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UEFA Champions League Opens Tuesday

Posted September. 20, 2007 07:51,   


The 2007-2008 Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Champions League began in earnest on September 19, in which contenders will vie for the throne of European professional soccer.

Italia’s AC Milan, the championship winner of the last season, continued their excellent start to the season by beating Portugal’s Benfica in the opening game of the UEFA Championships League. In the first Group D game, held at Milan’s home ground, Andrea Pirlo curled in an early free kick after nine minutes of the first half, and also assisted in the second goal by veteran attacker Filippo Inzaghi, 24 minutes into the first half. AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti expressed his full satisfaction on the game, saying, “Our players did a tremendous job. Pirlo controlled the ball so well.”

In Group C, Spain’s Real Madrid won their opening Champions League game at home against Werder Bremen 2-1. Real Madrid`s Raul scored a record 57th goal in the Champions League, 16 minutes into the first half, and Ruud van Nistelrooy also scored his 50th Champions League goal 29 minutes into the second half.

Meanwhile, English powerhouse Chelsea faced Norwegian side Rosenborg in their Group B opener and barely managed their 1-1 against the Norway-based team. After allowing an early goal by Norwegian Miika Koppinen 24 minutes into the first half, Chelsea drew even after Andrei Shevchenko’s goal eight minutes after half-time. Since his transfer from AC Milan in 2006, for a fee of around $60 million, Shevchenko has been criticized due to poor performance. He has scored only 14 goals in 52 games so far. However, Shevchenko showed signs of improvement against Rosenborg by scoring the all important goal of the game. Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho lambasted his side for failing to convert their possession into goals, saying, “I’m totally disappointed by this game. We had plenty of chances, and scored one goal after producing 20 chances, of which 15 were off target.”

The final match of the 2007-2008 Championships League, to be held over the next eight months, will take place in Moscow, Russia, in May 2008.