MADRID – Highlights of Tuesday’s 2017-2018 UEFA Champions League kickoff included goals by Neymar and Kylian Mbappe for Paris Saint-Germain in a 5-0 romp over Celtic and a brace for Lionel Messi in Barcelona’s 3-0 win against Juventus.
Neymar’s decision last month to abandon Barça for PSG was the cause both of hurt feelings and concerns that the move would leave a major hole in the Catalan club’s office.
Though the antagonism between the clubs – and the Spanish and French leagues – remains, Barcelona’s performance at Camp Nou against last year’s Champions League runner-up indicates the team has taken Neymar’s departure in stride.
Messi took command against Barça’s most formidable opponent in Group D, scoring twice and assisting on Ivan Rakitic’s goal.
In the group’s other contest, Sporting Lisbon won 3-2 away to Olympiakos on first-half goals by Seydou Doumbia, Gerson Martins and Bruno Fernandes. Felipe Pardo scored a pair for the hosts.
Neymar started the scoring for PSG in Glasgow, beating Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon from close range. Mbappe made it 2-0 in the 34th minute and Edinson Cavani added a third right before the break.
Cavani scored again in the second half, while Mikael Lustig’s own goal added to the pain of the Celtic faithful.
Right behind PSG in Group A are Bayern Munich, who defeated visiting Anderlecht 3-0 in a match that saw the Belgian side reduced to 10 men in the 12th minute with the expulsion of Steven Kums.
Robert Lewandowski converted the penalty and Thiago Alcantara and Joshua Kimmich added a goal apiece to complete a workmanlike victory.
On a day when five teams won by margins of three goals or better, the biggest blowout was at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea demolished Azerbaijan’s Qarabag 6-0 in Group C action.
Pedro Rodriguez, Davide Zappacosta and Cesar Azpilicueta scored for the hosts in the first half, followed in the second by Tiemoue Bakayoko and Michy Batshuayi – who got a brace.
AS Roma and Atletico Madrid share second place in Group C after battling to a 0-0 draw in the Italian capital.
Atleti were the better side and created a handful of solid chances, but Roma keeper Alisson made great stops against Angel Correa and Saul Ñiguez to earn a point for his team.
Manchester United grabbed the early lead in Group A with a solid 3-0 home win against Basel. Jose Mourinho’s side got goals from Marouane Fellaini, new acquisition Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford.
Second place in the group belongs to CSKA Moscow, who came from behind in Lisbon to defeat Benfica 2-1.
The home side took a 1-0 lead in the first half thanks to Haris Seferovic, whose chance for a second goal was spoiled by the post. Vitinho converted a penalty to bring the visitors level and Timur Zhamaletdinov scored in the 70 minute to deliver the upset win.