Mohamed Salah continued his blistering run of form on Tuesday by scoring twice in a 3-2 victory over 10-man Atletico Madrid as Liverpool took charge of Group B in the Champions League.
Salah gave Liverpool the lead with another splendid goal at the Wanda Metropolitano after dancing past three Atletico defenders and firing in to make it nine consecutive games the Egyptian has scored in.
But a wild contest in Madrid had several twists and turns still to come as Naby Keita doubled the advantage only for Atletico to strike twice before half-time, Antoine Griezmann pulling his team back into the match and leaving Liverpool looking temporarily dishevelled.
“Atletico look like a different side now from those early minutes,” Sky Sports’ Peter Smith said.
“Full of belief and Liverpool’s defence not looking rock solid at all.
“When Liverpool went two up so early on you wondered just what kind of destruction they’d do to Atletico tonight. But what spirit the home side have shown to get back into it.”
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Yet Griezmann was sent off in the 52nd minute for a high foot into the face of Roberto
Firmino and Liverpool made Atleti pay, a clumsy challenge by Mario Hermoso on Diogo Jota giving Salah the chance to win the game from the spot.
Even with 10 men, Atletico thought they might have snatched a draw late on as Luis Suarez, on off the bench, prepared to take a penalty against his former club with his first touch.
Instead, referee Daniel Siebert infuriated the home crowd by cancelling his decision after consulting the replay.
Liverpool move five points clear at the top of the group, with Atletico seemingly left to scrap it out with Porto for second place. They have four points each.
PSG 3-2 RB LEIPZIG
Lionel Messi scored twice and Kylian Mbappe played a starring role but later missed a penalty as Paris Saint-Germain came from behind to beat RB Leipzig 3-2 in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Mbappe had given PSG the lead at the Parc des Princes but a Leipzig side beaten 6-3 at Manchester City earlier in the competition did not crumble in the French capital.
Instead goals from Andre Silva and Nordi Mukiele had them in front, and at that point PSG looked as if they might pay the price for another occasionally disjointed display.
However, they were rescued by Mbappe and Messi. The Argentinian was set up by the France star for the equaliser and then coolly chipped in a 74th-minute penalty awarded for a foul on Mbappe.
Mauricio Pochettino’s team, who also saw Mbappe miss from the spot in injury time, are now top of Group A at the halfway stage, a point above City, who won 5-1 at Club Brugge earlier.
Leipzig, beaten by PSG in the semi-finals in 2020, are bottom without a point to their name.
SHAKHTAR DONETSK 0-5 REAL MADRID
Real Madrid thrashed Shakhtar Donetsk 5-0 in the Champions League on Tuesday as Karim Benzema scored on the eve of his trial in France on charges of complicity in blackmail.
A first-half own goal from Serhiy Kryvtsov put Real on their way before Vinicius Junior scored two superb goals before setting up Rodrygo for the fourth.
Benzema added the fifth in injury time in a game played in Kiev. The French international striker goes on trial in France on Wednesday with four other men accused of complicity in the attempted blackmail of his former international teammate Mathieu Valbuena in a case known as the “sextape affair”.
It is not known if Benzema will be present for the start of the trial. It was a welcome win for Real, the 13-time European champions, after they slipped to an embarrassing home defeat to Moldovan minnows Sheriff Tiraspol in their last match.
Sheriff lost 3-1 to Inter Milan on Tuesday but Real are still second to them in Group D with both clubs on six points.
AJAX 4-0 BORUSSIA DORTMUND
Sebastien Haller scored his sixth Champions League goal in three games as Ajax took firm control of their group with a ruthless display at home as they routed Borussia Dortmund 4-0 on Tuesday.
Ajax are on course for the last 16 with three wins out of three European games and Haller remains the competition’s top scorer after netting their fourth goal of the night with a crisp header.
The Ivory Coast forward scored four goals against Sporting Lisbon on his stunning Champions League debut last month, then also hit the net against Besiktas.
The result sees the Dutch champions top Group C, three points ahead of Dortmund as both clubs came into the tie with two straight wins.
CLUB BRUGGE 1-5 MANCHESTER CITY
Manchester City delivered a dominant Champions League performance to sweep past Club Brugge 5-1 on Wednesday and re-emphasise their status as major contenders for a first European title.
Joao Cancelo gave City a deserved lead on the half-hour and Riyad Mahrez converted a penalty just before the break as Pep Guardiola’s side bounced back in style from last month’s loss to Paris Saint-Germain.
Kyle Walker added a third early in the second half and 19-year-old Cole Palmer bagged his first Champions League goal minutes after coming on as a substitute.
Hans Vanaken pulled a goal back to great delight from the home supporters but Mahrez capped a thumping City victory with his second of the night.
The win leaves City side with six points after three games in Group A, with the champions of England and Belgium to meet again in two weeks in Manchester.
INTER MILAN 3-1 SHERIFF
Inter Milan got their Champions League campaign up and running on Tuesday with a 3-1 win over surprise package Sheriff Tiraspol which boosted their chances of getting to the knockout stage for the first time in a decade.
Simone Inzaghi’s side were under pressure for a good result after picking up a single point from their first two fixtures in this season’s competition.
Goals from Edin Dzeko, Arturo Vidal and Stefan de Vrij put them two points behind Group D leaders Sheriff.
The Italian champions are the same number of points away from Real Madrid, who sit second following their 5-0 thumping of Shakhtar Donetsk, and will fancy their chances in the return fixture in Tiraspol next month after an impressive display at the San Siro.
Inter haven’t made it out of a Champions League group since the 2011-12 season and will now believe they have a good chance of doing so this year, as well as being encouraged for the visit of rivals Juventus at the weekend.
MATCHDAY 3 RESULTS
BESIKTAS 1 SPORTING 4
CLUB BRUGGE 1 MANCHESTER CITY 5
SHAKHTAR DONETSK 0 REAL MADRID 5
PSG 3 RB LEIPZIG 2
ATLETICO MADRID 2 LIVERPOOL 3
INTER MILAN 3 SHERIFF 1
AJAX 4 BORUSSIA DORTMUND 0
PORTO 1 AC MILAN 0
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