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PIX: PSG overwhelm Real Madrid; Atletico hold Juve

September 19, 2019 09:57 IST

Paris St Germain's Angel Di Maria celebrates scoring their first goal against Real Madrid in their Champions League Group A match at the Parc des Princes in Paris on Wednesday

IMAGE: Paris St Germain's Angel Di Maria celebrates scoring their first goal against Real Madrid in their Champions League Group A match at the Parc des Princes in Paris on Wednesday. Photograph: Benoit Tessier/Reuters

Angel Di Maria scored twice in a vintage performance to help Paris St Germain outclass Real Madrid 3-0 in their opening Champions League Group A game on Wednesday.

In the absence of the formidable attacking trio of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Edinson Cavani, Di Maria provided two first-half goals as PSG suffocated Real throughout and Thomas Meunier added a third in stoppage time.

Real, European champions 13 times and three years in a row from 2016-18, failed to muster a shot on target and suffered their first defeat of the season.

PSG lead the standings on three points, ahead of Club Brugge and Galatasaray, who played out a goalless draw earlier on Wednesday.

 

"We lacked intensity, we never got into the game, we created very few chances," Real coach Zinedine Zidane told a news conference.

Although PSG's win could be seen as a statement, the French champions still have a long way to go before putting three consecutive last-16 eliminations behind them for good including last season's embarrassing defeat by Manchester United.

"We played at a very very high level tonight, but it's not easy to show this in every game," said PSG coach Thomas Tuchel.

With Neymar suspended and Mbappe and Cavani injured, Argentine Mauro Icardi started up front after playing his first half hour for PSG in a Ligue 1 game against Strasbourg last weekend.

He had little impact, though, as Di Maria made sure his compatriot's lack of match time went unnoticed in PSG's first European game since a shock 3-1 home defeat by United sent them out of last season's Champions League.

Real Madrid's Toni Kroos and with Paris St Germain's Idrissa Gueye vie for possession  

IMAGE: Real Madrid's Toni Kroos and with Paris St Germain's Idrissa Gueye vie for possession. Photograph: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

Eden Hazard started for Real, who eliminated PSG in the last 16 in 2017-18, and they were also without the injured Marcelo, Isco, Luka Modric, Marco Asensio and Fede Valverde as well as the suspended Sergio Ramos and Nacho Fernandez.

PSG started fast and were rewarded for their early domination in the 14th minute when Di Maria stabbed the ball past Thibaut Courtois at the near post from Juan Bernat's cross.

It was former Real player Di Maria's 25th goal in his 100th appearance in European competition.

He made it 26 in the 33rd minute, curling a superb shot past Courtois from 20 metres after Idrissa Gueye had cut through the Real midfield.

Real forward Gareth Bale found the back of the net shortly afterwards but the goal was ruled out by the VAR for handball.

PSG left little space to Real and Di Maria came close to making it 3-0, only for his chip to land on the roof of the net after the Argentine had been sent through by the impressive Gueye.

Real striker Karim Benzema beat Keylor Navas from close range in the 77th minute, but the goal was ruled out because Lucas Vazquez was offside.

Full back Meunier wrapped up an emphatic win when he scored from close range one minute into stoppage time following a PSG counter-attack.

Atletico draw with Juve 

Atletico Madrid's Stefan Savic scores their first goal against Juventus during their Champions League Group D match at Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid on Wednesday

IMAGE: Atletico Madrid's Stefan Savic scores their first goal against Juventus during their Champions League Group D match at Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid on Wednesday. Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters

Atletico Madrid produced a typically spirited comeback from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Juventus in a thrilling finale to Wednesday's heavyweight Champions League Group D opener.

Mexico midfielder Hector Herrera levelled in the 90th minute with a thumping header from a corner after defender Stefan Savic had pulled a goal back for the Spaniards in the 70th with a header from close range following a free kick.

The Spaniards were the brighter side in the first half but Juve went ahead in the 48th minute when Juan Cuadrado sent an unstoppable curling shot into the top corner after a break engineered by a punt forward from defender Leonardo Bonucci.

The Italian champions doubled their lead in the 65th minute following another quick counter as midfielder Blaise Matuidi headed home a cross from Alex Sandro.

But with bullish coach Diego Simeone motivating them from the sidelines and a typically boisterous Wanda Metropolitano crowd roaring them on, Atletico refused to give in.

Atletico and Juve have a point each while Lokomotiv Moscow top Group D after beating Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 away from home.

