Matchday four of the 2019-20 Champions League season was one of the most dramatic yet with 56 goals, six red cards and plenty of action aside from that.
Arguably the most madcap of the 16 midweek matches came at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea recovered from three goals down to rescue a 4-4 draw against nine-man Ajax, only being denied a remarkable winner by VAR.
Dinamo Zagreb‘s game against Shakhtar Donetsk ran it close for entertainment, though, with both sides being reduced to 10 men in a 3-3 draw which saw Zagreb score twice in the final 10 minutes of normal time only for Shakhtar to hit back with two goals of their own in stoppage time.
Borussia Dortmund fought back from two goals down to beat Inter Milan 3-2 at the Westfalenstadion to continue the theme of comebacks, while it was only a late flurry of goals which saw Valencia past Lille on Tuesday night.
There was also the peculiar and always-entertaining sight of an outfield player going in goal when Kyle Walker donned the gloves for Manchester City, making more saves then both Ederson and Claudio Bravo combined as the English champions were held to a 1-1 draw by Atalanta BC.
Fellow Premier League high-fliers Liverpool also found things difficult in a 2-1 win over Genk, but things were more straightforward for Tottenham Hotspur as they ended their away woes with a 4-0 thrashing of Red Star Belgrade.
Real Madrid were also big winners against Galatasaray, but Barcelona laboured in a goalless stalemate at home to Slavia Prague.
The likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Juventus had no such trouble as they became the first three teams to book their places in the knockout stages of the competition.
Here, Sports Mole selects its Champions League team of the week for matchday four.
PSG’s passage into the last 16 was confirmed by a narrow 1-0 win over Club Brugge on Wednesday night, but they needed Keylor Navas to keep that lead intact. The summer signing produced a fine double-stop to keep the visitors at bay before then saving a penalty to seal his place in this week’s team.
While Navas was instrumental in keeping goals out, in front of him is a goal-laden team this week. Three of the back four were on the scoresheet in their games, with Joachim Andersen giving Lyon the lead early against Benfica and Sergio Ramos pulling off a trademark Panenka penalty for Madrid’s third goal after only 14 minutes at the Bernabeu.
Achraf Hakimi, playing at right-back, went one better than that for Dortmund with a brace against Inter Milan, leading the second-half fightback by first pulling a goal back and then grabbing the winner 13 minutes from time.
Marcelo is the odd one out in the defensive quartet having not found the back of the net himself, although he still had a big impact going forward with two assists in Madrid’s mauling of Galatasaray – enough for him to edge Danny Rose out for a place in the XI.
Chelsea’s match against Ajax was a bonkers game and one which certainly did not paint Jorginho in a great light defensively given Ajax’s scything football through the Chelsea team at times. However, the Italy international kept his nerve twice from the penalty spot and was his usual efficient self in the passing stakes with 92% accuracy.
The likes of Geoffrey Kondogbia, Toni Kroos, Julian Brandt and Tanguy Ndombele all deserve honourable mentions for a place in midfield too, but the second spot in this week’s team goes to Diego Demme, who not only scored the opening goal for RB Leipzig against Zenit St Petersburg but also helped keep the hosts at bay in the second half.
Plenty of eyes were trained on Son Heung-min this week following his role in Andre Gomes‘s horror injury on Sunday, and the Tottenham man provided a perfect response with two goals against Red Star. Indeed, he should have had at least a hat-trick having also hit the woodwork and seen one cleared off the line in Belgrade.
Incidentally, those latter two incidents both happened during a manic build-up to Giovani Lo Celso‘s goal in that game, with the Argentine finally ending the pinball to mark his full debut for the club in style.
The standout individual performance of the matchday came from 18-year-old Real Madrid starlet Rodrygo, who became the second-youngest player to score a Champions League hat-trick, helped by the fastest brace in the competition’s history after only seven minutes. Ramos’s penalty denied him the chance to make it a 14-minute treble, but Rodrygo did get his third goal in stoppage time to wrap up what was a perfect hat-trick.
The Brazilian also added an assist to his contribution by setting up Karim Benzema, who went on to score a second as well as providing an assist of his own. The Frenchman is now only the second player after Lionel Messi to have scored in 15 successive Champions League seasons, while his 50 goals in the competition for Madrid surpasses club icon Alfredo di Stefano.
It was impossible to leave Son, Rodrygo and Benzema out of this week’s team, but there are others who deserve a mention too – namely Robert Lewandowski, Junior Moraes, Houssem Aouar, Lorenzo Insigne and Jadon Sancho.