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Champions League wrap: Dortmund’s epic comeback to beat Inter

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Tuesday saw its fair share of crazy encounters across the continent — from Chelsea’s 4-4 draw with Ajax, to Borussia Dortmund’s amazing comeback to beat Inter Milan, to Barcelona’s helpless 0-0 draw with Slavia Prague.

[ RECAPS: Chelsea 4-4 Ajax | Liverpool 2-1 Genk ]

A roundup of all of Tuesday’s action in the world’s preeminent club competition…

 

Borussia Dortmund 3-2 Inter Milan

Dortmund trailed 2-0 after 50 minutes, at home, before flipping the script on Inter Milan and completing an epic comeback to win 3-2.

Lautaro Martinez scored a sensational solo goal put the visitors ahead after just five minutes, only to be upstaged by an even more delightful team goal in the 40th minute.

It was 2-1 far too early for Inter to hold on, though, thanks to Achraf Hakimi’s close-range finish in the 51st minute. Julian Brandt made it 2-2 with a strike from a nearly impossible angle in the 64th, and there was only ever going to be one outcome.

Jadon Sancho got the ball atop the penalty area and slipped it through to Hakimi. The Moroccan international had no trouble locating the goal and picking out his spot inside the far post.

Dortmund now sit second in Group F, just a point behind Barcelona for top spot. The victory over Inter avenges their 2-0 defeat at the San Siro last month and puts them in prime position for a place in the knockout rounds.

Barcelona 0-0 Slavia Prague

Barely three months into the 2019-20 season, it’s already been a campaign to forget for Barcelona. With three losses from 11 league games, including a 3-1 hammering by Levante on Saturday, a third straight La Liga title is far from a forgone conclusion. Now, Ernesto Valverde is under even more pressure after failing to beat Czech side Slavia Prague on Tuesday.

Lionel Messi went closest to breaking the deadlock in the 35th minute, but the Argentine found only the corner of the goal frame. Slavia Prague goalkeeper Ondrej Kolar made six saves and turned in a man-of-the-match performance.

On the bright side, Barca extended their run of 34 home games without a defeat in Champions League play, an all-time record which dates back to 2013.

Valencia 4-1 Lille

Group H is as tight as it realistically could be after four rounds of play, with Chelsea, Ajax and Valencia all sitting on seven points, thanks to Valencia’s 4-1 thrashing of Lille on Tuesday.

The visitors went ahead through Victor Osimhen in the 25th minute, but Valencia hit back for four straight goals beginning in the 66th minute. Dani Parejo converted from the penalty spot, followed by an own goal turned home by Adama Soumaoro in the 82nd minute. Geoffrey Kondogbia made it 3-1 in the 84th and Ferran Torres completed the scoring six minutes later.

What’s left on the schedule for Los Ches? A visit from Chelsea and a trip to Ajax.

Elsewhere in UEFA Champions League action

Chelsea 4-4 Ajax — FULL RECAP
Liverpool 2-1 Genk — FULL RECAP
Napoli 1-1 Red Bull Salzburg
Zenit St. Petersburg 0-2 RB Leipzig
Lyon 3-1 Benfica

Champions League wrap: Barcelona, Napoli hold group leads

Photo by Thomas Eisenhuth/Getty Images
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Antonio Conte‘s Inter Milan got a necessary win, while several other notable teams had a lot of work on their hands on the way to three points in the UEFA Champions League.

Lionel Messi set another record, Jesse Marsch’s Red Bull Salzburg put another scare into a big name, and both Lille and RB Leipzig puts difference-making wonder strikes on the board.


[ MORE: Genk 1-4 Liverpool | Ajax 0-1 Chelsea ]


Slavia Prague 1-2 Barcelona

Lionel Messi’s third minute goal didn’t send the Czech hosts running for cover, and Slavia Prague got a leveling goal through Jan Boril. It was deserved, too, with the hosts taking double the shots as their visitors when they made it 1-1. An own goal finished off the scoring in Prague.

