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Munich: Bayern Munich struck twice in four minutes in the first half to set them on their way to a 4-3 victory over an embattled Manchester United on Wednesday (Thursday AEST) and make a winning start in Champions League Group A.
Arsenal, meanwhile, made a stylish return by sweeping aside PSV Eindhoven 4-0 at Emirates Stadium after a six-year absence from the competition.
Goals from Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry in the 28th and 32nd minutes put Bayern firmly in the driver’s seat with injury-hit United, who have now lost their last three matches, pulling a goal back in the 49th through Rasmus Hojlund’s deflected effort.
United, who lost 3-1 to both Brighton and Arsenal in their previous two games, have now conceded three goals or more in three consecutive matches for the first time since December 1978.
Bayern crushed United’s hopes of a comeback four minutes later with a Harry Kane penalty, awarded for a handball by Christian Eriksen, to restore their two-goal cushion.
Casemiro slotted in from close range in the 88th minute but substitute Mathys Tel scored once more for Bayern in stoppage time. Casemiro headed in another for United with the last move of the game.
Star recruit Harry Kane celebrates after netting Bayern’s third goal in Munich.Credit: AP
The hosts, unbeaten now in their last 28 Champions League group stage home matches also hit the woodwork through Sane and Thomas Mueller in the second half.
In London, Arsenal seemed determined to make up for lost time and jumped out to a 3-0 lead by the 38th minute – with PSV goalkeeper Walter Benitez having made a couple of good saves by then to prevent an even bigger scoreline.
In a game played in driving rain throughout, Bukayo Saka, Leandro Trossard and Gabriel Jesus all scored in the first half, before Martin Odegaard added the fourth with a long-range strike in the 70th.
Arsenal qualified for the Champions League for 19 straight years under Arsene Wenger but had not played in the competition since 2016-17. PSV last played in it five years ago, and the two teams met in the group stage of the second-tier Europa League last season.
Martin Odegaard turned in a captain’s knock for Arsenal on their return to the Champions League.Credit: Getty
Arsenal beat PSV 1-0 at home that time, but this was a far more one-sided affair.
Saka opened the scoring in the eighth minute by slipping away from US international Sergino Dest and slotting in the rebound after Benitez had pushed away a low shot from Odegaard. Saka turned provider by teeing up Trossard on the edge of the area in the 20th, and the Belgian fired a low right-footed shot just inside the far post.
It was Trossard’s turn to assist on the next one, sending in a cross from the left to Jesus, who downed the ball with one touch and blasted a shot into the far corner with his second. Jesus was making his first start of the season after recovering from a knee injury.
PSV had started brightly and tested Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya with a couple of low shots on the slick surface in the opening few minutes. But the visitors rarely threatened again until a counterattack in the 54th, when Johan Bakayoko only managed a weak shot straight at Raya.
Champions League matchday 1 results
- AC Milan 0 Newcastle 0
- Young Boys 1 RB Leipzig 3
- PSG 2 Borussia Dortmund 0
- Shakhtar Donetsk 1 Porto 3
- Manchester City 3 Red Star Belgrade 1
- Lazio 1 Atletico Madrid 1
- Barcelona 5 Antwerp 0
- Feyenoord 2 Celtic 0
- Real Madrid 1 Union Berlin 0
- Galatasaray 2 Copenhagen 2
- Bayern Munich 4 Manchester United 3
- Arsenal 4 PSV Eindhoven 0
- Real Sociedad 1 Inter MIlan 1
- Sevilla 1 Lens 1
- Braga 1 Napoli 2
- Benfica 0 RB Salzburg 2
Odegaard added gloss to the scoreline after collecting a pass from substitute Reiss Nelson and driving forward before unleashing a low 25-yard strike past the outstretched Benitez.
In the other Group B game, Sevilla drew 1-1 with Lens in Spain. United and Bayern’s group rivals – Galatasaray and Copenhagen – played out a 2-2 draw. The Danes, leading 2-0 after 73 minutes, then lost Elias Jelert to a red card and Galatasaray capitalised through Sacha Boey and Tete in the 86th and 88 minutes respectively.
Earlier, Jude Bellingham scored deep in added time as Real Madrid wore down a resilient Union Berlin to claim a 1-0 win in their Group C opener, spoiling the Bundesliga side’s Champions League debut.
The match in Madrid looked like it was heading for a draw when substitute Federico Valverde’s shot ricocheted off two players in Union’s crowded penalty area before falling to Bellingham, who turned it into the net for his sixth goal in six games this season.
Jude Bellingham scored a late winner for Champions League powerhouses Real Madrid.Credit: AP
The 94th-minute goal also ensured that Real kept up their perfect record this campaign, earning them a sixth straight win.
Real dominated possession in the first half but found it difficult to break down Union, who defended resolutely and were impressively marshalled at the back by veteran Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci – a summer signing from Juventus.
Real forward Joselu was lively from the start but missed two headed opportunities early in the match.
The 14-time champions made a fast start to the second half and Rodrygo twice went close to scoring the opener, having a shot saved by keeper Frederik Ronnow from close range before unleashing a thunderous volley that cannoned off the post.
Mathys Tel also got on the scoresheet in the Munich goalfest.Credit: Getty
Carlo Ancelotti’s team continued to turn the screw as the second half wore on with Union beginning to flag, with the Italian manager bringing on Valverde and Toni Kroos.
Joselu, Antonio Rudiger and Rodrygo all missed late opportunities to score, but just as Union appeared set for a surprise result, the German resistance was pierced when midfielder Bellingham scored on his Champions League debut for Real.
While the visitors will be bitterly disappointed to have conceded so late, they will take heart from their performance and believe they have a real chance to make it out of the group stage.
Union host Portugal’s Braga next on October 4 (AEST) while Real visit Italian champions Napoli.
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