Argentinos Abroad: Di María punishes Real Madrid, Tagliafico in the goals, Messi returns & a full Champions League round-up

They say a player shouldn’t celebrate against a former club, well Ángel Di María obviously didn’t get the memo as his two goals gave Paris Saint-Germain a superb win over Real Madrid to begin the Champions League group stage.

So often a figure of frustration in an Argentina shirt, Di María has been in terrific form for PSG for a while now and on his 100th appearance in the competition, El Fideo was too much to handle for his former employers.

Man of the match in the final when Real Madrid lifted their 10th European Cup in 2014, Di María was back to his best on Wednesday, opening the scoring to beat Thibaut Courtois at his near post after quarter of an hour.

And doubling the lead with a wonderful finish into the bottom corner from 20 yards out.

Mauro Icardi also made a promising Champions League debut for PSG despite not getting on the scoresheet and it was left to Thomas Meunier to wrap up the 3-0 win.

In Group F, Lionel Messi returned from injury in Barcelona’s goalless draw with Borussia Dortmund.

The Argentina captain replaced 16-year-old Ansu Fati on the hour mark but couldn’t help Barça break the deadlock in Germany. After weeks out with a calf injury, Barcelona will be hoping to have Messi back up to full speed as quickly as possible.

In Messi’s absence for Argentina, Lautaro Martínez has flourished but after the striker’s hat-trick against Mexico recently,  Martínez was unable to give Inter Milan victory over Slavia Prague in the same group.

Inter had to settle for a 1-1 draw with the Czech club and it’s Messi’. Barcelona next up in Group F for the Nerazzurri.

Nicolás Tagliafico continued his fine form with a goal and an assist in Ajax’s Group H win over Lille.

Two goals at the weekend in domestic competition, Tagliafico carried that into the Champions League with a thumping header to wrap up a comfortable win for Ajax.

Ajax sit top of the group on goal difference after Valencia put their troubles to one side to beat Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge. Ezequiel Garay played the full 90 minutes for the visitors but was grateful to Ross Barkley’s late missed penalty to keep the vital clean sheet.

The game of the opening week took place at the Wanda Metropolitano where Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid came back from two-down to draw with Juventus.

Gonzalo Higuaín started up front for Juve and played a part in Juan Cuadrado’s stunning opening goal, spreading the ball out wide for the Colombian to cut in onto his left foot and find the top corner. Paulo Dybala replaced Higuaín ten minutes from time but could do nothing to prevent Atleti snatching a late point.

The draw in Madrid means Lokomotiv Moscow take an early lead in Group D after a 2-1 victory away to Bayer Leverkusen – Lucas Alario was a second half substitute for the Germans.

In Group B, Mauricio Pochettino was left frustrated by Tottenham Hotspur’s inability to hold on to a two-goal lead against Olympiacos in Greece. Erik Lamela replaced goalscorer Lucas Moura in the 75th minute but neither side could find a winner.

And in the other Group B game, Bayern Munich kicked off with a 3-0 win over Red Star Belgrade – 23-year-old Mateo García starting in the midfield for the Serbian giants.

Manchester City made an equally comfortable start to their campaign against Shakhtar Donetsk. Sergio Agüero was an unused substitute as Pep Guardiola’s side won 3-0 and Nicolás Otamendi, who will play an important role in the coming weeks for City due to defensive injuries, played the full 90 minutes in Ukraine.

Atalanta face Shakhtar next in Group C and will likely need a positive result after their Champions League debut ended in a 4-0 loss to Dinamo Zagreb – certainly not the start that Papu Gómez was looking for.

And finally in Group G, Sebastián Driussi started in Zenit St. Petersburg’s draw with Lyon while Franco Cervi couldn’t prevent Benfica slipping to defeat against RB Leipzig.


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