GENEVA (AP) — Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham made $100 million moves in the offseason and proved their worth Wednesday in Champions League debuts for their new clubs.
England captain Kane and his likely successor Bellingham scored key goals for Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, respectively, to show why they are adored already by their new home fans.
Kane’s precisely taken penalty quickly restored Bayern’s two-goal lead against Manchester United early in the second half of a 4-3 win. The final result was due to a late and fruitless flourish by the club that wanted to sign Kane from Tottenham and keep him in England.
“Towards the end of the game it got a bit frantic,” Kane told US broadcaster CBS Sports, suggesting Bayern “probably should have been 4- or 5-1 up after we got the third.”
Bellingham landed just where he wanted in Madrid and his 94th-minute goal in a 1-0 win over newcomer Union Berlin made it six goals for the former Borussia Dortmund star in six straight wins to start the Spanish giant’s season.
Back home in England, Arsenal returned to the Champions League after a six-year absence as if it had never been away. PSV Eindhoven was thrashed 4-0 in a no-doubt win sparked by England winger Bukayo Saka’s goal in the 8th.
Late goals got Italian teams off to good starts in the last-ever group stage before the new Champions League format takes effect next year.
Serie A champion Napoli won 2-1 at Braga thanks to an own-goal in the 88th by Mali defender Sikou Niakaté.
Lautaro Martínez was key to Inter Milan’s run to the final last season and the Argentina forward struck in the 87th to take a 1-1 draw from Real Sociedad.
Galatasaray got goals in the 86th and 88th to deny Copenhagen a valuable away win in Istanbul — it ended 2-2 — and Europa League winner Sevilla was held 1-1 at home by Lens, which is last in the French league.
Salzburg surprised Benfica by winning 2-0 in Lisbon.
Real Madrid was playing its 477th game in the European Cup or Champions League. Union Berlin was playing its first.
Madrid’s European adventure started on Sept. 8, 1955 — a 2-0 win against Servette in Geneva — in the third game ever played in the European Cup. Then, Union was playing behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany, outside the top tier, and known as SC Motor Berlin.
The experience told.
Union resisted Madrid’s first 29 goal attempts but the 30th proved too much when Jude Bellingham pirouetted to finish a game of pinball in the goalmouth and shoot into an empty net. It was the second time this month he scored a decisive stoppage-time goal.
“I hope I keep on scoring goals in minute 94 or 95,” Bellingham said. “Although it might do my heart, and the club, good to scorer earlier.”
Madrid next goes to the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium on Oct. 3 to face Napoli.
Manchester United and manager Erik ten Hag have now lost three straight games and four of their last five.
The cause was not helped by goalkeeper André Onana spilling Leroy Sané’s shot into the net to gift Bayern a 28th-minute lead. After Serge Gnabry double the lead, United players came out early for the second half and huddled for a pep talk from captain Bruno Fernandes.
It appeared to have worked with a goal in the 49th from Rasmus Højlund, the 20-year-old Denmark striker bought for $82 million from Atalanta in the role Kane might have filled.
Kane’s penalty seemed to have sealed the win, but Casemiro scored two late goals either side of a fourth for Bayern by French 18-year-old Mathys Tel.
BIZARRE RED CARD
Benfica impressed in the group stage one year ago but an unusual, almost farcical, red card cost the Portuguese champion dearly against Salzburg.
António Silva was sent off in the 13th for a handball on the goal line. After a shot was blocked, the ball looped in the air, bounced high in the goalmouth, grazed the crossbar on the way down and was swatted away by the defender. Silva held his head in his hands before walking off the field.
Salzburg had already missed one penalty kick taken by Karim Konaté but Roko Šimić took the next and scored. The Croatian who turned 20 this month set up 19-year Israel forward Oscar Gloukh for an easy score early in the second half.
EUROPA CONFERENCE LEAGUE
The third-tier Europa Conference League kicked off with Lille beating Slovenian champion Olimpija Ljubljana 2-0. Canada forward Jonathan David scored the first from a 43rd-minute penalty. European newcomer KÍ Klaksvík, the first group-stage team in any competition to come from the Faeroe Islands, and Slovan Bratislava also are in the group. The rest of the Conference League starts Thursday.
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