Dinamo Zagreb

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Champions League Weds. preview: Two spots remain

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Only two spots remain in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds, and those will be settled Wednesday afternoon.

In Group C, hosts Shakhtar Donetsk need to beat Atalanta to go through, while the visitors can also go through with a win if Dinamo Zagreb fails to defeat Man City.

[ MORE: Ancelotti reportedly speaking w/ Everton ]

In Group D, Atletico Madrid is through with a win over Lokomotiv Moscow, though Bayer Leverkusen can complete a remarkable comeback from an 0-3 start to the group stage if they beat already-qualified Juve and Atleti loses to their Russian visitors.

You certainly wouldn’t be against Diego Simeone there, though.

“Tomorrow is a great opportunity, every day that you wear the Atletico shirt is,” Simeone said, via Marca. “I believe in my team, in the humility that they have at the moment. The results will come based on what they are demonstrating on the field.”

Premier League sides Man City and Tottenham Hotspur both have their fortunes settled, with City having won Group C and Spurs settled into Group B’s second spot, but they still have plenty to figure out on Tuesday.

Jose Mourinho’s Spurs are going up against a Bayern team that walloped them at home, while City is living an unusual 2W-3D-2L lull in form.

Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League action

12:55 p.m. ET
Shakhtar Donetsk v. Atalanta
Dinamo Zagreb v. Man City

3 p.m. ET
Club Brugge v. Real Madrid
Atletico Madrid v. Lokomotiv Moscow
Bayer Leverkusen v. Juventus
Paris Saint-Germain v. Galatasaray
Olympiacos v. Red Star Belgrade
Bayern Munich v. Tottenham Hotspur

Manchester City handles pesky Dinamo Zagreb

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Dominant Manchester City had to work for its Raheem Sterling-finished breakthrough in a 2-0 defeat of Dinamo Zagreb in UEFA Champions League play on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Sterling scored and assisted Phil Foden‘s stoppage time goal, as City took 1,025 touches to the visitors’ 392. Dinamo Zagreb completed just 53 percent of their passes, were out shot 20-2, and had just 19 percent possession.

City now has six points, and has beaten both of the teams in the group who boast wins. A pair of matches with winless Atalanta are next.


Three things we learned

1. Zagreb frustrates with five (plus) at the back: City had more than 80 percent of the ball and almost all of the shot attempts, but the persistent and well-drilled visitors proved difficult to break down.

2. Rodri and Gundogan rule the roost: While Man City’s forwards to their time to find footing, Rodri and Ilkay Gundogan were very strong in the midfield. Gundogan completed 113 of his 120 passes, while Rodri converted 116 of 126 passes (92 percent) including a sensational “hockey assist” on Sterling’s opener.

Again, let’s do the math: 229 completed passes between two midfielders. Outstanding.

3. Super sub Sterling supplies breakthrough: The winner was very much a team goal, as Sterling had been in the game for less than 10 minutes when he took a pass from Riyad Mahrez to make it 1-0.

And to combine points Nos. 2 and 3, how about that scything pass from Rodri

Man of the Match: Rodri — He looks the absolute correct piece for City’s midfield puzzle (which was already pretty darn good).


Gundogan cranked a shot off the woodwork, and City later had a goal taken off the board due to Sergio Aguero handling in the build-up.

Dinamo goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic made two first half saves including a very promising opportunity for Aguero.

The frustrations of only producing a single goal despite myriad chances got to Pep Guardiola, who was shown a yellow card for dissent.

Joao Cancelo was a particularly bright spot for City, whipping in crosses and zipping about the right side.

Sterling’s goal came when Rodri fed Mahrez, a relative bright spot, into the left of the box. A cut back was blasted home by the England winger.

Foden subbed into the game and scored inside of the four minutes stoppage time.

UCL wrap: PSG runs over Real; Atalanta clobbered on debut

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Real Madrid, UEFA Champions League goals, and Angel Di Maria go together pretty well.

