Romelu Lukaku scored again as Chelsea edged Zenit, Barcelona were thrashed by Bayern and Young Boys shocked Manchester United on the opening night of Champions League group-stage action.
Romelu Lukaku’s pinpoint header rescued Chelsea’s first match as Champions League holders in a 1-0 win over Zenit St Petersburg.
Belgium hitman Lukaku bagged his third goal in two games and his fourth for Chelsea since his £98million switch from Inter Milan.
The 28-year-old converted captain Cesar Azpilicueta’s hanging far-post cross with a header of stunning accuracy, and that after shrugging aside three touch-tight Zenit defenders.
Chelsea laboured past a resolute and regimented Zenit, for much of the match running the risk of limping to a dispiriting draw.
But then Lukaku rose up, highest of all, to nod home and turn the night entirely.
Both Chelsea and Lukaku have been clear from the start: the Anderlecht product has come to west London to score goals and win matches.
So far, so very good for the talismanic striker.
Last season Chelsea would have drawn this match. Lukaku’s prowess and presence have already delivered a major impact, with the Blues’ rivals in all competitions taking ominous note.
Had Artem Dzyuba slid the ball home for Zenit from mere yards out late on the tie would have harboured a very different hue.
But Chelsea escaped unscathed, to swipe three important points from the opening Group H encounter.
Bayern Munich barely broke out of second gear to record a straightforward win over Barcelona at the Nou Camp in Group E.
Thomas Muller opened the scoring in the first half before Robert Lewandowski ensured victory just before the hour when be turned home on the rebound after Jamal Musiala had hit the post. Lewandowski added a third late on in almost identical fashion, this time from Serge Gnabry's initial effort.
It was a predictable outcome given this was Barca's first Champions League fixture since Lionel Messi left for PSG, but even the most reasonable Barcelona supporter must be worried that their side were not even able to land a shot on target.
Swiss side Young Boys capitalised on a stoppage-time Jesse Lingard howler to beat 10-man Manchester United 2-1 and cause a huge shock on the opening night of Champions League group-stage action.
United made the perfect start in Bern as Cristiano Ronaldo, who equalled the Champions League appearance record by playing in his 177th game, made it three goals in two matches since returning to the club for a second spell, putting the Red Devils ahead inside 15 minutes.
But the game was turned on its head just after the half-hour when Aaron Wan-Bissaka received a straight red card for a dangerous tackle, leaving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men holding on.
Moumi Ngamaleu equalised with 24 minutes left on the clock, and United looked as though they'd leave Switzerland with a point until substitute Lingard's backpass allowed Jordan Siebatcheu to fire home with the final kick of the game.
We are committed in our support of safer gambling. Recommended bets are advised to over-18s and we strongly encourage readers to wager only what they can afford to lose.
If you are concerned about your gambling, please call the National Gambling Helpline / GamCare on 0808 8020 133.