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 Bernabeu in their Group C opener on Wednesday, 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 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 keeper Frederik Ronnow 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, and the German resistance was finally pierced in the 94th minute when midfielder Bellingham turned in a rebound to bag his sixth goal in six games this season.
In the other early kick-off, 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.
Lautaro Martinez's late goal salvaged a 1-1 draw for runners-up Inter Milan at Real Sociedad as they kicked off their Champions League campaign on Wednesday.
The hosts' early high pressing paid off after just four minutes when Brais Mendez stole the ball on the edge of the Inter box to fire into the bottom right corner and make it 1-0 but Martinez earned Inter a point with three minutes to go.
ARead on irishexaminer.com