rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Sports » C League: Man City on verge of exit; Real, Arsenal settle for draws

C League: Man City on verge of exit; Real, Arsenal settle for draws

Last updated on: November 7, 2012 10:42 IST

Ozil resues Real with late equaliser

     Next

Next

Mesut Ozil struck an 89th-minute free-kick to salvage a 2-2 draw for Real Madrid at home to Borussia Dortmund and boost his side's chances of reaching the Champions League knockout round as Group D winners on Tuesday.

- Porto, Malaga seal Champions League last 16 berths

Midfielder Ozil curled a left-foot effort into the net off a post to put Real level for the second time in an entertaining clash at the Bernabeu and deny Dortmund the win that would have put them in pole position to top the group.

Marco Reus volleyed the German champions in front in the 28th minute before Pepe equalised with a header six minutes later and Real's Alvaro Arbeloa poked the ball into his own net on the stroke of halftime.

Real enjoyed lots of possession but created few genuine chances and Dortmund's tactic of playing on the break almost earned them another victory after they beat Jose Mourinho's expensively assembled side 2-1 in Germany last month.

The draw leaves Dortmund top on eight points after four of their six group matches, with Real second on seven ahead of Ajax Amsterdam (four) and Manchester City (two) following their 2-2 draw in the other match in the section.

Image: Real Madrid's Mesut Ozil (2nd from right) celebrates with teammates after scoring a last minute equaliser against Borussia Dortmund
Photographs: Felix Ordonez/Reuters

     Next

Dortmund forwards tested Casillas time and again

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

"We played well in the second half," Pepe said in an interview with Spanish television.

"They have a great team and everything is still open so we have to keep working," added the Portuguese, whose goal was his third only in Europe's elite club competition.

The travelling Dortmund fans high up in Real's giant arena were in fine voice long before kickoff, comfortably drowning out their hosts as Real controlled possession in the early stages without really threatening.

Marcel Schmelzer and Kevin Grosskreutz both tested Iker Casillas after swift attacks before Reus broke the deadlock.

Imposing forward Robert Lewandowski nodded a long ball into the midfielder's path and he held off Alvaro Arbeloa before crashing a shot past Iker Casillas on the bounce.

Real levelled when Pepe powered a header into the net from Mesut Ozil's cross but Dortmund were back in front moments before halftime when Lewandowski won another header to release Grosskreutz and he flicked the ball on for Mario Goetze.

Image: Real Madrid's goalkeeper Iker Casillas watches as Borussia Dortmund's players celebrate their second goal
Photographs: Felix Ordonez/Reuters

Prev     Next

Ronaldo had a quiet night

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

The 20-year-old was initially awarded the goal but replays showed Arbeloa had poked the ball into his own net.

Mourinho, a typically expressive presence on the Real bench, made two changes at the break, hauling off the disappointing Luka Modric and Gonzalo Higuain and replacing them with Michael Essien and Jose Callejon.

His players came out fighting and Callejon sent a low shot narrowly wide in the 49th minute before goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller did well to block the substitute's close-range effort when he was clean through on the hour.

Cristiano Ronaldo, top scorer in Europe's elite club competition this season with five goals, had a quiet night although he forced a superb reaction save from Weidenfeller just over 10 minutes from time.

Dortmund looked to be closing in on the win that would have made them only the second German side to win at the Bernabeu after great rivals Bayern Munich.

However, Ozil, who plays with many of the Dortmund side for Germany, produced a moment of quality to salvage a point.

Image: Borussia Dortmund's captain Sebastian Kehl (left) and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo react during their Champions League match
Photographs: Juan Medina/Reuters

Prev     Next

Man City on verge of exit after 2-2 draw with Ajax

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Manchester City's faint hopes of reaching the Champions League knockout stage were hanging by a thread after they were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Ajax Amsterdam in Group D on Tuesday.

The Premier League champions recovered from two goals down to earn a point and preserve their 18-match unbeaten European home record through Sergio Aguero's second half equaliser.

Ajax captain Siem de Jong scored twice in the opening 17 minutes to stun the hosts but a quick response from City, courtesy of a superb piece of finishing by Yaya Toure after 22 minutes, at least breathed life into the match.

Relentless pressure from Roberto Mancini's team was rewarded when Aguero levelled after 73 minutes but, with only two points from their opening four games, City need every result to go their way in the remaining group matches to advance.

To cap an unrewarding evening for the hosts, their volatile forward Mario Balotelli had to be forcibly prevented from approaching Danish referee Peter Rasmussen at the final whistle after he turned down a late penalty claim.

Image: Mario Balotelli of Manchester City protests to referee Peter Rasmussen after being denied a penalty
Photographs: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Prev     Next

City now languish at the bottom of Group B

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Replays suggested the Italian had a just claim, after he was tugged in a goalmouth melee, and the unsuccessful appeal may have major repercussions, not only for City's prospects in the competition but Mancini's future as manager.

