The second matchday of competition for Group A was played today in an event that was streamed worldwide in the eFootball™ official YouTube channel with Semra Hunter as host, Harry Channon as commentator and Stewart Westley ”Wezza” as pundit.
The day confirmed the consistency of the Scottish team, who added four points to their 12 points from the first day to emerge as undisputed leaders of their group. AS Monaco were able to secure the second place before the final match, while FC Bayern München secured qualification to the Quarter-finals as third in the group in an agonising last match won by FCB_Mestre. Manchester United ended their campaign with a disappointing performance in which they could not rely on themselves at the end.
Prior to the announcement of today's fixtures, the Best Goal of Matchday 1 for Group A was announced and awarded to Lotfi from Celtic FC for his skilful goal against FC Bayern’s FCB_Mestre. According to the selection committee, the reasons were as follows: "The input accuracy and technique are extremely high, and the fun psychological tactics moment with eFootball™ 2022, which clearly describes a 1vs1 situation against MESTRE."
(+5) AS MONACO VS MANCHESTER UNITED (+2)
GAME 1: NEKZA 2 - 2 OSTRYBUCH
The first match of the day featured AS Monaco and Manchester United. With only 1 game in hand in the last matchday, the Monegasque team started the day with 3 points obtained by Nekza after Usmakabyle and GuiFera's defeats against Celtic FC. The French debutant showed his football skills in the first game and wanted to continue doing so in this first game, but Manchester United's Ostrybuch, who after losing last matchday to FCB_Jose wanted to add more points to the 4 points the English team already had, would not make it easy for him. Nekza took an early lead with a nice goal in the 6th minute after a play full of good passes. Ostrybuch reacted by equalising in the 27th minute with a goal from Cavani after a rebound. The two sides were neck and neck and the match went into the break with the score 1-1. On the return Ostrybuch struck first in the 63rd minute but the young Frenchman did not give up and equalised in the 85th minute. The match ended in a fair 2-2 draw and a share of the points in the first game in hand.
GAME 2: USMAKABYLE 1 - 0 KAMS10_
The second game of the Monegasque-English clash pitted two great players against each other in the form of three-time world champion Usmakabyle and the experienced Frenchman Kams10_. A last minute post had prevented Usmakabyle's equalizer against his former teammate Kilzyou in the first match of the competition, so the Frenchman was hungry for a win and knew the need to earn those 3 points for his team. He would have to put in a good performance against an always difficult Kams10_ who had secured the Red Devils' only win so far against FCB_Alguacil.
The match started extremely close, with chances for both players. It wasn't until the 39th minute that after an unfortunate play for Manchester United full of inaccuracies and rebounds, Bissaka scored an own goal to give the Monegasques the opening score. With 1-0 on the scoreboard we reached half-time and the second half began with a British siege on Usmakabyle's goal, but without success. In the 66th minute Kams10_ came very close to equalizing with a great free kick that went just over the crossbar. From this point on, Usmakabyle put the game to bed with a touch style play against which Kams10_ had little chance. 1-0 was the final score and Usmakabyle got their first win in the championship.
GAME 3: GUIFERA 1 - 1 E_C_ONEILL
Third and final encounter between two clubs in need of points to go into their second match with any hope of qualification. The pressure was on E_C_Oneill to get a win for his team which, added to the 5 points he already had, could take them up to second place in the table, but in front of him was 5-time Brazilian champion GuiFera who still hadn't made his scoring debut after losing 1-0 to Celtic FC's Aazbabysk.
The match started with a couple of clear chances in favor of the Manchester United player, but soon the Brazilian started to dominate the game and to get closer to the goal. His reward came in the 39th minute with the first goal for the Monegasques thanks to Ben Yedder's powerful shot from the edge of the box. At half-time, E_C_Oneill made a series of changes to his squad to try to find new ways to get at the Monegasque goal, but GuiFera remained solid at the back until the 72nd minute when Eldridge put the ball in the top corner from a great shot by Cavani. The Dutch player put the pressure on the Brazilian with this 1-1 draw, but the score remained unchanged until the end of the match and both clubs earned only a bonus point. AS Monaco finished the game with 5 points more for a provisional total of 8 points and Manchester United would have to face Celtic FC next with only 6 points in the bag.
