Bukayo Saka goal against RC Lens Champions League

Champions League Matchday 5 Review

Arsenal became the latest English Club to confirm their place in the Round of 16 in this year’s competition.

The penultimate matchday of the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League Group Stages was played across Tuesday and Wednesday this week, and some clubs finally secured their spot in the Round of 16 after confirming a top-two finish in their group. The knockout stages are known for their excitement, and shock results are not unusual.

This is, of course, because each tie is over two legs, and one bad defeat can scupper your chances of going through to the next round or, at the very least, make it harder to get there. Sixteen matches were played across Europe – Arsenal welcomed French club RC Lens to the Emirates Stadium, whilst Manchester City played German giants RB Leipzig. As for Manchester United, they were away from home against Galatasaray.

Manchester City had already confirmed their place in the knockout stages, but they knew that a win against Leipzig would confirm top spot for the Cityzens with one match to spare. Mikel Arteta’s Gunners only needed a draw to make it through, but instead, they were emphatic 6 – 0 winners against Lens – this saw them not only qualify for the Round of 16, but this result also saw them confirmed as Group B winners.

After an eventful and enthralling contest in Istanbul, Erik Ten Hag’s Manchester United had to settle for a 3 – 3 draw against their Turkish counterparts. The Red Devils still have some work to do on matchday six to secure their place in the first knockout Round of the UEFA Champions League.

Here, we will review all the matches that took place on matchday five of the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League Group Stages, starting with Tuesday’s action.

Manchester City (England) 3 – 2 RB Leipzig (Germany) – Tuesday 28th November

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City have not only won three Premier League titles in succession, they are also the reigning European Champions after a 1 – 0 victory against Inter Milan in last year’s final. City went on to secure top spot in Group G after a tight and tense 3 – 2 win against RB Leipzig at the Etihad.

It was not an easy match for the Cityzens – they went 2 – 0 down in just over half an hour thanks to two goals from Lois Openda (13’, 33’). Thankfully for the home team, they pulled a goal back thanks to Erling Haaland early on in the second half before academy graduate Phil Foden scored the equaliser with just twenty minutes left to be played (70’). Argentina international Julian Alvarez got the winning goal for Manchester City in the dying embers of the match (87’).

Manchester City’s remaining Champions League Group Stage match is as follows:

  • Red Star Belgrade v Manchester City (Stadion Rajko Mitić, Wednesday 13th December – 17:45 Kick-Off).

Paris Saint-Germain (France) 1 – 1 Newcastle United (England) – Tuesday 28th November

Going into matchday five, matters in Group F were up in the air, with none of the clubs having secured their place in the Round Of 16. Newcastle was at the bottom of the group ahead of the game with 4 points, but they could climb into second place if they could beat Paris Saint Germain and if AC Milan also lost to Borussia Dortmund.

Only one of these two things happened in the end. Eddie Howe’s Magpies looked like they would win 1 – 0 in Paris thanks to an Alexander Isak goal in the first half (24’). A controversial penalty in second-half stoppage time saw Kylian Mbappe score the equaliser from the penalty spot for the home side (90+8’).

PSG’s and Newcastle’s UEFA Champions League fates will be decided on the 6th and final matchday.

Lazio (Italy) 2 – 0 Celtic (Scotland) – Tuesday 28th November

Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic travelled to the Stadio Olimpico in Rome to face Lazio, looking for a result to keep their faint hopes of qualifying for the Round Of 16 alive. However, it was not Celtic’s day as they lost 2 – 0 thanks to a brace from Lazio’s star striker Ciro Immobile, whose goals both came within the final ten minutes of the match (82’, 85’).

This result meant that the Bhoys were not only out of the Champions League, but they were also out of Europe altogether. They remain bottom of the group but are now 5 points adrift of third-placed Feyenoord and 9 below their Italian counterparts with one match to go.

Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine) 1 – 0 Royal Antwerp (Belgium) – Tuesday 28th November

Ukrainian Champions Shakhtar Donetsk came face to face with Belgian Champions Royal Antwerp at Hamburg’s Volksparkstadion on Tuesday evening. A win for Shakhtar would put them level on points with Portuguese heavyweights FC Porto ahead of matchday six if they lost to Barcelona.

Shakhtar Donetsk certainly kept up their side of the bargain with a 1 – 0 win against their Belgian opponents after Mykola Matviyenko found the back of the Royal Antwerp net in the early stages of the first half (12’).

This result left Shakhtar in third place and level with Porto. As for Antwerp, they were already out of the Champions League, and they remain at the bottom of Group H with no points having been accumulated.

