UEFA Champions League 2013/14 returned on the evening of Tuesday 22 October 2013, when the first set of match week three Group Stage fixtures took place.
Group H – AC Milan 1-1 FC Barcelona
Top of the billing for the evening was the Group H clash between the European heavyweights of Milan and Barcelona at the Italian giants’ Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.
Milan got off to a fantastic start, with a 9th minute Robinho goal, but were pegged back when Lionel Messi slotted a cool low finish into the bottom right hand corner from inside the area on 23 minutes. In the second half, Barcelona had two good chances to return home with all three points, but narrowly missed the target.
Milan will perhaps be the happier with a point after Barca edged possession – as ever – 60:40; and shots on target 9:3.
Barcelona draw two points clear at the top of Group H on 7 points, while Milan are second on 5 points.
Group G – FC Porto 0-1 FC Zenit
A very close and entertaining match between Porto and Zenit St Petersburg saw the visiting team return home victorious after an 86th minute winner from Kerzhakov.
Zenit became the first ever Russian side to win at Porto, aided in no small part by the 6th minute sending off of Porto defender Herrera, who was booked twice in the opening minutes for first a foul on former Porto man, Hulk, and then for encroaching on the resultant free-kick.
But it took until 86 minutes for the visitors to secure three points that put them into second in Group G as Kerzhakov headed home a fine cross from Hulk, who was arguably the best player on the pitch; demonstrating to all at Porto just how much they missed the player, who left from Porto to Zenit in 2012.
Porto slid to third in the table, one point behind Zenit, on three points.
Group E – FC Steaua Bucureşti 1-1 FC Basel 1893
Both these teams really needed all three points to kick-start their Group E campaign and remain on the heels of Shalke and Chelsea, but it was to be a point shared in Bucharest for Steaua and Basel.
The visitors got off the mark with a goal from Diaz on 48 minutes, but the hosts equalised with two minutes remaining through Leandro Tatu, leaving Basel third and Steaua fixed to the bottom of the group with just this solitary point to show for their opening three matches.
Group H – Celtic FC 2-1 AFC Ajax
Ajax saw their hopes of qualifying from the difficult Group H suffer a major blow at Celtic Park as the Scottish Premier Champions picked up their first victory of the 2013/14 campaign with a hard-fought 2-1 home win.
The hosts grabbed a vital goal just before half time with a 43rd minute Forrest penalty after Stokes had been brought down in the Ajax area, before adding a second through a deflected Kayal shot on 53 minutes to double their lead.
Ajax grabbed a late consolation with a fine strike from Schöne, but, with the clock already reading 90+4, it was never likely to impact upon where the points ended up. Celtic climbed above Ajax into third in Group H, and, with Milan and Barcelona drawing, remain two points away from the next round, firmly in the hunt for a knockout place after three matches. Ajax, with matches against Barcelona and Milan awaiting need only wins to keep their weakening hopes alive.
Group G – K Austria Wien 0-3 Club Atlético de Madrid
An 8th minute goal from Raúl García and a brace from Diego Costa (20, 53 mins) were enough to give Atletico all three points from their visit to Austria Wien, and maintain their 100% win record in Group G.
Atletico moved 5 points clear at the top making this group begin to look like a three-way battle for second place, even at this early stage. One more victory will assure the Spanish side’s passage into the next round.
Group F – Arsenal FC 1-2 Borussia Dortmund
Group F remains finely balanced after Arsenal suffered a 2-1 home defeat to Dortmund.
The visitors took a 16th minute lead through Mkhitaryan, after Aaron Ramsay gave possession away, but the hosts looked to have righted the balance after 41 minutes when Giroud pounced on a 50:50 ball with the visiting goalkeeper, Roman Weidenfeller, before hammering into an empty net just before half time.
It was not to be for Arsenal, though, for, despite pressing for the winning goal, Dortmund produced a fine move of real quality which ended as Lewandowski ran onto a deep cross to sweep home from 12 yards with the clock on 82 minutes.
Dortmund join Arsenal and Napoli on 6 points in a three way tie at the top of Group F.
Group F – Olympique de Marseille 1-2 SSC Napoli
Marseille remain rooted to the bottom of Group F, on zero points, after suffering a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Italian club, Napoli.
In a match which was otherwise reasonably equal, it was the visitors who proved to have more cutting edge in front of goal, as strikes from Callejón and Zapata either side of half time gave Napoli a 2-0 lead after 67 minutes. Marseille did reply with a goal from A. Ayew on 86 minutes, though this proved to be too late as the French club suffered their third defeat from three 2013/14 UEFA Champions League Group Stage matches.
Napoli joined Arsenal and Dortmund on three points at the head of this entertaining group, which, at the half way point, could still be won by any of the four clubs involved. Marseille will need three wins, it is felt, from three if they are to stand any chance of progressing from Group F.
Group E – FC Schalke 04 0-3 Chelsea FC
A brace of goals from Fernando Torres early in each half helped Cheslea to a 3-0 win away at Schalke, meaning the Premier League joined their opponents at the top of the table, both on 6 points, at the final whistle.
Torres scored early, on 6 minutes, to set the tone for a counter-attacking evening away from home, and two goals on the break from first Torres (69 mins) and then Hazard (89 mins) gave the scoreline a flattering sheen.
Schalke, in truth, rarely threatened with more than a long-range effort on an evening with which Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho will be very satisfied.
UEFA Champions League 2013/14 Results, Tuesday 22 October
- AC Milan 1-1 FC Barcelona
- FC Porto 0-1 FC Zenit
- FC Steaua Bucureşti 1-1 FC Basel 1893
- Celtic FC 2-1 AFC Ajax
- FK Austria Wien 0-3 Club Atlético de Madrid
- Arsenal FC 1-2 Borussia Dortmund
- Olympique de Marseille 1-2 SSC Napoli
- FC Schalke 04 0-3 Chelsea FC