[ MORE: Man Utd extends Lindelof ]

The man who scored a decisive goal for Real in a UCL Final scored two as Paris Saint-Germain throttled the 10-time champions in France without Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani, and Neymar.

PSG 3-0 Real Madrid

If it’s possible for Zinedine Zidane to feel heat under his seat, it’s probably happening right about now.

Real Madrid was absolutely cooked by a clinical PSG missing its trident, with Di Maria scoring two goals in the win.

Juan Bernat was exceptional in the win, and set up two goals including Thomas Meunier’s late insurance tally.

Dinamo Zagreb 4-0 Atalanta

The Serie A visitors made their UEFA Champions League debut, and boy did it fall flat.

Down 1-0 early on a Marin Leovac opener, Atalanta surrendered a hat trick to Mislav Orsic in the loss. The 26-year-old midfielder is fresh off his first cap for Croatia. More seem on the horizon, yeah?

Considering their group includes Man City and Shakhtar Donetsk, La Dea won’t appreciate losing four goals in the differential column against a perceived bottom dweller for the group.

Elsewhere

Olympiacos 2-2 Tottenham — RECAP, Pochettino reaction
Shakhtar Donetsk 0-3 Man City — RECAP
Atletico Madrid 2-2 Juventus — RECAP
Club Brugge 0-0 Galatasaray
Bayer Leverkusen 1-2 Lokomotiv Moscow
Bayern Munich 3-0 Red Star Belgrade

Champions League wrap: Canadian backstop Borjan’s Red Star advance

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There were no comebacks to be found in the second legs of the UEFA Champions League qualifying playoff round, as sides from Greece, Croatia, and Serbia found places in the group stage.

[ MORE: League Cup roundup ]


Krasnodar 1-2 (1-6 agg.) Olympiacos

Daniil Utkin’s 10th minute goal was the first Olympiacos has allowed in 550 minutes of UCL play this season, but the Greeks responded within a minute. Youssef El-Arabi’s 11th minute marker was the first of two on the day, and Olympiacos should prove to be a challenge coming out of Pot 3.

Rosenborg 1-1 (1-3 agg.) Dinamo Zagreb

Babajide David’s 11th minute goal gave the Norwegian side hope of overturning their 2-0 away first leg, but it was the only of its eight shots on target to see the scoreboard. Amer Gojak scored with about 20 minutes to play to salt away the tie.

Red Star Belgrade 1-1 (3-3 agg.) Young Boys

Did the tank help them? Who can say?

In the catbird seat with two away goals entering the match, Red Star was happy to absorb pressure from its desperate Swiss visitors until an opportunity presented itself in the form of Aleksa Vukanovic’s header.

Young Boys would need two goals from that point, and only found one via Comoros national teamer El Fardou Mohamed Ben Nabouhane. That’s not a huge surprise, as Red Star backstop and Canadian star Milan Borjan has been steady between the sticks.

Live, UCL: Dinamo Zagreb, Red Star dream of group stage

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The UEFA Champions League playoff round second leg games kick off on Tuesday, and there are some intriguing clashes lined up across Europe.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Trailing 2-0 from the first leg in Croatia, Rosenborg must launch a huge comeback at home against Dinamo Zagreb to make the group stage. Elsewhere, Red Star Belgrade drew 2-2 at Young Boys in a wild first leg in Switzerland, and with the addition of a military tank to the stadium for the second leg, it’s sure to be a wild night in Serbia.

Olympiacos are basically through to the group stage after they hammered FC Krasnodar 4-0 in the first leg in Greece last week but if the Russians score early, who knows what might happen…

Below is the full schedule for Tuesday’s games, which all kick off at 3 p.m. ET.

Click on the link above to follow all of the action live, while we will have you covered with a roundup of the action right here on Pro Soccer Talk.


Tuesday
Rosenborg v. Dinamo Zagreb (0-2)
Red Star Belgrade v. Young Boys (2-2)
FC Krasnodar v. Olympiacos (0-4)