Mazy runs in Manchester and last minute drama in Madrid
The glamour fixture in Europe last night was undoubtedly in Manchester, where City and Barça played out an absorbing contest in a game that featured many mazy runs and lightning counter-attacks starting in any given area of the pitch. Despite going behind City came out the winners despite starting slowly and being outclassed by the visitors in the early stages of the contest. A slip-up fro the Barça rear-guard and a subtle change on behalf of Guardiola (De Bruyne in the center and Kun playing on the wing), allowed the home side to claw their way back into the game despite only having 34% possession of the ball! The loss is not a major setback for the Catalan side though Piqué is clearly missed in the defensive line.
Late late show at the Calderon
Despite my claim that the stand-out European fixture was in Manchester, an intriguing game was unfolding at the Calderon at the same time and a second screen was essential to keep up with all the action. The Atleti fans witnessed another great European night and these days Atlético are capable of suffering but ultimately end up securing a positive result. Griezmann was on hand last night to rescue the home side in 93rd minute and initially it wasn't clear if the goal had been awarded or not. The referee got it right and Atleti move on with maximum 12 points, top of the group and mathematically classified for the next stage with two matches outstanding in their group.
Closed doors in Warsaw
Today's games see Sevilla face Dinamo Zagreb with no Nasri, but they shouldn't have too many problems to dispatch the Croatian outfit. Real Madrid are also in action and face Legia in Warsaw in a game to be staged "behind closed doors" which will be odd. I've seen a few fixtures with this panorama in my time (West Ham-Castilla, Madrid-Nápoli...) and they are somewhat surreal. Football played in a barren environment without fans where every player's shout can be heard in a strange atmosphere. Playing a game in these circumstances favour's neither team and if anything dilutes the overall match experience. Still, this is something that an element of the Legia supporters have provoked and we saw some of their antics a fortnight ago with our own eyes in Madrid.
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