As the Champions League returned on Tuesday, Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland continued their great scoring performances, while last season’s outstanding talent Karim Benzema walked off with an injury after less than 30 minutes.
Mbappe and Haaland both scored twice as their respective clubs, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City, started their European seasons with victory, demonstrating why those two teams are once again considered championship contenders.
Real Madrid’s prospects of retaining their title are likely to rely heavily on Benzema being totally healthy, but France forward was forced to leave the game against Celtic in the 30th minute due to an apparent knee injury. Despite goals in the second half from Vinicius Junior, Luka Modric, and Eden Hazard, the Spanish powerhouse won 3-0 in Glasgow.
Last season, Benzema was in a league of his own in the competition, scoring 15 goals in 12 games to lead Real Madrid to the title. Mbappe and Haaland, on the other hand, appear poised to challenge the Frenchman for the title of Europe’s top striker as they strive to lead their teams to their first Champions League victory.
Mbappe, who has seven goals in five league games this season, scored his double in the opening 22 minutes of a 2-1 home win against Juventus to become the competition’s youngest player to reach 35 goals, surpassing teammate Lionel Messi.
Mbappe Sinks Juventus
Mbappe scored his first goal for PSG after only five minutes, thanks to some daring link-up play from Neymar.
Mbappé sent a short pass to the Brazilian before charging into the area, with Neymar hanging onto the ball just long enough to chip it over a defender and into the path of the France striker, who volleyed it first-time past goalkeeper Mattia Perin.
The second occurred after he traded passes with Achraf Hakimi and defeated Perin for the second time. Weston McKennie of the United States equalised for Juventus in the 53rd minute, setting up a tight finish in Paris.
Benfica beat Maccabi Haifa 2-0 in the other Group H match.