Milan came from behind to clinch a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Salzburg in their Champions League opener, as Alexis Saelemaekers cancelled out a superb solo goal from Noah Okafor.

Okafor's outstanding strike gave Salzburg the lead midway through an evenly matched first half, only for Saelemaekers to smash home an equaliser shortly before the break on Tuesday.

Stefano Pioli's men failed to build on the Belgium international's effort but almost grabbed a stoppage-time winner through Rafael Leao, who was denied by the frame of the goal.

Having failed to escape the group stages in the Champions League last season, however, the Serie A champions may still be relieved to escape without defeat ahead of meetings with Dinamo Zagreb and Chelsea.

Both sides created openings in an entertaining start, with Nicolas Capaldo heading over the crossbar before Olivier Giroud drilled a poor effort straight at Philipp Kohn from a tight angle.

But Salzburg hit the front through a tremendous goal after 28 minutes, as Okafor collected Fernando's pass before slipping the ball between Pierre Kalulu's legs and finishing neatly beyond Mike Maignan.

Milan drew level five minutes before the break, however, as Leao teed up Saelemaekers to slam a left-footed effort past Kohn from 10 yards out.

Salzburg missed a golden opportunity to regain their lead eight minutes after half-time, with Fernando somehow lifting his effort over the bar from six yards out when meeting Maurits Kjaergaard's cross.

Nicolas Seiwald then tested Maignan from range before the hosts appeared to run out of steam, allowing Sando Tonali to dictate the play for the Rossoneri.

Leao went agonisingly close to snatching the win in the 93rd minute, but saw his long-range effort deflect against the post and away to safety.

What does it mean? Group E looks wide open

With Chelsea succumbing to a dismal 1-0 defeat in Zagreb earlier on Tuesday, either side could have taken control of Group E with a victory.

But Milan were unable to push for a winner after levelling shortly before half-time, leaving the Rossoneri with just one win in their last 10 Champions League games (D3 L6), beating Atletico Madrid last November.

Meanwhile, no team will enjoy a trip to Austria; Salzburg are now unbeaten in their last five home games in UEFA's flagship club competition (W3 D2). 

Salzburg rely on youth once again

Salzburg have acted as a springboard for several top-class talents in recent seasons, and if Okafor's excellent solo goal is anything to go by, the 22-year-old Swiss forward could be another. 

Excluding own goals, each of their last 15 Champions League goals have been scored by players aged 23 or younger, the longest such run by any side in the competition's history.

Leao lays on a leveller

Having fired Milan to victory in the Derby della Madonnina on Saturday, Leao continued his electric form by teeing up Saelemaekers to get the Rossoneri back on level terms.

Leao has now delivered 11 assists in all competitions since the start of 2022, the most of any Serie A player.

What's next?

Milan travel to Sampdoria for their next Serie A outing on Saturday. Salzburg go to SV Ried in the Austrian Bundesliga on the same day, before facing Chelsea next Wednesday.

Joao Felix has started to discover his "best moments" since joining Atletico Madrid ahead of their Champions League clash with Porto, according to Diego Simeone.

The Portugal international became the fifth most expensive signing in history when he joined Atleti from Benfica for €126million in July 2019.

Only Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele have moved for larger fees in world football than Joao Felix, who signed a seven-year deal but has struggled to deliver thus far.

The 22-year-old offered encouraging signs at the start of the 2022-23 season, though, assisting all three goals in the 3-0 opening-day LaLiga win over Getafe.

While Joao Felix is yet to find the net this season, Simeone believes the forward is finding his feet in the Spanish capital as Atleti prepare to host Porto in the Champions League on Wednesday.

"Joao is at the best moments in the years since we have been together, more mature, stronger, more sure of himself, involved in what the team needs," Simeone said.

"He has all the talent, the ability… he just has to tap into it."

Joao Felix will likely line up alongside Alvaro Morata against Porto, but Atleti could be without Jan Oblak, who was forced off with injury in the closing stages against Real Sociedad on Saturday.

