In a season of incredible stories for American players in Europe, Ethan Horvath raised his hand to share one worthy of retelling.
Making his first start of the season after Club Brugge starter Simon Mignolet tested positive for COVID-19, the 25-year-old had a big and busy day aganst Zenit Saint-Petersburg on the first day of the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League group stage.
Horvath was one of five Americans to take the UCL pitches around Europe on Tuesday, as Christian Pulisic started for Chelsea and Sergino Dest for Barcelona while there were substitute runs for Giovanni Reyna (Borussia Dortmund) and Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig).
All that plus positive starts for Chelsea and Manchester United, below.
Chelsea 0-0 Sevilla
Moroccan national team goalkeeper Yassine Bounou frustrated another Premier League power mere months after shutting the down on Manchester United’s Europa League hopes.
Fortunately for Chelsea, Edouard Mendy was ready when called-upon as the Blues looked a lot more dangerous once Mason Mount was withdrawn and Christian Pulisic was moved to his preferred left wing.
Still, it finished 0-0 and both teams will be fine with that.
Rennes 1-1 Krasnodar
The French hosts and their Russian visitors will have targeted at least four points from each other, and got partway there on Tuesday.
Sehrou Guirassy’s 56th-minute penalty was Stade Rennais’ first in the UCL group stage but was answered by a Cristian Ramirez beauty within three minute.
😳😳😳 QUE GOLAZO!
— Champions League on CBS Sports (@UCLonCBSSports) October 20, 2020
Lazio 3-1 Borussia Dortmund
Ciro Immobile had a goal and assisted a Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro marker as Lazio rung up a big opening day win over Borussia Dortmund
USMNT teen Giovanni Reyna came off the bench to assist an Erling Haaland goal for the visitors, but that was about all Dortmund will like from a rough loss in Rome that included a Marwin Hitz own goal.
Zenit Saint-Petersburg 1-2 Club Brugge
American goalkeeper Ethan Horvath went on the score sheet for a truly unlucky own goal when a vicious Dejan Lovren (?!?) shot from distance clattered the goal post and then hit his back en route to the goal.
But Horvath made a fine save, one of three on the night, moments before Charles de Ketelaere won the match in stoppage time, collapsing to the turf in an emotional response to a good performance after falling behind Simon Mignolet on the depth chart when the Belgian made a surprise return home in 2019.
It's about how you bounce back. 😤
— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) October 20, 2020
Dynamo Kiev 0-2 Juventus
Alvaro Morata scored one of his two goals just after halftime to open the scoring in Ukraine, Juventus working well to win its opening match of the group stage.
Barcelona 5-1 Ferencvaros
The Hungarian visitors to the Camp Nou quickly learned the challenge in front of them as 10-man Barca scored some magnificent goals to start life in Group G.
Lionel Messi, Ousmane Dembele, and Ansu Fati each had a goal and an assist, Pedri and Philippe Coutinho also scored, and American youngster Sergino Dest went 90 minutes at left back for Barca.
The Blaugranas opened up a 3-0 lead before Gerard Pique was given a red card for a 68th minute last-man back foul in the box, and Ferencvaros converted its penalty to pull one back.
Lionel Messi won and converted a penalty to open the scoring, and Fati cut home a beautiful Frenkie de Jong pass to make it 2-0.
Fati wasn’t done, look at this bit of fancy footwork from the teen to set up Philippe Coutinho for a fantastic team goal just after halftime.
¡Goooooooooool del Barcelona! ⚽🔥
— TUDN USA (@TUDNUSA) October 20, 2020
Paris Saint-Germain 1-2 Manchester United
Anthony Martial won a controversial penalty but scored an own goal to leave the match level deep into the 90 minutes, where super sub Paul Pogba found Marcus Rashford and the striker did the rest to supply an outstanding winning goal and result at the Parc des Princes.
RB Leipzig 2-0 Istanbul Basaksehir
Angelino scored a first-half brace in five minutes, as Christopher Nkunku and Kevin Kampl picked up assists in an easy-enough opening win for Julian Nagelsmann’s Leipzig.
American midfielder Tyler Adams came on for the final 32 minutes, entering for Kampl and registering one key pass in helping shepherd the three points into the home team’s camp.