Lionel Messi fails to inspire PSG but Jude Bellingham stars for Dortmund - Champions League round-up

Messi made first PSG start alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe but 'MNM' and team-mates held; Jude Bellingham and Erling Haaland fire Borussia Dortmund to victory; Real Madrid secure late win

Lionel Messi could not inspire PSG to victory on his first start
Image: Lionel Messi could not inspire PSG to victory on his first start

Lionel Messi failed to spark Paris Saint-Germain on his first start as the Ligue 1 side were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw at Club Brugge in their Champions League opener.

Messi hit the woodwork but was otherwise far from his brilliant best alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, despite the feverish anticipation of 'MNM' taking to the pitch together for the first time.

Ander Herrera put PSG ahead in the first half but Mauricio Pochettino's side lacked quality and defensive focus against a Brugge team who levelled before the break through Hans Vanaken and had the better chances in the game.

PSG made a confident start, with Mbappe's cross met by Herrera in the 15th minute.

Messi set up Mbappe, who went close in the 23rd minute with an angled shot that was deflected by Simon Mignolet, but PSG were lulled into a false sense of security.

On a sharp attack, the visitors' defence was overwhelmed on the right side and after a late run into the box, Vanaken connected with Eduard Sobol's cutback to beat Keylor Navas after 27 minutes.

Messi hit the woodwork with a fine curling shot from the edge of the box before Brugge threatened again as Vanaken forced Navas into a diving save with a low free-kick.

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The keeper was made to work again to tip Charles De Ketelaere's rising shot over the bar before half-time.

Danilo replaced Leandro Paredes as PSG's holding midfielder while Julian Draxler took over from Georginio Wijnaldum in a roving role after the break.

PSG suffered a blow six minutes into the second half when Mbappe limped off the pitch after taking a knock on his ankle and was replaced by Mauro Icardi.

Messi had PSG's first chance of the second half 20 minutes from time with an angled shot before picking up a yellow card, but Brugge did more than enough to claim a point.

Bellingham stars in Dortmund win

Jude Bellingham impressed against Besiktas in Dortmund's opener
Image: Jude Bellingham impressed against Besiktas in Dortmund's opener

Jude Bellingham produced an inspired individual performance as he scored one goal and set up the other to help Borussia Dortmund to a 2-1 win at Besiktas in their Group C opener.

The 18-year-old England midfielder fired the visitors ahead with a fine finish in the 20th minute and left his marker flat-footed to set up striker Erling Haaland for the second on the stroke of half-time.

Centre-back Francisco Montero pulled one back for the home side deep into stoppage-time.

Besiktas dominated the opening stages as Dortmund goalkeeper Gregor Kobel tipped over a Michy Batshuayi shot but his opposite number Ersin Destanoglu was the busier of the two for the rest of the contest.

Destanoglu was powerless as Dortmund took the lead when Bellingham capped a classy move with a clinical first-time shot through the goalkeeper's legs after Thomas Meunier volleyed a long cross-field pass into the youngster's stride.

Haaland missed a sitter as he blazed over from close range and Destanoglu twice denied Marco Reus before Bellingham produced another moment of fine individual skill on the left flank to give Haaland the simple task of tapping into an empty net.

Bellingham was further denied by Destanoglu having beaten two markers with another mazy run and though Besiktas scored a consolation as Montero beat Kobel with a thumping header, Dortmund and Bellingham had done the necessary damage.

Rodrygo strikes late for Real Madrid

Real Madrid's Rodrygo celebrates with Eduardo Camavinga after scoring the winner against Inter
Image: Real Madrid's Rodrygo celebrates with Eduardo Camavinga after scoring the winner against Inter

Real Madrid substitute Rodrygo struck an 89th-minute winner to earn his side a 1-0 Champions League group-stage victory away to Inter Milan.

The Brazilian met a pass from fellow sub Eduardo Camavinga and volleyed home in the dying minutes as Carlo Ancelotti's side triumphed against their major rivals for top spot in Group D.

