Champions League: European soccer returns with a wild night time of motion
It was an explosive night in the Champions League on Wednesday with wins for English clubs Liverpool and Man City
Breathless, beautiful and brilliant.
The Champions League is back and on a turbulent night across Europe, the competition was a reminder of why it can produce unforgettable must-see football.
While the action on Tuesday did not raise the pulse significantly, Wednesday produced 28 goals and countless stories and subplots.
Liverpool played out Thriller with Milan,Manchester City hit six a Ex-West Ham striker lit the evening and Lionel Messi not challenged – And that was just the beginning.
It was a game day that confused and delighted managers, players and experts.
Liverpool versus AC Milan – the game that goes on and on
Jordan Henderson (center) scored only his second Champions League goal (39th outing) against Ludogorets Razgrad in November 2014, 2,485 days since his first
Can Liverpool and AC Milan play normal football matches when they face each other?
After the Reds had produced what was probably the biggest European Cup final of all time in 2005, when the Reds came back from a 3-0 deficit to win the cup on penalties, they gave us Milan’s revenge two years later in another thrilling tournament-deciding event Showdown.
On Wednesday they produced another swing classic where the Reds took the lead, missed a penalty, gave away two goals in the first half, and then rallied in the second half to claim victory at Jordan Henderson’s great half-volley.
Not a bad welcome for the Anfield fans enjoying their first Champions League game on the floor since March 2020.
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“We got carried away by our own football,” said Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp afterwards to BT Sport.
“It was clear that we had to go straight back to where we started and then, to be honest, we scored wonderful goals. It’s deserved, but we had 10 minutes in which Milan would have changed most of the game.”
Defender Andy Robertson added: “We blew them away for the first half hour. Then we got sloppy and stopped doing the things we did really well.”
“We let them come back into the game and come into the game at halftime and think, ‘How did we let that happen?’
“We have to be smarter. Really tough, but we managed to come out in the second half, play our football and enjoy it again.”
Six-y City sends a defiant message
Pep Guardiola won’t forget his 300th game against Manchester City anytime soon.
One hundred and nine days after their painful night in Porto losing the final to Chelsea, they came out of the blocks to start their Group A season against RB Leipzig.
Six goals, six different goal scorers.
New £ 100m Jack Grealish scored an all-time classic as he became the first Englishman to both score and assist since Wayne Rooney made his Champions League debut in September 2004.
“The players are always talking about last season’s final. They are determined to do a little better this year,” said Grealish, who took City 4-2 ahead. “It’s a good start for us. Hopefully we can go all the way this time.”
In a game full of incidents, Leipzig finished with 10 men after former Manchester City player Angelino was sent off for two bookable offenses.
This was Manchester City’s top-ranked Champions League game, beating eight goals in their 5-3 win over Monaco in February 2017
“What a great performance, especially up front, what a fabulous offensive performance,” former England midfielder Owen Hargreaves told BT Sport.
With Nathan Ake scoring the goal, 10 different players in a City shirt have scored in the last four games.
In addition, they have rattled 16 goals in the past three home games.
Boss Pep Guardiola even became a seller after the game, trying to get a few more tickets to visit Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday.
“I want more people to come on Saturday,” he said. “We’re going to be tired. Southampton is so dangerous. I invite all of our people to come at 3pm to see our game.”
Messi and PSG held by Bruges
Neymar (left), Mbappe (center) and Messi (right) started a game together for the first time
With all the hype, it turned out to be a disappointing first start in the Paris St-Germain shirt for Lionel Messi.
The Argentine hit the bar in his 150th Champions League game and first in competition for a team other than Barcelona, but was frustrated along with his teammates by a well-trained Club Bruges, whose spending and resources faded compared to their high-profile opponents .
Ander Herrera took the lead for PSG, but the Belgians more than deserved Hans Vanaken’s equalizer when they drew 1-1.
Kylian Mbappe set up the start, left injured on 51 minutes while Messi received a yellow card and both he and Neymar were treated well by the hosts.
“Nobody on the team can be satisfied with their performance and nobody can be satisfied with this result,” said PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino.
“We came here to score. All the points. Hats off to Club Bruges. They wanted it more than we did tonight and they deserve the point.”
BT Sports expert Hargreaves added: “PSG were probably one of the favorites to enter this competition this summer. Pochettino will try to strike the right balance with so many top players.”
The ex-West Ham man with one of the big debuts
Sebastien Haller (center) is only the second player to score four goals in his Champions League debut
Sebastien Haller was dropped from Ajax’s Europa League squad last year due to an administrative error by the club, but he showed the Dutch team what they are missing with one of the most spectacular Champions League debuts.
The former West Ham striker was only the second player in the history of the competition to score four goals on his debut in Ajax’s 5-1 win over Sporting Lisbon.
He is the first player to have achieved this feat since Marco van Basten for AC Milan against IFK Gothenburg in November 1992, despite the fact that the Dutchman had previously played in European Cup.
“I was just trying not to be too emotional because it’s a dream to be so young and play games like this,” said the 27-year-old.
“I just focused on doing my job, focusing on the other team, tactically, physically and today I thank my teammates for all of that.”
Oh. And that wasn’t all.
Sheriff Tiraspol became Moldova’s first representative in the Champions League, defeating Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0. This makes them the first team since Leicester in 2016 to win their Champions League debut.
Jude Bellingham (18 years 78 days) became the youngest player to ever score in consecutive Champions League games, surpassing Mbappe.
He scored a goal and assisted one as Borussia Dortmund beat Bestikas 2-1.
Erling Braut Haaland, who scored the second goal, has scored 21 goals in 17 Champions League games – 10 games faster than anyone else.
In the 89th minute, two youngsters teamed up when Real Madrid won at the San Siro against Serie A champions Inter Milan. Eduardo Camavinga prepared the only goal for Rodrygo.
And Atletico Madrid drew 0-0 against Porto. We have nothing to get upset about.