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Rediff.com  » Sports » Champions League: Own goal to United's rescue; Ribery, Ronaldo find net

Champions League: Own goal to United's rescue; Ribery, Ronaldo find net

October 24, 2013 11:31 IST

Champions League: Own goal to United's rescue; Ribery, Ronaldo find net

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Manchester United went top of Champions League Group A on Wednesday thanks to an early own goal by Real Sociedad's Inigo Martinez that gave them a 1-0 home win to mask a host of missed opportunities.

Wayne Rooney did all the hard work to create the second-minute opener and watched as his shot crashed off the far post and into the path of Martinez who inexplicably directed the ball into his own net.

United, driven by the rejuvenated Rooney on the eve of his 28th birthday, then proceeded to spurn chance after chance to kill the game off and Sociedad hit the woodwork twice to keep Old Trafford nerves on edge until the final whistle.

"A good job done, a good performance, we could've scored more goals and should have but I'm pleased with the victory," United manager David Moyes told Sky Sports with memories of conceding an 89th-minute equaliser at the weekend still fresh.

"We had it on Saturday in a Premier League game (against Southampton) when we were 1-0 up and lost a goal in the last minute so today we had that feeling around us but if we'd scored five or six it wouldn't have been out of place.

"We really did have an awful lot of opportunities and didn't finish it off."

With Shakhtar Donetsk suffering a 4-0 thumping at Bayer Leverkusen, United's victory was enough to send them a point clear of the Ukrainian side with seven points from three games. Leverkusen are third with four, while Sociedad have none.


Image: Manchester United's Wayne Rooney (right) challenges Real Sociedad's Inigo Martinez during their Champions League match at Old Trafford on Wednesday
Photographs: Phil Noble/Reuiters

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Sociedad gave United some uncomfortable times

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Rooney's skill in weaving his way past several defenders fully deserved a goal and while his blistering shot crashed against the far post, an apparently panic-stricken Martinez was on hand to turn the rebound into his own net.

Watched by former manager Alex Ferguson, Moyes's men did as much as they could to try to turn the spotlight back on them.

Rooney went for the spectacular with an overhead kick that would have been like the goal of the season he scored against ManchesterCity in 2011 but it flew well off target, while Javier Hernandez had a header disallowed for offside.

The visitors finally tested United keeper David De Gea half an hour into the game when Ryan Giggs was dispossessed by Haris Seferovic near the halfway line and the Sociedad striker charged forward and his shot from 25 metres out was tipped over the bar.

Sensing an opportunity, with United having failed to stretch their lead despite their early dominance, Sociedad went close again just before halftime when Antoine Griezmann smashed a free kick over the wall and against the post.

United started the second half with Phil Jones forcing a save from Claudio Bravo to keep his header out.

The hosts then hit the far post with a low Antonio Valencia effort shortly after Sociedad had left De Gea raising his eyebrows in surprise that a cross from Alberto de la Bella had rattled his bar.

United endured a nail-biting end to the match as yet more decent chances went begging with Old Trafford fans perhaps left feeling they could do with a 'sighing with relief' section of the ground instead of a singing one.


Image: Manchester United's Patrice Evra (right) challenges Real Sociedad's Mikel Gonzalez during their Champions League match at Old Trafford on Wednesday
Photographs: Phil Noble/Reuiters

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Ribery shines as Bayern ease to victory

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Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery dazzled on his return from injury, scoring twice as the holders demolished Viktoria Plzen 5-0 in the Champions League on Wednesday and edged closer to the knockout stage with three wins from three Group D games.

Bayern, whose last encounter with Plzen was back in 1971 and was a 7-1 aggregate win, set a frantic early pace and European footballer of the year Ribery gave them a deserved 25th-minute lead with a spot kick.

David Alaba doubled it 12 minutes later with a low drive and Ribery got another with a superb chip in the second half. Bastian Schweinsteiger added a goal three minutes later and Mario Goetze completed the scoring in stoppage time.

The result gave leaders Bayern nine points, three ahead of ManchesterCity, who beat CSKA Moscow 2-1. Plzen are bottom of the table having lost their three games.

"We played a good game and it felt good coming back," Ribery told reporters, after missing last week's 4-1 Bundesliga win against Mainz with an ankle injury.

"We enjoyed ourselves out there but there are tough games ahead so we need to win at Plzen in our next match."


Image: Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery (left) challenges Viktoria Plzen's Radim Reznik during their Champions League match in Munich on Wednesday
Photographs: Michael Dalder/Reuiters

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'Arjen has a character and that's normal in football and this is Bayern'

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The hosts made their intentions clear from the start. Plzen keeper Matus Kozacik twice let the ball slip through his hands in the opening minutes as Bayern pressed for an early goal.

