Valencia Inflicted a 1-0 defeat on Chelsea at the Stamford Bridge in their Champions League opener just five days after changing their manager.
The London side enjoyed a greater share of possession and circulated the ball around well, but failed to make it count.
A 74th-minute goal from Rodrigo that arrived from a set-piece decided the game and handed Valencia a crucial win away from home.
Chelsea were handed a life-line when Fikayo Tomori earned a penalty in the death. But Ross Barkley could not make it count as he struck the crossbar and sent it over.
How did the Chelsea players perform in this lacklustre tie? We take a look.
Kepa Arrizabalaga: Could not have done much about the goal as it came from a defensive error, hardly tested otherwise. 6.
Kurt Zouma: Was kept on his toes at all times by Denis Cheryshev, did well to thwart any danger. The goal was conceded right after Zouma left the pitch. 6.
Andreas Christensen: Held the fort well until the 74th minute, won a few duels against Rodrigo. 6.
Cesar Azpilicueta: Provided some well-driven crosses into the box, won some crucial duels in midfield and put in a fair shift at the back. 6
Fikayo Tomori: Produced some surging runs forward but did not deliver an end product, accidentally won a penalty for Barkley to miss. 6.
Marcos Alonso: One of the few plusses for Chelsea, looked good in attack and defence, won several 50-50 balls. Looked dangerous on the dead ball. 7.
Jorginho: Did a fair job against Valencia’s press, provided a good fulcrum between defence and attack. Could have done more creatively. 6.
Mateo Kovacic: Was Chelsea’s most creative player, looked great at the centre of the pitch and broke Valencia’s line a few times with his passes. 7.
Willian: Chelsea’s best player in the first half, created several chances and started most of the threatening move, team-mates not on the same wave-length. Slacked off a bit in the second half. 7.
Tammy Abraham: Good positioning and movement, but lacked the killer instinct and did not produce real substance. 5,
Mason Mount: Forced out inside 15 minutes because of an injury. N/A
Pedro Rodriguez: Incoherent plays and poor shooting – one game Pedro will want to forget. 5.
Olivier Giroud: Came on in the 73rd minute but tested Jasper Cillessen only once and the Valencia custodian produced a routine save. 5.
Ross Barkley: Came on for the last 10 minutes and missed a penalty to ensure Chelsea left the pitch empty-handed. 3.
Barcelona just about held out for a goalless draw at Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday night, and Marc-Andre ter Stegen was his team’s saviour in his homeland with a series of great stops including a flying penalty save from Marco Reus’s second half penalty.
But there were a few other strong performances from the Spanish side, who were fortunate to return home with a point.
Check out how everybody fared with our full player ratings.
Burki 6. Wasn’t forced into any serious saves by a toothless Barca attack, but did what he had to well.
Hakimi 7. Got forward whenever he could, showing good athleticism to cover lots of ground up and down the field.
Akanji 6. Composed and concentrated in the centre of defence, doing a no-nonsense job with calm efficiency.
Hummels 8. Outstanding in defence. Showed good anticipation, reading the game perfectly to break up several attacks.
Guerreiro 6. The left-back grew into the game as an attacking force and shadowed Messi closely in the latter stages.
Witsel 7. A calming presence in the home team’s midfield, doing a good job both with and without the ball.
Delaney 6. Was booked early on for a foul on Busquets and never truly imposed himself. Kept it simple with the ball.
Sancho 7. Caught the eye with several dangerous bursts down both flanks, but fired a decent chance well over the bar.
Reus 6. Offered a consistent threat as a support striker, but squandered several chances including a saved penalty.
Hazard 6. Created a decent chance for Reus with a powerful run. Regularly swapped flanks with Sancho before being replaced.
Alcacer 6. Linked play well against his former club. Dragged a half-chance wide and fired a free-kick into the wall.
Brandt 7. Came on for Hazard and provided a serious spark, thumping a brilliant long-range strike against the crossbar.
Larsen 5. Replaced Alcacer up front for the final stages but had little chance to impress as the game petered out.
4 - @mterstegen1 has saved four of the six penalties he has faced in #UCL. Since the beginning of detailed data collection in 2003-04, no other keeper has saved more (Pyiatov also 4). Wall. #BVBFCB pic.twitter.com/oT8mVVgP2H— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) September 17, 2019
Ter Stegen 9. Made a brilliant stop from Reus’ penalty and several more good saves, mostly from the same player.
Semedo 4. Given a tough time throughout, especially by Sancho, and conceded a penalty with a clumsy foul on the Englishman.
Pique 5. Had some troubled moments at the back and was booked for one late lunge just outside the box.
Lenglet 5. Never particularly convincing in the centre of defence, lacking decisiveness and a sense of authority.
Alba 6. Enterprising for the opening half hour but then had to be replaced after suffering a thigh injury,
De Jong 6. Led his team’s pressing without the ball and did a good job protecting the back four after Busquets was replaced.
Busquets 6. Used the ball well in front of the back four, but vulnerable when Dortmund countered at pace and subbed off.
Arthur 6. Pulled the strings at times in the centre of the pitch, but had other periods of play when he drifted out of the game.
Fati 5. Played an hour on his Champions League debut and saw plenty of the ball without shining. Had a volley deflected over the top.
Suarez 6. Back in the starting line-up and looked sharp, coming close with a narrow-angled effort but largely lacking service.
Griezmann 6. Had a low early shot deflected wide and worked hard up and down the left, but a minimal attacking threat
Sergi Roberto 6. Came on when Alba got injured, taking over at right-back. Helped his team’s build-up play with astute passing.
Messi 6. Made his first appearance of the season from the bench and showed flashes of danger without quite breaking through.
Rakitic 6. Introduced into the midfield to replace Busquets and did a steady job without making a major impact.
Borussia Dortmund versus Barcelona didn’t live up to the hype. Neither did Napoli versus Liverpool. It’s over to Salzburg instead, where a 19-year-old man-mountain distinguished himself with a first-half hat-trick that made him a lock for Carolina Herrera hero of the day.
Erling Braut Haaland, remember the name. The Norway prodigy singed the fingers of transfer rumour writers across the globe in the space of 45 minutes, as he became the first teenager since Wayne Rooney to score more than one goal on his Champions League debut in Red Bull Salzburg’s 6-2 obliteration of Genk.
Big things were expected in Austria – and by us – of a player who had already scored a quite incredible 14 goals from eight games this season. It only took him two minutes to justify every word.
Haaland, the son of former Premier League stalwart Alf-Inge, has unfathomable acceleration for someone who measures in at 6ft5in, and used it for his first before powering a low shot past the keeper.
He was given the freedom of Salzburg for his second but it still needed another cool finish, and a tap-in rounded off a dream first-half’s work.
AGE – 19
SHOTS – 3
GOALS – 3
MINUTES – 72
Ruthlessness – Haaland’s frame wouldn’t be out of place in the NBA and he hit the jackpot with his genes thanks to his natural pace, too. But this was a night on which, in his first taste of European competition, his preternatural coolness prevailed.
Belgian champions Genk are no great shakes, of course. That’s besides the point. His composure in front of goal speaks of great mental strength and if Group E opponents Liverpool and Napoli weren’t already on high alert, they are now.
Ultimately, Haaland’s end product will unlikely be enough to fire Salzburg into the knockouts given their clear frailty at the back, but he will surely be in the Champions League next year one way or another.
No matter the age, No9s with such physical and mental traits are extremely rare commodities. Let the bidding wars begin.