"It will be assessed tomorrow morning. From there we will see what can happen," Simeone said of Oblak's fitness. "Ivo Grbic is ready, we believe in him, he is ready to play."

Atletico were narrow 1-0 aggregate losers to Manchester City in the quarter-finals of last year's competition, and Simeone is relishing the challenge of going further this campaign.

"The Champions League is not just another game, it is different," he added. "We will have to do things well from the first game, with our people, in our stadium, to grow in the competition. 

"It's clear that the Champions League is always very difficult, but it's an opportunity. Last season we had a good Champions League, we were close to being among the best, but we competed very well. 

"It's just beginning, we have to demonstrate what we imagine and what we're excited about, hopefully with the team's work we'll have a good Champions League."

Jurgen Klopp kept his message to his Liverpool players simple ahead of their Champions League opener at Napoli, urging the Reds to "play better" after previous struggles in Naples.

Wednesday will mark the third time Napoli and Liverpool have met in the Champions League group stage in the past five seasons, with the Italian side winning home games against the Reds in both 2018-19 (1-0) and 2019-20 (2-0).

Klopp also lost 2-1 at Napoli while Borussia Dortmund coach, and he knows his players must improve on these previous showings.

"I'm a late bloomer," he said. "I always need a little bit longer to achieve my stuff, and that means sometimes I have to try two times, sometimes three times, sometimes four times – and Napoli [could be] four times, obviously.

"What do we have to do? Play better than in the previous three games – that would be very helpful, because we didn't play particularly well when we came here. One reason is because Napoli are pretty strong."

Despite Liverpool's poor record at Napoli, the Reds have won each of their last three away games against Italian sides in European competition, although the Partenopei have five victories in six Champions League home games against Premier League opposition.

Luciano Spalletti will be in the opposite dugout to Klopp this time around, and the German heaped praise on the Napoli coach and his squad.

"He is a real great of the game, worked all over the world, very successful, you can always see his stamp on the team," Klopp added.

"It's always clear who is the coach, I respect that a lot. Looking forward to seeing him tomorrow.

"[The Napoli players] are not all young, but they're all good... I'm not 100 per cent sure, but I think not too long ago there was a bit of a nervous situation in Napoli around when players left for different reasons; obviously it has all settled again.

"I'm really happy for the people here. But one player who always stayed is [Piotr] Zielinski, and around him you could build again another team – it's a really, really interesting project, I have to say.

"Good football, intense style, different approaches, so really good. Spalletti is a good coach, so nobody should be surprised, and he's obviously pretty relaxed about maybe some nervous things around. So, it's probably a really good fit – that's how it looks."

Arthur Melo, on loan at Liverpool from Juventus, will be familiar with Napoli after his exploits in Serie A and could make his debut against Spalletti's side, but Klopp warns the midfielder will need time to settle.

"Arthur needs now just football – and training, especially – that's how it is. He wasn't in team training for a while at Juve, so he needs proper team training – and that's what we are doing with him," Klopp explained.

"Can he play minutes? Yes. Should he play full game? No, because he needs to get used to the intensity in each competition. It's not like in the Champions League you have to work less than in the Premier League.

"Not at all, especially not here. He is doing well, he is really giving his absolute all in training. We have to be careful with him as well, and then we will see whether we can use him."

Sadio Mane will provide vital Champions League experience with his "special gift for leading the team" despite his quiet demeanour, according to Julian Nagelsmann.

Mane will play his first game in UEFA's flagship club competition for the Bundesliga champions on Wednesday at Inter, where Bayern have a perfect record in Europe (three wins in three games).

The Senegal international will attempt to fill the void left by Robert Lewandowski, who left for Barcelona, and brings crucial experience, having lifted the Champions League with Liverpool in 2019.

Mane has started life in Germany in fine form, scoring three times in five games, and needs one more goal to become just the fourth African player to score 25 or more goals in the Champions League.

While Bayern have shared the goalscoring burden after the forward's arrival from Liverpool, Nagelsmann says Mane will bring more to his side than just goals.

