An Andrea Pirlo free kick and a stunning team move finalised by Pippo Inzaghi gave Milan a confident 2-1 win over Benfica, while Luciano Zauri's late goal secured a precious away point in Athens for Lazio, holding Olympiakos 1-1.
GROUP D: AC Milan 2-1 Benfica / Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0 Glasgow Celtic
AC Milan made an impressive start to their European title defence with a convincing win against Benfica earned by first-half goals from Andrea Pirlo and Filippo Inzaghi and tempered only by Nuno Gomes's last-minute effort.
Pirlo's ninth-minute free-kick was no less than the artful playmaker deserved and he set the tone for a dominant Milan display. Pirlo then provided the assist for Inzaghi's 24th-minute strike which capped a superbly crafted team move. Nuno Gomes halved the deficit when he touched Konstantinos Katsouranis's cross over the line with the last kick of the game.
The European champions next visit Celtic on Matchday 2 on October 3. The Scottish side were beaten by Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine in the group's other game - Brandao and former Livorno striker Cristiano Lucarelli scoring inside the opening eight minutes without reply.
GROUP C: Olympiakos 1-1 Lazio / Real Madrid 2-1 Werder Bremen
Olympiakos and Lazio shared the spoils in Athens after their closely contested Group C opener at the Georgios Karaiskakis stadium ended in a 1-1 draw.
It was a tale of the two Lucianos. Argentine midfielder Luciano Galletti put the Greek side ahead ten minutes into the second half before Luciano Zauri levelled matters with an equally slick finish with 13 minutes remaining. There was an eerily silent atmosphere in the empty stadium as Olympiakos served a one-match behind-closed-doors sanction as punishment for crowd disturbances last season. But a vociferous gathering of Olympiakos fans in the parking area behind the main stand did their utmost to rally behind their team.
Lazio will host Real Madrid at the Stadio Olimpico on Matchday 2 and the Spanish champions got off to a winning start in the other game. Real ended a sequence of opening-night defeats in the Champions League by overcoming Werder Bremen 2-1. Raul delighted the home fans inside the Santiago Bernabeu with the first goal on 16 minutes. The German side levelled through Boubacar Sanogo, before Madrid retook the lead – and all three points – when Ruud van Nistelrooy scored 16 minutes from time.
GROUP A: Olympique Marseille 2-0 Besiktas / FC Porto 1-1 Liverpool
GROUP B: Chelsea 1-1 Rosenborg / Schalke 0-1 Valencia
CHAMPIONS' LEAGUE REVIEW:
[Tuesday 18 Sep] - [Wednesday 19 Sep]