Thursday, September 20, 2012
Chelsea held despite Oscar performance, Messi rescues Barca
LONDON (Reuters) - Chelsea found a new Champions League hero on Wednesday as young Brazilian Oscar scored twice on his competition debut but the holders had to settle for a point in their Group E opener as Juventus fought back to draw 2-2 at Stamford Bridge.
With Didier Drogba, the man whose penalty sealed glory for Chelsea in May, gone, Oscar began a new chapter for the Londoners, scoring with a deflected shot and a memorable curling effort.
Arturo Vidal and Fabio Quagliarella gave the Italians a deserved point, however, in their return to the blue riband tournament after a two-season absence.
Lionel Messi needs no introduction and he quickly hit his stride with two late goals for Barcelona who flirted with a rare home defeat before beating Spartak Moscow 3-2 at the Nou Camp.
Manchester United began Group H with a 1-0 victory over Galatasaray but the home jitters that cost them a place in knockout rounds last season were evident again as their Turkish opponents were denied by the woodwork on three occasions.
Bayern Munich, beaten in last season's final by Chelsea on home turf, started with a 2-1 victory over visiting Valencia in Group F, with Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos on target.
Two of the Champions League's makeweights, BATE Borisov and CFR Cluj, enjoyed encouraging starts.
BATE, the champions of Belarus, earned a first ever group stage win when they beat French side Lille 3-1 away in Group F.
Romanians Cluj impressed in a 2-0 victory at Portuguese side Braga with Rafael Bastos returning to score twice before halftime against his former club.
Scottish side Celtic drew 0-0 at home to Benfica on their return to the group phase for the first time since 2008 and tournament newcomers Nordsjaelland of Denmark were given a taste of the challenges to come when they were beaten 2-0 by Ukraine's Shakhtar Donetsk.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)