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Rediff.com  » Sports » Champions League: Italian clubs flop but Barca, United score big wins

Champions League: Italian clubs flop but Barca, United score big wins

September 13, 2017 09:57 IST

A summary of all the Champions League matches played across Europe on Tuesday

Magical Messi leads Barca rout of Juventus

FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring the first goal against Juventus during their UEFA Champions League Group D match at Camp Nou in Barcelona, on Tuesday 

IMAGE: FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring the first goal against Juventus during their UEFA Champions League Group D match at Camp Nou in Barcelona, on Tuesday. Photograph: Alex Caparros/Getty Images

A mesmeric Lionel Messi scored twice as he inspired Barcelona to a 3-0 win over Juventus to get off to a flying start in Champions League Group D on Tuesday avenging last season’s quarter-final elimination by the Italian champions.

 

Messi broke the deadlock on the stroke of halftime by playing a slick one-two off Luis Suarez and arrowing the ball beyond Gianluigi Buffon, finally getting the better of the veteran Italian in his fourth game against him.

The Argentine was also the catalyst for the second goal, forcing Juve to scramble the ball off the line and allowing Ivan Rakitic to shoot into an empty net in the 56th minute and add to his strike against Juve in the 2015 final.

But Messi was far from done. For his second and Barca's third he received a pass from Andres Iniesta and ripped more holes in a depleted Juventus defence before lashing beyond a dejected Buffon, scoring his seventh goal in three games.

Juventus, who were missing five key players including defensive warrior Giorgio Chiellini, looked a shadow of the team that beat Barca 3-0 on aggregate last season to reach the final, and have conceded seven goals in their last two games in the competition over two seasons.

Chelsea crush debutants Qarabag on return to Europe

Chelsea's Michy Batshuayi is challenged by Qarabag’s Maksim Medvedev, who end up scoring an own goal to complete the 6-0 rout

IMAGE: Chelsea's Michy Batshuayi is challenged by Qarabag’s Maksim Medvedev, who end up scoring an own goal to complete the 6-0 rout. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Chelsea enjoyed a triumphant return to the Champions League after a year out on Tuesday, thumping the competition's debutants Qarabag 6-0, including a stunning, if miscued, strike from new signing Davide Zappacosta.

The Italian was joined on the scoresheet by another new Chelsea arrival Frenchman Tiemoue Bakayoko on a satisfying night for manager Antonio Conte after a summer of much-publicised frustration in the transfer market.

"It was a good start for us. To score many goals, to win and to have a clean sheet -- I saw a lot of positive things tonight," Conte said.

The Azeri champions were never any match for their English counterparts and it took only five minutes for Pedro to open the scoring with a curling shot from the edge of the area.

The goal was a taste of things to come for the inexperienced Azeris who rarely strayed out of their half.

Chelsea ran riot in the second half against the Group C underdogs and equalled their best showing in the Champions League -- a 6-0 win against Maribor three years ago.

Defender Cesar Azplicueta knocked in an exquisite pass from Spanish compatriot Cesc Fabregas in the 55th minute.

Bakayoko, a second-half substitute then poked in a parried goal after a corner.

Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi added a goal in the 76th and Chelsea's sixth was an own goal by defender Maksim Medvedev six minutes later.

Manchester United cruise past Basel 

Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini scores the opening goal against Basel

IMAGE: Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini scores the opening goal against Basel. Photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters

Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford both opened their Champions League accounts as Manchester United returned to the competition with a 3-0 rout of Basel in their opening Group A match at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

United, who missed last season's Champions League but qualified this time by winning the Europa League, dominated the first half and deservedly went ahead through early substitute Marouane Fellaini's 35th-minute header.

Belgian international striker Lukaku doubled United's lead with a textbook header soon after halftime.

Rashford came off the bench for his first taste of Champions League action and poached United's third goal in the 84th minute.

Basel famously drew with and beat United in the group stages in 2011-12 to send Alex Ferguson's side out of the competition.

Lukaku, who now has six goals in six games for United since joining from Everton, ran riot for the hosts, having an early goal-bound shot blocked by the chest of Manuel Akanji while Henrikh Mkhitarayan wasted two glorious chances.

First he headed over from in front of goal then somehow contrived to hit the post from Lukaku's low cross.

United lost Paul Pogba, captain for the night, with a hamstring injury midway through the half but it was his replacement Belgian Fellaini who put the hosts ahead when he headed home Ashley Young's inviting cross.

It was also Fellaini's first Champions League goal.

Roma cling on for draw thanks to Alisson heroics

Atletico Madrid's Nicolas Gaitan challenges AS Roma's Konstantinos Manolas during their match at Stadio Olimpico in Rome 

IMAGE: Atletico Madrid's Nicolas Gaitan challenges AS Roma's Konstantinos Manolas during their match at Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Photograph: Alberto Lingria/Reuters

AS Roma clung on a for a 0-0 draw at home to Atletico Madrid in their opening Champions League group game thanks to a string of fine saves from goalkeeper Alisson on Tuesday.