"I expect that he will pass on his experience to other players and live up to his claim to leadership," Nagelsmann told reporters. 

"He has a special gift for leading a team – not even as a loud speaker."

Bayern are among the pre-tournament favourites despite crashing out at the quarter-final stage last term, losing 2-1 on aggregate to Villarreal after Samuel Chukwueze's late goal at the Allianz Arena.

While the Bundesliga side have not lifted European football's main prize since 2013, Nagelsmann welcomes the favourites tag as he looks to atone for last season's disappointment.

"Bayern Munich should always be one of the favourites, given their history," he added. "The Champions League is always special, even hearing the anthem. I've never been to the San Siro as a coach.

"There have been many historic games here. I don't know yet whether it will be the same tomorrow. The opening game isn't decisive but we're trying to get off to a good start."

Inter have been somewhat off the pace in Serie A, winning three games and losing twice to sit eighth in the embryonic table following a 3-2 derby disappointment against fierce rivals Milan last time out.

Bayern are also unbeaten in 10 games against Italian opposition in the Champions League and have won all 18 of their group-stage openers since the 2003-04 term.

But Manuel Neuer warned Bayern cannot afford to be complacent, nor underestimate Simone Inzaghi's side amid an underwhelming start to the 2022-23 season.

"It's the start of the Champions league, you can't say that," Neuer responded when asked if Inter were a weakened side from last campaign. 

"It's a completely different atmosphere and a chance for Inter to restart. We won't underestimate the opponent.

"We're among the favourites. In the past few years we haven't managed to make it to the end. Bitter defeats like the last one against Villarreal hurt. We have the ambition and the incentive to get very far."

Antonio Conte has criticised Tottenham's fixture crunch in the run-up to the World Cup, stating it is the first time in his career he has seen such a "crazy" schedule.

The Premier League side get their Champions League campaign under was on Wednesday when they host Marseille, marking their return to the competition after two seasons away.

Coupled with English domestic commitments, they will play 17 games over the next nine and a half weeks, due to the mid-season staging of this year's World Cup in Qatar.

Reflecting on the calendar, Conte has been left stunned by the crush of clashes on his team's schedule, and says he believes organisers can do better to avoid such issues.

"It's crazy," he stated at a pre-match press conference. "We played three games in six days against Nottingham Forest, West Ham and Fulham, and now we play three games against Marseille, [Manchester] City away [and] Sporting Lisbon away in six days.

"I think [this is the] first time in my career [I have] seen a schedule like this. I think we can do much better for the future."

Conte added that Spurs' return to the top competition in European club football was a chance to show further progress on a strong 2021-22 season.

"First of all, we are having a Champions League press conference for what we did last season," he stated. "I think last season we did a fantastic job with the club and with the players.

"We are to enjoy this important competition in Europe. For sure, we want to play to try to do our best.

"We have to play with ambition and with great desire, with great will. I know very well this tournament is really difficult, it is the most difficult in the world.

"But at the same time, it's a great opportunity to show we are going in the right way, that we are making a step forward and we want to try to improve and to give satisfaction to our fans and then to give satisfaction to ourselves."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is in the squad for Chelsea's Champions League opener against Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday.

The Gabon international was one of the final major signings of a busy transfer window for Thomas Tuchel's Blues, as they seek to offset the loss of Romelu Lukaku.

The former Barcelona forward arrived at Stamford Bridge with a broken jaw however, throwing into doubt when he would be able to participate.

But with confirmation of Chelsea's 23-man party for their European opener in Croatia comes the news he could be in line for his debut, alongside fellow new recruit Denis Zakaria.

N'Golo Kante and Thiago Silva are the two men who drop out for the Blues, as the Premier League side look to take the momentum from their victory over West Ham at the weekend into an opening continental win.

Barcelona head coach Xavi is "pretty sure" defender Jules Kounde will make his LaLiga debut for his new team against Real Valladolid this weekend.

Kounde joined Barca from Sevilla for a reported fee of €55million this transfer window, after the Catalan club beat Chelsea to the France international's signature.

