Five things we learned from an action packed last night in UCL

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The second round of Champions League group games commenced on Tuesday evening with a full slate of fixtures, reports.

Here is what we made of a night of action across Europe.

Union Berlin still down on their luck

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Union Berlin are already proving to be a breath of fresh air in this season’s Champions League.

The Bundesliga upstarts’ opening two games have been entertaining and close-run affairs punctuated by stoppage-time winners.

But the fates continue to conspire against Urs Fischer’s side during their maiden adventure among the European elite.

Sucker-punched by Real Madrid on their UCL debut, Union appeared set to finally get off the mark in Tuesday’s home bow against Braga.

Two goals in seven first-half minutes from captain Sheraldo Becker had Die Eisernen dreaming of racking up a landmark victory.

That hope disappeared when Braga halved their deficit inside four minutes before completing their turnaround in the fourth minute of added time.

Football really can be cruel sometimes.

Man Utd far away from UCL winner material

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Raphaël Varane prefaced Manchester United’s clash with Galatasaray by forecasting his side as this season’s potential Champions League winners.

Staying in the competition beyond the end of 2023 threatens to become a greater challenge after Erik ten Hag’s side slipped to back-to-back defeats.

For all the brilliance of Rasmus Højlund’s brace, it was defensive mishaps which continue to underpin the Red Devils’ latest dismal campaign.

André Onana’s hapless clearance culminated in Casemiro’s dismissal that shifted the balance of power firmly in Galatasaray’s favour late on.

Deploying loan signing Sofyan Amrabat as an auxiliary full-back also proved a recipe for disaster as it gifted the Süper Lig outfit a previously unlikely foothold.

Winless and hopeless in equal measure, Ten Hag faces an uphill task securing United’s progress from Group A on current evidence.

Bellingham is truly in a class of his own

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Jude Bellingham is inevitable.

Real Madrid’s new golden boy continues to shine after producing the goods once more in his side’s pulsating 3-2 win over Napoli.

A smart assist and a strike in his own right took Bellingham’s tally to an impressive eight goals and three assists from his opening nine games.

More experienced players have been cowed by the white-hot intensity of the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on a Champions League night.

Bellingham came through his Neapolitan baptism of fire largely untroubled aside from a rare outburst that earned him a needless booking.

In this sparkling early form, Los Blancos already appear as a potential shoo-in for one of the spots at this season’s Wembley showpiece.

Kane’s Bayern streak grinds to a halt

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One generational English talent may be soaring but Harry Kane’s blistering start at Bayern Munich ground to an incredible halt.

After racking up nine strikes in seven outings, he was found wanting as Thomas Tuchel’s side eventually sealed a comeback win over Copenhagen.

Kane did not simply fail to play a part in the turnaround, with Jamal Musiala and Mathys Tel netting the decisive goals, he barely had a sniff.

Zero shots in either half was compounded by the 30-year-old having just six touches of the ball during the opening 45 minutes and 22 in total.

A temporary blip, undoubtedly, but Kane will rue the fact that he failed to have any meaningful impact on Bayern’s attacking fortunes.

Arsenal debate reignited by costly Raya mistake

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Just when the great Arsenal goalkeeper debate appeared a foregone conclusion, David Raya blew it wide open again.

The Brentford loanee had usurped Aaron Ramsdale as Mikel Arteta’s number-one through his supreme confidence to build out from the back.

That, however, proved to be the Gunners’ undoing as they surrendered an early lead against Lens which all started with their new stopper.

Raya’s attempt to hook an out-swinging ball to Takehiro Tomiyasu was gleefully seized upon by Deiver Machado in a move which culminated in the hosts levelling.

On a Champions League night where unforced errors became plentiful in supply, the Spaniard’s botched move is likely to slip largely under the radar.

Make no mistake, though, the clamour for Ramsdale’s potential return will start to intensify in the red half of North London.

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