Posted by News Express | 18 September 2019 | 926 times
Dries Mertens and Fernando Llorente scored late goals as Napoli defeated holders Liverpool 2-0 in Tuesday’s opening round of Champions League group stage matches.
Mertens converted a penalty on 82 minutes and Llorente added a second in stoppage time as Napoli gained a measure of revenge for last season’s 1-0 loss at Anfield that denied the Italians a spot in the knockout rounds.
Back in England, Valencia put a week of turmoil behind them to beat Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge in Frank Lampard’s first Champions League game in charge of the Blues.
Chelsea dominated possession, but were toothless in attack after losing promising midfielder Mason Mount to an early injury and were punished 16 minutes from time when Rodrigo grabbed all three points for the Spaniards.
Lionel Messi returned from injury to make an innocuous first appearance of the season as Barcelona were held to a 0-0 draw away at Borussia Dortmund in their opener.
Messi, who has missed the start of the season with a calf injury, came off the bench in a game which Barcelona were lucky not to lose after Dortmund captain Marco Reus missed a penalty and several chances in the second half.
Lucien Favre’s side delivered on their pre-match promise to play fearlessly against five-time European champions Barcelona, probing the visitors from the wings and repeatedly finding gaps in the back line.
Both sides had chances in a game of cat and mouse in the first half, but it was Dortmund who looked the more likely to score.
Reus was denied at point-blank range by goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Jadon Sancho fired the ball over the crossbar shortly before half-time.
The hosts continued to turn the screw after the break, and were rewarded with a penalty when Nelson Semedo tripped Sancho in the box.
•Based on AFP reports. PHOTO: Hirving Lozano (L) and Joel Matip go for the ball during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match Napoli vs Liverpool on September 17, 2019, at the San Paolo stadium in Naples. Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP
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