Feyenoord (Netherlands) 1 – 3 Atletico Madrid (Spain) – Tuesday 28th November

Atletico Madrid travelled to De Kuip to face Feyenoord with their passage into the Round Of 16 secured, but their Dutch counterparts could not say the same, and they needed a win to stand any chance of securing a spot in the top two on matchday six.

Diego Simeone’s side were 3 – 1 winners in the end. Own goals from Lutsharel Geertruida (14’) and Santiago Gimenez (81’)and a goal from Mario Hermoso (57’) secured the Spanish Giants the win, whilst it was Mats Wieffer who scored Feyenoord’s only goal (77’).

This defeat knocked Feyenoord out of the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League. Still, they have at least remained in European football after securing third spot and a place in the first knockout Round of the UEFA Europa League. This comes as a result of Celtic’s 2 – 0 defeat at the Stadio Olimpico against Lazio.

AC Milan (Italy) 1 – 3 Borussia Dortmund (Germany) – Tuesday 28th November

The match between AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday at the iconic San Siro was crucial for both sides. A win for Dortmund would secure them a place in the Champions League Round Of 16 should PSG draw or lose to Newcastle United. For AC Milan, a win would see them climb into second place if results elsewhere went their way.

In the end, it was to be a 3 – 1 win for Edin Terzic’s Borussia Dortmund, who scored through Marco Reus (10’ – Penalty), Jamie Bynoe-Gittens (59’) and Karim Adeyemi (69’). Forward Samuel Chukwueze scored AC Milan’s only goal of the game (37’).

This result saw Dortmund qualify for the Round of 16 after winning and PSG drawing with Newcastle United. AC Milan still has a chance of joining their German counterparts if results go their way on matchday six.

BSC Young Boys (Switzerland) 2 – 0 Red Star Belgrade (Serbia) – Tuesday 28th November

Both Young Boys and Red Star Belgrade had already been knocked out of the UEFA Champions League, but this was a crucial game nonetheless, as it could ultimately decide who stays in Europe by qualifying for the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League.

The Swiss side were 2 – 0 winners at Stadion Wankdorf after a goal from Lewin Blum (29’) and an own goal from Kosta Nedeljković (8’) secured them the win. This has given Young Boys a 3 point advantage over their Serbian counterparts going into the final matchday.

FC Barcelona (Spain) 2 – 1 FC Porto (Portugal) – Tuesday 28th November

The final match that we need to review from Tuesday is the crucial match between Xavi’s FC Barcelona and Portuguese heavyweights FC Porto. Both clubs were level on nine points ahead of their clash on matchday five – they also knew that whoever won would secure a spot in the Round of 16 in the 2023/24 Champions League.

Barcelona emerged as the winners, beating Porto 2 – 1 following goals from Joao Cancelo (32’) and ex-Chelsea loanee Joao Felix (57’). The only goal for Porto came through Pepe (30’). The Blaugrana are now safely through to the Round of 16, whilst it will be either Porto or Shakhtar Donetsk that join them there in second place in Group H.

Now that we have reviewed all eight matches that took place in the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League Group Stages on Tuesday, we will begin looking back at all of the matchday 5 matches that took place on Wednesday evening. We start with Arsenal’s game against RC Lens.

Arsenal (England) 6 – 0 RC Lens (France) – Wednesday 29th November

Before kick-off on matchday five, Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal knew they needed just a point against French club RC Lens to secure their place in the Round Of 16 in this season’s Champions League competition.

It is safe to say that the Gunners ensured their qualification for the next Round in some style, winning 6 – 0 at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday evening. Five of these goals came in the first half alone, with Kai Havertz (13’), Gabriel Jesus (21’), Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli (27’) and Martin Odegaard all finding the back of the Lens net in the opening half alone. Jorginho added the Gunners’ sixth goal from the penalty spot in the last few minutes of the match (86’).

Arsenal are now through to the Round Of 16, and they also secured 1st place in Group B after they won their game on Wednesday.

Arsenal’s remaining Champions League Group Stage match is as follows:

  • PSV Eindhoven v Arsenal (Philips Stadion, Tuesday 12th December – 17:45 Kick-Off).

Galatasaray (Turkey) 3 – 3 Manchester United (England) – Wednesday 29th November

The match between Galatasaray and Erik Ten Hag’s Manchester United was crucial for both clubs, as there was an opportunity to climb into the top two with a win should Copenhagen lose to Bayern Munich.

Despite taking the lead, the Red Devils had to settle for a 3 – 3 draw against their Turkish counterparts in Istanbul on Wednesday evening. Alejandro Garnacho (11’) and Bruno Fernandes (18’) gave United a 2 – 0 lead before Hakim Ziyech pulled a goal back with almost half an hour gone (29’). Scott McTominay extended the away side’s lead back to two goals (55’), only for Ziyech (62’) and Kerem Akturkoglu (71’) to score a goal each to settle the match as an entertaining draw.

