UEFA Champions League 2018-19: 5 talking points from MatchDay 1 (Groups A-D)
The UEFA Champions League group stage matches commenced from 18th September. The Matchday 1 fixtures included matches in the group of death featuring which saw PSG taking on Liverpool away at Anfield as well as Tottenham facing Inter Milan at San Siro.
Here we look at the 5 main talking points from Matchday 1 for the Groups A, B, C and D:
1. Messi's hattrick and an outstanding Dembele strike win it for Barcelona:
The first Matchday of the Champions league 2018-19 saw Barcelona take on PSV Eindhoven at Camp Nou in an early kickoff.
An entire season after starting with a 4-4-2 formation last year, Ernesto Valverde switched to a 4-3-3 as he has done in the league this season as well. This meant an attacking trio of Messi, Suarez, and Dembele started the match with Rakitic, Busquets, and Coutinho forming a formidable midfield three. PSV started with their tried and tested 4-2-3-1 with Lozano on the right of the three and Luuk de Jong up front.
Messi started the proceedings with a customary free kick in the 32nd minute to give Barcelona the lead. PSV defenders at this stage cannot afford to give away a free kick in dangerous areas and Messi punished them with that.
Even after Barcelona was leading at halftime by a solitary goal, PSV looked dangerous enough to score on the counter and level things up. But a superb finish from Ousmane Dembele made it 2-0 and a Messi strike three minutes later from a beautiful combination play made it 3-0 and the match was out of the Dutch champions' hands.
Another goal from Messi in the 87th minute saw Messi complete his hattrick as Barcelona eased to a victory against PSV.