UEFA Champions League fixtures: Manchester City and Real Madrid followed up with a third straight Champions League win, with former Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui sacked by a struggling Sevilla minutes after the 4-1 defeat at home to Borussia Dortmund.
Paris Saint-Germain celebrated for the first time despite Lionel Messi’s first goal in a 1-1 draw against Benfica.
Erling Haaland was only needed on the pitch for the first half but still scored twice in what has become a routine defeat for Man City this season, 5-0 at home to Copenhagen.
It’s now five goals in three Champions League games and 19 in 12 club games for the relentless Norwegian striker.
Madrid are making less spectacular progress in their title defense, although they did manage 35 attempts on goal to keep out Shakhtar Donetsk in a 2-1 win.
First-half goals from Madrid’s young Brazilian strikers Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior opened up a five-point lead in Group F over Shakhtar ahead of the second leg in Poland next week.
Lopetegui’s exit from Sevilla, where he won the Europa League title in 2020, looked likely after just one win from seven La Liga games left the team 17th in the table.
It was confirmed after defeat to a rampant Dortmund, which followed a four-goal defeat by Man City in the Spanish club’s previous home game in Group G. Fans chanted Lopetegui’s name when left the field.
PSG went to Benfica tied on six points and left tied on seven after a spirited and well-matched match in Lisbon.
The 127th goal of his Champions League career was a curling shot after linking up passes with fellow star forwards Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.
Also in Group H, Juventus closed the gap on the leaders with their first points in a 3-1 win at Maccabi Haifa. French midfielder Adrien Rabiot scored in each half.
Chelsea picked up their first win in the competition for new manager Graham Potter, beating AC Milan 3-0, although Salzburg now top Group E.
Noah Okafor maintained his goals-per-game performance in the Champions League to lift Salzburg to a 1-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb.
Christopher Nkunku, the French striker who is a hotly speculated Chelsea transfer target, opened the scoring in Leipzig’s 3-1 win over Celtic in the Madrid-led group.
A shot to the right from near the penalty spot. A poacher’s attack on a loose ball after a save by the goalkeeper. But this time there is no hat trick for the prolific Man City striker.
Haaland was withdrawn at half-time as manager Pep Guardiola let other young players shine and Julian Alvarez, who joined in the off-season from River Plate, grabbed City’s fifth goal in the 76th.
The English champions are now unbeaten in 21 home games over four years in Europe’s elite competition. Lyon was the last visiting team to win.
Lopetegui rebuilt his career at Sevilla after a disastrous 2018, when he was sacked as Spain coach at the World Cup – before the first match in Russia – to agree to join Real Madrid after the tournament. He was then sacked in Madrid before the end of October.
Three full seasons at Sevilla saw another Europa League title for the club and qualification for the Champions League three times in a row.
Sevilla are expected to re-appoint Jorge Sampaoli, who left earlier to guide Argentina to World Cup 2018. Sampaoli has been available since leaving Marseille in the off-season after returning to the club in the Champions League.
By MARIA DELICIES
Three assists from Angel Di Maria ensured Juventus finally picked up their first points after defeats against PSG and at home to Benfica, both of the Argentinian winger’s former clubs.
Rabiot scored in each half against Maccabi Haifa, with Serbian striker Dusan Vlahovic scoring in the 50th minute.
“I try to do my job, it’s what makes me happy, creating assists to score goals,” said Di Maria.
Long-time allies with the Red Bull organization, Leipzig and Salzburg claimed victories in their opening games on Wednesday.
Salzburg are now the unbeaten leaders of Group E after Okafor’s 71st-minute penalty was enough to beat Dinamo Zagreb. The 22-year-old Swiss striker is shaping up to be the next talent to follow the well-trodden path from the Austrian champions to their German sister club.
Leipzig claimed their first points in Group F with two late goals from Portuguese striker Andre Silva to beat Celtic 3-1, leaving the Scottish champions in last place.