Monday, November 19

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Champions League Team of the Week - Gabriel Jesus, Gareth Bale, Riyad Mahrez

By , Assistant Editor | 11d
Sports Mole selects its Champions League team of the week for matchday four, including Gabriel Jesus, Riyad Mahrez and four Real Madrid players.

Barcelona became the first team to book their place in the last 16 of the Champions League this week, but their 1-1 draw with Inter Milan was far from the most notable result of the round.

Favourites Manchester City delivered another emphatic statement of intent by producing their biggest ever Champions League win, hitting Shakhtar Donetsk for six on the same night that Real Madrid put five past Viktoria Plzen away from home.

Even those routs were pushed down the billing by Manchester United's famous late comeback against Juventus as Jose Mourinho's side scored twice in the final five minutes to pull off another memorable victory in Turin.

Tottenham Hotspur also needed a late show from Harry Kane to keep their hopes alive against PSV Eindhoven, but Liverpool slumped to a shock 2-0 defeat at Red Star Belgrade to leave Group C wide open.

The Reds were helped somewhat by a 1-1 draw between Napoli and Paris Saint-Germain, while a mention must also go to Club Brugge, who piled more misery on to Monaco and Thierry Henry with a 4-0 win at the Stade Louis II.

Here, Sports Mole picks its Champions League team of the week for matchday four.

Other results from matchday four and the current state Monaco find themselves in will threaten to push Brugge's remarkable away win into the shadows, but the result was so impressive that they are unfortunate to only have two representatives in this team.

The likes of two-goal Hans Vanaken and midfielders Marvelous Nakamba and Ruud Vormer fall victim to the fierce competition for places further up the field, but the win was as much about the defensive effort, with Monaco having 15 shots during the game. Goalkeeper Ethan Horvath made six saves to keep them at bay, while honourable mentions should also go to Inter's Samir Handanovic, Red Star's Milan Borjan and Hoffenheim's Oliver Baumann, the latter of whom may have conceded twice but also made nine saves.

Clinton Lourenco was also instrumental in Brugge's win, making a joint game-high seven tackles to earn his place at right-back, while on the opposite flank Filipe Luis registered an assist and a clean sheet in Atletico Madrid's win over Borussia Dortmund.

Milan Pavkov stole the headlines for Red Star with his brace against Liverpool, but defender Milos Degenek was every bit as important to the win as he made block after block and interception after interception to deny Liverpool a route back into the match.

Joining Degenek in defence is the first of a Real Madrid quartet in this team, with Nacho's performance in the five-star thrashing of Plzen earning him a place ahead of Roma goalscorer Kostas Manolas and Schalke 04's Matija Nastasic.

Madrid also provide two midfielders to the team, with both Casemiro and Toni Kroos getting on the scoresheet during the win in Plzen. Kroos also contributed two assists during his time on the field, producing arguably the standout individual performance of matchday four.

Lyon blew a two-goal lead against 10-man Hoffenheim despite the best efforts of 21-year-old midfielder Tanguy Ndombele, who was once again on the scoresheet to earn a place in the team for the second matchday in a row - ahead of the likes of David Silva and Saul Niguez.

Man City produced another attacking clinic and could have easily provided the entire front three, with Raheem Sterling unfortunate to miss out after following up his comical penalty win with a stunning solo effort. Hat-trick hero Gabriel Jesus and fellow goalscorer Riyad Mahrez - who also helped himself to two assists - do make the team, though.

Gareth Bale is the man to keep Sterling out having scored one, assisted another and hit the woodwork to help Madrid to such a comfortable away win. Teammate Karim Benzema also deserves a mention after his brace - including his 200th for the club - but he is one of four strikers, alongside Pavkov, Kane and Robert Lewandowski - whose two-goal hauls have to play second fiddle to Jesus's hat-trick.

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