Chelsea looked slow, tired and lacked freedom in their defeat to Juventus on Wednesday, according to Thomas Tuchel. 

Despite having over 70 per cent possession, the Champions League holders went down 1-0 to Juve after Federico Chiesa scored the 10 seconds into the second half at Allianz Stadium. 

It was the earliest second-half Champions League goal in Opta records and made Chiesa the first Italian to score in four successive starts in the competition for Juve since club legend Alessandro Del Piero in 1997.

The Blues managed just one shot on target – a tame first-half attempt from Romelu Lukaku – across a disappointing defeat that gave Massimiliano Allegri's side the upper hand in Group H. 

"Of course, it is impossible at this kind of level to concede a goal like this in the first seconds of the second half. When you know what's coming and you have defensive organisation like we had, it's normally at all times possible to defend it. We got punished for it," Tuchel told BT Sport. 

"I think we started not sharp enough. We had possession but in the first 12-15 minutes we could have harmed them much more, we could have been much sharper and putting the rhythm up high. 

"There were so many spaces, we could've put many more dangerous balls into their box and asked more dangerous questions. We had a lot of ball possession, we had many high recoveries. 

"We had two crucial ball losses where we almost gave goals away. You cannot have this in this level – it was without any pressure. 

"We struggled to create our own rhythm because they were so deep and passive. We struggled to find our intensity. it's not an easy thing to do to find the spaces, to know exactly where to accelerate and maybe accept ball losses but only in the last 20 metres. But we were lacking runs behind the last line. 

"We were so good yesterday in training and not good enough, not free enough today. I don't know why. It was a thing for the whole team. I felt us a bit slow, tired, mentally slow for decision-making. It's a strange one to analyse."

Chelsea have now lost each of their past five away Champions League games against Italian sides and suffered successive defeats in all competitions for just the second time during Tuchel's tenure. 

Juve appear to have finally turned a corner since Allegri's return, meanwhile. They are 10th in Serie A but now sit three points clear at the top of Group H and have won four of their past five matches. 

"Sailors always find their way out when they are in a storm," Allegri said to Prime Video. 

"It was a good match against the European champions. Technically, we could have played better, but we did not suffer a lot and missed a couple of counter-attacks. 

"Two games, six points, zero goals conceded. It's another step towards qualification – a good step forwards." 

Cristiano Ronaldo struck in the sixth minute of injury time to give Manchester United a 2-1 Champions League victory over Villarreal.

In a repeat of last season's Europa League final, won by the LaLiga side on penalties after a 1-1 draw, the Red Devils found themselves deservedly behind when Paco Alcacer scored early in the second half.

Alex Telles levelled with a spectacular volley, and it looked as though these sides would share the spoils for the fifth game in a row in this competition, but Ronaldo drilled past Geronimo Rulli to send Old Trafford into raptures.

The result at least will ease some of the pressure on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, although plenty of concerns will remain after another disjointed display in which his side were indebted to David de Gea in goal.

 

Ronald Koeman reached a new low as Barcelona were beaten 3-0 away to Benfica on Wednesday, making it the first time in Champions League history that the Blaugrana have lost the first two games of a campaign.

Barca were comprehensively beaten 3-0 by Bayern Munich on matchday one and this was every bit as humiliating as the Catalans lost back-to-back group games in a single season for the first time since 2000-01.

A nightmare start quickly gave them an uphill battle as Darwin Nunez put Benfica ahead in the third minute, and although Barca were soon dominating, they were extremely wasteful in front of goal.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen got away with a dreadful error early in the second half but Benfica held firm at the back and eventually seized their opportunity to finish Barca off through Rafa Silva and a late Nunez penalty before Eric Garcia saw red to cap a dreadful night for Koeman.

Garcia offered little resistance as Nunez earned Benfica an early lead, the Uruguayan producing a couple of stepovers before finding the bottom-left corner.

Barca quickly began to dominate in response, but a fantastic Lucas Verissimo block prevented Luuk de Jong from finding an empty net.

Frenkie de Jong was similarly wasteful when prodding a low cross wide from close range, and Pedri – a surprise starter so soon after injury – shot agonisingly past the left-hand post a little later.

Ter Stegen summed up Barca's poor decision-making early in the second half, bizarrely opting to rush out in an attempt to cut out a throughball and was beaten to it, but Nunez could only hit the post.

Luuk de Jong then somehow hit the upright from point-blank range at the other end, though an offside call against Ronald Araujo in the lead up spared his blushes somewhat.

Either way, Barca were made to rue their profligacy.

