Spain took the honours on the opening night of the UEFA Champions League as Real Madrid CF beat Manchester City FC 3-2 in a thriller and Málaga CF made a spectacular debut.
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Real Madrid FC and Manchester City FC played out a thriller on the opening night of the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League while there was a spectacular debut for Málaga CF.
City were the visitors to Madrid in the most highly anticipated game of the first matchday and although the hosts had the better of the chances, Edin Džeko opened the scoring midway through the second half. Marcelo soon equalised but five minutes from time Aleksandar Kolarov seemed to have won it for City, only for Karim Benzema to immediately make it 2-2 and Cristiano Ronaldo to seal victory as time ran out. In the other Group D opener there was also a late goal, Robert Lewandowski striking with three minutes left to give Borussia Dortmund a 1-0 win at home to AFC Ajax.
It is only Málaga's second European campaign and their first in this competition yet it took just three minutes against FC Zenit St Petersburg for Isco to claim the earliest goal of the UEFA Champions League season, and ten minutes later Javier Saviola had another. Isco produced another fine finish in the second half to clinch a 3-0 Group C home victory and make himself the early tournament top scorer. By contrast, the other Group C game between AC Milan and RSC Anderlecht was goalless.
Montpellier Hérault SC also were making their UEFA Champions League bow and nine minutes in Younès Belhanda chipped in a penalty to put the home team ahead against Arsenal FC. By the time another nine minutes had elapsed, Lukas Podolski and Gervinho had scored to earn a 2-1 Group B triumph for Arsenal. FC Schalke 04 were also 2-1 away winners in that section, at Olympiacos FC.
There was a bit of history for Zlatan Ibrahimović in Group A as his 19th-minute penalty for Paris Saint-Germain FC at home to FC Dynamo Kyiv made him the first player to score for six different clubs in the UEFA Champions League. PSG went on to win 4-1 while FC Porto prevailed 2-0 at GNK Dinamo Zagreb.