Trent Sainsbury and Milos Degenek took on world-class opponents in the Champions League
Trent Sainsbury and Milos Degenek took on world-class opponents in the Champions League

Roo’s swipe after taking on Neymar, Mbappe

TWO Socceroos were in the thick of things on a remarkable morning of Champions League action.

Trent Sainsbury was handed his first ever start in the competition as his PSV team held Inter to a 1-1 draw at the San Siro - a result that saw the Italian giants dumped to the Europa League.

Meanwhile, Milos Degenek played yet another full game for Red Star Belgrade as they went down 4-1 to PSG.

Both Aussie defenders were pitted against world-class attackers, in a perfect test ahead of a trip to Dubai to represent the Socceroos at the Asian Cup.

Sainsbury enjoyed a battle with Inter skipper Mauro Icardi, as the Argentine extended a remarkable record that sees him regarded as one of the top strikers on the planet.

Icardi already has eight goals in 12 Serie A appearances so far this season, while his strike on Wednesday morning (AEST) made it three in five in the Champions League.

But the Aussie was no pushover, as he won more aerial duels (4) than any other player on the park bar teammate Luuk De Jong.

Trent Sainsbury after signing with PSV.
Trent Sainsbury after signing with PSV.

Sainsbury completed 24 of his 35 passes as he turned in a strong showing in the centre of defence.

Compatriot Aziz Behich was an unused substitute for PSV.

Over in Belgrade, Degenek took his place at centre-back as Red Star prepared to face the might of the French champions.

 

Yet again, he completed a full 90 minutes, and was tested by a world class attacking quartet comprising superstars Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Angel Di Maria. His team let in four goals in the loss, but according to the Aussie, the refereeing was suspect.

"It's obvious that the referee is protecting the big teams, I already said that before," Degenek said game.

"The second goal was received from the transition, we quickly lost the ball and I think we earned more than 4: 1. We should not have received it because it was already the end of the game."

Degenek also commented on facing the star-studded PSG attack, and suggested that Di Maria is the most underrated member of the strike force.

Milos Degenek in action.  (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)
Milos Degenek in action. (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images) Johannes Simon

"The biggest impression on me was left by Angel di Maria, who is not talked much, and he plays incredibly good, of course, the two are very good," he said.

"Mbappe is a very fast, straight-line player, and Neymar is Neymar, it is very difficult to play against him, but I have already said that it is very difficult against them because the refs are protecting them, you cannot come to them."

Red Star's European journey is over as they finished on the bottom of Group C with four points.

"We played phenomenally and I think we were surprised by many people," Degenek concluded.

"To take four points in this group is not a small thing and I think we have proved this season in the Champions League."

Sainsbury and PSV have also been knocked out, after finishing last in group B on two points.

News Corp Australia


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