Arjen Robben almost got it but his sliding effort went just wide in the sixth minute with the Czechs in complete disarray.

Kozacik was kept busy and did well to save shots from Ribery and Alaba as the Bavarian onslaught continued.

Ribery, who set a German record after having not been on the losing side for Bayern in 39 games, gave them a well-deserved lead with a penalty after Robben was brought down in the box.

There was some controversy with the Dutchman, who was told not to take a penalty during the game against Mainz, refusing to take the spot kick despite coach Pep Guardiola's loud orders.

"Arjen has a character and that's normal in football and this is Bayern," Ribery said. "The coach said Arjen but Arjen did not want to shoot."

Alaba then scored with a fine solo effort and a shot from just inside the box in the 37th minute as Bayern played cat-and-mouse with the bottom-placed Czechs.

Quickfire goals from Ribery, with a superb chip after shaking off two defenders in the box, and Schweinsteiger's fine turn in the box, followed in the second half and substitute Goetze sealed the win from close range to end a nightmare evening for the Czechs. 


Image: Bayern Munich's David Alaba (2nd from left) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal against Viktoria Plzen on Wednesday
Photographs: Michael Dalder/Reuiters

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Rampant Ronaldo shoots down 10-Man Juve

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Cristiano Ronaldo continued his blistering start to Real Madrid's Champions League campaign when he struck twice in a 2-1 win at home to 10-man Juventus on Tuesday that put Real firmly in charge of Group B.

The Portuguese forward's double took his goal tally in Europe's elite club competition to seven in three appearances this season, only the second player to achieve the feat after AC Milan's Filippo Inzaghi.

Ronaldo, who has also been on prolific form in La Liga, put Real ahead in fourth minute at the Bernabeu when he sped onto Angel Di Maria's pass, rounded Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and finished superbly from a tight angle.

Spain forward Fernando Llorente levelled for the visitors in the 22nd minute before the referee ruled Giorgio Chiellini had impeded Sergio Ramos in the penalty area and Ronaldo put away the 29th-minute spot kick.

Italy centre back Chiellini had a night to forget as he was shown a straight red card three minutes into the second half when he checked Ronaldo's run down the right with a flailing arm and Juve hardly threatened Real's goal for the rest of the game.

Real top the group with a perfect nine points with three games to play, with Galatasaray in second on four points after they thumped bottom-placed FC Copenhagen 3-1 in Istanbul.


Image: Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo (2nd from left) scores a penalty past Juventus's goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon during their Champions League match at Santiago Bernabeu on Wdnesday
Photographs: Paul Hanna/Reuiters

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'We have taken a very important step towards securing qualification'

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Juve are third on two points and the Italian champions are in real danger of failing to make the last 16 with their next game at home to Real looming on November 5.

"We have taken a very important step towards securing qualification," Real captain Iker Casillas said on UEFA.com.

"It wasn't easy but we have taken the first step, getting nine points from three matches," added the Spain keeper. "We have to go to Turin now and at least avoid defeat."

Ronaldo's brace lifted him above former Real and Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy into third on the all-time list of Champions League top scorers with 57 goals.

Only Barcelona forward Lionel Messi with 63 and Raul, another ex-Real forward, with 71 are ahead of the 28-year-old.


Image: Juventus's Fernando Llorente (right) celebrates after scoring a goal against Real Madrid during their Champions League match at Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday
Photographs: Paul Hanna/Reuiters

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Cardozo salvages late draw for Benfica

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Benfica's Paraguayan striker Oscar Cardozo bundled home a late equaliser to salvage a 1-1 draw against Olympiakos Piraeus in their Champions League Group C clash at the Luz stadium on Wednesday.

The result means the two clubs are level on four points in Group C, five points behind leaders Paris St Germain, who crushed Anderlecht 5-0.

Olympiakos opened the scoring in a rain-hit Lisbon through attacking midfielder Alejandro Dominguez in the 29th minute.

But it was the former Benfica keeper Roberto who was key to the final outcome.

Roberto, returning to the Luz stadium as Olympiakos' No. 1, failed to clear a corner in the 83rd minute and Cardozo pounced to earn his side a precious point.

"We could have played better. Now we have to win in Greece and hope that Paris St Germain beats (Olympiakos) too," Benfica striker Lima told Portuguese radio. "The fight for second spot is between us and Olympiakos."

