Champions League: Manchester City, Barcelona score big wins

Holders Manchester City recovered from falling a goal behind to outclass Red Star Belgrade 3-1 in their Group G opener of Champions League, with Julian Alvarez scoring twice at The Etihad on Tuesday.
Champions League: Manchester City, Barcelona score big wins

LONDON: Holders Manchester City recovered from falling a goal behind to outclass Red Star Belgrade 3-1 in their Group G opener of Champions League, with Julian Alvarez scoring twice at The Etihad on Tuesday.

Pep Guardiola's side dominated the opening period but were guilty of wayward finishing and trailed to a sucker-punch just before half-time as Osman Bukari broke clear to finish in style.

City began the game on a 26-match unbeaten run in Champions League home games and normal service was resumed almost immediately after the restart as Alvarez levelled after combining with Erling Haaland.

A misjudgement by Red Star keeper Omri Glazer allowed an Alvarez cross to go into the net on the hour and Rodri made it 3-1 with a clinical finish after 73 minutes as City made it 19 home wins in succession in all competitions.

Just over three months since City finally claimed Europe's biggest club prize with victory over Inter Milan in Istanbul they began their defence in ultimately comfortable fashion.

But for 45 minutes it looked as though it might be one of those nights as chance after chance went begging.

Once Argentina's Alvarez levelled in the 47th minute, however, only one outcome looked likely.

Norwegian goal-machine Haaland has now gone four Champions League games without hitting the net and he was guilty of some poor misses in a first half in which City's 22 goal attempts were the most in the competition since data began to be compiled. He headed one effort wide, another even easier chance against the crossbar and then lashed a shot over.

Red Star keeper Glazer was superb in the first half, denying Phil Foden from close range and also keeping out efforts by Nathan Ake and Rodri.

The Ghanaian kept remarkably calm to place his shot beyond the City keeper but his joy was initially curtailed by an offside flag before referee Joao Pinheiro allowed it to stand after an intervention by VAR.

The 3,000 travelling Belgrade fans celebrated and City could hardly believe it as they headed off at half-time.

City did not take long to make amends though after the break as Alvarez played the ball in to Haaland and then showed great desire to sprint into the area and take a return pass before skipping around Glazer and slotting home in the blink of an eye.

Barcelona thrash Royal Antwerp with Felix double

Barcelona's new forward Joao Felix struck twice in a 5-0 demolition of visiting Royal Antwerp in their Group H opener at the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys.

After successive group-stage eliminations, Barca gave debutants Antwerp a football masterclass, dominating possession with quick passing as Felix, Lewandowski and Gavi all scored.

In the other Group H clash, Porto beat Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk 3-1 in Hamburg.

Last-minute signing Felix opened the scoring with the home side's first attempt in the 11th minute, netting with a low strike inside the near post.

The Portuguese then set up Robert Lewandowski inside the box to double their lead eight minutes later as the Poland striker became the third player to score 100 goals in European competition after Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Raphinha helped to make it 3-0 to the five-time European champions after 22 minutes when his strike from a tight angle deflected off defender Jelle Bataille for an own goal.

Winger Arbnor Muja had a chance to give the visitors a glimmer of hope just before halftime but his low effort from the edge of the box was kept out by goalkeeper Marc Andre ter Stegen.

Barca returned after the break determined to increase the advantage in their 28th Champions League group-stage campaign, a competition record shared with Real Madrid.

They did not have to wait long as Gavi made it 4-0 by smashing the ball into the roof of the net before Felix added another goal with a header to complete the rout at Barca's temporary home while Camp Nou is being redeveloped.

Barca's dominance was reflected in 22 goal attempts compared to only three from Antwerp, who were playing in the Champions League after winning their domestic league title for the first time in more than 60 years last season.

Mbappe leads PSG home win against

Borussia Dortmund

Kylian Mbappe was on form again as Paris St Germain kicked off their Champions League campaign with a 2-0 home victory over Borussia Dortmund, showing glimpses of what might be under new coach Luis Enrique.

Mbappe opened the scoring with a second-half penalty and Achraf Hakimi doubled the tally with a fine goal as PSG's patience paid off at the Parc des Princes.

