Thursday, September 29, 2022

Lewandowski bags hat-trick in Barca Champions League bow; Napoli beat Liverpool 4-1

Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick in his first Champions League game for Barcelona to power the Catalans to an emphatic 5-1 home win over Viktoria Plzen on Wednesday. Midfielder Franck Kessie put Barca in front in the 13th minute, heading in his first goal for the club following a corner.
Lewandowski extended their lead with a right-footed finish into the bottom corner in the 37th, after Barca had survived a scare which almost led to them conceding a penalty and having a man sent off.
Viktoria were awarded a penalty and Barca defender Andreas Christensen was shown a red card for hauling down Jhon Mosquera but a VAR review showed Mosquera had struck Christensen with an elbow and the decision was overturned, the Plzen forward being shown a yellow card instead.
Plzen pulled themselves back into the game in the 44th minute with a header from Jan Sykora but Barca quickly restored their two-goal cushion when Lewandowski produced a diving header from an Ousmane Dembele cross in first-half stoppage time.
The Poland striker 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.
It was Lewandowski’s sixth hat-trick in the Champions League and he became the first player in the competition’s history to score one for three different clubs, having netted trebles for Bayern and Borussia Dortmund. Torres completed a hugely satisfying evening for Xavi Hernandez’s side by scoring the fifth goal to put Barca top of Group C. They head to Bayern next on Sept. 13, when Plzen host Inter Milan.
It was a near-perfect night for Barca and in stark contrast to their first game of the competition last season, when they were outclassed and beaten 3-0 by Bayern on their way to crashing out at the group stage for the first time in 21 years.
Liverpool crash to 1-4 defeat at Napoli
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.
Napoli have now beaten Liverpool on all three occassions they have hosted them in the competition’s group stage and Luciano Spalletti’s side will feel they have a real chance of getting out of a group that also features Ajax and Rangers.
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, signed for a reported 60 million pounds ($69 million) from Everton in the summer, enjoyed a dream Champions League debut as he struck twice in five minutes late on to secure three points for his side that had not looked likely.
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 after a frantic end to the match with all the goals coming in added time.

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