Messi’s goal made him the first player to score in 15 Champions League tournaments. He’s good.

Red Bull Salzburg 2-3 Napoli

Jesse Marsch’s men know a bit about comebacks after last month’s memorable match in Liverpool, and Erling Braut Haland scored to make it 1-1 after Dries Mertens gave the favored visitors a lead. Haland answered another Mertens goal but the magic ran out for the hosts after Lorenzo Insigne provided the winner.

Lille 1-1 Valencia

Russian winger Denis Cheryshev looked like he’d see his goal stand up as a winner despite a late Valencia red card, but my goodness this equalizer from Jonathan Ikone:

Inter Milan 2-0 Borussia Dortmund

Make it six goals for Lautaro Martinez in 11 appearances for Inter Milan, who looked well-drilled at home under Antonio Conte. Roman Burki was sensational to keep the score 1-0, saving a penalty amongst several other timely interventions, but BVB couldn’t muster a goal. Antonio Candreva added the consolation marker.

Benfica 2-1 Lyon

Rafa Silva was in the right place to deposit a fourth minute goal, and Benfica rode the lead until Memphis Depay leveled in the 70th minute. Enter Pizzi, who scored with five minutes left to give Benfica a needed win. Last place Benfica is three points back of leaders RB Leipzig.

RB Leipzig 2-1 Zenit Saint-Petersburg

Yaroslav Rakitskiy gave the visitors a halftime lead against the run of play but Konrad Laimer leveled the score line and then — clear the deck — Marcel Sabitzer did this:

VIDEO: Jesse Marsch’s wild celebrations at Anfield

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Jesse Marsch’s RB Salzburg side fought back from 3-0 down and were drawing 3-3 at at reigning European champions Liverpool on Wednesday.

The first American to coach in the UEFA Champions League deserved his wild celebrations at Anfield.

Marsch’s upstarts (Salzburg have never competed in the UCL group stage before) eventually lost 4-3 as Mohamed Salah scored a late winner, but the moment Erling Haaland made it 3-3 will live long in the memory of Marsch and fans of the Austrian champions.

“We have seen we can play at this level, when we play our football, we always have a chance,” Marsch said. “I am very proud of the team and it is important that we learn from this evening.”

Take a look at the video of below as Marsch had his Jose Mourinho moment as he hurtled down the sidelines at Anfield and towards the Salzburg fans in the Anfield Road end.

There have been some suggestions in world soccer (and particularly among British fans and pundits such as Peter Crouch) that Marsch’s celebrations were over the top.

But remember, just five years ago he was the assistant coach of Princeton University and now he’s coaching in the Champions League and going toe-to-toe with the reigning champs. After a long journey via the New York Red Bulls, Montreal Impact and a stint as an assistant coach at RB Leipzig, Marsch deserves this.

The former USMNT assistant coach wasn’t even interviewed for the U.S. men’s national team job the last time it came up.

Let that sink in, then imagine what Marsch could perhaps do as USMNT boss in the future.

The high-pressing style his young, well-drilled squad put out there has taken the UCL by storm and they are set to become the darlings of Europe’s elite club competition.


WATCH: Jesse Marsch reacts to yellow card, Salzburg’s fight back at Liverpool

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Jesse Marsch continues to make a name for himself, as the Red Bull Salzburg manager oversaw a valiant comeback effort at Anfield in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.

The American saw his team down 3-0 but rally to equalize against the European champions. Mohamed Salah denied Salzburg its point, but not its honor.

[ MORE: Match recap | Salah reacts ]

“There’s more pride,” Marsch said (see video below). “The game is an important lesson and story for us. We talked a lot about having confidence and not being afraid and going after the opponent and the first half we didn’t really play like us.

“We had a couple tactical things to talk about at halftime but the biggest message was, ‘Come on, let’s play like us. Let’s get after them,’.”

Salzburg came after them indeed, and turned a 3-1 halftime deficit into a deadlock with Erling Braut Haland’s 60th minute goal off the bench.

