Shakhtar Donetsk, the first Ukrainian side to compete in the Champions League since their country was invaded by Russia, secured a memorable victory against German Cup winners RB Leipzig.
Former Celtic winger Marian Shved netted either side of Mohamed Simakan’s strike for 2-1. And the visitors claimed a superb 4-1 win courtesy of further goals from the impressive 21-year-old Mykhaylo Mudryk and ex-Ajax forward Lassina Traore.
In Group F’s other game, champions Real Madrid overcame Celtic 3-1.
But the night belonged to Shakhtar, who are unbeaten since their domestic league resumed last month following Russia’s invasion in February.
The club has been ravaged by war, unable to play at home since 2014 and seeing key players such as David Neres, Dodo and Marlon Solomon all departing this summer.
In July, the club said they were demanding 50m euros (£43m) damages from Fifa for lost transfer fees after football’s world governing body ruled that foreign players in the country could suspend their contracts following Russia’s invasion.
But they have defied all the odds and after their opening Champions League group game have already collected more points (3) and more goals (4) than they earned in the entirety of last season’s group stages when they finished with two points and two goals.
“I could not have imagined in my wildest dreams such a game with four goals for us,” said captain Taras Stepanenko. “But we played well and I feel we deserved that result tonight.
“Yes, it is right I have been with the club for over a decade. This is a new team, but many of these young players are from the Shakhtar academy so they have the Shakhtar spirit and this really helps us a lot.”
One of those youngsters is star forward Mudryk, who was reportedly chased by Premier League side Brentford during the summer, with a move failing to materialise as the £30m asking price was not met.
And he showcased his potential on the biggest stage with a cool finish into the bottom corner, as well as providing two assists.
Winger Shved, who made three appearances for Celtic in the 2019-20 campaign, signed last week for Shakhtar and had a dream Champions League debut with two goals.
Meanwhile, Burkina Faso international Traore spent nine months out of action after suffering a knee injury in this competition last September.
He is the only foreign player remaining at the club from before Russia’s invasion and wrote on Instagram last week it “doesn’t feel right” leaving as he “always felt supported by everyone at Shakhtar” during his rehabilitation.
Traore came off the bench to net his side’s fourth goal and round off an unforgettable night.