Chelsea Opens Champions League Defense With Tie; Barcelona Wins
Fabio Quagliarella came off the bench to score in the 80th minute last night and earn Italian champion Juventus a 2-2 draw in London. Messi got his goals in the final 19 minutes to lift Barcelona to the home win.
“We found ourselves in a great position to win the game and we only got a draw but we knew we were playing a quality side who have a lot of good players,” Chelsea coach Roberto Di Matteo told Sky Sports. “It was a good football match and both teams could have won it.”
It was the fifth straight year the titleholder opened the tournament with a draw. Bayern Munich and Manchester United, who have both finished runner-up twice in the past four seasons, were among the winners last night as the first round of games in Europe’s elite club competition concluded.
Brazilian midfielder Oscar, making his first start after joining Chelsea from Internacional in July, got both goals as Chelsea took a 2-0 lead in the Group E match at Stamford Bridge.
The 21-year-old playmaker opened the scoring in the 31st minute with a shot that flicked off Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci. Oscar struck again two minutes later when he spun away from two defenders outside the area and curled a shot inside the right post.
Quagliarella then tied the score five minutes after coming on for Sebastian Giovinco. Chelsea gave the ball away in its own half and Andrea Pirlo passed to Quagliarella, who beat John Terry’s attempted offside trap and slid a shot under Cech.
Quagliarella almost won it for Juve when he clipped the crossbar with an 87th minute shot.
“It was a cheap goal to give away,” Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel told Sky Sports. “We switched off. We should have dealt with it properly.”
In the other Group E Game, Henrik Mkhitaryan scored both goals as Shakhtar Donetsk beat Nordsjaelland 2-0.
Barcelona, seeking its fourth European Cup in eight seasons, took the lead in the Group G match at the Camp Nou stadium on Cristian Tello’s goal in the 14th minute.
Spartak drew even on an own goal from Daniel Alves after 30 minutes and took the lead in the 59th minute when Romulo scored on a counter attack after goalkeeper Andriy Dykan stopped a shot from Messi.
Messi tied the score in the 71st minute when he tapped in a pass from Tello and the three-time World Player of the Year headed in the winner nine minutes later.
“It’s not easy to win a game like this when the other team sits back and defends,” Messi said on the website of tournament organizer UEFA.
Celtic, returning to the group stage for the first time in four seasons, drew 0-0 at home with Benfica in the other Group G game.
Michael Carrick scored the only goal in the seventh minute as Manchester United beat Galatasaray in Group H.
United missed a chance to double its lead at at Old Trafford when Galatasaray goalkeeper Fernando Muslera stopped Nani’s penalty kick in the second half. The Turkish club hit the post twice with shots and was also denied by a double save from United goalkeeper David de Gea.
“We expected a tough game,” United manager Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports. “You just have to be patient and make sure that when you get possession you make it count.”
Rafael Bastos scored both goals as Cluj won 2-0 at Braga in the other Group H match.
In Group F, Bayern Munich, which lost to Chelsea in last season’s final, got goals from Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos to beat Valencia 2-1, while Aleksandr Volodko, Vitaly Rodionov and Edgar Olekhnovich scored in the first half to lead BATE Borisov to a 3-1 win at Lille.
The second round of Champions League group matches will be played Oct. 2 and 3.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at email@example.com.