Hat-trick hero Robert Lewandowski and ‘mini Messi’ Marcus Edwards storm into our Champions League team of the week… but with only two Man City stars included, does two-goal Erling Haaland make it?
- The opening round of the Champions League delivered some brilliant displays
- Man City and Barcelona put on attacking clinics as Chelsea had a night to forget
- It was disastrous for Liverpool in Naples but it was a strong start at home for PSG
- Sportsmail looks at a Champions League team of the week from the first games
There really is nothing quite like the UEFA Champions League.
Heavyweights colliding wherever you looked through the schedule. Lots of braces across the continent, a hat-trick sprinkled in in Barcelona and there are as many inquests as there are celebrations… we’re looking at you, Liverpool.
So, after the opening round of group matches, who makes Sportsmail’s Champions League Team of the Week?
Manchester City put on an attacking clinic away in Seville for the opening round of matches
Gianluigi Donnarumma (PSG)
People were quick to jump on the Italian for being at fault for Juventus’ goal but looking at the game in the wider picture, he was key in ensuring PSG saw this victory out.
In the first half he pulled out a remarkable point-blank save to deny a header from Arkadiusz Milik, and at 2-1 in the second he was again called upon to stop Dusan Vlahovic’s downward header across the six-yard box.
Donnarumma is supremely talented but the knives are already out for him. Naysayers appear to have made up their mind but his crucial stops are hard to argue against.
Gianluigi Donnarumma (right) is heavily scrutinised by PSG fans but he made two key stops
Joao Cancelo (Man City)
For anyone who has seen anything of Manchester City in recent seasons, Joao Cancelo playing well has long stopped being headline news.
But this performance out in Sevilla was mightily impressive, even by his lofty standards.
The full-back had 105 touches, won 100 per cent of his tackles and finished with an 89 per cent pass accuracy rate.
Add in two that he produced two clearances, two key passes and two assists on a night that finished 4-0.
He’s right up there with Acraf Hakimi as the most talented right back in the world.
Joao Cancelo (right) was fabulous against Sevilla, finishing the night with two assists
Ruben Dias (Man City)
Rock solid at the back and capped off with his first Champions League goal for Man City… not a bad night’s work for Ruben Dias.
City were rarely threatened and Dias deserves credit as the orchestrator in the back-line.
Sevilla were restricted to just one shot on target and that meanness defensively, alongside a new centre back partner in Manuel Akanji, bodes well for the rest of the competition.
Tougher tests lie in wait, not least a trip to Dortmund to take on the Yellow Wall, but you are hard pressed to find centre backs who have the complete game quite like Dias.
Ruben Dias is the foundation for Man City to build on and he added the fourth goal in the rout
Calvin Bassey (Ajax)
Talk about rising to the occasion.
Calvin Bassey, against his old team, producing an assist and helping to deliver a clean sheet on his Champions League debut.
Bassey barely put a foot wrong all night.
His pass accuracy was a whopping 97 per cent, completing 142 of 146 pass attempts.
Eight recoveries highlights his ability on the other side of the ball and Ajax, as Rangers know all too well, have picked up a gem in the 22-year-old.
Calvin Bassey looks to be a brilliant piece of business for Ajax following his move from Rangers
Alex Grimaldo (Benfica)
My word, what a goal Alex Grimaldo scored to seal a 2-0 victory for Benfica.
He picked it up on the left, sauntered inside and from 25 yards out just rifled a looping shot into the top corner. Outstanding.
This was as dominant a performance as any other from the opening round of matches.
A goal and an assist in Benfica’s 2-0 win, a clean sheet to go with it and four of his eight duels won.
How Grimaldo has been kept away from the clutches of Premier League clubs is anyone’s guess…
Clubs outside of Portugal will have to pay more attention to left back Alex Grimaldo (right)
Marian Shved (Shakhtar Donetsk)
Here’s a name few may have anticipated taking the first midfield spot in Team of the Week but it is impossible to argue with.
Marian Shved, on his first start in the Champions League for Shakhtar, produced a man-of-the-match two goal performance.
