Football was not only played in Bruges tonight. Real Madrid, with Hazard on the bench, only got past Inter in injury time, Manchester City with De Bruyne in the starting lineup against Leipzig. Man of the evening was the Frenchman Sebastien Haller. The striker of Ajax scored no less than four times in the big Amsterdam victory on the field of Sporting Portugal.
Next to Club Brugge – PSG stood in group A also the match between Manchester City and RB Leipzig on the program. Kevin De Bruyne was in the starting line-up for the first time this season for the home team. After half an hour the game seemed over. Ake quickly scored the first goal, Kevin De Bruyne forced the second goal, Mukiele defeated his own goalkeeper. Shortly before the break, he partly made up for his mistake by offering Nkunku the connecting goal. Mahrez increased the margin to two more goals before the break. The goalscoring festival continued after the break. Nkunku once again gave the Germans hope but Grealish topped off his Champions League debut with the fourth goal for the home side. De Bruyne had meanwhile left the field, Joao Cancelao and Jesus closed the books completely: 6-3.
In group B Atletico Madrid received a visit from FC Porto. The Spanish national champion gave Yannick Carrasco a basic place, ex-Anderlecht defender Chancel Mbemba was allowed to show up from the first minute with the visitors. No goals were scored: 0-0. Mbemba still got a red card in injury time.
In the second game, Liverpool faced AC Milan at Anfield. Two compatriots kicked off: Alexis Saelemakers was in the starting lineup with the visitors as expected, but especially the selection at the Reds for Divock Origi was a small surprise. The 26-year-old attacker has not collected a single minute in four matches in the Premier League this season, but now coach Klopp has been allowed to start from the kick-off. Origi missed the first chance of the match but Trent Alexander-Arnold quickly gave England the lead. Salah had the chance to double the score from the spot moments later, but missed his penalty. That miss would be the Liverpudlians Breaking up acid: Ante Rebic equalized just before the break and a minute later, Diaz pushed a second Italian goal against the ropes. What a turnaround! The Italian joy did not last long. Salah equalized immediately after the break and made up for his penalty miss. The excellent assist was from Divock Origi but the former Red Devil had to leave the field injured just past the hour. Liverpool smelled the victory and were rewarded with the winning goal from captain Jordan Henderson: 3-2.
Also in group C Two interesting matches were scheduled. Dortmund started the match on the field of Besiktas without Axel Witsel. The midfielder came in at the break. There were basic places for Thomas Meunier (D) and Michy Batshuayi (B). The Germans soon took the lead through Jude Bellingham. The England international also provided an assist to Haaland in the injury time of the first half. Dortmund limited themselves to control football after the break, Thomas Meunier still took a yellow card. Montero’s connecting goal in injury time came too late for the Turks: 1-2.
In the group’s second match, Ajax had to visit Sporting Portugal. The team from Amsterdam took a dream start with a goal from Haller after barely seventy seconds of football. And it didn’t stop. Less than ten minutes into the game, the French-Ivorian scored his second of the evening. Just past the half hour, Paulinho gave the home team hope by scoring the connecting goal for the Portuguese. Just for a little while, because before the break Steven Berghuis again gave the Dutch a double lead. Again Paulinho seemed to give Portuguese hopes again immediately after the break but his goal was disallowed. The Portuguese disappointment only grew for a few minutes when Haller finally closed the game with his third and fourth goal of the evening: 1-5.
In group D finally, debutant Sheriff Tiraspol closed his first game in the CL final with a win. The Moldaves beat Shaktar Donetsk with convincing numbers: 2-0. The goals came from the foot of Adame Traoré and Momo Yansane. The joy of the home team after the game was enormous.
In the second group match, Real Madrid, with Eden Hazard on the bench and Thibaut Courtois in goal, visited Inter Milan. The Madrilenians could not find an opening in the Italian defense before the break. On the contrary, it took an attentive Courtois after the break to keep Skriniar from scoring. Eden Hazard stayed on the bench for ninety minutes and saw how substitute Rodrygo gave the Madrilenians the victory in injury time: 0-1.