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UEFA Champions League Matchday 1 classics

With the group stage approaching, UEFA.com takes a look at some of the memorable games to have lit up the competition on Matchday 1.

Erling Haaland celebrates after scoring the opening goal in Salzburg's thriller with Genk in 2019
Erling Haaland celebrates after scoring the opening goal in Salzburg's thriller with Genk in 2019 AFP via Getty Images

Everyone wants to see the group stage start with a bang and the UEFA Champions League has consistently produced thrilling games on the opening matchday over the last 30 years.

UEFA.com pores through the archives to recall the contests that had fans on the edge of their seats from the word go.

Rangers 2-2 Olympique de Marseille (1992/93)
Rangers welcomed Marseille to Ibrox for their first game in the rebranded UEFA Champions League. Goals from Alen Bokšić and Rudi Völler – the latter capitalising on a defensive mix-up – put the French champions in command with an hour played in Glasgow. Gary McSwegan's clever header reduced the deficit before Walter Smith's side restored parity, Mark Hateley pouncing from close range to salvage a point for the hosts.

Newcastle United 3-2 Barcelona (1997/98)

Faustino Asprilla celebrates as Newcastle toppled Barcelona
Faustino Asprilla celebrates as Newcastle toppled BarcelonaGetty Images

Tournament debutants Newcastle did not take long to make an impact on the competition, recording a memorable victory over Louis van Gaal's team. Colombian forward Faustino Asprilla was the star of the show, opening the scoring with a penalty before extending the Magpies' lead with two fine headers. Luis Enrique and Luís Figo replied for the Camp Nou outfit, but Newcastle were not to be denied.

Manchester United 3-3 Barcelona (1998/99)

Manchester United enjoy scoring against Barcelona at Old Trafford
Manchester United enjoy scoring against Barcelona at Old TraffordGetty Images

Barcelona were the visitors to Old Trafford as Manchester United started a Champions League campaign that would culminate in a dramatic final triumph over Bayern München. The Red Devils raced out of the traps against the Blaugrana, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes scoring on 16 and 24 minutes respectively. Brazilians Sonny Anderson and Giovanni brought Barcelona level after the interval, before David Beckham edged the hosts in front once more. The Spanish side dug deep, however, with Luis Enrique converting from the spot after Nicky Butt had handled.

Galatasaray 3-2 Monaco (2000/01)
Fans at the Ali Sami Yen were treated to a thrilling match as Galatasaray began their campaign with a win. Jardel fired Cimbom ahead from close range and Gheorghe Hagi arrowed a delightful drive into the top corner of Stéphane Porato's net. Les Rouge et Blanc fought back through goals from Bruno Irles and Marco Simone, before both teams were reduced to ten men. A draw looked likely until a cross from the left found Capone, who stooped to head powerfully past Porato.

Classic Champions League Matchday 1 goals

Hamburg 4-4 Juventus (2000/01)

European title winners in 1983, Hamburg made their first appearance in the Champions League 17 years later. Igor Tudor and Anthony Yeboah traded early goals, then Filippo Inzaghi gave the Old Lady control with two typically instinctive finishes. Seemingly down and out, HSV mounted a stirring comeback, Mehdi Mahdavikia reducing the arrears and goalkeeper Jörg Butt netting from the spot for 3-3. Hamburg appeared to be on the brink of an astonishing victory when Niko Kovač bundled in from close range, yet Inzaghi had other ideas, completing his hat-trick with a late penalty.

Juventus 3-2 Celtic (2001/02)
There was also late spot-kick drama as Juventus edged the first of two dramatic meetings with Celtic in the first group stage. There was no portent of the fireworks to come as a pair of David Trezeguet goals put the Bianconeri 2-0 up. Stiliyan Petrov pulled one back for the Bhoys and it looked like Henrik Larsson had secured a point for Martin O'Neill's men when he stroked in a penalty four minutes from time. Nicola Amoruso then entered the fray and landed the decisive blow after being brought down in the area in the 90th minute.

Bayern München 2-3 Deportivo La Coruña (2002/03)

Roy Makaay revels in his hat-trick for Deportivo at Bayern
Roy Makaay revels in his hat-trick for Deportivo at BayernBongarts/Getty Images

Winners two years earlier, Bayern failed to win any group games in 2002/03. Roy Makaay's memorable hat-trick started their miserable run. Two lethal finishes in the first period had sent the Spanish visitors into a surprise 2-0 lead, but Bayern battled back to equalise through Hasan Salihamidžić and Giovane Elber. Deportivo were not to be resisted, though, as Makaay streaked clear to slot past Oliver Kahn. The Dutchman obviously made an impression on the Bundesliga club – they broke their transfer record to sign him the following summer.

