Becker’s brace deceived the Germans, who were fooled in injury time by Andre Castro’s goal. The Basques close the game already in the first half with Oyarzabal and Mendez
3 October – MILAN
One step away from history. It was actually a nightmare. At individual but also club level. In Napoli’s group, Union Berlin was overturned 3-2 by Braga in the first match ever played at home in the Champions League. The Germans had taken the lead with Becker’s brace (30′ and 37′), but were taken back by the Portuguese, who scored with Niakaté (41′) and Bruma (51′), before the 3-2 Castro in the 94th minute. The goal disallowed against Gosens at the start of the match weighs heavily. In Inter’s group, however, Salzburg suffered a 2-0 defeat at home by Real Sociedad: Oyarzabal (7′) and Mendez (27′) scored. The club controlled by Red Bull struggled a lot with Spanish ball possession, never managing to really put their opponents in difficulty.
Bonucci is confirmed as the starter, with Gosens wide on the wing and Becker at the center of the attack. The Berliners started off very strong, with Gosens being ready and throwing the ball into the goal from a few steps away. However, the goal was disallowed due to a previous offside. The Germans, who are experiencing a moment of difficulty (5 defeats in a row), still play on the wings of enthusiasm, carried away by the cheering. In the 13th minute Bonucci was booked for an overly decisive tackle on Banza. Union pushes with conviction and scores the goal in the 30th minute, with Becker: Juranovic steals the ball at the edge, the ball reaches the striker who sends it between Matheus’ legs for 1-0. The 2-0 is very banal: from a long ball it is Tousart who pushes the ball and triggers Becker who from the right is centralized and beats the opposing goalkeeper again with his left. Braga, however, has the merit of responding precisely in the moment of greatest difficulty: in the 41st minute, on a corner action, Union poorly clears the area, Horta shoots towards goal, Ronnow blocks but Niakaté reiterates his goal from two steps. The equalizer comes again from a corner: after an interesting scheme it is Bruma who frees himself for the shot and electrocutes Ronnow. Union, after a good moment from Braga, regained courage towards the end (Volland wasted a good opportunity) and, paradoxically, it was bad: in the 94th minute, in fact, the third goal from the Portuguese also arrived. Ruiz controls the ball which then reaches Bruma, who serves the substitute Castro, very coldly, from about 20 meters, to kick into the corner. And for Union the home debut in the Champions League, which initially seemed perfect, turns into a nightmare.
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The Spaniards played the game from start to finish, overwhelming Salzburg: just think that in the 7th minute, with Oyarzabal’s goal, it was already the third opportunity for Real Sociedad. The opening goal itself is significant and highlights Salzburg’s bad day: the Austrian defense was in fact left to watch the opponent control the ball and place it, without pressure, in the far corner. Slowly the hosts try to raise the center of gravity, but are punished on the counterattack: Kubo launches Mendez who from midfield arrives directly in the area without being attacked, and beats the opposing goalkeeper. Salzburg is also unlucky, with the VAR deciding to remove a penalty initially awarded (contact between Simic and Merino), which could have changed the match. In reality, however, Salzburg is unable to kick towards the opponent’s goal, and gives up without ever really giving the sensation of being able to get back into the game.
October 3, 2023 (modified October 3, 2023 | 8:54 pm)
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