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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep, 12, 2006

Champions League review: Barca impress, Inter stutter

Barcelona began the defence of their Champions League crown with a comfortable 5-0 victory over Levski Sofia at the Nou Camp.

Levski are the first Bulgarian team to reach the group stages of Europe's premier club competition but were given a tough examination by Barca, who forged ahead after six minutes through Andres Iniesta.

Ludovic Giuly doubled the Catalans' lead six minutes before the break and captain Carles Puyol added a third in the 49th minute. Samuel Eto'o fired in a fourth for Barcelona nine minutes later and Ronaldinho wrapped up the win.

The margin of victory meant they led Group A ahead of Chelsea, the English champions having beaten Werder Bremen 2-0 at Stamford Bridge through Michael Essien's first-half goal and Michael Ballack's penalty in the second period.

Group C remains wide open after a goalless draws between Galatasaray and Bordeaux and in Holland between PSV Eindhoven and Liverpool.

Former Liverpool striker Fernando Morientes scored a hat-trick as Valencia came from behind to beat Olympiacos 4-2 in Piraeus.

Michalis Konstantinou put the Greek side in front (28) as they defended a proud 10-match unbeaten home record against Spanish opposition in Europe.

However, Morientes hit back with two goals in five minutes (34 and 39) to give Valencia, the lead. Olympiacos hit back through Nery Castillo (66) but the visitors forged back ahead as David Albiol's 85th-minute goal made it 3-2 and Morientes grabbed his third in the final minute.

Roma are the Group D leaders after beating Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk 4-0 in the Italian capital with goals from Rodrigo Taddei, Francesco Totti, Daniele de Rossi and David Pizarro.

Bayern Munich are the early leaders in Group B after spanking Spartak Moscow 4-0 at the Allianz Arena.

Claudio Pizarro gave Bayern the lead three minutes into the second half before another South American forward - Paraguayan Roque Santa Cruz - claimed a second in the 52nd minute. Bastian Schweinsteiger made sure of the points with a third for the Bundesliga champions in the 71st minute and Hasan Salihamidzic added a fourth five minutes from time.

A second-half goal from Marco Caneira proved enough for Sporting Lisbon as they beat Inter Milan 1-0 at the Jose Alvalade Stadium. Former Arsenal skipper Patrick Vieira was sent off for Inter in the second half for a second bookable offence.

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