For one thrilling moment on Tuesday, Real Madrid saw all its struggles and early-season troubles disappear. Cristiano Ronaldo, he if the recent sad disposition and semi-permanent frown, delivered a crucial game-winning goal to cap a thrilling UEFA Champions League opener against Manchester City in a match that ended with a barrage of goals.
The English champions looked like they might pull off an upset at the Bernabeu when the took leads on two separate occasions, but Real Madrid responded to goals by Edin Dzeko and Alexandre Kolarov with quick equalizers before Ronaldo grabbed the hero role for himself. His dipping 90th-minute strike fooled Joe Hart and gave Real Madrid a 3-2 victory.
Marcelo and Karim Benzema provided the first and second Real Madrid goals to erase City leads on two occasions in a match Real Madrid had dominated. Hart made a plethora of clutch first-half saves, but could not keep out Ronaldo's late winner.
The victory helps kick off Real Madrid group stage campaign in a brutal group that also includes German champion Borussia Dortmund and Dutch champion Ajax. Dortmund also delivered some late-game magic as well, riding an 87th-minute winner from Robert Lewandowski to earn a 1-0 victory over Ajax.
Arsenal continued their impressive start to the season, shaking off an early Montpellier goal to register a 2-1 road victory in France. Goals from Lukas Podolski and Gervinho helped offset an early penalty from Younes Belhande.
Tuesday's opening group stage match day was a good one for Americans in the Champions League. Both Sacha Kljestan and Jermaine Jones played 90 minutes in impressive results, with Kljestan's Anderlecht tying AC Milan, 0-0, in Italy, while Jones and Schalke 04 posted a 2-1 victory against Olympiakos in Greece.
Here is a rundown of all of Tuesday's UEFA Champions League action:
AC MILAN 0, ANDERLECHT 0
Milan overcame a slow start to take control of their group stage home opener, but could not find a winner against the Belgian champions, and settled for a draw at the San Siro.
BORUSSIA DORTMUND 1, AJAX 0
Robert Lewandowski buried a winner just three minutes before the final whistle to help offset a missed Mats Hummels penalty kick and give the German champions a vital three points in Group D.
DINAMO ZAGREB 0, FC PORTO 2
Portuguese champions Porto didn't look like a team missing Brazilian star Hulk, as goals in each half helped them cruise to a road win in their group stage opener. Lucho Gonzalez and Steven DeFour provided the goals.
MALAGA 3, ZENIT ST. PETERSBURG 0
Spanish striker Isco was the star of the show for Malaga, scoring two goals as Oguchi Onyewu's new club put a thumping on the big-spending Russians, who couldn't find the net despite fielding newl-acquired striker Hulk in their lineup.
MONTPELLIER 1, ARSENAL 2
Olivier Giroud faced his former club and helped send his new team to victory, assisting on a Podolski equalizer before Gervinho delivered a game-winning goal just two minutes later.
OLYMPIAKOS 1, SCHALKE 04 2
The Germans snatched all three points in this group opener in Greece, while Jermaine Jones played all 90 minutes for Schalke. Benedikt Hoewedes and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar delivered the goals for Schalke.
PARIS ST. GERMAIN 4, DINAMO KIEV 1
Big-money signings Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva both scored goals to lead PSG to a romp against the visiting Ukrainian side.
What did you think of Tuesday's actions? Was the end of the Madrid-City match the best game you've seen in a long time? Surprised to see Malaga roll? Starting to take Arsenal seriously as a force this season?
Share your thoughts below.