The Champions League provided plenty of entertainment on Tuesday night with 28 goals from eight matches, nine of those arriving from Bayern Munich’s demolition of Tottenham.
Real Madrid mounted a second-half fightback to secure a 2-2 draw with Club Brugge while Shakhtar Donetsk left it late to snatch all three points at Serie A side Atalanta.
An exciting set of results made for some lively group stage action, yet it was a night where individual performances stole the show across Europe.
We take a look at three of the best performing players from the first round of matches from the second matchday.
Serge Gnabry | Bayern Munich
The Bayern Munich winger ripped Tottenham to shreds with a dynamite display in north London, much to the pleasure of his former employer’s supporters.
The ex-Arsenal man scored four second-half goals, each with unerring accuracy as the 24-year-old Germany international showed why he is so highly rated.
Gnabry was sold to Werder Bremen by the Gunners in 2016 for £5 million and after a season which saw him score 11 goals in 27 appearances, Bayern activated his release clause of €8m. It’s proving money well spent.
Gnabry was menacing the entire night and caused panic among the Spurs backline every time he cut in from his left-wing berth.
Gonzalo Higuain | Juventus
Gonzalo Higuain is reborn at Juventus under the manager who has extracted the best out of him during his career.
Maurizio Sarri claimed his first Champions League win as Juve boss and one of his favourite players from his Napoli days was at the heart of it, scoring one and assisting another during their 3-0 over Bayer Leverkusen.
Higuain opened the scoring as he rolled back the years with an instinctive, driven finish from just outside the box in the 17th minute.
The Argentine worked tireless throughout, linking midfield and attack, creating plenty of chances.
He then rounded off a scintillating team move to cross expertly for Federico Bernardeschi to net Juve’s second.
If Tuesday was anything to go by, Higuain looks back his best.
Emmanuel Dennis | Club Brugge
Emmanuel Dennis stunned the Bernabeu with his peculiar first-half double.
Dennis was somewhat fortunate to put the Belgian side in front as he bounced the ball off both feet from close range after Percy Tau managed to keep himself just onside to square to the Brugge forward.
While the first finish was slightly bizarre, the second one was simply sublime.
Dennis capitalised on a dawdling Luka Modric in midfield and raced through to delightfully lift the ball over Thibaut Courtois.
He then celebrated with Cristiano Ronaldo’s trademark celebration to rub extra salt into the wounds. It was a dream outing for the Nigerian who will now have a permanent memory of his trip to Madrid after promising to get a tattoo pre-match if he scored…he might need two now.
The verdict from Mauricio Pochettino was a scathing one after Tottenham were trounced by Bayern Munich in a Group B UEFA Champions League clash at North London on Tuesday.
The Tottenham boss was left fuming after his side’s 7-2 defeat at the hands of the German champions with former Arsenal man Serge Gnabry racking up four goals for himself.
“I feel very, very, very disappointed. My feelings are so bad because when you concede seven goals it is so tough,” Pochettino stated after the humiliating loss.
The Argentine did not mince his words after a defeat which left his side reeling in third spot in Group B which just the solitary point after two matches.
The crushing loss for Tottenham came despite Son Heung-min putting the home side in the lead as early as the 12th minute. Pochettino could only watch ruefully from the sidelines as Bayern came back strongly with four goals from Gnabry while Roberto Lewandowski grabbed a brace for himself.
Watch the full reaction from the Tottenham boss after his side’s crushing defeat in the video above.
It was hardly the most aesthetically pleasing of braces, but Emmanuel Dennis’ exploits in 10-man Club Brugge’s outstanding 2-2 Champions League draw at 13-time winners Real Madrid made him the only pick for Tuesday’s Carolina Herrera hero of the day.
The first of the 21-year-old’s bizarre double, via the video-assistant referee, saw him miscontrol a Percy Tau cross past the befuddled goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. For the second, the Nigerian forward stumbled when clean through and chipped the Belgium No1 despite nearly losing his footing.
A second-half fightback from the hosts would then earn a share of the spoils.
Los Blancos were expected to issue a firm retort to last month’s opening Group A-humiliation at Paris Saint-Germain.
Their nightmare start, however, extended into the first half at Santiago Bernabeu. Dennis and Tau ripped them to shreds – earning good fortune.
Madrid – whistled off at the break – required some inspiration and skipper Sergio Ramos, via VAR, headed in on 55 minutes to make it 2-1. Brazil defensive midfielder Casemiro then nodded in on 85 minutes, shortly after Ruud Vormer’s second yellow, to make it 2-2, but Real could not complete the job and remain winless after two games.
On target: 3
Pass accuracy: 57.1 per cent
Dennis smelled blood – and went straight in for the kill.
Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane’s decision to utilise a – suicidal – high defensive line played perfectly into Dennis’ hands. The 21-year-old boasts an unforgiving pace that left Ramos for dust, plus even unsettled France centre-back Raphael Varane.
He was, indeed, almost too quick for his own feet on the way to getting the second.
The second-half shimmy to confuse the retreating Varane almost led to a hat-trick, only for substitute goalkeeper Alphonse Areola’s face to deny him a spot in history.
This was a performance to make Europe’s scouts take notice.
Dennis, to pardon the pun, was an utter menace to ramshackle Madrid. The key now is to offer a consistent attacking threat, moving forwards.
Brugge have switched to a 3-5-2 formation in recent weeks and this could boost Dennis’ goalscoring column. If he does, Brugge may be happy to cash in on another leading talent in the summer.