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Saturday 13 February 2016
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Oscar's night at Chelsea; Barca win

LONDON: Sept 21, 2012 Reuters

Man United start with unconvincing victory

little wonder: Lionel Messi (left) celebrates his second goal with David Villa. AFP

Chelsea found a new Champions League hero as Brazilian Oscar scored twice for the holders in a 2-2 draw against Juventus and Barcelona had yet another command performance from Lionel Messi to thank for a 3-2 win over Spartak Moscow on Wednesday.

Bayern Munich banished some demons in their first European fixture since their bitter final defeat by Chelsea in May with victory over Valencia and Manchester United, with plenty to prove after last season’s woes, also began with three points.

Oscar’s first taste of Champions League football since joining from Internacional will linger long after he fired the London club into a 2-0 lead, the second of his goals a rare gem, but Juventus ruined his script, hitting back to earn a point in the Group E opener through Arturo Vidal and Fabio Quagliarella.

Barcelona were heading for their first Champions League defeat at the Nou Camp for 17 matches when a Dani Alves own goal and Romulo’s 59th-minute effort put Spartak 2-1 ahead in the Group G game but Messi restored order with his 52nd and 53rd goals in the competition.

Manchester United began Group H with an unconvincing 1-0 victory over Galatasaray but the home jitters that cost them a place in knockout round last season were evident again as their Turkish opponents were denied by the woodwork three times.
The hosts failed to build on Michael Carrick’s early goal and Nani’s 53rd-minute penalty miss added to the nerves.


Nordin Amrabat and Hamit Altintop hit the woodwork for the Istanbul club before halftime while Selcuk Inan shaved the post for the visitors after the break.
Bayern enjoyed a 2-1 victory over visiting Valencia in Group F with Bastian Schweinsteiger, who missed a vital kick in the penalty shootout defeat by Chelsea in May, and Toni Kroos on target for the Bundesliga club.

Two of the Champions League’s makeweights, BATE Borisov and CFR Cluj, enjoyed encouraging starts.

BATE, the champions of Belarus, earned a first ever group stage win when they beat French side Lille 3-1 away in Group F.

Romanians Cluj impressed in a 2-0 victory at Portuguese side Braga with Rafael Bastos returning to score twice before halftime against his former club.

Scottish side Celtic drew 0-0 at home to Benfica on their return to the group phase for the first time since 2008. Danish newcomers Nordsjaelland got a taste of the challenges to come when they were beaten 2-0 by Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk.
At Stamford Bridge, Oscar grabbed centre stage.

†The Brazilian’s deflected shot beat Gianluigi Buffon after 31 minutes and while there was an element of luck about that effort, his second two minutes later was a moment of magic.

Turning sharply into space on the edge of the area, he curled an audacious shot into Buffon’s top corner.

Juventus showed their resilience and returned with a deserved share of the spoils.
Vidal’s low shot halved the deficit after 38 minutes and Claudio Marchisio’s precise pass allowed Quagliarella to slip a shot under Petr Cech with 10 minutes remaining.


Ronaldo strikes for Real

On Tuesday, Real Madrid fashioned a stunning comeback to beat Manchester City 3-2 in a classic match with a last-gasp Cristiano Ronaldo strike in their Group D opener.

There were also wins for Paris St Germain, who beat Dynamo Kiev 4-1 on their return to the competition after eight years, newcomers Malaga, who beat Zenit St Petersburg 3-0 and former Champions League holders Porto who won 2-0 at Dinamo Zagreb.

In a clash of ex-European title winners Borussia Dortmund beat Ajax Amsterdam 1-0 while seven-time European champions AC Milan were booed off after a 0-0 home draw against Anderlecht.

Arsenal rode their luck to beat French champions Montpellier 2-1 away after conceding an early penalty. But the outstanding game of the night was in Madrid where all five goals at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium came in the final 22 minutes with City taking a 1-0 lead through Edin Dzeko before Marcelo equalised six minutes later.

Aleksandar Kolarov put City back in front with a free-kick after 85 minutes which looked like the winner before Karim Benzema equalised in the 87th and Ronaldo, the ex-Manchester United forward, struck in the 90th to bury the visitors. Real are aiming to become European champions for the 10th time at Wembley Stadium next May.


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