(+4) MANCHESTER UNITED VS CELTIC FC (+1)
GAME 1: KAMS10_ 1 - 1 KILZYOU
Manchester United were on the back of scoring just 2 points from a possible 9 on their tally and were playing for a place in the Knockout stage in this match against a Celtic FC side who showed their strength last matchday after finishing top of the table with 12 points. The final match for both teams started with a very interesting Kams10_ versus Kilzyou, who last Saturday showed great maturity by defeating Usmakabyle 3-2 and German captain FCB_Jose.
At the start of the French derby, Kams10_ looked slightly more comfortable and settled on the pitch than the Scots but the tremendous equality established between the two esports players meant that no goals were seen throughout the first half. The stakes were high and no one dared to risk more than necessary. In the second half, things seemed to stay the same until Kams10_ stepped up a gear and after a powerful shot from Bruno Fernandes, the French player scored the first goal of the match for the Red Devils in the 54th minute. With half an hour to go, Kilzyou made a series of changes to his formation to try to turn the situation around, but still failed to take control of the game. The game then became more and more heated with counter-attacking moves for both teams and it looked as if the result would be a win for Manchester United, but Kilzyou had not yet said enough was enough. In the last minute of the game, 90+3, he put together a good vertical move that ended with a powerful shot into the side of De Gea's goal to make it 1-1 between the two French players. First point for both in this match with 6 more still to play for and Manchester United's chances of qualification running out.
GAME 2: OSTRYBUCH 3 - 2 AAZBABYSK
The second match between the Scots and the British featured Poland's Ostrybuch against Celtic FC's defensive talent Aazbabysk. For the Scots it was a chance to secure top spot in the table and a direct passage to the semi-finals, for the Red Devils it was the penultimate chance to stay alive in the competition. The game started dramatically with a penalty awarded to the Scots in the 7th minute that was saved by De Gea. The Frenchman gave away a clear chance that he would soon pay heavily for when Ostrybuch took the lead in the 14th minute. Just two minutes later, the Polish converted to make it 2-0 with an unstoppable free-kick from Cristiano Ronaldo. It seemed that Aazbabysk had paid enough for their mistake but before the half hour mark another Cristiano goal made it a hat-trick for Ostrybuch and made it 0-3 in the 27th minute. Aazbabysk then attacked the goal repeatedly but the game went to the break with Ostrybuch 3-0 up. In the second half it was Aazbabysk who scored first thanks to a great finish by Hatate in a very quick move. Aazbabysk went into action and attacked the English goal tirelessly in the next few minutes looking to close the gap. Ostrybuch understood the importance of the points they had in their pocket so they adopted a conservative strategy to slowly consume the time. In the final minutes Aazbabysk scored the consolation goal in the 90+4th minute to make it 3-2. A vital win for Manchester United secured by Ostrybuch, provisionally putting them into the next round as group runners-up.
GAME 3: E_C_ONEILL 2 -3 LOTFI
Last match for both clubs today and in the group stage. It was the chance for Manchester United to make good the 3 points obtained by Ostrybuch in the previous match and for Celtic FC to close their group stage performance as leaders in the standings. For both these 3 points seemed vital.
The game started frantically with the earliest goal of the tournament so far. Recent Matchday 1 Best Goal of the Day winner Lotfi scored in the 4th minute with Hatate forward, giving E_C_Oneill a bad start to his final group game. And the Dutchman would continue his bad run after the experienced Lotfi put the ball into the top corner in the 39th minute with a perfect direct free-kick. The Scottish scoring would not stop there, as just 3 minutes later the referee ordered a fair penalty in favor of Celtic FC which Lotfi converted in the 42nd minute. 0-3 at half-time and England's hopes of overtaking Celtic FC at the top were slipping away, but just after the break E_C_Oneill made it 1-3 to give them another chance to dream of a comeback. However, Lotfi did not take the bait and remained resolute and solid in their play until the 77th minute when Cristiano Ronaldo scored the second for the team in red to bring his side closer to an equalizer. But in the end it was a 3-2 win for the Scots that secured them first or second place depending on the outcome of the next match between AS Monaco and FC Bayern München, which could also mean that the English players were out.
