Given the entertainment served up during Tuesday’s matches, there was a lot to live up to for the teams in action last night.
However, the intriguing draw that took place last month, gave us a lot of amazing groups and thus amazing matches. They did not disappoint and in this Wednesday, the Groups A to D took off with delightful football moments.
No Mbappe, No Neymar, No Cavani? No problem!
In the possible, most expected game of the Champions League group stages opening matchday, Paris Saint Germain thumped Real Madrid. The Spanish team failed to register a single shot on target at the Parc Des Princes, with their former goalkeeper Keylor Navas having a pleasant evening.
PSG was without their star front three – Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar. But, ex-Real man Angel Di Maria stepped up to the plate with two first-half goals to put the hosts in control.
First, on 14, Marquinhos exchanged a one-two with Mauro Icardi down the left and Angel Di Maria toe-poked the low cross beyond Thibaut Courtois. Then, after Gareth Bale skimmed the roof of the net with a free-kick for Real, Di Maria made it 2-0 with a wonderful 20 yard hit that bent into the bottom corner.
Although Real did have two goals ruled out – Bale and Karim Benzema the would-be scorers – they never truly looked like turning the game around.
In injury time Thomas Meunier and Juan Bernat had the Madrid defense in the muddle. Meunier made it 3-0 with an easy finish to leave Zinedine Zidane scratching his head.
Final score: PSG 3-0 Real Madrid
Brugge and Galatasaray in bore draw
Club Brugge hosted Galatasaray in what proved to be an evenly contested but dull affair. Both sides had their moments but Simon Mignolet denied Ryan Babel as the Turkish side looked to get in front with their best moment.
It was the hosts who went closest to scoring though through Federico Ricca, who hit the crossbar. Falcao went blank in his Champions League debut for Galatasaray.
Final score: Club Brugge 0-0 Galatasaray
Spurs blow two-goal lead against Olympiakos
Last years finalists Spurs sacrificed a 0-2 lead in Greece as Olympiakos, who were buoyed by the passionate atmosphere generated by their fans. The Greek side battled back to pick up a point.
It was the hosts who started the better and they were inches from taking the lead after a low strike from Miguel Angel Guerrero struck the inside of Hugo Lloris’ right-hand post.
Despite the positive start, Olympiakos found themselves behind on 25. Harry Kane was tripped by Yassine Meriah inside the area and the Englishman dusted himself down to slam home the penalty.
Just four minutes later, the Londoner’s doubled their advantage. Ben Davies squared to Lucas Moura and when his touch sat up he struck a volley that flew beyond Jose Sa for 0-2.
Valbuena showed he is still around
Olympiakos continued to play their game though and on the stroke of half time a quick interchange of passes between Daniel Podence and Mathieu Valbuena cut through the Spurs backline and the Portuguese winger clinically beat Lloris to make it 1-2.
After the break, Dele Alli thought he’d netted his sides third goal but it was correctly ruled out for offside. On the 54, the home side leveled. Jan Vertonghen clumsily fouled Valbuena for a spot-kick and the Frenchman sent Lloris the wrong way for 2-2.
The match played out with Spurs asking the questions, but Sa was equal to efforts from Alli and Erik Lamela. When he was beaten, Kane was denied by the bar. The game ended 2-2 and Spurs will have to do more to get past the group stage.
Final score: Olympiakos 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Bayern ease to win over Belgrade
Red Star Belgrade traveled to Germany to take on Bayern Munich and after being outplayed for 90 minutes they would have been relieved to have only lost by three goals.
Bayern dominated the opening 30 minutes without creating a clear cut chance but a moment of class from Ivan Perisic saw a cross placed onto Kingsley Coman’s head six yards out for 1-0.
The German champs continued to pose all the questions but their shooting boots were a few inches out of sync. Barcelona loanee Philippe Coutinho went close and Perisic even closer as the bar came to Red Star’s rescue.
Bayern was nearly made to pay with the visitors only moment of attacking intent, but former Chelsea player Marko Marin curled narrowly wide of Manuel Neuer’s upright.
It took until the 80th minute for Bayern to wrap things up and even then it was somewhat fortuitous; Robert Lewandowski the beneficiary of a defensive mix up.
At the death, a training ground free-kick routine added a deserved gloss to the result as Thomas Muller swept home after Thiago Alacantara clipped the ball over the visitors’ wall.
Final score: Bayern Munich 3-0 Red Star Belgrade
Manchester City baffle Donetsk
Manchester City made the trip to Ukraine looking to bounce back from their surprise defeat against Norwich City at the weekend. On the 25, Riyad Mahrez gave them the lead.
