PIX: Bad day for Manchester clubs; Real overpower Ajax
A late Ashley Young goal spared Manchester United a shock defeat against FC Basel as they salvaged a 3-3 draw at Old Trafford in their Champions League Group C match on Tuesday.
United threw away a two-goal lead to trail 3-2 after the Swiss visitors had staged an unlikely fightback to stand on the verge of a famous upset and inflict only a second home defeat in 33 Champions League matches on their hosts.
Two Danny Welbeck goals in two minutes had given United a comfortable lead by the 17th minute and they looked to be cruising before Basel hit back with two goals in quick succession from Fabian Frei and Alexander Frei.
The latter then converted a 76th-minute penalty after some woeful United defending to turn the match completely on its head but they were denied outright top spot in the group when Young headed home in the 90th minute.
Image: Manchester United's Ashley Young (2nd from right) heads a goal against FC Basel
Basel, Benfica top points table
Basel and Benfica are top with four points from two games with United surprisingly struggling in third on two.
Despite surging ahead in the first half Basel never looked overwhelmed and they were encouraged by the glaring weaknesses in the United defence.
Fabian Frei was let through in the opening minutes only to fire over the bar before the hosts responded.
Antonio Valencia headed across goal when he had space at the near post and Young sent a shot straight at Basel keeper Yann Sommer as they pressed for an opener.
They got off the mark in the 16th minute when Fabio crossed from the right to Ryan Giggs in the middle who teed the ball up for Welbeck to send a scuffed shot in off the near post.
Fans were still celebrating the first goal when 37-year-old Giggs combined again with the young Welbeck to double the score with a first-time finish.
Image: Manchester United's Phil Jones argues with a match official
Photographs: Getty Images
Alexander Frei's goal put Basel on brink of a huge upset win
The tables were turned in the second half when Basel's two Freis scored quickly, the first following a rebound and the second with a textbook header, to set up a mouth-watering finale which tipped in Basel's favour when Valencia's clumsy challenge brought down Marco Streller for a penalty.
Facing his team's own noisy fans, Alexander Frei fired the spot kick confidently into the net to put his side on the verge of a huge upset.
But United, whose record 19th English league title last season owed much to their ability to snatch late goals, found the net for the draw when Young got on the end of an inch-perfect Nani cross from the right.
Image: FC Basel's Alexander Frei celebrates after scoring against Manchester United
Gomez sparkles as Bayern beat Manchester City
Bayern Munich forward Mario Gomez struck twice in the first half to hand his team a 2-0 win over Manchester City in the Champions League on Tuesday and extend their winning streak to 10 games in all competitions.
The Bundesliga's top-scorer snatched a 38th minute lead, sliding in after City keeper Joe Hart had saved efforts from Franck Ribery and Thomas Mueller and added another in first half stoppage time, again tapping in from close range.
City, in only their second ever game in the competition having drawn 1-1 with Napoli in their opener, failed to leave their mark with a lacklustre performance and have not won any of their last five European away games.
In-form Bayern, who left Arjen Robben on the bench and are eager to get a shot at a fifth European Cup title with the Champions League final to be held in Munich next year, have now won their last 10 games in all competitions without conceding a goal and top Group A with six points from two games.
Image: Bayern Munich's Mario Gomez (left) celebrates after scoring against Manchester City
Manchester City started on a positive, attacking note
With only one win in 17 appearances by English teams in Munich, the odds were stacked against City but the visitors looked livelier at the start and threatened after only a few minutes when Edin Dzeko's low drive was blocked by goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
Coach Roberto Mancini opted to start with the blossoming attacking partnership of Dzeko and Sergio Aguero, who between them have scored 14 league goals in City's unbeaten start to the Premier League, leaving Argentine Carlos Tevez on the bench.
With City pressing high, Bayern initially had problems cracking open a disciplined defence, trying their luck with some long-range efforts.
Image: Bayern Munich's Thomas Mueller (right) challenges Manchester City's Gael Clichy
Bayern took full control of the match after the opening goal
Gradually, however, Ribery carved out space down the left wing and it was the Frenchman who set up the first goal, firing in from outside the box, keeper Joe Hart doing well to save it as well as Thomas Mueller's rebound before the unmarked Gomez slid in for the lead.
The goal was exactly what Bayern needed to take control of the match as City were now boxed in their own half.
On the stroke of halftime Toni Kroos floated in a free-kick, Hart again was on hand to save Daniel van Buyten's glancing header but was helpless when Gomez scored from close range, leaving the keeper furious with his defenders.
Germany international Gomez should have had a hat-trick, coming agonisingly close on two occasions in the second half as City were reduced to passive observers.
Image: Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery (left) is tackled by Manchester City's David Silva
Rejuvenated Kaka inspires Real to win over Ajax
A rejuvenated Kaka scored one goal and had a hand in two more as nine-times European Cup winners Real Madrid thumped Ajax Amsterdam 3-0 to seize control of Champions League Group D on Tuesday.
Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring in the 25th minute at the Bernabeu, finishing off a sweeping breakaway move. Brazil playmaker Kaka and France striker Karim Benzema then struck either side of halftime.
"It was a good win and puts us in a good position in the group," Kaka told Spanish television.
"We need to continue like this and I think we can seal the group very soon," added the 29-year-old who was given a rousing ovation when he was substituted in the 75th minute.
Kaka looked back to his sparkling best on Tuesday as Real, who were knocked out by bitter rivals and eventual champions Barcelona in last year's semi-finals, strengthened their hold on top spot with six points from two matches.
