UEFA Champions League: Real Madrid beat Celtic 3-0; Benzema goes off injured

Benfica also won its opening group stage match while AC Milan was held to a 1-1 draw against Salzburg.

Vinicius Jr celebrates after opening the score for Real Madrid in the 56th minute against Celtic on Tuesday.

Vinicius Jr celebrates after opening the score for Real Madrid in the 56th minute against Celtic on Tuesday. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Benfica also won its opening group stage match while AC Milan was held to a 1-1 draw against Salzburg.

Real Madrid claimed a 3-0 victory over Celtic in their Champions League Group F opener on Tuesday but it came at a cost as they lost forward Karim Benzema to a knee injury in the first half.

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Celtic enjoyed an impressive start, creating several chances in front of their home fans but they were unable to find that killer instinct in front of goal.

Real, however, were clinical despite the injury to Benzema and killed the game by scoring three goals in their only three shots on target in the second half.

First it was Vinicius Jr who thumped home a close-range finish from a Federico Valverde cross in the 56th minute.

Four minutes later, Luka Modric extended the lead with a shot from inside the box and substitute Eden Hazard wrapped up the points in the 77th minute with a simple close finish from a fine assist by Dani Carvajal.

AC Milan held to 1-1 draw at Salzburg

AC Milan midfielder Alexis Saelemaekers earned the Serie A title holders a 1-1 draw at Austrian side Salzburg in their Champions League Group E opener.

Saelemaekers equalised in the 40th minute when Rafael Leao found him in the middle of the penalty area after Milan striker Olivier Giroud jumped out of the way to create the opening.

Salzburg had drawn first blood in the 28th minute through forward Noah Okafor who nutmegged defender Pierre Kalulu and slotted home from the corner of the six-yard box.

READ: UEFA Champions League HIGHLIGHTS score and updates: Salzburg 1-1 AC Milan, Leipzig loses 1-4 to Shakhtar Donetsk

The first 10 minutes were high on adrenaline as Salzburg pressed their opponents but came up against a stubborn Milan side who themselves tried to put the hosts under pressure.

“A good result, with a satisfactory performance but not of high quality. They started off better, we recovered later but we could have done better,” Milan manager Stefano Pioli told Sky.

The ball was stuck in midfield for most of the second half after Salzburg forward Fernando wasted a chance in the 53rd minute from a cross as his strike went well above the bar.

The tempo picked up again towards the end of the match and Leao almost scored a winner in the fourth minute of added time but his strike crashed against the post.

“Speed in the build-up was missing, especially because they were not that aggressive in the second half,” Pioli said.

Salzburg next travel to Chelsea, who earlier lost 1-0 away to Dinamo Zagreb, on Sept. 14 when Milan host the Croatians.

“I did not expect the result between Dinamo Zagreb and Chelsea. This teaches us that there are no taken for granted games... the next match will have an important specific weight,” Pioli added.

Salzburg 1-1 AC Milan
AC Milan midfielder Alexis Saelemaekers earned the Serie A champions a 1-1 draw at Austrian side Salzburg in their Champions League group stage opener on Tuesday.
Benfica 2-0 Maccabi Haifa
Alejandro Grimaldo scored a stunning long-range goal as Benfica eased to a 2-0 victory over Maccabi Haifa in their opening Champions League Group H fixture at the Estadio da Luz on Tuesday.
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