(+4) AS MONACO VS FC BAYERN MÜNCHEN (+4)
GAME 1: NEKZA 4 - 1 FCB_ALGUACIL
Last match for AS Monaco and FC Bayern München to secure their place in the knockout phase. The Bavarian team had taken seven points from a possible 18 last matchday and came into this game just one point behind AS Monaco, so the match was a final for both teams and the tension was palpable in the air. The first game was played by the young Nekza against the veteran FCB_Alguacil, who started by taking the lead in the 6th minute after a good move. Nekza reacted quickly and scored the equalizer just 10 minutes later, in the 16th minute, forcing the match to a 1-1 draw. As the game approached half-time, Nekza produced a fine move in the 37th minute to establish another lead for the Monegasques and capped a hat-trick before going in at the break in the 45th minute with a great goal from Ben Yedder. In the second half the game continued to be fairly evenly matched for both teams until Nekza put the final 1-4 on the scoreboard in the 72nd minute to the frustration of Spaniard Alex Alguacil, who was closing out a disappointing group round. Three points went to the Monegasques and now FC Bayern München had to row back in the next two games.
GAME 2: USMAKABYLE 1 - 1 FCB_JOSE
Given the results in the previous matches, this game was critical for both teams and the two captains Usmakabyle and FCB_Jose were chosen by each team to play in it. AS Monaco had already guaranteed qualification for the Quarter-Finals, but if they won this game and the next they could finish top of the table and go straight through to the Semifinals. For their part, FC Bäyern München needed at least a win and a draw in both of their remaining games to knock Manchester United out of the competition or if not only a winning game by a large goal difference. The match started somewhat erratically and with inaccuracies, perhaps due to the high pressure derived from being a do-or-die match. FCB_Jose struck first with a 20th minute goal from Gnabry, giving Bavarians hope. The German lead could have been doubled in the 32nd minute but the post prevented it to the disappointment of FC Bayern fans. Usmakabyle stalked Neuer's goal for the last 15 minutes of the first half, but fortunately for the Germans the score was 0-2 at the break. In the second half Usmakabyle did not stop the intense pressure and equalized in the 68th minute. The match was as close as ever and after several minutes in which neither side came close to a dangerous approach to their opponents' goal, the match ended in a 1-1 draw. Just a point for the agonizing FC Bayern München and a draw for Usmakabyle, who so far did not seem to be at their best, but at least they had secured second place for the Monegasques.
GAME 3: GUIFERA 1 - 2 FCB_MESTRE
Last match of the day and of the group stage with everything to be decided for FC Bayern München, whose qualification depended entirely on a German victory and FCB_Mestre would be in charge of trying to achieve it against a champion like GuiFera. AS Monaco were already assured of second place, but that did not mean the game would be a cakewalk for Bayern. The match began with a tense start due to the importance of the moment. FCB_Mestre played it safe, not wanting to take any risks. In extra time of the first half, the referee awarded a penalty for the Germans and Lewandowski converted it to give them a 1-0 lead. The second half continued with the same palpable tension in the air and soon Mestre was able to relieve it momentarily with his second goal in the 47th minute. But the game was not over and in the 69th minute GuiFera pulled one back for Ben Yedder. Despite this setback, FCB_Mestre knew how to manage the tempo of the match and put the game to bed. The last 15 minutes turned dramatic with AS Monaco making several dangerous inroads, but to the delight of the Germans the result ended 1-2. It was a salvation triumph for FC Bayern München, who qualified for the knockout stage thanks to a brilliant FCB_Mestre who finished fourth in the top scorers' table with 9 goals and left Manchester United out of the competition.
Group Stage A came to an end after today’s matches with a consistent Celtic FC topping the League Table and passing directly to Semifinals. AS Monaco and FC Bayern München qualified to Quarterfinals and a disappointing Manchester United packed its bags after placing in fourth position.
In addition to such an intense day, the Best Player of the Group Stage award was given to another Celtic FC player, this time the captain Kilzyou, who showed a great performance in his respective matches getting important victories against AS Monaco's Usmakabyle and Bayern’s FCB_Jose, helping his team to achieve the pole position in Group A and the direct pass on to the Semifinals.
Next weekend will be the moment for the Quarterfinals and the Semifinals, which will be streamed live on the official eFootball™ YouTube and Facebook channels at 13:00 CET next Saturday, June 25th. The Final and 3rd/4th place matches will be held on the following Sunday.
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