Inter stunned, Manchester duo held
Trabzonspor stole the headlines as Matchday 1 of the UEFA Champions League group phase reached completion on Wednesday evening. The Turkish outsiders won 1-0 away to 2010 champions Inter Milan, a result that upstaged creditable 1-1 draws for Napoli at Manchester City and Benfica at home to Manchester United.
The only aristocrats to impose their authority on the night were Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, who posted respective away wins at Villarreal and Dynamo Zagreb.
The big game
Benfica 1-1 Manchester United
Goals: Oscar Cardozo 24 (Benfica); Ryan Giggs 42 (Manchester United)
Playing a more incisive and quicker game than their surprisingly lacklustre opponents, the Portuguese virtually monopolised possession in the first half and took a deserved lead after 24 minutes. Nicolas Gaitan was the creator, picking out Oscar Cardozo in the box with a superb crossfield pass. Taking possession of the ball, the Paraguayan shrugged off Johnny Evans and placed a diagonal shot past United goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard. Lacking their usual authority up front, the English champions were indebted to the ageless Ryan Giggs, the Welsh wizard putting his fabled left foot to effective use yet again to salvage a useful point.
The other games
Villarreal 0-2 Bayern Munich
Manchester City 1-1 Napoli
The visitors called the tune as this daunting section got under way. Bayern drew on their European know-how to take an early and ultimately decisive lead through Toni Kroos only seven minutes in, Franck Ribery the provider. Despite dominating for long periods, the Germans were profligate in front of goal, with striker Mario Gomez substituted for his pains at half-time. It was left to Rafinha to seal the points 15 minutes from time, the Brazilian cracking in a near-post drive.
In the other game in the section, an impressive Napoli side kept their shape and their wits about them to frustrate big-spending Manchester City. Ezequiel Lavezzi struck the post for the visitors and Marek Hamsik came close before Uruguayan dangerman Edinson Cavani rounded off a lightning break to silence the home fans. They were cheering moments later, however, when Aleksandar Kolarov’s smart free-kick ensured a share of the spoils.
Inter Milan 0-1 Trabzonspor
Lille 2-2 CSKA Moscow
Trabzonspor have taken a surprise lead in the section following an unlikely win at the Sin Siro. Finding no reward for their domination, Inter were undone with 14 minutes remaining, when Halil Altintop seized on some sloppy defending to crash the ball against the bar. Ondrej Celustka was fastest to react to the rebound, sliding the ball across Julio Cesar, who had had little to do up to that point.
Lille seemed to be on course for three points when they led the Russians 2-0 with an hour gone, the goals coming from Moussa Sow and Benoit Pedretti. CSKA’s Ivorian forward Seydou Doumbia had other ideas, scoring a last-minute equaliser to complete a notable late brace.
Basel 2-1 Otelul Galati
The Romanian new boys looked to be heading for a precious point in Switzerland, only for Alexander Frei to spoil their competition debut by converting an 85th-minute penalty.
Dynamo Zagreb 0-1 Real Madrid
Ajax Amsterdam 0-0 Lyon
The Spaniards went ahead with nearly an hour on the clock thanks to a superb team move initiated by Cristiano Ronaldo, continued by Karim Benzema and Marcelo, and completed by Angel di Maria with the sweetest of strikes. Wearing a red strip for only the third time in their history, Real passed up several opportunities against willing opponents, eventually completing their first ever win in the colour by the narrowest of margins.
Hugo Lloris was the main reason why Lyon’s visit to Ajax Amsterdam stayed goalless, the French custodian repelling the home forwards, while Johan Cruyff looked on from the stands. Things would have been worse for the Dutchmen had the visitors capitalised on any one of the dangerous breaks they fashioned.
Not for the first time in his 21-year association with the club, the evergreen Ryan Giggs came to the rescue of Manchester United, scoring the goal that brought his side level against Benfica. With Sir Alex Ferguson’s side bogged down in midfield as a testing first half neared its end, the Welshman received the ball outside the opposition box, took one touch and gave keeper Artur no chance with a fizzing 20-yard drive, his 160th goal in his 880th appearance for United.
Goal of the night
Lille 1-0 CSKA Moscow, Moussa Sow 45
Sow kept his cool after prodding Pedretti’s flick from a corner on to the far post, the Senegalese front man promptly finding himself some space in the six-yard box and cheekily back-heeling David Rozehnal’s return cross over the line.
250 - The number of matches Bayern Munich have contested in the old European Cup and the UEFA Champions League combined. The Bavarians have won 137 of those games, drawn 59 and lost 54. Of their 150 outings in the Champions League, Bayern have recorded 74 wins, 40 draws and 36 defeats.
Have your say
Can Trabzonspor build on their sensational defeat of Inter and qualify from Group B?