UEFA Champions League: Picking a Best XI from Matchday 1
The first match day of the UEFA Champions League provided everyone with plenty of thrills thanks to some amazing matches.
On Tuesday, Real Madrid beat Manchester City 3-2 in a thrilling match at the Bernabeu that concluded with a late winner from Cristiano Ronaldo.
On Wednesday, the marquee match up was between Chelsea and Juventus, which ended in a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge after a late Juventus equalizer.
As for the other 14 matches over the last two days, there were plenty of performances that fans did not see like Malaga's impressive 3-0 over Zenit St. Petersburg and BATE Borisov's surprise win at Lille.
There were also plenty of great individuals who shined throughout the last two days and here are the 11 best players who played on the pitches throughout Europe in the Champions League.
David De Gea
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Not many clubs were able to post clean sheets on match day one, but one club that did was Manchester United.
The main reason for United's clean sheet on Wednesday against Galatasaray was David De Gea.
Amongst a sloppy match from both sides and plenty of calls for penalty kicks during the second half, De Gea made the two biggest plays of the match.
The Spanish keeper made back-to-back clutch saves in the second half to prevent the Turkish club from equalizing in the Group H match.
Benedikt Howedes was a rock in the Schalke back four on Tuesday against Olympiacos—and even opened the scoring for his side at the other end.
The Schalke captain delivered a header into the back of the net in the 41st minute.
The Germans did concede in the 58th minute to their hosts in Tuesday's Group B match, but Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored a minute later to deliver a win for Howedes and company.
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Thiago Silva's Champions League debut for Paris St-Germain went as expected, with a 4-1 statement win over Dynamo Kiev.
PSG asserted their dominance in the first half with three goals—one coming from Silva in the 29th minute.
The Brazilian defender was also solid in defense as the only goal let up by the Parisians came late in the second half from Miguel Veloso.
Bram Nuytinck was a part of Anderlecht's impressive showing at the San Siro on Tuesday.
The Belgian club held AC Milan to a goalless draw with help from a strong back four that included Nuytinck.
The Dutch center back, who just joined the club in August from NEC Nijmegen, was also part of the attack at some points as he had a shot on goal that went wide during the match as well.
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One of the Spanish stars of the future, Isco, provided fans with a glimpse of what is to come in Malaga's 3-0 win over Zenit St. Petersburg.
Isco scored in the 3rd and 76th minute for the suddenly cash-strapped Spanish club, who finished fourth in La Liga last season.
Both of the midfielder's goals showcased his talent.
His first goal was hit perfectly past Vyacheslav Malafeev as it hit the right post and bounced into the net.
The second strike from the 20-year-old was even more spectacular as he drilled the ball home into the top right corner of the net from right outside of the penalty area.
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While many people assumed that Andrea Pirlo would be Juventus' midfield maestro against Chelsea, they were wrong.
The role of midfield maestro was played to perfection by Claudio Marchisio in Wednesday's Group E match.
Marchisio had an assist in Juventus' equalizer in the 2-2 draw in London.
In the 80th minute, after a Chelsea mistake, Marchisio found Fabio Quagliarella with a pinpoint through ball, who then netted the Italians equalizer.
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Whenever Manchester City are in trouble, they turn to Yaya Toure—and they did exactly that in the 68th minute against Real Madrid.
Toure started a counter-attack that turned into Edin Dzeko's goal to put City up a goal, but only temporarily as Madrid equalized just eight minutes later.
The powerful Ivorian has a niche for showing up in big games and although City eventually lost 3-2, he was the man who changed the pace of game from a defensive mindset to an attacking one for City, which opened the match up for the final 20 minutes.
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Just like Toure, Remy Cabella was on the losing side of his match on Tuesday but he was an impact player throughout Montpellier's Group B opener with Arsenal.
Cabella was strong on the wing for most of the match and almost equalized in the second half.
The 22-year-old's strike on net was denied by the post in the 55th minute and his club were unable to comeback as they fell by a 2-1 scoreline to the English club.
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Oscar's first start for Chelsea was a memorable one for the Brazilian midfielder.
The midfielder scored twice in the space of two first half minutes for the defending champions.
His first took a wicked deflection taking the ball away from Buffon, but his second goal was a spectacular effort.
Taking Ashley Cole's pass in his stride, the Brazilian swivelled his body before sending a curling drive into the top corner—rightly earning the goal of the day award from many pundits.
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Cristiano Ronaldo was an instrumental figure in Real Madrid's comeback at home on Tuesday against Manchester City.
Ronaldo was not very influential in the first half as Man City appeared to park the bus in front of their own net to prevent any goals.
But, once City opened the scoring in the 68th minute the match became more open and Ronaldo capitalized on that.
After Karim Benzema equalized in the 88th minute, Ronaldo scored two minutes later as his shot skipped past Joe Hart and sent both his team mates and his manager into an emotional celebration.
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Anything you can do, I can do better.
Lionel Messi followed the old saying to perfection on Wednesday night against Spartak Moscow.
One day after Ronaldo rescued his team from a potential home draw, Messi scored not one but two goals to give Barcelona a 3-2 win over their Russian guests.
The Argentine's two goals came in the 71st and 80th minute and they were clinical finished by the world's best player.
Once again, Messi did not do anything too flashy like Ronaldo but instead stepped up when his club needed him and provided two goals in the second half, one on foot and one by way of his head.