Continental elite enjoy away success
BATE Borisov sprang a major shock as Matchday 2 of the UEFA Champions League began on Tuesday, the Belarusians beating an unrecognisable Bayern Munich 3-1.
Elsewhere, Juventus maintained their unbeaten start by scraping a 1-1 draw at home to an enterprising Shakhtar Donetsk, while Manchester United came from a goal down to win 2-1 at Cluj.
The big game
BATE Borisov 3-1 Bayern Munich
Goals: Aleksandr Pavlov 23, Vitali Rodionov 78, Renan Bressan 90 (BATE Borisov); Franck Ribery 90 (Bayern Munich)
BATE Borisov registered their biggest ever Champions League win against a hugely disappointing Bayern Munich. The Belarusians had the lion’s share of the chances, most of them on the break, while Bayern dominated possession without posing much of a threat to the home defence. Aleksandr Pavlov set the ball rolling for the underdogs when he swept in from an Aleksandr Volodko miskick in the box. Making the most of some passive Bayern defending, Vitali Rodionov struck a thumping second that owed nothing to luck, and though Franck Ribery gave the visitors a glimmer of hope late on, Bressan sealed the win in injury time. BATE now hold an unexpected lead in Group F with six points out of six, a first for the unfancied eastern Europeans.
The other games
Juventus 1-1 Shakhtar Donetsk
Nordsjaelland 0-4 Chelsea
Juventus had to settle for a draw against a fast-breaking Ukrainian side that was in no way overwhelmed by the occasion and gave their esteemed hosts more than one scare. Axel Teixeira put the visitors ahead, with the Italians shaking off their lethargy to pull level immediately, Leonardo Bonucci firing into the top corner direct from a well-worked corner. Though that was the end of the scoring, the chances continued to flow in what proved an exciting encounter. The Ukrainians now stand joint top on four points with Chelsea, who wasted little time in putting the brave but inexperienced Danes in their place.
Valencia 2-0 Lille
The Spaniards prevailed in this duel between two sides who were beaten in their opening games, thanks in no small part to the strike partnership of Roberto Soldado and Jonas, the Brazilian scoring both his side’s goals.
Spartak Moscow 2-3 Celtic
Benfica 0-2 Barcelona
Technique and telepathic skills were the keys to Barcelona’s latest win. Lionel Messi served up two assists as goals from Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas took the Catalans top of the section, though the gloss was taken off their night by another injury to Carles Puyol.
Celtic ended a run of 11 consecutive group-phase defeats away from home when they saw off a disappointing Spartak. Caught cold by Gary Hooper’s 12th-minute strike, the Russians regained the lead courtesy of an Emmanuel Emenike double either side of half-time. The turning point came when Argentinian defender Juan Manuel Insaurralde was sent off for a professional foul, with a last-minute Georgios Samaras header condemning the back-pedalling Russians to an untimely defeat.
Cluj 1-2 Manchester United
Galatasaray 0-2 Braga
After taking an early lead, the Romanians made the mistake of sitting back and allowing the tandem of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie to dictate matters, the Dutchman striking in both halves to rescue the English giants. Meanwhile, Galatasaray slumped to their second defeat as Braga made the most of their chances to atone for their opening-day reverse at home to Cluj.
Alexis Sanchez silenced his detractors by opening the scoring against Benfica from his favoured central position. The Chilean forward has regularly found himself stationed wide on the left since his arrival at Barcelona, but showed his killer instinct in turning home a typically precise Lionel Messi cross.
Goal of the night
Spartak Moscow 2-3 Celtic, Emmanuel Emenike 41
Kim Kallstrom’s raking pass from the centre-circle found Ari on the right side of the box, the Brazilian forward playing a nonchalant first-time pass into the path of Emmanuel Emenike, who had the easiest of tasks in rolling the ball home from close range. Goals do not come much simpler.
22 - The number of Champions League goals Robin van Persie has now scored, the first 20 of them coming in the red and white of Arsenal. Linking up to perfection with Wayne Rooney, the Dutch striker scored his first European brace for Manchester United to earn them three points in Romania.
Have your say?
Can BATE Borisov top their section?