Olympique Lyonnais 2-0 Real Madrid (2006/07)
A year after Madrid launched their Champions League campaign with a 3-0 defeat at Stade de Gerland, it was déjà vu for Fabio Capello's troops. Coming off the back of three successive quarter-finals, Lyon were a force to be reckoned with and showed their class with a clinical dispatching of the then nine-time champions. Fred lobbed the opener over Iker Casillas on 11 minutes, with Tiago prodding in a second after the half-hour.

Barcelona 2-2 AC Milan (2011/12)

Pato put Milan ahead at the Camp Nou
Pato put Milan ahead at the Camp Nou©Getty Images

Holders Barcelona were given immediate warning that retaining their title would be no easy feat when Pato broke through to notch the fastest ever Matchday 1 goal. If the start was dramatic, the end proved equally so, as after Pedro Rodríguez and David Villa had put the hosts ahead, Thiago Silva popped up in the 92nd minute to nod the equaliser in the first of the heavyweights' four meetings that season.

Real Madrid 3-2 Manchester City (2012/13)
Though Madrid eventually succumbed to Borussia Dortmund in the semi-finals, it seemed fate was on their side during the first game of the competition's 2012/13 edition. Aleksandar Kolarov shot City in front for the second time on 85 minutes with the third of five second-half goals. Somehow the Merengues came again and Karim Benzema quickly levelled, setting the scene for Cristiano Ronaldo to drill in a last-gasp winner.

Chelsea 1-2 Basel (2013/14)

Highlights: Chelsea 1-2 Basel

All appeared to be going to plan for the Londoners when Oscar finished splendidly just before the break. However,  Mohamed Salah curled in a 71st-minute equaliser and Marco Streller then rounded off Basel's fightback with a header from a corner. Salah, who had scored against Chelsea in the previous season's UEFA Europa League semi-finals and breached them once more on Matchday 5, moved to Stamford Bridge in January 2014.

Valencia 2-3 Zenit (2015/16)

Highlights: Valencia 2-3 Zenit

Axel Witsel scored the winner as Zenit ended their nine-game run without a victory against Spanish opposition in thrilling style. Two first-half strikes from Hulk gave the visitors a comfortable half-time lead, but João Cancelo reduced the arrears before André Gomes completed the fightback with just over a quarter of an hour remaining. Zenit had the last laugh, though, Witsel drilling home from the edge of the box to complete the scoring.

Liverpool 3-2 Paris (2018/19)

Highlights: Liverpool 3-2 Paris

Beaten finalists the previous season, Liverpool needed a dramatic stoppage-time winner to get the better of Paris at Anfield. Goals from Daniel Sturridge and James Milner set the hosts on their way, but Thomas Meunier gave the Ligue 1 champions hope before half-time. Kylian Mbappé appeared to have earned Thomas Tuchel's side a point, only for Roberto Firmino to restore Liverpool's lead late on with a low drive.

Salzburg 6-2 Genk (2019/20) 

Highlights: Salzburg 6-2 Genk

As Champions League debuts go, Erling Haaland's takes some beating. The Norwegian opened his tournament account after just two minutes and had completed his hat-trick by half-time, with further goals from Hee-Chan Hwang and Dominik Szoboszlai giving the Austrian side a 5-1 half-time lead. Ally Mbwana Samatta added to Jhon Lucumí's first-half effort to give Genk the slimmest of lifelines, but Andreas Ulmer ended the visitors' hopes of an unlikely comeback.

Manchester City 6-3 Leipzig (2020/21)

Highlights: Man. City 6-3 Leipzig

A superb Christopher Nkunku hat-trick was not enough for the 2019/20 Bundesliga runners-up as Pep Guardiola's team produced a magnificent attacking display to get their campaign off to a winning start. Nathan Aké opened the scoring, before a Nordi Mukiele own goal and a Riyad Mahrez penalty – either side of Nkunku's first of the evening – made it 3-1 at half-time. Nkunku twice pulled the visitors back to within a goal of City, but a curling Jack Grealish effort on his Champions League debut and further strikes from João Cancelo and Gabriel Jesus completed a resounding win.

Napoli 4-1 Liverpool (2022/23)

Highlights: Napoli 4-1 Liverpool

Finalists just a few months earlier, Liverpool were caught cold by a Napoli side that would go on to thrill in the competition and win the Italian title. The Partenopei were three-up at the break thanks to Piotr Zieliński's penalty (Victor Osimhen missed a spot kick at 1-0 too), André-Frank Zambo Anguissa's cool finish and Giovanni Simeone's tap-in. Zieliński made it four just after the break with Luis Díaz's reply of little consolation for Jürgen Klopp's well-beaten team.

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