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UEFA Champions League 2018-19: 5 talking points from Matchday 1 (Groups E-H)

Vishal
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
Timeless

The UEFA champions League 2018-19 group stage matches commenced from 18th September. The Matchday 1 fixtures included matches in the group of death, which saw Juventus taking on Valencia at the Mestalla, and Real Madrid, the three-time champions in a row, facing last year's semi-finalists AS Roma at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Here we look at the 5 main talking points from Matchday 1 for the Groups E, F, G and H:


1. 10 men Juventus defeat Valencia as Cristiano Ronaldo is sent off controversially

Valencia v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Group H
Valencia v Juventus - Ronaldo was sent off controversially in a Juventus win

The first Matchday of the UEFA Champions League 2018-19 saw Italian champions Juventus travel to the Mestalla to face Valencia. Juventus' marquee summer signing Cristiano Ronaldo was returning to a familiar stadium and everyone expected him to torment Valencia like he had done in the years past while playing at Real Madrid.

Juventus lined up in a 4-3-3 with Ronaldo, Mandzukic and Bernardeschi combining to form the front three, and Ronaldo playing on the left. Pjanic was controlling the strings in midfield with Khedira and Matuidi. Valencia started with a 4-4-2 formation with Rodrigo and Batshuayi as the two strikers.

Juventus had multiple scoring opportunities in the opening minutes of play. Khedira had to replaced by Emre Can in the 23rd minute, but what followed minutes later was a complete disaster for Juve.

Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off in the 29th minute controversially for a foul on Murillo as even though the referee had not seen the incident, the fourth official deemed it as a red card offence. At the stroke of half-time, a Parejo foul on Cancelo offered Pjanic to score from the spot, which he did.

Juventus had a fragile 1-0 lead at half-time, but shortly into the second half, Murillo the victim of the Ronaldo red card incident, gave away a penalty in the 51st minute. Pjanic, converted this one as well, identical in fashion to the first. 

Juventus defended bravely as Chiellini and Bonucci gave their all and Szczesny made some fine saves. Valencia tried to change things up by bringing on Gameiro, Santi Mina and Cheryshev, but to no avail. A 96th minute penalty awarded to Valencia and taken by Dani Parejo was saved by Szczesny and the match ended 2-0. Ronaldo's red card incident will surely be talked about in the days to come.

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