Club Brugge 0-0 Galatasaray: Honours even in game of missed chances

By Sports Desk September 18, 2019

Club Brugge's unbeaten run in the Champions League continued but they could not find a way through Galatasaray in a frustrating 0-0 draw.

Brugge exited last season's competition in the group stage but went on a streak of four successive games without defeat to end their participation in the tournament.

They had much the better of Wednesday's Group A encounter at the Jan Breydel Stadium but wasted too many opportunities in a game they deserved more from.

The stalemate does little for the hopes of two teams expected to be battling for the Europa League place in a group containing heavyweights Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.

Brugge dominated from the off and should have led in the eighth minute when Emmanuel Bonaventure Dennis had the goal at his mercy but could only meet Ruud Vormer's cross with a woefully off-target header.

Matej Mitrovic then shouldered a free-kick over the crossbar and Brugge were almost made to pay for their profligacy, Gala's Ryan Babel unable to beat Simon Mignolet after a defensive mistake sent him through on goal.

There was more frustration for Brugge as Federico Ricca hit the crossbar on the half-volley at the end of a counter-attack after a pass deflected into his path, with Dennis then wasting another gilt-edged chance, collecting a long ball only to drag wide with just goalkeeper Fernando Muslera to beat.

Muslera came to Gala's rescue twice in quick succession, first to again deny Dennis before then keeping out David Okereke's header with a superb diving save.

Sofiane Feghouli clipped the top of the crossbar with a curling effort and Yuto Nagatomo fired wide from long range but Gala could not claim a victory they would not have merited.

 

What does it mean? Stalemate benefits nobody

In a group where the odds are stacked against them with Madrid and PSG expected to progress, the onus was on one of these clubs to earn a positive result to boost hopes of becoming a surprise package. Despite Brugge's best efforts, neither side did so and they each figure to be counting the cost of that failure come the next round of fixtures.

Muslera preserves point

Brugge would have had taken maximum points if not for the reflexes of Uruguay keeper Muslera, whose fine two saves early in the second half proved pivotal.

Dennis lacks menace

Nigerian striker Dennis has already found the net three times this season but he was guilty of spurning several chances to put Brugge ahead before being substituted in the second half. A better side would have punished his wastefulness.

What's next?

Brugge must now turn their attention to the rather large matter of a crunch domestic clash with Anderlecht. Their next Champions League assignment is at the Santiago Bernabeu against Madrid. Gala visit Yeni Malatyaspor before a huge league match with Fenerbahce. They welcome PSG to Istanbul on October 1.

Related items

  • Big Match Focus: Manchester United v Liverpool (Sunday 16:30 BST) Big Match Focus: Manchester United v Liverpool (Sunday 16:30 BST)

    Liverpool could equal an English top-flight record in grand fashion when their title assault takes them to a wounded Manchester United on Sunday.

    The Premier League leaders are sure to target three points knowing victory against their bitter rivals would be the perfect way to level Manchester City's benchmark of 18 consecutive wins at this level.

    Recent trips to Old Trafford have not been particularly profitable but the Red Devils, beaten 1-0 by Newcastle United last time out, look to be little more than a mid-table outfit at present.

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men will not have won a match inside 90 minutes for a month in all competitions by the time the game kicks off, and the expected absence of David de Gea presents a further hurdle.

     

    POTENTIAL BREAKTHROUGHS FOR KLOPP AND SALAH

    Liverpool have won five Premier League matches at Old Trafford but none under Jurgen Klopp.

    The German's three draws and single defeat in four attempts add up to his longest winless streak in away games against a Premier League opponent.

    He might never have a better opportunity to halt the trend.

    United are lurching from one bitter blow to another and have laboured in home games against Crystal Palace, Astana, Rochdale and Arsenal this season, losing to the Eagles.

    Those subpar showings, coupled with Liverpool's own outstanding form, will have Klopp's men supremely confident of delivering victory for their manager.

    But with the missed chance of last season's 0-0 draw still fresh in the memory, there will be pressure on the visitors to take the initiative in attack.

    Mohamed Salah, who is recovering from an ankle injury, will hope to be fit as he, like Klopp, has something to prove in this fixture.

    Though prolific since his arrival on Merseyside, the Egyptian has failed to either score or assist a single goal in each of his four Premier League appearances against United.

    HEAD-TO-HEAD: SCOTT MCTOMINAY V FABINHO

    Scott McTominay this week shared insights into his warm relationship with Jose Mourinho, and the Scotland international will hope to make his former manager proud in a key battle.

    His opposite number, Fabinho, provides just the kind of shield United's defence will need if Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are to be kept quiet.

    Liverpool's midfield anchor has won 12 tackles this term, five more than McTominay, at a success rate of 60 per cent.

