They might pay in the most popular league in the world, but popularity does not mean best as Manchester City and United were both underwhelming in their opening Champions League matches on Tuesday.
Manchester United suffered a miserable return to the UEFA Champions League after a 12-month hiatus as full-back Luke Shaw was taken to hospital with a horror injury during Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat at PSV Eindhoven.
The England international was surging into the box when he was crunched by a tackle from Mexico international Hector Moreno. After receiving treatment for eight minutes on the pitch, Shaw was stretchered off with an oxygen mask over his face.
Memphis Depay gave United the lead against his former club with a sublime goal on 41 minutes. But Moreno, who was perhaps lucky to still be on the pitch, equalised through a deflected header from a corner just before the break. If that equaliser was against the run of play, PSV’s second had an element of smash-and-grab about it as Luciano Narsingh headed home a deep cross from Maxime Lestienne. United dominated in terms of possession, territory and chances but simply could not find another goal.
It was just as bad a night for the blue side of Manchester, as the perennial European under-achievers lost 2-1 at home to last season’s finalists Juventus. City took the lead at the Etihad Stadium in as Vincent Kompany pressured Giorgio Chiellini into scoring an own goal on 57 minutes.
Juve had been holding on at times but Mario Mandzukic touched home Paul Pogba’s cross to equalise on 70 minutes. And nine minutes from time, Alvaro Morata pounced on an error from Aleksandar Kolarov to snare the winner. The result was all the more surprising as City had won five from five league games so far while the Old Lady of Turin had drawn one and lost two of their three Serie A fixtures.
Elsewhere, Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick in a 4-0 thrashing of ten-man Shakhtar Donetsk. Striker Karim Benzema gave the hosts a 30th minute lead, although Gareth Bale had already gone off for Real with a calf injury. Taras Stepanenko then got sent off for a second booking five minutes into the second period and Ronaldo took over.
He scored two penalties and then headed in a third to take his tally of goals within the week to eight following five in La Liga at the weekend. It also took him three goals clear of great rival Lionel Messi in the all-time Champions League top scorers chart with 80.
At the Parc des Princes, Angel Di Maria started paying back his €63m price tag with his first goal for PSG after just four minutes. The 27-year-old Argentina international was bought from Manchester United to help PSG take the next step on the continental stage after three straight Champions League quarter-final exits. And he ran onto Marco Verratti’s pass before beautifully finishing past Johan Wiland in the Malmo goal.
Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani added a second on the hour mark as he headed home a Zlatan Ibrahimovic flick from Maxwell’s left-wing cross. PSG should have won more handsomely but Ibrahimovic, in particular, was wasteful.
French forward Antoine Griezmann scored twice within seven first-half minutes to give Atletico Madrid a 2-0 win at Galatasaray. Sevilla made it three out of three for La Liga as they cruised past Borussia Monchengladbach — who have lost all four Bundesliga matches this season — 3-0 with goals from Kevin Gameiro and Ever Banega, both from the spot, and Yevhen Konoplyanka.
Benfica beat Champions League debutants Astana of Kazakhstan 2-0 in Lisbon with goals from Nicolas Gaitan and Kostas Mitroglou. Julian Draxler went some way to helping Wolfsburg forget the departed Kevin de Bruyne by scoring his first goal for the Wolves in only his second appearance as the Germans beat CSKA Moscow 1-0.