• Champions League round-up

United open with win, sloppy Chelsea held

ESPN staff
September 19, 2012
Michael Carrick scored his first Champions League goal in three years © PA Photos

Manchester United opened their Champions League campaigns with a 1-0 win, but champions Chelsea threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Juventus.

United took an early lead through Michael Carrick and threatened to run riot, but they were guilty of giving the ball away too often and were fortunate not to concede. Chelsea saw summer signing Oscar net two superb goals but sloppy defending cost the Blues the win.

Sir Alex Ferguson issued a pre-match warning to his players that he did not want to see any sloppiness in the group stage. Inside 60 seconds he was almost choking on his chewing gum, as Umul Bulunt nipped in front of Nemanja Vidic who raked down Bulunt's calf in the area, but referee Wolfgang Stark decided not to award a penalty.

Carrick is a rare contributor of goals, but he netted his first Champions League goal in three years to put United ahead. He collected a pass from Shinji Kagawa, rounded the keeper who stuck out a leg and despite falling to the ground he was able to stab the ball home.

Any thoughts of a United romp were swiftly snuffed out as Gala threatened on the break, with Nourredine Amrabat going close with a curling effort that clipped the bar.

United made a bright start to the second half, with Kagawa driving into the box and seeing a shot charged down. On 52 minutes the chance came to kill the game off as Rafael drove into the box and was brought down by Yilmaz. Nani took responsibility from 12 yards, but his tame effort was easily saved by Fernando Muslera.

Gala kept creating chances to threaten to make Nani pay. A header from Selcuk Inan drifted just wide, while David De Gea justified his selection with a superb double save to deny Johan Elmander and Emre Colak.

United held on for the win, a cheer which was arguably matched 12 minutes earlier when Darren Fletcher ended his 10-month absence due to illness.

At Stamford Bridge, Chelsea kicked off their defence by letting a lead slip against Juventus. It took Chelsea some time to secure the signature of Oscar, but it could well prove to be a worthwhile slog judged by his Champions League bow. Roberto Di Matteo handed him his first start and the Brazilian took his chance with two goals.

Oscar had Chelsea celebrating but Juventus snatched a point © PA Photos

The first came with the aid of a deflection, the second was all his own work. The opener came on 31 minutes when he collected the ball 25 yards out and let fly. The effort was on target, but a looping deflection took the ball beyond Gianluigi Buffon.

Oscar had barely had time to digest his first goal in Chelsea colours when he grabbed a second. And it was a second out of the top drawer. A pass was fizzed his way, which he flicked behind him before spinning back and unleashing a curling effort that flew into the top corner.

Juventus brought themselves back into the match on 38 minutes when Arturo Vidal took advantage of acres of space on the edge of the box to fire home. They carried a threat in the second half, but Chelsea only have themselves to blame as substitute Fabio Quagliarella was allowed the freedom of the box to coolly slot the ball through Petr Cech's legs to earn the Old Lady of Italian football a point.

Barcelona had to come from behind to see off Spartak Moscow 3-2 at the Camp Nou. Barca looked to be on their way to a straightforward victory when Cristian Tello curled home the opener, but Dani Alves scored an own goal before Romulo gave the Russians the advantage on 58 minutes when netting from a tight angle. However, Lionel Messi then equalised from close range and then, in the 80th minute, restored his side's lead with a header.

Bayern Munich secured a 2-1 victory over Valencia at the Allianz Arena. Bayern had last tasted Champions League action at the stadium when losing to Chelsea in last season's final, but they returned to winning ways as Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos put them two goals up before Nelson Valdez's late header.

Celtic made a positive return to Champions League group action as they held last season's quarter-finalists Benfica to a 0-0 draw at Parkhead.

BATE Borisov secured an upset as they defeated Lille 3-1 in France. Alexander Volodko scored a well-taken opener on six minutes and, after further goals from Vitaly Rodionov and Edgar Olekhnovich, the Belarusian champions had all but wrapped up the game by half-time. Aurelian Chedjou reduced the deficit in the second half but Lille were unable to produce a comeback.

Shakhtar Donetsk secured a 2-0 win over FC Nordsjaelland to move ahead of Chelsea and Juventus in Group E. Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored both goals for the 2009 UEFA Cup winners.

Romanian side CFR Cluj claimed a surprise 2-0 win away to Braga. Former Braga striker Rafael Bastos netted a brace while goalkeeper Mario Felgueiras, who left the Portuguese side this summer, put in an inspired display against the hosts.

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