Silva slammed home from 10 yards after Ter Stegen parried a shot right to him and Nunez made it 3-0 with a cool penalty after Sergino Dest handled, with Garcia's late red card for a cynical tug compounding Barca's embarrassment.

Robert Lewandowski scored a double to fire Bayern Munich to a 5-0 victory over Dynamo Kiev in Wednesday's Champions League clash.

The Poland forward netted from the penalty spot to open the scoring at the Allianz Arena after 12 minutes, before adding his second 15 minutes later as he curled past Georgi Bushchan.

Serge Gnabry fired in the hosts' third after the interval before Leroy Sane caught the Dynamo goalkeeper off guard at his near post to score the fourth.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting rounded out the scoring with Bayern's fifth to consolidate their Group E top spot as they look firm favourites to progress through to the next stage after two wins in as many games.

Viktor Tsygankov volleyed the first chance of the contest narrowly wide before Bushchan tipped over Lewandowski's header but problems followed from the resulting corner.

Serhiy Sydorchuk was adjudged to have handled inside the area, with Lewandowski coolly rolling the spot-kick home before Thomas Muller setup the second.

The German forward's throughball teed up Lewandowski, who found the bottom-right corner to score his 119th goal in his last 100 matches for Bayern.

Sane's left-footed drive struck the post eight minutes later, with Manuel Neuer forced into a rare save against Carlos de Pena on the stroke of half-time.

Lewandowski hooked wide as he looked for his hat-trick after half-time, with Gnabry then missing the target with a simple header following Alphonso Davies' delivery

However, Gnabry made amends on a rapid counter-attack as he smashed in off the underside of the crossbar following an offload from Sane, who added a fourth after 74 minutes as he whipped in from the left flank and caught Bushcan by surprise.

Choupo-Moting added a fifth as he headed in from Benjamin Pavard's cross as Bayern cruised to their ninth win in nine games in all competitions.


What does it mean? Bayern set early Group E pace

Bayern dominated against Barcelona in their opener and carried on emphatically against the Ukrainian Premier League champions to maintain their Group E lead.

The Bundesliga outfit collected their 33rd win in 35 home group-stage games with a comfortable victory as Barcelona went down to Benfica to offer Nagelsmann's side an early advantage after two games.

Meanwhile, Dynamo remain in third, with just one point from their opening two and Mircea Lucescu's side will need to find some form if they are to mount a charge for the knockout stages.

King Kimmich

Joshua Kimmich controlled proceedings from start to finish in another classy display for Bayern.

The midfielder misplaced just four of his 90 attempted passes, with a game-high 60 of those coming in the opposition half as he enjoyed a game-leading 109 touches.

Terrible Tymchyk

Oleksandr Tymchyk picked up a needless first-half caution for a late challenge on Sane and was treading on thin ice from then on.

Mircea Lucescu hooked the right-back off at half-time following a poor showing in which he won less than 15 per cent of his seven duels as he struggled against Bayern's wealth of attacking riches.

What's next?

Bayern host Eintracht Frankfurt as they return to Bundesliga action on Sunday, while Dynamo are at home to Shakhtar Donetsk on the same day.

Federico Chiesa stunned Chelsea at the start of the second half and earned Juventus a 1-0 victory in Wednesday's Champions League Group H clash. 

Chelsea failed to make their dominance of the ball count in the opening period and just 10 seconds after the restart Chiesa fired Juve in front at the Allianz Stadium. 

The reigning champions continued to labour when going forward and a trio of substitutions just after the hour mark failed to spark them into life. 

Juve were comfortable in seeing out a victory that handed their hopes of going into the last-16 as group winners a significant boost. 

Chelsea exposed themselves to counter-attacks by giving the ball away –  Chiesa flashing an effort narrowly wide after seizing upon a stray pass from Mateo Kovacic and surging forward in the 20th minute. 

Despite controlling possession for the entire opening period, the Blues got no joy from focusing their attacks through the middle of the pitch. 

Juve made an explosive start to the second half, with Chiesa's thumping effort deflecting slightly off Antonio Rudiger before beating Edouard Mendy.

Tuchel sent on Callum Hudson-Odoi, Trevoh Chalobah and Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Chelsea would have fallen further behind in the 64th minute had Federico Bernardeschi managed to turn Juan Cuadrado's cushioned pass on target from six yards out. 

Chelsea switched to a four-man defence and continued to push for a goal, but Romelu Lukaku failed to take their best chance under pressure from Leonardo Bonucci.

