Paris Saint-Germain knew some of their biggest names wouldn’t be available Wednesday.
Turns out they only needed one, and one Real Madrid might wish they still had.
Angel Di Maria scored two goals in the first half and PSG thoroughly outplayed Real Madrid in a 3-0 win in the French capital.
Elsewhere, Mexican international Hector Herrera scored in the 90th minute as Atletico Madrid rallied from two goals down to draw Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus 2-2, and Manchester City handled business 3-0 against Shakhtar Donetsk.
Di Maria’s brace propels PSG past Real Madrid
Angel Di Maria helped Real Madrid win its 10th Champions League title in 2014, and reportedly expected a contract offer that never came. It doesn’t seem like he’s forgotten.
The winger was active and roving all evening, as was his team, which was playing without Neymar, who’s still suspended after railing against referees on social media last spring, and Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani, both of whom were injured.
Di Maria combined with Juan Bernat for the first goal, a whipping finish with his left foot to beat Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois near-post (via Bleacher Report):
Angel Di Maria buries one against his former team ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/bCXvNAB1QJ— Bleacher Report Live (@brlive) September 18, 2019
The second goal came about 20 minutes later, when Di Maria took a breath at the top of the box and picked out space to Courtois’s left:
Thomas Meunier added the third in stoppage time, condemning Real Madrid to embarrassment.
Gareth Bale had a goal correctly disallowed in the first half due to a handball, star signing Eden Hazard barely registered, and on the whole, the veteran group of Champions League winners in the side looked disconnected with the newer additions.
Manager Zinedine Zidane has some work to do with the Madrid derby and the second Group A fixture against Club Brugge coming up around the turn of the month.
Mexico’s Herrera secures Atleti draw vs. Juventus
Juventus looked well on its way to the best result of the first two days of Champions League play, which a win at the Wanda Metropolitano would have represented.
But after Stefan Savic pulled one back for Atletico Madrid midway through the second half, Mexican international Hector Herrera rose and headed home Kieran Trippier’s curling corner in the 90th minute:
Hector Herrera equalizes in the 90th minute in his first appearance for Atlético 😮 pic.twitter.com/EcdxIp3Nhj— Bleacher Report Live (@brlive) September 18, 2019
For much of the match, Juventus’s investment in a side built to win the Champions League looked like it would reap benefits.
Juan Cuadrado put the visitors in front shortly after halftime with a gorgeous left-footed finish best appreciated from this angle (via Bleacher Report):
These are the two giants in Group D, and Juve still takes a strong point home to Turin.
But Herrera and Atleti are likely celebrating a little more tonight.
Man City makes brisk work of Shakhtar Donetsk
Manchester City became the first team in English history to do the domestic treble last season, winning the Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup.
With the exception of the league, that’s not what the owners are paying for.
The Champions League is the one competition City craves most, and Pep Guardiola’s squad had little trouble in beating Shakhtar Donetsk in Turkey to open it.
Riyad Mahrez cleaned up an Ilkay Gundogan shot that hit the post in the 24th minute:
Mahrez in the right place at the right time 🌟 pic.twitter.com/MMbjQjOR7G— Bleacher Report Live (@brlive) September 18, 2019
Gundogan scored himself less than 15 minutes later, and Gabriel Jesus added the third goal in the second half.
City has perhaps the most straightforward group of all the big clubs, though Dinamo Zagreb routed Serie A Champions League debutants Atalanta 4-0 on the strength of a Mislav Orsic hat trick.
Still, it appears City is already well on its way to reaching the knockout stage. That’s when the real work begins.
Check out this Bayer Leverkusen howler
If you love shockingly bad goalkeeper play, you’ve come to the right place.
Lukáš Hrádecký is a good keeper who’s won a slew of honors in both the Bundesliga and Danish Superliga, including the DFB-Pokal.
He’ll want this one back:
Great assist from the keeper 🤦♂️ pic.twitter.com/LbsnbjwOVx— Bleacher Report Live (@brlive) September 18, 2019
The Finnish backstop’s poor decision gift-wrapped a goal for Lokomotiv Moscow’s Dmitri Barinov, which proved to be the winner in a 2-1 loss.
Hey, there’s still five group stage matches left for Bayer.
Full Champions League scores
Paris Saint-Germain 3-0 Real Madrid
Atletico Madrid 2-2 Juventus
Shakhtar Donetsk 0-3 Manchester City
Bayern Munich 3-0 Red Star Belgrade
Dinamo Zagreb 4-0 Atalanta
Bayer Leverkusen 1-2 Lokomotiv Moscow
Club Brugge 0-0 Galatasaray
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