This Champions League midweek had some highs and some lows for the Italian sides in the tournament. And if you’re interested in awesome match reports and other Champions League news, be sure to visit my latest article on Champions League Talk regarding the midweek action!
Let’s start with the positives, Roma won 3-2 away from home against FC Basel! A great result for Ranieri’s side, led by Menez who played very well, and by Totti who scored from the penalty spot.
Menez got the first goal, a sly finish from the edge of the box, taking advantage of general distraction to give Roma the lead. Then Totti doubled from the penalty spot, with the keeper having almost reached the Roma captain’s spot-kick. After the two goal flurry by Roma, Frei pulled one back in the second half to give Basel some hope, but Greco crushed that when he scored Roma’s third in the 76th minute. Shaqiri pulled one back for FC Basel at the end of the match, but the result was in Roma’s hands.
Three important points which help Ranieri’s side rise up to second in the table with six points behind Bayern Munich which has a perfect record and twelve points. Roma will host Bayern at the Stadio Olimpico the next Champions League matchday, and I think that any giallorossi fans should be happy with a draw for that game.
The other two matches for Italian sides weren’t as positive as Roma’s. AC Milan at home drew 2-2 with Real Madrid, and Inter Milan suffered a 3-1 loss away against Tottenham.
AC Milan conceeded the first goal at the 45 minute mark when Higuain took advantage of ay disorganized Milan back line, to spin around and finish coolly past Abbiati. But in the second half, Allegri made a key substitution, bringing Inzaghi for Ronaldinho. Inzaghi went on to score two goals (of which one was offside by about a meter, and he was right next to the linesman), and surpass Gerd Muller’s all time goalscoring record for the Champions League/European Cup with the Italian’s 70th goal in the competition.
But Mourinho is a sly and lucky man, and in the 94th minute of the game, substitute Karim Benzema picked out another substitute Pedro Leon with a defence-splitting through pass, and Leon finished through Abbiati’s legs for a lucky equalizer. Most certainly heart-breaking for AC Milan fans, but epic for any fans of Jose Mourinho.
As for Inter Milan, the match was a sad tale for Benitez’s side, and it was Gareth Bale who was the hero of the night for Tottenham fans. Gareth Bale literally made Maicon seem like a 16 year-old who had just been introduced to professional football. Maicon was made a fool of dozens of times by Bale who provided two assists for his teammates in their 3-1 win. It’s strange that Benitez didn’t try any tactical changes to stop the player, even as he realized during the match that Bale was tearing Maicon to shreds.
While Tottenham played brilliant attacking football, Inter Milan was cautious, sluggish, and defensive. The goal was a moment of brilliance by an undertone Samuel Eto’o who despite his average performances, manages to score goals. Right now Inter Milan are second in the table due to goal-difference, with Tottenham first. Inter will need to pull out two wins at home against Twente, and away at Werder Bremen if they want to have any chance of winning the group, but even if they come second, Tottenham fully deserve first place.
What were your thoughts on the Champions League midweek for Italian clubs? Share your thoughts below!