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Jude Bellingham’s dream start to his Real Madrid career continued after he fired home a stoppage-time winner against Champions League debutants Union Berlin at the Bernabeu.
The hosts looked destined to be heading for a frustrating goalless draw after failing to find a way past the resilient Bundesliga side.
But England international Bellingham converted from close range with virtually the last kick of the Group C clash to claim his sixth goal in as many matches and land all three points for Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
Harry Kane scored from the penalty spot in Bayern Munich’s 4-3 win against Manchester United.
Depleted United began brightly enough at the Allianz Arena, only for Serge Gnabry to score shortly after former Manchester City forward Leroy Sane’s effort squirmed past summer signing Andre Onana.
Rasmus Hojlund scored his first goal for the club, but Kane quickly slammed a penalty, with Casemiro scoring either side of Mathys Tel’s stoppage-time strike.
In Group A’s other fixture, Galatasaray scored two late goals in a 2-2 draw against 10-man Copenhagen.
The Danish side went 2-0 at half-time through Mohamed Elyounoussi and Diogo Goncalves. Elias Jelert was sent off in the 73rd minute for two bookable offences and Galatasaray took advantage with Sacha Boey and Tete earning a point.
Arsenal enjoyed a fine return to the Champions League as they cruised past PSV Eindhoven at the Emirates Stadium.
Six years of absence were brushed to one side as a scintillating attacking display saw Bukayo Saka, Leandro Trossard, Gabriel Jesus and Martin Odegaard all score in a one-sided 4-0 win.
The result puts Arsenal top of Group B after Angelo Fulgini cancelled out Lucas Ocampos’ opener as Lens secured a 1-1 away draw at Sevilla.
In Group D, Lautaro Martinez salvaged a 1-1 draw at Real Sociedad with a 87th-minute equaliser following Brais Mendez’s early goal, while Red Bull Salzburg cruised to a comfortable 2-0 win at 10-man Benfica.
Elsewhere, Sikou Niakate put through his own net with just two minutes remaining as Napoli secured a late 2-1 victory at Braga.
Napoli captain Giovanni Di Lorenzo opened the scoring in first-half stoppage time before Bruma headed home a deserved equaliser in the 84th minute.
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Manchester United have been drawn with Harry Kane’s Bayern Munich in their Champions League group, while Newcastle were handed the toughest draw with Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund and AC Milan.
Erik Ten Hag’s side were also paired with FC Copenhagen from Denmark and Turkish side Galatasaray in Group A.
As for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, who are playing in their first Champions League group-stage campaign in seven years, the Gunners were given a favourable draw with Europa League winners Sevilla, Dutch club PSV Eindhoven and French RC Lens of France.
Manchester City were also handed a favourable draw as they were paired with RB Leipzig for the third Champions League campaign in a row, as well as Red Star Belgrade and Swiss club Young Boys.
Celtic were given Atletico Madrid in their group, along with Lazio and Dutch champions Feyenoord. But by far and away the trickiest group belongs to Newcastle, whose fans get tips to the Parc des Princes, the San Siro and Signal Iduna Park in their first Champions League group stage since the 2002/03 campaign.
Champions League draw in full
Group A: Bayern Munich, Manchester United, FC Copenhagen, Galatasaray
Group B: Sevilla, Arsenal, PSV Eindhoven, RC Lens
Group C: Napoli, Real Madrid, Braga, Union Berlin
Group D: Benfica, Inter Milan, FC Salzburg, Real Sociedad
Group E: Feyenoord, Atletico Madrid, Lazio, Celtic
Group F: Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund, AC Milan, Newcastle
Group G: Manchester City, RB Leipzig, Red Star Belgrade, Young Boys
Group H: Barcelona, FC Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Royal Antwerp
Analysis: Newcastle face nightmare winter, Kane to give Man Utd transfer regrets?
Sky Sports’ Sam Blitz:
Newcastle fans have had to wait 20 years for Champions League football, but they won’t be missing out in this group-stage campaign!
The Magpies’ third Champions League game comes after a game with Arsenal, their fourth comes in between games with Chelsea and Manchester United. Their last group game – and this group looks like it could go down to the wire – also comes after a trip to Tottenham.
There will be little room for rotation in that busy November-December period – one Eddie Howe may have to shift his priorities.
Meanwhile, Manchester United put Harry Kane at the top of their striker target list at the beginning of this transfer window. Now they have to find a way to stop him in their Champions League campaign – despite thinking him moving to Germany would have limited some regrets.
But United should be qualifying from this group with Bayern, though a long trip to Turkey could take its toll on an already injury-hit squad.
Arsenal and Manchester City can be delighted with their groups, which they should finish top of, while Brendan Rodgers can be grateful for a simpler Champions League group with Celtic for once.
British clubs’ groups analysed
European football expert Andy Brassell:
“Group A is very palatable. Bayern are the big name in there and, despite Harry Kane going there, he’ll be facing the team he could have ended up playing for, as a lot of Manchester United fans would have loved to see.
“Copenhagen are very experienced at this level of competition and came through the qualifiers, beating Rakow Czestochowa, who they would have been expected to beat. There are some experienced players in that team, nevertheless, something United will be very happy with. Galatasaray are the great unreadable of this group.
“In Group B, Sevilla are the pot-one team you want. We know they have got an incredible history in UEFA club competition, but a lot of it is down to Monchi, who is now sporting director of Aston Villa. They are in financial difficulty at the moment and they don’t have a lot to sell. Lens were only one point behind PSG in Ligue 1 last season, but they have lost both of their best players.
“I’m not sure there are too many gremlins in Group E for Celtic. There are big names – no doubt about it – but Feyenoord had quite a patchy start to the season and Atletico are another one of these big Spanish clubs who have got absolutely no room for manoeuvre in the transfer market.
“They are the favourites to win this group, but they absolutely bombed and finished fourth last season, so they have got to re-prove themselves in Europe. Lazio have two defeats from two in Serie A this season.
“We’re all going to enjoy Group F. PSG are under reconstruction, to a certain extent, so what is their front three going to look like? Borussia Dortmund look quite clunky and dysfunctional post Jude Bellingham, even though they have brought some quite interesting players in. There’s a mini-rebuild at Milan, too. Newcastle have got a chance in this group. I honestly think they could do something here.
“I think Manchester City will be happy. RB Leipzig are doing a rebuild they didn’t expect, like Liverpool with their midfield as they lost their four best players this summer. Those two teams will be the favourites, quite comfortably. Red Star Belgrade are quite interesting. Their coach has an incredible recent history of trophies in Israel. Young Boys are not as strong as they have been in previous years, but they swatted Maccabi Haifa aside in the play-offs.”
When are the group stage games?
Matchday 1: September 19/20
Matchday 2: October 3/4
Matchday 3: October 24/25
Matchday 4: November 7/8
Matchday 5: November 28/29
Matchday 6: December 12/13
And how about the dates for the rest of the competition?
Round of 16: February 13/14/20/21 & March 5/6/12/13
Quarter-finals: April 9/10 & 16/17, 2024
Semi-finals: April 30/May 1 & 7/8, 2024
Final: June 1, 2024 (Wembley, England)
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