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Champions League Recap: Roma shocked, Barca and Liverpool roll

Cfrclujcelebrates_ap

Admit it. Before Tuesday you probably never heard of CFR Cluj.

After the Romanian clubbed knocked off Italian powerhouse AS Roma on Tuesday, you will be learning a bit more.

Cluj erased a 1-0 deficit in Rome and ralled for a stunning 2-1 win in the opening Champions League group match for both teams.

The Cluj upset was the biggest story of the first matchday of the new Champions League tournament, but not the only impressive showing by an obscure club. Anorthosis Famagusta went to Germany and returned to Cyprus with a 0-0 tie against Werder Bremen.

Here is a rundown of Tuesday’s Champions League results:

  • Chelsea 4, Bordeaux 0
  • CFR Cluj 2, Roma 1
  • Inter Milan 2, Panathanaikos 0
  • Werder Bremen 0, Anorthosis Famagusta 0
  • Barcelona 3, Sporting Lisbon 1
  • Shakhtar Donetsk 2, FC Basel 1
  • Liverpool 2, Marseille 0
  • Atletico Madrid 3, PSV Eindhoven 0

What performance impressed you the most on Tuesday? Was it Sergio Aguero’s for Atletico Madrid? Was it Chelsea’s romp? Was it Barcelona’s victory against Sporting?

Share your thoughts on Tuesday’s Champions League action below.

15 comments
  • Nick

    Liverpool looked really impressive, at least while they were still trying. They really can’t go with the whole defensive stand for the last half hour anymore. Riera has looked good in his minutes so far this season, great pickup to shore up the left side.

    Score was 2-1 though

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  • Justin O

    Does anyone know what is going on in Romania? The Romanian League has recently shot up the UEFA coefficient rankings (not a perfect indication of success, but an indication nonetheless), they’ve got two clubs in the Champions League, and the first of those just got off to one hell of a good start.

    I’d love to know the story – if this is just a good run or if their are more significant, long-term changes occuring.

    And for my money, Werder Bremen 0-0 Anorthosis Famagusta is the real shocker of the evening. I’m guessing there’s a lot more talent in the Romanian Leage than the Cypriot League.

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  • Brant

    Chelsea winning big isn’t much of a surprise. PSV losing by 3 is…

    I love it when the underdogs shock some folks and it would be awesome if Cluj or Famagusta or a similar minnow made it to the knockout rounds.

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  • Justin O

    For what it’s worth – The Romanian League is at no. 7 in the UEFA coefficient rankings. The Cypriot League is 28.

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  • Mig

    I wasn’t overly surprised by Atletico Madrid running over PSV….I think they are better than last year and Kun Aguero is just getting better and better. That roster is a bit loaded right now. And PSV didn’t look bad and were playing hard….just didn’t have enough horses.

    Bremen needs help…did they do anything significant in the transfer market?

    Like

  • RP

    I think the real story is where the winning talent for clubs like Cluj is coming from: South America. Culio is Argentinian. Reading their roster, as well as other small and large teams in the CL, is basically an exercise in perfecting your Brazilian Portuguese and Argentinian Spanish pronunciations.

    Will rosters stacked with these players fundamentally change the way European soccer in smaller leagues is played? Will cheaper, equally skilled players even-out the top heavy nature of the CL? Will so-called South American flair permeate the smaller leagues as it already has in the EPL, La Liga, etc, and, perhaps more importantly, will the native players and national teams benefit from it? Our will things stay the same, with inexpensive South American imports essentially being the equivalent of a soccer player commodity?

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  • RK

    RP…to follow up:

    Romania plans to naturalise Argentine forward Juan Culio after he stunned Roma with two goals that earned unheralded CFR Cluj a 2-1 win in their Champions League group match.

    “Culio played brilliantly,” Romanian Soccer Federation head Mircea Sandu told reporters on Wednesday. “I’ve asked (the soccer authorities) to start getting the necessary documents.”

    Like

  • Mig

    Here’s an interesting question. Are we seeing a major falling off in Serie A vis-a-vis the other leagues in Europe? Milan won the Champions League a few years back but other than that, when is the last time an Italian side challenged. Juve had it’s match fixing relegation and is yet to recover. Inter has disappointed in Europe despite dominant league results.

    Thoughts?

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  • Joe D.

    Mig,

    I don’t think you are necessarily comparing Serie A to Premiereship or La Liga when it comes to Champions League results. You are comparing the top teams from these leagues to each other. So it could be debated that the top teams in Serie A are not as good as the top teams from England and Spain, but Serie A top-to-bottom has much better teams than both of those other leagues.

    The mid-table teams in Serie A are much much better than the mid-table teams in England and Spain. Any given week Sampdoria, Napoli, Genoa, Palermo, Udinese, Lazio, and even Chievo can knock off any of the top teams because these teams have the talent and are closing the gap a bit.

    Also, Serie A has had a good amount of change over in their representatives in the Champions League in recent years. Inter, Roma, Juventus, Fiorentina, Lazio, Milan, Chievo and Udinese have all been in Champions League in recent years. But how many different English or Spanish teams have been in Champions League?

    However, I do think you might see Serie A teams struggle in Europe this year, and I’m not sure if it is due to the quality of the team but more due to the quality of the domestic league. These Serie A teams cannot take the league matches for granted any longer.

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  • Karol

    There won`t be any major changes in the Uefa Ranking at the top of the table. 1.England 2.Primera Division 3. Italy 4. Germany.

    However, the Netherlands and France will fall back. Romania will – in all likeliehood – overtake France next season. Cypress has so far gained 4,6 points this season – more than any other country in Europe – and will overtake Serbia, Sweden and Austria next season.

    Like

  • Jason

    Good recap, but I have a pet peeve.

    When posting results, put the home team first (as is customary). Or even do it last (like baseball).

    But be consistent either way.

    It’s hard to evaluate what was the most impressive win when you can’t tell where the game was played.

    Example: Roma 1, Cluj 2. See, I can tell the game was @ Roma because they are listed first.

    Like

  • Kevin Smith

    All the Canadian soccer fans have heard of Cluj. That’s where Lars Hirschfeld sits on the bench 😦

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  • mig

    @Joe D: Very, very good summary. You’re right, I was talking about the top teams in each league, not the league as a whole. I should have clarified my point. 🙂

    I’ll have to pay a bit more attention to Serie A, this season. My focus is on EPL, La Liga, and a bit of Germany. Largely it’s because the Italian game does bore me a bit (not the league’s fault, just my preference). I’m sure that mid-table Serie A games (like in Spain or Germany) or more interesting than most mid-table EPL kickfests.

    Regards and thanks for the input,

    Like

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