The first week of the UEFA Champions League is complete and there were some incredibly entertaining matches to kick things off. The theme of last year’s tournament was how the Premier League struggled mightily but other teams from La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and Serie A did very well.
After matchday 1 it was more of the same for the Premier League, 3 out of the 4 teams surprisingly lost to weaker opponents. On the flip side, La Liga had 3 out of the 5 teams that qualified win in impressive fashion.
Let’s take a look at the key highlights and matches from matchday 1.
PSV Eindhoven 2 Manchester United 1
The Red Devils were off to a great start in this one, Memphis Depay made his return home to PSV and ended up scoring a pretty impressive goal. This solo spectacular from Depay increased his tally to three goals in the Champions League.
After that things really went downhill for United, they lost Luke Shaw to a double leg fracture after this challenge from PSV’s Hector Moreno.
Terrible doble leg fracture of Luke Shaw yesterday at the match Eindhoven (2–1) Manchester United pic.twitter.com/QzZrVMwZ04
— Soccer Jerseys (@sportions_en) September 17, 2015
Moreno could have been sent off for that challenge despite getting the ball but he didn’t even receive a card. This would be critical because Moreno would go on to score the equalizing goal from a corner kick. In the 2nd half, PSV proved how much attacking prowess they really have with this well worked goal.
— PSV STATS (@PSVStats) September 15, 2015
United failed to score and PSV picked up a vital three points in a group that will be tough to advance from. Manchester United will have their work cut out for them going forward.
PSV take on CSKA Moscow and Manchester United take on Wolfsburg in their next matches.
Juventus 2 Manchester City 1
United’s noisy neighbors began their campaign against the finalists from last year, Juventus. Just like United, City played well in the first half and scored on an own goal from Giorgio Chiellini.
But was it more embarrassing than Vincent Kompany celebrating a Chiellini own goal as if he scored it… pic.twitter.com/E4v5YXOYZP
— Copa90 (@Copa90) September 16, 2015
Raheem Sterling had multiple opportunities to add to City’s lead in the match but he failed to do so. City would be punished big time in the second half, Juventus came back with two phenomenal goals.
Paul Pogba showed off why he’s one of the best in the world with this ridiculous ball to Mario Mandzukic who finished well.
One of City’s new signings, Nicolas Otamendi got caught out on a hopeful long ball and Alvaro Morata ripped a shot and scored from outside the box.
Every time Morata steps on the field for a Champions League game, he proves that Real Madrid made the wrong decision to let him go.
Juventus would take all three points while City’s Champions League woes continue.
The Italian champions take on Sevilla in their next game while Manchester City will take on Monchengladbach.
Real Madrid 4 Shakhtar Donetsk 0
Real Madrid easily put in the best performance of the week by dominating proceedings against the Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk. The only important story line was Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored a hat trick. His third was a putback header off of a shot from Marcelo.
Ronaldo has been on an absolute tear, he has now scored 8 goals in his last two games. CR7 is also three goals ahead of Lionel Messi for most Champions League goals all time with 80.
Real Madrid will have an even easier matchup against Malmo and Shakhtar Donetsk will take on PSG.
Barcelona 1 Roma 1
This was one of the marquee matchups of the week and it lived up to the hype with some incredible play. Barcelona started off the scoring after Jeremy Matieu picked out Ivan Rakitic with a great ball. The ultimate goal poacher Luis Suarez finished it off easily.
— YasserTheGreat (@TheBarcaFanBoy) September 16, 2015
Barcelona had previously won all 20 games that Luis Suarez scored in but that was spoiled by one of the goals of the season from Alessandro Florenzi.
That truly is one of the best goals you will ever see, the fact that he hits this from the sideline and scores is truly jaw-dropping. This is a goal that Florenzi will never, ever forget.
Barcelona will take on Leverkusen at home in Matchday 2, while Roma will have to travel to Romania to take on BATE Borisov.
Dinamo Zagreb 2 Arsenal 0
Arsenal just cannot seem to get it together when it comes to the Champions League, they once again lost to a team that they should have beaten.
The first goal was unlucky for the Gunners but Olivier Giroud’s red card was not. He had already picked up a yellow card earlier in the match and committed this challenge in the 40th minute to get himself sent off.
Arsenal simply couldn’t recover after that and the hosts Dinamo Zagreb added to their lead in the 2nd half off a poorly defended corner kick.
Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United have no one to blame but themselves for their awful defending. Chelsea was the only team to get a victory in what was an easy matchup against Maccabi Tel-Aviv.
Arsenal will have a home game against Olympiakos who have always given them trouble, and Zagreb have the impossible task of getting a result at Bayern Munich in Matchday 2.
Zenit 3 Valencia 2
This was probably the most entertaining game of Matchday 1. Zenit jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to a brace from Hulk and his 2nd goal was an absolute laser beam.
Valencia clawed their way back into the game with two goals after some poor mistakes from Zenit’s goalkeeper. Just two minutes after Valencia equalized, Belgian international Axel Witsel accurately found the bottom corner which gave the Russian side three points.
Axel Witsel goal pic.twitter.com/GQI8tA50GC
— Libyan Milanista (@semo33) September 16, 2015
Valencia will have to travel to France to take on Lyon and Zenit will have a home match against Belgian side KAA Gent in their next fixture.
These are the rest of the results from matchday 1:
PSG 2 Malmo 0
Wolfsburg 1 Moscow 0
Benfica 2 Astana 0
Atletico Madrid 2 Galatasray 0
Sevilla 3 Monchengladbach 0
Leverkusen 4 BATE Borisov 1
Bayern Munich 3 Olympiakos 0
Chelsea 4 Maccabi Tel-Aviv 0
Dynamo Kyiv 2 Porto 2
Lyon 1 Gent 1