• Kieran Horn

BEST OF THE BEST: CHECK OUT THE PLAYERS WHICH STOLE THE SHOW IN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE THIS WEEK


Goalkeepers


Guilherme Marinato


Lokomotiv Moscow have proven to be a stubborn test in group A, pushing Bayern Munich to the limit far more than Atletico Madrid did and it was against Diego Simeone’s side where Guilherme Marinato pulled of a world class performance to help Lokomotiv earn a point.


The veteran goalkeeper showed no signs of his age affecting his athletic ability, producing a delightful fingertip save to deny Joao Felix from distance.


Later in the second half Guilherme had to deny the young Portuguese forward again, tipping a powerful header over the bar.


Defenders


Reece James


It was a relatively quiet night for the Chelsea backline and with Rennes sitting deep it allowed Ben Chilwell and Reece James to venture forward, with the latter showcasing his quality in the attacking third.


Helped by the controversial dismissal of Dalbert, James and Chilwell were both given plenty of space out on the wings to deliver crosses under limited pressure.


And that was proven when James was played down the right-hand-side by Hakim Ziyech and his picture-perfect cross was tapped home by Tammy Abraham to seal the points for the Blues.


Jerome Boateng


The score-line may ultimately flatter Bayern Munich but for a large portion of their game in Austria it could’ve gone either way. Jerome Boateng however, made sure it went in the favour of the European Champions.


There was little the 32-year-old could do about two well-worked goals from RB Salzburg, but the big German defender had a huge part to play elsewhere.


One minute he was making a last-ditch tackle to prevent Salzburg from possibly going back ahead and the next he was climbing highest to power home a Joshua Kimmich corner for Bayern’s third, which put them back in front and then resulted in them scoring another three.


Ramy Bensebaini


Shakhtar Donetsk were the surprise front-runners of a strong group B, but they were soon brought back down to earth as Borussia Monchengladbach put six past them and even the defenders got in on the goals.


Ramy Bensebaini had been very busy defensively in his previous two Champions League games, attempting to thwart the star-studded attacks of Real Madrid and Inter Milan, but In Ukraine he was anything but that.


The full-back was the quickest to react to a ricochet from his own header to delicately lob the ball into the back of the net for the Germans fourth.


Midfielders


Lars Stindl


While the headlines will go to the stunning performance of Alassane Plea, there was a man behind him pulling all the strings for Gladbach throughout the 90, and that was Lars Stindl.


The German playmaker was constantly looking for the ball while he was on the pitch and his free-roaming in the Shaktar half created plenty of space and opportunity for his teammates.


A simple run to the left-hand touchline created a pocket of space for Plea to move into, Stindl spotted the talisman and put it on a plate for him to smash home from 25-yards out.


In the second half Plea returned the favour, Marco Rose’s side won the ball high up in the Shaktar half and with a clever flick Plea set up Stindl who’s first time shot flew past Anatoliy Trubin, who just one week ago was fantastic against Inter Milan.


Joshua Kimmich


Having the attacking talent of Leroy Sane and Douglas Costa on the bench for the game against RB Salzburg just shows the depth Hansi Flick has it his disposal, and the fact his holding midfielder can also contribute going forward is unbelievably worrying for any team that faces Bayern.


Last week Kimmich hit the winner against Lokomotiv Moscow, but this week he turned provider setting up two of the six scored by Bayern in Austria.


The German International started by delivering a precise corner for Boateng to head past Cican Stankovic, and then showing off his intuitive midfield play intercepted a loose ball before laying a simple pass into the path of Sane who did the rest.


Edin Visca


Champions League Manchester United are unstoppable, Premier League Manchester United are dreadful. Unfortunately for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Premier League United showed up in Turkey and Edin Visca took full advantage.


The Istanbul Basaksehir captain launched a 40-yard-pass forward for Demba Ba, who was mind-boggling un-marked, to sprint through on goal and slot past Dean Henderson.


United were very much the architects of their own downfall as a poor pass from Bruno Fernandes resulted in Deniz Turuc wrestling the ball away from Juan Mata and a flowing Basaksehir move was finished emphatically by Visca.


Jesus Corona


Marseille have struggled an awful lot in the Champions League this season, meanwhile their Portuguese opponents have thrived and when you have a creative player like Jesus Corona it’s easy to see why.


Corona had a part to play in all three goals for Porto on Tuesday, he started his evening off combining his determination and incisive footwork to wriggle past three Marseille defenders and give Moussa Marega the easiest of finishes.


Jordan Amavi then needlessly fouled Corona which gave Sergio Oliveira a golden opportunity from 12 yards, one he emphatically took.


To finish off his impressive performance, Corona, from his own half, drove at the Marseille defence before setting up Luiz Diaz who finished in style.


Attackers


Diogo Jota


A leopard’s spots and Liverpool’s front three go perfectly hand in hand because both are things that never change, but the arrival of the red-hot Diogo Jota may just lead to the latter not being the case anymore.


In for the slightly out of form Roberto Firmino, Jota immediately repaid Jurgen Klopp’s faith in him latching onto a Trent Alexander-Arnold through ball and instinctively lifting the ball over the on-rushing Marco Sportiello.


For his second goal Jota made a direct run in behind which was spotted by Joe Gomez, he took one touch back on himself before firing in at the near post with his right foot.


Sadio Mane then played a world-class pass in behind the Atalante backline for Diogo Jota who side-stepped Sportiello and stroked the ball into an empty net for his hat-trick.


Alassane Plea


Borussia Monchengladbach have been very guilty of giving away comfortable leads late in on games, but Alassane Plea ensured that wasn’t going to be the case in Ukraine with a wonderful hat-trick.


Stefan Lainer picked out Plea in the box for the Frenchman’s first, and while his opener was relatively simple, his second was something quite special.


Plea received the ball just outside the penalty area and unleashed a strike with vicious power straight into the top left-hand corner.


In the second 45 Plea then assisted Stindl for Gladbach’s fourth and then to complete his hat-trick his fellow country-men Marcus Thuram laid on a precise pass for the 27-year-old who opened up his body to fire past Anatoliy.


Youssef En-Nesyri


Sevilla, very similarly to Manchester United, have stuttered in their domestic league but seem to prevail in Europe. On Wednesday evening a red card and two goals conceded against FK Krasnodar looked to prove otherwise but that’s where Youssef En-Nesyri comes in.


Despite only being on the pitch for half an hour, En-Nesyri delivered, quite literally, a match-winning performance.


Nine minutes into his introduction, the Moroccan forward capitalised on a mix-up at the back for Krasnodar to fire Sevilla level.


En-Nesyri was then the quickest to react to Ivan Rakitic’s free-kick which cannoned of the post to secure the victory for the 10 men of Sevilla.


Alvaro Morata and Erling Braut Haaland certainly delivered more complete performances than En-Nesyri, but Sevilla quite simply wouldn’t have won the game without 23-year-old.


Manager


Julen Lopetegui


Although it may seem like a strange one, especially regarding the first half display, as his team were two goals behind to FK Krasnodar. But the re-shaping of his team following the dismissal of Jesus Navas and the introduction of Youssef En-Nesyri showed brilliant management.


Ignoring the opening 45, which was a total disaster for Sevilla, Lopetegui had to find a way to get his Sevilla side who are probably low on morale, due to being 16th in La Liga, to get back into the game with ten men.


Lucas Ocampos was highly impactful and important as he filled in for Jesus Navas at right-back and then came the introduction of the seemingly tireless En-Nesyri.


His determined play earnt him the first goal and his quick reactions allowed him to get a brace repaying his manager’s decision to bring him on in search of two goals, which was exactly what he got.

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