This leaves Manchester United at the bottom of their group, but with only a point separating them and second place, they still have a chance to qualify for the Round Of 16 on matchday six. Galatasaray remain third on goal difference.

Manchester United’s remaining Champions League Group Stage match is as follows:

Sevilla (Spain) 2 – 3 PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands) – Wednesday 29th November

PSV Eindhoven travelled to Seville knowing that with a win, they would confirm their place in the Round Of 16 – but this would only be if Lens lost against Arsenal in North London. It was a 3 – 2 win for PSV in the end, with Ismael Saibari (68’), a Nemanja Gudelj own goal (81’) and a Ricardo Pepi strike (90+2’) securing the win. Sergio Ramos (24’) and Yousef En-Nesyri (47’) scored for the home side.

This result confirmed PSV Eindhoven’s place in the Round Of 16 after Lens’ defeat against Arsenal. As for Sevilla, they could still qualify for the Europa League’s knockout stages with a win against 3rd place Lens on the sixth and final matchday in the Group Stages in mid-December 2023.

Bayern Munich (Germany) 0 – 0 Copenhagen (Denmark) – Wednesday 29th November

Coming into this match against Danish Champions Copenhagen, Bayern Munich had not only secured their place in the knockout stages, the Bavarians had also already confirmed a first place finish in Group A with two games remaining.

This was a crucial game for Copenhagen, who could keep their grip on second place with a win against the German Champions. It was a 0 – 0 draw between these two clubs – Bayern did look like they would have an opportunity to secure a narrow win via the penalty spot, but VAR intervened and overturned the original decision.

Real Madrid (Spain) 4 – 2 Napoli (Italy) – Wednesday 29th November

The Champions of Spain and Italy came face to face at the Santiago Bernabéu on the fifth matchday of the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League Group Stages. Real Madrid had already secured their place in the Round of 16 and their spot at the top of Group C, whilst their opponents Napoli still had work to do in third place.

It was a 4 – 2 win for Los Blancos, who scored thanks to Rodrygo (11’), Jude Bellingham (22’), Nico Paz (84’) and Joselu (90+4’). Giovanni Simeone (9’) and former Fulham midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (47’) scored for Napoli.

Real Madrid now have 15 points from 5 matches whilst Napoli remain second with 7 points to their name. They will confirm their Round Of 16 place in their next and final 2023/24 Group Stage match against Braga at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in Naples (Tuesday, 12th December).

Braga (Portugal) 1 – 1 Union Berlin (Germany) – Wednesday 29th November

In the other game in Group C on Wednesday night, Braga hosted German Bundesliga side Union Berlin at the Estádio Municipal de Braga. Both sides would be able to give themselves a stronger chance of securing second spot in the group if they won and Napoli lost.

Napoli lost, but neither Braga or Union Berlin could secure a victory, securing a 1 – 1 draw in the end. The away side took the lead through left-back Robin Gosens late in the first half (42’) before the home side found their equaliser to restore parity through Alvaro Djaló early in the second half (51’).

Braga remained third, whilst Union Berlin are still sat bottom of the group in fourth place ahead of the final Round of Group Stage matches.

Benfica (Portugal) 3 – 3 Inter Milan (Italy) – Wednesday 29th November

2022/23 UEFA Champions League Finalists Inter Milan travelled to the Estadio da Luz to face Benfica in Lisbon. The Nerazzurri had already qualified for the next Round. In contrast, Benfica were already out, but they did have the opportunity to move into the Europa League spot in third with a win at home.

Despite taking a 3 – 0 lead, Benfica could not hold on, going on to draw 3 – 3 with their Italian counterparts. João Mário scored all three of the home side’s goals (5’, 13’, 34’), whilst Inter scored through Marko Arnautović (51’), Davide Frattesi (58’) and Alexis Sánchez (72’ – Penalty).

Benfica remain bottom, whilst Inter Milan remains second on goal difference, with them level on 11 points with Spanish side Real Sociedad going into Matchday Six.

Real Sociedad (Spain) 0 – 0 RB Salzburg (Austria) – Wednesday 29th November

The final match to review from matchday five in the Champions League is Real Sociedad against RB Salzburg in Group D on Wednesday evening. A win or draw for Sociedad would see them remain top even if Inter won (although if both teams won, Inter could have gone top instead if they surpassed Real Sociedad’s goal difference).

In the end, it was a 0 – 0 draw between these two clubs. Real Sociedad dominated the game with 7 shots on target from their 21 total efforts on goal. As for Salzburg, they only had one shot on target from their four shots.

Real Sociedad remain top thanks to goal difference, whilst Salzburg strengthened their grip on third place in the group.

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