UEFA Champions League halftime snapshot: Big games in London, Milan even at halftime

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The day’s scoring started early, with Fernando Torres’ close-range header giving Chelsea an early lead in Gelsenkirchen. With a sixth minute sending off at the Dragão, an early goal from Atlético, and Milan’s surprise lead over Barcelona, the third round of UEFA Champions League had burst out of the blocks.

Then a break in the day’s big game: Aaron Ramsey, trying to dribble out of his own end, turns the ball over just outside his penalty area. Two Borussia Dortmund touches later, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan has BVB up on England’s leaders, who’ve looked nothing like their Premier League selves over the first 16 minutes.

Diego Costa, making his first Champions League appearance of the season, would add a second in Vienna, the newly-healthy Lionel Messi scored in Milan, and Olivier Giroud equalized for Arsenal, taking advantage of Roman Weidenfeller’s passivity on a Bacary Sagna cross. Whereas the first of these home-and-homes across the next two rounds could have been cagey affairs, Tuesday’s first halves produced more than a goal-per-game. Even matches in Marseille and Glasgow — games that seemed destined to reach halftime as they started — found goals just before intermission.

One of two games to reach halftime scoreless was the one unbalanced early. Though the Portuguese champions lost Hector Herrera in the sixth minute, Porto took Zenit to halftime at 0-0, managing to out-shoot their Russian adversaries in the process.

Here are all the halftime numbers, courtesy of Opta and WhoScored.com:

Group Home-Road Score Shots Shots
on Goal
Possession
E Schalke-Chelsea 0-1 7-5 3-2 61-39
E Steaua Bucharest-Basel 0-0 6-5 3-2 37-63
F Arsenal-Borussia Dortmund 1-1 4-7 2-2 59-41
F Marseille-Napoli 0-1 4-7 1-2 43-57
G Porto-Zenit St. Petersburg 0-0 11-6 0-0 51-49
G Austria Wien-Atlético Madrid 0-2 1-7 0-3 45-55
H Milan-Barcelona 1-1 4-9 1-2 33-67
H Celtic-Ajax 1-0 4-3 1-0 36-64