Marsch also came off the bench to join in a wild celebration, earning a yellow card.

No regrets.

“I’ll take the yellow card in that situation,” Marsch said. “The emotion and the pride I had in the team is what led to that celebration.”

Marsch said his team will learn from the experience at Anfield, and also from its first loss of the season. With a pair of group-defining matches against group-leading Napoli ahead, that’ll be huge.

“What’s most important for us is learning from this and applying this to the next two games against Napoli, another very very good team,” he said. “But we have to know we can play with Napoli and if we want to be successful we have to play our brand of football.”

For what it’s worth, Marsch won’t catch Jurgen Klopp‘s men off guard at the return leg in Austria either.

 

Salah saves Liverpool after Red Bull Salzburg erases 3-0 deficit

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Mohamed Salah‘s second goal saved his defense blushes as Liverpool threw away a 3-0 lead at Anfield before finding all three points in a 4-3 win over Red Bull Salzburg on Wednesday in the UEFA Champions League.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Salah was joined by Andrew Robertson and Sadio Mane on the score sheet, and Roberto Firmino had two key assists in the win.

Hee-Chan Hwang scored a goal and an assist en route to 3-3, with young phenom Erling Braut Haland delivering a goal off the bench.

Takumi Minamino also scored for Salzburg, who has the same amount of points as Liverpool. Napoli leads the group with four points.


Three things we learned

1. Liverpool defense needs to get back to basics: Virgil Van Dijk is a tower, a force, a marvel… and just as capable as any other defender of being sent to the concessions stands by a sick cut. Hwang Hee-Chan cooked up the Dutch center back to fire Salzburg back to within two after Salah had stake the Reds to a 3-0 lead.

Perhaps “Van Dijk on Ice” is a fitting way to make a point that may not hold up. Liverpool has now played 12 matches this season and kept clean sheets in just three of them, allowing 13 goals. One clean sheet was against MK Dons, the other two versus Burnley and Sheffield United. Clean sheets don’t matter that much, we suppose, when you’re running teams off the pitch, but the chances have been there and this team has so far been less sound than its predecessor.

2. Salah, Mane, Firmino sensational: The Egyptian King delivered a poacher’s goal off a rebound in the first half before darting onto a Firmino flick to restore Liverpool’s lead in the second. Mane scored the sensational early marker off another Firmino assist, and could’ve easily had it 5-3.

The Reds’ most electric players were on it on Wednesday, and should not be paying for their meals tonight.

3. Marsch enjoys the moment: The twice-capped USMNT midfielder from Wisconsin looked set to see the reverse of a tournament-opening 6-2 score line, but full credit to Marsch’s men in a deserved come back. When the match hit 3-3, Salzburg was out-shooting Liverpool (again, this was at Anfield). The coach celebrated the second and third goals with vigor, leaping into his players’ celebrations at the equalizer. Even in the loss, he’ll be the toast of Austria tonight.

Man of the Match: Salah — Over Firmino, and just.


Liverpool was ready to go from Moment No. 1, with Mane blazing down the left side to work a 1-2 with Roberto Firmino. The Brazilian used perfect speed to cue up Mane’s show.

The Reds earned their second goal via fullback to fullback love, with

Hwang pulled a goal back for Salzburg in the most electric of fashions, putting Van Dijk on skates before finishing for 3-1.

Hwang could’ve easily made it 3-2 on a dynamic team move in the 53rd minute, but flubbed his effort well wide of the goal.

And then it was 3-2, with Minimino belting a bouncing shot past Adrian with Liverpool ignoring an entire half of the field.

Marsch was feeling it now, and introduced leading scorer Erling Braut Haland. The youngster took advantage of half-effort stuff from Van Dijk and Joe Gomez to make it 3-3.

The Reds turned to their stars to deliver the victory, as Mane’s backheel to Salah turned into a partially cleared cross. Firmino soon flicked Salah on goal for 4-3 and Liverpool’s first points of the tournament.