Champions League: Liverpool crash to 4-1 defeat at Napoli, Lewandowski bags hat-trick + other results


Liverpool, Champions League runners-up last season, suffered a shock 4-1 defeat by Napoli in their opening Group A game at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium on Wednesday.

The Italian side were magnificent in the opening 45 minutes, going in 3-0 up at the break having opened up a woeful Liverpool defence at will.

Juergen Klopp’s team looked nothing like the side that reached the final last season, disorganised at the back and lacking any edge in midfield or attack.

Napoli have now beaten Liverpool on all three occasions they have hosted them in the competition’s group stage.

Luciano Spalletti’s side will now feel they have a real chance of getting out of a group that also features Ajax and Rangers.

Napoli were quick out of the blocks with Victor Osimhen hitting the post in the second minute and three minutes later, they grabbed the lead.

This was when James Milner handled in the box and Piotr Zielinski converted the penalty.

Napoli were opening up Liverpool with ease and were awarded a second penalty when a VAR review ruled that Osimhen had been brought down by Virgil van Dijk.

The Napoli forward opted to take the kick himself but his effort was saved by Alisson Becker.

Van Dijk had to clear off the line to keep out an effort by the outstanding Khvicha Kvaratskhelia after Osimhen had robbed a struggling Joe Gomez.

Gomez lost out again leading to the second goal when Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa played a quick one-two with Zielinski and slotted in off the inside of the post.

Liverpool had a brief spell of pressure, Van Dijk forcing a save out of Napoli keeper Alex Meret with a header and Harvey Elliott putting the ball wide from close range at the back post.

But Napoli were devastating in possession and substitute Giovanni Simeone made it 3-0 just before the break.

He slotted home after Kvaratskhelia had beaten Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez before slipping the ball across.

Liverpool replaced Gomez with Joel Matip but within two minutes of the restart Napoli went 4-0 up.

Simeone found Zielinksi and the Pole’s shot was blocked by Alisson before he reacted sharply to poke the ball home.

Klopp’s side pulled a goal back two minutes later thanks to a fine curling shot from Luis Diaz but there was no way back for the English side.

“We were miles too open. You can’t come to a place like this and not be compact. They were by miles the better team,” said Liverpool left back Andy Robertson.

“Too many times they had spaces to run at us and cause us problems. You come away in the Champions League and you can’t be wide open like that.

“We have to get back to basics and be compact,” he added.

“We have to wake up and quickly because we can’t perform like that.”

For Napoli it was time to dream of more to come.

“It was almost the perfect match. We don’t know how far we can go from here,” said Zielinski.

Robert Lewandowski struck a hat-trick in his first Champions League game for FC Barcelona to power the Catalans to an emphatic 5-1 home win over Viktoria Plzen on Wednesday.

Midfielder Franck Kessie put FC Barcelona in front in the 13th minute and Lewandowski extended their lead with a right-footed finish into the bottom corner in the 37th minute.

The Poland striker produced a diving header from an Ousmane Dembele cross to score again in first-half stoppage time.

He restored Barcelona’s two-goal cushion after Jan Sykora’s header had pulled the Czech champions back into contention.

Lewandowski completed his treble midway through the second period, meeting a layoff from Ferran Torres and curling the ball inside the far post with one touch.

Torres completed a hugely satisfying evening for Xavi Hernandez’s side by scoring the fifth goal to put FC Barcelona top of Group C.

They head to Lewandowski’s former club Bayern Munich next on Sept. 13, when Plzen host Inter Milan.

A goal in the 11th minute of stoppage-time by Antoine Griezmann earned Atletico Madrid a 2-1 home win over 10-man Porto in the Champions League on Wednesday.

This was after a frantic end to the match with all the goals coming in added time.

With the sides meeting in the competition’s opening group fixture for the second year in a row, they were locked together at 0-0 as the game went into added time.

Atletico defender Mario Hermoso opened the scoring when his deflected shot from the edge of the box left Porto keeper Diogo Costa helpless.

Porto midfielder Mateus Uribe levelled four minutes later from a penalty before substitute Griezmann sealed victory for the hosts with a close-range header in the 101st minute.

Atletico are level on three points in Group B with Club Brugge who beat Bayer Leverkusen 1-0.

Bayern Munich’s Leroy Sane scored one goal and forced an own goal by Inter Milan as they defeated the Italian side 2-0 away in their Champions League Group C opener on Wednesday.

Germany international Sane superbly controlled a pinpoint Joshua Kimmich cross before rounding Inter keeper Andre Onana, who was making his debut for the club, to give Bayern the lead in the 25th minute.

Sane also deserved a lot of credit for their second goal.

This was after he dismantled the Inter defence with a lightning-quick double one-two with Kingsley Coman in the 66th minute before his shot was turned into the net by Inter Milan captain Danilo D’Ambrosio.

Bayern, who bounced back following two consecutive draws in the Bundesliga, host Barcelona next week.

While Inter Milan, who have now lost their last two matches following their derby loss to AC Milan on Saturday, take on Viktoria Plzen in the other group match.

Richarlison’s first goals for Tottenham Hotspur helped them mark their return to the Champions League with a 2-0 victory over 10-man Olympique de Marseille in Group D on Wednesday.

The Brazilian forward who signed from Everton in the summer, struck twice in five minutes late on to secure three points that had not looked likely for the hosts.

Richarlison rose to head home Ivan Perisic’s pinpoint cross in the 76th minute and scored an almost identical goal from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s cross to deflate Marseille.

Richarlison’s brace glossed over a largely mediocre display by Tottenham who were second best against a lively Marseille.

That was until the French side had Chancel Mbemba sent off three minutes into the second half for a foul on Son Heung-min.

Tottenham, who missed out on the Champions league for the past two seasons, did not register a shot on target in a lacklustre first half.

But Richarlison eventually ensured a perfect start for Antonio Conte’s team.

They share top spot in the group with Sporting Lisbon who beat Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0.

Marseille fans vented their frustration at the final whistle with ugly scenes as they clashed with stewards and police.

Richarlison was denied his first Tottenham goal when he had an effort disallowed against Fulham at the weekend.

But he did not have to wait much longer to open his account as he displayed the cutting edge that Tottenham’s attack had been lacking throughout the Group D opener.

Marseille, like Tottenham, have enjoyed an unbeaten start to the season and were comfortable during the first half.

Tottenham could not build any attacking momentum and the visitors looked sharper all over the pitch.

Former Arsenal player Matteo Guendouzi controlled the midfield and forced Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris into a low save in first-half stoppage time.

Marseille suffered a blow in the 48th minute though when Son was played through on goal and was crudely taken down by Mbemba who was shown a red card by Slovenian referee Slavko Vincic.

Even then Tottenham struggled to make much impression and Marseille looked like taking home a point.

That was until Perisic delivered a superb right-footed cross from the left and Richarlison thumped a header past Pau Lopez.

Marseille did not learn their lesson and the Brazilian then found space in the area again to glance Hojbjerg’s delivery into the net off the post in the 81st minute.

Marseille went close to pulling a goal back when Ben Davies blocked an effort by Cengiz Under but the French side returned home wondering what might have been.

“We’re frustrated. At 11 versus 11 we matched them, and perhaps were even dominating,” Marseille captain Valentin Rongier said.

“We have lots of regrets, because even with 10 men we could have gotten a result.”


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