Champions League: Paul Pogba excels in bright start for Manchester United – but rivals Manchester City fall in home opener

Young Boys' Kevin Mbabu, left, fights for the ball against Manchester United's Paul Pogba. Picture: Anthony Anex/Keystone/AP
Young Boys' Kevin Mbabu, left, fights for the ball against Manchester United's Paul Pogba. Picture: Anthony Anex/Keystone/AP
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Paul Pogba inspired Manchester United to a winning start to their Champions League campaign as Jose Mourinho’s men overcame Young Boys and their potentially problematic plastic pitch.

With tough assignments against Valencia and Juventus to come, United knew just how important it would be to get three points in their Group H opener on the Stade de Suisse’s synthetic surface.

United were not at their best in Bern but emerged victorious from this tricky encounter, with Pogba following his classy opener with a superb spot-kick and assist for Anthony Martial in the 3-0 win.

It was a comprehensive, if not always convincing, start to their Champions League campaign – and all the more satisfying as Mourinho’s players appeared to avoid injury on the Swiss champions’ controversial surface.

Mourinho, who had refused to get drawn into complaining about the artificial surface before the match, added: “Job done. Not phenomenal (the performance) but good enough.

“Now I can say, because the game is over, I don’t understand how you can play the best club competition on an artificial pitch.”

On Pogba, he added: “A good performance. I thought he tired in the last part which is why I took him off.

“Solid, class, he gave the team the pace we needed at times and kept possession to control the tempo.”

Pep Guardiola could only watch as Manchester City slipped to a surprise 2-1 defeat in their opener at home to Lyon.

The City boss was sat in the stands at the Etihad Stadium due to a touchline ban and his side lacked their usual dynamism as they gifted first-half goals to Maxwel Cornet and Nabil Fekir.

Bernardo Silva pulled one back as City rallied after the break but they could not force an equaliser in an underwhelming start to their Group F campaign.

City had been installed as competition favourites but, under the temporary charge of assistant boss Mikel Arteta, they looked anything but as Lyon punished their early mistakes.

It must have made uncomfortable viewing for Guardiola as he sat in a private box with his family, knowing he could do nothing to alter the course of the game.

Arteta insists City must now turn their attention to picking up points on the road.

“I think we played two different halves,” he said. “In the first half we struggled to control the game. We conceded many counter-attacks, many duels and at this level you get punished.

“The second half was completely different. We completely dominated the game. We played in the opposition half and we created chances to get back into the game. On another day we could have come back into the game.”

Elsewhere, Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off on his first Champions League appearance for Juventus as a couple of penalties from Miralem Pjanic gave the Italians a 2-0 win in Valencia.

Ronaldo, the competition’s all-time leading scorer with 120 goals, was dismissed after just 28 minutes following an off-the-ball incident.

The forward appeared to put his hand on the head of Valencia defender Jeison Murillo, who fell to the ground. Referee Felix Brych gave Ronaldo a straight red card after discussing the incident with his assistant behind the goal.

The Portuguese star looked baffled and kept protesting his innocence.

It was his first red card in 154 Champions League games and he may miss a return to Old Trafford when Juventus play his former club Manchester United next month.