Cameroon’s four stars in the UEFA Champions League displayed character and power in match-day 2 action played on 29th and 30th September for their various clubs but not everyone came out smiling.
Stephane Mbia Etoundi, like all footballers, would always love to remember the day he played for the first time at Real Madrid’s mythical stadium: the Santiago Bernabeu. But he would certainly not want to remember the 3-0 beating his French clubside, Olympic Marseille, suffered in the hands of Real.
The Cameroonian was tough in the holding role at the midfield. He foiled most of Real’s game in the first 45-minutes and contributed enormously to the 0-0 scoreline at half-time. But six minutes of poor concentration and defensive lapses allowed Real and its band of “Galacticos”: Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema, etc to run them ragged. Mbia was among the few Marseille players to have their heads above water but that wasn’t sufficient.
Marseille are last with no point in a group dominated by Real (6points), while AC Milan (Italy) and FC Zurich (Switzerland) have 3 points each.
Samuel Eto’o has yet to score this season in the Champions League and the defensive unit of Russian champions Rubin Kazan held him (and his Inter Milan mates) at bay on Tuesday. His best effort came at the 23rd minute of play when he picked up a Maicon cross at the near-post, controlled, spun and unleashed a shot on Rhyzikov, the Kuzan goalkeeper.
Inter Milan, only managed a second draw (1-1) in a row. This leaves them with a meagre 2 points and 3rd in pool “F” which is led by FC Barcelona (4 points). If Inter have to qualify for the next round they must win their double clash against Dynamo Kiev who currently sit on the second spot with 3 points.
On Tuesday, Alexandre Song Billong continued to impress with Arsenal. The central midfielder fought like a gladiator, recuperating lost possession and setting-off offensive moves. The cover he gave to Arsenal’s defence was priceless -contributing to hold-off Olympiakos of Greece until his attackers scored two vital goals at the tail-end of the game.
Arsenal top their group “H” with 6points from two wins followed by Olympiakos with 3 points, while AZ Alkmaar (Holland) and Standard Liege (Belgium) have 1 point each.
Jean Makoun was also at the centre of a three-man midfield but the layers of space gifted to Lyon by the Hungarian champions Debrecen offered him opportunities to shine at the attack. He would have added his name to the list of goal scorers for the seven-times French champions had his 69th minute header not glanced cm away from the goal.
After two games and two victories, Lyon tops their pool before the mouth-watering back-to-back clash against Liverpool FC. The English giants were humbled (2-0) by Fiorentina (Italy).