Belarusian side BATE Borisov caused one of the biggest shocks ever seen in the Champions League football when it stunned last season’s beaten finalist Bayern Munich 3-1 on Tuesday.
The other likely title contenders all won with European champion Chelsea easily beating FC Nordsjaelland 4-0 away while Barcelona saw off Benfica 2-0 in Lisbon but lost Carles Puyol with a dislocated elbow before Sergio Busquets was sent off.
Like Barca and BATE, Manchester United maintained its perfect start with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over CFR Cluj in Romania where Robin van Persie scored both its goals.
The game between Juventus and Shakhtar Donetsk, both regarded as dark horses in this season’s Champions League, finished 1-1 in Turin where the Italian side chalked up a European competition record of eight successive draws.
There were wins for Valencia, which beat Lille 2-0 to condemn the French side to a second successive defeat, while Celtic ended a run of 20 Champions League away matches without a win after a last-minute 3-2 triumph at Spartak Moscow.
Braga, in contrast, maintained its fine European record on the road, winning 2-0 at Galatasaray to remain unbeaten in seven matches away from home.
The biggest upset was in Minsk where BATE earned its first ever Champions League home victory as it beat a Bayern side which had won its last nine matches in all competitions.
Bayern dominated the first half, hitting the post through Toni Kroos, but it ran out of ideas as BATE carved out an unexpected win against the four-time European champion.
Goals from Aleksandr Pavlov, Vitali Rodionov and Renan Bressan gave BATE a famous victory and all the Bavarians had to show for their efforts was a late Franck Ribery goal to pull the score back to 2-1 in the closing stages. However, the Belarus champion still had time to score again through Bressan deep into stoppage time.
Mata scores twice
Unlike Bayern, holder Chelsea brushed aside debutant FC Nordsjaelland in Group E in Copenhagen with Juan Mata netting twice and David Luiz and Ramires also scoring — although three of the goals only came in the last 11 minutes.
Chelsea keeper Petr Cech made an important save after 73 minutes when he turned a shot from Joshua John on to a post to preserve its lead.
Minutes later Luiz scored from a free-kick, prompting a defensive collapse from the Danish champion.
Chelsea’s win, and Juventus’s draw with Shakhtar in Turin, left it on top with four points, the same as the Ukrainians. Juventus has two and the Danes are bottom with no points and no goals.
Barcelona’s rivalry with Benfica goes back to the 1961 European Cup final which the Portuguese side won 3-2. Barcelona has not lost to Benfica in five European meetings since and won Tuesday’s Group G game, though Puyol’s injury has ruled him out of Sunday’s ‘Clasico’ with Real Madrid.
Goals from Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas left the Catalans top with six points from their two games — two points ahead of Celtic which won a thriller in Moscow.
Manchester United also came from behind to win at Cluj which took the lead after Pantelis Kapetanos capitalised on some poor defending after 14 minutes. van Persie equalised with a goal that came off his head and shoulder 15 minutes later before scoring a sublime second with the outside of his left foot after 49 minutes.
Man United tops Group H with six points, followed by Cluj and Braga on three and Galatasaray with none after a second successive defeat.
The results: Group E:
At Copenhagen: Nordsjaelland 0 lost to Chelsea 4 (Mata 33, 82, David Luiz 79, Ramires 89). At Turin: Juventus 1 (Bonucci 25) drew with Shakhtar Donetsk 1 (Teixeira 23).
Group F: At Valencia: Valencia 2 (Jonas 38, 74) bt Lille 0. At Borisov: BATE Borisov 3 (Pavlov 23, Rodionov 78, Renan 90+4) bt Bayern Munich 1 (Ribery 90+1).
Group G: At Lisbon: Benfica 0 lost to Barcelona 2 (Sanchez 6, Fabregas 56). At Moscow: Spartak Moscow 2 (Emenike 41, 48) lost to Celtic 3 (Hooper 12, D. Kombarov 71-og, Samaras 90).
Group H: At Cluj: CFR Cluj 1 (Kapetanos 14) lost to Manchester United 2 (van Persie 29, 49). At Istanbul: Galatasaray 0 lost to Braga 2 (Micael 27, Alan 90+4).
Keywords: Champions League football