Leicester City had the dream start to life in the competition, easily overcoming a Club Brugge side that failed to show up on the day. The Belgians were all over the place at the back, allowing the likes of Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy more and more space and time on the ball as the match went on, and the Leicester players made sure not to waste the opportunities presented to them, scoring three fine goals.
In the other game of the group, FC Copenhagen came back from a goal down to equalize and build momentum, only to have a man wrongly sent off midway through the second half. FC Porto failed to make their man advantage count, and the match finished 1 – 1.
The Danish champions have begun their title defence in excellent fashion, having gone unbeaten in 10 games, with 6 wins and 4 draws. The goals have been shared all across the pitch; 10 players have pitched in to score a total of 23 goals this season, with Andreas Cornelius and Kasper Kusk leading the patch, scoring 4 goals each.
Against FC Porto, the Danes played some of their best football and overwhelmed the Portuguese, and can count themselves very unlucky to not have come away from the match with all three points, courtesy of an incorrect red card. Jan Gregus was sent off around the hour mark for having adjudged to have brought down Otavia, while replays clearly showed the forward dived without contact.
Jan Gregus now joins Nicolai Boilesen on the list of players unavailable for Ståle Solbakken’s men.
The expected lineup is:
Peter Ankersen, Zanka, Erik Johansson, Habs Augustinsson;
Youssef Toutouh, William Kvist, Thomas Delaney, Rasmus Falk;
Andreas Cornelius, Federico Santander.
Michel Preud’homme’s men have started brightly in the Belgian first division, and currently sit just two points off of second placed Anderlecht. Jose Izquierdo has impressed so far, and the Colombian was Club Brugge’s standout player in a game they never really got a hold off, against Leicester.
The defending Belgian champions allowed Claudio Ranieri’s men far too much time on the ball, and space in front of defence, as the match went on, and can count themselves lucky to not have conceded more goals. The pace of Mahrez and Vardy in particular troubled the Belgian side’s defenders, who dove into far too many rash challenges in and around the box.
If Club Brugge are looking to get anything out of a tough group, Michel Preud’homme will have to ensure the defending is better against the likes of Copenhagen, especially in the return home fixtures.
The man in-charge also has a lengthy injury list to worry about, that includes Lior Refaelov, Bjorn Engels, Brandon Mechele, Felipe Gedoz, and Benoit Poulain.
The expected lineup is:
Ricardo Van Rhijn, Timmy Simons, Stefano Denswil, Laurens de Bock;
Ruud Vormer, Hans Vanaken, Tomas Pina;
Anthony Limbombe, Jelle Vossen, Jose Izquierdo.
FC Copenhagen have been playing some wonderful football this season, and should see past Club Brugge’s challenge.
FC Copenhagen 1 – 0 Club Brugge.