La Liga Clubs (Mainly) Impress In Midweek Champions League Action

By Ralph Chery


La Liga teams won three of their four matches of the second round of the UEFA Champions League this week. 


Wissam Ben Yedder scored a hat-trick to lead Sevilla to a 3-0 win over Maribor in Group E. Real Madrid conquered German giants 3-1 away from home through Cristiano Ronaldo’s brace and Gareth Bale’s opener over in Group H.


Barcelona had an unconvincing 1-0 victory over Sporting CP, thanks to Sebastian Coastes’ own goal drawn by Luis Suarez in Group D.


Atletico Madrid were the only losing side as they fell to English champions Chelsea 2-1 at home through a heartbreaking 94th-minute goal scored by Michy Batshuayi in Group C.


Yedder started his hat-trick for Seville in the 27th minute with an easy tap-in into an empty net from Joaquin Corres’ square pass. Corres had made a breathtaking run through four Maribor players before setting up the Frenchman.


And for his second goal Yedder let Franco Vazquez’s through pass roll past him in the box before pacing to the ball to squeeze it to the lower right corner of the net from a tight angle nine minutes later. The 27-year-old completed his hat trick with an 83rd-minute spot kick.


Yedder is the first-ever Sevilla player to score a hat-trick in the Champions League.  The striker was obviously pleased with his feat, especially considering the fact he had not played much in CL before.


“I’m very happy with the hat-trick, it is also great news for the team,” Yedder said. “We won the game and we are extremely happy with the result. It is my first hat-trick in the Champions League, a competition in which I have not played a lot, and I am very happy. I will carry home this Champions League ball that is very beautiful.”


Sevilla sits on top of Group E after their win over the Slovenian team. As for Yedder, he’s now the second top scorer of the CL with four goals in two games—the forward hit all of his seven shots in the tournament on target.


Elsewhere Bale opened the scoring for Real Madrid in their game against Dortmund in the 18th minute after the referee failed to call a hand-ball on Sergio Ramos four minutes earlier. The Welshman’s opener was a low-volley set up by Daniel Carvajal.


Five minutes after the restart Bale went from scorer to provider as he hit a low cross to Ronaldo, who took one touch to put the ball in the net. The Portuguese star was scoreless in his previous two matches. He found the net again in the 79th minute, unleashing a bullet to the bottom left corner of the net from a tight angle in the box.  Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted BVB’s lone goal.


Tuesday victory was Real’s first win over Borussia Dortmund in Germany.


“It’s just three more points, but it’s a win at a ground where we’d never managed to claim victory before and that now gives us six points in the Champions League,” head coach Zinedine Zidane said.


Los Blancos jump to Group H with a perfect two-win start. The European champions haven’t lost a group stage game in five years.


Barcelona also managed to win their first two CL games but with a substandard performance. Coates deflected Suarez’s header into his own net in the 49th minute for the only goal of the match.


“It was a bit hard for us,” Andreas Iniesta admitted. “But this is the Champions League and the away matches are difficult.”


Sergi Roberto also spoke of the away victory.


“Away wins are always important,” the Spaniard said. “We’re glad to have three more points. There are always things to improve but as long as we’re winning we are always going to be happier.”


Over in Madrid, Antoine Griezmann scored a 40th-minute penalty to put Atletico ahead against Chelsea. The Frenchman’s goal was cancelled out by an in-from Alvaro Morata an hour into the game.


It looked as if both sides would walk off the pitch with a point but Batshuayi scored a 93rd minute goal for the English side as he finished steering Marco Alonso’s square pass to the bottom right corner from inside the six-yard box.


Diego Simeone’s men drop to third place in Group C and are winless in their two CL matches.


Madrid host Tottenham and their in-form striker Harry Kane on Oct. 17th. in the next round. Spurs also won their first two matches.


Meanwhile Sevilla travels to winless Spartak Moscow in their next game, also on Oct. 17th.


And for the next round of Wednesday fixtures  Barcelona will host Olympiakos while Atletico travel to Azerbaijan to take on Qarabag FK at noon. Both of the La Liga teams’ opponents are winless in the tournament.


Atletico Madrid’s Lucas Hernandez (left) and Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata in action