BATE, Mata, Gaitán get busy: best of matchday two

Nicolás Gaitán helped Benfica break new ground, BATE Borisov ended a 364-day wait, Juan Mata and Robert Lewandowski starred and Cristiano Ronaldo did the usual: our review of the week.

Player: Nicolás Gaitán (Benfica)
The teams on six points after two games are Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus, Bayern München, Zenit and Benfica, whose hopes of ending a run of three group stage exits are improved having started with a pair of wins rather than the couple of defeats they recorded 12 months ago. Indeed, it is the first time in their 11 group campaigns that Benfica have maximum points at this stage, and that is in no small part thanks to Argentinian international Gaitán.

A scorer in the 2-0 matchday one victory over Astana, Gaitán inspired the 2-1 comeback triumph at Group C rivals Atlético Madrid on Wednesday. He struck an impressive first-half equaliser then led the counterattack from which teenager Gonçalo Guedes got Benfica's winner. "We came to a ground that Atlético have turned into a fortress in recent years, but we know what we have and what we can and cannot do," said the 27-year-old midfielder.

Showreed: Nicolás Gaitán v Atlético
Showreed: Nicolás Gaitán v Atlético

Team: BATE Borisov
It seemed a long time since BATE last won a group game in this competition, a 2-1 success over Athletic Club on 30 September 2014. The Belarusian title holders had lost five matches since, scoring one and conceding 21 – and had also endured a struggle through qualifying. But 364 days on from their Athletic scalp they did it again, overcoming Roma 3-2 in Group E on Tuesday though they had to cling on having led by three on the half-hour.

Coach Aleksandr Yermakovich admitted: "Today our plan worked but I can't say it'll be the same tomorrow." Since their next two matches are against Barcelona, his caution is understandable, though by then a tenth straight national championship should be in the bag.

Assist: Juan Mata (Manchester United)
Goal of the Week is up to you, but no doubt about the assist. Watch and marvel, not least at the sheer casualness of Mata's flick ...

Debuts: Bilal Kisa/Astana
Kazakhstan became the 32nd different country to host a UEFA Champions League game on Wednesday and it was a cracker. Astana fell behind against Galatasaray on 31 minutes to a Bilal Kisa thunderbolt – not a bad way of marking your UEFA club competition debut at the age of 32.

With 13 minutes remaining of the Group C contest, Junior Kabananga's cross for Astana was knocked into his own net by Hakan Balta, but defeat still loomed for the home side when their goalkeeper Nenad Erić turned in Sinan Gümüs's effort. Yet amazingly, in the 89th minute there was a third own goal, this one by Lionel Carole, for a point that was celebrated long and hard by Astana. Visiting coach Hamza Hamzaoğlu conceded: "The fans' support was great, the atmosphere wonderful."

Number: 15
In the 90th minute away to Borussia Mönchengladbach on Wednesday, Sergio Agüero was brought down for a penalty which he converted for his 15th goal in his last 15 UEFA Champions League starts for Manchester City, clinching a 2-1 win that revived their Group D campaign. It was the tenth penalty conceded this term by Mönchengladbach, who themselves had a first-half spot kick saved by Joe Hart.

Quote: "It doesn't matter how many I score – I always want to get more"
Robert Lewandowski was not satisfied despite his hat-trick in Bayern München's 5-0 Group F thrashing of Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday taking him to ten goals in a week. Remarkably he had never got three in a match for Bayern until his five in nine minutes against Wolfsburg seven days earlier.

Lewandowski's highlights against Dinamo
Lewandowski's highlights against Dinamo


Record update: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
On matchday one, Ronaldo's treble against Shakhtar Donetsk made him the first player to hit 80 UEFA Champions League goals, and he also set a new record of scoring 11 penalties in the competition. This week he managed a mere two strikes in Madrid's 2-0 Group A triumph at Malmö, the first taking him to 500 career goals and the second moving him level with Raúl González as the club's all-time top marksman. Ronaldo also now leads the injured Lionel Messi 82-77 on UEFA Champions League goals, and 85-80 in UEFA club competition.

Photo: CSKA Moskva v PSV Eindhoven
Ahmed Musa and Santiago Arias show off their party trick in CSKA's 3-2 win ...

©AFP/Getty Images

 

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