However, Barcelona's financial situation meant Kounde could not be registered to play in LaLiga, although other new arrivals Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen have each made their debuts.

But Xavi believes the situation is finally sorted and is confident Kounde will feature against Valladolid at Camp Nou on Sunday.

Xavi told reporters at his pre-match news conference: "It's a negotiation with LaLiga. We are pretty sure that Jules can play tomorrow. We are optimistic."

Kounde is sure to be a big help for Barcelona in Europe as they compete to lift their first Champions League trophy since beating Juventus in the final in the 2014-15 campaign.

Xavi's team will first have to get out of a tricky Group C that includes Inter and Viktoria Plzen, as well as Bayern Munich, who infamously thumped Barcelona in a humiliating 8-2 defeat in the 2019-20 quarter-finals.

And Xavi knows the size of the task ahead of his team, saying: "It's a very difficult group, perhaps the toughest. 

"We've made very good signings this season, we've invested a lot. The Champions League and the league, we want to go through and fight for the trophies. But the challenge is massive. It's perhaps the group of death."

Robert Lewandowski will be reunited with Bayern Munich in the Champions League on September 13, with Erling Haaland facing former side Borussia Dortmund the following day.

Following his move to Barcelona in July, Lewandowski is set for a swift reunion with Bayern after the European heavyweights were drawn together in Group C.

The same can be said for Haaland, who departed Dortmund for Group G opponents Manchester City.

Lewandowski will return to the Allianz Arena on matchday two; 24 hours before Haaland and City welcome Dortmund to the Etihad Stadium, with the return fixture at Signal Iduna Park taking place on October 25.

Reigning champions Real Madrid launch their title defence away at Celtic on September 6, though the standout fixture of the opening day sees Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus lock horns at the Parc des Princes.

The following day sees last season's finalists Liverpool begin their quest to go one step better away at Napoli, whose Serie A rivals Inter meet Bayern at San Siro.

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi insists there are no issues between star players Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, comparing any frustrations between the pair to sibling squabbles.

Rumours of discontent at the Parc des Princes have been swirling since Paris Saint-Germain's 5-2 win against Montpellier on August 13, where Neymar decided to assume penalty duties following an earlier miss from the spot by Mbappe.

During that game, Mbappe reportedly appeared frustrated with multiple teammates, which was said to have boiled over in the dressing rooms afterwards, requiring Sergio Ramos to step in and keep the peace.

Soon after, Neymar was seen to have liked a tweet that said Mbappe's new contract with the French giants had him acting like the "owner of PSG".

After the Champions League draw on Thursday – where Paris Saint-Germain landed in Group H with Juventus, Benfica and Maccabi Haifa – Al-Khelaifi was adamant that any supposed rift between his superstars was being overblown.

"No, no. There's no problem at all," he said. "I think it's really... I mean, I think it's you making a problem especially, and the media. 

"There's no problem at all. I mean, I can argue with my brother, or sister, it's normal. But the media, because it's Kylian Mbappé... they are good friends and they are very good team-mates. And they will always be good team-mates."

Through three games of the Ligue 1 season, Paris Saint-Germain are the only team with three wins, and have done so with 17 goals for, and only three against.

"It's a good start, it's just the start," Al-Khelaifi said. "They need to work harder and there's a lot of things to work on and to improve, because the season is too long, it's just the start. We are very happy with the start."

Jurgen Klopp cannot wait for the challenge that awaits Liverpool in their "incredibly competitive and intense" Champions League group.

The Reds are looking to go one better in Europe's premier club competition this season, after losing 1-0 to Real Madrid in last year's final at Stade de France.

Liverpool were placed in Group A during Thursday's draw in Istanbul, alongside Ajax, Napoli and Rangers, who return to the group stages after a 12-year absence.

Klopp expects "a proper, proper challenge" in the group stages of UEFA's flagship club competition, though he is relishing the upcoming task.

"The first thing to say is this is a proper, proper challenge," the Liverpool manager told the club's official website. "All of the clubs have quality, they all have pedigree and I would say they all have a chance.

