Barca denied by Thiago

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Defending champions Barcelona recovered from the shock of conceding a goal after just 23 seconds against AC Milan in their Champions League opener at the Nou Camp - only to blow their chance of victory at the death.

Brazilian Pato burst clear in the opening moments to fire coolly under Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes and give the Italians the lead in Group H. Barcelona stormed back with Lionel Messi clattering a free-kick against the woodwork before the Argentinian brilliantly teed up the equaliser for Pedro after 36 minutes.

With Barca in cruise control a second goal seemed inevitable and it came after 50 minutes through a brilliant David Villa free-kick. But the hosts were punished for their failure to put the game beyond doubt three minutes into injury time when Thiago headed home a Clarence Seedorf corner to earn Milan a point from a 2-2 draw.

In the other game in Group H, Champions League debutants Plzen fought out a 1-1 draw with Belarusian side BATE Borisov in Prague.

Marek Bakos put the hosts ahead on the stroke of half-time and Brazilian Renan equalised for the visitors in the 69th minute.

There was further good news for Chelsea in Group E as Valencia failed to break through a resolute Genk defence at the Cristal Arena in Belgium and were forced to settle for a goalless draw.

In Group F Marseille grabbed a valuable 1-0 win over Olympiakos in Greece thanks to a 51st minute strike from Luis Gonzalez. Marseille had substitute Rod Fanni sent off in injury time.

Porto had to come from behind to see off nine-man Shakhtar Donetsk with a 2-1 victory in a controversial opener in Group G.

Also in Group G, Zenit St Petersburg blew a 1-0 lead to fall 2-1 to APOEL Nicosia in Cyprus.

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