UCL Qualifiers: Villarreal Beaten at Home by Monaco; Porto Draw with Roma; Celtic Score Five
Fran Escriba’s first competitive debut ended in a disappointing loss
Monaco was without several key players for this game, such as: Roberto Soldado, Cedric Bakambu, Victor Ruiz, Jaume Costa, Denis Cheryshev, and Jonathan Dos Santos. They were out due to injury, while the new boy — Nicola Sansone — wasn’t eligible to participate due to his involvement with his old club Sassuolo in Europa League qualifiers earlier this month.
Monaco were also without their injured star man Radamel Falcao, but that didn’t stop them from taking an early lead. Villarreal’s Alfred N’Diaye brought down Thomas Lemar illegally in the box in the 3rd minute of the match and Fabinho converted the penalty calmly.
Villarreal controlled the rest of the first half and equalized when their new purchase — Alexandre Pato — headed the ball into the net from close range.
The second half saw Monaco play better, while Villarreal looked rather unmotivated and tired. Bernardo Silva ran past several Villarreal players before putting the ball past keeper — Sergio Asenjo — to give Monaco the lead on 72nd minute.
Benjamin Mendy was sent off for Monaco in the 86th minute, but the Yellow Submarines failed to capitalize on this opportunity. Escriba’s men will now have a mountain to climb in the second leg if they want to qualify for the Champions League.
Porto and Roma settled for a draw in Estadio do Dragao
The visitors were the ones who took the lead when Porto defender Felipe scored an unfortunate own goal during a corner kick in 36th minute.
However, things turned into the hosts’ favor when Roma’s new signing Thomas Vermaelen was sent off for receiving two yellow cards in 41st minute, reducing them to 10 men for the rest of the game.
Another huge decision from the referee went towards the hosts’ way when Roma’s left back Emerson touched the ball with his hands in his own 18 yard box, resulting in a penalty for Porto in 61st minute.
Andre Silva kept his cool to convert the penalty and earned the equalizer for Porto.
Scottish champions Celtic scored five past Israeli champions Hapoel Be’er Sheva
The hosts came out strong in front of a packed house in Celtic Park, scoring three in the first 45 minutes.
The second half saw Brendan Rodgers’ men switched off for a bit, as the Israeli side scored twice in just two minutes to make the scoreline 3-2.
However, Celtic got themselves back into a three goal lead when Mousa Dembele and Scott Brown scored one goal each to end the game 5-2.
In other games, Irish champions Dundalk fell 2-0 at home to Polish champions Legia Warsaw.
Bulgarian champions Ludogorets Razgrad defeated Czech champions Viktoria Plzen to close out the first legs of third round Champions League qualifiers.