"The good thing is that we do also, so it makes sense for us to look forward to the challenge and give it a try.

"We did not ask for any favours and we have not been given any, but this is not a competition where you can look for easy ways through because the standard is always unbelievably high.

"The difference this year is that the group stage will be shorter than usual, so we will have to be ready not just for the quality of the opposition, but also for the different demands and rhythms.

"The only certainty right now is that all of the six games will be incredibly competitive and really intense. I'm excited about it. It is a proper football group and, like I said, a proper challenge."

Giovanni van Bronckhorst "couldn't be prouder" after Rangers overcame PSV to book their place in the Champions League group stages.

The Scottish Premier League side are back in the main stages of Europe's premier competition for the first time since the 2010-11 season, having prevailed 3-2 on aggregate against the Dutch giants.

Van Bronckhorst's men held out for a hard-earned 1-0 win at Philips Stadion, with Antonio Colak's 60th-minute strike settling the tie and booking their place in Thursday's draw.

And the Rangers boss was delighted by the efforts of his players, and the control they demonstrated throughout the second leg.

"It feels great to win this game, to get the whistle at the end and to achieve what we wanted," he told BT Sport.

"I was more relaxed than last week because of the way we played. It was very controlled, we played the way we wanted. We scored in the right moment and became stronger and stronger in the game.

"As a player and coach, you're only thinking about competing with the best teams in Europe, and we have the opportunity to do so.

"I'm really happy with the way we played. I couldn't be prouder at the moment."

Meanwhile, matchwinner Colak was reduced to tears after the final whistle. The Croatia international has now scored five goals since arriving from PAOK, although this is undeniably the most important yet.

And Gers' number nine cannot wait for his maiden appearance on Europe's biggest stage in club football, telling BT Sport: "It's difficult to describe in words. 

"It was a great team performance. It's an amazing journey we'll have this year, and I'm so proud of all of these guys.

"I was in tears on the pitch, it was just a moment of joy. As a kid, I always wanted to compete at this level, and to be here is amazing."

Dinamo Zagreb struck twice in extra time to book their place in the Champions League group stages at the expense of Bodo/Glimt following a 4-2 aggregate success.

Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, the hosts struck twice in the first half at Stadion Maksimir with Mislav Orsic and Bruno Petkovic turning the tie on its head.

Yet Albert Gronbaek levelled the tie with 20 minutes remaining as last season's Europa Conference League quarter-finalists forced extra-time.

But it was the Croatians who secured their first group stage appearance in three years; Josip Drmic edging them back in front before turning provider for Petar Bockaj in the dying moments.

Meanwhile, Copenhagen sealed their return to the group stages, having last appeared in the 2016-17 season.

The Danish champions held Trabzonspor to a goalless draw in Turkey, with a 2-1 aggregate victory booking their place in Thursday's draw.

Antonio Colak's strike sealed Rangers' return to the Champions League group stages as they edged out PSV 3-2 on aggregate in the play-offs.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst's side are back in the main stages of Europe’s premier competition after a 12-year absence, as Colak settled the second leg at the Philips Stadion.

Malik Tillman robbed Andre Ramalho of possession inside the PSV penalty area on the hour mark, before squaring for the Croatian to apply the finishing touch.

And last season's Europa League finalists held out to inflict only a second home defeat on PSV in 14 matches across all competitions.

Rangers had won just once in their previous 11 away matches in Europe, but went close to scoring despite PSV carrying the greater threat earlier on.

Ryan Kent drew a comfortable save out of Walter Benitez, while a patient build-up culminated in John Lundstram firing narrowly wide from Tillman's lay-off.

PSV, who had struck in the opening period in each of their 11 previous games, finished the half strongly.

Jon McLaughlin was called into action to deny Luuk de Jong, and Cody Gakpo squandered a decent opportunity as he could not keep the ball down from 16 yards.

Rangers were whiskers away from snatching the lead 11 minutes after the restart; Tom Lawrence's curling 20-yard strike rattling the crossbar with Benitez beaten.

