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5 of the Best: Champions League Gameweek One stars

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The Champions League group stage started with a bang as we saw 43 goals over the first round of the tournament.

It wasn't all happy viewing for English fans as Liverpool were the only side to get off to a winning start, but still failed to give a convincing performance on their return to the elite of Europe.

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Real Madrid thrash FC Basel in Champions League opener
Arsenal lose Champions League opener

Defending champions Real Madrid ended a poor run of form which had seen them lose two of their opening three league matches by easing past FC Basel and scoring five on the way.

 Porto and AS Roma both put in mention worthy performances as Porto put six past BATE Bor and Roma netted five times on their way to victory against CSKA Moscow, although both sides would have expected victory prior to kick-off.

After watching the full round up of Champions League fixtures, I've highlighted five players who stood out and were most influential for their sides on the road to victory.

Yacine Brahimi (Porto)

The 24-year-old scored a hat-trick for his side to fire them to victory as they put six past and underwhelming BATE side in their group H opening fixture.

It took less than five minutes for Porto to take the lead, Brahimi would have been as shocked as anybody when the BATE goalkeepers through him the ball on the edge of the box, but he stayed calm to burst into the box and smash his finish into the roof of the net.

Brahimi impressed for Algeria at the World Cup, earning himself a 6.5 million Euro move from Granada and grabbed his second of the game in highly impressive fashion.

Brahimi, star of the show, picked up the ball inside his own half, accelerated past one challenge before cutting inside and unleashing a venomous strike which cannoned in off the inside of the post.

Brahimi completed his hat-trick in the 57th minute when he earned and then converted a free-kick from the edge of the box.

Gervinho (AS Roma)

The ex-Arsenal man has impressed since his switch to Italy and carried his domestic form into the Champions League as he scored two goals and claimed one assist as his side demolished CSKA Moscow.

Gervinho created the first for Roma sliding a delightful  through ball into the path of Iturbe who had an easy finish in the sixth minute. 

Iturbe re-payed the favour just four minutes later, finding Gervinho in the centre of the penalty area who calmly poked the ball beyond the CSKA keeper to double the home sides lead.

CSKA Moscow's defence was poor throughout the first half and Gervinho took advantage to claim his second of the game as he eased by Ignashevic with a tidy pull-back and found the net with a left-footed effort.

Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)

Madrid were under pressure heading into this fixture but cruised to a 5-1 victory over Basel.

Bale, Ronaldo and Rodriguez all got onto the score sheet while Modric was highly impressive in the midfield, but Bale stood out for me causing a constant threat and producing some fine pieces of play.

A gorgeous outside of the foot pass from Modric sent Bale bearing down on goal and the Welsh superstar calmly lobbed the ball past the onrushing keeper and ran around the other side to tap into an empty net.

Bale turned provider after some smart interplay with Modric allowed the 25-year-old to feed Ronaldo who made no mistake with his finish. 

Throughout the game Bale took every opportunity to exploit space behind opposition defenders and was a constant menace looking a threat with every attack.

Carlos Tevez (Juventus)

Tevez scored both goals as Juventus secured three points in their opening game against Swedish side Malmo FF.

The Argentine international struggled in the first half against a well organised opposition who made this no easy ride for the Italian Champions. 

Tevez opened the scoring in the 59th minute with a coolly placed finish after playing the ball into the penalty area and receiving it back via an excellently timed back heel from Asamoah.

The journeyman forward doubled his tally and his sides lead in the last minute by curling a free-kick from just outside the penalty area past the outstretched arm of the Malmo keeper.

Hulk (Zenit St Petersburg)

Hulk often comes under criticism, and rightly so a lot of the time, but credit where credit is due and Hulk was arguably one of the best players on the pitch on Tuesday night.

The Brazilian forward looked a menace from the moment the game kicked off and it took just five minutes for him to get his name on the score sheet.

Oleg Shatov played Hulk through and as Artur Moraes burst out of the Benfica goal, Hulk superbly dinked the ball over the keeper and into the net to give his side the lead.

Just a minute later Hulk almost doubled his tally and his sides lead when his low driven free-kick was unlucky to come back out of the post.

Zenit doubled their lead in the second half when Hulks goal bound free-kick was blocked and Witsel converted from the resulting corner.

 Despite the 28-year-olds best efforts he couldn't grab his second of the game, Shatov once again sent Hulk through one-on-one with the keeper but his strike across the face of goal came back off the post.

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Football
UEFA Champions League
Gervinho

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