LONDON: More routs, stunning losses and late drama made for a standout night in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Paris St Germain sent out a statement of intent as they tore apart five-time European champions Bayern Munich, and got goals from bickering forwards Edinson Cavani and Neymar in a 3-0 win that was the night’s defining performance.
Yet another four-goal display from Manchester United this season seemed almost routine as Jose Mourinho’s team won 4-1 at CSKA Moscow.
Teams swept aside by Man United and PSG two weeks ago bounced back. FC Basel hit Benfica with counter attacks in a shock 5-0 victory, and Celtic won 3-0 at Anderlecht.
The drama peaked at Atletico Madrid’s new stadium where Chelsea trailed at halftime and Michy Batshuayi grabbed an injury-time winner with the last kick to clinch a 2-1 victory, while Group ‘D’ rivals Barcelona and Juventus delivered expected victories.
It took PSG less than two minutes to break the deadlock in the Group ‘B’ clash against Bayern, as world-record signing Neymar teed up fellow Brazilian Dani Alves to hammer home at the Parc des Princes.
Bayern piled on the pressure but failed to take their chances, before Cavani finished a sweeping counter-attack with an exquisite strike into the top corner.
Unai Emery’s men finished off their visitors in the 63rd minute when Neymar pounced after Kylian Mbappe had bamboozled the Bayern defence, giving Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti a miserable return to the club he led to a Ligue 1 title.
“The main thing is the three points, but it’s also important for me that the fans enjoy the match and seeing us win against a top-level side,” said Spanish coach Emery.
PSG now lead Bayern by three points in the race to finish top of the group.
Hammered 5-0 at home by PSG, Celtic cruised past Anderlecht in what looks to be a fight for third place behind PSG and Bayern.
Leigh Griffiths grabbed the first goal shortly before half-time in Brussels and the Glaswegians wrapped it up in the second period as Kara Mbodji put through his own net and Scott Sinclair rifled home.
Atletico were handed the opener against English champions Chelsea when David Luiz needlessly gave away a penalty and Antoine Griezmann slotted past keeper Thibaut Courtois.
But the Wanda Metropolitano — as well as the watching Diego Costa, signed this week from Chelsea — was silenced as former Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata headed in an excellent Eden Hazard cross.
Antonio Conte’s men deserved all three points and snatched the win in the fourth minute of added time as Belgian subsitute Batshuayi picked out the bottom corner.
“Michy scores every time he’s on the field! He can score every time. I’m so happy for him,” said winger Hazard. “We want to play games like these. We play for Chelsea, one of the biggest clubs in the world and we want to win everything.”
Chelsea are now clear of AS Roma at the top of Group ‘C’ by two points, after the Italians held on to beat Qarabag 2-1 in the early kick-off in Baku.
Kostas Manolas and Edin Dzeko put the visitors two goals to the good inside quarter of an hour, and although Pedro Henrique pulled one back for Qarabag, the home side couldn’t find a maiden Champions League point.
Three-time winners United brushed aside CSKA to maintain their unbeaten record in the Russian capital, with Romelu Lukaku continuing his extraordinary start to life at the club with a brace.
The Belgian striker headed the visitors in front, before Anthony Martial made it two from the penalty spot.
Lukaku tapped in his 10th goal of the season before half-time and Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored the fourth before a late consolation from teenager Konstantin Kuchaev.
“It is a great achievement [Lukaku’s goals], but it’s only possible with a good team,” said Mourinho. “But for Romelu, these are incredible numbers. He is humble, he wants to learn, he is ambitious.”
Basel were brushed aside 3-0 at Old Trafford in the opening round, but made it back-to-back defeats for 10-man Benfica in Group ‘A’.
Michael Lang slotted into an empty net and Dimitri Oberlin finished off a breakaway to get Basel off to a brilliant start.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel’s penalty ended the game as a contest and Andre Almeida was sent off for a horrendous tackle, with the 19-year-old Oberlin completing a brace.
Basel’s biggest ever win in the Champions League was sealed by teenager Blas Riveros.
Last season’s runners-up Juventus struggled for long periods at home to Olympiakos, but eventually saw off their stubborn visitors 2-0 as Gonzalo Higuain came off the bench to score.
Higuain scored in the 69th and was involved in the second, playing in Paulo Dybala, whose shot was hooked off the line by a defender but rebounded in off Mario Mandzukic.
Barcelona overcame a stuttering display to edge out Sporting Lisbon 1-0 in the Portuguese capital.
Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez both wasted excellent chances in the opening 45 minutes, but Ernesto Valverde’s side were fortunate to score a 49th-minute winner through Sebastian Coates’ own goal after Messi’s free kick deflected off two defenders.
Barca lead Juve and Sporting by three points at the top of Group ‘D’.