Italian champions Lazio got off to a strong start with a 3-0 victory at Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine as the Champions League opened Tuesday with defending champion Real Madrid stumbling to a 2-2 draw at Sporting Lisbon.
UEFA Cup champion Galatasaray showed it can play with the big boys, beating French champions Monaco 3-2 in Istanbul. Glasgow Rangers also got an impressive 5-0 win at home over Austria’s Sturm Graz and Valencia, the runner-up last season to Real Madrid, won 2-1 in Spain over Olympiakos.
In the other eight matches to kick off this season’s Champions League: Sparktak Moscow 2, Bayer Leverkusen 0; Sparta Prague 0, Arsenal 1; Lyon 3, Heerenveen 1.
In the eight other first-rotation set for Wednesday: Hamburg vs. Juventus; Panathinaikos vs. Deportivo; Helsingborg vs. Bayern Munich; Rosenborg vs. Paris Saint Germain; Manchester United vs. Anderlecht; PSV Eindhoven vs. Dynamo Kiev; Barcelona vs. Leeds; AC Milan vs. Besiktas.
In the first-round, first leg of the UEFA Cup, former European champions Ajax destroyed Belgian side Ghent 6-0 as Richard Knopper scored twice at Ghent. Also scoring were Shota Arveladze, Jesper Gronkjaer, Rafael Van der Vaart and Cedric Van der Gun.
In the other UEFA Cup matches on Tuesday: Basel 3, Brann 2; Drnovice 0, 1860 Munich 0; Lierse 0, Girondins Bordeaux 0; Vasas 2, AEK Athens 2; IFK Norrkoping 2, Slovan Liberec 2; FC Kosice 2, Grazer AK 3; Rapid Vienna 3, Orgryte 0. On Monday, Germany’s Kaiserslautern won 3-1 at Ireland’s Bohemians.
The remaining 39 UEFA Cup matches are set for Thursday.
In the Champions League on Tuesday:
Group A At Moscow, Artyom Bezrodny scored the winner and got an assist as Spartak Moscow posted a 2-0 victory over Bayer Leverkusen. Yegor Titov opened the scoring six minutes into the second half from 11 meters (yards) on a pass from Bezrodny. Bezrodny scored a minute from the end with Spartak midfielder Dmitry Parfyonov hitting the left post on a penalty kick two minutes into second-half injury time before 65,000.
At Lisbon, Portugal, an own goal 15 minutes from the end by Sporting Lisbon defender Rui Jorge handed defending champion Real Madrid a hard-fought 2-2 draw as the Spanish club battled back from a two-goal deficit. On the tying goal, Luis Figo broke down the left flank in the 75th with a pass to Raul Gonzalez, whose shot was going wide until it hit Jorge’s outstretched leg and deflected into the net for the late equalizer. Ricardo Sa Pinto and Brazilian Andre Cruz put the Lisbon club ahead with first-half goals with Roberto Carlos making it 2-1 in the 50th.
Group B At Donetsk, Ukraine, Italian champions Lazio won 3-0 in the debut of Ukraine club Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League. Ukrainian goalkeeper Yuriy Virt was caught out of position in the 27th as new signee Claudio Lopez gave Lazio a 1-0 lead. Midfielder Pavel Nedved gave Lazio a 2-0 lead in the 68th with Simone Inzaghi scoring 10 minutes later.
At Prague, Czech Republic, Arsenal’s Brazilian star Silvinho scored in the 33rd for a 1-0 win over Sparta Prague. Silvinho dribbled his way past three Sparta’s defenders in the penalty area and sent a soft ball into the left corner of Tomas Postulka’s goal from close range.
Group C At Lyon, France, Olympique Lyon won 3-1 over Dutch side Heerenveen as Sonny Anderson opened the scoring in the 2nd minute. Eight minutes later, defender Max Houttuin netted a corner kick to give Lyon a 2-0 lead. Heerenveen’s only goal came by midfielder Jeffrey Talan in the 35th with Steve Marlet scoring for Lyon in the 59th.
At Valencia, Spain, two headers by Ruben Baraja and Diego Alonso lifted Valencia to 2-1 victory over Olympiakos. Baraja slotted Valencia into the lead with a goal from a header off a corner in the 35th minute. Ten minutes later, Uruguay’s Alonso nodded in the second from a free kick on the right wing by Gaizka Mendieta. Valencia came out to dominate again in the second half but Yugoslav Pedrag Djordjevic pulled one back for the Greek side in the 74th minute.
Group D At Istanbul, Turkey, Istanbul’s Galatasaray — the defending UEFA Cup champion — defeated Monaco 3-2 as Carlos Alberot De Oliviera “Capone” got the winner in the 80th on a header. Brazilian striker Mario Jardel gave the Turks a 1-0 lead in the 16th. In the 29th Galatasaray’s Romanian veteran Gheorghe Hagi made it 2-0. The French champs Monaco equalized in the second half with Shabani Nonda scoring in the 50th and Marco Simon in the 62nd minute from a penalty kick.
At Glasgow, Scotland, Michael Mols, Ronald de Boer and Jorg Albertz scored first-half goals within 30 minutes as Glasgow Rangers defeated Austria’s Sturm Graz 5-0. With the resounding victory, the Scottish champions signaled they may be ready to make a serious run at the cup and compete with Europe’s other top clubs. Rangers capped off the scoring as Giovanni van Bronckhorst scored in the 71st with Billy Dodds notching his in the 85th.