Ronaldo stunner over Manchester City highlights opening night
The Champions League got under way on Tuesday with a round of matches that reminded us just why the competition is so fantastic: brilliant goals, late drama, unpredictable heroes, two missed penalties and some new stars of the future. Here is a rundown of the highlights of Matchday One, Day One:
As if trying to out-surprise his opposite number, Mancini dropped Joleon Lescott for a 19-year-old debutant of his own, Matija Nastasic. He also picked Gareth Barry as an extra holding midfielder and Maicon for Pablo Zabaleta.
Who came out of it better? Well, the result suggests Mourinho came out on top, but this second half was so crazy, so unpredictable, that the selection process barely comes into it. And Manchester City's European education continues the hard way: twice ahead, with both goals making Iker Casillas' claims for this season's Ballon D'Or look flimsy, but twice Madrid came back, scoring two goals in the last five minutes to seal an unlikely, but ultimately deserved, victory.
It was harsh on City goalkeeper Joe Hart, whose heroics in the first half had kept the hosts at bay, but that in itself tells its own story. As Hart put it after the game: "You can't go 2-1 up with five minutes to go and lose. It's not on. We can only blame ourselves."
But Madrid never stopped pushing for goals, while Yaya Toure was hero and villain in the space of five second-half minutes: his blistering run set up Edin Dzeko for the opening goal, but two minutes later he shot into the side-netting with what was to prove a costly miss.
A terrible last five minutes for Mancini got worse when Robert Lewandowski scored a very late winner for Borussia Dortmund over Ajax. City's next opponents, the German champion, now travel to Manchester on Matchday Two with a three-point cushion.
Mourinho's response to Ronaldo's winner, when he slid onto the pitch on his knees, was reminiscent of the younger Portuguese dancing down the Old Trafford touchline after Porto's late winner over Manchester United in 2004. This was a huge victory for Mourinho, not least because it makes a potential flash-point with Sergio Ramos, who is a powerful dressing-room influence, easier to handle.