Club Brugge 2-0 Atletico Madrid: Group B leaders maintain perfect Champions League record

By Sports Desk October 04, 2022

Goals from Kamal Soweh and Ferran Jutgla enabled Club Brugge to maintain their perfect Champions League record with a 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.

The Belgian champions made it three Group B victories out of three at Jan Breydel Stadium to move another step closer to securing a surprise spot in the last 16.

Soweh was on target in the first half and Jutgla doubled the lead for Carl Hoefkens' side, who are six points clear at the summit.

Antoine Griezmann missed a penalty as Atleti suffered a defeat that leaves them bottom of the group, but level on three points with Porto and Bayer Leverkusen with three matches to play.

The early signs were promising for the LaLiga side, with Griezmann forcing a save from Simon Mignolet with the best chance of the first quarter.

But Brugge shrewdly grew into the match, and when Sowah nudged home Jutgla's cross from close range, they had a deserved lead 36 minutes in.

Atletico made a bright start to the second half, but Jutgla stunned them by rifling home after the visitors failed to clear.

A spot-kick for a foul on Matheus Cunha presented a route back into the match, but Griezmann's effort struck the woodwork, summing up a poor night for Diego Simeone's men.

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    Portugal will be on a revenge mission when they attempt to make it two World Cup wins out of two against Uruguay on Monday.

    La Celeste dumped Portugal out of the World Cup with a 2-1 victory at the round of 16 stage in Sochi four years ago.

    Edinson Cavani's double ended Portugal's quest to be crowned champions in 2018, with Uruguay then losing 2-0 in a quarter-final against France.

    Fernando Santos' side took their first step towards the knockout stage in Qatar by beating Ghana 3-2 on Thursday after Uruguay had been held to a goalless draw by South Korea.

    Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring from the penalty spot to become the first man to find the back of the net in five World Cups.

    It was by no means all plain sailing for Portugal, though, and goalkeeper Diogo Costa almost gifted Ghana a last-gasp equaliser when he rolled the ball out and was robbed by Inaki Williams, but breathed a huge sigh of relief when the forward slipped.

    Forward Goncalo Ramos knows Portugal face a big test when they face Diego Alonso's men in their second Group H match at Lusail Stadium 

    He told reporters on Saturday: "They are very strong and dangerous. [Diego] Godín is a great player, but picking out individuals in a team with so much quality, it's not worth it."

    Ramos added: "I think a team with our quality has to be favourites in any game. A draw? We don't look at any game thinking about a draw."

    Uruguay could become the first team to keep six consecutive World Cup group stage clean sheets in Al Daayen.

    Portugal have lost just one of their past 13 group stage games at the World Cup, that loss coming at the hands of Germany in 2014

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Portugal - Bruno Fernandes

    While it was Ronaldo who took the headlines yet again following the win over Ghana, Bruno Fernandes played a huge part and he can help Portugal dictate the tempo against Uruguay.

    The midfielder provided the passes for Joao Felix to put Portugal in front for a second time, and for Rafael Leao to make it 3-1.

    Fernandes created more chances than any of his team-mates and became only the second Portugal player to provide two assists in a World Cup match after Jose Torres against Brazil back in 1966.

    Uruguay - Federico Valverde

    While Uruguay were toothless in a drab draw with South Korea, Federico Valverde did his best to get them going.

    The Real Madrid midfielder struck the woodwork late on and showed the quality that has made him an important player for the European champions.

    Valverde is capable of causing Portugal problems in such a big game for La Celeste as they eye a spot in the round of 16.

    PREDICTION

    Portugal are well fancied to be sitting pretty on six points with one group match to play.

    Stats Perform's AI model has Santos' men down as having a 50.5 per cent chance of making it two victories from as many matches.

    Uruguay's chances of claiming a first win of the tournament are rated at 23.4 per cent, while a draw is 26.1 per cent.

  • Croatia 4-1 Canada: Russia finalists hit form to eliminate inexperienced entertainers Croatia 4-1 Canada: Russia finalists hit form to eliminate inexperienced entertainers

    Canada were eliminated from the World Cup after just two matches despite again playing their part in an entertaining encounter as Croatia won 4-1 at Khalifa International Stadium.

    Back at the finals after 36 years away, Canada thrilled in their opening game against Belgium, only to be narrowly beaten.

    It looked to be a similar story again on Sunday, although Croatia were ultimately deserving winners after two goals from Andrej Kramaric and one each from Marko Livaja and Lovro Majer overturned an early Canada lead.

    Alphonso Davies' opener was his country's first goal at a World Cup, but five defeats from five ends their hopes of progression as Croatia join Morocco on four points in Group F.

    That wait for a breakthrough goal extended only 67 seconds into Canada's fifth finals match, with Davies meeting Tajon Buchanan's cross to head the fastest goal of the tournament so far.

    Croatia soon took control, however, and after Milan Borjan twice denied Livaja either side of a disallowed Kramaric goal, two goals ahead of half-time turned the game on its head.

    Borjan had no answer to Kramaric, who squeezed in another finish, and Livaja got his goal with a low effort from the edge of the box.

    John Herdman's men came out for the second half with renewed optimism and went close through both substitute Jonathan Osorio and Jonathan David, but Kramaric continued to threaten and clinically picked out the bottom-left corner to settle it.