With Borussia Dortmund drawing 2-2 at Real Madrid in the other match in the section, a City victory would have left them handily placed with a chance of securing a top-two finish.

Instead they remain bottom of the group after four of their six group games behind leaders Dortmund who have eight points, Madrid on seven and Ajax with four.

City paid the penalty for appalling defending in conceding the goals that put Ajax firmly in control.

After nine minutes, Ryan Babel sent over a dangerous corner which Niklas Moisander turned towards goal. City had left de Jong completely unmarked at the far post and the midfielder converted clinically with Joe Hart's goal at his mercy.

Mancini, who had several defensive absentees through injury, must have been even less impressed that his team then conceded an equally poor goal from another corner seven minutes later.

This time midfielder Yaya Toure was at fault by failing to follow de Jong as he ran towards the near post to meet Christian Eriksen's corner and finish with a powerful, angled header.

The terrible start left City facing elimination from the group stage for a second consecutive season.

Image: Siem de Jong of Ajax celebrates after scoring the second goal
Photographs: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Prev     Next

City's forwards gave Ajax a hard time

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

However, Toure quickly made amends with a magnificent piece of finishing to revive City's fading European aspirations.

Fellow midfielder Samir Nasri, ineffective for most of the evening, sent over a cross from the right and Toure backed skilfully into his marker before scoring with a crisp volley on the turn from six yards.

A header from City defender Pablo Zabaleta might have brought an equaliser before the interval while de Jong could have claimed an incredible first-half hat-trick but his long shot flew just off target.

The introduction of Balotelli at the interval, and fellow stiker Edin Dzeko midway through the second half, signalled Mancini's attacking intent.

City's defence may have been brutally exposed at times this season -- particularly in Europe -- but their attacking arsenal boasts talent on a par with most teams.

Hart was still required to make solid stops, from de Jong and a Lasse Schone free kick, before the almost inevitable equaliser came courtesy of Aguero.

The Argentina forward raced onto Balotelli's flick-on from Hart's long kick and outpaced Toby Alderweireld before scoring, right-footed, from a step inside the penalty area.

Balotelli might have netted with a fine header from a Nasri free kick, which was well saved by Kenneth Vermeer, and Aguero had the ball in the net once more only for his effort to be harshly ruled out for offside against Aleksandar Kolarov.

Then came the late drama, which included another superb save from Hart to deny Eriksen.

Image: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City celebrates scoring his team's second goal
Photographs: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Prev     Next

Schalke rally to draw 2-2 with Arsenal, top group table

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Schalke 04 bravely battled back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with visitors Arsenal on Tuesday as goals from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Jefferson Farfan maintained their slim lead in their Champions League Group B.

First half goals from Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud seemed to be meting out immediate justice for Arsenal's 2-0 defeat by the Germans in London a fortnight ago.

Schalke however, devoured their lead with Dutchman Huntelaar cutting the deficit in first half stoppage time and Peruvian Farfan completing their comeback with a deflected shot midway through the second half.

The result leaves the group wide open with Schalke in the lead on eight points and Arsenal a point behind in second place. Olympiakos beat Montpellier 3-1 to increase their tally to six points.

"I have to give my team a compliment for recovering from a two goal deficit," Schalke coach Huub Stevens said.

"We reacted brilliantly. Thankfully we scored just before half time. That was psychologically a big advantage for us."


Image: Schalke 04's Klaas-Jan Huntelaar celebrates after scoring against Arsenal
Photographs: Ina Fassbender/Reuters

Prev     Next

'I never felt that the game was over even at 2-0'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

For Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger, his team showed the response he wanted after a string of bad results have left them seventh in the Premier League following Saturday's defeat by Manchester United.

"At 2-0 you have not won the game and with the physical quality of the German team it is not over," Wenger said.

"They have a lot of quality and they never give up so overall I never felt that the game was over even at 2-0."

"After all the stick we got after Saturday's game it was important to show a good response. We played against a good team and it was a bit unfortunate that we concede a goal just before half-time."

Arsenal had Jack Wilshere back in the team as he continued his return from a long lay-off as well as Walcott, who was doubtful after missing training this week due to illness.

Schalke, who beat Arsenal 2-0 to snap their 45-game unbeaten run at home to foreign visitors stretching back to 2003, had them on the backfoot from the start with the Germans eager to win and advance with two games to spare.

Image: Arsenal's players celebrate after netting against Schalke 04
Photographs: Ina Fassbender/Reuters

Prev     Next

Farfan scored the equaliser in the 67th minute

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Inquisitive shots from Christian Fuchs and Ibrahim Afellay forced keeper Vito Mannone to good saves as Schalke set the pace.

Arsenal, displaying an initial lack of confidence when they had possession, needed 18 minutes to find their way into the game and they did it with a bang.

