| Oscar celebrates his second goal, against Juventus, on Wednesday. (AP) |
London: Chelsea found a new Champions League hero as Brazilian Oscar scored twice for the holders in a 2-2 draw against Juventus and Barcelona had yet another reason to thank Lionel Messi for a 3-2 win over Spartak Moscow on Wednesday.
Bayern Munich banished some demons in their first European fixture since their bitter final defeat by Chelsea in May with victory over Valencia and Manchester United, with plenty to prove after last season’s woes, also began with three points.
Oscar’s first taste of Champions League football since joining from Internacional will linger long after he fired the London club into a 2-0 lead, the second of his goals a rare gem, but Juventus ruined his script, hitting back to earn a point in the Group E opener through Arturo Vidal and Fabio Quagliarella.
Barcelona were heading for their first Champions League defeat at the Nou Camp for 17 matches when a Dani Alves own goal and Romulo’s 59th-minute effort put Spartak 2-1 ahead in the Group G game but Messi restored order with his 52nd and 53rd goals in the competition.
Manchester United began Group H with an unconvincing 1-0 victory over Galatasaray but the home jitters that cost them a place in knockout round last season were evident again as their Turkish opponents were denied by the woodwork three times.
The hosts failed to build on Michael Carrick’s early goal and Nani’s 53rd-minute penalty miss added to the nerves.
Bayern enjoyed a 2-1 victory over visiting Valencia in Group F with Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos on target for the Bundesliga club.
Oscar’s deflected shot beat Gianluigi Buffon after 31 minutes and while there was an element of luck about that effort, his second two minutes later was a moment of magic.
Turning sharply into space on the edge of the area, he curled an audacious shot into Buffon’s top corner. But Juventus showed their resilience and returned with a deserved share of the spoils.
While Oscar may be the latest south American to light up the Champions League, Messi is undeniably the main man.
Without him Barcelona may have suffered another Russian uprising in the Nou Camp as Spartak threatened to become the first side to win there in the Champions League since Rubin Kazan returned east with a victory in 2009.
Cristian Tello, scorer of the game’s opening goal, set up Messi’s equaliser and the Argentine maestro then headed the winner from a cross by substitute Alexis Sanchez, taking his Barcelona tally to an astonishing 109 goals in 100 official matches.
“We deserved to win but it was a really tough game,” Messi said.
“It’s not easy when they defend so deep and you can’t find the spaces,” added the 25-year-old. “They were comfortable defending in their penalty area and they have very strong and quick forwards and can break quickly. Things got complicated but we kept pressing and we managed to turn it around.”