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Champions League Awards: Messi’s moment, scintillating Sane, and Bernardo’s blunder

Our Champions League awards honour the best – and worst – of the competition’s action following a fascinating matchday two.

Moment of the Week

Lionel Messi’s move to Paris Saint-Germain had failed to ignite during the opening fixtures of his career with the club, but the six-time Ballon d’Or winner found the perfect time to make his mark in Parisian colours.

 

Matchday two brought Manchester City to the Parc des Princes, a meeting with former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola and a clash between two of the favourites to win the Champions League this season.

PSG opened the scoring early through Idrissa Gueye, but rode their luck against the Premier League champions who carved out several goalscoring opportunities.

Messi’s moment came in the second half to put the result beyond doubt and it was a goal seen on countless occasions throughout the brilliant Argentine’s career to date.

Receiving the ball just inside his own half, Messi drove forward from wide on the right, breezing beyond the challenge of Aymeric Laporte before playing a one-two off the heel of Kylian Mbappe.

Arriving onto the edge of the box, the first-time finish bent beyond Ederson to double PSG’s advantage, as the Parc des Princes erupted at the arrival of their marquee signing.

The first of many goals, you would expect.

Player of the Week

Bayern Munich have started the Champions League season in imperious fashion, winning back-to-back group stages fixtures with eight goals scored and none conceded.

Whilst there will be sterner tests than a Barcelona in crisis and Dynamo Kyiv, there have been encouraging signs as Julian Nagelsmann’s side begin to take shape under the former RB Leipzig coach’s management.

One huge positive for Bayern has been the recent performances of Leroy Sane, who after an indifferent first season with the Bundesliga champions has found his finest form under the guidance of Nagelsmann.

Sane has been electric in recent weeks to provide nine goal involvements in just eight starts, and the Germany international was irrepressible during the 5-0 destruction of Dynamo in matchday two.

Sane’s ability to take off from a standing start at blistering speed saw him tear Oleksandr Tymchyk apart throughout much of the contest in Munich, with the winger’s display rewarded with a goal and assist.

His goal was somewhat fortuitous as a mis-hit cross caught out goalkeeper Georgi Bushchan, but it was no less than Sane deserved after a scintillating performance that saw him come close to another goal after striking the post.

Goal of the Week

FC Sheriff caused the upset of the round with a stunning win against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, the Champions League debutants now top of a group containing both the Spanish giants and Inter Milan.

The Moldovans more than rode their luck to claim victory, with goalkeeper Georgios Athanasiadis making 10 saves – the most recorded by any goalkeeper to emerge on the winning side in a Champions League fixture at the Bernabeu – as Real Madrid fired a huge 31 efforts towards goal.

Karim Benzema’s equaliser from the penalty spot had looked to have ended Sheriff’s hopes of a historic win, only for Sebastien Thill to fire home this sensational last-minute winner to steal the unlikeliest of wins for the visitors.

The midfielder’s stunning half-volley flew beyond Thibaut Courtois to spark jubilant scenes from the Sheriff players, with Thill becoming the first player from Luxembourg to score in the Champions League era, and realising a European dream that has been tattooed on his leg.

Miss of the Week

Just how did Manchester City not score against Paris Saint-Germain?

A combination of a fine goalkeeping performance from Gianluigi Donnarumma and some woeful finishing saw the Premier League champions leave the Parc des Princes with nothing, with Bernardo Silva providing a contender for Miss of the Season.

Bernardo’s blunder has saved Luuk de Jong from a dishonourable mention following some hapless finishing from the Barcelona forward, whilst Edinson Cavani’s header wide from point-blank range was a moment rarely seen from the Uruguayan marksman.

Stat of the week

Karim Adeyemi’s performances for Red Bull Salzburg have attracted the attention of Europe’s elite, with Liverpool having been linked with a move for the exciting 19-year-old in recent months.

Adeyemi – who scored on his senior debut for Germany earlier this month – has impressed for Salzburg in the Champions League so far this season, with his forward threat having incredibly seen the teenager win FOUR penalties in just two fixtures.

Adeyemi’s total is already twice as many as any individual player won during last season’s tournament, whilst he has also equalled the record set by Arjen Robben in 2013/14 – the most penalties won since the data was first collected during the 2003/04 season.

All in just 155 minutes of Champions League football played this season.

Quote of the Week

Rio Ferdinand was not happy with Mauricio Pochettino’s decision to use Lionel Messi as Paris Saint-Germain’s ‘draught excluder’, with the six-time Ballon d’Or winner surprisingly given the unenviable task of providing the prone barrier behind the Parisian’s defensive wall.

Here’s what the former Man Utd man had to say…

Donkey of the Week

The role of a goalkeeper can be a thankless task on occasion, a position in which even a minor mistake can lead to catastrophic consequences.

However, when you make a string of mistakes in one fixture, it leads to a European embarrassment when up against the Champions League’s best.

Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa endured a nightmare evening as Liverpool ran riot at the Estádio do Dragão, with the Reds cruising to a 5-1 win that made it 14 goals from their last three visits to the Portuguese side.

Costa was culpable for the first goal after parrying Curtis Jones’ shot back into a dangerous area, allowing Mohamed Salah the simplest of finishes to open the scoring for the visitors.

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The goalkeeper then made a bizarre decision to leave James Milner’s cross after initially coming to collect, an error that saw Sadio Mane gratefully tap the loose ball into an open goal.

Costa’s miserable evening was compounded with a moment of madness for Liverpool’s fourth, inexplicably racing out of his goal to provide the space for Roberto Firmino to roll home into an open goal from distance.

A night to forget for the 22-year-old.

Read – Champions League Team of the Week – Matchday 2

Read Also – Iconic Duos: Bebeto and Romario, the polar opposites who brought stunning synergy to the Selecao

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