The halfway pole is now in the rearview mirror for half of the UEFA Champions League groups and boy are things getting interesting. Only a few clubs are safe, with Real Madrid punching its ticket for the knockout stage after Tuesday.
However, the return legs from Matchday 3 gave us all sorts of entertainment and mind-boggling moments. Let’s look at the day that was in the UCL.
Biggest Win: Manchester United
Giving yourself a three-point lead on the bottom squad in a group as jumbled up as Group B is with two matches left to play in the group stage is a huge plus. It almost didn’t happen though, as United couldn’t break through the CSKA Moscow defense for the better part of 80 minutes. Given the 2-0 win by bottom side PSV Eindhoven, a draw or loss would’ve made things really difficult for Louis Van Gaal’s side.
The Red Devils didn’t give up on the match, and a 79th minute header by Wayne Rooney gave Manchester United a much-needed three points out of this match. It may not have always been pretty at Old Trafford, but full points are full points at this point in time. Somehow Man Utd are top of the group on seven points, just one point clear of both Wolfsburg and PSV Eindhoven and three points clear of the bottom.
Plenty of soccer still to play in this group, but this may have been the biggest win of the year for the Red Devils — in any competition.
Biggest Loss: Galatasaray
The Turkish side came in to Matchday 4 with a pivotal clash against Benfica. A win would put them in the drivers seat to advance to the knockout stage, but a loss would likely see them fighting to keep hope alive for a drop in to the Europa League competition.
After getting the much needed full three points in the Matchday 3 clash between the two sides, things got reversed on the away leg for Galatasaray and now it has to scrap at least a draw or a miracle win against
Most Shocking Result: PSV Eindhoven’s 2-0 win over Wolfsburg
It appeared that the German side could take three points and firmly control its route to the knockout stage
Real Madrid 1, Paris St. Germain 0
Atletico Madrid 0, Astana 0
Shakhtar Donetsk 4, Malmo 0
Manchester United 1, CSKA Moscow 0
PSV Eindhoven 2, Wolfsburg 0
Benfica 2, Galatasaray 1
Borussia Monchengladbach 1, Juventus 1
Manchester City 3, Sevilla 1
Manchester United score their first goal in 404 minutes of football in all competitions. About time. pic.twitter.com/mdG9v0vdKD
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 3, 2015
How important and timely was that Rooney goal? Talk about a crazy lack of goal-scoring punch from anyone in a Red Devils jersey. Good on you Rooney.
Best Goal: Fabian Johnson, Borussia Monchengladbach
It was a pretty goal, but for those of us United States men’s national team fans, it was also sweet to see. After all, it was just the third goal by a player from the United States in the UCL and the first since Sacha Kljestan did it in 2013 with Anderlecht.
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 3, 2015
Team in Most Trouble After Matchday 4: Wolfsburg
This side went from top of the table in Group B to third place and barely hanging on to a tie on points for the second spot. Wolfsburg’s bad news comes in the form of not having a match left with fellow second place side PSV Eindhoven. Instead, it must not only beat CSKA Moscow to avoid the bottom of the group, but it will likely have to get a result against Manchester United (and likely a win) in order to go through to the knockout stage.
Highlight Games for Matchday 4 (Groups E through H):
AS Roma vs. Bayer Leverkusen (Group E)
Bayern Munich vs. Arsenal (Group F)
Olympiacos vs. Dinamo Zagreb (Group F)
Dynamo Kiev vs. Chelsea (Group G)