Barcelona goalless at Inter; Arsenal win after early shock

September 17th, 2009 - 2:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Arsenal By Barry Whelan
Hamburg, Sep 17 (DPA) Holders Barcelona began their Champions League defence with a goalless draw at Inter Milan, while Arsenal came from two goals down to earn a victory against Standard Liege.

The barren draw between Barcelona and Italian champions Inter Wednesday night in a Group F match, left Dynamo Kiev to enjoy top spot in the group after a 3-1 victory over Russian title-holders Rubin Kazan.

Barcelona enjoyed the greater possession in San Siro and there was early chance for Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic against his old club, but neither he nor Samuel Eto’o, who moved the other way to Inter, were able to break the deadlock.

Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola told Sky pay TV: “I am satisfied with the result. We wanted to win but the draw is OK. We tried everything but it is not easy when you are against nine men in defence.”

Inter coach Jose Mourinho was also satisfied with the point.

“Anyone who understands football will have seen that this was a game of the highest quality,” he said.

Standard Liege stunned last season’s losing semi-finalists Arsenal with two goals in the opening five minutes on the Belgian side’s Champions League debut in a Group H match.

Eliaquim Mangala struck home from just outside the area in the second minute and Milan Jovanovich converted a penalty three minutes later after being brought down by William Gallas.

Danish striker Nicklas Bentner put Arsenal back in the game just before the break, and two late goals in three minutes from Thomas Vermaelen and Eduardo turned the game round.

Liege protested in vain that Vermaelen’s 78th-minute equaliser from right in front of goal had come after a handball from Alex Song following a Cesc Fabregas free-kick.

The home side were then punished when Eduardo turned the ball in with his knee from close range from a Fabregas corner.

Olympiakos also enjoyed victory in the group, a goal from Vassilis Torosidis giving them a 1-0 win over visiting AZ Alkmaar.

Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart were held 1-1 by Glasgow Rangers in Group G. Madjid Bougherra grabbed a 77th-minute equalizer for the Scottish visitors who enjoyed a strong second half after Russian striker Pavel Pogrebnyak opened the scoring in the 18th minute.

Stuttgart coach Markus Babbel said: “The first half was good we controlled the opponents and created chances. Unfortunately we couldn’t get the second goal.

“In the second half we only reacted. We were chasing the ball and were not active enough. We have to learn from these mistakes.”

In the same group, Luis Fabiano goal just before half-time and a Dirnei Renato header 20 minutes from time earned Sevilla a 2-0 win over Romanian outfit Unirea Urziceni.

Italy striker Alberto Gilardino was sent off just before half-time for an elbowing incident as Fiorentina slipped to a 1-0 defeat in Group E at Olympique Lyon whose winner came from Miralem Pjanic in the 77th minute.

Dirk Kuyt was on target just before half-time as Liverpool struggled to overcome Hungarian champions Debrecen in the same group.

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