It was a painful conclusion to a game that Inter had dominated for large stretches but the hosts could not find a way past goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who produced several crucial saves.

Man City, Liverpool prevail after thrillers

Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring for Liverpool vs AC Milan
Image: Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring for Liverpool vs AC Milan

There was drama in both games involving Premier League sides on Wednesday.

Jordan Henderson's superb finish gave Liverpool a 3-2 comeback victory over AC Milan in a thrilling opening-night clash in Champions League Group B.

Liverpool were 1-0 up early on through Fikayo Tomori's own goal from a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross (9), before Mo Salah saw his penalty saved by Mike Maignan (14), his first miss in 17 for Liverpool.

But Ante Rebic's tidy finish (42) and Brahim Diaz's tap-in (44) stunned Anfield going into half-time.

Salah made up for his penalty miss with a leveller just after the break (48), poking home Divock Origi's clever chip over the defence, and Jordan Henderson completed Liverpool's own comeback with an exquisite half-volley from 20 yards (69) from a cleared corner

Jack Grealish celebrates Manchester City's fourth goal
Image: Jack Grealish celebrates Manchester City's fourth goal

At the Etihad, Jack Grealish marked his Champions League debut with a goal and an assist as Manchester City beat RB Leipzig 6-3 in a topsy-turvy encounter.

Pep Guardiola's side made the perfect start to their Group A campaign as Grealish crossed for Nathan Ake to head home (16) before Nordi Mukiele scored an own goal (28) from a superb Kevin De Bruyne centre.

Christopher Nkunku, who netted a hat-trick on the night, scored the first of his three just before the break (42) but a Riyad Mahrez penalty (45+1) restored the two-goal cushion. Nkunku headed home (51) to make things interesting but a spectacular Grealish finish five minutes later kept Leipzig at arm's length.

Nkunku fired home his third to bring them back within one goal but Joao Cancelo thumped home a beautiful effort just 82 seconds later and Gabriel Jesus put further gloss on the scoreline (85).

Sheriff make history, ex-Hammer hits four

Sebastien Haller scored four goals in Ajax's Champions League opener
Image: Sebastien Haller scored four goals in Ajax's Champions League opener

Sheriff Tiraspol enjoyed a dream Champions League debut with a 2-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk in Group D.

Though Shakhtar dominated possession, Moldova's first group-stage representatives in the competition took their chances when they came, Adama Traore steering in a 16th-minute volley, before Momo Yansane headed home midway through the second half.

The playing surface in Tiraspol posed problems, Shakhtar players frequently slipping as chunks of turf broke away, and Sheriff, from the unrecognised breakaway state of Transnistria, closed out victory to continue their striking run of form after coming through four rounds of qualifying.

Elsewhere, Sebastien Haller scored four goals as Ajax picked apart Portuguese hosts Sporting Lisbon in a 5-1 rout at the start of their Champions League Group C campaign on Wednesday.

Haller - whom Ajax forgot to register for European club competition last season in an embarrassing administrative botch-up - netted twice in the opening 10 minutes to set Ajax on their way, and completed his hat-trick early in the second half before adding another goal just after the hour mark at the Jose Alvalade Stadium.

Steven Berghuis claimed his first goal for his new club to add to the tally while Paulinho got the home team's consolation.

Atletico Madrid had to settle for a goalless draw at home to Porto in a cagey Group B game, the Spaniards spared defeat when a VAR review overturned a late goal from visiting striker Mehdi Taremi.

Champions League key dates

Group stage

September 28/29 2021: Matchday 2

October 19/20 2021: Matchday 3

November 2/3 2021: Matchday 4

November 23/24 2021: Matchday 5

December 7/8 2021: Matchday 6

Knockout stages

December 13: Round of 16 draw

February 15/16/22/23 & March 8/9/15/16 2022: Round of 16

March 18: Quarter-final, semi-final draws

April 5/6 & 12/13 2022: Quarter-finals

April 26/27 & 3/4 2022: Semi-finals

May 28 2022: Final (Gazprom Arena, St Petersburg, Russia)

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