Wednesday, September 20, witnessed a thrilling continuation of Europe’s top club competition, filled with drama and excitement.
Arsenal marked their return to the Champions League with a convincing win against PSV Eindhoven at the Emirates.
In contrast, Manchester United had a forgettable night, setting an unwanted record in their 4-3 defeat against six-time champions Bayern Munich, The Telegraph reports.
Here’s a summary of the four key takeaways from matchday one of the 2023/24 UCL group stage games.
1. Andre Onana’s mistakes costs Man United
Manchester United’s season has gotten off to its worst start since 1987, compounded by breaking a 45-year-old unwanted record.
This came after they suffered a 4-3 defeat to Bayern Munich in their opening Champions League group-stage match at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday night.
Erik ten Hag’s team was once again plagued by defensive vulnerabilities, with new goalkeeper Andre Onana conceding a Leroy Sane strike that slipped under his body, giving the hosts the lead just before the half-hour mark.
Despite a resilient fightback and three goals scored, Bayern’s sharp attack ensured they secured all three points in a chaotic encounter.
2. Jude Bellingham rescues Real Madrid
Jude Bellingham’s spectacular beginning with Real Madrid continued in superlative fashion as he netted a stoppage-time winner against Champions League newcomers Union Berlin at the Bernabeu, according to BBC.
The home team appeared poised for a frustrating goalless draw, struggling to breach the resilient Bundesliga outfit.
However, the former Borussia Dortmund star found the net from close range with virtually the final kick of the Group C encounter, securing his sixth goal in as many matches and delivering all three points for Carlo Ancelotti’s squad.
3. Arsenal gun down PSV in scintillating style
Arsenal’s return to Europe’s premier club competition was nothing short of a fairy tale, marked by a comfortable victory over PSV Eindhoven, per Sky Sports.
Their six-year absence was forgotten as a dazzling offensive performance led to goals from Bukayo Saka, Leandro Trossard, Gabriel Jesus, and Martin Odegaard, resulting in a commanding 4-0 win.
4. Red-hot Lautaro saves Inter’s blushes
Lautaro Martinez rescued a 1-1 draw against Real Sociedad with an 87th-minute equalizer following Brais Mendez’s early goal, Eurosport reports.
After their commanding performance against city rivals AC Milan in the Derby della Madonnina, the Nerazurri faced a tough challenge and had to score late to secure a point in Spain.
While last season’s Champions League runners-up can take solace in salvaging a point from a near-defeat, Sociedad, making their return to the elite level after a decade’s absence, will regret their missed opportunities in front of the goal.