A night of drama in the Champions League ended with AS Roma's abandoned match against Dynamo Kiev overshadowing Bayer Leverkusen's stunning 3-0 upset of tournament favourites Real Madrid.
The Group B match between Roma and Kiev at the Olympic Stadium was called off after Swedish referee Anders Frisk was felled with blood pouring from a head wound after an object thrown from the crowd hit him at the top of his forehead.
The unsavoury incident happened as Frisk was walking off the pitch at halftime and followed the sending off of Roma's Philippe Mexes moments earlier after the French defender had kicked out at Kiev striker Maris Verpakovskis.
Frisk, 41, one of the most respected and experienced UEFA referees, showed him a red card on the stroke of halftime with Kiev leading 1-0. As players and officials remonstrated, Frisk was hit by what appeared to be a cigarette lighter.
Although the gash in his forehead did not need stitches, a UEFA spokesman at the stadium said he was in a state of shock and could not continue. The match was therefore abandoned 40 minutes after he had been struck by the missile.
UEFA spokesman William Gaillard, speaking from Sofia where the European governing body's executive committee meets on Thursday, told Reuters by phone:
"We deplore what has happened and will wait for the match delegate's report as well as the referee's own report of the incident.
"This is the first time in many years that a European match has been stopped for such an incident -- sometimes there have been electrical failures with floodlights, of course, but this is something far worse."
Members of the UEFA disciplinary committee will meet on Thursday in Sofia to consider the incident.
Rome's Olympic Stadium already held unpleasant memories for the Swede.
In March 2002 he refereed Roma's Champions League match against Galatasaray, which degenerated into a brawl involving players and officials from both sides shortly after the final whistle.
Also in Group B, Bayer Leverkusen scored one of the biggest upsets in Champions League history crushing Real Madrid 3-0 to end a seven-match losing streak in the competition.
It gave Leverkusen a modicum of revenge for losing the 2002 final to Real in Glasgow but more importantly gave them three valuable points at the start of their campaign.
A miserable night for Real ended with the news that playmaker Zinedine Zidane dislocated a shoulder and will be out for three weeks at least.
It was Real's biggest European defeat for four years and means they have won only once in 20 European matches in Germany.
Manchester United, like Real possible title contenders, also looked like capitulating to a shock defeat but recovered from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Olympique Lyon in their Group D opener.
Lyon led with goals from Cris (35th minute) and Pierre-Alain Frau (45th) after some poor defending but United struck back in six second-half minutes with two goals from Ruud van Nistelrooy who broke Denis Law's European club record of 28 goals.
Van Nistelrooy scored a header to grab his 29th European goal for United and a deft touch made it 2-2 six minutes later. Including nine goals for previous club PSV Eindhoven, he has now scored 39 European goals -- more than any other Dutch player.
The other Group D match saw Turkey's Fenerbahce end their seven-match losing streak in the competition with a 1-0 win over Sparta Prague thanks to a header from another Dutch striker -- Pierre van Hooijdonk -- after 16 minutes.
But Fenerbahce finished the match with 10 men after Servet Cetin was sent off after 73 minutes.
Juventus won the battle of former final rivals when they beat Ajax 1-0 in Amsterdam in Group C thanks to a brilliantly taken chipped goal from European Player of the Year Pavel Nedved three minutes before halftime.
Bayern Munich, the third former European champion in Group C, also made a winning start with another Dutchman on target.
Striker Roy Makaay made no mistake with a second-half penalty that spoilt the festive occasion in Tel Aviv where fans chose to celebrate the first Champions League match played in Israel rather than stay home and celebrate the start of the Jewish New Year.
Another former European champion to enjoy a good start were Liverpool who proved far too strong for last season's beaten finalists AS Monaco in Group A at Anfield where Djibril Cisse and Milan Baros scored brilliantly-taken goals.
Deportivo Coruna drew 0-0 with Olympiakos in the same group, a result that pleased visiting manager Dusan Bajevic whose team ended a run of eight successive away defeats in the competition, though they still have not won in 23 games outside Greece.