Giroud took advantage of a Roman Neutstaedter back header to race clear but failed to beat keeper Unnerstall with Walcott slipping through to tap in from close range.

The 26-year-old Frenchman was on target in the 26th, drilling in a diving header from a Lukas Podolski cross.

Dutch striker Huntelaar, who had scored in all three previous group matches, fired Schalke back into the reckoning on the stroke of halftime but the forward, nicknamed 'the hunter', however, could not add another from point blank range after the restart.

Keeper Vito Mannone was kept busy but could do nothing when Farfan turned the game on its head, drilling in the equaliser in the 67th with Thomas Vermaelen deflecting it into the net.

Arsenal could have stolen three points with the final kick of the game but Walcott fired on keeper Lars Unnerstall from eight metres out.

Image: Schalke 04's Jefferson Farfan and Benedikt Hoewedes (right) celebrate a goal against Arsenal
Photographs: Ina Fassbender/Reuters

Prev     Next

Ibrahimovic to the party as PSG destroy Zagreb

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Zlatan Ibrahimovic set up all four goals as Paris St Germain thrashed Dinamo Zagreb 4-0 on Tuesday to knock the Croatians out of the Champions League.

The Sweden striker, playing in a deeper position than usual, laid on goals for Alex, Blaise Matuidi, Jeremy Menez and Guillaume Hoarau as second-placed PSG took their points haul to nine from four matches in Group A, one behind leaders Porto.

PSG were below their best in a dull first half but they turned on the style in the second period to outclass their opponents.

Dinamo are bottom of the table with zero points, four behind Dynamo Kiev who drew 0-0 with Porto on Tuesday.

Argentine forward Ezequiel Lavezzi, who had been out for a month with a groin injury, started the game and produced some eye-catching early tricks for PSG.

Dinamo went close when Josip Pivaric's low cross-shot whizzed just wide.

The home side took the lead with their first real chance as defender Alex volleyed in a low centre from Ibrahimovic in the 16th minute.


Image: Paris St Germain's Jeremy Menez (centre) celebrates with teammates Ezequiel Lavezzi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic after he scoring
Photographs: Cedric Lecocq/Reuters

Prev     Next

Ibra was brilliant in the second half

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Thiago Silva almost made it 2-0 in the 40th minute when the Brazil defender's point-blank header was saved by keeper Ivan Kelava.

Seventeen-year-old midfielder Adrien Rabiot, a product of the youth academy, shone for PSG in the first half.

Rabiot's fellow midfielder Mohamed Sissoko was replaced at halftime by Marco Verratti after the former Liverpool player had picked up an injury.

Ibrahimovic delighted the crowd early in the second half when he produced a kung fu-style volley that went just wide.

The Swede then provided a perfect 61st-minute pass for Matuidi to poke the ball home.

Four minutes later the towering Ibrahimovic found Menez in the box and the France winger toyed with a couple of defenders before slotting the ball past Kelava.

Ibrahimovic seemed set to score himself from one attack but slipped after bursting into the box.

He recovered his composure, though, and slipped the ball into the path of second-half substitute Hoarau who scored the fourth goal from close range with 10 minutes left.

Image: Paris St Germain's Zlatan Ibrahimovic (right) challenges Dinamo Zagreb's Domagoj Vida
Photographs: Cedric Lecocq/Reuters

Prev     Next

Pato rescues shoddy Milan against Malaga

Prev     More
Prev

More

Malaga went through to the knockout stages of the Champions League after drawing 1-1 with AC Milan on Tuesday.

Alexandre Pato's goal in an otherwise subdued performance by the Brazilian, who was starting a Champions League game for the first time this season, came in the 73rd minute and was the first Malaga have conceded in Group C.

The Spanish side had gone ahead five minutes before halftime with a superbly worked goal converted by Eliseu and the half-empty San Siro had become increasingly restless until Pato scored.

Malaga stayed top of Group C with 10 points from four games while Milan have five.

Milan briefly came to life midway through the first half with Bojan Krkic at the centre of the action.

He skipped past two defenders and saw his shot swung away by Willy Gonzalez, then set up a chance for Stephan El Shaaraway whose goal-bound shot was deflected by a defender.

Gonzalez then produced an outstanding save as he dived backwards to turn Urby Emanuelson's curling free-kick past the far post.

Milan were otherwise sloppy and Malaga's goal came after they lost possession from a throw.

The ball ended up with Isco who threaded his pass between three defenders for Eliseu to slide into the far corner.

There were few chances for either side in a scrappy second half and the 30,000 crowd showed their displeasure when El Shaaraway, the top scorer in Serie A with eight goals, was replaced by Kevin-Prince Boateng.,

However, the mood changed when a long cross from the left found Pato and he headed home.

Image: AC Milan's Alexandre Pato celebrates after scoring the equaliser against Malaga CF
Photographs: Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Prev     More
Source:
© Copyright 2013 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.