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Champions League: Schalke beat Olympiakos, Malaga overcome Zenit

Associated Press
Sep 19, 2012 at 08:54am IST

Piraeus, Greece: Benedikt Hoewedes and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored on Tuesday to give Schalke a 2-1 win against Olympiakos in the group stage opener of the Champions League.

Hoewedes headed in a corner from Jefferson Farfan in the 41st minute. That came only moments after Schalke's Greek defender, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, had a similar goal disallowed for a foul on goalkeeper Balazs Megyer.

"I'm very happy with the goal and the result. We took our chances," Hoewedes said. "It was great to get this against such a team and such a home crowd."

Schalke beat Olympiakos, Malaga overcome Zenit

Players of Schalke celebrate a goal during their Champions League match against Olympiakos on Tuesday. (AP Photo)

Papadopoulos played a vital role in holding off Olympiakos early in the first half, clearing a goal-bound shot from Paulo Machado in the fifth minute.

In the second half, Djamel Abdoun leveled for Olympiakos in the 58th after finishing off a move started by fellow Algerian Rafik Djebbour, who slipped in front of goal.

But the Greek crowd was abruptly silenced a minute later when Huntelaar fired in pass from Lewis Holtby.

Huntelaar missed a penalty in the 61st minute, striking the post. "We kept our heads and that was the important thing — it won us the game," Schalke coach Huub Stevens said. "Even when they leveled, we stayed cool. So overall, I think the result was fair ... we went for it, and by the end of the game we could have had more goals."

Olympiakos defender Yiannis Maniatis said his team had to make "many improvements" before their next game against Arsenal in London next month. Arsenal won 2-1 at Montpellier on Tuesday to join Schalke at the top of Group B.

"We definitely could have done more. But we didn't take our chances," he said. "Their second goal came so quickly after ours and it really threw us off. We lost our concentration."

In other matches, Francisco "Isco" Alarcon scored twice in Malaga's 3-0 win over Zenit St. Petersburg, marking a perfect Champions League debut for the Spanish team after the exit of several star players during a turbulent offseason.

Malaga led 2-0 by the 13th minute after goals by Isco and Javier Saviola. Zenit had several chances but failed to finish them off, and Isco struck again in the 76th minute to seal the victory at La Rosaleda stadium.

Robert Lewandowski scored late to give Borussia Dortmund a winning start to their Champions League campaign with a 1-0 victory over Dutch champion Ajax<.

Poland striker Lewandowski controlled the ball in the penalty area before hammering a shot beyond goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer with three minutes remaining, rewarding the home side's late dominance of the game.

Lucho Gonzales and Steven Defour scored late in each half to give Porto a 2-0 victory over Dinamo Zagreb for a winning start in the Champions League.

This was the seventh consecutive loss for Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League, after being beaten all six matches in the group stage of the competition last season.

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