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UEFA Champions League - Matchday 1 highlights

Ronaldo's red card, Messi's hat-trick in top 10 Champions League Matchday 1 moments

September 20, 2018 By Oscar Rojas
The world's most anticipated club competition in the world is back, and there were several talking points emerging after all teams played their first game.

UEFA Champions League football is once again in the spotlight, and there was lots to talk about after the first 16 games.

There were only four draws in these first matches, and all the teams scored 45 goals between each other, with Barcelona leading the pack with their four-goal display against PSV in Group B.

Without further ado, let's have a look at the talking points Matchday 1 left for football fans.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo's red card

The Portuguese footballer was sent off due to a controversial incident against Valencia, which saw him pick his first red card in 154 Champions League games. With fans claiming for justice to be done, CR7's tearful reaction will be drilled in popular culture for a very long time.

2. Messi sets new Champions League hat-trick record

Things couldn't have started better for the Argentine star, as he led Los Blaugranas past PSV with a scintillating performance. "La Pulga" opened up the scoring with a massive free kick, and added a second-half brace to make a statement about the team's intentions this season.

3. Best goal - Mauro Icardi

Inter Milan is back in the UEFA Champions League, and what better way to make their presence felt than with a comeback win against Tottenham. During that clash, Mauro Icardi opened up his goalscoring account in the UEFA CL, and what a way he found to do so!

4. Shock result: Manchester City 1-2 Lyon

Year in and year out, Manchester City is considered as a title contender in this competition, but it seems that Pep Guardiola's men will always find a way to disappoint their fans. On Wednesday night, the Citizens dropped the ball against Lyon, and they will have to work overtime to make it past the Group Stage, since their trip to Ukraine and France won't be as easy as initially expected.

5. Best player - Paul Pogba

Yes, Messi scored a hat-trick, but Pogba's performance in Switzerland was crucial for Manchester United. The midfielder came up with a brace, scoring one goal with each foot, and handed out an assist for Anthony Martial. Needless to say, Man United's chances of success will rely heavily on the Frenchman's antics.

6. Biggest miss - Harry Kane 

Tottenham's first game in this competition didn't go as planned, and Harry Kane had much to do with it. The footballer had to endure harsh criticism over a first-half miss against Inter, where he failed to send the ball to the back of the net after dribbling neroazzurri goalie Samir Handanovic. After failing to score against the Italians, Kane has gone six games without a goal for both club and country.

7. Worst performance - Valencia

The Spanish side was not able to take advantage of Cristiano Ronaldo's red card, and had their fans quite disappointed with their performance. To make matters worse, Dani Parejo failed to convert a late penalty, which would have come in handy for the team's goal differential.

"Parejo became the second Valencia player to miss a penalty kick since Gaizka Mendieta (vs. Lyon, 2000-01). This was the 9th UCL game in history out of 2,924 played where three penalties were awarded."

8. Best debut - Nicolas Tagliafico

The Dutch side will want to grant their Argentine defender a bonus, since his brace against AEK Athens sealed a crucial win for them. And to think he was making his debut in the European competition!

9. Casillas extends longevity record

It all started in 1998, and there seems to be no end to his streak! Legendary shot-stopper Iker Casillas managed to set a new record on Wednesday's clash against Schalke, although he wasn't able to celebrate with a clean sheet or a win.

10. Fans and experts agree: VAR is a must in the UEFA Champions League

CR7's red card, Meunier's goal preceeded by Cavani's offside, Parejo escaping a red card, and a questionable penalty awarded to Manchester United raise the question: Why is VAR not used in the UEFA Champions League? It would surely help refs judge some calls a bit better, and some unwanted controversy would come to an end.

"VAR is used in all of Europe's leagues, and not in the UEFA CL. Why?"

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