A late appeal for handball from the visitors was deemed insufficient for a penalty by the VAR and Kai Havertz sent a stoppage-time header over as Juve went three points clear at the top of the group. 

What does it mean? Italy unkind to Chelsea again 

Chelsea do not appear to enjoy travelling to Italy in the Champions League. Their past five matches on Italian soil in the competition have ended in defeats – a run that stretches back to 2009-10. 

Their loss to Juve means the Bianconeri have now defeated the European Cup/Champions League title-holders on seven separate occasions – only Real Madrid (11) have managed more wins.

Chiesa unlocks the defence 

Chelsea were caught sleeping after the interval and Chiesa's strike became the earliest second-half goal in Opta's Champions League records. 

What Ziyech?! 

The Blues needed more width throughout the game and Hakim Ziyech was a disappointing outlet in wide areas. He gave possession away 13 times and only one of his eight crosses found a team-mate. 

What's next? 

Chelsea return to Stamford Bridge for a Premier League meeting with Southampton on Saturday, while Juve are away in the Derby della Mole against Torino in Serie A on the same day. 

Romelu Lukaku is being misused by Chelsea and the Blues could be the best team in Europe if they utilise him correctly, according to Antonio Conte. 

The Belgium star returned to Stamford Bridge for a club-record £97.5million fee from Inter in the close season, having scored 24 goals in 36 Serie A games during last term's title-winning campaign under Conte. 

The 28-year-old has managed four goals in seven outings in all competitions for the Blues, including the winner against Zenit in their Champions League opener. It made him only the second player to score for two English clubs on debut in the competition after Mario Balotelli. 

However, Conte believes Thomas Tuchel can get more out of his new signing to make Chelsea the best team in Europe. 

"He [Romelu Lukaku] is a very specific striker," Conte told Sky Sport Italia ahead of Chelsea's Champions League clash with Juventus on Wednesday. 

"Bringing Lukaku into the box, he is dangerous. However, when he starts from midfield, he is incredibly quick. It is very difficult to find a player who is a target man but can also run from midfield. 

"The good thing about Romelu is that he can hurt you anywhere. If you keep him far away from the penalty area, he can kill you with his pace. If you have him in the box, he has the physicality to be a target man. 

"Last season, they didn’t have a proper centre-forward, so they rotated positions, whereas Romelu is a real reference point in attack. If they can figure out how to use Lukaku, Chelsea can become the team to beat in the Champions League this season." 

Indeed, Lukaku has gone from strength to strength following his first goal for Chelsea against Arsenal in his 16th appearance for the club, nine years and 360 days after his initial debut. 

But Conte insists Lukaku, who last term became the only player in the past 15 Serie A seasons to have at least 20 goals and 10 assists in a single campaign, can offer more for Tuchel if the Blues utilise him correctly. 

"He is a generous, one who also gives you assists," Conte continued. "This is Lukaku's specific [talent], which I also see in [Erling] Haaland. 

"He still has room for technical improvement, but he has already reached very high levels. He can improve in some phases of the game, he needs to be switched on sometimes. 

"He is impressive, he is one of the most difficult forwards to face. He must always be played, but at Chelsea they have not quite understood how to use him." 

Cristiano Ronaldo has been named in the starting line-up for Manchester United against Villarreal, meaning he will break the Champions League appearance record.

The Portugal international will lead the line for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

That will give him his 178th appearance in Europe's elite club competition, surpassing the number of outings made by his former Real Madrid team-mate Iker Casillas.

Ronaldo is already the Champions League's all-time record goalscorer, with 135 strikes from his previous 177 appearances for United, Madrid and Juventus.

While he played in United's opening Group F game at Young Boys, a surprise 2-1 defeat, this will be Ronaldo's first Champions League game at Old Trafford for United since an April 2009 tie against Arsenal. 

Elsewhere, United have had to embark on a defensive reshuffle with captain Harry Maguire out injured and right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka suspended. 

There were hopes Luke Shaw would be able to be involved, but he was unable to make the matchday squad. Victor Lindelof, Diogo Dalot and Alex Telles consequently joined Raphael Varane in defence.

Further forward, Jadon Sancho replaced Fred in a line-up filled with firepower up front.

It is about time Ole Gunnar Solskjaer delivered trophies for Manchester United despite the progress he has already made since taking charge of the club.

That is the view of the United manager's former treble-winning team-mate Teddy Sheringham ahead of the Red Devils' key Champions League clash with Villarreal on Wednesday.

Although they have made the latter stages of multiple competitions and finished as high as second in the Premier League, United have not won a trophy for four seasons.

