|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Lyon whip Real Madrid, Liverpool roll on
Trevor Huggins | September 14, 2005 06:43 IST
Olympique Lyon missed a penalty but still trounced Real Madrid 3-0 in a stunning start to the Champions League group stage, as holders Liverpool ground out a 2-1 win at Real Betis on Tuesday.
Europe's elite looked short of top form as last season's runners-up AC Milan needed a late flourish to beat Fenerbahce 3-1, 10-man Inter won only 1-0 at Slovak outsiders Artmedia and big-spending Chelsea edged Anderlecht 1-0 in London.
Elsewhere, PSV Eindhoven beat Schalke 04 1-0, Olympiakos Piraeus went down 3-1 at home to Rosenborg Trondheim and a late goal gave Rangers a 3-2 victory over 2004 champions Porto.
But the place to be for drama was the Stade Gerland where Lyon, the competition's top scorers last season, carried on where they had left off with a three-goal blast in the opening half-hour.
Norwegian John Carew, Brazilian Juninho and Frenchman Sylvain Wiltord - rounding off a superb move from the halfway line - all scored as Lyon tore Real's rickety defence to shreds.
It could have been worse as Juninho missed a penalty he was fortunate to be awarded just before the break.
Real, without suspended Brazil striker Ronaldo and injured France playmaker Zinedine Zidane, made a better fist of the second half but never looked like turning the game around.
Lyon's next opponents in Group F, Rosenborg, came out on top of a game with plenty of twists before Oyvind Storflor put the result beyond doubt in stoppage time.
Olympiakos went in front courtesy of the first own goal of the night by Alejandro Lago. Per Ciljan Skjelbred levelled for the Norwegians, who went 2-1 up just after halftime when Dimitris Mavrogenidis put through his own net.
Liverpool, who had to fight their way through all three qualifying rounds after their amazing final triumph in Istanbul in May, had clearly been well-briefed by their Spanish manager Rafael Benitez on what to do in Seville.
Two goals up within 14 minutes, thanks to Frenchman Florent Sinama-Pongolle and Spaniard Luis Garcia, Benitez's men held on despite a second half strike by Arzu.
Their victory, and the winning start by Chelsea, will add further spice to their clash in Group G at Anfield in a fortnight's time.
Chelsea had plenty of possession but needed a goalkeeping blunder by Daniel Zitka, allowing Frank Lampard's shot to swerve past him, to earn the points.
Anderlecht teenager Anthony Vanden Borre hit the post with a deflected shot but his team could not avoid a record eighth consecutive Champions League defeat.
Milan were heading for a draw against Fenerbahce at San Siro until Brazil playmaker Kaka scored his second of the night after a brilliant solo run in the 87th minute.
European Footballer of the Year Andrei Shevchenko finished the job with a tap-in two minutes later.
Milan's Group E rivals PSV, who they beat in last season's semi-finals, secured their win with a powerful header by striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink.
Inter took an early lead in their Group H game in Slovakia through Julio Cruz but failed to kill off a team appearing in Europe's flagship competition for the first time.
Inter lost Argentine midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron to a second yellow card after 56 minutes - for taking a free kick before the referee had blown his whistle.
The Italians return to San Siro later this month to host a Rangers side who snatched the points after Greek defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos headed an 85th minute winner.
Groups A to D play on Wednesday, with the likes of Bayern Munich, Juventus, Barcelona and Manchester United all in action and the romance provided by Swiss outsiders Thun, who visit Arsenal.