The Champions League group stage’s matchday 1 concluded on Wednesday with nine matches across Europe. Here is everything you need to know about the action.
Click here for the schedule, scores and standings.
WHAT TO KNOW
Ronaldo starts Real Madrid rescue
Real Madrid was supposed to roll over Sporting Lisbon, Cristiano Ronaldo’s former team. But the Portuguese squad, despite selling some of its better players this summer, led the hosts 1-0 late on. That was until Ronaldo pulled off a sick free kick and Alvaro Morata headed home an injury time winner. Had Real Madrid lost this one, combined with a tricky visit to Borussia Dortmund next time out, things could have gotten interesting. Instead, the reigning champs are off to a fine start. Here’s that Morata winner.
Dreamy debut for Leicester
World soccer’s Cinderella, Leicester City, played its first ever Champions League match on Wednesday, and it went pretty well. I’m joking. They were brilliant. The Foxes, despite not having the greatest of starts in the Premier League, started off UCL play with an impressive 3-0 win against Club Brugge. Look, the Belgian side isn’t anything to rave about, but it is always tough to win on the road in the Champions League, no matter where you play, and to do so in your first game is highly impressive. A double from Riyad Mahrez led the way as Claudio Ranieri’s team’s fairy tale continues.
3️⃣ Champions League goals
3️⃣ Champions League points
It was flawless from the Foxes! What a night! ☺️#CluLei
— Leicester City (@LCFC) September 14, 2016
Understanding Tottenham’s home loss
Every English team in the Champions League has high hopes of advancing, and Tottenham is one of them. The Spurs have talent throughout their roster, but some are still shocked that they fell at home against Monaco. But really this is more about how good Monaco is. As my bud Mohammed Ali points out below, Monaco is no joke. The club has quality all over and enters the match in fine form. A potential darkhorse for a deep run?
Monaco no joke – already bested Fenerbahce, Villarreal x2 and Paris SG in the space of a few weeks. Not even in top gear yet
— Mohammed Ali (@mohammedali_93) September 14, 2016
Domination from Dortmund and Manchester City
Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City, I think, entered the competition as those second-tier favorites to win, not quite on the level of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and maybe Juventus, but more so with the likes of PSG and Atletico Madrid. But after just one game, these teams look like they have what it takes to be there in the end. Dortmund keeps selling players but continues to dominant, and boy did USMNT star Christian Pulisic look good on Wednesday. Manchester City’s revival under Pep Guardiola continued, with Sergio Aguero grabbing a hat trick. But we will know more about these teams soon. Dortmund hosts Real Madrid on Sept. 27 and City goes to Barcelona on Oct. 19.