An impressive transfer window that saw the Old Trafford club sign World Cup winner Raphael Varane, long-term target Jadon Sancho and returning hero Cristiano Ronaldo raised expectations for them in 2021-22.

But after a bright start, the past fortnight has seen United lose to Young Boys in their Group F opener, crash out of the EFL Cup at the hands of West Ham and suffer their first league defeat of the season to Aston Villa.

Sheringham believes Solskjaer will deliver much-needed silverware but thinks the Norwegian can have few complaints about the expectations.

Asked if it was time for Solskjaer to step up as a manager, Sheringham told Stats Perform: "Without a doubt. 

"You only have to look at the signings that Manchester United have made this season.

"Looking at Varane, Sancho and then Ronaldo becoming available, and then they got him as well – it was just unbelievable. 

"But that increases the pressure for Ole, and he knows that. He's in charge of the biggest football club in Europe, maybe even the world, and he knows he has to win things. 

"The pressure is there for them to win things, and I'm sure they will this year as it's about time.

"There's been steady progression for the club over the last two or three seasons, but it's about time they won something."

United need a positive result against Villarreal to get their campaign on track in the Champions League. 

The four previous Champions League clashes between United and Villarreal have all finished 0-0, making it the most played fixture in the history of the competition to see no goals scored.

United also suffered a painful Europa League final defeat to the Spanish side on penalties last season.

Despite being one of the biggest clubs who typically qualify for the Champions League, United have not got past the quarter-finals in Europe's elite club competition for a decade.

"It's tough," added Sheringham. "When you look at Sir Alex Ferguson and his record in the Champions League, it didn't happen overnight.

"It was again a steady progression. They got to the quarter-finals, got knocked out, got to the quarter-finals, then they got to the semi-finals, and then they won it. 

"So, if Ole can gain the experience, the players that he's got there, if they gain the experience along the way, then hopefully everybody's ready to win it. 

"Then you need to get a little bit of luck when you need it, and you come out on top."

While he hopes United will get there, Sheringham is more confident that the other English clubs could dominate the competition this season after Manchester City and Chelsea contested in an all-English final last year.

He added: "I think they [English clubs] will [dominate again].

"I expect probably three of those four English teams to get into the semi-finals – that is how dominant English teams are at the moment.

"We were talking about the chances of Manchester United and I don't really think they are one of the best teams in England at the moment. 

"You have to say that Manchester City [have a chance], Chelsea without a doubt, and Liverpool will also feature as well very high." 

Marcus Rashford is "raring to go" as he closes on a return to action with Manchester United, according to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Rashford had surgery on a long-standing shoulder injury in July and so has not played for club or country since missing a penalty against Italy for England in the Euro 2020 final.

The striker may be back in the fold after the coming international break, though, when United visit Leicester City.

Amad Diallo has also been out with a thigh issue, which put paid to a planned loan move to Feyenoord.

"[Rashford and Amad] are still a few weeks away, so hopefully after the international break they could be available," Solskjaer told United's official website.

United have played eight games without Rashford so far this term ahead of Wednesday's meeting with Villarreal, where Aaron Wan-Bissaka will miss the first of two matches through suspension – his punishment increased due to "rough play" as he was sent off against Young Boys.

Rashford missed just four United games in the whole of last season as he scored 21 goals and assisted a further 12 in 57 appearances in all competitions.

Among outfield players in Europe's top five leagues, the England man's 4,153 minutes ranked 16th in 2020-21. Wan-Bissaka (4,707) led that list.

Going back further, across his five full seasons as a senior United star, Rashford played 253 times, behind only Manchester City's Bernardo Silva (255) in that period.

This sort of lay-off is unfamiliar to the forward, then, and he is not lacking motivation.

Solskjaer continued: "They're working hard, both of them positive, and it's been a long, long time for Marcus, of course – probably the longest he's been out, but he's needed it.

"He looks raring to go, happy, and he knows he's missed out on pre-season, but he's done loads of good conditioning work and should be ready soon."

Gianluigi Donnarumma has laughed off "nonsense" claims he is unhappy at Paris Saint-Germain and seeking a swift return to Serie A.

The 22-year-old only joined PSG in July after reaching the end of his Milan contract and failing to agree fresh terms with his boyhood club.

However, according to reports from Italy this week, Donnarumma is already eyeing up a move to Juventus in January as he is not happy about having to challenge Keylor Navas for a starting spot.

Donnarumma was given an extended break after playing a huge part in Italy's Euro 2020 success and had to wait until six games into the campaign to make his debut in a 4-0 Ligue 1 win over Clermont.

