Arsenal and Chelsea routed Champions League soccer newcomers, while former winners Real Madrid, AC Milan and Bayern Munich won 2-0 at home in their opening games.
Captain Cesc Fabregas scored twice last night as Arsenal beat Braga 6-0 and London rival Chelsea won 4-1 at Zilina. Cluj, Shakhtar Donetsk and Spartak Moscow were also victorious.
Arsenal’s win was the most lopsided result in the group- stage openers as the Gunners bid to reach the last 16 of Europe’s elite club competition for the 11th straight season.
“It is important that we take encouragement from what we are doing at the moment and we keep our feet on the ground and a good concentration,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said in comments on his club’s website.
Real Madrid defeated Ajax in a matchup of former champions and AC Milan beat Auxerre in Group G. Bayern, runner-up last season to Inter Milan, beat Roma in Group E on goals by Thomas Mueller and Miroslav Klose in the last 11 minutes.
Vurnon Anita’s own goal and a Gonzalo Higuain strike gave record nine-time winner Madrid the win over four-time champion Ajax. It was Jose Mourinho’s first Champions League game as Madrid coach after he led Inter to the title last season.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, on loan from Barcelona, scored twice in three minutes for seven-time champion AC Milan.
Mueller, who won the Golden Boot as the top scorer at this year’s World Cup, put four-time European champion Bayern ahead in the 79th minute by curling the ball beyond Roma goalkeeper Julio Sergio with the outside of his right foot. Klose sealed the win four minutes later.
“They finally broke the deadlock with a remarkable effort from Mueller,” Roma coach Claudio Ranieri said in comments on UEFA’s website. “He is an unbelievable player.”
Ionut Rada and Lacina Traore scored in the opening 12 minutes to lead Cluj to a 2-1 home win over Basel in the other Group E match.
In Group H, Carlos Vela also scored twice and Andrey Arshavin and Marouane Chamakh each got a goal as Arsenal rolled past Braga, while Darijo Srna’s 71st-minute free kick gave Shakhtar the home win over Partizan Belgrade.
Nicolas Anelka scored two goals to lead Chelsea past Zilina in Slovakia in Group F. An own goal from Cesar Azpilicueta with nine minutes remaining lifted Spartak Moscow to a 1-0 win at Marseille in the group’s other game.
Inter opened its title defense two days ago with a 2-2 draw at FC Twente. The second round of matches will be played Sept. 28-29.