Goal of the night - 18th Sep
Watch the videos, check out the Opta analysis and vote for your favourite goal
By Alex Dunn - Follow me on Twitter @skysportsaldunn
Last Updated: 20/09/13 3:25pm
The opening round of UEFA Champions League matches concluded on Wednesday night and the greatest club competition in the world produced some more brilliant football. Sky Sports has rounded up three of the best goals and you can watch the videos, check out the Opta analysis and vote for your favourite.
GOAL A: Lionel MESSI, BARCELONA v Ajax
What is there left to say about Lionel Messi? On Wednesday evening at Camp Nou his virtuoso display almost single-handedly decided the first ever proper meeting between European titans Barcelona and Ajax. In truth, for all their shared history, this was like chucking a flyweight in with a heavyweight. Had Ajax's corner shown any mercy they would have thrown in the towel in the 21st minute. Following a now trademark rhythmic hand clapping from an expectant home crowd, Messi lit up the evening with a sumptuous curling free-kick that went in off the post and set Barcelona on their way to a 4-0 victory. It was perhaps best summed by Sky Sports' Gerry Armstrong on co-commentary duty: 'absolute pure genius.' The Argentine now has 62 Champions League goals in 80 appearances and is just nine shy of record holder Raul, who scored his 71 goals in 142 games.
GOAL B: HULK, Atletico Madrid v ZENIT ST PETERSBURG
They say the best strikers tend to be a tad selfish so we suspect Hulk may just have woken up with a half-smile despite his goal at Vicente Calderón proving to be no more than a consolation for Zenit St Petersburg. Atletico Madrid were worthy 3-1 victors on the night but the goal of the game belonged to the Brazilian blessed with a jackhammer of a left foot. Never more so was it in evidence than in the 58th minute when he briefly restored parity for Zenit. Intricate and patient Zenit possession in their own half drew Atletico in before they broke with alacrity. When Cristian Ansladi laid the ball off into his feet there was still plenty to do, but having worked it onto his left foot from outside the area Hulk gave Thibaut Courtois not a prayer with a searing rising drive that beat him at his near post.
GOAL C: MOHAMED SALAH, Chelsea v BASEL
While there is plenty to debate with regards the best goal of the night, few would dispute who achieved the finest result. Basel arrived at Stamford Bridge in the knowledge Chelsea had last been beaten at home in the group stages of the Champions League by Besiktas back in October 2003. Oscar's opener had looked set to exorcise the demons of the last game Jose Mourinho had overseen in this competition as Chelsea boss - a 1-1 draw with Rosenborg that proved to be his final act in his first spell - but profligacy returned to haunt them as Mohamed Salah's second-half leveller was followed by Marco Streller's shock winner eight minutes from time. The exciting Egyptian winger was already known to Chelsea after scoring in last season's Europa League semi-final between the two clubs, but Mourinho's men failed to heed the warning when after a smart move the ball was swept to the right, leaving Salah to expertly guide an angled daisy-cutter beyond the despairing dive of Petr Cech. As Ashley Cole will testify, Salah is very much one to keep an eye on.
Which do you think was the best goal? Have we picked the correct three? Have your say and vote in our poll at the bottom of this page