Excitement between Liverpool and Manchester City, PSG draws on Messi’s debut

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Lionel Messi made his first start at Paris Saint-Germain in a 1-1 draw at Club Brugge in the Champions League on Wednesday, while last season’s runners-up Manchester City and Liverpool won high-scoring thrillers.

Thirteen-time European champions Real Madrid left late to beat Inter Milan at San Siro in a section headed by Moldovan rookie Sheriff Tiraspol after the first round of group stage matches.

Argentine star Messi lined up with Neymar and Kylian Mbappé for the first time, after being limited to just 24 minutes in the PSG jersey since leaving Barcelona.

Ander Herrera, who scored twice in the weekend’s win over Clermont, gave PSG the lead by directing a cross from Mbappé in the 15th minute, but Brugge soon tied through Hans Vanaken.

Messi huddled against the crossbar from the corner of the box, but PSG later lost Mbappé through injury and had to settle for a point against a team seen as weight in a demanding Group A.

Pep Guardiola’s City, defeated 1-0 by Chelsea in the May final in Porto, overcame a Christopher Nkunku hat-trick to beat RB Leipzig 6-3 at the Etihad Stadium.

Nathan Ake put City ahead from a corner and an own goal by Nordi Mukiele doubled their lead, but Nkunku nodded to get Leipzig back into play.

Riyad Mahrez added a third with a penalty before the break, only for Nkunku to head back in at the start of the second period.

Jack Grealish scored his first Champions League goal following his move for the British record £ 100 million ($ 136 million), with Nkunku completing his hat-trick before Joao Cancelo and Gabriel Jesus clinched a wild victory for City.

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Leipzig finished with 10 men after the former City Angelino was sent off for a second booking.

Henderson stars in Liverpool

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson scored the winning goal for Jurgen Klopp’s side on their comeback to defeat Milan 3-2 at Anfield in a meeting of two clubs that have combined for 13 European Cups.

Fikayo Tomori inadvertently swerved in an effort by Trent Alexander-Arnold to put Liverpool in front, but Mohamed Salah saw his penalty blocked by Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan.

Momentum shifted dramatically in Milan’s favor, as Ante Rebic and Brahim Diaz scored twice in the same number of minutes before half-time.

Salah made up for a 49-minute draw that was initially ruled offside before Henderson drove in the half volley from the edge of the area.

In the other Group B game, Spanish champions Atlético de Madrid drew 0-0 at home to Porto, which was frustrated by the decision to disallow Mehdi Taremi’s late goal.

Rodrygo snatched the victory from Real when he came in with one minute to go in Milan, surprising Inter, who had dominated much of the game and forced Thibaut Courtois to make several saves.

Newcomers Sheriff defeated Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0 thanks to goals from Mali international Adama Traore and Guinean forward Momo Yansane.

Sheriff, from a small pro-Russian separatist region of Moldova, is the first club from the former Soviet country to reach the group stage of the Champions League.

English midfielder Jude Bellingham scored a goal and prepared Erling Haaland for Borussia Dortmund’s second in a 2-1 win over Turkish champion Besiktas.

Javi Montero headed in a consolation for Besiktas in injury time.

Ajax rose to the top of Group D when Ivorian forward Sebastien Haller scored four goals in a 5-1 loss to Portuguese champion Sporting Lisbon.

(AFP)