Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Football: Champions League round-up‏

by Thomas Davies.

It was a night of disappointment for Manchester's representatives in Europe on Wednesday as both United and City fell short in the Champions League.
Following a sobering Premier League defeat to Aston Villa on the weekend, Manchester City yet again stuttered on the big stage as Bayern Munich continued their continental dominance, prevailing 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium.

Goals from Franck Ribery, Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben gave Pep Guardiola's men a stranglehold on the fixture, while City 'keeper Joe Hart once more failed to impress with simple errors costing his side dear. 

Substitute Alvaro Negredo netted a late consolation for the hosts, while Jerome Boateng's dismissal meant Bayern finished a man down, but by then the result had long been decided.

After the worrying home reverse against West Brom on Saturday, David Moyes' shaky start as Old Trafford supremo continued as his charges squandered a lead to draw 1-1 away at Shakhtar Donetsk. The Ukrainians enjoyed the majority of possession and play at the imposing Donbass Arena - egged on by their boisterous support - but were stunned by Danny Welbeck's neat finish after 18 minutes.

With time elapsing and United looking good to cling on for a vital away victory, Brazilian forward Taison pounced on the ball and hammered a fierce shot into the roof of the net to salvage a point and send the home fans into raptures.

There was no such profligacy from other European heavyweights as Real Madrid and PSG eased to comfortable wins. 

Enjoying a slender one-goal advantage at the break, Real let loose in the second half at the Bernabeu and braces from Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria saw them cruise to a 4-0 romp over Copenhagen.

A Zlatan Ibrahimovic double set PSG on the way to a 3-0 victory at Parc des Princes, with visitors Benfica offering endeavour but no end product in Paris.

A tap-in and header from the Swede were sandwiched by another close-range finish for new defensive recruit Marquinhos and although the Portuguese toiled nothing was getting past Salvatore Sirigu in the home goal.

Olympiakos found their night equally comfortable in Belgium as a Kostas Mitroglou hat-trick set them on course for a crucial 3-0 away win at Anderlecht; but Juventus were held at home by Galatasaray.

After Arturo Vidal's penalty had cancelled out Didier Drogba's opener, the Bianconeri will feel frustrated that they could only muster a draw in a match they dominated as Fabio Quagliarella's late goal was scratched out by an even later effort by Umut Bulut.

As Munich marched on in Manchester, there was more German joy with Jens Hegeler's exquisite free kick snatching a 2-1 win for Bayer Leverkusen over Real Sociedad in stoppage time.

In the day's early kick-off a five-goal thriller went the way of CSKA Moscow - the Russians overcoming Vitoria Plzen 3-2 in St Petersburg. Despite the visitors taking the lead, efforts from Zoran Tosic, Keisuke Honda and a Radim Reznik own goal put paid to the Czech champions.

On Tuesday, there were big wins for Arsenal and Chelsea, Barcelona bested Celtic and Atletico came back to sink Porto in Portugal.

Elsewhere, Dortmund mullered Marseille, Milan were held by Ajax, Schalke scraped past Basel while Zenit drew blanks with Austria Vienna.

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