Bayern tops Barça 3-0, United loses, Lukaku powers Chelsea

Bayern's Thomas Mueller celebrates scoring the opening goal during a Champions League group E soccer match between F.C. Barcelona and Bayern at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)

BERLIN (AP) — It was a tale of three strikers as the Champions League group stage started on Tuesday.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored but lost on his return with Manchester United, then Robert Lewandowski and Romelu Lukaku both led their teams to victory in their opening games.

Ronaldo and United were upset in a late 2-1 loss at Swiss champion Young Boys, Lewandowski scored two as Bayern Munich eased to a 3-0 win in Barcelona, and Lukaku’s second-half header gave defending champion Chelsea a 1-0 win over Zenit St. Petersburg.

Juventus won 3-0 at Malmö, and Sevilla held Salzburg 1-1 after the visitors missed two penalties in a game with four.


Ronaldo struck early in his first Champions League game for United since losing the 2009 final, but American forward Jordan Pefok had the last laugh in a dramatic 2-1 win in Bern.

Ronaldo didn’t take long to make his mark in his record-equaling 177th appearance in the competition – squeezing his shot under goalkeeper David von Ballmoos in the 13th minute after a brilliant cross from Bruno Fernandes.

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo, left, looks dejected after Young Boys scored during of the Champions League group F soccer match between BSC Young Boys and Manchester United, at the Wankdorf stadium in Bern, Switzerland, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. (Peter Klaunzer/Keystone via AP)

Only Ronaldo’s former Real Madrid teammate Iker Casillas has as many Champions League appearances.

However, United defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka was sent off in the 35th for a bad challenge and the home team pressed its advantage in the final third of the game.

Nicolas Moumi Ngamaleu equalized in the 66th and Pefok capitalized on a poor back pass from Jesse Lingard to score Bern’s dramatic winner in the last minute of injury time.

Robin Gosens’ equalizer earned Italian team Atalanta a 2-2 draw at Villarreal in the other Group F game.

Villarreal players react at the end of a Champions League, Group F, soccer match between Villarreal and Atalanta in Villarreal, Spain, Tuesday, Sep. 14, 2021. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz)


Bayern hammered Barcelona 8-2 in the teams’ last meeting in the quarterfinals in 2020, and the home side seemed fearful of another rout after its summer of upheaval saw the departures of Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann.

Bayern might have won by more but will be happy with 3-0 after another dominant performance.

Thomas Müller scored with a deflected shot in the 33rd minute to ensure Bayern scored for the 23rd consecutive Champions League game, a club record.

The visitors had been pushing harder and it seemed only a matter of time before the breakthrough would come. Müller’s shot struck Eric García’s back to deceive Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen.

Bayern's Thomas Mueller celebrates with Robert Lewandowski scoring the opening goal during a Champions League group E soccer match between F.C. Barcelona and Bayern at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)

Lewandowski got the second in the 56th on a rebound after 18-year-old Jamal Musiala’s effort struck the post.

It stretched Lewandowski’s scoring run to 18 consecutive games across all competitions for Bayern. But that didn’t mean he had enough.

The Poland star scored his second goal in the 85th, again after a teammate — Serge Gnabry — hit the post, though there was plenty for Lewandowski to do as he slotted the ball past a host of defenders.

Also in Group E, Mykola Shaparenko thought he’d scored a late winner for Dynamo Kyiv over Benfica, but the goal was ruled out through VAR for offside to leave the score 0-0.

Benfica's Alex Grimaldo, right, kicks the ball ahead of Dynamo Kyiv's Mykola Shaparenko during the Champions League Group E soccer match between Dynamo Kyiv and Benfica at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)


Chelsea had to wait until the 69th minute for Lukaku to make the breakthrough against a stubborn St. Petersburg defense. The Belgium forward towered above a defender to meet César Azpilicueta’s cross with a header for his fourth goal in as many games for Chelsea since his return from Inter Milan.

Chelsea's Romelu Lukaku celebrates with his teammate Jorginho after scoring his side's first goal during the Champions League Group H soccer match between Chelsea and Zenit St Petersburg at Stamford Bridge stadium in London Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Also in Group H, Juventus’ trip to Malmö came at the right time for the Italian team to get over Ronaldo’s departure. The Bianconeri had been struggling with just one point from its opening three games in Serie A.

But the Swedish air seemed to invigorate the visitors, as Alex Sandro headed Juve into a 23rd-minute lead, Paulo Dybala added a penalty just before halftime, and there was still time before the break for Alvaro Morata to chip the goalkeeper for the team’s third.

Juventus' Alvaro Morata celebrates scoring during the Champions League group H soccer match between Malmo FF and Juventus FC at Malmo New Stadium in Malmo, Sweden, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. (Andreas Hillergren/TT News Agency via AP)


Four penalties were awarded in the first half of Salzburg’s game at Sevilla, but the visitors missed two, leaving the score 1-1. A heavy rain shower added to the drama as it sent spectators scrambling for cover before the break.

Salzburg's goalkeeper Philipp Koehn, right, tries to save a ball next to Sevilla's Youssef En-Nesyri during the Champions League, Group G soccer match between Sevilla and Salzburg at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Seville, Spain, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Angel Fernandez)

Perhaps working on the expectation that more penalties would follow in the second half, Sevilla forward Youssef En-Nesyri was sent off after the break with his second yellow card for diving.

In the other Group G game, American defender John Brooks was sent off for Wolfsburg at French champion Lille when he earned his second yellow card for a deliberate handball. Wolfsburg held on to draw 0-0.

Lille's Jonathan David, left, and Wolfsburg's Kevin Mbabu go for the ball during the group G Champions League soccer match between Lille and Vfl Wolfsburg at the Stade Pierre Mauroy - Villeneuve d'Ascq stadium in Lille, France, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)