Tight starts for the favourites
The second half of the first UEFA Champions League matchday on Wednesday saw a host of tight matches with only 16 goals scored and the various ties in the balance until the dying minutes.
European champions Barcelona were held to a 0-0 draw at Inter Milan while the two English teams in action tonight, Liverpool and Arsenal, both struggled but managed to bag the three points against Debrecen (1-0) and Standard Liege (3-2) respectively.
Match of the day
Inter Milan 0-0 Barcelona
This exciting encounter between two of the big names in European football had everything but goals. The first half could have gone either way with chances for both teams, but Josep Guardiola's men took the bull by the horns after the interval. Barcelona ended up with 63 per cent of possession but even though Messi and Ibrahimovic tried every trick in the book there was no breaking down the solid Italian back line.
In Group E, a lacklustre Liverpool side dominated proceedings against their Hungarian opponents without regularly threatening a well-organised Debrecen defence. It took a shot from Fernando Torres just before the break which the goalkeeper could only parry into the path of the opportunist Dirk Kuyt for the Reds to score what turned out to be the only goal of the match.
The other tie in the group saw a re-match from last season between Lyon and Fiorentina, and no quarter was given, with six yellow cards and a sending off in the referee's notebook by full time. Lyon managed to bag all three points thanks to a goal from Miralem Pjanic, who pounced on a poor clearance up the middle from goalkeeper Sebastien Frey.
In the second match in Group F, Dynamo Kiev had Gerson Magrao to thank for turning things around in the second half. The Brazilian set up his team's first goal for Ayilia Yussuf before notching the second. Russian opponents Rubin Kazan had been in the lead for much of the match thanks to an excellent free-kick from Alejandro Dominguez. Oleg Gusev put the result beyond doubt in the dying minutes to make it 3-1 to the Ukrainians.
Stuttgart dominated their match with Rangers but ended up squandering two valuable points. Pavel Pogrebnyak opened the scoring for the German side who were then content to sit back and defend their lead, which was the signal for Jerome Rothen and his Rangers team-mates to battle their way back into contention. Defender Madjid Bougherra popped up with a well deserved equaliser for the Glasgow side. Seville are currently top of Group G after Brazilian duo Luis Fabiano and Renato each found their way onto the scoresheet against Romanian opponents Unirea Urziceni, who were experiencing their first taste of the UEFA Champions League.
In Group H, Olympiacos squeezed home against AZ Alkmaar thanks to a superb header from Vassilios Torosidis in what was a rare attempt on goal in a very tight encounter. Standard Liege meanwhile looked like they were going to create the shock result of the opening matchday when they took a 2-0 lead over Arsenal after only five minutes. Eliaquim Mangala and a penalty from Milan Jovanovic gave the hosts the advantage, but Nicklas Bendtner halved the deficit just before half time before goals from Thomas Vermaelen and Eduardo da Silva in the final quarter of an hour gave the London side a flattering victory over their Belgian opponents.
300 - the number of matches for which Spain's Rafael Benitez has been at the helm of Liverpool since joining the club on 16 June 2004. 55 per cent of those games have ended in victory for the Reds.
Goal of the night
Seville 1-0 Unirea (Luis Fabiano 45)
Left back Renato overlapped on the left wing and pulled the ball back for Luis Fabiano at the edge of the area, who then proceeded to slot the ball past goalkeeper Giedrius Arlauskis and into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
Have your say
After the first round of matches, do you think that any of the eight clubs making their UEFA Champions League debut will manage to qualify for the Round of 16?