen?

Not satisfied with beating Porto and Bayer Leverkusen, Club Brugge only went and added the Atlético Madrid notch to their bedpost thanks mainly to the work of ex-Barcelona forward Ferran Jutgla who scored and provided an assist.

They became the first Belgian team to win the opening three games of a Champions League group stage campaign and have well and truly deserved each victory.

Article image:Our 5️⃣ points after a controversial night in the Champions League

The majority of Brugge fans were aiming for the best case scenario of qualifying for the Europa League when the draw was made in August.

Now they sit top with a perfect record and surely on the brink of becoming the first club from Belgium to appear in the knockout rounds of the competition since Gent in 2016.

Could they even go as far as they did in 1978, where they finished runners-up?

Barça hard done by in Milan?

Here we are again.

Barcelona are in danger of exiting from the group stage of the Champions League for a second consecutive year.

The defeat to Inter leaves them third in the group and despite having 68% possession of the ball they were beaten in a similar vein to the way José Mourinho guided Inter to victory over Pep Guardiola’s famous Barça side back in 2010.

Xavi’s side failed to break down the Inter resistance regularly enough and there weren’t too many in the form of clear-cut chances, with the head coach now becoming the first Barcelona manager to lose his first three Champions League away games in charge of the club.

Despite all their failings, the Blaugrana might feel they were hard done by when Pedri’s second-half equaliser was ruled out by VAR for a handball against Ansu Fati despite Inter goalkeeper Andre Onana’s flicking the ball into the path of the winger at close distance.

Before Denzel Dumfries was then judged not to have handled the ball in stoppage time, denying Barcelona a penalty.

This wasn’t the only game laced in controversy tonight, after an influx of VAR drama in Porto’s win over Bayer Leverkusen.

Favourites title follows Bayern

Sure, it was the weakest opponent in Group D making the trip to the Allianz Arena but we should not take anything away from Bayern’s dominant performance against Viktoria Plzeň.

The German giants were at their best despite missing key players Thomas Müller and Joshua Kimmich due to COVID-19 plus, of course, the recently departed Robert Lewandowski.

But Leroy Sané, Sadio Mané, Serge Gnabry, Jamal Musiala and the like were firing on all cylinders giving fans a glimpse of what is an incredibly, disciplined, determined and dynamic squad.

Three wins from three, nine goals scored and zero conceded.

The Champions League favourite title still follows them even if they are struggling in the Bundesliga at the moment.

Atlético in trouble

Barcelona are not the only Spanish side with their place in the knockout rounds under threat.

Atlético Madrid have dropped to the bottom of their group following the shock defeat in Bruges and the 2014 and 2016 finalists are looking in serious trouble.

They were subdued in the defeat to Leverkusen and much worse tonight, toothless in attack and now with the added carnage being vulnerable in defence – something you would never associate with a Diego Simeone side.

It didn’t help El Cholo’s case that Antoine Griezmann missed yet another penalty.

There is work to do in Madrid if a shock exit is to be avoided.