Underdogs bare their teeth
Two of the competition outsiders achieved excellent results at home in a dramatic night of UEFA Champions League action.
CFR Cluj, who had opened their Champions League group campaign with a stunning win over AS Roma, held English Premiership side Chelsea to a 0-0 draw in Romania, while Cyprus' Anorthosis Famagusta downed Greek giants Panathinaikos 3-1.
Chelsea's former handler Jose Mourinho, endeavouring to deliver Inter Milan Champions League glory in his first campaign in charge, had to make do with a 1-1 draw against in-form German outfit Werder Bremen.
Other underdogs also went close to famous wins, as Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk led Barcelona 1-0 till three minutes from time but the 2006 champions bit back through a double from Argentinian maestro Lionel Messi.
French side Bordeaux, humiliated 4-0 by Chelsea in their opening match, also looked well in control of their clash with AS Roma, leading 1-0 until Brazilian central defender Henrique was harshly red-carded in the 36th minute for an alleged elbow.
From there on in, the Italians ran the show, running out 3-1 winners thanks to a double by former Real Madrid and Arsenal striker Julio "The Beast" Baptista.
Liverpool, though, kept the estalished order in top spot with a commanding 3-1 win over Dutch side PSV Eindhoven, Robbie Keane scoring a first goal for the club since signing from Spurs, while its longtime servant Steven Gerrard notched up his century of goals for the team with a stunning effort.
Cluj may have ridden their luck at several moments, but the side made up largely of South American unknowns left their owner beaming with pride. "It is an important point," said Cluj owner Arpad Paszkany. "No matter who the team they would find it difficult to get a point off Chelsea.
"If Chelsea dominated territorially, we also created some chances. I believe this point is going to take us a long way in the Champions League."
Anorthosis' Georgian coach Temur Ketsbaia said afterwards: ". My players gave everything they had, we also had some luck on our side but we didn't allow them to create chances."
Messi was delighted to have been the provider of Barcelona's remarkable victory over Shakhtar. "It is an important win," admitted Messi. "It was not one of our better performances, but we showed that we are a team that continues to try things when the match is not going well."
Roma coach Luciano Spalletti did not believe that Henrique's sending-off was integral to the ultimate result against Bordeaux. "In my opinion, we deserved the victory," he said. "We didn't play that well for the first hour while Bordeaux were playing good football and they even scared us a bit," said the shaven-headed handler with masterly understatement.
His Bordeaux counterpart Laurent Blanc disagreed, as he not only saw Henrique expelled but also had to take off attacking midfielder Jussie when he suffered a hamstring injury at the same time.
"From then on the match became more difficult, and there were still 50 minutes left to play 10 against 11," said the former stalwart French international central defender. "Would we have done better at 11 against 11? I think yes, of course."