He has played a further two games since – the 2-1 league win over Lyon and 2-0 victory over Manchester City in the Champions League on Tuesday – compared to eight appearances for Navas in all competitions.

But after being given the nod to start the big game with City, Donnarumma dismissed reports he is unwilling to share goalkeeping duties with Navas 

"I laugh at it," he told Sky Sport when asked about the recent speculation. "Every time I open the phone, I read a lot of it. 

"I know my strength, I know who I am and there is no problem whatsoever. I am here, and I am happy to be here. 

"I have a club that always supports me, and I just laugh when I read all this nonsense. I'm fine, and I'm going to continue."

Donnarumma impressed on his Champions League debut for PSG by making seven saves at the Parc des Princes, as goals from Idrissa Gueye and Lionel Messi earned the hosts a deserved win.

"I dreamed of a night in the Champions League like this," Donnarumma said. "It was a great match and gives me immense joy. 

"I thank all the people who have been close to me, from my parents to my girlfriend. It hasn't been an easy time, but I have an incredible family. I knew this moment would come.

"Playing with these champions is fantastic, they help you a lot and make you grow. Congratulations to Leo as well for his first goal. He is a phenomenon – there's nothing more to say."

Mauricio Pochettino must now decide whether to stick with Donnarumma in goal for Sunday's league trip to Rennes or instead turn to Navas.

Navas has conceded eight goals in his eight appearances for PSG this campaign, compared to one goal shipped in three outings for Donnarumma, who also boasts a better save percentage (92.86 compared to 75.76).

Donnarumma's save percentage of 92.86 is the best of any player from Europe's top five leagues to have played at least three times across all competitions, with Arsenal's Aaron Ramsdale (91.67) and Chelsea's Edouard Mendy (88.89) next on the list.

Manchester United need points to get their Champions League campaign going, and doing so by getting revenge for their Europa League final shoot-out loss to Villarreal would be a moment to enjoy for the Old Trafford fans.

When it comes to established elite needing results, United are not alone. Barcelona head to Benfica looking to banish thoughts of that humbling home loss to Bayern Munich on matchday one, while Massimiliano Allegri could use a strong performance against strong opposition when Chelsea visit Juventus.

Bayern themselves host Dynamo Kiev, as Mircea Lucescu looks to fare a little better than the last time he took a team to the Allianz Arena.

Read on for more as Stats Perform looks at the key Opta facts ahead of Wednesday's Champions League action.

 

Benfica v Barcelona: Can Memphis Depay breathe life back into Catalans?

Barcelona's 3-0 loss to Bayern Munich on matchday one was the first time in at least 186 Champions League matches in which they did not attempt a single shot on target.

Memphis Depay did not manage a shot of any kind, something he had never before experienced when starting a game in this competition. However, with two goals in his previous two games against Benfica, he could be the man to get Barca firing in Lisbon.

Benfica have not beaten Barcelona since the European Cup final in 1961, but if they do manage to pile more pressure on Ronald Koeman with a victory, it will mark the first time the Blaugrana have lost their opening two games of the season in Europe since 1972-73, when they lost twice to Porto.

Bayern Munich v Dynamo Kiev: More unhappy memories beckon for Lucescu

The Allianz Arena was the scene of Lucescu's heaviest Champions League defeat: his Shakhtar Donetsk side lost 7-0 to Bayern Munich in March 2015.

Having failed to score in seven of their previous 11 games in this competition, it is hard to expect Dynamo to stop Bayern from claiming what would be a 33rd home win out of their most recent 35 in the group stages.

In fact, across the past three seasons, Bayern have won the most games (20) and scored the most goals (73) of any team in the tournament. In 14 of their 22 games in that time, they have netted at least three goals.

 

Juventus v Chelsea: Bianconeri out to keep up king-slayer tradition

Juventus have won seven matches against the holders in this competition's history, a figure only Real Madrid can beat (11 wins). They also beat Chelsea 3-0 in their previous meeting back in the 2012-13 group stage.

Still, Chelsea have only lost three of their past 32 group games and none of their most recent 12. Thomas Tuchel's 68 per cent win ratio is bettered by only two men among managers to take charge of 20 or more group games: Pep Guardiola (71 per cent) and Jupp Heynckes (73 per cent).

The last time Juve hosted an English team in the Champions League, Jose Mourinho's Manchester United snatched a 2-1 win in November 2018. Massimiliano Allegri's side have never lost consecutive home games to English opponents.

 

Manchester United v Villarreal: Goals at last in Europa League final repeat?