His move to Celtic in 2019 never played out as he would have hoped but this was a dream start to life with the Ukrainians as one of six players to bag a brace in matchday one.
Keep this up and Shakhtar may have a job convincing him to see out the five-year contract he penned earlier this month.
Marian Shved produced a man-of-the-match display as Shakhtar Donetsk beat RB Leipzig
Piotr Zielinski (Napoli)
Bulldozing Liverpool is no mean feet and Napoli can thank Piotr Zielinski for playing a key role in the midfield engine room.
To supplement the two goals he bagged in the 4-1 rout, Zielinski proved to be the heartbeat of Luciano Spalletti’s team and has clearly got over any grievance about a potential Premier League switch in the summer.
Two goals, one assist, and an 86 per cent pass accuracy points to a near flawless display.
If Napoli dance to the tune of Zielinski’s drum then they can make some real noise beyond just coming out of Group A.
A fabulous footballer when in full flight.
Piotr Zielinski is the heartbeat of Napoli’s team and his brace showed he is a goal threat, too
Marcus Edwards (Sporting Lisbon)
Once dubbed at Tottenham as the ‘mini Messi’ by Mauricio Pochettino, it was perhaps a wise move when Marcus Edwards stepped away from the spotlight to focus solely on his football in Portugal.
He is reaping the rewards now with a goal and an assist in Sporting Lisbon’s 3-0 rout away to Eintracht Frankfurt.
In netting in Germany, Edwards became the fifth different Englishman to score a Champions League goal for a non-British club since 2018-19.
Jadon Sancho and Jude Bellingham did so for Borussia Dortmund, Fikayo Tomori bagged for AC Milan, and Angel Gomes for Lille.
In a group that many anticipate Tottenham to win, an old flame could yet come back to burn them.
Marcus Edwards (left) has been patient on his rise to the top but he is there and thriving now
Kylian Mbappe (PSG)
There are no superlatives left for him, frankly.
Say what you want about the power he wields behind the scenes at PSG but there can be little critique of what he produces on the pitch in the biggest games.
In the first 45 minutes against Juventus he had two shots on target and two goals, both outrageously good finishes on the volley.
Add in that he won 3/4 ground duels and had a pass accuracy of 91 per cent, it was near flawless.
His quality is so good that you can make a real argument that he is the best striker in world football.
Kylian Mbappe can credibly make an argument to say he is the best in the world right now
Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona)
Player of the week, hands down.
Yes, it’s Viktoria Plzen. Yes, we expect them to finish bottom of the group.
But Champions League hat-tricks are no mean feat and so let’s take nothing away from Robert Lewandowski.
He capped it off with a stunning curled effort low into the bottom corner, too, just to rub in how good he is. Borders on unfair most of the time.
His latest treble has him third in the all-time Champions League top goal scorers with 89, behind Lionel Messi (125) and Cristiano Ronaldo (140).
At this rate he’ll be reaching his century sooner rather than later.
Robert Lewandowski proved that age is just a number with his latest hat-trick in Europe
One word: matchwinner.
Tottenham huffed and puffed in the second half to no great joy. Marseille were down to 10 and defended admirably, until it came to marking Richarlison in the air and then there would only be one winner.
The Brazilian had been itching to get his first goal since his £50m switch from Everton. You could see in recent performances how eager he was to get the monkey off his back.
Well, consider it long gone with this late, late show.
Four shots, two on target, two goals. Tottenham 2-0 Marseille. Job done.
A night the Brazilian will never forget.
Richarlison (left) left it late to spare Spurs’ blushes with a brace against 10-man Marseille
NOTABLE MENTIONS: Haaland, Dembele, Reyna
It seems unfair to have left out this trio given their incredible impacts across Matchday One.
Two goals for Erling Haaland in the 4-0 rout of Sevilla. Two assists for Ousmane Dembele in the 5-1 drubbing over Plzen. Two assists off the bench for Giovanni Reyna, after he came on in place of Thorgan Hazard.
But all three came up against arguments that were hard to talk yourself out of.
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