Sevilla produced a stunning fightback from a three-goal half-time deficit to earn a thrilling 3-3 draw with Liverpool on Tuesday thanks to Guido Pizarro’s stoppage-time equaliser.
Roberto Firmino scored twice as Jurgen Klopp’s side looked set to qualify for the knockout stages for the first time in nine years and seal top spot in Group E with a three-goal blitz in the first half-hour, with Sadio Mane also netting.
However, Wissam Ben Yedder pulled two goals back before Pizarro stabbed home from a corner to protect Sevilla’s year-long unbeaten run at home.
Here are two good and two bad performances from the exciting clash in Spain.
There was a time when Firmino wasn’t considered an out-and-out striker in the traditional sense. That may still be true, but he scores some traditional centre-forward goals quite often these days, along with his reportoire of smart finishes and thunderous strikes.
On Tuesday, his movement allowed him to ghost in unmarked at a corner, and then he scored in front of an open goal for his second.
WISSAM BEN YEDDER
Ben Yedder has been somewhat of a Champions League specialist for Sevilla this season. He came into this game with four goals from four appearances in Europe this season.
Two more on Tuesday to bring Sevilla from 3-0 down to 3-2 takes him to six, the same as Tottenham’s Harry Kane. Only Cristiano Ronaldo has scored more.
His first was a world-class header, even if it came largely thanks to some awful static defending from Liverpool.
Supposedly, Alberto Moreno has improved defensively this season. If that’s true, then someone forgot to remind the Spaniard, because he came out after half-time looking every bit the error-prone left-back who loses concentration too easily and gets caught out too often.
Moreno was at fault for Sevilla’s first two goals, failing to see Ben Yedder’s run to the near post for the first and then giving away the penalty for the second.
At least he can’t be blamed for the equaliser that completed Sevilla’s comeback – he’d been hooked long before that.
While not directly at fault for any of Liverpool’s goals, Geis did not give a good account of himself against Liverpool’s high-flying attack.
Part of that was down to Sevilla’s midfield largely being invisible in the first half, leaving Geis and his fellow defenders exposed, but there were times when he looked like a deer caught in the headlights, not knowing what to do.
The German, who is on loan from Schalke, is rumoured to have caught the eye of some of Europe’s leading clubs but on this evidence he still needs improvement.
Harry Kane keeps getting the chance to match up against some of the world’s best goalscorers, and keeps coming out of those match-ups having credibly gone toe-to-toe against more renowned opponents. It was Cristiano Ronaldo in Spurs’ last two Champions League games, with Kane giving a good account of himself against Real Madrid, and on Tuesday night it was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Both the Borussia Dortmund striker and the Tottenham man got on the scoresheet, but it was Kane’s side who emerged victorious – and the Englishman can even claim the smallest of victories in his personal duel. Aubameyang was a handful in the first-half but had little impact in the second, while Kane was a menace throughout as Spurs came from behind to beat their hosts 2-1.
Here’s a closer look at how both players’ performances.
Goals – 1
Assists – 0
Shots – 3
Shots on Target – 1
Touches – 24
Pass Accuracy – 71%
Key Passes – 1
Dribbles – 0
Goals – 1
Assists – 0
Shots – 3
Shots on Target – 1
Touches – 28
Pass Accuracy – 71%
Key Passes – 1
Dribbles – 0
It was a tale of two halves for the Dortmund striker. In the opener he was brilliant, causing the Spurs defence all sorts of problems with his movement and overall pace. He probably should have had two goals before the break, and the game likely would have been quite different if he had managed to convert both his chances. As it was, Aubameyang converted one with an excellent finish to give Dortmund their half-time lead, but faded in the second-half along with the rest of his team as Spurs stepped up the pressure and turned the game around.
Kane was a terror for the Dortmund defence throughout. He was harshly denied a chance to score by the referee’s whistle after being adjudged to have fouled Marc Bartra when he dispossessed the Dortmund man high up the pitch – Kane was through on goal, and that usually only ends one way. The England marksman wasn’t to be denied, however, equalising for Spurs in the second period with a precise, low finish, and his run created the space for Heung-min Son’s winner.
19th min CHANCE: A glorious chance for Aubameyang to open the scoring. Andriy Yarmolenko’s superb pass over the top of Spurs’ defence found the Gabon striker, who slipped his marker with ease. With only the charging Hugo Lloris to beat, Aubameyang tried to slip the shot underneath the keeper’s legs but somehow managed to poke it wide.
