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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Arsenal, Inter Milan Off to Winning Start

LONDON -- Arsenal had to withstand a hostile crowd while Inter Milan faced a similar-minded Aston Villa defense in their bid to repeat their European titles Thursday with safe wins.

Arsenal beat Cypriot club Omonia of Nicosia 3-1 in the opening round of the European Cup Winners Cup in front of 20,000 spectators who whistled and jeered their every mistake.

Inter's opening match of the UEFA Cup was delayed from Tuesday and Villa's defensive tactics almost achieved the tie the visitors had hoped for, thanks to poor finishing from the Milan forwards. A 74th-minute penalty to Dutch striker Denis Bergkamp gave the Italian club a 1-0 win at its San Siro stadium.

Milan's compatriots from Sampdoria were not so lucky however, and suffered a shock 3-2 loss to Norwegian part-timers Bodo Glimt in their Cup Winners Cup match in Oslo.

Former England international Paul Merson, recalled to the Arsenal team after being dropped last week, gave Arsenal the lead in the 37th minute.

A well-weighted Ian Wright pass put Merson one-on-one against goalkeeper Christos Christou and he tipped the ball over his head into the net for Arsenal's first goal in six hours and 51 minutes.

Five minutes into the second half, Wright swooped on a bad back pass by Evagoras Christofi to make it 2-0.

Omonia scored in the 72nd minute when Costas Amelkos beat David Seaman with a long low shot, and although the Cypriots threw everything into the attack looking for an equalizer, Merson beat Christou for the third goal.

Inter controlled most of its match, but Bergkamp and his striking partner, Uruguayan Ruben Sosa, were unable to finish off their many chances. In the 74th minute, Nicola Berti sent a through ball to Sosa who was knocked over by Villa goalkeeper Nigel Spink. Bergkamp converted the ensuing penalty.

Striker Bent Inge Johnsen scored twice for Bodo Glimt, which is based north of the Arctic Circle in northern Norway but switched the first leg to Oslo's Ulleval stadium. The Norwegians led Sampdoria 2-0 at half-time after Tom Kare Staurvik scored in the third minute and Johnsen half an hour later.

Mauro Bertarelli pulled one back for Sampdoria two minutes into the second half, but Johnsen made it 3-1 for the Norwegians in the 58th. David Platt, Sampdoria's English forward, ended the scoring in the 69th minute.

In other matches, Chelsea marked its return to European competition with a 4-2 win over Czech champion Viktoria Zizkov, Dundee United kept Scotland's hopes alive in Europe with a 3-2 win over Slovakian club Tatran Presov and two late goals to Portugal's FC Porto broke a deadlock with Poland's LKS Lodz for a 2-0 win.