Young guns continue to torment
Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland took their high-flying scoring acts into Europe as the Champions League returned, while last season’s standout star Karim Benzema limped off after less than 30 minutes. Mbappe and Haaland both netted two goals as their respective clubs Paris Saint Germain and Manchester City began their European campaigns with victories, underlining just why those two teams are again among the favorites for the title.
Real Madrid’s chances of defending their crown probably depend largely on having a fully fit Benzema, but the France forward had to come off with an apparent knee injury, against Celtic. Benzema was in a league of his own last season, netting 15 goals in 12 games to lead Madrid to the title.
But Mbappe and Haaland look ready to challenge the Frenchman for the status of Europe’s topstriker as they try to lead their clubs to an elusive first Champions League title. The 23-year-old Mbappe scored his double in the first 22minutes of a 2-1 home win over Juventus to become the youngest player to reach 35 goals in the competition — beating the mark held by teammate Lionel Messi. The 22-year-old Haaland has 25 goals in 20 Champions League games — also a record — after scoring once in each half of Man City’s 4-0 win at Sevilla.