Jude Bellingham scored deep in added time as Real Madrid wore down a resilient Union Berlin to claim a 1-0 win at the Santiago Bernabéu in their Group C opener, spoiling the Bundesliga side’s Champions League debut.
Real dominated possession in the first half but found it difficult to break down Union, who defended resolutely and were impressively marshalled at the back by veteran Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci – a summer signing from Juventus.
The 14-times European champions made a fast start to the second half and Rodrygo twice went close to scoring the opener, having a close-range shot saved by Frederik Rønnow before unleashing a thunderous volley that cannoned off the post.
Carlo Ancelotti’s team continued to turn the screw as the second half wore on with Union beginning to flag. The visitors’ resistance was finally pierced in the 94th minute when midfielder Bellingham turned in a rebound for his sixth goal in six games this season.
Elsewhere in Group C, a late own goal by Sporting Braga defender Sikou Niakaté handed Italian champions Napoli a 2-1 away win. In an entertaining game of many missed chances, Napoli took the lead in first-half stoppage time through the captain, Giovanni Di Lorenzo, after striker Victor Osimhen nodded the ball away from goal and the Italy defender seized his chance to bounce it in off the bar.
Braga stepped up their game after the break and forward Bruma equalised in the 84th minute with a header from a perfect cross by the substitute Rodrigo Zalazar. But four minutes later Niakaté handed the visitors victory with an unfortunate intervention, putting a pass by Napoli’s Piotr Zielinski into his own net.
Lautaro Martínez’s late goal salvaged a 1-1 draw for Champions League runners-up Internazionale at Real Sociedad. The Basque team looked the more dominant side for most of the game and the Serie A leaders will be grateful for their rivals’ misses in front of goal after a performance far below the standard of their unbeaten league run.
The hosts’ early pressing paid off after four minutes when Brais Méndez stole the ball on the edge of the Inter box to fire into the bottom right-hand corner and make it 1-0. Inter began to threaten in the second half but could not equalise until Martínez finally scored in the 87th minute. In Group D, Inter and Real are below Red Bull Salzburg, who won 2-0 at Benfica, with the Portuguese champions hampered by an early red card for Antonio Silva.
Galatasaray fought back for a 2-2 draw at home against FC Copenhagen in Group A. Mohamed Elyounoussi and Diogo Gonçalves gave the visitors a 2-0 lead but Copenhagen had Elias Jelert sent off for a second bookable offence on 73 minutes. Against 10 men, Galatasaray scored through Sacha Boey then levelled the game when Tetê fired in Wilfried Zaha’s cross.
In Group B, Lens came from behind to draw 1-1 at Sevilla. Lucas Ocampos put the hosts ahead inside the first 10 minutes but Angelo Fulgini’s first-half equaliser earned the Ligue 1 side a point, leaving Arsenal top of Group B.