In case you missed the this week’s Champions League action, here are highlights from three of this week’s 16 matches:
Tottenham Hotspur 3, Inter Milan 1: In the performance of the week, which has made him the talk of European football, 21-year old Welshman Gareth Bale led Spurs to a big victory at home over defending champion Inter. Though he wasn’t involved in Spurs’ first goal (Modric feeding van der Vaart for that one), he singlehandedly created the latter two by streaking down the left wing and feeding perfect, nearly identical low crosses right into the path of the goalscorer (Peter Crouch for the 2nd, Pavylyuchenko for the 3rd (that after Samuel Eto’o had pulled Inter back to 2-1 with a suberb finish).
Here is the Guardian’s “as it happened” commentary on the last goal, to read along as you watch:
GOAL! Spurs 3-1 Inter (Pavlyuchenko 89′) That is just outlandish from Bale! He received the ball around the half-way line and simply belted it 20 yards beyond Maicon and set off after it. He got there first and, best of all, played the perfect pass across the face of goal, inviting Pavlyuchenko to smash it simply past the keeper. Bale has blown Inter away tonight.
AC Milan 2, Real Madrid 2: A seesaw affair in the San Siro, with Real Madrid dominating the first half, and cruising with a 1-0 lead after Higuaín scored at the very end of the 1st half–until 37-year-old Filippo Inzaghi came on as a substitute in the 2nd half (for an increasingly disappointing Ronaldinho), and promptly scored two goals in the span of 10 minutes to give Milan the lead.
Both goals were typical Inzaghi: the first came from being in the right place at the right time, after an uncharacteristic misplay by perhaps the best goalkeeper in the world; and he was simply offsides on the second. But just when it looked like Milan would escape with a victory, Mourinho’s substitutions came through: a recently rejuvenated Karim Benzema played a beautiful and clever pass through to Pedro Leon, who beat Milan ‘keeper Abbiati through the five-hole–with less than a minute to go in extra time:
Video: CL Highlights: AC Milan/Real Madrid
FC Шахтар Донецьк 2, Arsenal 1: And in the upset of the week, Arsenal went on the road to eastern Ukraine and lost to a team they had demolished 5-1 last month at home in London. Arsenal seemed to be heading towards another big win after Theo Walcott again showed his speed and scored an early goal for Arsenal. But Donetsk battled back, with young and inexperienced Arsenal defender Craig Eastmond scoring an own goal under pressure from Donetsk defender Dmytro Chygrynskiy (who, incidentally, Donetsk bought back from Barcelona this summer for €15 million–after selling him the previous summer for €25 million). Some more poor defending by Arsenal led to the game-winner by Brazilian-Croatian striker (and former rising star at Arsenal) Eduardo just before half. Again from the Guardian’s live match commentary:
GOAL! Shakhtar 2-1 Arsenal (Eduardo 45′) Eduardo doesn’t celebrate but the rest of Donestsk is in raptures! Clichy’s sloppiness was the reason for that goal – he dawdled on the ball in the left-back area and was robbed by Srna, who quickly centred for Eduardo. The Crozillian slotted neatly past Fabianski. Shakhtar are on course to join Arsenal at the top of the group.