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Leagues: UEFA Champions League

PSG, City and Real cruise in opening Champions League games

opening champions league games

The opening wave of the UEFA Champions League games wrapped up with star names across the board. With big clubs cruising and the best players thriving, the premier club competition delivered more action.

However, not all of the popular clubs found matchday one to be a breeze. Some clubs already find an uphill climb in this rapid group stage in 2022/23.

Here are some of the biggest talking points from the slate of Tuesday matches in the Champions League.

Opening UEFA Champions League games

Borussia Dortmund 3 – Copenhagen 0

Dortmund dominated the visitors thanks to goals from Marco Reus, Raphael Guerreiro and Jude Bellingham. American Giovanni Reyna made his first start of the current campaign, and he did not disappoint. As a first-half substitute, Reyna provided assists on Dortmund’s second and third goals. The German giants now have a tough pair of games with Leipzig coming before a trip to Manchester City. Then, it is the return of the Revierderby against Schalke.

Dinamo Zagreb 1 – Chelsea 0

This is the most shocking result of this young Champions League season. The hosts came up with a massive win against one of the favorites in Group E. Mislav Orsic scored the lone goal of the match on a quick counter attack inside the first half. Chelsea lost the game despite having 68% possession and taking 10 total shots. Newcomer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang made his club debut. However, the Gabon international failed to make an impact and came off in the 59th minute.

Sevilla 0 – Manchester City 4

Unsurprisingly, Erling Haaland continued his unbelievable scoring run as Manchester City ran all over the Spanish club. The Norwegian netted a brace on the night, with Phil Foden and Ruben Dias getting the other two goals in the game. Haaland now has 12 total goals in just seven matches so far this season. City will hope the new striker can help bring home their elusive Champions League medal. Haaland has scored an amazing 25 goals in just 20 UCL games in his short career so far.

PSG 2 – Juventus 1

In arguably the most anticipated matchup of the day, Kylian Mbappe scored two goals for the Parisians at home. The first of which came on a sumptuous lob from Neymar before the World Cup winner lashed it into the back of the Juventus net.

American Weston McKennie scored Juventus’s only goal of the match from a towering header. While the Italian club played much better in the second half, PSG controlled the tempo for most of the opening period. In the end, the hosts held on to the lead in a battle of two of Europe’s biggest clubs.

RB Leipzig 1 – Shakhtar Donetsk 4

Another surprising result came in Germany, as Shakhtar Donetsk comfortably dispatched Leipzig on the road. Goals from Marian Shved (brace), Mykhailo Mudryk and substitute Lassina Traore saw off die Roten Bullen. Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi gifted the visitors their opening goal of the game. Despite levelling the score in the second half, Shakhtar retook the lead just 81 seconds later. After that, Mudryk and Traore put the game way with two counter attacking goals in the second half.

Celtic 0 – Real Madrid 3

The main talking point of this game is the first-half exit of star striker Karim Benzema. Despite losing the likely Ballon d’Or winner to an apparent knee injury, Real Madrid made light work of the Scottish champions. Celtic started the game very promising. In fact, midfielder Callum McGregor hit the post inside the first 25 minutes of the match. Nevertheless, Madrid scored three second half goals to take the three points.  Vinicius Junior, Luka Modric, and high-quality Eden Hazard were the goal-scorers on the night.

This was the first time in nearly five years that Hazard scored from open play in the UCL.

RB Salzburg 1 – AC Milan 1

The Italians could not keep their momentum going following the big win against rivals Inter Milan at the weekend. Noah Okafor opened the scoring on the night, as the Salzburg striker turned Pierre Kalulu inside out and slotted home from inside the box.  Milan did, however, level the scoreline just 12 minutes later. Alexis Saelemaekers scored his team’s only goal in the match with help from Rafael Leao.  USMNT defender Sergino Dest made his Milan debut as a second-half substitute.

Benfica 2 – Maccabi Haifa 0

The hosts dominated for a majority of the match. Yet, they could not find the opener until the second half. Alex Grimaldo provided an assist for Rafa Silva to get the Eagles soaring at home.  Grimaldo then took matters into his own hands by scoring the goal of the day in all of UCL play. The Spaniard struck a fierce shot from outside of the box straight into the top corner of the goal.

PHOTO: IMAGO / Federico Pestellini / Panoramic 

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