All five previous European meetings between Manchester United and Villarreal have ended in draws. The first four did not even see a goal scored – it's the most played Champions League match never to see a goal – while the Europa League final last season finished 1-1, with the LaLiga side winning 11-10 on penalties.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the only manager to take charge of 10 or more Champions League matches at an English club and lose more than half of them (he's lost seven out of 11). Should they suffer defeat at Old Trafford, it will mark the first time in history they have ever lost their first two European games of a season.

If he plays, Cristiano Ronaldo will break Iker Casillas' record of 177 Champions League appearances. However, he has failed to score in four games against Villarreal in the competition – only against Lille and Benfica has he played as many times without finding the net.

Other fixtures:

Atalanta v Young Boys

30 – Atalanta's 30 Champions League goals have all been scored by non-Italians. They have netted more goals without any coming from a player of the nationality of the club he's representing in Champions League history. Young Boys have scored six times in the competition, but none has come from a Swiss player.

17 – David Wagner's side had 17 more shots than Manchester United in their opening-round win (19 vs 2). The last time a coach saw his team have that many more attempts than their opponents in his first game in charge was when Hansi Flick's Bayern Munich had 27 shots to Olympiacos' three in November 2019.

Zenit v Malmo

1 – Zenit have only taken one point from their previous eight group-stage matches and have lost four of their past seven home games in European competition.

8 – No team faced more shots on target than Malmo on matchday one of this campaign (eight against Juventus), while their xG against total of 3.5 was the most of any team in the opening round.

Salzburg v Lille

40 – This will be Lille's 40th Champions League match. They only won six of their first 39 - only Dinamo Zagreb (five) and FCSB (four) have ever won fewer than eight of their first 40 games in the competition.

35 – Although 10 of Salzburg's starting XI against Sevilla last time out were aged 24 or younger, they also included 35-year-old Andreas Ulmer, who was two years and 158 days older than his coach, Matthias Jaissle. It's the first time a player has been over two years older than their manager in a Champions League match since Naldo for Schalke in December 2018 under Domenico Tedesco (three years and two days older).

Wolfsburg v Sevilla

3.7 – Wolfsburg's previous six games against Spanish opponents in European competition have seen a total of 22 goals scored (11 for, 11 against), at an average of 3.7 per game.

7 – Sevilla are unbeaten in their past seven away games in this competition (W3 D4), their longest ever unbeaten run away from home in the European Cup/Champions League. They last suffered defeat on the road in October 2017, losing 5-1 away to Spartak Moscow.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said he is "in love" with Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti, while he also lavished Lionel Messi in praise after his side lost in the Champions League.

Messi scored his first goal for PSG after Idrissa Gueye's opening-half breakthrough in Tuesday's 2-0 victory over City in the French capital.

While Messi stole the headlines with his stunning 74th-minute goal, Guardiola heaped praise on Verratti – who helped Italy win Euro 2020 before the start of the season.

"I'm in love," Guardiola told reporters post-match. "He's an exceptional player because he's under pressure and has the calmness to take on extra touch and in that moment create extra passes behind our midfield players.

"I know the character and personality that he has and he did it again. I'm happy he's back from his injury and yeah, an exceptional player.

"He's not tall from his aspect from outside, but when you see how he moves, how he plays… he's not a player for long distance passes, but you can count on him to always help to make a build up and know exactly where the spaces are to create other situations.

"Especially in the first half, second half was much better controlled by Kevin [De Bruyne], but first half we were a little bit soft with him."

Messi has scored more Champions League goals against City (seven) than any other player, while his seven strikes against sides managed by Pep Guardiola (two against Bayern Munich, five versus City with him as manager) is also the most of any player in the competition's history.

Meanwhile, Messi has scored 27 Champions League goals against English clubs – 15 more than any other player. Only Cristiano Ronaldo has scored more goals against opponents of a specific nation (28, versus German teams) in Champions League history.

City were heavily linked with Messi before the six-time Ballon d'Or winner joined PSG at the conclusion of his Barcelona contract during the off-season.

"I wish, through my short personal relationship with him, I wish him the best," Guardiola said. "If he’s happy and enjoying this period in Paris, I will be happy. He made me so happy when we worked together, he decided for many reasons to come here, for him and his family I wish him the best."

On dealing with Messi, Guardiola added: "We deal with PSG first of all. We know that it is impossible to control Leo [Messi] during the [whole] 90 minutes, but they were not giving him a lot of touches of the ball.

