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Sep 16, 2009

Champions League: Gunners battle, Gers claim point

Arsenal striker Eduardo grabbed the headlines for all the right reasons on the opening night in Group H, bagging the winner as the Gunners fought back from two goals down inside the first five minutes to beat Standard Liege 3-2.

• Wenger: Winner was inevitable
• Harris: Gunners provide the thrills
• Carter: A tale of two strikers

• Benitez: Result was important thing
• Wednesday UCL Gallery

The Belgians scored through Eliaquim Mangala, before Milan Jovanovic doubled their lead, slotting home a penalty after William Gallas sent him tumbling in the area.

Nicklas Bendtner's finish just before half-time kept the Gunners in the game and when Thomas Vermaelen's clearly offside equaliser was given it appeared it could be the Gunners' day. Three minutes later, Eduardo was on hand to knock the ball in with his knee and claim all three points.

Elsewhere in the group, a headed goal Vassilis Torosidis got Olympiakos off to a winning start in this season's campaign against AZ Alkmaar. On the night Zico was confirmed as the club's new coach, replacing the sacked Temuri Ketsbaia, Jaouad Zairi was the Greek side's star performer and it was his flighted ball that was nodded home by Torosidis from close range to seal the victory.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Samuel Eto'o were both kept under wraps by their former team-mates as Inter Milan held Champions League holders Barcelona to a goalless draw at the San Siro.

An exciting Group F clash was anticipated, but while Barca and Lionel Messi attempted to conjure opportunities, Inter sat deep, inviting the defending champions to attack. Inter remained disciplined at the back and, aside from Ibrahimovic blasting an excellent opportunity over the bar early on, Mourinho's men restricted a frustrated Catalan side to long-range efforts.

Dynamo Kiev scored three goals in the final 20 minutes as they came from behind to beat Champions League debutants Rubin Kazan and head above Barca and Inter in Group F.

The Russian champions stunned their hosts when they took the lead against the run of play through Alejandro Dominguez's free-kick. Dynamo's frustration grew as they toiled deep into the second half in search of a reply, but once Ayiila Yussuf made the breakthrough, goals soon followed from Junior Gerson Magrao and Oleg Gusev to secure a 3-1 victory.

Lyon made a winning start to Group E of the Champions League with a 1-0 win over Fiorentina at the Stade Gerland but the Italians can only have themselves to blame for the defeat. A red card for Alberto Gilardino in stoppage time of the first half allowed Lyon to impose themselves on the game in the second half and Miralem Pjanic scored the winner in the 76th minute.

Dirk Kuyt's 12th goal in 35 Champions League games for Liverpool saw the Anfield men join Lyon on three points, but there was nothing to suggest a Madrid final in May is on the cards. The Dutchman's goal in stoppage time of the first half provided a get-out-of-jail card for the home side, who laboured throughout against the Hungarian champions Debrecen.

In Group H, Sevilla comfortably saw off Unirea Urziceni as they got their Champions League campaign off to a winning start, 2-0. With their opponents defending in numbers, Sevilla made hard work of the first half before Luis Fabiano opened the scoring in stoppage time. Renato added a second for the hosts in the 70th minute and they were rarely troubled by an Unirea side making their Champions league debut.

Madjid Bougherra marked his Champions League debut with a goal as Rangers claimed a point from their Group G opener in Stuttgart. It had looked like being a difficult night for Rangers when Pavel Pogrebniak - who missed the 2008 UEFA Cup final against Rangers through suspension - opened the scoring after the Germans had dominated early on. But Bougherra's 77th minute drive earned what could prove a valuable point for the Scots.

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