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AC Milan Ties Barcelona 2-2 in Champions League on Thiago Silva’s Header

Thiago Silva scored in stoppage time to give AC Milan a 2-2 tie with Barcelona in their opening Champions League group-stage match.

Silva headed in Clarence Seedorf’s corner kick in the second of four added minutes last night to deny defending champion Barcelona the home victory in Group H.

“It was my best and most important goal since I joined Milan,” Silva said on UEFA’s website.

Chelsea, Marseille and Porto were among the winners as European soccer’s elite club competition kicked off its program of group matches, while Borussia Dortmund scored a late goal to draw 1-1 with Arsenal.

Alexandre Pato scored in the opening 30 seconds for seven- time champion Milan at the Camp Nou stadium. The Brazilian took possession near midfield, pushed the ball past the onrushing defense and shot under goalkeeper Victor Valdes.

Barcelona tied the game in the 36th minute as Pedro Rodriguez tapped in a pass from Lionel Messi. The four-time European champion went in front five minutes into the second half on David Villa’s free kick from about 30 yards (27 meters).

It looked to be the game winner under Silva headed home Seedorf’s corner to earn the visitor a point.

In the other Group H game, Renan Bressan’s goal in the 69th minute gave BATE Borisov a 1-1 draw at Plzen Viktoria, which got a score from Marek Bakos.

Chelsea Scorers

Goals from David Luiz and Juan Mata in the second half gave Chelsea a 2-0 home victory over Bayer Leverkusen in Group E. Luiz put the Blues ahead in the 67th minute and Mata clinched the victory in injury time. Valencia and Genk finished scoreless in the other game in the group in Belgium.

“We created so many opportunities to win the game by more,” Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas told Sky Sports. “If there was a fair result, it would have been Chelsea winning.”

Ivan Perisic’s volley into the top corner from about 20 yards in the 88th minute earned German champion Dortmund the home draw with Arsenal in Group F. Robin van Persie scored for the Gunners in the 42nd minute.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger missed the game as he began a two-match suspension for contacting his assistant coaches while serving a one-game ban during a Champions League match against Udinese.

“It was a good point,” Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna told Sky Sports. “They’re a good team, they did well last year. We were expecting this type of game and got it.”

Marseille won 1-0 at Olympiacos in the other Group F game on Lucho Gonzalez’s second-half goal. Marseille defender Rod Fanni was sent off in injury time.

Porto Rallies

Porto, which won the second-tier Europa League last season, came from behind to beat Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1 in Group G. Hulk and Kleber scored for Porto after Luiz Adriano put Shakhtar ahead after 12 minutes.

Shakhtar finished with nine men. Yaroslav Rakitskiy was red-carded in the first half and Dmytro Chygrynskiy got his second yellow card with 10 minutes remaining.

Goals from Gustavo Manduca and Ailton two minutes apart in the second half gave Apoel Nicosia a 2-1 win over Zenit St. Petersburg in the other game in the group. Konstatin Zyryanov scored for Zenit, which had Bruno Alves sent off for a second yellow card in the 86th minute.

Play begins in the other four groups tonight. Last year’s runner-up Manchester United visits Benfica, record nine-time winner Real Madrid is at Dinamo Zagreb and tournament newcomer Manchester City hosts Napoli.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at bbensch@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net.

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