- PSG sent the Champions League message it was seeking in destroying Bayern Munich, while Chelsea impressively escaped Madrid with three points and Manchester United didn't hold back in Moscow.
Paris Saint-Germain had hoped this week would prove it is a serious contender for the Champions League, but its 3-0 victory over Bayern Munich may instead suggest the German champion has fallen some way from its peak. Goals from Dani Alves, Edinson Cavani and Neymar wrapped up a startlingly comfortable win to headline the second half of Matchday 2 on Wednesday.
Elsewhere in the powerhouse's group, Celtic pulled level with Bayern on three points as it beat Anderlecht 3-0, its first away win in the Champions League group stage in five years. Leigh Griffiths got the opener before a Patrick Roberts shot deflected in off Kara Mbodji and Scott Sinclair wrapped up the win late on.
Michy Batshuayi scored an injury-time winner with the final kick, as Chelsea came from behind to beat Atletico Madrid 2-1 in the Spanish capital. Atletico had taken the lead with an Antoine Griezmann penalty before Alvaro Morata’s equalizer. In the other game in the group, Roma beat Qarabag 2-1 in the Champions League group game ever played in Azerbaijan.
In Group A, Romelu Lukaku scored twice as Manchester United was a comfortable 4-1 winner away to CSKA Moscow. Jose Mourinho’s side tops the group, three points clear of CSKA and Basel, which beat Benfica 5-0 thanks to goals from Michael Lang, Dmitri Oberlin (two), Blas Riveros and a penalty from Ricky van Wolfswinkel.
In Group D, both Barcelona and Juventus were held until halftime, but both found the goals to beat Sporting Lisbon and Olympiakos, respectively. Barcelona tops the group thanks to its win over Juventus on Matchday 1, but here it took an own goal from Sebastian Coates–under pressure from Luis Suarez–to break the deadlock.
It took 69 minutes for Juventus to find a way through against the Greek champions, with Gonzalo Higuain eventually getting the opener before Mario Mandzukic bundled a second to make it 2-0.
Here are three thoughts on the day in the Champions League:
PSG ROUT SAYS PLENTY ABOUT BAYERN, TOO
The suspicion before kickoff had been that PSG, bolstered by the signings of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, may be ready to challenge for the Champions League this season, while Bayern may have slipped backwards, but the gulf between the sides was shocking.
This was supposed to be a game that gave an indication of whether PSG, so dominant domestically, had really improved when compared to the European elite, but the truth is this was such a straightforward win, it wasn’t much of a test. All three German sides in action in the Champions League this week have lost: two admittedly faced very tough games, but much more of this and there’ll be some real soul-searching in the Bundesliga. Bayern was shockingly slow, sluggish in a way that couldn’t be written off as Carlo Ancelotti breaking his players gently into the season so they peak at the right time.
The tone was set in the second minute, with Neymar's brilliant run in off the left flank preceded his smart pass to compatriot and friend Dani Alves, surging forward from right back, for the opener. Half an hour later, Kylian Mbappe cut the ball back for Cavani, his differences with Neymar apparently sufficiently reconciled for both to start, to slam into the top corner. Neymar stabbed in a third just after the hour after another brilliant run from Mbappe, putting Bayern to the sword in a fashion we're unaccustomed to seeing. We'll have to wait until the return match in Munich on Dec. 5 to see how permanent the damage really is.
CHELSEA SNATCHES POINTS AT THE DEATH
Antonio Conte never had a particularly good Champions League record with Juventus, but the early signs with Chelsea are very good. A 6-0 win over Qarabag was neither here nor there, but beating Atletico in Madrid is a seriously impressive result, particluarly after it had fallen behind following a moment of foolishness from David Luiz.
Chelsea had dominated until Atletico switched from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3, but even as the game became more even, Chelsea seemed comfortable before David Luiz pulled back Lucas Hernandez during a corner kick to concede a penalty that Griezmann converted. Morata equalized in the second half from Eden Hazard’s cross, getting in front of Hernandez to glance a deft finish past Jan Oblak.
What had looked like being a decent result after an encouraging performance became much better in injury time, as Michy Batshuayi stole across the near post to turn in a low Marcos Alonso cross after fine work from Tiemoue Bakayoko. Diego Simeone could only put his head in his hand after watching what should have been a splitting of the points slip away.
MANCHESTER UNITED RUTHLESS IN VICTORY
Jose Mourinho had complained after Manchester United’s 3-0 win over Basel of his side performing too many tricks and flicks, but it was utterly ruthless in winning 4-1 Wednesday in Moscow. Anthony Martial crossed for Romelu Lukaku to head United into a fourth-minute lead, and Martial added a second from the penalty spot after Henrikh Mkhitaryan was fouled by Georgi Schennikov.
Lukaku added his second–his 10th in nine games this season–from another Martial cross after 27 minutes as Vasily Berezutsky missed the ball at the near post. Mkhitaryan turned in the rebound after a Martial shot was saved to make it 4-0 and only some fine saves from Akinfeev prevented CSKA from real embarrassment before Konstantin Kuchaev’s last-minute consolation.
Only Chelsea and PSG have a better goal differential than United's +6 (rival Manchester City boasts the same, without having conceded yet) through the first two games of the group stage.