Manchester United celebrated their return to the Champions League in emphatic fashion, while Lionel Messi weaved his magic for Barcelona in the opening round of group-stage matches.
Marouane Fellaini opened United’s scoresheet in the 35th minute against Swiss club Basel, before Romelo Lukaku added a goal just after halftime, and Marcus Rashford completed the 3-0 rout in the 84th.
Barcelona also spanked Juventus 3-0 with a mesmeric Messi scoring twice, either side of an Ivan Rakitic effort. That moved Messi on to 99 UEFA club competition goals as the Spaniards extracted some revenge for last season’s quarter-final elimination by the Italian giants.
Juventus were missing five key players including defensive warrior Giorgio Chiellini.
“Tonight (Messi) did score (against goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon) because we left him too much space,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said.
“(Messi) plays perfectly well in tight spaces, but today he had more space, and I would even say that we made it easier for him, leaving him so open.”
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde admitted he took great delight in finally being able to unleash Messi on opposing teams rather than being on the receiving end.
“You always think when he gets the ball that only good things can happen for the team,” Valverde said.
“I suffered a lot when I had to face him and now I’m enjoying him. He was heavily involved in everything.”
Fellow Spaniards Atletico Madrid were held to a scoreless draw by Roma in their Group C opener but Chelsea were emphatic.
The English champions put six past Azerbaijan entrant Qarabag in a display that showed the new boys just how far out of their depth they were.
It was 2-0 at halftime but a second-half brace to Michy Batshuayi helped to embarrass Qarabag.
The London side weren’t the only team to record a rout.
French giants Paris St Germain put five past a poor Celtic side in Glasgow.
In a first-half incident, a fan invaded the pitch and tried to kick PSG striker Kylian Mbappe after the visitors made it 3-0.
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers then injected Socceroos star Tom Rogic into action in the second half but it meant little as Mikael Lustig made it 4-0 late before a second from Edison Cavani rout.
Bayern Munich also collected a win in Group B, defeating Anderlecht 3-0, with Robert Lewandowski scoring his first goal in the competition from the penalty spot.
CSKA Moscow beat Benfica 2-1 in Group A action and Portuguese club Sporting CP downed Greek champs Olympiacos 3-2 in Group D.