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Rediff.com  » Sports » Champions League PIX: United held to goalless draw by Valencia; City win

Champions League PIX: United held to goalless draw by Valencia; City win

Last updated on: October 03, 2018 11:11 IST

IMAGES from the Champions League matches played on Tuesday

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford reacts after the full time whistle goes off after the Group H match UEFA Champions League between Manchester United and Valencia at Old Trafford in Manchester, United Kingdom, on Tuesday

IMAGE: Manchester United's Marcus Rashford reacts after the full time whistle goes off after the Group H match UEFA Champions League between Manchester United and Valencia at Old Trafford in Manchester, United Kingdom, on Tuesday . Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images

Manchester United were held to a 0-0 draw by Valencia in a dour Champions League Group H clash on Tuesday which piled more pressure on their under-fire manager Jose Mourinho amid reports linking former Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane to his job.

It was another frustrating outing for United and Mourinho, who finally took some responsibility for his team's poor form after defiantly defending his tactics and team selection throughout a patchy start to the season.

 

He also acknowledged the team's technical weaknesses with a defence that looks shaky every time the opposition come forward and is ill-equipped to build attacks, thus forcing predictable long-ball tactics alien to United's style.

"I think there are things that are difficult for me to say and I think you have enough reasons to criticise me," Mourinho told a press conference.

"The players tried. They raised the level of their efforts. They raised the level of their intensity in spite of the fact we don't have many with that intensity. We don't have the technical quality to build from the back.

Valencia's Daniel Parejo is challenged by Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini 

IMAGE: Valencia's Daniel Parejo is challenged by Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

"Our attacking players aren't in their best moments of confidence and individual level."

It was United's fourth successive winless outing following a 3-1 Premier League defeat by West Ham on Saturday which came on the back of a 1-1 home draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers and League Cup elimination by second-tier Derby County.

The result left United second in the group on four points from two games, two behind leaders Juventus who maintained their perfect start with a 3-0 home win over Young Boys. Valencia have one point and Young Boys none.

United's next two Champions League games are against Juventus at home on October 23 and in Turin on November 7.

The atmosphere at Old Trafford was rather flat in the first half as United lacked any bite in a contest played at walking pace, with the visitors content to keep them at bay with crisp one-touch passing.

Things livened up slightly after the break and Valencia, always looking more likely to score, missed their best chance when former Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi blasted over the bar from close range.

Manchester United's Alexis Sanchez cuts a frustrated figure after being substituted

IMAGE: Manchester United's Alexis Sanchez cuts a frustrated figure after being substituted. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images

Romelu Lukaku forced a pair of good saves from Neto and the visiting keeper also palmed over a Paul Pogba free kick at the other end as United finally showed some purpose up front midway through the second half.

Marcus Rashford hit the crossbar with a vicious free kick from a tight angle in the 86th minute but the home side were jeered off the pitch on the final whistle after another lacklustre performance.

Chris Smalling tried to be positive despite grim United faces on the pitch and the terraces, with scores of fans leaving well before the end of the match.

"We have to stand tall. We're going through a tough patch and we're the only ones who can turn it around," the central defender told BT Sport.

"The dressing room is united. We're sticking together to make sure we turn it around."

Manchester City earn late win at Hoffenheim through Silva

Manchester City's David Silva scores their second goal against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim during their Champions League Group F match in Sinsheim, Germany on Tuesday

IMAGE: Manchester City's David Silva scores their second goal against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim during their Champions League Group F match in Sinsheim, Germany on Tuesday. Photograph: Ralph Orlowski/Reuters

Manchester City overcame a first-minute setback to relaunch their Champions League campaign with what manager Pep Guardiola hailed as an "important" 2-1 victory at Hoffenheim, clinched by a late David Silva winner, on Tuesday.

The Premier League champions and current leaders, urgently needing a win after their opening week Group F defeat at home by Olympique Lyonnais, had been rocked by an Ishak Belfodil goal after just 44 seconds.

Sergio Aguero's equaliser seven minutes later seemed to have set them back on course as they dominated most of the match but the Bundesliga side, set up in an attacking 4-3-3 mode and dangerous on the break, held firm until Silva cashed in on a late defensive error.

Guardiola felt it was another major learning experience for his side, who had looked as if they could be frustrated and deprived of a win they deserved when denied a clear-cut second-half penalty.

