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Champions League

Man City & Chelsea win, PSG held by Benfica

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Matchday three of the 2022/23 Champions League group stage concluded on Wednesday night, with the likes of Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester City, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain all in action.

But while Real, Chelsea, City and Juve were ultimately satisfied with their respective results, it was a night of disappointment for PSG.

Read on to see how all the action unfolded across eight games.

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Red Bull Salzburg 1-0 Dinamo Zagreb

Red Bull Salzburg had 18 attempts on goal against Dinamo Zagreb but were made to wait until the final 20 minutes to break the deadlock – and it came from a Noah Okafor penalty.

It was an important win for Salzburg as it keeps them above Chelsea and puts them top of the group at the halfway stage of this round after leapfrogging AC Milan.

But this group is tight and Dinamo are still only two points off top spot themselves.

Chelsea 3-0 AC Milan

Chelsea made light work of a surprisingly poor AC Milan at Stamford Bridge, with Wesley Fofana scoring his first goal for the club in the first half shortly before going off injured.

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Thiago Silva shone at the back for Graham Potter’s Blues, wreaking havoc at set-pieces and commanding things defensively. The second goal later came from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, assisted by Reece James, who then rounded things off with a goal of his own.

Milan had started the game with some promise and missed a gilt-edged chance in first half stoppage time to make it 1-1, but then looked unforgivably disinterested after the break.

RB Leipzig 3-1 Celtic

Having lost 3-0 to Real Madrid on matchday one, Celtic still only have a single point in Group F as a result of another defeat in which they conceded three goals.

Christopher Nkunku gave the German side a first half lead when he found the bottom corner with his left foot. But even though Celtic did equalise almost straight after the interval through Jota, Leipzig’s superior quality and European experience eventually prevailed.

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Dominik Szoboszlai saw a goal chalked off for offside by VAR at the hour mark, moments before Andre Silva actually restored the Leipzig lead. The Portuguese front-man was also responsible for taking the game away from Celtic with just over 10 minutes to go, scoring from close range.

Real Madrid 2-1 Shakhtar Donetsk

Real Madrid bounced back from the disappointment of their first dropped points of the season in La Liga at the weekend to maintain a 100% record in the defence of their Champions League title.

Although after 3-0 and 2-0 wins over Celtic and RB Leipzig respectively so far, Shakhtar Donetsk ran Los Blancos closest in terms of the score-line.

Shakhtar goalkeeper Anatolii Trubin made 11 saves at the Bernabeu as Real peppered shots at his goal. Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior did each score inside half an hour, yet Real couldn’t extend their advantage, allowing Oleksandr Zubkov to pull one back and make it closer than it ought to have been.

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Man City 5-0 Copenhagen

Manchester City made such light work of Copenhagen at the Etihad Stadium that Pep Guardiola saw fit to withdraw Erling Haaland at half-time – denying the prolific Norwegian what could have been a fourth hat-trick since joining the club in summer.

Haaland was not the only City player who impressed, with Jack Grealish and Ilkay Gundogan also producing top quality performances.

City were never not in control here, with Haaland’s first coming just seven minutes in. He doubled his team’s lead after half an hour and the hosts went further ahead through an own goal, before Riyad Mahrez and Julian Alvarez struck in a procession of a second half.

Sevilla 1-4 Borussia Dortmund

Not to be outdone by their former marksman, Borussia Dortmund got four goals in a noteworthy away win over a Sevilla side that has struggled so far in this group stage.

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Raphael Guerreiro broke the deadlock early and Dortmund were three goals to the good before time thanks to further strikes from young stars Jude Bellingham and Karim Adeyemi. Youssef En-Nesyri gave Sevilla the faintest of glimmers, before Julian Brandt got Dortmund’s fourth.

At this stage, Dortmund are simply hanging onto Manchester City’s coat tails, with both clubs pulling away from the others in the group.

Juventus 3-1 Maccabi Haifa

Juventus finally put a nightmarish start to this season’s Champions League campaign behind, banishing the pain of back-to-back defeats with a welcome win over Maccabi Haifa.

Adrien Rabiot has waited for a goal since the 2020/21 season, but suddenly two came along as the Frenchman both started and finished things on the night. His first was a left-footed strike high into the net, while his second came in the form of a close-range header.

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In between, Angel Di Maria assisted Dusan Vlahovic, while Dean David at one stage put Maccabi back into the game by making it 2-1 and potentially setting up a nervous finish for Juve.

Benfica 1-1 Paris Saint-Germain

Despite Lionel Messi’s stunning curling first-time finish for Paris Saint-Germain against Benfica in Lisbon, it was ultimately a disappointing night for the reigning French champions.

PSG simply didn’t make their greater share of the possession count and, even with Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe on the pitch, were unable to create enough quality chances to extend their early lead to allow them to kill the game off.

