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Laboured Barcelona victory over APOEL Nicosia failed to set the big stage alight

Barcelona laboured to a 1-0 victory over APOEL Nicosia at the Nou Camp last night, with defender Gerard Pique to thank for their slender win.

The hosts dominated possession and had 17 efforts on goal, but forgot their shooting boots despite grinding out the result.

Lasse Schone's equaliser denied Zlatan Ibrahimovic victory on his old stomping ground as Ajax held Paris St Germain to a 1-1 draw.

Denmark winger Schone levelled the match with Ajax's first shot on target, just when PSG were eyeing victory in their opening Group F encounter.

Edinson Cavani blasted his 28th goal in 50 PSG appearances to hand the Frenchmen the lead, with Sweden striker Ibrahimovic then expecting victory at his former club.

The 32-year-old former Ajax and Milan hitman mustered five of PSG's 10 shots on target, but his frustrations grew each time he was unable to find the net.

Ajax found themselves in the fraught uphill struggle they had anticipated against the cash-rich French aristocrats, but were able to deny Ibrahimovic's men and salvage a creditable point.

Yacine Brahimi's hat-trick helped Porto set a new club-record Champions League victory in a 6-0 thumping of BATE Borisov.

The outclassed Belarus side had no answers to Algeria midfielder Brahimi, with Jackson Martinez, Adrian Lopez and Vincent Aboubakar also on the scoresheet.

Former Arsenal striker Gervinho bagged a brace as Roma thumped CSKA Moscow 5-1 in the Italian capital.

Juan Iturbe and Maicon were also on the scoresheet, Sergei Ignashevich putting through his own net and Ahmed Musa claiming Moscow's solitary reply.

Athletic Bilbao and Shakhtar played out a goalless draw in Spain.

Mircea Lucescu's stubborn side refused to give an inch to their Spanish hosts and also posed questions on the counter to remind Bilbao how tricky it can be at this level.

Los Leones toiled for long periods against the Ukrainian champions and made a mess of what opportunities did come their way.

Aritz Aduriz thought he should have had a penalty for the hosts, but referee Tasos Sidiropoulos waved away the claims.

Luka Zahovic stole a late equaliser in Maribor's 1-1 home draw with Sporting Lisbon.

Former Manchester United midfielder Nani handed Sporting the lead with just 10 minutes remain but the hosts hit back after a pair of botched clearances let in Zahovic.

Belfast Telegraph


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