Lionel Messi scored a record 8th UCL hattrick in his side’s 4-0 win over PSV.
With the UEFA Champions League in full flow, football fans across the world have much more to contemplate about now. Europe’s premier footballing competition is already past Matchday 1 and the group standings have begun to take shape.
Matchday 1 results
Barcelona and Inter Milan kicked-off this season with victories over PSV Eindhoven and Tottenham Hotspur respectively. Following last season’s heartbreak, Liverpool beat PSG 3-2 in a heroic display. Meanwhile, Real Madrid started their Ronaldo-less campaign with a 3-0 thrashing of 2017-18 semi-finalists AS Roma. Also, the Portuguese skipper received a red card in Juventus‘ 0-2 victory at the Mestalla. Pep Guardiola was taught a lesson, as his high-flying Manchester City were humbled by Lyon in a 1-2 debacle. Jose Mourinho began his UCL campaign with a bang, with a 0-3 win over Swiss side BSC Young Boys.
In this article, we at Khel Now are going to analyze the five talking points observed from Matchday 1:
5. Manchester City and PSG are not yet ready to challenge for the UCL title
Maxwel Cornet scores Lyon’s first goal of the match past a hapless Ederson
After all the money spent, Manchester City and PSG still aren’t ready to push for the European title. Last season, the Premier League outfit were beaten by rivals Liverpool in the knockout stages, while PSG were taught a Spanish lesson by eventual champions Real Madrid.
Pep Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel still have a lot of work to do and right now it looks like they won’t pose any serious threat for the crown. Against Lyon, City were completely overpowered tactically. It was the same case with the Ligue 1 outfit too. Against hardworking teams, star players like Neymar need to work better (at least defensively).
4. Paul Pogba is the talisman whom Manchester United need to progress to the latter stages
⚽️ Young Boys vs Manchester United | Paul Pogba (GOAL) 35′ pic.twitter.com/F5goAmWekn
— CY☆9NEXUS (@D9INE_NEXUS_) September 19, 2018
There is only one word to describe Paul Pogba’s performance against Young Boys – TALISMAN! The Frenchman was supreme throughout the match and his presence was felt all over the artificial turf in Switzerland. In a 0-3 victory, the French virtuoso scored two goals and assisted another which was put into the net by Anthony Martial.
Time and time again, critics and fans have always urged Jose Mourinho to use Pogba more and to give him freedom with the ball. Against Young Boys, it worked. The former Juventus midfielder is the player whom United need, that is if they want to have an impact in this season’s competition.
3. Real Madrid are doing just fine without Cristiano Ronaldo
The Los Blancos cruised past AS Roma in a comfortable 3-0 win
There were no disgruntled expressions when Gareth Bale scored. This time everybody came to celebrate each and every goal. Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure is turning out to be a good thing for the Santiago Bernabeu outfit. Julen Lopetegui has turned them into a spirited side, who can defend their title with composure and confidence.
The Spanish side played more like a unit and were comfortable throughout the 90 minutes, with every player fundamental to the team’s movement and tactics.
2. Lionel Messi to shine this season
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) September 18, 2018
The Barcelona skipper kick-started this team’s new campaign with a bang, scoring a hat-trick in a 4-0 rout over PSV Eindhoven. His three goals led him to record a UCL high of eight hat-tricks. Meanwhile, he also became the highest goalscorer in the group stages of the Champions League, with 63 goals in 64 games.
The Argentine was magnificent throughout the match, something reminiscent of his brilliant displays in the competiion a few years ago.
1. The Champions League is richer for the return of Dutch clubs
Oh, What a Night! ????
— AFC Ajax (@AFCAjax) September 20, 2018
Last season, Feyenoord were the only Eredivisie outfit in the Champions League. The De Kuip outfit were eliminated in the group stage itself. But, this season, Ajax are back, along with PSV.
Although, PSV were thrashed by Barca, they did look threatening at times. Meanwhile, Ajax romped past AEK Athens, scoring three past the Greek side and conceding none.