While Real Madrid and Man United delivered, Pep Guardiola's Man City slipped to a shock defeat and Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off on his European debut with Juventus on a dramatic night in the Champions League.
Champions League favorite Manchester City slipped to a shocking defeat and Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off on his European debut on a dramatic night in the Champions League.
City went down 2-1 at home to Lyon, blowing the group wide open. Hoffenheim twice took the lead away to Shakhtar Donetsk in the other game in the group, but was twice pegged back as the game finished in a 2-2 draw.
Juventus survived Ronaldo's 29th-minute dismissal to win 2-0 away to Valencia thanks to a pair of penalties from Miralem Pjanic. A Paul Pogba double helped Manchester United to a straightforward 3-0 win away to the Swiss champion Young Boys.
The defending European champion Real Madrid got off to a winning start with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Roma, the goals coming from Isco, Gareth Bale and Mariano Diaz. In the other game in the group Michael Krmencik struck twice in the first half as Viktoria Plzen went 2-0 on CSKA Moscow only to be pegged back by a goal from Fedor Chalov and a Nikola Vlasic penalty.
AEK, after ending Olympiakos¹s seven-year hold on the title, returned to the group stage of the Champions League for the first time since 2003-04 with a 3-0 defeat away to Ajax, for whom the Argentinian full-back Nicolas Tagliafico scored twice. Bayern beat Benfica 2-0 in the other game in the group, Robert Lewandowski and Renato Sanches getting the goals.
Here are three thoughts from Wednesday's action in the Champions League:
CITY CRASHES TO OPENING DEFEAT
Manchester City endured a desperate start to its Champions League group, suffering a defeat to Lyon that was largely self-inflicted, although the French side unsettled Pep Guardiola¹s team with an aggressive press. Pep Guardiola had been frustrated with his side¹s laxity in the 3-0 win over Fulham at the weekend, and while that at the time seemed like his typical fastidiousness, the performance here suggested his concern had been justified. This has been a strange week for the Premier League sides, the carelessness that characterised the league action at the weekend seeping into the performances of Tottenham and City.
City¹s sloppiness in midfield squandered possession to Nabil Fekir 26 minutes in. He played a slick one-two and when Fabian Delph fluffed his clearance, Maxwell Cornet turned the ball in at the back post. Fekir then got a goal of his own, tucking the ball into the bottom corner after the Lyon press had forced a mistake from Fernandinho just outside his own box.
Only an excellent save from Ederson denied Memphis Depay a third on the hour, and that looked vital seven minutes later as a brilliant run from Leroy Sane teed up Bernardo Silva to pull one back. But City, despite a welter of pressure couldn¹t find an equalizer and a group that had looked relatively simple now presents a major challenge for a team that has yet to hit top form this season and that despite the strength if its squad, is clearly missing the injured Kevin De Bruyne.
RONALDO SENT OFF, BUT JUVE WINS ANYWAY
Juventus signed Ronaldo with the express intention of winning the Champions League after two defeats in finals in the past four seasons, but his European debut for the club ended with a 29th-minute red card. He wept as he left the pitch.
The 33 year old had tangled off the ball in the box with Jeison Murillo, who collapsed to the ground. Ronaldo then reached down and ruffled the hair of the Colombian, for which the German referee Felix Brych showed a red card, seemingly after taking advice from the official behind the goal.
As it turned out, his dismissal was not immediately costly although it could be if the appeal he will surely make is rejected and he is suspended as a Miralem Pjanic penalty put Juve ahead before halftime. The Bosnian added a second from the spot six minutes after halftime.
UNITED CRUISES IN BERN
The clouds around Jose Mourinho lifted further on Wednesday as Manchester United made light of playing on an artificial pitch enjoyed a comfortable victory away to the Swiss champion Young Boys. His relationship with Paul Pogba remains under scrutiny after a tense summer, but the midfielder struck twice in the first half to set United on its way. The first showed all his technical quality, and he jinked to his left before slamming his shot into the top corner, and he then converted a penalty after Kevin Mbabu had, slightly harshly, been penalised for handball.
Pogba then set up the third 20 minutes into the second half, laying the ball into the path of Anthony Martial, whose deflected the goalkeeper David von Ballmoos to score his first goal for United since Alexis Sanchez joined the club.