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2023-24 UEFA Champions League | Man City Begin Title Defence With A Victory, Barça Trash Antwerp

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2023-24 UCL Group Stage | Man City Begin Title Defence With A Victory, Barça Trash Antwerp

Manchester City came from behind and Julian Alvarez scored two second-half goals as Pep Guardiola’s men began the defense of their Champions League title with a win against Serbian champions Red Star Belgrade.

European Cup winners themselves in 1991, Red Star threatened a famous win when Osman Bukari put them in front at the end of the first half.

But City took less than 90 seconds to level after the restart as Alvarez raced onto Erling Haaland’s return pass, rounded Red Star keeper Omri Glazer with a superb piece of deception, and squeezed the ball home from a tight angle while still running at full speed.

Glazer spoiled an otherwise superb performance 13 minutes later when he went to punch Alvarez’s free-kick away from danger but instead got only the faintest touch on the ball which did not divert it away from the far corner.

Rodri’s last European goal was the historic effort that secured the trophy against Inter Milan in June. The Spain midfielder ensured City took a successful first step towards this season’s final at Wembley by scoring their third as he advanced unchecked into the Red Star box and guided a precise shot into the bottom corner.

The hosts deserved their win – by the final whistle, they had amassed 77% possession and had an incredible 37 shots to Red Star’s three.

Feyenorord 2-0 Celtic

Celtic’s quest for a rare Champions League away victory goes on after having two men sent off in a second-half implosion to hand top seeds Feyenoord an opening group win.

It was a night that began with such promise, as Brendan Rodgers’ side started brightly, but it ended with another painful European defeat that left them bottom of the group after Lazio and Atletico Madrid drew 1-1 in Rome.

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Things began to go wrong after a mature and composed opening half when a long-range Calvin Stengs free-kick pierced the defensive wall and skimmed beyond Joe Hart.

2023-24 UCL Group Stage | Man City Begin Title Defence With A Victory, Barça Trash Antwerp Manchester City came from behind and Julian

AC Milan 0-0 New Castle

Rafael Leao spurned a golden chance to score in the first half for the AC Milan as he fluffed his backheel after a fine solo run, and Newcastle were fortunate to go into the break level.

But the game was more even in the second half. Former Milan midfielder Sandro Tonali saw a shot blocked for the visitors, while Tijjani Reijnders forced a decent save out of Pope with a low drive.

Leao really should have won it in the closing stages when he got between Newcastle defenders to meet a cross, but he headed just over.

PSG 2-0 Borussia Dortmund

Kylian Mbappe provided the breakthrough for Paris St-Germain as they opened their Champions League campaign with victory over Borussia Dortmund.

Mbappe scored from the penalty spot on 49 minutes after his shot was handled by Nicklas Sule.

PSG doubled their lead when Moroccan defender Achraf Hakimi combined well with midfielder Vitinha and doubled the home side’s lead.

The French side are in Group F with Newcastle and AC Milan.

Barcelona 5-0 Antwerp

Barcelona coasted to victory in their opening Champions League game with a comfortable win over Royal Antwerp.

Xavi’s side were three goals ahead after just 23 minutes thanks to strikes from Joao Felix and Robert Lewandowski, plus an own goal from Jelle Bataille.

Gavi added a fourth before Felix got his second after the break to give Barca’s campaign the perfect start.

The La Liga champions were eliminated in the group stage of their last two Champions League campaigns.

Other results for the night saw Young Boys losing 1-3 to RB Leipzig, Lazio 1-1 Athletico Madrid, and Shakhtar Donetsk 1-3 FC Porto.

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