It was only the third win in six competitive games this season for the Ligue 1 champions and it gave them some much-needed relief after their first defeat at the weekend as they dutifully applied Enrique's possession game.

PSG top Group F with three points, two ahead of AC Milan and Newcastle United, who drew 0-0 earlier on Tuesday.

There was little brilliance from the home side but PSG were rarely in danger thanks to their domination in midfield before everything seemed to click after Mbappe coolly buried his spot-kick four minutes into the second half.

Dortmund had the first clear chance when Donyell Malen found some space in the PSG area, only for his shot to be easily saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma. PSG hit back five minutes later when Vitinha, who bossed the midfield in the opening half, hit the woodwork with a fine shot from just outside the area.

PSG lacked a cutting edge until early in the second half when Ousmane Dembele, after a combination with fullback Hakimi on the right flank, found Mbappe in the area and the French forward's shot was handled by Niklas Suele.

Mbappe converted the resulting penalty in the 49th minute to give PSG a deserved lead with his 11th goal in his last nine Champions League appearances.

Hakimi doubled the advantage in the 58th with a delicate chip with the outside of his boot after being superbly set up by Vitinha following a crisp passing move. PSG then controlled the final 30 minutes and finished with a clean sheet as Borussia failed to threaten.

Milan held at home by Newcastle

AC Milan were held to a 0-0 draw at San Siro in a hard-fought contest by a Newcastle United side returning to the Champions League after a two-decade absence as the hosts spurned numerous opportunities in the Group F opener.

Milan's Portugal winger Rafael Leao, who has scored in his last two games, was a constant threat down the left and kept the Newcastle defence busy but was let down by his finishing.

Milan next travel to Germany for a clash with Dortmund, while Newcastle host Kylian Mbappe's PSG at St James' Park.

Keeper Provedel heads in last-ditch equalizer for Lazio

Lazio goalkeeper Ivan Provedel secured a crucial point at home for his team in the closing moments of their Champions League Group E match against Atletico Madrid when he headed in the equaliser, giving them a 1-1 draw.

Five minutes into stoppage time, the goalkeeper, after venturing up the pitch for a last-ditch corner, headed home a cross from Luis Alberto with one of the final touches of the game.

The outcome of the first-ever Champions League clash between Lazio and Atletico resulted in Feyenoord taking the top position in the group, thanks to their 2-0 victory over Celtic in a simultaneous match on Tuesday.

Provedel became the first goalkeeper to score in a Champions League match since Nigeria's Vincent Enyeama achieved the feat for Hapoel Tel Aviv 13 years ago, and only the fourth overall.

Midfielder Pablo Barrios had broken the deadlock for Atletico in the 29th minute with a first-time strike from long range that deflected off defender Daichi Kamada, completely wrong-footing Provedel.

Lazio controlled the first part of the match, during which Mattia Zaccagni challenged Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak with a powerful free kick over the wall. However, the Slovenian deflected it to a corner.

Atletico came close to doubling their lead after the break, with Alvaro Morata striking the post, while Provedel made several close saves to keep Lazio in the match.

Feyenoord beat nine-man Celtic

Feyenoord marked their return to the group phase of the Champions League after a five-year absence with 2-0 win over nine-man Celtic to get their campaign off to a winning start.

Calvin Stengs broke the deadlock on the stroke of half-time and Alireza Jahanbakhsh added a second in the 76th minute of the Group E encounter against the Scottish champions, who had two players sent off in the space of five minutes midway through the second half.

Gustaf Lagerbielke was sent off in the 63rd minute for a second caution after catching Igor Paixao with an elbow in the face, conceding a penalty at the same time. But goalkeeper Joe Hart made a diving stop to deny Paixao from the spot.

There was a straight red for Odin Thiago Holm in the 68th minute for a challenge on Mats Wieffer, putting Celtic, who had only received two red cards in their previous 72 matches in the Champions League combined, further on the back foot. The Norwegian had only been on the field for 10 minutes.

The defeat means Celtic kept up their unwanted record of never winning the opening match of a group campaign. Agencies

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