But the visitors did edge their noses in front on the hour mark, Tillman stealing possession inside the PSV area before squaring for Colak to slot into the empty net.

Tillman went close to doubling the lead soon after when Benitez held onto his vicious low drive before PSV threatened the equaliser.

An unmarked Philipp Max volleyed wide from close range, while McLaughlin demonstrated brilliant reflexes to keep out Gakpo as Rangers stood firm to secure their return to European football's top table.

Benfica eased through to the Champions League group stage with a 5-0 aggregate thrashing of Dynamo Kyiv on Tuesday, while Maccabi Haifa and Viktoria Plzen also qualified.

The three teams will now look ahead to the draw on Thursday when they will find out who they will be facing in the group stage.

Last season's quarter-finalists Benfica built on an impressive 2-0 first-leg victory against a rusty Kyiv side with first-half goals from Nicolas Otamendi, Rafa Silva and David Neres essentially killing the tie by half-time at Estadio da Luz.

Meanwhile, Haifa scored late on to earn a thrilling 5-4 aggregate comeback win over Red Star Belgrade in Serbia to reach their first Champions League group stage since the 2009-10 season.

A 90th-minute own goal from Red Star striker Milan Pavkov was enough to progress the Israeli side, who had been 2-0 down on the night after winning the home leg 3-2.

Haifa will be joined in Thursday's draw by Plzen, who also advanced after coming from behind to beat Qarabag 2-1 on aggregate.

A first-half goal from Filip Ozobic had put the Azerbaijani side in front after a goalless first leg, but Jan Kopic and Jan Kliment bagged after the interval to turn the game around and get their team into the group stage of the competition for the first time since the 2018-19 campaign.

Ruud van Nistelrooy was "proud" to be able to coach in front of his former Manchester United boss, Alex Ferguson, during PSV's Champions League play-off first leg against Rangers.

Ferguson was in attendance at Ibrox as the teams played out a 2-2 draw on Tuesday.

Antonio Colak equalised after Ibrahim Sangare's opener in the first half before Tom Lawrence gave the Scottish side the lead, though Van Nistelrooy's team had something to take back for the second leg next week after Armando Obispo headed in a leveller 12 minutes from time.

The former Netherlands striker was appointed as PSV head coach from the start of the season to replace Roger Schmidt, his first senior role in management.

Van Nistelrooy played 219 games for United in all competitions under Ferguson between 2001 and 2006, scoring 150 goals, and said at his post-match press conference it was a "proud moment" for him to be in the dugout knowing his former manager was watching on.

"Oh, my goodness no, one per cent, maybe, one per cent," he said when asked if he would like to be half as good a manager as Ferguson. 

"It was a proud moment for me that he actually watched me coach my team and manage my team and I'm glad as well. I spoke to him just briefly. He's well, he's looking great. He's doing well, his family as well. So it's great to see him.

"That he sees me down the touchline at Ibrox for me is a proud moment."

The 46-year-old also explained how much he had learned from Ferguson, who won 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, four EFL Cups and two Champions Leagues during his long tenure at Old Trafford before retiring in 2013.

"The thing is, as a player, you learn an unbelievable amount of things from him," he said. "And when you start to develop yourself as a coach then obviously you look back at moments.

"'Where were the managers I had? What did they do, and how did they form a team?' And the style of play and managing an individual, and he's such an example in that sense."

Van Nistelrooy, whose 44 goals in all competitions in the 2002-03 season still stands as a record for a Premier League player in a single campaign, was happy enough with his team's effort in the first leg in Glasgow, and is glad to have home advantage with the scores level ahead of next week's reverse fixture.

"We know what it is like with a great support behind us," he added. "That was today as well for Rangers. During some spells in the game the crowd lifted the team in such a way that is hard. I mean, you really notice it. There are not many places where you feel it like this.

"Of course, next week we will have that support. But both teams are very level in quality and with playing styles. It is reduced to one game now with the final at home. We have to prepare and be at our best."

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