"Of course, he is coming back from some injuries, so he lacked a bit of rhythm, but we know when he can run and be quite close to the ball he is unstoppable. What we have done is minimise as much as possible these kind of actions and create the chances that we could create. I’m satisfied for the way we played, it was the same as when we were at Stamford Bridge. I said after the game, I’m happy for the victory of course, but the way we played today was quite similar.

"So the people cannot deny that we were there… this is our team. In good and bad, improving or not improving, this is our team. We arrived here, played our game and they defended deep really well with seven and a half players.

"This is the risk when you lose the ball and they can make one pass, especially [Marco] Verratti, an exceptional, extraordinary player that can have contact with Neymar and Messi where they can run, so always it’s difficult. But even with that, they didn’t do much and that's all."

City suffered their first Champions League group-stage defeat since September 2018, when they lost 2-1 to Lyon – they had been unbeaten in 18 such games since then.

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino said there is no doubt Lionel Messi is the best player in the world after scoring his first goal for the French giants in Tuesday's win over Manchester City.

PSG got past Premier League champions City 2-0 at Parc des Princes, with Idrissa Gueye opening the scoring in the eighth minute before Messi sealed the win via a 74th-minute strike into the top corner.

The goal was Messi's first in PSG colours in his fourth appearance since switching from LaLiga powerhouse Barcelona on a free transfer in the off-season.

Messi has scored more Champions League goals against City (seven) than any other player, while his seven strikes against sides managed by Pep Guardiola (two against Bayern Munich, five versus City with him as manager) is also the most of any player in the competition's history.

Meanwhile, Messi has scored 27 Champions League goals against English clubs – 15 more than any other player. Only Cristiano Ronaldo has scored more goals against opponents of a specific nation (28, versus German teams) in Champions League history.

"I think it was amazing, his performance," Pochettino told BT Sport. "And he scored an amazing goal.

"He's the best player in the world, that is no doubt. Of course, [I am] happy to see him showing his football.

"Him and all the team worked really, really hard to achieve that victory. [It is] Never easy, they're probably the best team in the world, Manchester City. That is why we're so happy."

PSG trailed in the key stats, with City having 18-6 shots and 7-3 shots on target, but Pochettino was delighted with his side's defensive commitment.

Messi combined clinically with Kylian Mbappe for his goal, impressing Pochettino who has stressed that their attacking connection along with Neymar remains a "work in progress".

"We can do it. They showed that we want to be united, to work together," Pochettino said. "The quality is there. We have amazing quality and amazing players.

"The challenge is that all work in both phases of the game with the same capacity to suffer. Tonight we showed very good belief and I started to see the team that can work together, not only in an offensive way but a defensive one too."

On Canal Plus, Pochettino added: "They were a great strength of the team, they sought to be in the attacking sector, and the team was always well positioned. We managed to get out in transition."

The result moves PSG into top spot in Group A with four points alongside Club Brugge, who won 2-1 at RB Leipzig, while City are third with three points.

"Today was a Champions League against Manchester City, we knew that we needed to show that being solid and help each other," Pochettino said.

"But with time we will be better. We need to improve in other aspects. I'm very happy overall."

Curtis Jones may have not started the 2021-22 season quite as he hoped, but the Liverpool midfielder has been making up for lost time in his recent outings for the Reds.

After a breakout campaign that saw him go from talented prospect to first-team squad member, Jones' desire to hit the ground running this term was held up by a concussion diagnosis, having suffered a blow to the head in a pre-season friendly.

Absent for the opening win over Norwich City, the midfielder saw Harvey Elliott emerge in the opening weeks to provide further competition for a place in the team, only to then suffer a serious leg injury in the away win at Leeds United.

With Naby Keita once more missing time and Thiago Alcantara sidelined, Jones has capitalised on his opportunities. A first start against Norwich in an EFL Cup tie was followed by a goalscoring appearance from the off at Brentford, as he played 67 minutes in the pulsating 3-3 draw.

Jurgen Klopp retained Jones in the starting XI once more on Tuesday, lining him up alongside captain Jordan Henderson and anchor Fabinho, a midfield trio that made sure Liverpool seized control after a somewhat shaky start. His work in combination with full-back Andy Robertson and Sadio Mane on the left-hand side helped lead dominate possession, with the visitors enjoying 66.8 per cent of the ball as they coasted to a 5-1 win. The solitary surprise with the scoreline was that Porto even managed to get one.

Only centre-back pairing Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip made more successful passes than Jones in the lopsided contest, though no player wearing red managed more than his total of 49 in the opposing team's half.  