The Italian side were also indebted to a superb goal-line clearance by defender Kostas Manolas in the first half and enjoyed a slice of luck when Atletico's Saul Niguez missed an open goal in stoppage time of the Group C game.

Despite the relief at the final whistle, it was still a poor result for Roma in a group where Atletico and Chelsea are favourites to qualify and they extended their winless run in the competition, including qualifying games, to seven matches.

The Serie A side have not won a Champions League match since they beat Bayer Leverkusen in November 2015 and have managed only one win in their last 16 games in the competition.

"The good teams have good goalkeepers. Tonight he was decisive and I hope he will continue to be," said Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco.

PSG's Neymar, Mbappe and Cavani run riot at Celtic

Paris St Germain's attacking trio of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani were all on the scoresheet as they tore Celtic apart to lead the French club to a 5-0 rout in their Champions League Group B opener on Tuesday.

The world's most expensive frontline produced a potent display of force to sweep Celtic aside, inflicting the heaviest home European defeat on the Scottish side.

PSG, who have so often flattered to deceive among Europe's elite, looked genuine contenders to make a run for the title as they mercilessly picked apart their opponents.

Neymar, making his first European appearance for PSG after his world-record move from Barcelona, orchestrated proceedings, ably assisted by teenager Mbappe and experienced Cavani, the other two members of PSG's exciting forward trio.

All three were on target in an explosive first half, before an own goal from Mikael Lustig and a second from Uruguayan Cavani wrapped up proceedings late in the contest.

"I'm very happy. It was a fantastic match and I'm happy for the team. It was an important win," Neymar told reporters.

Asked about Mbappe, he said: "It's always a pleasure to play with great players, even though he's young. For me, he's a great player and he has the potential to improve even more."

Cavani added: "We stayed focused throughout, not just when we were attacking but when we defended too. It was the perfect match, the match we had to play here to get the three points."

Lewandowski spot on as Bayern breeze past Anderlecht

Bayern Munich got off to a winning start in the Champions League for the 14th successive season on Tuesday with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Group B opponents Anderlecht who played most of the game with 10 men at the Allianz Arena.

Striker Robert Lewandowski received a pre-match slapdown from Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge after criticising the club's transfer policy, but the Pole showed his value on the pitch by scoring his seventh goal in six games this season from the penalty spot after being hacked down by Sven Kums, who received a red card.

The dismissal made a daunting task become even more difficult for the visitors who went further behind on 65 minutes when Thiago Alcantara side-footed a second from a cross by Joshua Kimmich.

Niklas Suele had another effort disallowed for a foul before Kimmich rounded off the night by waltzing round the keeper to roll the ball into an empty net for Bayern's third.

Benfica stunned at home by CSKA Moscow

Substitute Timur Zhamaletdinov scored four minutes after coming on as CSKA Moscow hit back from a goal behind to stun an uninspired Benfica with a 2-1 away win in their Champions League Group A match on Tuesday.

The Portuguese champions struggled to get into gear in the first half as their Russian opponents sat back, although the Eagles nearly went ahead when Alex Grimaldo thumped a long-range shot against the post.

The hosts also had a penalty appeal turned down when Haris Seferovic appeared to be hauled down in the box.

However, the Switzerland forward put Benfica ahead in the 50th minute by putting a neat finishing touch to a flowing move started by Grimaldo and continued by Andrija Zivkovic.

Benfica may have thought they had done the hard part but their troubles were only just beginning.

CSKA hit back within 13 minutes when Andre Almeida handled and Vitinho converted the penalty.

The visitors sensed a chance to take all three points and eight minutes later, Viktor Vasin's shot from the edge of the box was well blocked by Bruno Varela but Zhamaletdinov followed up to score from close range.

Sporting clinch 3-2 victory at Olympiakos

Sporting claimed an impressive 3-2 win at Olympiakos Piraeus thanks to three goals in a stunning first half-display in their Champions League Group D opener on Tuesday.

Goals from Seydou Doumbia in the second minute and Gelson Martins just over 10 minutes later left the home side shell-shocked and created a platform for Sporting to take the points.

Bruno Fernandes added the visitors' third goal in the 43rd before two late second half goals from Olympiakos substitute Felipe Pardo made the scoreline more respectable for the hosts.

The result means that in a group in which Barcelona thrashed Juventus 3-0, Olympiakos already look vulnerable.

The lack of any adequate holding midfielders in their starting line-up and the sheer quality of Sporting cost the Reds dearly on the night.

The Greek team appeared more distracted at the start by the intimidating atmosphere inside the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium than the visitors.

Barely 69 seconds after kickoff, the Olympiakos defence failed to clear a Marcos Acuna free kick from the right and Doumbia headed the ball home.

Sporting quickly made it 2-0 in a counter-attack after an Olympiakos corner, with Gelson beating goalkeeper Stefanos Kapino amid jeering by the home fans.

While Sporting are off to a dream start, life is not going to get any easier for Olympiakos who must next visit Juventus on September 27.