The win pushed City into second-place in the group on three points after two matches, one point behind Lyon, who later drew 2-2 with Shakhtar Donetsk. Ukrainian champions Shakhtar, City's next opponents, are third on two points.

"After losing the first game, it was important that we didn't lose today," he told BT Sport.

"We need to live this type of experience as a club to improve, to get better. You cannot make the next steps if you don't suffer or live this kind of experience, where you have to fight against everything."

Hoffenheim's home debut in the Champions League group stages at their Rhein-Neckar-Arena started perfectly for the high-flying 'village club' who have come so far so quickly in the Bundesliga, with Algerian Belfodil latching on to a neat through ball from Kerem Demirbay to slot home.

The quickest goal City had ever conceded in the competition was another shock to their system after their loss to Lyon, their only defeat of the season in any competition so far.

Normal service was quickly resumed, though, when a fine ball from Silva found Leroy Sane, outstanding on his return to Germany, who picked out Aguero to bundle home his eighth goal in 10 matches in all competitions this season.

Raheem Sterling, after a lightning end-to-end break, and Aguero, who was a livewire all evening, went close to putting City ahead as they piled on the pressure.

Yet after the break, 31-year-old Julian Nagelsmann's side, reflecting the enterprise of the youngest manager in Champions League history, held on staunchly as City ramped up their attacks.

It seemed as if Guardiola's men would be deprived of the win when Sane was clearly brought down in the penalty area in the second half when rounding goalkeeper Oliver Baumann but no penalty was awarded.

Asked about the penalty, Guardiola, who had been back on the touchline after serving a one-match European ban, said he would not comment because he did not want to end up back in the stands.

His side kept their patience, though, and David Silva's quick thinking, robbing central defender Stefan Posch in the box and shooting home a sharp left-footed winner, secured them the three points.

"We knew we had 15 points to fight for and we now have three. Now it's in our hands unlike before and, of course, we cannot make the mistake we did against Lyon," said Guardiola.

"We are not quite at the level of our opponent," a philosophical Nagelsmann told reporters. "We did a good job, tactically we gave a great performance, but they are a world-class team, you cannot forget that."

Dybala flourishes with hat-trick in Ronaldo's absence as Juve beat Young Boys

Juventus' Paulo Dybala celebrates scoring their first goal against BSC Young Boys during their Champions League  Group H match at Allianz Stadium in Turin on Tuesday

IMAGE: Juventus' Paulo Dybala celebrates scoring their first goal against BSC Young Boys during their Champions League Group H match at Allianz Stadium in Turin on Tuesday. Photograph: Massimo Pinca/Reuters

Juventus playmaker Paulo Dybala flourished in the absence of suspended Cristiano Ronaldo on Tuesday, scoring a hat-trick to give the Serie A champions a 3-0 win over Young Boys in their Champions League match.

Ronaldo, sent off in last month's 2-0 win over Valencia, missed his first game since joining the Turin club in July but Juventus made light of his absence as they cantered to their ninth straight win of the season in all competitions.

The win leaves them with six points in Group H while group stage debutantes Young Boys have yet to pick up a point or score a goal after losing both games 3-0 -- a stark contrast to their Swiss league record of nine straight wins.

"I wanted a game like this," said Dybala, who has struggled for form since Ronaldo's arrival and started several games on the bench.

"Obviously, I want to play....(but) being left out has made me work harder and concentrate more. I certainly have to develop a better understanding with Ronaldo but I think we work well together."

Juve went ahead after five minutes with the simplest of goals. Defender Leonardo Bonucci sent a long ball looping over a flat Young Boys defence and Dybala timed his run perfectly to volley gently past David von Ballmoos.

Young Boys bravely went forward but looked vulnerable every time Juventus attacked and Dybala missed a chance to extend their lead by shooting weakly at von Ballmoos.

But the Argentine struck again in the 33rd minute by tucking in the rebound after von Ballmoos could only parry Blaise Matuidi's shot from the edge of the penalty area.

Dybala hit the inside of the post after the restart and although Young Boys then enjoyed another good spell, they were caught out again in the 69th minute.

Juan Cuadrado was released on the right and his ball into the area was touched in by Dybala who became the fourth Juventus player to score a Champions League hat-trick.

