CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WRAP: Real edge Man City in five-goal thriller, Arsenal win and PSG ease home

The 2012/13 Champions League season kicked off tonight with the first half of group games being played all around Europe.

The match of the night was played in Madrid with Spanish champions Real Madrid producing a massive finish to beat Premier League title-holders Manchester City 3-2 at the Santiago Bernabeu.

It was a classic contest between two football goliaths with City taking the lead through Edin Dzeko in the 69th minute before Marcelo levelled with a deflected curler seven minutes later. Aleksandar Kolarov’s free-kick evaded all in the box too give City the lead with five minutes remaining but Jose Mourinho’s men managed to pull something out of the hat with Karim Benzema producing a pinpoint finish past Joe Hart prior to Cristiano Ronaldo’s dipping winner in the final minute.

In the south of France, Arsenal overcame a tardy start to overcome French champions Montpellier 2-1 at the Stade de la Mosson.

Younes Belhanda gave La Paillade the lead courtesy of a ninth minute penalty before Lukas Podolski and Gervinho scored within two minutes of each other to allow the Gunners a winning start in Europe.

In France’s capital, the big-spending Paris Saint-Germain eased past Ukraine’s Dynamo Kiev 4-1 with summer signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring for his sixth club in the Champions League.

He opened the scoring from the spot before Thiago Silva and Alex made it a three-goal buffer just after the half-hour mark. Miguel Veloso pulled one back for Kiev late before Javier Pastore rounded things out for PSG.

In other matches, FC Porto scored a 2-0 away win over Dinamo Zagreb, Schalke beat Olympiakos 2-1 in Greece, Anderlecht held AC Milan to a scoreless draw at the San Siro, Malaga brushed aside Zenit St Petersburg 3-0 in Andalusia and Robert Lewandowski netted an 87th minute winner for Borussia Dortmund over Ajax in Germany.

Wednesday night’s fixtures sees reigning champions Chelsea host Juventus and Shakhtar Donetsk take on CL newcomers Nordsjaelland in Group E, runners-up Bayern Munich meet Valencia and Lille host BATE Borisov in Group F, Barcelona are at home to Spartak Moscow as Benfica travel to Celtic in Group G and Braga take on Cluj whilst Manchester United host Galatasaray in Group H.

2012/13 Champions League scores

Group A
Dinamo Zagreb (CRO): 0
FC Porto (POR): 2 (Lucho Gonzalez 41’, Steven Defour 90+2’)
Stadion Maksimir, Zagreb, Croatia – 14,683

Paris Saint-Germain (FRA): 4 (Zlatan Ibrahimovic (p) 19’, Thiago Silva 29’, Alex 32’, Javier Pastore 90+1’)
Dynamo Kiev (UKR): 1 (Miguel Veloso 87’)
Parc des Prince, Paris, France – 42,536

Group B
Montpellier (FRA): 1 (Younes Belhanda (p) 9’)
Arsenal (ENG): 2 (Lukas Podolski 16’, Gervinho 18’)
Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier, France – 32,000

Olympiakos (GRE): 1 (Djamel Abdoun 58’)
Schalke 04 (GER): 2 (Benedikt Howedes 41’, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar 59’)
Karaiskakis Stadium, Athens, Greece – 30,922

Group C
AC Milan (ITA): 0
Anderlecht (BEL): 0
San Siro, Milan, Italy – 27,593

Malaga (SPN): 3 (Isco 3’/76’, Javier Saviola 13’)
Zenit St Petersburg (RUS): 0
Estadio La Rosaleda, Malaga, Spain – 23,670

Group D
Borussia Dortmund (GER): 1 (Robert Lewandowski 87’)
Ajax Amsterdam (NED): 0
Ignal-Siduna Park, Dortmund, Germany – 65,829

Real Madrid: 3 (Marcelo 76’, Karim Benzema 87’, Cristiano Ronaldo 90’)
Manchester City (ENG): 2 (Edin Dzeko 68’, Aleksandar Kolarov 85’)
Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain – 70,381

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