🏆 CL Awards: Super subs, disastrous debuts and Virgil van Who?

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Padraig Whelan

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The Chaaaaaaaampions!

The greatest club competition in the world was back with a bang this midweek with the first matchday of group stage action.

So it is time to hand out our inaugural awards for it.

The Super Sub Award

Real Madrid’s shock loss to Shakhtar in their opener did at least have one slight silver lining for one of their players.

As Vinícius Júnior’s instant impact off the bench saw him break a modern competition record.

The Unstoppable Force Award

After rescuing Inter again in their 2-2 draw at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach, Romelu Lukaku made history of his own.

It means he’s now netted in nine straight European games for the club, extending a record that belongs to … him.

The Hex From the Ex Award

There is something inevitable about a goal when a player comes up against his former side. It’s destiny.

None more so than Lazio star and Europe’s Golden Shoe holder Ciro Immobile, who made no secret of how unhappy he feels about his underwhelming spell at Dortmund.

Receiving the kind of service from his old employers that was lacking back then, he fired the Aquile to an early lead and piled in with an assist too in the 3-1 victory.

The Déjà Vu Award

Marcus Rashford. Performing late heroics in Paris. Earning Manchester United an impressive victory.

Stop us if it sounds familiar. Few seem to enjoy the city of love more than every neutral’s favourite footballer.

The Virgil van Who Award

In Liverpool’s first game without their star defender, replacement Fabinho steered his side to a clean sheet – helped by a superb goal-line clearance.

Who needs the Dutchman after all?

The Flick the Switch Award

Wow. Bayern Munich under Hansi Flick – utterly relentless!

In thrashing Atlético Madrid 4-0, they extended their Champions League unbeaten run to 12 games.

The First Time For Everything Award

It took 63 games. But Chelsea finally played a game without goals under Frank Lampard! That’s 2020, folks.

The Wait Is Over Award

Sergio Agüero, admittedly not aided by injury, was going through the longest goal drought of his career prior to facing Porto.

His equalising penalty not only finally saw him back among the goals but paved the way for a stirring City comeback.

The Picking Up Bad Habits Award

When you think of a Spanish centre-back making rash, foolish decisions leading to a red card, only one man comes to mind.

But it seems Gerard Piqué may be picking up some of international colleague Sergio Ramos’ bad habits.

His frankly ridiculous red card in conceding a penalty was peak Ramos – and completely unnecessary too at 3-0 up.

The Disastrous Debut Award

Sorry, Midtjylland. It doesn’t get any easier from here, either.

The Some Things Never Change Award

It is 2020.

And Álvaro Morata is still banging in goals and turning in man of the match performances for Juventus in this competition.

The Sunday League Meets Champions League Award

Club Brugge beat Zenit 2-1 away on Tuesday for a very impressive win but their goals were of massively varying quality.

The last minute winner was a superb passing team move, while the first was a product of defending you wouldn’t see on the worst Sunday league pitches.

More In Bruges than From Russia With Love, sadly.