Crazy Times in the Champions League

Last night was the final round of group stage matches in the UEFA Champions League, and in many ways was truly remarkable. The headlines are surely taken by Manchester’s exit from the tournament – City might have been expected, given they had a tough group and some disappointing results, but United’s was truly shocking, falling to FC Basel to finish behind the Swiss team as well as Benfica of Portugal in third place.

Perhaps more intriguingly, however, is the possibility of match fixing in the rermarkable game between Lyon and Dynamo Zagreb. Lyon entered the game needing a win and to turn around a goal difference NINE goals against them in order to qualify ahead of Ajax.

Ajax lost 3-0 to Real Madrid, leaving Lyon needing a six goal winning margin in Zagreb, which they duly managed, with six second half goals, to win 7-1. Of course, that could just be chalked down to a truly remarkable second half performance, but people are smelling rats.

And, it would seem, not without justification. Zagreb had a man send off in the first half, and after the fifth Lyon goal went in, footage clearly shows the Zagreb keeper winking and giving a thumbs up to a defender on his team.

It doesn’t look good, and apparently it is being investigated, thankfully. The question for me though is, if you are going to fix a match, surely you make a little bit more effort to hide it? Losing 7-1 at home is notable, losing by just enough for a team to overturn a NINE goal deficit, doing it all in the second half, on the last night of the group stages, just makes no sense. You want to hide what you did so you can get away with it. That or you’re just plain stupid?!

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