    There was time for Croatia to add further gloss as poor Kamal Miller miscontrolled on halfway and gave Mislav Orsic a clear run to advance and unselfishly square to Majer.

    What does it mean? Canada prove unsuccessful entertainers

    Canada's tennis team clinched Davis Cup glory just before kick-off, and their countrymen did not have to wait long to celebrate again. After 50 shots without success across their prior four World Cup games, their 51st found the net through Davies.

    But Croatia were themselves more effective in attack than Belgium had been and recovered from that setback to win comfortably, picking holes in the Canada defence with consummate ease.

    Kramaric leads comeback

    Kramaric showed his class in scoring with two of five attempts, displaying the sort of ruthless touch in front of goal that would have delivered Canada victory against Belgium, if not in this game.

    This was the second match at this tournament to see a team concede first but lead before half-time, the other seeing Croatia's 2018 final conquerors France rally past Australia.

    Such a swift turnaround did not occur once over the previous five World Cups combined.

    Centurion looks his age

    It is rare Luka Modric, at 37, is some way short of being the oldest man in a midfield battle, but Atiba Hutchinson, at 39, is the second-oldest outfield player to play at a World Cup.

    While Hutchinson also became the first player to appear 100 times for Canada on Sunday, all that experience could not make up for a lack of pace that gave Croatia the run of the midfield.

    What's next?

    Canada are out but can still impact the rest of the group, facing Morocco as Croatia play Belgium in a winner-takes-all meeting on Thursday.

  • Belgium 0-2 Morocco: Saiss and Aboukhlal sink Red Devils for famous World Cup win Belgium 0-2 Morocco: Saiss and Aboukhlal sink Red Devils for famous World Cup win

    A superb second-half performance from Morocco secured a famous 2-0 World Cup victory against Belgium at Al Thumama Stadium on Sunday.

    Victory for Roberto Martinez's side would have seen the 2018 semi-finalists become the second side to book their spot in the knockout stage, alongside France, but the Red Devils fell short.

    Having seen a first-half free-kick from Hakim Ziyech disallowed, the same tactic provided dividends in the second period as Abdelhamid Sabiri's dangerous ball took a slight touch off team-mate Romain Saiss to put Morocco on course for just a third win in their World Cup history.

    The win was then secured in the final minutes of the game, Zakaria Aboukhlal smashing home from close range after Ziyech's fine work to leave Group F wide open with one round of games to go.

    Belgium saw the majority of possession early on and dictated play, Michy Batshuayi forcing an early save from Munir Mohamedi, who came into the side as a very late change for Yassine Bounou.

    Having been on the back foot for the majority, Morocco thought they had scored on the brink of half-time as Ziyech's free-kick found its way into the net, but Saiss was offside and adjudged to have blocked Thibaut Courtois' line of sight.

    Lightning struck twice for Martinez's side after the break, as Sabiri whipped in a dangerous free-kick from the left to the near post which found its way past Courtois via a faint touch off Saiss, who was awarded the goal, with no offside flag to save Belgium this time.

    Any hope of a late fightback from Belgium was wiped away in added time, Ziyech winning the ball off a poor touch from Axel Witsel and teeing up Aboukhlal to smash home.

     

    What does it mean? Belgium's fine run ends

    Winning their past eight group-stage matches at the World Cup, victory would have seen Belgium set an outright record in that regard, while they had not lost at this stage of the tournament since 1994.

    Morocco, with just two wins from 17 previous fixtures at the tournament (D6, L9), were largely unfancied before a ball was kicked in a group that contained two semi-finalists from Russia 2018, but they have avoided defeat against both.

    A famous triumph inflicted Belgium's first ever defeat to an African nation at the World Cup, and Morocco now just need a point against Canada to reach the knockout stage for the first time since 1986.

    Moroccan magic

    Heading into the game, Morocco had failed to score in 53 per cent of their World Cup matches (9/17), which stood as the joint-highest percentage of any nation to have played at least 10 matches in the tournament.

    While chances from open play were limited, Morocco's effectiveness from set-pieces proved crucial, with the same move against Belgium working twice – though the first was ruled out.

    Disappointing De Bruyne

    Usually one to pull the strings in midfield, Morocco's fine organisation left Kevin De Bruyne's influence on the match being limited, the Manchester City man creating just one chance for his team during the game.

    De Bruyne ended up being the man at the end of attacking sequences for Martinez's side, with more shots (three) than any of his team-mates but failing to hit the target with any, while also losing possession on a game-high 27 occasions.

    Key Opta facts

    - Belgium have lost seven of their past 19 matches in all competitions (W9 D3), as many defeats as they had suffered across their previous 74 games combined (W57 D10).
    - Morocco's victory over Belgium was their first win in five games at the World Cup (D2 L2). Meanwhile, it was the first time that they had recorded consecutive clean sheets at the World Cup since 1986.
    - Belgium are just the third side to lose their 50th game at the World Cup, after England in 2002 (v Brazil) and Spain in 2010 (v Switzerland), though the latter went on to win the tournament that year.
    - The Red Devils have only scored fewer goals after two games at a World Cup once before (none in 1930) – they had scored eight goals across their first two games in 2018.

    What's next?

    Morocco tackle Canada in their final group match on Thursday, knowing a draw will be enough to secure a spot in the knockout stage, while Belgium lock horns with Croatia on the same day.

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