Shakhtar could only half deal with a cross into the box and Gabriel Jesus teed up Ikay Gundogan. His shot from 18 yards hit the woodwork but Mahrez was on hand to turn in.
City was seeing most of the ball but nearly found themselves pegged back. A direct run and perfectly weighted pass from Taison gave Junior Moraes an opportunity to test Ederson in the City goal. The Brazilian keeper stood up well.
On 38, Mahrez turned provider and midfielder Gundogan finished well for 0-2.
The second half presented a few half chances to the hosts, however, they failed to capitalize. Still, City boss Pep Guardiola was getting frustrated in the dugout as twice Gundogan wasted great opportunities and Raheem Sterling struck the outside of a post.
The third goal did eventually come though. Shakhtar was caught with three on one at the back against a pacey City frontline. When Jesus found himself facing off with Andriy Pyatov there was only one outcome – a goal.
Final score: Shakhtar Donetsk 0-3 Manchester City
Dynamite Dinamo batter Atalanta
Dinamo Zagreb won their first Champions League group game in 12 attempts, against last season’s Serie A surprise package Atalanta. And did so in some style, ruining Atalanta’s first-ever Champions League game.
The Italian outfit failed to clear the ball on the 10-minute mark. When the ball was worked out to Petar Stojanovic he provided a pinpoint low cross for Marin Leovac to turn home.
On 31 Leovac put an assist to his name as well. Dani Olmo and Leovac linked up well down the right flank. When the ball was cut back to Mislav Orsic he coolly passed into the right-hand corner from 18 yards for 2-0.
With the half drawing to a close, Orsic nodded in from two yards out to all but clinch the match. On 68 he buried a half volley for his hat-trick after a looping ball evaded the Atalanta defense.
Atalanta had two late chances through Duvan Zapata but he failed to convert. Based on this game alone, it could be a long group phase ahead for the team of Serie A table.
Final score: Dinamo Zagreb 4-0 Atalanta
Last minute leveller completes Atletico’s comeback
Atletico Madrid hosted Juventus in a rematch of last year’s round of 16 tie and, as per last time, the fixture didn’t fail to deliver. The first half was a quiet affair with Atletico’s wonder kid Joao Felix having the best moment as he forced Wojciech Szczesny into a save after a marauding run.
Shortly after the break, it was Juve who drew first blood; a long ball out of defense found Gonzalo Higuain on the left. He held play up until support arrived and when Juan Cuadrado received his pass he cut inside and let it fly. An emphatic strike that left Jan Oblak completely static on his line.
On 65 the Italian giants made it 2-0; Cristiano Ronaldo carried his team forward on a rapid counter and slid a pass to the overlapping Alex Sandro who crossed for Blaise Matuidi to power a header in at the near post for 0-2.
The two-goal lead only lasted five minutes though as Juventus failed to deal with a routine free-kick from deep. Jose Giminez out jumped Matthijs de Ligt at the back post and Stefan Savic did the rest.
With time running out, the home side nicked a second to claim a point. Maurizio Sarri will bemoan his sides inability to deal with set-pieces but credit has to be given to Atletico debutant Hector Herrera.
The former FC Porto captain showed more desire than anyone else to get onto Kieran Trippier’s corner and head home.
Final score: Atletico Madrid 2-2 Juventus
Careless Leverkusen lose at home
Bayer Leverkusen hosted Lokomotiv Moscow but gifted them victory despite bossing the match. They showed the same defense fragility that saw them being thumped by Dortmund in last weekend, during Bundesliga schedule.
Grzegorz Krychowiak gleefully opened the scoring with a hard and low finish on the 16 minutes.
Nine minutes later a heavy deflection off Benedikt Howedes, which was classified as an own goal, saw the hosts equalize.
On 37 the away team got their noses back in front. As with the first goal, it was the most calamitous play from Leverkusen. Karim Bellarabi played a risky back pass to Lukas Hradecky in between the sticks and he pathetically ‘cleared’ straight to Dmitri Barinov who converted into an empty net.
Leverkusen dominated the second half and had a whopping 78% of possession overall but created nothing to get back in the match.
Final score: Bayer Leverkusen 1-2 Lokomotiv Moscow
It’s the end of the first matchday of Champions League 2019/20. Follow all the details you might have missed here, besides who are the current top scorers and who is leading the groups.
Champions League will come back in two weeks, with more action in and off the pitch!