New Croatia #1 goalkeeper, Ivo Grbić, and French side Lille were huge winners in Champions League Tuesday night with a 1-0 victory over Luka Sučić’s RB Salzburg. Grbić stopped two shots on his way to a clean sheet, which now sees Lille (8 points) at the top of their Champions League group by one point, in front of Salzburg (7 points), Sevilla (6 points), and Wolfsburg (5 points). The reigning French champions will now head to Germany to face Wolfsburg in the final group stage match on December 8th. A draw will see them play in the Round of 16 knockout stages. 19 year-old Luka Sučić got the start for RB Salzburg but couldn’t get much going in the 59 minutes he was on the pitch.
Mario Pašalić remains HOT as he assisted on Atalanta’s second goal versus Youngs Boys Tuesday night. In the 51st minute, Pašalić cooly laid a light touch to teammate Palomino in the box, who immediately ripped a perfect shot for the go-ahead goal. However, Young Boys would claw back and earn a hard fought 3-3 draw with Atalanta. The draw means that a win – and a win only – is needed against Villareal on December 8th for Atalanta to progress to the Champions League Round of 16 after the new year.
Ivan Rakitić is still holding his own in Champions League at only 33 years old. The former Croatia international captained Sevilla to an important 2-0 victory over Wolfsburg and supplied the assist on the opening goal with a perfect, long-range cross from outside the box. Could Raketa be interested in a cameo appearance for Croatia at the 2022 World Cup? Imagine having him on the squad purely for leadership and penalty kicks; being inserted into a knockout round match in the 119th minute. I would take that all day long!
Joško Gvardiol was the best defender on the pitch today in Leipzig’s dismantling of Belgian side Club Brugge. Gvardiol registered 8 clearances, 1 blocked shot, 3 interceptions, and 1 tackle in 80 minutes of play. Not to mention, he won 3/5 ground duels, completed 4/7 long balls, completed 1/1 dribbles and recorded 81% pass accuracy as the anchor to Leipzig’s shut down defense. The Croatian wonderkid is proving himself more and more on the big stage. See below as he destroys a beer in mid-air during a goal celebration…
Ivan Perišić and Marcelo Brozović were key to Inter’s confident 2-0 victory over Shakhtar. After being refused a goal due to a questionable off-side, Perišić came storming back and sent a wonderful cross in to meet Bosnian international Edin Džeko, who sent it flying into the back of the net. Perišić received the second highest rating (8.0) of the match, behind only Džeko, who scored 2 goals.
Perišić: 1 assist, 3 key passes, 1 big chance created, 3/6 crosses, 3/6 ground duels, 2 interceptions, 3 tackles
Brozović: 92% pass accuracy, 2/3 long balls, 1/1 dribble, 2 shots, 5/6 ground duels won, 2 tackles
Luka Modrić and Real Madrid made easy work of Sheriff Tiraspol after having suffered a shock loss in their first encounter. Modrić put together a solid display, like usual. With 88 touches, Modrić recorded 91% pass accuracy, 1 key pass, 5/6 long balls, 5/5 dribbles, 7/10 ground duels, and 2 tackles. Just Modrić being Modrić.
Dortmund might be heading to Europa! Marin Pongračić had a decent match in his side’s shocking defeat against the second best team in Portugal. Pongračić had 2 clearances, 85% pass accuracy, 1 key pass, 3/6 long balls and 1 dribble completed.
Domagoj Vida and company fall short to a Sebastian Haller brace as Ajax clinch their spot at the top of the group. Vida recorded 1 blocked shot, 3 interceptions, 2 tackles, 5/7 ground duels, 90% pass accuracy and 1/1 dribbles completed.
Šime Vrsaljko and Madrid lose a must-win game against a Rebić-less Milan. Vrsaljko recorded 2 tackles, 2/4 ground duels and 4 passes. A pretty impactful 13 minutes.