Young Boys finished with 10 men after defender Mohamed Ali Camara was sent off in the 78th minute after picking up two yellow cards in three minutes.

"I'm happy for him (Dybala), he's on an upwards curve and playing more regularly but the others have also played well, above with maturity and calm against a well-organised team," said Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri.

Ajax show Dutch courage to earn deserved point in Munich

Ajax's Noussair Mazraoui and Matthijs de Ligt are involved in an aerial challenge with Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski

IMAGE: Ajax's Noussair Mazraoui and Matthijs de Ligt are involved in an aerial challenge with Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski. Photograph: Andreas Gebert/Reuters

Fullback Noussair Mazraoui earned a youthful Ajax side a 1-1 draw at misfiring Bayern Munich in their Champions League Group E clash at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday.

The visitors had the better chances in their bid to become the first Dutch club ever to win at Bayern having fallen behind early on to a Mats Hummels header.

Bayern struggled to build on their advantage and their recent slump continued as they battled to keep a vibrant Ajax at bay. Both teams moved to four points from their two games.

They began well with Hummels given space in the box to head home an excellent Arjen Robben cross.

But Ajax, captained by 19-year-old Matthijs de Ligt, showed no signs of wilting and were level midway through the first half with an expertly-worked equaliser.

Mazraoui played a one-two with Dusan Tadic and sprinted into the box to score his first goal for the club.

Hummels was given another free header, this time from a corner, but planted his effort over the bar, while a rasping 35-yard shot from the lively Hakim Ziyech stung the palms of Manuel Neuer in the home goal.

Tadic should have put Ajax ahead just after halftime when he was left unmarked inside the box, but could only provide a weak volley from David Neres's cross with just Neuer to beat.

Nicolas Tagliafico also shot meekly at the goalkeeper and Donny van de Beek fired wide from 10-yards from Tadic's flick with the goal gaping.

Lasse Schone then saw his late free kick palmed onto the crossbar by a diving Neuer.

Bayern have now gone three gakes without a win in all competitions.

Lyon rebound from two down behind closed doors to earn draw

Lyon's Memphis Depay in action with Shakhtar Donetsk's Viktor Kovalenko

IMAGE: Lyon's Memphis Depay in action with Shakhtar Donetsk's Viktor Kovalenko during their Group F Champions League match at Groupama Stadium in Lyon, France on Tuesday. Photograph: Emmanuel Foudrot/Reuters

Olympique Lyonnais produced a stirring fightback to claw back two superb goals from Shakhtar Donetsk's Junior Moraes and rescue a 2-2 draw behind closed doors in a thrilling end-to-end contest at their Groupama Stadium on Tuesday.

Lyon, serving a one-game crowd ban for trouble caused by their fans during their Europa League tie against CSKA Moscow in March, looked set to pay the price as their early performance fell as flat as the atmosphere in the eerily-silent 59,000-seat arena.

Looking nothing like the inspired, organised outfit that defeated ManchesterCity 2-1 in England in their opening Group F match, Lyon were outplayed in the first half and deservedly fell behind just before the break to a superb left-foot strike from Moraes.

The Brazilian then doubled the lead with an even better second 10 minutes after halftime, curling his side-footed effort into the corner from a narrow angle.

Belatedly Lyon roused themselves with Moussa Dembele heading one back in the 70th minute after having already missed two fine chances and Leo Dubois striking his first goal for the club a couple of minutes later.

Both sides hunted for the winner with abandon in the last quarter with, first the Ukrainians looking as if they might collapse under the fightback but then almost stealing victory with a late flourish when a shot from substitute Olarenwaju Kayode struck the bar.

Bruno Genesio, Lyon's coach, conceded that his side had "completely messed up the first half" but added: "We managed to produce a reaction and that's important...Overall, I think a draw was a fair result."

Yet Paulo Fonseca, Shakhtar's coach, felt his side deserved all three points. "It's a pity we ended the game like that because we deserved more than just a draw."

Man of the match Moraes reckoned he had been left "sad" by the way his side lost concentration after his goals.

The draw left Lyon still at the head of the table on four points but ManchesterCity, who had earlier won 2-1 at Hoffenheim, took over in second place with three points as Shakhtar had to settle for a second successive 2-2 draw.

Source:
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