"This game will do us a lot of good for the rest of the season, as it makes us believe in the character of the team," Simeone told reporters.

"We started well then they hit us twice and we were out of the game but we never caved in."

Juve's Bonucci did not hide his disappointment at the fact his side could not see out the victory.

Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa in an aerial challenge with Juventus' Alex Sandro

IMAGE: Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa in action with Juventus' Alex Sandro. Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters

"It’s a real shame to concede two goals from set plays. We had a great performance, but we’ve got to be more focussed, because this has happened too many times now," he said.

"Everyone has to be more concentrated. A side like ours cannot keep conceding this many goals from set plays."

Savic's scrappy goal galvanised Atletico and moments later Spain forward Vitolo forced Juve keeper Wojciech Szczesny to make an acrobatic save.

Atletico were denied a penalty when the ball hit the arm of Bonucci, with Diego Costa earning a yellow card for his loud protests at the decision.

Substitute Herrera made himself an instant hero 14 minutes into his competitive debut for the club by escaping his marker and heading home Kieran Trippier's corner to spark jubilant scenes in the stands and around the Atletico dugout.

"This team is renowned for suffering and fighting until the end. This result tastes better than most draws, of course we wanted to win but a draw is good given how tough Juventus are," said Herrera, who joined Atleti from Porto in the close season.

"A draw isn't bad at all given the team we were up against and we were better than them in many moments of the game. I'm so happy to have made my debut and to help the team."

Juve forward Cristiano Ronaldo had an unusually quiet game after scoring a hat-trick against Atletico in last year's competition, although he came within inches of grabbing a last-gasp winner when he sent a shot just past the far post.

Visiting coach Maurizio Sarri was left with a bittersweet feeling in his first Champions League match in charge of Juve.

"I feel good about the character we showed, the performance we gave and the two goals, but I feel a sense of anger because we had the game under control and we let it slip," he said.

Dominant Bayern ease to 3-0 win over Red Star

Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski in action with Crvena Zvezda's Nemanja Milunovic during their Champions League Group B match at Allianz Arena in Munich on Wednesday

IMAGE: Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski in action with Crvena Zvezda's Nemanja Milunovic during their Champions League Group B match at Allianz Arena in Munich on Wednesday. Photograph: Michael Dalder/Reuters

Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski scored a landmark 200th goal for the club as they kicked off their Champions League campaign by easing to a 3-0 victory over Red Star Belgrade on Wednesday in a one-sided Group B encounter.

The Bavarians were in complete control and Kingsley Coman put them ahead with a diving header in the 34th minute from a fine Ivan Perisic cross.

Late goals from Lewandowski, to bring up his double century in all competitions, and Thomas Mueller, who came on as a substitute for a club-record 106th Champions League appearance, completed their trouble-free evening after they squandered several scoring opportunities.

Bayern, who stretched their unbeaten Champions League group-stage home run to 16 matches, carved out chance after chance and hit the woodwork three times while the Serbs, who battled through qualifying, were largely toothless up front.

"You have to win the first game of the competition, that's important," said Bayern coach Niko Kovac, whose team have won their last 16 opening group matches in a row.

"Yes, we could have scored more, but we should be happy with three goals in the end. I think the team was very focussed. Maybe we missed the last touch a bit."

Brazilian Philippe Coutinho had the hosts' first good chance in the 21st minute, as Bayern dominated possession from the start but had to remain patient against a packed Serbian defence.

They eventually broke the deadlock through Coman's diving header.

The Serbs had no answer to Bayern's firepower, with the Germans mustering 16 shots on goal in the first half alone.

They instead defended and waited for the rare opportunity to launch a quick counter attack in the hope of catching Bayern off guard.

It was the same story after the break with Corentin Tolisso hitting the post in the 53rd.

Bayern should have scored shortly after when Perisic chipped the ball over the Red Star keeper, but it bounced on the bar and Lewandowski's half volley on the rebound flew over the empty goal.

Yet the Poland striker got onto the scoresheet in the 80th, sliding in to beat his Red Star markers, before Mueller got his first of the season in stoppage time.

Thiago Alcantara had earlier also hit the woodwork with a deflected cross.

"It goes without saying that my team had quite a few uncompleted passes and these were punished by our opponents," said Red Star coach Vladan Milojevic.

"Bayern and Tottenham are the favourites in the group, and we saw why tonight. We are aware that we played against a possible winner of the Champions League."

In the group's other game, Olympiakos Piraeus came from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw against Tottenham Hotspur in Athens.

 

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