Olympiakos' Kostas Mitroglou, who scored a hat-trick in the previous round, was a constant headache for the Lisbon club's defence in the first half.

He fired just wide when through on goal from a tight angle and then floated a header near the post.

It was Mitroglou who provided the assist for Dominguez with a clever back heel, and the Argentine then confused centre back Ezequiel Garay with a dummy before slotting home.

The rain was so heavy the ball often got bogged down in midfield, forcing both teams to opt for a direct style of play.

And the surface water denied Olympiakos a second goal when a shot from David Fuster found a puddle instead of rolling in.

In the end, 27-year-old Roberto, who made a flying save from a Cardozo free kick in the opening minutes, lost focus for a second and the Paraguayan did not spare him a second time.


Image: Benfica's Oscar Cardozo (right) fights for the ball with Olympiacos' Leandro Salino during their Champions League soccer match at Luz stadium in Lisbon on Wednesday
Photographs: Hugo Correia/Reuiters

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Four for Ibra as five-star PSG humble Anderlecht

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored four times - including a breathtaking 25-metre half-volley that capped a 19-minute hat-trick - as Paris St Germain humbled Anderlecht 5-0 in their Champions League Group C match on Wednesday.

The Sweden international struck after 17, 22 and 36 minutes - the eighth quickest treble in Champions League history - and added PSG's fifth just past the hour to lead the French champions to victory at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium.

His third goal was so good it earned a round of applause from the generous home fans, and Ibrahimovic -- seldom afraid to play to the galleries - applauded them back.

Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani was also on the scoresheet in the second half as Laurent Blanc's team moved to nine points from three games, top of the group and within sight of the knockout stages.

Anderlecht, once UEFA Cup champions, had no answer to Ibrahimovic's power and skill, and are bottom of the section after three consecutive defeats.

Ibrahimovic's feats made him only the fourth player to score four in one Champions League game, and he now has 10 goals in the past five games for club and country.

He missed a presentable early chance, too, stabbing wide from an angle with only keeper Thomas Kaminski to beat.

Thereafter he could hardly miss.

He set PSG on their way to their biggest away win in European competition by outwitting the Anderlecht defence, pulling off his marker with subtle movement to slide home Gregory van der Wiel's low centre at the far post.

Van der Wiel was provider again five minutes later, surging into space on the right flank and crossing low for Ibrahimovic, who finished into the bottom corner with a wonderful improvised flick of his right boot.

The highlight of the match arrived nine minutes before half-time, when Ibrahimovic pounced on a loose, bouncing ball 25 metres out and produced a right-foot half-volley that kept on bending away from Kaminski's outstretched hand until it slammed into the roof of the Anderlecht net.

The procession continued within seven minutes of the restart, when defender Chancel Mbemba slipped, allowing Blaise Matuidi to square for Cavani who slotted home.

Ibrahimovic's fourth and PSG's fifth was another clinical finish.

The 32-year-old latched on to a lofted Thiago Motta pass down the right, cut inside to the area, and beat Kaminski with another half-volley that went in off the far upright.


Image: Paris Saint-Germain's Zlatan Ibrahimovic (right) celebrates after scoring against Anderlecht during their Champions League match at Constant Vanden Stock stadium in Brussels on Wednesday
Photographs: Francois Lenoir/Reuiters

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Two-Goal Kiessling help Leverkusen romp

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Stefan Kiessling put the furore of his "phantom goal" behind him by scoring twice and also winning a penalty in Bayer Leverkusen's 4-0 Champions League rout of Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday.

The forward headed Leverkusen ahead on 22 minutes and Simon Rolfes added a penalty early in the second half, his third goal in as many matches in the group stage, after Kiessling had been fouled.

Sidney Sam, top scorer in the Bundesliga this season, added a third and Kiessling pounced from close range as dominant Leverkusen leapfrogged the Ukraine side into second place in Group A on six points, one behind Manchester United.
Kiessling rose high to meet Giulio Donati's cross from the right and the ball crept into the left corner past a flailing Andriy Pyatov to put the Germans ahead.

Shakhtar's best moment came just before halftime when Alex Teixeira could only fire into the side netting after a quick counter-attack.
A push in the back on Kiessling by Shakhtar captain Darijo Srna allowed Rolfes to confidently score from the spot and Sam made it 3-0 on 57 minutes with a clinical finish after a pass from Son Heung-Min.
Kiessling, overlooked by Germany for the last three years despite a glut of goals, put the gloss on an easy victory, walking the ball into the net after Pyatov had spilled a shot 18 minutes from time.


