UCL: Arsenal defiant, Celtic hapless.

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 14.47.27 BY LIAM RICHNER

The Group Stages of the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League kicked off last night, with Arsenal and Celtic the British representatives on opening night.

Manchester City were also meant to be in action, however a monstrous thunderstorm and heavy rain in the North West saw their clash with German outfit Borussia Monchengladbach postponed until tomorrow night (19:45 KO).

Arsene Wenger’s men only narrowly scraped past Southampton at the weekend, and travelled to Paris to face a PSG side stuttering in Ligue 1.

The Gunners knew avoiding defeat could play a huge boost in their chances to try and win a group also contested by Swiss champions FC Basel and Bulgarian side Ludogorets.

That task became a whole lot tougher when Edinson Cavani nodded the French champions ahead just 45 seconds into the match.

edinson-cavani-psg-arsenal-champions-league-13062016_7vik2rz7bmqj1ly7ce28dkm7d.jpg
Cavani celebrates his goal. (Image Credit: goal.com)

But where in the past PSG have gone on to dominate and add to an early lead, the home side struggled to convert any opportunities they created.

Partly, this was due to a fantastic performance from David Ospina, who started in goal ahead of regular no.1 Petr Cech.

The Colombian shot stopper produced save after save to thwart PSG in arguably his best 90 minutes in an Arsenal shirt.

Then again, Cavani had a shocker up top.

The Uruguayan forward was consistently put through on goal, only for the PSG number nine to either strike the ball wide or straight at Ospina.

Arsenal though remained in the game and got their equaliser through Alexis Sanchez, after Alex Iwobi’s shot was saved by Alphonse Aréola.

There was late drama as both Olivier Giroud and Marco Verratti were sent off in stoppage time.

But the Gunners managed to hold on for a point, and any away point in Europe is a good return, let alone coming away from the Parc de Princes.

The other two sides in Group A, Basel and Ludogorets, also drew 1-1 in Switzerland.

GROUP A:

PSG 1-1 ARSENAL

BASEL 1-1 LUDOGORETS

Screen Shot 2016-09-14 at 00.02.26.png

Meanwhile, Celtic faced the enormous task of trying to repeat Alaves’ shock success at the Nou Camp last weekend against Barcelona.

Buoyed by their 5-1 win over Old Firm rivals Rangers last Saturday, Brendan Rodgers and co. knew that they had to keep the Catalans at 0-0 for as long as possible.

However, things didn’t quite go to plan.

‘MSN’, aka ‘Messi, Suarez, Neymar’, started a game together for the first time this season, and boy..didn’t all three turn up.

Lionel Messi hit a hattrick, Luis Suarez netted twice and Neymar produced four assists as Barcelona ran out 7-0 winners.

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The deadliest attack in world football. (image credit: totalsportek.com)

Andreas Iniesta added the other goal as the Scottish Champions suffered their biggest ever defeat in Europe.

At times the Spanish giants were unplayable, others, Celtic’s defence was simply not good enough.

To somehow go from winning 5-1 four days ago, to lose 7-0 last night.. is well…shocking.

Moussa Dembele missed a pentalty for Celtic with the score at 1-0, and that was really the start of a bad night for Celtic, as the wheels came well and truly off.

celtic-moussa-dembele-champions-league_3785720
Moussa Dembele’s missed penalty was just the beginning of a forgetful night for the Bhoys. (Image Credit: skysports.com)

Serious questions will be asked of Rodgers and his coaching team, as already it looks a daunting task for his side to progress.

Both sides will be casting an eye on the City-Gladbach game tomorrow, as both know each game in this group provides a different challenge.

GROUP C

BARCELONA 7-0 CELTIC

MANCHESTER CITY P-P BORUSSIA MONCHENGLADBACH

Screen Shot 2016-09-14 at 00.02.47.png

Other Results

GROUP B

DYNAMO KYIV 1-2 NAPOLI

BENFICA 1-1 BESIKTAS

Screen Shot 2016-09-14 at 00.02.40.png

GROUP D

BAYERN MUNICH 5-0 FC ROSTOV

PSV EINDHOVEN 0-1 ATLETICO MADRID

Screen Shot 2016-09-14 at 00.02.55.png

 

 

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