The new Premier League campaign kicked off with a heavyweight tussle featuring a last-gasp leveller at Anfield, while SM Caen sprung another surprise and Olympique de Marseille's early-season misery continued in France. The Ligue 1 champions' pain was shared by fellow domestic titleholders FC Barcelona and SL Benfica, as UEFA.com now recaps in this review of the weekend's action.
Roy Hodgson was left ruing what might have been after his opening Premier League game in charge of Liverpool FC. David Ngog looked to have secured the new Reds manager a perfect start despite Joe Cole's first-half dismissal, but a 90th-minute Pepe Reina own goal gifted Arsenal FC a share of the spoils. "It was a fantastic effort, but points are hard to come by in the Premier League and when you get so close, you can't avoid the feeling of disappointment," said Hodgson. "To concede so close to the end to a rather scrappy goal was tough on us."
Chelsea FC won their final two home games 7-0 and 8-0 on their way to clinching the title last term and they carried on where they left off by downing promoted side West Bromwich Albion FC 6-0, with an inspired Didier Drogba claiming a hat-trick. Blackpool FC fared rather better than their fellow new boys, meanwhile, as they celebrated a 4-0 victory at Wigan Athletic FC, and ahead of their UEFA Champions League qualifier with BSC Young Boys, Tottenham Hotspur FC drew 0-0 with big-spenders Manchester City FC.
Ligue 1 newcomers Caen proved that last weekend's win over champions Marseille was no fluke by besting big guns Olympique Lyonnais 3-2. Bafétimbi Gomis equalied twice for Lyon, cancelling out goals by Youssef El Arabi and Sambou Yatabaré, but Ismaila N'Diaye won it after Anthony Réveillère was sent off. Caen now find themselves top on six points alongside Toulouse FC, who triumphed 2-1 at Garonne neighbours FC Girondins de Bordeaux.
As for Marseille, their troubled title defence continued with a second loss in two games. "I won't say things aren't serious, but they're not dramatic either," commented Marseille coach Didier Deschamps after watching his men succumb 3-2 at Valenciennes FC.
Sevilla FC are in pole position to land the Spanish Super Cup following a 3-1 first-leg win against Barcelona on Saturday. Holders Barça had taken the lead through Zlatan Ibrahimović at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán, but Luís Fabiano restored parity for Sevilla on the hour. Frédéric Kanouté then came to the fore, putting Los Rojiblancos in front with 17 minutes left before adding a second to leave the Copa del Rey winners in a strong position ahead of the return at Camp Nou next weekend.
Like Barcelona, Portuguese Liga champions Benfica were left licking their wounds after suffering a 2-1 home loss to ten-man A. Académica de Coimbra in their first assignment of the new season. Miguel Fidalgo put the visitors ahead on 26 minutes, but they were rocked by David Addy's dismissal shortly after half-time and Franco Jara's leveller 12 minutes later – only to take the points via Laionel's last-gasp decider. To make matters worse, rivals FC Porto and SC Braga both won, though Sporting Clube de Portugal succumbed 1-0 at FC Paços de Ferreira.
Rest of Europe
The race for honours began in Scotland on Saturday and eternal rivals Celtic FC and Rangers FC both kicked off with triumphs, overcoming Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC 1-0 and Kilmarnock FC 2-1 respectively. An opening-day success proved beyond Turkish giants Galatasaray AŞ, however, as they lost 2-1 at Sivasspor, while Dutch titleholders FC Twente are still awaiting their first win of the new Eredivisie campaign after drawing 0-0 with SC Heerenveen.
Russian Premier League pacesetters Zenit extended their unbeaten start to the season to 16 matches courtesy of a 1-1 stalemate with FC Dinamo Moskva, but their lead at the top was cut to seven points by second-placed PFC CSKA Moskva. Meanwhile, in-form FC Luzern are top in Switzerland after they won 4-1 at current champions FC Basel 1893, and FH Hafnarfjördur lifted the Icelandic Cup following their 4-0 victory against KR Reykjavík.
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