It was 1-1 by half-time as a result of Danilo Pereira inadvertently finding his own net. If anything, Benfica had the better opportunities to actually win the game.

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Champions League

How can I watch the 2022/23 Champions League last 16 draw?

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So, the excitement of the group stage is over. Having witnessed some European powers breeze through their groups and others progress by the skin of their teeth, we can now look forward to the thrill and the ‘there’s nothing quite like it’-feeling of Champions League knockout football.

Here’s all you need to know about the Champions League round of 16.

The draw for the first round of this campaign’s Champions League knockout phase will take place on Monday 7 November at 11:00 (GMT).

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How to watch the 2022/23 Champions League last 16 draw in the UK

How to watch the 2022/23 Champions League last 16 draw in the United States and Canada

The eight group winners and the eight second-placed sides will feature in the Champions League round of 16 stage.

All four English teams that entered the competition have made it through to the knockout phase, with Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City joining Napoli, Porto, Bayern Munich, Benfica and reigning champions Real Madrid as the eight seeded sides.

Meanwhile, Liverpool are joined by Club Brugge, Inter, Eintracht Frankfurt, Milan, RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain as the unseeded sides.

The table-toppers and runners-up will be drawn against each other – apart from those that competed in the same group and those from the same Associations.

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We’ll be able to see these European heavyweights lock horns after the turn of the year, with the first legs set to be played over the 14 and 15 February, and the second legs over the 21 and 22.

We’ve got to get through a World Cup first, though.



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Who could Tottenham face in the 2022.23 Champions League knockout stages?

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After a two-year absence from the Champions League knockout stages, Tottenham Hotspur will return to the competition’s last 16 this campaign.

Spurs famously earned a runner-up finish in 2018/19 before crashing out at the round-of-16 stage with a 4-0 aggregate defeat to RB Leipzig the following year. After a sixth-placed Premier League finish in 2019/20 to boot, the 2020/21 season saw them bow out at the same stage in the Europa League before a humiliating group-stage exit from the Europa Conference League last term.

But, after topping a very competitive Group D this time around, all that seems irrelevant now. So, who could Tottenham face in the knockout stages of this season’s Champions League?

Tottenham’s return to Europe’s top table has yielded mixed results.

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Frustration was the prevalent theme of their Matchday 1 bout with Marseille, although the French giants were eventually put to the sword by Richarlison’s first two Spurs goals to ensure Antonio Conte’s side enjoyed a winning return to the Champions League.

Things subsequently got a little murkier for Conte’s men as a 2-0 defeat to Sporting Club and a goalless draw with Eintracht Frankfurt left them second in the group just a point above the basement spot.

Amid a drop in domestic form, however, came results in Europe. Having earned a 3-2 victory over Frankfurt when welcoming the German outfit to north London on Matchday 4, Spurs’ 1-1 tie with Sporting on Matchday 5 left Group D wide open before its conclusion.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s dramatic crashing strike in the final seconds of Conte’s side’s visit to the French Riviera, however, ensured they flew back to England from the Stade Velodrome with a table-topping 2-1 comeback victory.

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Tottenham have shared the goals around somewhat in this year’s Champions League campaign, with Son Heung-min and Richarlison both tied on two strikes to top their scoring charts, while Ivan Perisic boasts a squad-leading three assists.

As group winners (just about), Spurs can look forward to a clash with one of the eight runners-up from the group stage.

This leaves a few very tasty options for the neutrals to look forward to. Being from the same Association, we won’t see Tottenham face Liverpool in a rematch of the 2019 final, although we could see them battle Leipzig in a repeat of that last-16 demolition (of Spurs) back in 2020.

Other intriguing matchups include potential battles with either of the Milan teams, Borussia Dortmund or Paris Saint-Germain, while Club Brugge also represent potential opponents.

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Khvicha Kvaratskhelia: ‘My dream is to win the Champions League with Real Madrid’

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Khvicha Kvaratskhelia: 'My dream is to win the Champions League with Real Madrid'

Napoli winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who we rank among the strong competitors for Ballon d’Or next year, has stood up on his greatest dream.

In a meeting with Corriere dello Sport, Kvaratskhelia: “My biggest dream? To win the Champions League. With who? With Real Madrid.

“Since I was a kid, I was a Real Madrid fan. Always watched their games,” the winger added in the interview just before joining Napoli for just €10m from Dinamo Batumi.

The Georgian technician has registered as many as 8 goals and 10 assists in just 17 games for the Neapolitans this season.

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It’s why many top clubs seem to have their sights set on the Georgian international. But the man of the moment only dreams of Real Madrid.

Source: Corriere dello Sport (h/t Total Cristiano @ Twitter)
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