The UEFA Champions League kick started in typical fashion with 9 time champions Real Madrid, Chelsea and Bayern Munich notching up important wins while 5 time champions AC Milan and defending champions Barcelona played out the match of the week with a nail biting 2-2 draw. Arsenal and the two Manchester clubs were involved in 1-1 draws but the surprise result of the night was Inter’s shocking loss to Trabzonspor.
The biggest and most attractive match on Tuesday was AC Milan’s visit to Camp Nou in a Group H encounter. Puyol, along with Pique missed the match due to injury and Guardiola was forced to play with midfielders Busquets and Mascherano in defence. The duo’s lack of experience at the back was exposed immediately as Alexander Pato struck inside 25 seconds, the fifth fastest in Champions League history, to give Milan the lead. But Barca, being the champions that they are, rallied back with two goals on either side of the half by Pedro and David Villa. Barcelona looked all set for the three points only to be denied by a stoppage time goal by Thiago as the scoreline ended 2-2.
The other attraction on Matchday 1 was the return of Michael Ballack to Stamford Bridge as Chelsea squared off against Bayern Leverkusen. Chelsea made an attacking start with Meireles and Torres both scoring inside four minutes only to be denied by the offside flag and Bayern’s spirited display meant that Chelsea had to wait until 67 minutes before they got the ball in the back of the net again. Juan Mata completed the scoring in stoppage time to cap off a wonderful debut in Europe in the blue jersey. Arsenal was all set to make it two victories for English clubs against the Germans after Van Persie’s goal just before half time had given them the lead over Dortmund. But a superb volley in the 88th minute by Ivan Perisic ensured that both teams finished on level pegging. This result implied that Marseille went to the top of Group F after they clinched a 2-1 victory at Olympiakos.
A new look Manchester United squad would be satisfied after coming back from behind to draw 1-1 against Benefica which also goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard make his European debut for the Red Devils. Alex Cardozo had given the home side the lead in the 24th minute before an exquisite goal from Ryan Giggs helped United fetch a point. Former champions Real Madrid were made to work hard as Angel Di Maria’s strike ensured that Madrid left Croatia with three points despite the sending off of Marcelo. Bayern Munich got off to a fantastic start in the league with a 2-0 victory over Spanish club Villareal but 2010 champions Inter Milan suffered a shock 1-0 defeat at home against unfanciedTrabzonspor. Alexander Kolarov’sfreekick ensured that Manchester City took a point from their Champions League debut.
In other matches, Lyon and Ajax played out a goalless draw at Amsterdam while CSKA Moscow came back from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw against French side Lille.
Manchester City 1 – 1 Napoli
Villareal 0 – 2 Bayern Munich
Lille 2 – 2 CSKA Moscow
Inter 0 – 1 Trabzonspor
Basel 2 – 1 Oţelul Galati
Benefica 1 – 1 Manchester United
Dinamo Zagreb 0 – 1 Real Madrid
Ajax 0 – 0 Lyon
Chelsea 2 – 0 Bayern Leverkusen
Racing Genk 0 – 0 Valencia
Olympiakos 0 – 1 Marseille
Dortmund 1 – 1 Arsenal
Porto 2 – 1 Shahktar Donetsk
APOEL 2 – 1 Zenit
Barcelona 2 -2 AC Milan
Plzen 1 – 1 Bate