Cristiano Ronaldo scored his second hat-trick in 3 days to hand Real Madrid a 4-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk in their Champions League opener for 2015/16. All the bigwigs came away with wins including Paris Saint-Germain, Sevilla and Juventus but Manchester United succumbed to PSV Eindhoven playing at the PSV Stadion.
There were no draws on the day as the three La Liga sides all emerged victorious, while both English Premier League sides lost in a sad imitation of last season's poor showing from the English sides in the competition.
Real Madrid began the game in as tame a manner as they could, creating a few early chances playing at home against Shakhtar Donetsk. But the side that has registered the most wins in the history of the Champions League (125) went on to do what they do best when French striker Karim Benzema pounced on a fluffed punch by the Shakhtar keeper to put the Spanish side ahead.
From then on, it was the Ronaldo show as the Portuguese went on to score 3 for his side just days after he scored 5 against Espanyol. He put away 2 quick penalties before finishing off the trio of goals from open play to rout the visitors. Before Ronaldo’s scoring spree Stepanenko was sent off for Shakhtar making the situation worse for the visitors. The only downside of the game for the Spanish giants was that Gareth Bale hobbled off with a calf injury to be replaced by Mateo Kovacic but the extent of the injury so far is unknown.
Meanwhile, the French champions beat Malmo 2-0 in an expected win as Angel Di Maria scored not only his first goal for PSG but incidentally also the first goal of the Champions League 2015/16. The Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani would double the lead in the second half to finish off the scoring.
The Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven handed visitors Manchester United a 2-1 loss after coming from behind in dramatic fashion. Memphis Depay opened the scoring for Louis van Gaal’s side but their lead was short-lived as Hector Moreno rose from a corner to put one past David De Gea.
Among the biggest moments of the game was when the score was 0-0 and a Moreno tackle brought left-back Luke Shaw down with a strong tackle, one that seemingly broke the English youngster’s leg in the process. It resulted in a lengthy break in play when Shaw was treated on the pitch but Moreno would play on and score later on in the game.
It was Luciano Narsingh’s header from close range that would, however, lead the home side to victory in the second half as the Dutch side protected their unbeaten home record against Manchester United.
In the other Group B game, the German side Wolfsburg emerged victorious by the narrowest of margins as their new signing Julian Draxler was on target against Russian side CSKA Moscow to ensure that his side won 1-0.
An uninspired performance from Galatasaray saw the Turkish team succumb to a 0-2 loss against an Antonio Griezmann inspired Atletico Madrid. The French forward scored twice in the space of 7 minutes to ensure that his side would secure a huge away win that would position them strongly right form the start. The win all the more sweet coming after their first defeat of the season against Barcelona just a couple of days before.
The Portuguese side Benfica were also victors on the day beating Champions League newbies Astana 2-0 to kick off their campaign. A Nicolas Gaitan strike compounded by a goal from Greek forward Kostas Mitroglou both scored in the second half would seal the win for the home team.
Manchester City looked stronger of the two sides in the opening exchanges, looking dangerous with every attack and looking very much like they would carry their Premier League form into the Champions League. The 0-0 scoreline at half-time seemed only a slight hitch to them going in as they seemed to confirm when Kompany rose above Chiellini in the 57th minute from a corner but the ball hit the Italian defender in the face before going into his own net to confirm Juventus’ first own goal in the Champions League since 2003.
But just when it seemed hopeless for the visitor’s whose start to the season has been less than perfect, Paul Pogba played in Mario Mandzukic with a splendid cross from deep that cut through Manchester City's defence and the Croatian frontman made it level.
The visitors would then go on to win 1-2 through a sublime curling shot from Alvaro Morata that took keeper Joe Hart out of the equation once he had gone clear of substitute Nicolas Otamendi to take the shot on. The hoodoo for City will go on at least till their next game.
A superb night for La Liga sides in the Champions League was rounded off by Sevilla’s 3-0 victory over Borussia Monchengladbach, spurred on by goals from Kevin Gameiro (pen), Ever Banega and Yevhen Konoplyanka. The German side were left with no answers as the Spanish team took the second half by storm, starting the scoring in the 47th minute and finishing only in the 84th.