Last-gasp Milan snatches draw at Barca
Barcelona conceded a goal after 24 seconds and another in stoppage time, opening its Champions League title defense Tuesday with a 2-2 draw against visiting AC Milan. Arsenal played to a 1-1 tie, stunned by Borussia Dortmund's late goal.
Schaerlaeckens: The Italian Job
Barca outplayed AC Milan, but the Italians scored in the opening 25 seconds and in injury time to end the match 2-2, writes Leander Schaerlaeckens. Story
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas oversaw a 2-0 victory against Bayer Leverkusen in Group E in his first Champions League match, while his former club Porto recovered to beat nine-man Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1 in Group G.
While Porto won the Europa League in May, Barcelona lifted the European Cup for the second time in three years.
The Wembley Stadium victory cemented Barcelona's status as world soccer's superpower, and Pep Guardiola's team is the favorite to become European champions for the fifth time in May.
But the script went against them at the Nou Camp on Tuesday against a Milan team missing Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho to injury.
Only 24 seconds had elapsed when Pato coolly slid the ball under goalkeeper Victor Valdes after dashing through Barcelona's half.
A determined Lionel Messi led the Spanish champions' response as the Argentina forward created Pedro's 36th-minute tying goal before Villa curled a long-range free kick into the net five minutes into the second half.
"We could have played better after Barcelona took the lead," AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri said. "But I'm happy because the team did not collapse until we found the late equalizer."
That came deep into stoppage time when Thiago jumped high to meet Clarence Seedorf's corner to secure a point for Milan.
"In the Champions League, teams can create goals out of nothing against you and you can end up with egg on your face as was the case tonight," Barcelona winger Dani Alves told UEFA's website. "We played a great game but we didn't kill it off and we saw the consequences against a great rival."
All four teams in Group H are on one point after BATE Borisov and Viktoria Plzen tied 1-1.
In Germany, Arsenal went in front just before halftime when Van Persie won possession from Sebastian Kehl and played a one-two with Theo Walcott before beating Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller with his shot.
The draw enabled Marseille to go to the top of the group after Lucho Gonzalez secured a 1-0 victory over Olympiakos.
At Stamford Bridge, Fernando Torres' scoring drought continued for Chelsea, but he set up both goals.
David Luiz ran onto Torres' layoff before bending a sublime strike into the bottom corner of the net midway through the second half.
And after Torres broke down the left flank, Juan Mata tapped home the second with almost the last kick of the game.
Chelsea is atop Group E after Racing Genk drew 0-0 with Valencia in the other match.
There were two victories in Group G -- both by 2-1 scores.
At Porto's Stadium of the Dragon, all the goals came from Brazilians.
Porto goalkeeper Helton handed Shakhtar the lead after 12 minutes, failing to hold Willian's weak shot from outside the area and spilling the ball for Luiz Adriano to tap in.
There was a first-ever Champions League win for APOEL Nicosia after second-half goals from Gustavo Manduca and Ailton secured a 2-1 win over Zenit St. Petersburg.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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