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June 28, 2022

Champions League: AC Milan gets unexpected draw in Camp Nou

AC Milan scored at the start and the end of their game at FC Barcelona on Tuesday night for a dramatic 2-2 draw while the opening night of UEFA Champions League games brought three points for Olympique de Marseille, Chelsea FC, FC Porto and APOEL FC. Pato struck for AC Milan inside 25 seconds at Camp Nou, the fifth fastest in UEFA Champions League history and the earliest on any matchday one. Pedro Rodriguez and David Villa scored either side of half-time to give Barcelona the advantage but the reigning champions were denied at the death by Thiago Silva in the extra-time.

Josep Guardiola, Barcelona coach told uefa.com: “It doesn’t feel good but minute one and minute 92 are inside the match time and Milan can score any moment therein. If we evaluate the game as a whole, we played well; we managed to keep them out for the majority of it. Obviously there are improvements to be made on our part. (…)  Milan have that ability to score against you even when they are not playing so well; they have that classical competitive spirit that is typical of Italian teams. It’s important we get [Andres] Iniesta back [as soon as possible]; he has been playing at the very top for years”.

Massimiliano Allegri, Milan coach: “We could have played better after Barcelona took the lead but I’m happy because the team didn’t collapse, always remaining in the game until the late equaliser. Our plan was not to allow them a numerical advantage in midfield by pressing when we didn’t have to. We also defended well when they were trying to pass in behind our defensive line. We have room for improvement but I’m happy with the way every player helped each other today”.

In the other Group H game, Marek Bakos claimed FK Viktoria Plzen’s first goal at this level just before half-time against FC BATE Borisov, who came back to draw 1-1 in Prague.

Borussia Dortmund, winners in 1997, had a happy ending to their comeback game against Arsenal FC as Ivan Perisic curled in a superb late equaliser for a 1-1 draw in Group F, a section where Marseille did hold on to win 1-0 at Olympiacos FC. Chelsea ensured an English victory against German opposition, beating Group E rivals Bayer 04 Leverkusen 2-0 as Valencia CF were held 0-0 at KRC Genk.

UEFA Europa League holders Porto defeated nine-man FC Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1 while in the other Group G game APOEL came from behind to defeat FC Zenit St Petersburg by the same scoreline, their maiden win in this competition.

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