Week 3 in the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League Group Stage had a lot of action between Tuesday and Wednesday. Unlike past matchweeks, this time it was extremely hard to choose only five players that stood above the rest on an individual basis.
But we got the job done. Here are the top five performers during Week 3 of the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League group stage.
Erling Haland – RB Salzburg
The Norwegian striker has taken the world by storm and even though the reigning Austrian Bundesliga champions are not likely to advance into the knockout stages, Haland’s contributions have not gone unnoticed.
Against Napoli, the Norway international scored two goals – a penalty and a close-range header – and had another disallowed due to an offside position. He made history in the process, as no player ever had scored six goals in his first three Champions League matches. But Haland knows a thing or two about setting records, as he scored NINE goals against Honduras during the U20 2019 FIFA World Cup earlier this year.
Dries Mertens – Napoli
Haland could have been the star of the game between RB Salzburg and Napoli. However, Dries Mertens had other plans. The Belgian striker netted two goals during Napoli’s thrilling 3-2 win over the Austrian side, and put Napoli one step closer towards reaching a berth on the knockout stages.
Mertens featured as a centre forward and thrived in this game. His pace unsettled the opposing defenders and his first goal was the best example of that, as he found himself free on the right wing and unleashed a close-range shot that left the keeper helpless. He doubled his tally in the second half with a volley from inside the box after an assist from Kevin Malcuit.
Raheem Sterling – Manchester City
Raheem Sterling always struggled to score goals throughout his career, but that hasn’t been the case this season. The England international got involved directly in four of Manchester City’s five goals during the 5-1 win over Atalanta. He kicked things off setting up the equalizer scored by Sergio Aguero with a perfect cross from the right wing, and later suffered the penalty that led in Aguero’s double and City’s 2-1 lead. But Sterling saved the best for the second half.
The former Liverpool star scored City’s next three goals. The third one with a bomb from close range on a counterattack, the fourth one on a great solo finish after a through ball, and the final one with a close-range tap after a cross from Riyad Mahrez. Sterling now has four goals and two assists in three UCL appearances.
Kylian Mbappe – PSG
Mbappe finished with an identical stat line than Sterline, but there’s a major difference. The Frenchman didn’t start on PSG’s 5-0 win against Club Brugge. Instead, he only needed 37 minutes to deliver three goals and one assist against an overmatched Belgian defence. Mbappe couldn’t have asked for a better Champions League debut.
The former Monaco star opened his account with a close-range header after a rebound, made it two with a close-range finish on a tight angle, and completed his hat-trick with a one-on-one finish after a through ball from Angel Di Maria. As if that wasn’t enough, he also set up Mauro Icardi’s second goal with a cross from the left side. Icardi scored a brace and Angel Di Maria made three assists, but there’s no question Mbappe was an absolute game-changing player.
Heung-Min Son – Tottenham
Last but not least, we have Son. There were several alternatives for this game, though. Erik Lamela participated in three goals (one goal, two assists). Harry Kane netted a brace. However, Son was influential on things you don’t normally see on the stat sheet. He made a huge impact overall throughout the entire contest. The South Korean grabbed two first-half goals that opened the floodgates on Tottenham’s 5-0 win over Red Star Belgrade.
Son scored his first goal with a close-range volley after a cross from Lamela, and doubled his tally with a one-on-one finish after a through ball from Tanguy Ndombele. The Asian winger was a constant threat on the Spurs’ left wing and showed no team in the world can give him an inch. He can create havoc on any opposing defence with absolute ease.
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