Klopp was pleased with what he saw from a player who had to learn on the job in 2020-21, part of a Liverpool squad that had to come through a defensive injury crisis and produce a fast finish just to secure a place at the top table of European club football once again.

What made Jones' performance in Portugal even more impressive was how he had not been feeling well beforehand, as his boss revealed to the media.

"Curtis played a good game. He had some problems a little bit with the stomach before the game. They told me I need to keep an eye on him, but I told him after the game whatever it is, keep it because it was really a good game," Klopp joked.

"He played a really good game, he was everywhere, he was involved in everything. Set up the first goal with a surprising finish, goalie cannot save it. In a lot of other situations he was really there - maybe not as spectacular as the offensive stuff, but defensively he played a top-class game.  

"He defended really well, pressed from the blind side, a lot of things I liked a lot about his performance tonight. So, let's keep going, Curtis, it was not bad tonight."

"Not bad" is an understatement. It was Jones' effort after cutting inside that led to Mohamed Salah tapping in to make it 1-0, while his determination to work his way out of a tight spot late in the game when under pressure led to a ball in behind that set up Roberto Firmino for the first of his late brace, albeit with plenty of help from wandering goalkeeper Diogo Costa. 

That shot for Salah's opener was one of four attempts as he looked to follow up his rocket of a strike at Brentford. He had shown his willingness to have a go in the previous season too, averaging 1.69 shots per 90 minutes. His eye for goal led to him scoring four times in 34 appearances, including a Champions League winner against Ajax in December 2020. 

While his defensive work may not get the same level of attention, but his manager certainly appreciated his efforts against Porto, which included winning seven of his 10 duels. 

"I know, on paper, he’s so young, but I feel as though he has been around the first team for a few years now, he has settled in really well, he has matured really well," Henderson told BT Sport. 

"Now you're starting to see what a good player he is over the last few weeks. He has had to be a little bit patient at the beginning of the season but he’s come in and he's done fantastically well.  

"You can see he has got all the attributes to be a top player. I feel as though he is maturing all the time and he’s putting in some really good performances to help the team."

Patience has certainly paid off for Jones, who has made a compelling case to remain in the team when Manchester City visit Anfield on Sunday, as well as pushing for inclusion in Gareth Southgate's England squad for the upcoming October internationals. 

Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti bemoaned one of the biggest upsets in Champions League history, the Italian believing his side did not deserve to lose to giant-slaying debutants Sheriff.

Sheriff caused a boilover at the Santiago Bernabeu, where the Champions League debutants and Moldovan visitors won 2-1 on Tuesday.

Jasurbek Yakhshiboev opened the scoring with a powerful header in the first half, before Karim Benzema's emphatic penalty levelled the scores for Madrid.

But Sebastien Thill rifled home a stunning effort from the edge of the box in the 89th minute to hand the Moldovan outfit a dramatic win in Madrid.

Los Blancos had 31 shots, hitting the target with 11, and recorded over 75 per cent possession, while Sheriff took just four shots, but came away with all three points in the Spanish capital.

The result leaves Madrid second in Group D, three points behind Sheriff, who have won their first two games in the competition.

"More than worried, we're sad," Ancelotti said after the game. "We played with intensity and were looking good. We lost because of small details, even though the side played well. We could've been better when it came to the final third but it's tough to explain.

"It's small details that cost us this game. It's a lesson for us in the future as it's a defeat we didn't deserve. We had chances, we were creating out wide and [Luka] Jovic came on and had a couple of opportunities. I think that in the end, everything went well for them and bad for us.

"We've missed out on three points and the group is wide open. We need to win our next game."

Madrid were beaten for just the second time in their last 32 group-stage games in the Champions League when playing at the Santiago Bernabeu (W25 D5) – losing against CSKA Moscow in December 2018 and Sheriff on Tuesday.

Los Blancos star Casemiro lamented the team's defensive lapses and profligacy in front of goal on a humbling night for the LaLiga leaders.

"That's football for you," Casemiro said after the full-time whistle. "One team has more than 20 shots on goal and plays well and the other team that comes here to defend and had two shots go and score twice.

"That's how things go in football and you've got to be more focused defensively. We fully dominated the game and had the chances to have made it 1-0, then 1-1 and they’ve ended up scoring a screamer.

"You've got to win in football, but this year we've already produced some poor performances and won, but that wasn't the case tonight. If you're not clinical, you end up paying the price at the back."

Madrid face Shakhtar Donetsk away from home on October 19 in their next Champions League outing, where they will seek to right the wrongs of their defeat to Sheriff.

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