Real Madrid began their title
defence with a 5-1 thrashing of
Basle, while city rivals Atletico
slipped to a 3-2 defeat at
Olympiakos in the first group
matches of football’s Champions League on
Strikers Ciro Immobile and Pierre-Emerick
Aubameyang scored either side of the break for
Germany’s Borussia Dortmund in a 2-0 defeat of
Mario Balotelli struck his first goal for Liverpool
since joining from AC Milan and Steven Gerrard
converted a last-gasp penalty in a dramatic late
goal flurry in a 2-1 defeat of newcomers
Elsewhere, Argentinian striker Carlos Tevez
bagged both goals for Juventus in a 2-0 defeat
of Malmo, while Monaco and Zenit St Petersburg
also began their campaigns with victories.
Galatasaray rescued a point with a late goal in a
1-1 draw with Anderlecht.
An own goal by Marek Suchy in the 14th minute
began a first-half goal rush by Real Madrid
against Swiss champions Basle in Group B.
Gareth Bale ran onto a Luka Modric pass to lift
the ball over Basle keeper Tomas Vaclik on the
half hour and then set up Cristiano Ronaldo for a
third a minute later.
James Rodriguez made it four in the 37th
minute before Derlis Gonzalez pulled one back a
minute later. Real completed the rout with a
Karim Benzema strike 11 minutes from time.
Arthur Masuaku and Ibrahim Afellay put
Olympiakos ahead against Atletico in a Group A
game in Piraeus before last season’s losing
finalists replied through Mario Mandzukic on his
Champions League debut for the Spanish
Kostas Mitroglou hit a third for the home side in
the 73rd minute, while Antoine Griezmann’s late
goal came was no more than a consolation for
In the same group, Tevez was on target in the
59th minute and notched a second with a last-
minute free-kick for Italian champions Juventus
against Swedish side Malmo.
Benfica’s 51-match unbeaten home record in all
competitions came to an end against visiting
Zenit St Petersburg in Group C.
Brazil striker Hulk put the Russian side ahead
and former home favourite Axel Witsel headed a
second soon after Benfica keeper Artur was sent
off for a foul as last man.
Monaco also got off to a winning start in the
group with a 1-0 defeat of Germany’s Bayer
Leverkusen thanks to a 61st-minute goal by
Liverpool, back in the Champions League after a
five-year break, toiled against group-stage
debutants Ludogorets before Italy striker
Ballotelli broke the deadlock with eight minutes
remaining in their Group D encounter at Anfield.
Dani Abolo levelled in the final minute for the
Bulgarians but Gerrard then stepped up to score
from the spot after keeper Milan Borjan tripped
“We did OK but it wasn’t better than OK,”
“There’s a lot to learn, we were caused
problems on the counter-attack. You have to
give Mario Balotelli credit, it didn’t go his way
for long periods but the sign of a good
goalscorer is to keep going and get a chance.
What’s more important is his work rate.
“If we win in Basle now it puts us in a good
position but we must do better.”
Fellow Premier League side Arsenal were
outplayed at Dortmund who were rewarded for
their dominance Immobile, a summer signing
from Torino, raced from his own half to finish
just before the break for his first competitive
goal for the Bundesliga side.
Aubamayang then punished a ragged display by
Arsene Wenger’s side with a second shortly
after the interval.
“We wanted a pressing machine on the field and
we did this to near perfection,” Dortmund coach
Juergen Klopp told Sky TV.
Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta said: “We faced a
top side in one of the most difficult stadiums to
play in in Europe. After you go 1-0 down here it
is very difficult. We didn’t perform well enough
The group stage continues Wednesday with eight
matches in Groups E, F, G and H.
Real Madrid began their title