Here’s what happened in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, in case you missed it…
READ ALL ABOUT IT
WHAT STOOD OUT
Goals, goals and more goals
It was goals galore – 28 in total! – as a new Champions League season kicked off with a bang on Tuesday, with only one 0-0 result among the eight matches that took place across the continent. Clearly, Atletico Madrid and AS Roma didn’t get the memo.
Chelsea, Manchester United, and Bayern all posted big wins at home, albeit against modest opponents, while PSG scored five times at Celtic Park – not the easiest place for visiting teams to play.
The best performance of the day took place at the Camp Nou, where Barcelona dismantled last season’s runner-up Juventus in a 3-0 win. The Serie A champions were missing several players, including influential defender Giorgio Chiellini. But even his absence didn’t totally account for the way in which Lionel Messi ran rampant and was allowed acres of space to wield his magic.
Messi’s goal just before halftime was somewhat cruel on Juve, as they played the hosts close and carved out some quality chances through the opening 45 minutes. The second half, though, was all Barca, and Messi and his cohorts were simply too fleet of foot for the Italians. The Argentine’s run down the right led to Ivan Rakitic’s goal, and Messi added a third soon after to ice the game.
You have to hand it to Celtic fans – even as their team was getting thumped by PSG right before their eyes, they never stopped singing and chanting as part of an electric atmosphere inside Celtic Park.
“The most important thing in football is not aesthetics, but goals, and we lacked a goal, so Roma deserved their point. I hope this point can be valuable for the future so we continue in the Champions League.” – Diego Simeone, Atletico Madrid manager
Not sure if Davide Zappacosta, Chelsea’s Italian right fullback, meant this, but it was spectacular:
— Adam (@AdamTawill) September 12, 2017
Up 3-0 at halftime, Sporting looked to be running away with it against Olympiacos. But the Greek side battled back and valiantly fought back and made a game of it courtesy of a pair of goals from Felipe Pardo in the dying minutes. The comeback fell short, though, and the Portuguese outfit just held on for the win.
THE GAME WITHIN THE GAME
Chelsea enjoyed a modest amount of possession against Qarabag, but they absolutely punished the Azerbaijani club with their ruthlessness in front of goal.
Chelsea have scored six goals from eight shots on target vs. Qarabag.
Clinical stuff at Stamford Bridge. pic.twitter.com/pBLhbsAj1a
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 12, 2017
SIX PACK OF STATS
• Kylian Mbappe is the first player to score a Champions League goal as a teenager for two clubs (AS Monaco and PSG).
• Chelsea have scored in each of their last 25 group stage games at Stamford Bridge.
• Marcus Rashford has scored on his Premier League, Europa League, Champions League and League Cup debut for Manchester United.
• Only Raul Gonzalez has scored in more consecutive seasons (15) than Lionel Messi (13) in the Champions League.
• Before Tuesday, Olympiacos’ Marko Marin made his last Champions League appearance on Oct. 7, 2010 for Werder Bremen, 2471 days ago.
• Sven Kums’ red card for Anderlecht in the 11th minute was the fastest red in a Champions League game since March of 2015.
Stats courtesy of Opta
1) Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona: The Argentine put in a man-of-the match effort against Juventus, scoring a brace and setting up a third.
2) Neymar, Paris Saint-Germain: Scored the opener and set up Mbappe shortly after as the floodgates opened for PSG at Celtic Park.
3) Tiemoue Bakayoko, Chelsea: Talk about being an impact substitute. He came off the bench and within minutes scored and collected an assist.