31st min GOAL: 12 minutes later, Aubameyang made up for his earlier miss. Yet again the chance was due to brilliance from Yarmolenko, whose back-heeled flick put the striker through on goal. No mistake this time, as he powered an unerring finish past Lloris to give Dortmund a 1-0 lead.
35th min CHANCE: It was nearly the perfect scenario for Dortmund as they caught Spurs out on the counter, with Aubameyang charging into the box on the right. However, before he could get his shot away, Eric Dier put in a superb last-ditch tackle. The game would have been quite different had Dortmund gone 2-0 up.
17th min CHANCE: Technically, not even a chance, given it was called back by the referee’s whistle – albeit harshly. But it was a moment that showed what Kane’s all about. He led the Spurs press, as he usually does, and it seemed like he had cleanly dispossessed Bartra to fashion a chance for himself. Kane was through on goal but was called back as his energetic pressing was adjudged to have been a foul.
43rd min SHOT: It wasn’t Kane’s best moment, although it showed the confidence he has in his ability. Spurs had a free kick on the left wing, and it was by no way a shooting angle. But some players do score from there, and Kane backs himself to be able to find the back of the net, or, at the very least, shoot in a way that it could turn into a chance for someone else. This time, however, his low, drilled shot hit the wall.
49th min GOAL: A goal that typified both Spurs and Kane. Danny Rose – Spurs’ left-back, remember, but not at all going rogue by pressing high up the pitch – dispossessed Jeremy Toljan, letting Dele Alli pick up the ball. His pass found Kane, who created just enough space for himself to get a shot off. The precision in Kane’s strike beat Roman Burki in the small space available to the Dortmund keeper’s right.
If the Dortmund striker were to be judged solely on the first-half, his rating would be even higher, despite that early miss. Aubameyang went missing in the second, however, although that’s not entirely his fault – Spurs upped their game after the break and Dortmund couldn’t cope, often leaving their striker isolated. He was an absolute menace for the Tottenham back-line in the opening period, however, sending a reminder that he remains one of the world’s pre-eminent forwards.
And speaking of the list of the world’s pre-eminent forwards, if there’s anyone who still doubts Kane should be on there, there’s not much more he can do to convince them. He led the line with menace, pressing high to give the Dortmund defence fits, creating space and chances for his teammates, and taking his goal with aplomb. Modern centre-forward play doesn’t get much better.
The 30-year-old Messi scored two goals to help Barcelona to a comfortable 3-0 win over Juventus, last season’s finalists, at the Nou Camp in September.
Messi then scored a hat-trick in Ecuador to carry Argentina through to the 2018 World Cup.
Dybala was on the substitutes bench in Quito but the 24-year-old will be on the field in Turin where a win will ensure Juventus reaches the knockout rounds.
Barcelona lead Group D by three points with two rounds to go, and Ernesto Valverde’s side need only a draw to advance as group winners.
Dybala made a record-setting start to the Serie A season with 10 goals in six games before suffering a dip in form.
He got back on the scoresheet in the final seconds of Sunday’s 3-2 loss at Sampdoria, to bring his tally to 12 goals in 13 games.
Since arriving in Turin from Palermo in 2015, the player dubbed “The Jewel” has scored 56 goals in 112 games. But he has yet to open his tally in Europe this term.
Messi has hit three in the Champions League this season to join Ronaldo in the exclusive club of players who have scored 100 goals in European competition.
“MESSI LIKE MARADONA”
Diminutive, dynamic and with a deadly left foot like his idol, Dybala names Messi as a source of inspiration, although he has also spoken about how difficult it is to play alongside the superstar in the Argentine national team.
Dybala said he had been misinterpreted, adding that Messi had laughed off the comments when he tried to explain.
“Leo is like Maradona for those of our generation,” Dybala told France football. “For me it’s an honour to play with him in the national team.”
“He dragged us to the World Cup with the hat-trick in Ecuador. He is a born leader.”
Dybala has said that he would like one day play alongside Messi’s former Barcelona team-mate Neymar Jr. The pair have long been tipped as heirs to Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who have dominated world soccer’s annual awards in recent years.
“I have to work to improve and win trophies. Once, in front of a bonfire with friends we all made a wish – my own was to win the Ballon d’Or.”
As for his future at six-time defending Serie A champions, he added: “In football you never know, but I’m not thinking of going away.”
Barca are in top form having won 11 and drawn one of 12 domestic matches this season to sit four points ahead of Valencia in La Liga.
Juventus, after their setback at Sampdoria, are third in Serie A.