    McTominay's tackle success rate, at 44 per cent, is less impressive and, while the 22-year-old has certainly been one of United's best performers this season, his numbers lag behind Fabinho's in several departments.

    The Brazilian has created three more scoring chances in 61 fewer minutes on the pitch and his passing accuracy of 87 per cent is comfortably superior to McTominay's 81 per cent.

    FORM GUIDE

    Liverpool's long Premier League winning streak dates back to March and includes away wins over Southampton, Burnley, Chelsea and Sheffield United this season.

    James Milner's last-gasp penalty kept the run alive in a hard-earned 2-1 triumph over Leicester City at Anfield before the international break.

    United, meanwhile, are searching for answers following a string of lacklustre performances since outmuscling Chelsea on the opening weekend.

    The four goals scored that day hinted at a bright future but United have failed to net more than once in any of their subsequent 10 matches in all competitions.

    HISTORY SAYS…

    Victory will not come easily for Liverpool, who have not travelled to Old Trafford while top of the table since October 1996.

    On that occasion, a David Beckham goal gave United a 1-0 win.

    Results more recently have been similarly close, with four of the past six Premier League meetings ending level.

    Liverpool, the heavy favourites, must snap a five-match winless streak in away games against United in order to preserve their perfect start in the league.

  • Rumour Has It: Allegri 'very close' to Man United, but Spurs remain interested Rumour Has It: Allegri 'very close' to Man United, but Spurs remain interested

    Uncertainty surrounds Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after a woeful start to the season and he could find himself in danger of dismissal.

    United have won only two of their first eight Premier League games of 2019-20 and head into Sunday's visit of Liverpool 15 points adrift of the pacesetters.

    While Solskjaer insists he still has the board's backing, there have been suggestions the club has identified a replacement.

     

    TOP STORY – ALLEGRI 'VERY CLOSE' TO UNITED

    Former Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri is said to be a primary target for Manchester United.

    Italian publication Tuttosport claims contact with Allegri – who left the Old Lady at the end of last season – has "intensified" in recent days.

    They go as far as saying Allegri is "very close to United", with the contest against Liverpool seemingly crucial.

    However, United are not the only club interested in Allegri. Tuttosport also believes Tottenham are keeping tabs on him.

    Mauricio Pochettino is another man under pressure following a difficult few months, though the report suggests Spurs will have to make their minds up quickly if they are to gazump United.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - The Daily Mail believes Solskjaer is relatively safe despite Allegri's lurking, however. It says United are looking to bolster the squad with six major signings over the next two transfer windows. Among the targets are Mario Mandzukic, Saul Niguez, Moussa Dembele and James Maddison.

    - Mandzukic's wage demands could prevent a move to Old Trafford, however. Despite being 33 and entering the twilight of his career, the Croatian wants to be the club's fourth highest-paid player, according to the Sun.

    - Arsenal's plan for the future, according to AS, involves persuading Real Madrid to sell Dani Ceballos, a deal that would result in Mesut Ozil being sold.

    - Meanwhile, the Daily Mail also claims the Gunners also want to sign highly-rated Athletic Bilbao centre-back Unai Nunez, 22, with Everton set to rival them for the £30million-rated defender.

    - Paris Saint-Germain are hopeful of securing new deals for Juan Bernat and Marquinhos, L'Equipe believes.

    - Roma are set to bid farewell to Javier Pastore in January, with the Serie A side telling him he is free to leave, as per Calciomercato. A move to China, Brazil or his native Argentina appears likely.

  • Wellington Phoenix sign former Premier League striker Gary Hooper Wellington Phoenix sign former Premier League striker Gary Hooper

    Wellington Phoenix have completed the signing of former Premier League striker Gary Hooper.

    The 31-year-old joins on a one-year deal after being released by Sheffield Wednesday at the end of the 2018-19 season.

    Phoenix will be hoping Hooper can fill the void left by last term's Golden Boot-winner Roy Krishna, who departed at the end of last season to join Indian Super League club ATK.

    Hooper brings a wealth of experience from English football and the Scottish Premiership, where he arguably enjoyed his most impressive spell, scoring 82 goals over three seasons with Celtic.

    "His CV on paper is arguably the most impressive of any Wellington Phoenix player to date and I have no doubt he will contribute," Wellington Phoenix general manager David Dome told the club's website.

    "I'm sure that football fans across Australia and New Zealand will be thrilled to see a player like Gary in action for Wellington.

    "It's been no secret that we've been searching incredibly hard for a striker this season and we're extremely pleased to sign someone of the highest calibre."

    Hooper will not be ready to make his debut in time for the weekend's clash at Sydney FC but will be available for the Phoenix's home match against Perth Glory in round three.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.