Man.City, PSG star strikers net ECL braces

·3-min read

Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland have taken their high-flying scoring acts into the Champions League, bagging doubles as the group stage kicked off, while last season's standout striker Karim Benzema limped off with an injury.

Mbappe and Haaland both netted two goals as their respective clubs Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City began their European campaigns with victories, underlining why they are again among the title favourites.

Real Madrid's chances of defending their crown probably depends largely on a fully fit Benzema, but he departed with an apparent knee injury after 30 minutes against Celtic. Second-half goals from Vinicius Junior, Luka Modric and Eden Hazard still secured a 3-0 win for the Spanish giants in Glasgow.

Benzema was in a league of his own in the competition last season, netting 15 goals in 12 games to lead Madrid to the title. But Mbappe and Haaland look ready to challenge for the status of Europe's top striker as they try to lead their clubs to an elusive first Champions League title.

The 23-year-old Mbappe, who has seven goals in five league games so far, scored his double in the first 22 minutes 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 City's 4-0 win at Sevilla.

The Norway striker, who has 10 goals in six Premier League games this season, has now netted on his Champions League debut for three clubs - Salzburg, Borussia Dortmund and City.

"I think his numbers in all his career - not just here, when he was in previous teams - is quite similar. He has an incredible sense of goal, City manager Pep Guardiola said.

"We have another battle against Tottenham on Saturday and hopefully he can continue scoring goals."

Also in Group G, Marco Reus took his tally to 22 goals in 57 Champions League matches by opening the scoring in Dortmund's 3-0 win over FC Copenhagen, featuring Socceroos goalkeeper Maty Ryan.

Elsewhere, Dinamo Zagreb upset Chelsea 1-0 in Croatia while Serie A champions AC Milan were held to a 1-1 draw by Salzburg in Austria.

Former Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang made his Chelsea debut after his move from Barcelona and had one goal ruled out for offside.

Instead it was Mislav Orsic who continued his scoring streak against English teams, racing away to score on a breakaway in the 13th minute.

If Benzema has to miss significant time for Madrid, Hazard signalled that he may be ready to pick up some of the slack after replacing Benzema and setting up the first two goals before scoring the third himself against Celtic. It was his first Champions League goal in 651 days and first in any competition since January.

"It seems not so serious," Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said about Benzema's injury.

In the other Group F game, Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk beat RB Leipzig 4-1 in Germany while Benfica defeated Maccabi Haifa 2-0 in Portugal in Group H.

With agencies.