The UEFA Championship experienced a thrilling Tuesday as world class clubs competed and tried to outdo each other. Arsenal astonished Napoli, defeating them 2-0. Another former gunner scored the winner as Barcelona struggled to defeat Scottish club Celtic 1-0 in their match of revenge.
Considering the previous week’s sudden loss to Napoli, Arsenal was in tune from the start of the match at Emirates Stadium. Their $42 million signing Mesut Ozil had the first shot on target in the eighth minute. It was his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League. Soon after, another gorgeous Gunner, Frenchman Olivier Giroud, doubled the lead in the 15th minute. Before the match, Ozil tweeted on his previous club mates, now rivals Higuain and Albiol. But truly he had no present for them as he tweeted, “Sorry guys, we don’t have presents.”
After the sudden lose to FC Basel in their previous Champions League match, Mourinho’s Chelsea didn’t find it hard to play in tune. They smashed Bucharest 4-0 with two goals from Ramires, one goal from Frank Lampard and another own goal. Chelsea recently established themselves as a giant of Europe after winning UFEA Europa and the UFEA Champions League. Now it’s their biggest challenge to go with that flow and win the competition once again. As Arsenal humbled Napoli, Chelsea might face a strong challenge from the English side if both of them advance.
Barcelona struggled to clinch the much awaited revenge against Celtic at Celtic Park. The late winner in the 87th minuted from Cesc Fabregas sealed the game but a lot of question marks remain for the Spaniards. Lionel Messi was out due to injury and it was probably the biggest chance for Barca to show that they’re not just a one-man army. Mighty Barca still haven’t silenced the criticism. They have other world class footballers like Neymar, Pedro, Fabregas and Alexis but they somehow lack the zest. Barcelona may have beaten Celtic but it wasn’t easy for them. Barcelona is losing their charm very quickly. So, they need to regain the fading glory to be up there with other champs like Bayern Munich and Chelsea.
Tuesday was a night of hope and hopelessness in Europe. Champions battled and won, but lost in their own way. What did supporters gain? It was supposed to be a clash of Titans, but the glory was much less. Viewers saw a series of goals but it was only a recycling of known teams, except Celtic. It seems that Europe won’t get a new champion this year. The good teams will reach the quarter finals, and the better ones will reach the semis. It is a platform where good teams will go automatically to the next stages without much effort. Still, we have to rejoice in their glory, while mediocre teams will go on struggling against furious, world class sides in their groups.
Written by: Jayeeta Shamsul