Olympique Lyon have four points thanks to their 2-0 win at home to Dinamo Zagreb, with Ajax on one point in third and the Croatian team bottom on zero.
Image: Real Madrid's Kaka celebrates after scoring against Ajax Amsterdam
Real thwarted any of Ajax's hopes of scoring
Real coach Jose Mourinho, serving the final game of a three-match ban, opted for an attacking formation against the Dutch side with Kaka and Germany playmaker Mesut Ozil operating just behind Ronaldo and Benzema.
However, it was Ajax who started brightest and Iker Casillas had to make a smart save low to his left from Christian Eriksen's snap shot in the first minute.
Casillas was called into action again in the 15th when Kolbeinn Sigthorsson burst through the centre and the Spain keeper blocked the Icelander's shot.
Real's first real chance came two minutes later when Sami Khedira found space on the right and pulled the ball back for Benzema but the Frenchman scuffed his shot wide.
Kenneth Vermeer in Ajax's goal did well to sprint off his line and block a Ronaldo effort in the 22nd but was powerless to prevent the forward giving his side the lead three minutes later.
Ronaldo, another former World Player of the Year and the world's most expensive footballer, smashed the ball into the net after a rapid passing move involving Ozil, Kaka and Benzema.
Image: Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his goal against Ajax Amsterdam in front of the crowd
'Real were very dangerous on the break'
Kaka was allowed too much space on the edge of the area and fired a powerful left-foot drive into the corner in the 41st minute and any hopes of a second-half Ajax revival were snuffed out in the 49th when Benzema sidefooted home Kaka's pass.
Ajax coach Frank De Boer, who helped the club win the European Cup in 1995 before making more than 150 appearances for Barcelona, said his side needed to be "smarter and better organised" if they were to challenge teams like Real.
"I said in my talk before the game that Real Madrid were very dangerous on the break and they showed that again tonight," the former Dutch international said.
"We started pretty well though and that should give us some confidence for the coming games."
Image: Real Madrid's Karim Benzema (right) celebrates with Sami Khedira after scoring against Ajax
Photographs: Getty Images
Ranieri's Inter edge out CSKA 3-2 in Moscow
Inter Milan revived their Champions League campaign under new coach Claudio Ranieri after quickly recovering from throwing away a two-goal lead in a 3-2 win at CSKA Moscow on Tuesday.
Inter, stunned by Turkey's Trabzonspor 1-0 at home in their Group B opener two weeks ago, triumphed thanks to Mauro Zarate's winner as Ranieri recorded his second victory in two games since replacing the sacked Gian Piero Gasperini.
"I think we beat a very good team tonight," Ranieri said.
"We played well, passed the ball well and also controlled the tempo," added the former AS Roma, Juventus and Chelsea manager.
"But the most important thing that led us to our victory was our team spirit."
Inter sold top striker Samuel Eto'o to Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala and signed Diego Forlan from Atletico Madrid in the close season but the Uruguayan is ineligible for the Champions League after playing for the Spanish side in the Europe League qualifiers.
The Italians, who were also missing several leading players through injury, including playmaker Wesley Sneijder and midfielders Dejan Stankovic and Thiago Motta, went ahead in the sixth minute.
Image: Inter Milan's Mauro Zarate (left) celebrates after scoring as CSKA Moscow's Pavel Mamaev looks on dejected
CSKA pepped up by good support from the crowd
Brazil defender Lucio's side-footed effort was deflected in following a corner after he was left unmarked at the far post and CSKA keeper Vladimir Gabulov misjudged a high ball.
Giampaolo Pazzini then added a second from close range in the 23rd minute following a low cross by Yuto Nagatomo with CSKA's defence in disarray.
Alan Dzagoyev pulled one back for the home side, however, blasting in a 20-metre free kick on the stroke of halftime.
The hosts, urged on by a passionate crowd at the Luzhniki stadium, piled on the pressure after the interval and Brazilian striker Vagner Love levelled in the 77th minute.
But their joy was short-lived as substitute Zarate fired the visitors ahead again just two minutes later with his first Inter goal, giving the 2010 European champions their fifth win over CSKA in five Champions League matches, including all three meetings in Moscow.
Image: Inter Milan's Giampaolo Pazzini celebrates after scoring against CSKA Moscow
'We were a better team but luck was against us'
CSKA, who had their own injury problems with a number of key players including first-choice goalkeeper Igor Akinfeyev on the sidelines, were unlucky not to have scored more.
They had a strong penalty appeal waved away by Scottish referee Craig Thomson in the 17th minute when Seydou Doumbia appeared to be taken down by Lucio inside the box.
Ivory Coast striker Doumbia, who scored both of CSKA's goals in a 2-2 draw at Lille in their opener, also headed against the post midway through the fast-paced first half.
Both teams missed plenty of chances after the interval.
Zarate had a shot blocked by Gabulov while at the other end Dzagoyev fired straight at Julio Cesar.
The Russians though, who scored two late goals to snatch a point in Lille, could not produce the same escape.
"I think we were a better team but luck was just against us," an emotional Dzagoyev told Russian television NTV Plus.
"I feel we deserved at least a point tonight."
CSKA coach Leonid Slutsky added: "We gave them two early goals and it was an uphill battle after that. Although we fought back we didn't have enough strength for another assault."
Image: CSKA Moscow's Alan Dzagoev celebrates after scoring against Inter Milan