Image: Bayer Leverkusen's Simon Rolfes and Stefan Kiessling (right) celebrate a goal
Photographs: Ina Fassbender/Reuiters

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Aguero double fires Man City to victory

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Sergio Aguero's well-taken double fired ManchesterCity to a 2-1 victory away at CSKA Moscow on Wednesday which left the Premier League side in a good position to reach the knockout stages for the first time.

Aguero struck twice late in the first half after Zoran Tosic had put CSKA ahead in the 32nd minute. The Argentine quickly levelled with a low strike from David Silva's cross and then headed Alvaro Negredo's clever delivery past Igor Akinfeev.

City wasted several chances to add to their lead after the break and almost paid the price in stoppage time when only a brilliant save from Joe Hart denied Keisuke Honda an equaliser.

The English side's victory, however, was marred by racist abuse from the stands aimed at City's Ivorian midfielder Yaya Toure.

"I told the ref. I think it was unbelievable and very sad," Toure told Sky Sports. "I think UEFA have to do a lot to try to stop it."

City moved on to six points from three games in Group D, level with Bayern Munich who host winless Viktoria Plzen in a later kickoff. CSKA are third on three points.

Poor away form, with five defeats out of six, was a feature of City's group stage exits in their last two Champions League campaigns but they have now won twice on the road following a victory in Plzen last month.


Image: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City FC celebrates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League Group D match against PFC CSKA Moscow and Manchester City FC at the Arena Khimki Stadium in Khimki, on Wednesday
Photographs: Epsilon/Getty Images

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'This pitch made it very difficult to play football'

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Manager Manuel Pellegrini said City were well placed to progress.

"I'm very happy; it was a very difficult game for us," he said.

"This pitch made it very difficult to play football -- to have three points from this match is very important for our future in this group.

"It's important, it's not the last game, it's very important that we have the next two games at home -- we go into them knowing that if we win, we qualify."

CSKA  broke the deadlock with a route one goal at the Khimki Arena.

Akinfeev pumped the ball forward, Honda outjumped Javi Garcia to flick the ball on and Serbian international Tosic, once of Manchester United, nipped in to lift the ball over Hart.

Their lead lasted all of 90 seconds, Aguero pouncing to fire home after Sergei Ignashevic had failed to deal with Silva's cross from the left under pressure from the Argentine.

City struck again three minutes before the break, Silva linking up with Negredo who deftly flicked a cross into the danger area which Aguero stooped to head home.

CSKA thought they had levelled 10 minutes from time when Ahmed Musa beat Hart with a fierce shot from the edge of the area but the whistle had already been blown for a foul on Toure.


Image: Sergei Ignashevich (right) of PFC CSKA Moscow in action against Edin Dzeko of Manchester City FC during the UEFA Champions League Group D match against PFC CSKA Moscow at the Arena Khimki Stadium in Khimki, Russia on Wednesday
Photographs: Epsilon/Getty Images

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Drogba on target as Galatasaray sweep past Copenhagen

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Galatasaray's Ivorian duo Didier Drogba and Emmanuel Eboue helped the Turkish club to a comfortable 3-1 win over FC Copenhagen to move into second place behind Real Madrid in Champions League Group B on Wednesday.

FormerManchesterCity manager Roberto Mancini, in charge of Galatasaray for less than a month after replacing the sacked Fatih Terim, steered the Turkish side to their first win in this season's Champions League after snatching a draw against Juventus in Turin in his first game.

"We automatically stepped back and played in a more conservative way in the second half, but tonight we are delighted by the result and we will be looking forward to repeat it at the next match," defender Semih Kaya told reporters after the game.

Galatasaray's aggressive start paid off quickly as Brazilian midfielder Felipe Melo raised the roof in the 10th minute with a powerful header after Drogba's effort to win the ball near the right corner flag allowed Dany Nounkeu to cross.

In the 38th minute Dutchman Wesley Sneijder found the back of the net with a classy right-foot shot after receiving a pass from Eboue.

Eboue was the again the creator in first-half stoppage time, allowing Drogba to score the team's third goal after finding his compatriot's feet with an incisive ball past the opposition defence.

Copenhagen pulled a goal back two minutes before full time when Claudemir poked the ball past Fernando Muslera.

Galatasaray have four points, five behind leaders Real Madrid, while Copenhagen remain bottom of the group with one point. 


Image: Didier Drogba of Galatasaray (2nd from right) celebrates his goal against FC Copenhagen during their Champions League soccer match in Istanbul on Wednesday
Photographs: Murad Sezer/Reuters

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