Real Madrid scored twice late in an electrifying finish yesterday to beat Manchester City 3-2 to open the Champions League group stage, while Paris Saint-Germain marked their new big-spending era with an emphatic 4-1 win over Dynamo Kiev.
Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo beat goalkeeper Joe Hart in the 90th minute to cap a dramatic comeback as the nine-time Champions League winners twice came from behind for a morale-boosting victory over the English champions following a week of domestic disarray.
While Madrid showed their pedigree as nine-time champion against their rich and ambitious opponents, AC Milan couldn't seem to use one of their favourite competitions to shake off their early season troubles as they were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Anderlecht.
Also, Robert Lewandowski scored late as Borussia Dortmund kept pace with Madrid in the tough Group D with a 1-0 win over Ajax.
Arsenal shook off their poor away form in the competition to win 2-1 at French champions Montpellier, while Schalke also opened Group A with a 2-1 road win at Olympiakos.
FC Porto won 2-0 at Dinamo Zagreb, while Malaga thrashed Zenit St Petersburg 3-0 in its competition debut.
City hoped to get off on the right foot after missing out on the knockout stages last season in the matchup between the champions of Spain and England. The big-spending Premier League club certainly had their chance only to come undone against a dogged opponent desperate for a victory.
"The most important thing was to win and we did that. The team is good, the fans are good and I'm good," said Ronaldo, who returned to the Santiago Bernabeu for the first time since saying he felt "sad" at the club. "It was a crazy game."
Ronaldo's winner capped a frantic finale after City had done well to soak up Madrid's pressure in the first half before twice taking the lead in the second.
"It is difficult not because we lost - we can lose against a side like Real Madrid - but because with four minutes to go it was 2-1," City manager Roberto Mancini said.
Madrid's weakness on set pieces again proved costly as Aleksandar Kolarov curled home a free kick in the 85th minute to re-establish the advantage after Marcelo had cancelled out Edin Dzeko's 68th-minute opener as City's substitutes performed.
Madrid came roaring back, however. Substitute Karim Benzema turned to squeeze home an 87th-minute equaliser past Hart, before Ronaldo capped the rally as the hosts shook off the criticism following a poor domestic start.