UCL 2021/22 began on Tuesday with Young Boys springing a surprise and ended with some thrilling games on Wednesday night. Apart from Ronaldo and Messi making debuts for their new clubs, there were several standout moments. In this article, we will look at the top five moments of UCL 2021/22 match week 1.
#5 Henderson’s half volley (Liverpool vs AC Milan)
Milan and Liverpool, two clubs with rich European history, battled out an absolute thriller at Anfield. TAA’s strike deflected off Tomori and Liverpool took an early lead. Salah saw his penalty saved by Maignan and AC Milan stunned the visitors by scoring two goals in quick succession before halftime.
But a familiar script followed as Liverpool pulled off another comeback against AC Milan. Salah equalized with a good finish, but it was captain Henderson who produced one of the memorable moments of UCL 2021/22 matchweek 1. He executed a perfectly timed half volley from the edge of the box and gave Liverpool three very crucial points.
#4 FC Sheriff’s surprising victory (FC Sheriff vs Shakhtar Donetsk)
Although they play in the Moldovan first division, FC Sheriff’s hometown is quite a unique place. They play their football in Transnistria, a disputed territory near Ukraine. The club was formed only in 1997, and they surprised everybody in the qualifying group with their performances.
But few would have give them a chance at a draw, let alone a win, against UCL regulars Shakhtar Donetsk. But FC Sheriff beat Shakhtar by two goals despite enjoying only 25% possession. UEFA Champions League has it’s share of detractors, but only this competition can produce such underdog moments.
#3 Nkunku’s hat-trick (Manchester City vs Leipzig)
On a day where Leipzig were completely outplayed by the English champions, Nkunku saved his team’s blushes with a brilliant performance. City took the lead with Nathan Ake’s header and a own goal from Mukiele. Nkunku scored a good header in the 42nd minute to give Leipzig some hope.
Soon City retained their two-goal lead but Nkunku scored another header which stopped City from running away with the game. Nkunku completed his hat-trick with a good run and a neat finish from the near post. However, Leipzig conceded six goals and endured a horrendous outing.
#2 Lingard’s costly error (Young Boys vs Manchester United)
After thumping Newcastle United, Manchester United were the odds-on favourite to beat Young Boys away from home. To nobody’s surprise, United took the lead through Cristiano Ronaldo. It was goal number 135 for Ronaldo in UCL and it came after a brilliant low cross from Bruno Fernandes.
However, the game turned on it’s head when AWB lunged into a needless tackle and was sent off. United were forced to sit back, and Young Boys dominated the proceedings. Young Boys equalized in the second half, but the match looked set for a draw. However, Lingard gifted the game to Young Boys with a horrific mistimed pass to De Gea. The loss means United will be in deep trouble unless they win all three of their home games.
#1 Haller scores four (Sporting CP vs Ajax)
Topping the list of memorable moments of UCL 2021/22 matchweek 1 is Haller’s Poker. Sebastien Haller had a tough time in London with West Ham United, but has settled in well at Amsterdam. Ajax’s away trip to Portuguese champions Sporting CP was further proof of Haller’s growth in recent years. His first goal came after a lucky deflection as the ball fell into his path after Antony hit the post.
Soon, an unselfish play from Antony resulted in a simple tap-in for Haller. He completed his hat-trick after another superb pass from Antony. His final goal was a composed finish in front of the goal which saw him join an elite list of players to have scored four goals in a single Champions League game.