WINDHOEK, OCT. 22 – The meetings of Manchester United v Juventus, Barcelona v Internatzionale and Borussia Dortmund v Atletico Madrid are the pick of match-day three clashes in the UEFA Champions League on 23 and 24 October.
The United v Juve clash at Old Trafford on Tuesday night is a throwback to one of the best rivalries in European football around the turn of the century – most memorably in the semifinals of the 1998/99 UEFA Champions League when the Red Devils won 4-3 on aggregate and went on to win the tournament and complete an unprecedented treble.
One of the main narratives heading into this clash is the return to Old Trafford of Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese was controversially sent off against Valencia last month, but UEFA banned him for just one match, meaning he will be available to play against the team where he established himself as one of the world’s best players.
Ronaldo, though, comes into the game under something of a cloud given the recent rape allegations which have emerged against him. The 33-year-old will look to find his escape on the pitch and is set to be given a warm welcome by United fans – much as he was when he played against the Red Devils in the colours of Real Madrid back in 2013.
Barcelona v Inter Milan at the Camp Nou on Wednesday is another potential thriller, not just because it pits La Liga’s champions against one of Serie A’s heavyweights, but also as it could go a long way in deciding who wins Group B. Both teams have a full haul of six points and will be keen to open up some daylight at the top of the log.
Inter boast two African stars – Kwadwo Asamoah and Keita Balde – who will be looking to enhance their reputation with strong showings against Barca, but the main focus will of course fall on Lionel Messi. The Argentine gave a masterful performance in the last round of Champions League matches, inspiring the Catalans to a thumping win over Tottenham Hotspur. He is also the competition’s leading scorer with five goals.
Another Wednesday match sure to make headlines sees Borussia Dortmund host Thomas Partey’s Atletico Madrid in a top-of-the-table battle in Group A. BVB, who can field Moroccan defender Achraf Hakimi, have been in sublime form of late: they top the Bundesliga, are unbeaten in any competition this season, and have scored no less than 19 goals in their last four outings.
Other big games to keep an eye out for are Paris Saint-Germain v Kalidou Koulibaly’s Napoli, Club Brugge taking on a Monaco team which has welcomed the legendary Thierry Henry as their new manager, Liverpool looking for a home win over Richmond Boakye’s Red Star Belgrade, and Tottenham need a win away to Eredivisie champions PSV to revive their hopes of progressing into the knockout rounds.
Key match stats
Manchester United v Juventus – Head-to-Head
Matches played 12
Man United wins 5
Juventus wins 5
Barcelona v Internazionale – Head-to-Head
Matches played 6
Barcelona wins 3
Internazionale wins 1
Borussia Dortmund v Atletico Madrid – Head-to-Head
Matches played 4
Dortmund wins 2
Atletico wins 1
UEFA Champions League fixtures, 23-24 October
Tuesday 23 October
18:55: Group E: AEK Athens v Bayern Munich – LIVE on SS5 & Max1
18:55: Group H: Young Boys v Valencia – LIVE on SS6
21:00: Group E: Ajax v Benfica – LIVE on Max1
21:00: Group F: Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City – LIVE on SS2
21:00: Group G: Roma v CSKA Moscow – LIVE on SS8, Max2 & SelGO4
21:00: Group G: Real Madrid v Viktoria Plzen – LIVE on SS6
21:00: Group H: Manchester United v Juventus – LIVE on SS5
Wednesday 24 October
18:55: Group A: Club Brugge v Monaco – LIVE on SS6
18:55: Group B: PSV v Tottenham Hotspur – LIVE on SS5 & Max1
21:00: Group A: Borussia Dortmund v Atletico Madrid – LIVE on SS2
21:00: Group B: Barcelona v Internazionale – LIVE on SS5
21:00: Group C: Paris Saint-Germain v Napoli – LIVE on SS8, Max2 & SelGO4
21:00: Group C: Liverpool v Red Star Belgrade – LIVE on SS6
21:00: Group D: Lokomotiv Moscow v Porto – LIVE on Max1 – NDN Staffer